You may have already heard that Borders is closing many of their bookstores. From what I’ve seen on their website, every Borders in the San Francisco Bay Area is closing. It always pains me to see bookstores close, whether big chains or independent sellers, but there is a bright side to it all: HUGE BOOK SALES.
Two weeks ago, I headed over to the Borders closing in Alameda, Ca, five minutes from Oakland. Everything was on sale. I went straight to the Literature section where all of the books were 50% off.
I was ready to get a few books I’d been wanting for a while, but to my dismay, nothing was in any kind of order other than by genre. What did that mean? Sifting through 8 6-shelved book cases. Sounds like fun, huh?
It actually was, though. Even though I didnt find a single book from my list, I still ended up with 26 books in my basket. I eventually whittled it down to ten.
A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines - I love this book. LOVE IT. In fact, A Gathering of Old Men is the reason why Gaines is my favorite male author ever. Many may know him from his other works, A Lesson Before Dying and The Autiobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, both turned in to movies, but this particular book is my favorite by far. The eloquent novel tells the story of eighteen old Black men who, in order to protect the culprit, all claim to have killed a Cajun farmer on his sugarcane plantation. I had yet to add it to my collection, so I jumped at the chance to purchase it for $7.
Aint Nobodys Business If I Do by Valerie Wilson Wesley – I’d forgotten all about this author until @Reads4Pleasure mentioned her in one of her blogs. As a teen, I used to gobble up any and every book by Wilson Wesley, especially her Tamera Hayle mystery series, but after college, I somehow forgot about her. Well, I snatched this book up from the shelves, read the synopsis about a middle aged librarian whose husband walks out on her while their family is going through multiple life changes, and threw it in the bag for $8.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison – It is no secret that Toni Morrison is my favorite author of all time. My first introduction to her was through this story of Pecola Breedlove and her desperate want for blue eyes and blonde hair, the symbol of beauty and acceptance in America. I remember sitting in the orthodontist’s office at 11 years old, riveted by this story and it’s amazing testament to Black girls living in a white world. Snatched up the hardcover edition for $11.
Color Me Butterfly by L.Y. Marlow – This story of a family’s destructive legacy of domestic violence is scheduled to be the June Literary Selection for my book club, Booktini. This book, and Wench, were the only books written by Black authors with plenty of copies left. Got it for $9.
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri - I have heard a never ending stream of positivity about Jhumpa Lahiri and her work, but I have yet to read any of her books. When I saw all of her books on sale, I was so excited that I threw each of them in the basket. I took them out when I decided that spending my entire paycheck in Borders wouldn’t be a responsible decision. I allowed myself to only get one, and chose Interpreter of Maladies because it is why she won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2000. She was also blessed with the Pen/Hemingway Award and named “Debut of the Year” by The New Yorker. Got it for $7.
Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice – Before there was Twilight, True Blood, and all of these other odes to vampires that have infiltrated popular culture, there was Anne Rice and her series dedicated to the Vampire’s Louis, Lestat, and their brood that we became familiar with through the movies based on her novels. I have always loved the movie based on this book (the first time I set eyes on Brad Pitt), and recently decided that if I ever saw the book, I’d pick it up. Got it for $4!
In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez - I have loved Julia Alvarez ever since I discovered her in high school while wasting time away in the library in the early hours before my first period classes. I loved How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and found myself attracted to more books by Latino authors who sprinkled their English novels with Spanish (Sandra Cisneros was another favorite). In The Time of Butterflies is based on the true story of the three Mirabal sisters who, in 1960, were murdered for their part in an underground plot to overthrow the government in the Dominican Republic. The summary piqued my interest so I got it for $6. There is also a movie based on the book starring Salma Hayek.
Miracle at St. Anna by James McBride – Ever since I saw this movie in theaters, I promised myself I’d read this fictional account of four Buffalo soldiers from the Army’s Negro Division who find themselves behind enemy lines and end up protected by peasants in a small Tuscon village toward the end of World War II. This novel rang up for $9,
Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead – Colson Whitehead is hilarious. I know because I follow him on twitter. He’s also been mentioned in countless articles and blogs about influential Black authors on the social networking site. This coming of age novel about Benji, who leaves his elite prep school in Manhattan, for the Hamptons every summer, is on my reading list for the year. It was named a New York Times Notable Book and one of the Best Books of the Year by The Washington Post. It was also a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Got it for $10.
Sula by Toni Morrison - One would think, since this is my favorite novel of all time, that I would own a copy of it, right? Well, that was not the case…until now. This story of the life long friendship shared by Nel Wright and Sula Peace is dear to my heart, so when I saw it on the shelf beckoning to me, I clutched it to my chest and claimed it as my own. Ok, I didnt do all of that. But I did buy it for $8.40.
Overall, I saved $61 and walked out with ten books. Of course I was giddy with excitement to add so many books to my library, especially the books that I’ve already claimed as favorites.
If you have any Borders bookstores closing in your area, make sure you take advantage of the sales going. It may take a while to look through the clutter, but you’re bound to find a treasure or two…or ten.