It is absolutely amazing that I made it to two of these sales in a row. Again, I picked up a bag-load of books for $12.70. Here’s what I got:

Short story collections and novels:

  • Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore. Even if I had never heard of Lorrie Moore, the title makes the book irresistible.
  • New Stories from the South 2001 — I like short story anthologies, because they’re a bit like a buffet. Plus, I always find writers I’ve never heard of before.
  • The Known World by Edward P. Jones, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.
  • Empire Falls by Richard Russo.
  • Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich. Oh, yes! Now I only need to get The Beet Queen and Tracks.
  • Later the Same Day — short stories by the much loved and much missed Grace Paley.
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison.
  • The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos.
  • Bless the Beasts and the Children by Glendon Swarthout. I know this is a bit of a clunker in some ways (I think it became a cliché of itself), but it was taken pretty seriously for a while there, so it will be nice to find out what all the fuss was about.


Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of poetry available at these sales, other than “the classics,” and I already have enough collections of Wordsworth, thank you very much. But I did find two:

  • The Elephant’s Child: New & Selected Poems 1978—2005 by Steve Orlen. I have never heard of Mr Orlen, but I recognized the title (from a story of Rudyard Kipling) and that was enough for me.
  • A Poetry Handbook: A Prose Guide to Understanding and Writing Poetry by Mary Oliver. I almost bought this at our local Barns and No Bells, but poverty stayed my hand. Now I am very, very lucky.

We do not do nearly enough with poetry in our classrooms, and this must change, which is why I glom onto every poetry title I can find.


  • The Letters of Abelard and Heloise
  • The Lais of Marie de France

Both of the above are Penguin Classics editions (yay!), but a bit marked up. But better than nothing.

  • Later Medieval Prose edited by William Matthews.


  • In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd. (If you’re wondering why his name sounds familiar, it’s because he wrote the story that eventually became the movie A Christmas Story, which apparently will be with us forever, and that’s just fine by me.)
  • Crossing Open Ground by Barry Lopez. This is now on my summer 2011 reading list.
  • Dakota: A Spiritual Geography by Kathleen Norris. I have never heard of her, but just glancing through it and reading a paragraph here and there convinced me to pick this one up.
  • Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher, Ph.D. I never did read this one when it first came out, and have regretted it. Now I have no excuse not to read it, which will probably happen over winter break.
  • Thereby Hangs a Tale: Stories of Curious Word Origins by Charles Earle Funk. This is a very good book for quickly dipping into and out of. It immediately went into the “little library,” if you know what I mean.

Kids’ Books for my Classroom

  • 2095 by Jon Scieszka (#1 in the Time Warp Trio series).
  • It’s All Greek to Me by Jon Scieszka (#8 in the Time Warp Trio series).

Jon Sciezka has written some pretty cool books, and has a website, Guys Read, devoted to connecting boys with books and literacy.

  • The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo.
  • The Music of Dolphins by Karen Hesse.
  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, collected from folklore and retold by Alvin Schwartz. I have another one of these books (he wrote three or four, I think), and as I recall, they have been the subject of book-banning campaigns here and there. All the more reason to have them on my shelf.
  • Ordinary Jack by Helen Cresswell. This is the first book in the Bagthorpe Saga. Cresswell is an English author, and I very vaguely remember this book from my childhood. Hopefully, this is a good book, and maybe I’ll be able to find the other titles in the series.
  • No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman.
  • Holes by Louis Sachar. You’ve seen the movie, now read the book.
  • The Time Bike by Jane Langton. This one just sounds cool. Sometimes that’s all the excuse I need.
  • Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Louise Engdahl. This is a retelling of the Fairy Queen, so I am pretty excited about getting the chance to curl up with this one.
  • Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce. I did not realize that the film Millions was originally a book. Now I know better. (This is the movie tie-in edition, which is probably the only reason I noticed it.)
  • Captured! A Boy Trapped in the Civil War by Mary Blair Immel. Now this is an interesting book. It has actual photographs and prints from the Civil War, along with various other items. And it has maps! All of that should make this one very appealing to boys. However, it was published by the Indiana Historical Society Press, so I’m wondering if this is still entertaining enough to hold a kid’s attention, or if it’s too didactic. Either way, you’ll find out here.
  • Scenes for Young Actors edited by Lorraine Cohen, because every English teacher should have a copy of this in their classroom.
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