Budget books – a thrift shop book haul

Second-hand books, as I’m sure you’ve heard me say before, are (in my opinion) a truly marvellous thing; they deftly combine two of my all-time favourite things: books and bargains. On one hand, it’s really sad that a flawless copy of ‘The Life of Pi’ or ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ can sell for less than $0.99 these days and that books are treasured by less and less people every year. On the other hand, who doesn’t like a good bargain? 

Plus, the sheer availability of of books at almost no cost is such a valuable thing. Never has so much knowledge and enjoyment been so easily and readily available. I mean The Northern Renaissance in Europe in the 1400s was the time in which books really became obtainable to the masses but I wouldn’t be surprised if the 2010s are documented as a time of even greater knowledge availability. Take google for instance, 20 years ago you wouldn’t be able to just hop on a machine, press a few keys, and find out anything from “do worms have eyes?” to “how to give cpr to a dwarf hamster” now could you? But I digress. We all know books are great and information is fabulous – it’s time to get back to the matter at hand.

giphy (17).gif

I took a trip up to Vancouver last week to visit a relative I’d never met before! She kindly showed me a great deal of what West and North Van have to offer. During my stay we visited 3 different Salvation Army thrift stores and with paperbacks at $4.00 for 5 or $0.99 each I was completely in my element (I actually returned home with 15 new books!) Here are some of my favourite finds!

images (1)
Before I go to Sleep – S.J. Watson

As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I’m still a child, thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me…

Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love–all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine’s life.

I picked up this intriguing thriller because I recognised the title from its film adaptation. I hadn’t seen it but had been interested by the spoiler. It’s got mixed reviews but is also rumoured to be one of those that can be easily spoiled so I’m keeping myself from researching it too much lest I ruin it for myself. Have you read this one? Should it be the first one I start? 

The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova

To you, perceptive reader, I bequeath my history…

Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to ‘My dear and unfortunate successor’. Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history.

This is my Dad’s favourite book and I’ve somehow not managed to read it so when I saw it sat on the shelf in front of me I couldn’t help but pick it up. It’s got very up and down reviews online so I’m excited to see if it’s as good as he says it is. My tbr is an infinite abyss and I feel like I can’t do anything about it anymore; it’s a part of me now. 

The Maze Runner – James Dashner

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

I actually have seen the film adaptation of this one – I thought it was pretty decent but got the feeling the whole way through that the book was probably more my kind of thing. YA dystopians are kind of my jam at the moment so I’d like to find out if I’ve misjudged it or not (and for <$0.99 what do i stand to lose?)

The Selection – Keira Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

This choice was a judge-a-book-by-its-cover type deal. I’ve seen this photographed all over my #bookstagram feed and couldn’t resist picking it up. It looks like an interesting read and has good reviews so could become a firm favourite. That being said the names and overall vibes I’m getting make me think of Gossip  Girl and The Thousandth Floor so it’ll be interesting to draw some comparisons. I do like a good guilty pleasure read.

‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ Series – Stieg Larsson

(Book 1 Blurb) Mikael Blomkvist, a once-respected financial journalist, watches his professional life rapidly crumble around him. Prospects appear bleak until an unexpected (and unsettling) offer to resurrect his name is extended by an old-school titan of Swedish industry. The catch—and there’s always a catch—is that Blomkvist must first spend a year researching a mysterious disappearance that has remained unsolved for nearly four decades. With few other options, he accepts and enlists the help of investigator Lisbeth Salander, a misunderstood genius with a cache of authority issues. Little is as it seems in Larsson’s novel, but there is at least one constant: you really don’t want to mess with the girl with the dragon tattoo

I was lucky to find all three of these books in great condition when I was on my little book hunt and am keen to get started on them. I have copies at home in England but packing limits meant I had to leave a lot of my tbr behind. They’re a well known series and I’ve heard the names lots before without really getting involved in the story. It’s time I changed that.

As well as these lovely examples there was an incredible selection of books to choose from from a wide variety of genres. The great thing was that I didn’t spend more than $12 total and came away with 15 now stories to get wrapped up in. Just for reference a new book in Canada can cost upwards of $10 and new releases regularly retail for $25 each. So, the next time you’re thinking of walking into a Waterstones or a Barnes and Noble for a shiny new book, consider stopping at the charity shop/ thrift store/ secondhand bookstore a few doors down first. You never know what you might find!

Till next time…

 – Cat – 


  1. J4rming | 13th Mar 17

    This is awesome! I love second hand book shops as the books are so affordable! For example my travels to WHSmiths the other day would have cost me £28 in books but I got them all for £7.80! And yes, they had basically never been read before, not even a crease in the spines.

    On the subject of maze runner the books are a whole different story line! When I saw the trailer for the first film I immediately searched and bought the book on my kindle – preceded to read the rest of the series in the same week 🙈 – The whole film adaptation makes me wonder if the directors and screenwriters even read the books. Perhaps they just flicked through and picked out random words 😂

    J4ZZ x

    • tackfiction | 13th Mar 17

      It’s so nice when they’re in great condition! They so often are as well! I think only two, maybe three, of my 15 had broken spines. It’s crazy! I’m glad maze runner is a bit different from the film as it’ll hopefully keep my interest. Plus the film definitely was missing something!

  2. BooksNest | 13th Mar 17

    Before I Sleep is a pretty good one, I enjoyed it!
    I used to be really into second hand bookstores but now I tend to only buy from the actually shops because I don’t want them to not be there one day, although I feel like this could be inevitable. 🙁

    • tackfiction | 13th Mar 17

      If I’m after something specific, in a hurry I’ll go to a normal bookshop but even then you can usually get decent priced second hand ones on Amazon. To be fair though, if I worked in a bookshop I wouldn’t be able to resist the shiny new ones so I don’t blame you! 😊

Leave A Comment

Leave a Reply