Collective Book Haul (December – March)

Hey pals,

I’ve been on a partial book buying ban since 2020 ended, mainly because I don’t have much money and I have many books! But I’ve been keeping an eye out on second hand selling sites (mainly on facebook) for books in series I want to read or have started and liked enough I would like to own and continue (as I talk through these in my Book Series I want to Finish in 2021 video! If you want to buy any of the books series I’m reading, check out this list) so those were my main second hand purchases! I also had £40 worth of gift cards I can’t really use online (they are annoying with how they work…) and I don’t need anything I can buy with them or the shops are closed because of Lockdowns. So when I pop into town occasionally, I check out the only shop open right now that also has books and takes these gift cards!

If you would like to buy any of these books listed! I have linked where you can buy them on the bookshop, if you use my affiliate link you will support me and indie bookshops!

I never really know HOW to book haul, but this is the best I got and how I’ve been doing it for a while. Mainly, mention the book and sometimes link it, talk about why I want to read it and some of them I include the synopsis in case anyone doesn’t know what I’m talking about. The four new books I bought with gift cards from Christmas. I still have some money left on them but they are very annoying to use and I have to keep track of what is left on the cards.

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy: I watched the film and really enjoyed it. If you’re new here, I love reading books after I’ve seen the film or show adaptation. A lot of the books on this list fit that brief, honestly! But as part of my Books I Want To Read More Of in 2021, I wanted to read more fat-positive books and this is where I’ll probably be starting. “In a small Texas town, a confident fat girl confronts new challenges to her self-esteem. At age 16, Willowdean—her mother calls her Dumplin’—has a good sense of herself. She’s uninterested in Mom’s raison d’être, the Clover City Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant, which annually takes over the town and Will’s own house.”

PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han: I read the first book of this series in September 2019 when I was starting to get back into reading again after my Creative Writing Degree put me in a chronic slump. Another I read after watching the adaptation, there were quite a few differences between the book and film and I’ve seen the second film which makes me curious what the next book is like and this is a series I wanted to try and continue this year. It also comes under books I want to read more of in 2021.

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed: “Perfect for fans of The Hate U Give, this unforgettable coming-of-age debut novel explores issues of race, class, and violence through the eyes of a wealthy black teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Rodney King Riots.

Want to chill out and vibe? Come watch Dawson’s Creek with me!

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black: I don’t really know what this book is about I bought it because my friend liked it a lot and the Prince mentioned is called Cardan which is close to Carden. That’s all. “The Cruel Prince follows Jude, a human girl living among faeries. She wants to fit in, but her stubbornness and determination cause her to stand out among the royal family, where she aspires to become a knight.”

The second hand books I’ve picked up highly discounted since December. This is one of the best ways of recycling your books, either offering them for sale or free on social media (facebook marketplace always has loads of book posts) maybe take them to a charity shop or thrift store that sells books, last resort are donation bins. Or some people use old books for art (like me, check out my ko-fi shop!)

You by Caroline Kepnes: Another series I’ve watched! I think I liked series 2 a bit more but I liked it enough to give reading it a go! “The novel presents a cast of emotionally disturbed people whose interactions with each other can be both hilarious and tragic. Joe is obsessed with Beck when she first walks into his bookstore. He uses her name to research her online and find where she lives.” I really enjoy watching thrillers and crime, I am trying to get into reading it!

For more book series I’m planning on reading, you can buy them here.

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins: Sadly a couple of them aren’t in the best condition but that’s okay. I’d seen the films in the past but not many times, I decided last year I would finally read the books and give them a shot and honestly I was so shocked at how much I enjoyed the books I decided I definitely wanted to own physical copies and these were such a bargain I couldn’t pass it up.

The Divergent books by Veronica Roth: (1-3) “The novel Divergent features a post-apocalyptic version of Chicago and follows Beatrice “Tris” Prior as she explores her identity within a society that defines its citizens by their social and personality-related affiliation with five factions, which removes the threat of anyone exercising independent will and re-threatening the population’s safety. Underlying the action and dystopian focused main plot is a romantic subplot between Tris and one of her instructors in the Dauntless faction, nicknamed Four.” I read the first book last year too, similar circumstances as The Hunger Games, but I would like to give it another read through the lens of disability and neuro-divergence (hm…) because I feel like this might be one of those books showing a bit of a scary reality of the politics we already live and the experiences of disabled/neuro-divergent people.

Please check out my ko-fi and consider supporting me with a tip or buying my art!

Recently I have been reading a lot of NetGalley ARCs, check out the reading vlog here, so I’ve been doing a lot of reading for free and experimenting with some new genres. I plan to do a wrap up blog post of all the ARCs I read recently with general opinions. Let me know if this is something you would be interested in reading about (I will include release dates as well for all the books I discuss, some will have come out already some not) I also have another book tour coming up! I was on the Act Your Age Eve Brown book tour this month, and will be on another exciting book tour in May on my Instagram! Check out my Queer Lit Reads Recommendations!

Books have made me feel like I have an escape during COVID and that has been so important to me. How do books make you feel? What books should I read first from this list!? Leave a comment down below!

~ Artie

They/Them

contact here

Why I Buy Books Second Hand (#SecondHandSeptember)

buying books second hand post

Hey Pals,

As it is secondhand September, I wanted to use this as a chance to discuss my recent reading TBR piles and book hauls, which mostly (if not entirely) include nothing but white cis straight writers who are relatively mainstream, or at least were when the books were originally published. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve had a slowly growing collection of books that are made up of mainly secondhand books I’ve picked up whilst charity shopping or browsing Amazon with a gift certificate. Shopping in real life, it’s near impossible picking up anything classed as diverse, I think the closest I could have gotten was when Love, Simon came out I started seeing the books in charity shops.

Use my affiliate link if you are looking to buy books and support indie book shops!

There can be an issue of consumerism within the book community and I am not the first person to talk about this at all! There are a couple of livestreams I’ve saved that I plan on watching but haven’t had the chance yet. But haul posts on instagram, bookblogs and booktube are pretty popular and bring in an audience, possibly of people who can’t afford to spend this much money on books. I have also seen friends on twitter mention about the price difference between Europe/U.S to places in Asia, where new titles take longer to be delivered but also cost a lot more to buy brand new. I see a lot of books in the UK tend to be anywhere from £7-£20 depending on if it’s hardback, includes images, etc. which is a lot to me, as someone who does not have a regular income, but this is even higher in other locations around the world, which lends to people buying ebook versions instead (but I’ve also seen some new ebooks also cost a lot, like close to the cost of a physical book which I find weird and would like to learn more about…).

The struggle with second hand shopping is that you are limited to what’s currently available either in the store on online. It can be hard to have a list of books you are looking for when second hand shopping, because they aren’t often readily available. I shop for books in a variety of ways, I used to use Amazon but I am trying to venture away from doing this (as you know) besides that, I often browse charity shop bookshelves if I’m out, and have started browsing the possibilities of Facebook marketplace/groups and have grabbed a few cheap or free books that way too. I think it’s probably easier to search for specific books through apps like depop, as a lot of people do sell their old books there and some indie bookshops have set up pages, but other than that, it can be hard to find what you are looking for quickly and easily.

I decided to speak to a few people about their book buying habits and why they mainly buy second hand, curious to see if other people have similar experiences and reasons as myself. I spoke to a few people who all had a range of book buying needs and wants: mystical fiction, thriller/crime, historical fiction, YA fantasy, course textbooks, poetry, essays, LGBT+ writing.

Overall, it was agreed that buying second hand can be difficult when you have specific tastes that maybe don’t fit the donors who give their books away, especially shopping in store. Nicole said, “I do find that a lot of used book stores do have an older selection and not too many new works to choose from. I currently live on Long Island and it’s difficult to get thrifted books in person so I buy online, but I spend a decent amount of time in NYC where access to used books is a little easier.” I definitely found shopping second hand was easier when I lived in Greater London, so I think there’s a correlation between shopping in cities vs. more suburban or rural areas and the kinds of items that are donated. I would assume more diverse books and more textbooks in areas near universities. Many students often have to quickly dispose of large sums of items before moving home or to their next residence, so donating to local charity shops is likely the easiest way to do this. Plus, the richer the area the more likely you’ll find some expensive finds for cheap.

Jae said, “I can usually find a lot of books in [the] genres that I read except for my lesbian fiction, but John Grisham and Michael Crichton are two old man writers so I can easily find them and their books. And sometimes you just have to wait around for the right book to come in.” Obviously you can get lucky by finding rare and diverse books on occasion but it helps if you actually enjoy reading the genres that come in the most. I find nonfiction is pretty common in most charity shops in the UK and nearly all of my nonfiction books were bought second hand.

Sarah said, “I mostly end up buying them online. Trying to buy second-hand in my area is more like occasionally finding a good novel amongst twenty-thousand copies of Danielle Steele and Nora Roberts. They are definitely not diverse in person very often. There’s one booth of a flea market I used to love going to because they had copies of some of my favorite series, but then those sold out and now the booth is the same as the rest. I bought the majority of my books for school second hand. Thrift Books (website) was my savior. I could spend so much less on books each semester because of it. It’s hard to find textbooks on there, but sometimes you can get lucky with them as well. I also would always check Ebay and the used portion of Amazon before buying any of them. I think I only ever bought one book brand new, and it had come out just months prior and was used in all my classes. I still use it in my current classes.” I don’t know if this is a thing in the UK or if I just completely missed it due to not really needing textbooks, but it seems like buying second hand books and textbooks is a lot easier to do in the U.S? I personally don’t know of many places you can shop online for books second hand. Something I’d not really thought about until writing this, and I have realised Oxfam do actually sell books online as well as having dedicated charity shops for books. I used to buy all my books through Amazon’s second hand options when I was in university because it was fast, cheap and convenient. I wish I had thought about it and knew what I know now about the company… but I don’t know of anything quite like Thrift Books. If there’s a UK version, please let me know.

One similarity among everyone I spoke to about enjoying buying second hand was the life in the books. The idea that people had read the book before and sometimes finding handwritten notes. Nicole explained it as “I like the idea of a used book because I like knowing someone had it before me and I envision what that person’s story is. Like a story of a story.” Jae said something similar, “I also really enjoy that a lot of people have put their mark on a book and I like the story that tells too. Why did they dogmark this page? Or look here’s a note in this book. I live for that shit.” Sarah actually said they are someone who makes notes, “I’m someone who writes notes in the margins and dog-ears the pages, and I’m less willing to do those things that are natural for me in new books. Plus, buying them used means I might be buying from another note-taker, and those are always wonderful to get to see where we agree and disagree. I also really love buying books that were once library books. Ones that have received so much love in their lifetimes that they deserve to have a little bit of rest without being loved any less. I will go out of my way and spend a bit more on a copy once used in a library if it’s available.”

It seems like buying books second hand is more than just a budgeting issue and actually involves a lot of emotions to the books and the pasts attached to them. I recently opened a book I’ve had for a while, Another Bullshit Night In Suck City, and found a note written in the front that seemed to be from one partner to another and even though I may not enjoy the book (it’s too early to say) I atleast got to see this short sweet message written on the first page. I also enjoy passing on a book to someone I know as a gift and think they might enjoy or learn something from. Like my travelling book by James Baldwin, or From Baghdad With Love. The idea that the book will continue to be read even after I’m done with it is why I enjoy physical books, but I’m more likely to do this with second hand books than brand new.

Being able to buy new and diverse books is a privilege not everyone can afford. It can be hard to strike a balance between indulging in your hobby of reading in a sustainable and affordable way vs. a more diverse way that supports under-represented writers and their stories. Neither is better or worse for any reason, it’s not all black or white, good or bad. It just sucks we can’t have it all really, but a mix is healthy! Check out my birthday book haul for 80% second hand books.

In our world, consumerism is a huge problem generally, not just within the book community. I’ve been trying to really narrow down the items I own, especially books, which is why my reading has been less diverse than I want. I have so many books sitting and collecting dust, I want to at least try reading them and if they aren’t for me, then pass them on to someone else in some way. I see people feel a pressure to be up to date with the newest releases and always being ahead of the industry with reviews, but when books come out, they’re out forever. Are we never going to read an old book again, unless they are classics? Of course we are, and we should! So if you are someone who feels a pressure to buy new books all the time, try reading the books you already have first… I know many of us are guilty of this.

Thank you to the people who chatted with me! Check them out in their socials.

Jae (she/they), Sarah (they/them), and Nicole (she/her)

Read your books, kids!

~ Artie

Follow me on Twitter, Insta, Youtube and Facebook!

Check out my recent YouTube video on Harry Potter (a critique)

Read my last blog post.