What does Arkansas have against pizza?

My husband wondered aloud what the state of Arkansas had against pizza while we were playing the Alphabet Game on a long drive to Conway, Arkansas. Obviously, he couldn’t find a ‘z’ (and, full disclosure, I found the ‘z’ first and won). We stopped at two bookstores while we visited Conway, a secondhand store called Book Traders and the ubiquitous Books-A-Million. That’s where I found these gems.

The only one I’ve read before was To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I wanted a copy of it to stick on my favorites shelf. The rest are new to me.

The only book I paid full price for was The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo. I’d never heard of that book before I walked into BAM, but I loved the way the blurb on the back made it sound and I’m tired of all the same regurgitated Book-Tok bullshit, so I picked it up. Everything else I found was either secondhand or on clearance at BAM.

I’m going out on a limb by purchasing a Jodi Picoult book. I’ve never read any of her work but my good friend Reagan has and highly recommends her. So, after reading the blurb for The Book of Two Ways, I thought I’d give her a shot. I’m looking forward to starting that one.

The book I’m most looking forward to reading out of this stack is definitely Mother Country by Irina Reyn. The premise is so timely with the current Russo-Ukrainian situation that I really would feel irresponsible by not reading it first. Currently I’m about 5 pages into Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell and think I may just go ahead and jump over to Mother Country. The Patriots by Sana Krasikov is also a story of struggle relating to Russia, so I went ahead and grabbed it, too.

I’ve been looking for The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave for a while, so I was really excited to find it in the bargain section at BAM, along with Every Bone A Prayer by Ashley Blooms. I’d never heard of that one, but the concept sounded great, so I picked it up for $2.98.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving is the only other mass market paperback I picked up besides To Kill A Mockingbird. I almost passed it up because it was a mass market, but I’ve heard such amazing reviews of the story and I wanted to read it, so I decided not to be a snob and to pick it up.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout is a Pulitzer Prize winner, and a relatively short one, so it’s been on my list for a long time but I hadn’t wanted to pay full price for it. Luckily I found a copy tucked in the shelves at Book Traders and snatched it up.

Ann Patchett is one of the few authors whose books I have in legion but haven’t actually read. As of this publication, I have Taft, Bel Canto, The Dutch House, and now Commonwealth. One day I’ll sit down and read something of hers – hopefully I like her style!

On that same note, I now have two Barbara Kingsolver books that I’ve never read. I bought Flight Behavior at a Goodwill in Panama City Beach a while ago, and I purchased The Poisonwood Bible at Book Traders in Conway. I wish I had enough time left in February to read it for Black History Month.

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson is one of those perennial books that you see at every secondhand shop, so I decided to pick it up and see what it is that makes it so popular.

We had a pretty great day in Conway sans kids. If you make it in, I highly recommend their Raising Cane’s restaurant and definitely don’t recommend the Outback.

Til next time!

-Emjay

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