Once a week, I make my way up to Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in Soho, a used bookstore tucked away on a side street. They sell books, CDs, records, coffee, baked goods; it’s basically my home away from home (I would be volunteering there if I didn’t have to go away to college, my other home away from home). The entire vibe of the place is calming and welcoming. There’s an ever-changing book selection, since all the books are donated and the store stock is updated daily, which warrants me stopping by at least once in a week. It’s become one of my favorite places in the city. (Also, all proceeds goes to charity and every Tuesday is 20% off for students. It’s a win-win.)
Because of my obsessive book buying, I present to you, a book haul! The first of many, I’m sure.
I’ve read/watched many haul posts/videos in my day, and I always found hauls a little weird, since it’s just a person talking about what they spent money on and there’s no actual concrete opinion on the things they bought. So I wanted to do something different when it came to hauls, because they can get boring.
I’ll do the usual thing and explain why I bought it, my experience with the authors, and other notes/thoughts about the book. But I’ll also attempt to summarize the already short blurb/summary that comes with the book (inspired by an icebreaker I had to do in English class: describe your summer reading book in one sentence). The purpose of the blurb is to capture the potential reader’s attention, with an interesting summary, and usually, many rhetorical questions. I’ll give a purposely vague summary of that already vague summary to hopefully inspire any haul readers to look into the book (like even a simple Google search will be a win). Basically, a summary of the summary.
So, without further ado, here are the books I’ve bought in the past few weeks:
Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
- Summary of the Summary: A girl’s family is killed, she survives, she testifies that her brother did it. Years later, she’s on the run from a killer after renewed interest in the case.
I’ve read Gone Girl—which was quite an unbelievable book, I highly recommend it if you like slightly deranged thrillers—so of course, I had to pick up Dark Places because Gillian Flynn really knows how to tell a story.
I get spooked easily, so reading thrillers is the only ~scary~ thing I do, but I’m excited to get into this. I have high hopes.
Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling
- Summary of the Summary: A comedian shares short, personal essays detailing events of their adult life, including what it’s like to be a POC in Hollywood and relationships with co-workers.
I’ve been scouring bookstores for this book, and the search is finally over! I’m super excited to read this. I love Mindy Kaling, she’s one of my favorite people in the industry. She’s funny, confident, and is one of the few big-name Asian faces in the media. I respect her and her work. I also loved Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), so I’m sure I’ll love this book too.
City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare
- Summary of the Summary: Clary + crew save the world from demons and bad guys, with their ~Shadowhunter powers~ and ~powerful rune tattoos~. (I assume they save the world anyway. I mean, it’s the last book. I hope they saved the world.)
Ever since I watched Shadowhunters after a friend recommended it to me, I’ve been hooked on the Shadowhunters universe. When the first season of the show ended, I was determined to read the series and told myself I would collect all the books through used bookstores. There’s no hiding it. I’m corny as hell.
And it worked out great in the beginning. I blew through books 1-4 (bought 1, 3, and 4 at Housing Works, and 2 at Strand, a semi-used independent bookstore), and I was so captivated by this world, with the unique story lines and characters and twists.
As book four was coming to a close, I prepared for another trip to my favorite bookstores. I visited Housing Works, and they didn’t have the fifth book. “Okay,” I thought to myself. “Strand, it is.” So I walked to Strand, and they also didn’t have book five on hand. Well, shit.
I finished the fourth book, with much reluctance, and it’s been over a week since then, and I still haven’t continued the series because book five is nonexistent at these stores. I almost gave up and bought it on Amazon, but I refrained, because of the unnecessary promise I made to myself at the beginning of all this.
I did, however, on a random trip to Housing Works, find a copy of book six. Things are looking up! If only book five will materialize, so I can actually read book six. City of Lost Souls, I’m coming for you.
The Internal Devices series (Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess) by Cassandra Clare
- Summary of the Summary: A prequel to The Mortal Instruments. A girl, who isn’t Clary or a Shadowhunter, tries to survive in a dangerous, medieval world.
Everyone I know who’s in love with The Mortal Instruments has told me that The Infernal Devices is way better. So, from those vague opinions, I impulse bought all three books in the series. (This was during the time I couldn’t find book five of The Mortal Instruments. I was feeling emotional. Also, Housing Works was having a 30% off sale that day. 30% off already cheap books. I’m in love with that place.)
I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t planning on reading this series anytime soon, because I wanted to leave the Shadowhunters world for a bit and read other things. Also, I’m not super into books set in medieval, ancient times, I usually opt for books set in contemporary times. Then, the lack of book five happened, so now I own all three books. But hey, it’s a completed series that I got ON SALE. There are worse decisions I could’ve made.
I’m excited to start the series, though it probably won’t be for a while, since I do want to finish The Mortal Instruments before I jump into a new series. Again, City of Lost Souls, I’M COMING FOR YOU.
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
- Summary of the Summary: The current criminal justice system is so racist, it’s basically a callback to the Jim Crow laws.
I’ve heard so much about this book lately, so when I saw it on display, I was so excited and grabbed it without hesitation. I love learning more about civil rights and race issues, and with this book being hailed as a “call to action,” I’m ready to learn and continue to be extremely angry and frustrated and find out how I can help improve these horrid conditions.
I’m always open for book recommendations and the like, so let me know what books I should obsessively hunt over next!
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