Scavenging the Leftovers of a Dying Borders

2011 September 6
by CajoleJuice

You’ve seen the signs at your local mall or shopping center, or you’ve gotten emails in your inbox since you were a Borders Rewards member — either way, you know that Borders is liquidating its supply of books by slowly raising their discounts. Sometime last week, when the entire store hit the 50% to 70% off range, it finally made sense to buy books there rather than Amazon. I bought a few books, but waited as long as possible to pay for a few more, realizing there might not be anything of worth left by the time the discounts got really tasty.

Due to Hurricane Irene, though, my local Borders store lost power this weekend (I don’t know why they lost it 5 days after the hurricane), perhaps saving some quality books from being picked up. It certainly seems that way, judging by the haul I pulled today. The following picture is actually of all the books I’ve bought since the liquidation began, but the eight I bought today are on the top this pile (Free Darko’s Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball up).

Let’s run these down, shall we? I figure I should document this moment, as it might represent my last big physical book haul. By the time I finish my backlog — which includes at least a half-dozen books not pictured — a new Kindle could easily be priced under $99. But I guess I could always rip through a used bookstore at some later point.

Wonder Boys – I read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay a year ago or so and absolutely loved it. Borders actually a few copies of The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, but I settled on Wonder Boys due to it being an earlier work. I rather move chronologically, since I know I will read YPU eventually. Perhaps I should have bought both?

The Gun Seller – I recall @SpeedinUptoStop saying it was pretty good. And it’s written by Hugh Laurie! I couldn’t help myself.

An Arsonist’s Guide to Writers’ Homes in New England – This is a random one, but it’s due to having a random conversation with a girl in a dive bar about books. She recommended a few, but she particularly loved this book and I told her I’d read it. Even though I didn’t even ask her for her number and will most likely never see her again, I remain obligated to keep my word. It better not suck.

The Broom of the System – I’ve only read non-fiction from David Foster Wallace. His debut novel is probably a good place to start reading his fiction, right? Infinite Jest scares me.

A Confederacy of Dunces – A classic that someone recently reminded me to read.

The Four Fingers of Death – I remember @BenjaminBirdie going apeshit over its release, and while he’s prone to hyperbole, he usually has good taste (Die Hard > Die Hard with a Vengeance, though). Combine that with a cool cover and a science-fiction classification and I’m there.

Special Topics In Calamity Physics – Go ahead, make fun of me for buying a book somewhat based on its cover. I bought this book because I picked it up thinking it was a non-fiction book related to physics. Then I realized it was a novel and it was a Top Ten New York Times book selection and it was written by a woman (and she looked attractive on the back cover!). Considering I haven’t read many books by female authors, I figured this was a chance to stop being passively sexist. Wait, am I still being sexist by pointing out she’s attractive? Damn it.

The Undisputed Guide to Pro Basketball – I’ve read the first Free Darko book, which I felt focused too much on style over substance, but the guys can write, and this book appears to have much more actual content.

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004 – This was a bargain book, so with the 50% off on top of that it was cheaper than a Classic Single at Wendy’s. If there were any other years, I would have bought them. I’ve already ripped through this collection and it was wonderful.

Collapse – I’ve read Guns, Germs, and Steel, which I thought was extremely interesting and enlightening. I thought he drilled his point home over and over, though. Maybe I’m just too quick to accept things I read (I enjoyed The Tipping Point), but the hypotheses he laid out quickly made intuitive sense. Also, the title “Collapse” is timely. Because, you know, the economy.

Soccernomics - I’m not a soccer fan, but maybe this will help me get into it because it’s a scientific look the game across the globe.

The Best of The Best American Science Writing – I’m sure it’s just more of the awesomeness that is 2004 version. Not exactly the same series, but there is sometimes overlap. This series is probably more up my alley, anyway. The one that was science and nature had an article about birds. Fuck that noise.

The Only Game in Town – A collection of the best sportswriting from The New Yorker. Undoubtedly wonderful.

It took me longer to write this post than it took Roger Federer to win his fourth round U.S. Open match. I need to learn how to focus.

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  • Cornballer

    That’s a pretty good haul considering the prices.  I’ve been avoiding that sale based on the assumption that there’s nothing but crap left, but obviously that isn’t the case.

    • CajoleJuice

      I should have specified that everything above the Free Darko book was 70%, which made them all under $5. So yeah, I was surprised, too. But my Borders might be a special case, considering that several-day power outage.