More on book buying and such

Eoin Purcell

An example of my own shelf
As a pretty regular book buyer I thought I would do a little check of what exactly is on my bookshelf and how I bought it all. Nerdy but I hope interesting. Aside from the just finished Fooled by Randomness I have 7 books in various states if completion (War of the World 95% finished everything else between 5% and 95%). There are 7 books on my currently reading stand:

    The Conscience of a Conservative – Barry Goldwater (Book Depository)
    Jugurthine War & Conspiracy of Catiline – Sallust (Amaranth Books, Evanston, Illinois)
    The Utility of Force – Rupert Smith (
    Western Balkans – Richard Plunkett et al. (
    Bradt Montenegro – Annalisa Rellie (
    The Rise of American Democracy – Sean Wilentz (Borrowed)
    War of the World – Niall Ferguson (

So a pretty convincing victory for Amazon there and an even better one for online purchases (if you get a chance, go to Amaranth Books it really is a great store). But what about my wider To Be Read (TBR) shelf?

Well what do you know
To be honest this is just my Cork TBR list (my Dublin one is still huge and both get bigger whenever I buy stuff and get it delivered nearby). But lets have a look at the left hand of the shelf first:


    The Safeguard of the Sea – NAM Rodger (
    The Command of the Ocean – NAM Rodger (
    Civil War – Trevor Royle (
    Not Quite the Diplomat – Chris Patton (Books Etc.)
    On War – Von Clausewitz (Easons)
    Tamerlane – Justin Marozzi (Chapters)
    Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand (Book Depository)
    A Brief History of Latin America – George Pendle (Book stall)
    Prague Spring – ZAB Seman (Book Fair)
    The Popes Children – David McWilliams – (Easons)
    The Fall of the Roman Empire – Peter Heather – (
    The End of Oil – Paul Roberts (Borrowed)
    Memoirs – WT Sherman (Amaranth Books)

So a better showing for the bricks and motor shops and (though for the more obscure titles, even online would be pushed to beat a book stall second hand copy). How do we fair when I include the right hand side:


    Predators Gold – Philip Reeve (
    Infernal Devices – Philip Reeve (
    Darkling Plain – Philip Reeve (
    Ornamentalism – David Cannandine (Books Etc.)
    Untapped – John Ghazvinian (
    The Omnivores Dilemma – Michael Pollan (
    No, I tell a lie, it was Tuesday – Alan MacClean (Book Depository)
    Night of Knives – Ian Cameron Esslemont (Waterstone’s)
    Reaper’s Gale – Steven Erikson (Waterstone’s)
    The Pompeii Syndrome – David Rice (Dubray Books)
    Before European Hegemony – Janet L. Abu-Lughod (Cannot remember but I suspect Amaranth)
    The Black Swan – Nassim Nicholas Taleb (
    1776 – David McCullough (Target)

So in the combined TBR & Current shelf,the majority (17 out of 33) were bought online ( I have cheated a little in that I have already read the three Hungry Cities books by Reeve but I only just finished them and I had left them on the shelf so they got counted). That would not have been true this time last year or two years ago. It is funny how quickly my own buying patterns have changed. I still visit bookshops (not as regularly as I once did). I very rarely buy new releases or hardbacks in a bookshop (much better prices online) for more specialist titles I can spend quite a bit in bookshops and on the Book Depository. All in all an interesting analysis!

A little something extra
Once you get over the zany shooting and the crazy music this place is the kind of book store I love:

Getting vaguely Facebook addicted

3 thoughts on “More on book buying and such

  1. I know this is a really old post and I don’t even know if your blog is still active (I think probably not), but I was wondering if I could ask you a bizarre favour? I’m trying to track down the exact copy of Predator’s Gold you’ve got in your picture — I’ve been looking for it EVERYWHERE, because I lost my copy and now my series doesn’t match. If you read this, I was wondering if you could possibly tell me what the ISBN of the book is, to aid me in my search? THANK YOU SO MUCH. And sorry for the weird question.

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