After March’s ridiculous book-buying splurge, I was going to be good in April. I even told my boyfriend that aside from a couple Kindle books which were on sale at the beginning of the month, I wouldn’t buy a thing. In true fashion, things didn’t quite work out as I had planned. An impromptu trip to the Cambridge Literary Festival whilst at home over the Easter holidays to meet a very dear friend necessitated my first trip to the Cambridge branch of Books for Amnesty, and the marvellous discovery of the Salvation Army’s book section in its Mill Road shop. Needless to say, this post will be rather a long one once again…
Let us begin with my Kindle purchases, two of which I actually ended up buying on the last day of March (oops!). I chose an Agatha Christie which I hadn’t got or heard much about, The Seven Dials Mystery, as well as a powerful-looking piece of non-fiction by Ingrid Vorselhafen entitled Hitler’s Forgotten Children. In April proper, I chose to buy two digital copies of the wonderful Dean Street Press and Furrowed Middlebrow collaboration. I plumped for Begin Again by Ursula Orange, which I have already read and loved, and Ianthe Jerrold‘s There May Be Danger. I also thought I’d try David Sedaris‘ work when I spotted one of his collections as part of the Kindle Daily Deal; I have thus also read, and very much enjoyed, Me Talk Pretty One Day.
Before Katie and I had decided upon our Cambridge trip, I ordered myself a Persephone to say ‘well done’ for handing in my first year thesis submission piece. I chose Isobel English‘s Every Eye as I have heard such wonderful things about it, and have been coveting a copy for ages.
Our reason for going to Cambridge was to see the quite wonderful Louisa Thomsen Brits speak about hygge at the Literary Festival, but as I have said, when two bookish people meet up for the day in such a wondrous place for secondhand book shopping, they are hardly going to come home empty handed. The Books for Amnesty shop was lovely; quite crowded with students and young families at first, but as we spent near enough an hour browsing, I was able to pick up quite a stack. In no particular order, I chose the following: Harmless Like You by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, a relatively new publication which a lot of my friends have enjoyed on Goodreads; The Immoralist by Andre Gide as I so enjoyed Strait is the Gate when I read it early in April; The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester, which sounds fascinating; The Stories of Colette, which Katie found for me; a slim novella by Arthur Miller which I knew nothing about, entitled Plain Girl; The Lessons by Naomi Alderman, which is a book club pick for December; The Suitcase by Sergei Dovlatov, which I am planning to include within my Reading the World Project; Games at Twilight by Anita Desai after discovering her work earlier this year; and a copy of Slightly Foxed magazine from Spring 2015.
I also chose several books from both Books for Amnesty and the Salvation Army which I may be able to work into, or at least rule out of, my thesis: Oystercatchers by Susan Fletcher, and three books by Anita Brookner – Latecomers, Family and Friends, and A Misalliance.
The Salvation Army shop was a real gem; I was able to purchase twelve books for the sum of £6.40, which is less than I spent on a picnic lunch! I chose The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, which I have been meaning to get to for ages; Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott; The Blue Afternoon by William Boyd; A Summer Bird-Cage by Margaret Drabble; Monsieur, or the Prince of Darkness and Balthazar by Lawrence Durrell, whom I have been meaning to read since watching ITV’s The Durrells last year; Still Life by A.S. Byatt, which is the second book in a quartet (and I, of course, have not read the first…); The Still Storm by Francoise Sagan, one of my favourite French authors; an interesting-looking illness narrative which I hadn’t heard of before, Seconds to Snap by Tina McGuff; The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid; and two of the aforementioned Brookner tomes.
Another travel guide also winged its way to me from Wordery this month, for the trip which my boyfriend and I are planning for later in the year. I chose Lonely Planet: Thailand as they are by far the best travel guides I’ve come across, and we’re almost clueless on where and what we want to visit!
I’m hoping that my shelves will be read from, rather than added to, during May!
What have you purchased recently? Have you read any of these?