At the beginning of the month, I was standing in the bookshop of the Anne Frank Huis in Amsterdam with my boyfriend, deciding what to buy. I thought I’d allow myself one tome as a souvenir of sorts, and plumped for Melissa Muller‘s Anne Frank: The Biography. Before I went to pay for the beautiful blue covered book, I told my boyfriend that this would be the only book I’d buy all month, as I want to save up for forthcoming holidays, as well as use local libraries more. Predictably when a bookworm utters the above words, it didn’t turn out like that at all. In fact, I think this has been my heaviest book purchasing month in over a year…
It seems only natural then that I would want to showcase said purchases – all thirty one of them! I feel rather ridiculous for buying so many, but haven’t spent much money on them, really (thank goodness for a slew of cheap Kindle books which I ordinarily avoid, and deals at both Fopp and The Works).
Let us begin with a huge collection of books by a single author. I read of a comparison between my beloved Daphne du Maurier and Mary Stewart, an author whom I had heard of but never read. Rather than buy a couple of her books just to see what I thought, I trusted the opinion of said reader, and decided to purchase a huge collection of her works from eBay. I got nine of them in all – Thornyhold, The Ivy Tree, Stormy Petrel, Wildfire at Midnight, This Rough Magic, The Gabriel Hounds, Thunder on the Right, The Moonspinners, and Airs Above the Ground. I did borrow her long-lost novella, The Wind Off the Small Isles, from the library to reinforce that I would very much enjoy her work; it was a fully successful exercise, and I am now even more excited to dive into my stack of Stewart novels.
I moved to Glasgow for University last year, and have, up until now, been very good at not seeking out the local Fopp. For those of you who don’t know, Fopp is a cavern of treasures, with hundreds of films, CDs, and books. It is owned by HMV, but is relatively inexpensive in comparison, and there is far more of an emphasis on literature and foreign films – both of which I have now stocked up with, having buckled and searched out the shop. My haul is rather varied, but consists of eight tomes which are all on my to-read lists (somewhere!). They are brand new copies, and cost me only £20 – bargain! My fiction choices were I Saw A Man by Owen Sheers (whose novel Resistance I really enjoyed), Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas (an author whom I have been meaning to try for years), Les Enfants Terribles by Jean Cocteau, The Plague by Camus, and The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. I also purchased three works of non-fiction which I have been coveting for ages – The Men Who Stare at Goats by Jon Ronson, Parisians by Graham Robb, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.
I also went to The Works, and whilst they didn’t have the best book selection (it consisted mainly of old school thrillers, celebrity biographies by many celebrities I’d never heard of, and chick lit), I did manage to unearth two interesting looking novels – Fellside by M.R. Carey, and The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan – and a real non-fiction gem which I have wanted for ages, Helen Russell‘s The Year of Living Danishly.
I rarely purchase Kindle books, but I saw so many for £1.50 and below that I just couldn’t resist stocking up. I have read a few already: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which I must admit that I found a little underwhelming, the very witty Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, and the very odd but entertaining Peirene publication The Empress and the Cake by Austrian Linda Stift. Those still on my to-read list are We That Are Left by Juliet Greenwood, The August Birds by Octavia Cade, Lullabies for Little Criminals by Heather O’Neill, A Lifetime Burning by Linda Gillard, Sweet Caress by William Boyd, and Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch.
I also received a free copy of Home Ground, a series of short stories and poems about homelessness in Glasgow, from the library. Inspired by the Homeless World Cup which took place here last year, I thought that the collection, edited by Louise Welsh and Zoe Strachan, would be football-heavy, but thankfully it wasn’t.
I will try and resist temptation during April; watch this space! What have you purchased this month? Have you read any of the books mentioned above?