Chapters is one of my favourite bookstores, not to mention the biggest one in the city that I live in. It is in this amazing downtown location and it has . . . wait for it . . . three floors!!! Just picture three floors of books!!! Depending on where you live, my three-floor Chapters (with escalator, I might add) may not be impressive to you, but I absolutely love it. There’s even a cute little Starbucks tucked away on the top floor, so it is the perfect place to find a good read, pick up a peppermint mocha, and ease into a comfy chair for an afternoon of reading.
Between Christmastime and now, Chapters has had some insane book sales. For example, while Christmas shopping for my mother this year, I was able to scoop up the newest Stephen king novel, Revival, for a mere $15!!! That’s right, $15 for a hardcover book. The same happened to me with John Grisham’s newest novel for $10!!! Now you see why I love Chapters.
Anywho, so I scooped up quite a few books in the past month or so, and I thought I would share them with you all 🙂 🙂
The first book I picked up was Hillary Clinton’s memoir Hard Choices (check out that sale price tag). As a former Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and First Lady of the United States, Clinton is an incredible woman who I admire for her independence,success, and service to her country. This memoir chronicles her four years spent as Secretary of State under President of Barack Obama. The author’s note begins with, “All of us face hard choices in our lives, whether it be through balancing work and family, caring for the old or the young people in our lives, or, in her case, serving her country. Yet, Clinton notes, serving her country was never a hard choice for her; rather it was an honour. She had me hooked with the author’s note. Now that is the mark of a talented writer.
The next two books I picked up go hand in hand, or page in page, if you will, so I wanted to discuss them together: The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect, both by Graeme Simsion. While this book is a #1 international bestseller, I, regrettably, had never heard of it until I saw it poised on a book stand on a Chapters bookshelf. The cover looked adorable, and the little description on the inside cover had me laughing. Basically what The Rosie Project is about is this psychology professor who is absolutely brilliant, but he has few social skills. Unableto secure a second date, he begins ‘The Wife Project,’ a 16-page questionnaire that he believes will select the perfect wife for him. Then he meets Rosie, a girl who is completely wrong for him according to the questionnaire, but he takes on ‘The Father Project’ with her, using his knowledge of genetics to help her find her biological father. But of course, they fall in love. I have yet to read The Rosie Effect, but I realized in the store that it was a sequel to The Rosie Project, so I bought them both at the same time. Few things annoy me as much as finishing a really good book and then learning it has a sequel that you do not own and have to wait a few days to buy and start reading.
Lena Dunham has a long list of titles including actress, screen writer, producer and director, and with the release of her book Not that Kind of Girl, she was able to add author to the list. While I knew little of Lena Dunham when I saw the book, I was immediately intrigued by the content. The books contains essays that are at times hilarious (such as when she describes looking up and seeing a condom dangling from the leaves of a potted tree), but at times heartbreakingly sensitive (like when she ruminates on platonic bed sharing, or losing a lover). Regardless of whether or not the reader has experienced the same things she has, there is no doubt that what she writes can be related to by almost every woman on some level, and perhaps even some men.
The next five books that I bought actually came in a set. As an Indigo exclusive, I came across a 5-book box set of Nobel Prize for Literature winner Alice Munro’s books, including Friend of my Youth, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, The Love of a Good Woman, Runaway, and The View from Castle Rock. As a Canadian, I feel partially obligated to devour a fair amount of Canadian literature. There’s nothing quite like having someone go, “Oh, you’re Canadian. Do you read Margaret Atwood?,” and just staring at them blankly. (That is not to say that that happened to me [I actually adore Margaret Atwood’s writings] but that’s just an example of the embarrassment that could ensue) However, Alice Munro’s writing is so incredible, and I wanted to have a few of her books on hand so I could just blaze through some of her works. And what better way to do that than with a 5-book box set for $50, with each book being worth about $25 if bought separately.
Ah T.S. Eliot (Thomas Steams Eliot, to be exact). He is probably my favourite American modernist poet. “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” has me swept off my feet into a realm of disturbing imagery and overwhelming insecurity by the end of the first stanza, and the rest of his poems have nearly the same effect on me. I first studied him in a grade 12 literature class that I took back in high school, and then studied him again twice last year in a first year English course, and a second year American literature course. Despite all of that, I still cannot get enough of his poetry, and this edition had such beautiful cover art that I couldn’t resist it. (By the way, all hardcover books were 40% off that day).
Attachments is the most recent book that I bought, and it was displayed on the Valentine’s Day table in Chapters. Now I am not a huge fan of the holiday (regardless of whether I am single or not each year), mostly because of the forced merriment, the crowds in public places, and the excessive amounts of PDA (public displays of affection). So each Valentine’s Day, I typically pick out a nice little romance or romance comedy novel and have a good read with a cup of hot chocolate by my side and a cat curled up at my feet. The table had some of the classics like The Notebook and P.S. I Love You, but I was looking for something new. This novel is basically about this man who is hired to survey peoples’ emails for security breaches, and he eventually ends up falling in love with a woman through her emails to a fellow female coworker. I liked how it was a bit of a modern twist on the concept of falling in love with someone from afar, and it’s nice and thin, so I should be able to get through it in one day.
As odd as this will sound, I picked up this book, Famous Last Words By Timothy Findley (yet another Canadian author), mostly because of the staff member who recommended it, Graham. I always go to the same Chapters location, and I purposely seek out his picks, because I end up loving them every time, but they are books that I might not have picked out by myself. This particular one is a post-World War Two novel, revolving around the character of Hugh Selwyn Mauberly, who is originally from the Ezra Pound poem of the same name. I started this book yesterday, and I am already loving the narrative style of Findley’s writing.
The last book I will include in this haul post is George Orwell’s Animal Farm. I so enjoyed reading this book, and it is branded a classic by many people, but I had never owned a copy until a few weeks ago. As shallow as this may sound, I believe part of being “well-read” is having a cultured bookshelf, and by that I mean one stocked with a wide variety of book genres from various time periods and authors, not just young adult vampire novels, and not just the classics. But I believe there should be a healthy number of classics on anyone’s shelf because there is a reason they are so celebrated: they speak to the human condition in a way that was unique for its time period, yet in a way that holds timeless relevance.
Finally, while I was at Chapters just the other day, I picked up some Moleskine notebooks. I know these are quite expensive (these two little ruled notebooks in light violet and brilliant violet came to $12) I find they are so worth the extra money. They come in a variety of sizes, have the softest pages (yes, I am one of those notorious page feelers), and many of them come with elastic fasteners to keep them shut when they are in your purse or backpack so that they don’t flap open and pages don’t get bent. I picked up these ones because I find they are the perfect size for idea books, as I find it so frustrating when I think of a good idea, only to forget it by the time I am able to get to some paper and a pen.
Well that’s it for this Chapters haul post. I hope you enjoyed it, and please comment below if there are any books you think I should pick up the next time I’m at Chapters, or how you found any of the books I featured in this haul post.