I Bought All the Books: The 2018 Guelph Public Library Book Sale

What an epic week for my book collection.

First, I was gifted these beautiful volumes of The Annotated Shakespeare.


Then, I went to the Annual Guelph Public Library Giant Book Sale where I had absolutely no self-control whatsoever. I had birthday money and space on my bookshelves – I was ready. (Okay let’s be real though if there was no space on my bookshelves that would not have stopped me at all – I would just get another bookcase.)

This book sale takes place in an industrial building (I think maybe a warehouse) that is full of books. Tables upon tables covered in books and those tables have boxes upon boxes of books underneath them. And all of them cost $1 to $3. Heaven.

Book sales are great for a few reasons:

  1. finding inexpensive classics that are sometimes old, gorgeous hardcopies in good condition (and sometimes not but they’re hella cheap so I’m not complaining),
  2. replacing books that people have borrowed and haven’t returned (you know who you are and I haven’t forgotten that you have my book),
  3. replacing books that I have lost or given away
  4. acquiring books I’ve read but don’t own (some people have trophy cases, I have bookcases)
  5. giving new books a try that I am not sure about/haven’t heard of before (it’s the perfect low-risk opportunity you need to give a book a chance).

I went twice. The first day, I went during my lunch and thus had time constraints. That day is a complete blur – when I got back to work, I had no idea what I just bought. When describing the experience, I compared it to the game show Supermarket Sweep, because I was furiously running up and down the aisles just grabbing things I saw that looked good, barely registering what it was that I was grabbing. It was exhilarating.

I knew I had to go back again; I had unfinished business and I needed more time! I returned the next day, this time with a friend, and we enabled each other to buy everything our hearts desired.

As it turns out, everything our hearts desired filled a shopping cart to the point of spilling over.

The funny thing about going to a book sale and filling a shopping cart with books (yes, they had shopping carts, and yes, it was genius, and yes, ours was overflowing – literally) is that everyone asks you, “Are you a teacher?”, and then you are met with the greatest looks of shock and disbelief when you and your friend proudly respond, “Nope, these are all for us”. We had so many books in our cart that people stared at us as we walked by. It was glorious and one of the best reasons to have people staring at you, in my opinion.

I didn’t find many of the books I went looking for, but I sure did find a lot. Here is what I bought, organized by category (and in no particular order otherwise):

The List

  • Possession, A.S. Byatt
  • The Life of Pie, Yann Martel
  • Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
  • The Divine Comedy, Dante
  • The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, J.R.R. Tolkien
  • A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry
  • Atonement, Ian McEwan
  • Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
  • Memoirs of a Geisha, Arthur Golden
  • The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman
  • Germinal, Émile Zola
  • Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen
  • Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
  • Crime and Punishment, Dostoevsky
  • Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
  • Rebecca, Daphne Du Maurier
  • Birdsong, Sebastien Faulks
  • Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger
  • On the Road, Jack Kerouac
  • The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas
  • War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
  • Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy
  • The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
  • Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray
  • Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
  • A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
  • The Secret History, Donna Tartt


  • Fall on Your Knees, Ann-Marie MacDonald
  • The View From Castle Rock, Alice Munro
  • The Hero’s Walk, Anita Rau Badami
  • The Republic of Plato
  • Still Alice, Lisa Genova
  • The Odyssey, Homer
  • The Illiad, Homer
  • Red Dragon, Thomas Harris
  • Hannibal, Thomas Harris
  • Hannibal Rising, Thomas Harris
  • Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen
  • Beloved, Toni Morrison
  • Morning Star, Pierce Brown
  • Sophie’s Choice, William Styron
  • Death du Jour, Kathy Reichs
  • Déjà Dead, Kathy Reichs
  • Fatal Voyage, Kathy Reichs
  • Howard’s End, E.M. Forster
  • The Vampire Lestat, Anne Rice
  • The War of the Worlds, H.G. Wells
  • The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens
  • The Girl Who Played With Fire, Stieg Larsson
  • Room, Emma Donoghue
  • The Awakening, Kate Chopin
  • Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt
  • Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood
  • Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
  • The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan
  • Anil’s Ghost, Micheal Ondaatje
  • Girl Runner, Carrie Snyder
  • A Scientific Romance, Ronald Wright
  • Amriika, M.G. Vassanji
  • The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje
  • Mansfield Park, Jane Austen
  • Zone One, Colson Whitehead
  • Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift
  • House of Sand and Fog, Andre Dubus III
  • The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd
  • Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
  • World War Z, Max Brooks
  • The Girl’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Melissa Banks
  • Hard Times, Charles Dickens
  • Fifteen Dogs, André Alexis
  • I Know This Much Is True, Wally Lamb
  • The Cider House Rules, John Irving
  • Generation X, Douglas Coupland
  • The Aenid, Virgil
  • The Slap, Christos Tsiolkas
  • The In-Between World of Vikram Lall, M.G. Vassanji
  • Around the World in Eighty Days, Jules Verne

Young Adult Fiction

  • The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
  • if i stay, Gayle Forman
  • Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas
  • Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher
  • The Selection, Kiera Cass
  • Uglies, Scott Westerfeld
  • Specials, Scott Westerfeld
  • Extras, Scott Westerfeld
  • Insurgent, Veronica Roth
  • Eragon, Christopher Paolini
  • Eldest, Christopher Paolini
  • Brisingr, Christopher Paolini (I accidentally bought 2 of these)
  • Eclipse, Stephanie Meyer
  • Beastly, Alex Flinn
  • Fever Crumb, Philip Reeve
  • City of Bones, Cassandra Clare
  • The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold


  • The Poetry of Robert Frost
  • Evangeline, Longfellow


  • Catch Me If You Can, Frank W. Abagnale, Jr. with Stan Redding
  • The Black Donnellys, Thomas P. Kelley
  • The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir
  • The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan

French books

  • Le petit Nicolas, Sempé-Goscinny
  • Les misérables (volumes II, III, IV), Victor Hugo
  • Notre-Dame de Paris, Victor Hugo
  • Les précieuses ridicules, Molière
  • Dictionnaire critique de la révolution française, François Furet et Mona Ozouf

Oh and I also bought Trivial Pursuit: Genus Edition for $2. Awesome.

I am a happy book worm.

That’s all for now! May your book sale adventures be as fruitful as mine.

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