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From My Bookshelf: The First “New” Books of the Decade

Here with another Happy New Year greeting – this time From My Bookshelf. It’s the first FMB post of the new year and new decade, so I thought it would be fitting to feature the books of my first 2020 book haul.

On Saturday (January 11th) I drove over to a local used bookstore, primarily because they were having a “fill a bag for $5” book sale exclusively for their clearance table, and also because I had not yet shopped at this particular bookstore. I hope to write a post about the bookstore sometime in the future, but this is not that post.

Only two books caught my direct attention from the “fill a bag for $5” selection, and by the time I finished browsing, three more had joined them. They are all gems in their own right, between the authors, the stories, and the editions; plus, they are the first books I have brought home to my bookshelves in this decade. Introducing Kate’s Choice by Louisa May Alcott, Under the Sea-Wind by Rachel Carson, Summer by Edith Wharton, and Ordeal by Innocence and The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie.


Kate’s Choice, What Love Can Do, Gwen’s Adventure in the Snow; Three Fire-side Stories to Warm the Heart
Louisa May Alcott

I read Kate’s Choice in June of last year and adored it. I hope to be just as charmed by the other two stories in this small collection, and I will definitely be admiring the design of this book for years to come (RiverOak Publishing 2001; book design by Koechel Peterson & Associates with illustrations by C. Michael Dudash).


Under the Sea-Wind
Rachel Carson

Okay, this is more of a tease for a future From My Bookshelf post, so I’m not going to talk too much about this book, Rachel Carson’s first, here.  I have owned the 1957 Oxford University Press edition of the sequel  – The Sea Around Us – for a few years now, and I think it and this complementing 1952 Oxford University Press edition deserve a FMB post in which they can be together. So I’m going to save my thoughts for that post – hopefully I will have read them by then. Meanwhile, here is the charming cover with its silver foil.

Edith Wharton

The only Edith Wharton novel I have read is The House of Mirth, and although it seems Summer is more sexually scandalous (as defined by its 1917 context), I’m looking forward to more of Edith Wharton’s societal commentary. And once again, this particular 1993 edition charmed me on the spot; how does the saying go? See a Bantam Classic, don’t leave without the Bantam Classic – or something like that.

Ordeal by Innocence and The Man in the Brown Suit
Agatha Christie

The same goes for a Pocket Books or Dell Publishing edition, especially when the book (or books) is an Agatha Christie mystery. These are the first Agatha Christie novels to live on my shelves, for two reasons. One, my libraries have quite satisfactory Agatha Christie selections, so it’s been more convenient and less expensive to read her books than if I was to buy as I read. And two, having a complete and matching Agatha Christie collection is a dream of mine, and that’s nearly impossible without mean$ and patience. So even though these two stories (neither of which I have read) were not published by the same company, and thus their cover fonts and designs are slightly different, their matching size and sprayed edges (red on OBI and green on TMITBS) are sufficiently satisfying to me.

Share your thoughts on these books, their authors, your latest book haul, and/or your love for used bookstore selections in a comment below!


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