I had planned not to buy any books in August; needless to say, that did not quite go to plan, despite my being on holiday for a fortnight! I purchased two books on my Kindle, received two for review for the first time in what feels like an absolute age, and also bought one for a forthcoming book club read. That was before I found a wonderful seller on AbeBooks, who had priced almost everything at 78 pence with free delivery; needless to say that I stocked up my shelves!
My Kindle books come first, as they were the first which I purchased. I chose the Collected Works of Willa Cather as there are a couple of her full-length books which I haven’t read to date. I also bought one of the daily deals, Naoki Higashida‘s autism memoir, The Reason I Jump. I have read this already, and whilst I found it fascinating in places, it was a little underwhelming in its simplicity and repetitiveness. The two books which I received for review – Keeping Henry by Nina Bawden, which has just been reissued by Virago, and Stella Duffy‘s chilling The Hidden Room – were both great, and I would highly recommend them. Full-length reviews for both novels are forthcoming on the blog, so do stay tuned! My book club has altered of late, and is now running around the idea of geographic locations. Thus, my choice was a free one, provided it was set in Bosnia. I chose The Delivery Room by Sylvia Brownrigg, which looks fascinating. I also ended up ordering a secondhand copy of Catherynne M. Valente‘s Deathless, as I have been seeing so many positive reviews of it of late.
Now, on to my huge AbeBooks haul! I have very little self-restraint when paperbacks are so heavily discounted, and true to form, I selected over twenty of them. A few of them are applicable as book club tomes, and others will work for the Around the World in Eighty Books Project, which I am starting in January. Rather than group these rather diverse books together, I am simply going to type them up in a long list below.
- The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson
- Diary of an Ordinary Woman by Margaret Forster
- The Human Stain by Philip Roth
- Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azer Nafisi
- The News Where You Are by Catherine O’Flynn
- Oleander Jacaranda by Penelope Lively
- Innocence by Penelope Fitzgerald
- The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank by Ellen Feldman
- Christmas Stories, edited by Diana Secker Tesdell
- Dogrun by Arthur Nersesian
- True Things About Me by Deborah Kay Davies
- Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin
- Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man by Claire Tomalin
- The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton
- Cat Stories, edited by Diana Secker Tesdell
- Treveryan by Angela du Maurier
- The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank
- War Crimes for the Home by Liz Jensen
- The Paper Eater by Liz Jensen
- My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time by Liz Jensen
- Charms for an Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons
In September, I am going on holiday to Florida and the Caribbean for two wonderful weeks. Whilst I am not planning to buy books, I am going to allow myself a tome or two if they are difficult to get hold of in the UK. This is a reader’s prerogative, surely?
Which of these books have you read? Which have piqued your interest? Which books did you buy during August?
All of the self-restraint which I have demonstrated rather well this year has flown out of the window. I welcomed twenty six new books into my life over the course of July, and whilst that sounds relatively ridiculous, I have already managed to read several of them, and therefore don’t feel (quite) as bad as I could have done about it. As ever, I shall split this haul into physical books (ones which I have purchased in person, and then a secondhand book haul thanks to the Internet), and Kindle books.
At the beginning of the month, I was browsing in Urban Outfitters, and found an absolute gem – a Taschen copy of Photographers A-Z, which was marked down to £3. I then got student discount on top, and couldn’t have been happier with my bargain. I started to read it immediately, and have added a few new photographers to my favourites.
I then came across a charity shop selling four books for 99p. I wasn’t expecting great things, as the rest of the shop had rather a jumble sale air to it, but on my first trip, I ended up finding eight books. I chose rather a rare travelogue by Freya Stark entitled The Lycian Shore, which I hadn’t been able to find very cheaply beforehand, as well as a second printing hardback of Pamela Frankau‘s The Willow Cabin. The other novels which I hauled are The Secret Life and Curious Death of Miss Jean Milne by Andrew Nicoll, which is set in the gorgeous Scottish town of Broughty Ferry; The Nanny Diaries by Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin, which was purchased solely for my love of Mary Poppins, and was actually better than I was expecting; Have the Men Had Enough? by Margaret Forster; Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper by Harriet Scott Chessman, which I am about to begin reading; Iris and Ruby by Rosie Thomas, an author I’ve heard good things about; and The Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota, which looks right up my street.
When one of my best friends came to stay, we popped into the same charity shop, and I found four more books to add to my shelf: Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty, which I have wanted to read since my parents praised the television adaptation a few months ago; The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Fry, which looks like a sweet and amusing choice for summertime reading; Daughter Buffalo by Janet Frame, whose novel Faces in the Water I very much enjoyed; and my final Sarah Waters novel, Affinity, which I’ve heard mixed things about, but appeals to me regardless.
We then had an hour-long browse in Waterstone’s on a bright Sunday evening, and I picked out the following from the sale racks: Jamilia by Chingiz Aitmatov, which was a lovely single-sitting read; An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender, which I am very much excited for; and Ariel’s Gift by Erica Wagner, which is a Sylvia Plath/Ted Hughes biography I’ve not yet read. I picked up all of them for £5, which I am very impressed with.
I succumbed and purchased six tomes for myself online after writing 10,000 words of my current thesis chapter. I realise that this is something I could repeat ten times over by the time I’ve finished my PhD, but will certainly try not to! Regardless, I am incredibly excited to be united with all of the following: Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel, which is coming all the way from the USA; Reading the World by Ann Morgan; May We Shed These Human Bodies by Amber Sparks; Malinche by Laura Esquivel, which I am going to read whilst in the Caribbean in September; The Little Girls by Elizabeth Bowen; and The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan.
With regard to new books for my Kindle, I have been relatively restrained, downloading just four. I chose The Wonder by Emma Donoghue because it sounded fascinating; whilst historically it was rather interesting, I did find a few issues with it, and only gave it three stars overall. Merlin Bay by Richmal Crompton, however, was absolutely darling, and the perfect choice to read in bright sunshine. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking was a lovely book to curl up with on a raining evening, with candles lit; it certainly did add something to the slew of hygge books which I have read over the last year or so. Finally, I have yet to pick up Why the Dutch Are Different by Ben Coates, which sounds like rather an inspired travelogue.
I am hoping that August will see no new books added to my TBR, and will give me the chance to actually get through some of these!
Which books did you purchase in July? How many of these have you read, and which would you suggest that I start with?
June has been rather a light month on the new books front, especially when compared to previous book haul posts I’ve put together! It is made up largely of books which I received for my birthday, and includes only one physical book and one Kindle book which I personally purchased.
Let us kick off with my birthday haul! This year was the first in which I didn’t give book lists out to my family, and thus I received the following lovely books from my friends. Katie treated me to three of the gorgeous little Vintage Minis, choosing Love by Jeanette Winterson, Home by Salman Rushdie, and Summer by Laurie Lee for me. I have read and very much enjoyed them all. Another dear friend named Katie bought me an absolutely wonderful tome, entitled The Graphic Canon, Volume 1, edited by Russ Kick, which brings together an awful lot of graphic novel extracts and specially commissioned works, all of which relate to early literature. I very much enjoyed reading it, and did so almost from cover to cover as I struggled so to put it down! Finally, Abbie bought me Elizabeth Kostova‘s new novel, The Shadow Land, which I have wanted to read since its publication, and am even more excited to do so after my recent trip to Bulgaria!
The two books which I purchased for myself are both non-fiction; one is a travel guide, and the other a travelogue of sorts. For an upcoming holiday which my boyfriend and I have just booked, I scoured Waterstone’s for the best guide, and – of course – picked up a Lonely Planet Guide. I’ve only looked at a couple of sections of Lonely Planet Florida so far, but can’t wait to peruse it in more detail for our trip. The sole book which I chose for my Kindle this month is Peter Mayle‘s A Year in Provence. France is a country which I adore and visit often, and I remember my parents reading the tome some years ago. When perusing their collection of books, however, I could only locate the book’s sequel, so when it was offered at 99p as part of a daily deal, I couldn’t resist!
Which books have you purchased this month? Have you read any of these?
I have decided that I need to refrain from telling myself that I won’t buy any books in any given months. It rarely (if ever!) works, and I just end up feeling a little disappointed that my willpower so easily crumbled. In this frame, I told myself that I wouldn’t add anything new to my shelves in May, and I inevitably did. Without further preamble, here are the purchases which I made during May.
The first book which I just couldn’t resist was, contrary to what I normally buy, a new release in hardback format. I so enjoyed Paula Hawkins‘ The Girl on the Train, and headed to Waterstone’s on the release day of her second novel, Into the Water. In my defence, it was half price, and I did read it immediately; I also wasn’t at all disappointed with it, which is always a bonus on tomes which have been so hyped up! Later on in the month, I also took another trip to Waterstone’s in order to buy a travel guide for a wonderful holiday which my boyfriend took me on for an early birthday treat at the end of May. They had very little available in store, so I plumped for a DK Eyewitness Travel Guide to Bulgaria. It was largely useful, but not quite up to the standards of my beloved Lonely Planet Guides. I also ended up buying three of the latter for future holidays, after receiving an email saying that they were all three for two from the Lonely Planet website.
I’m on a quest to read all of Anita Brookner‘s work, even though she probably isn’t an author I’m going to include in my thesis. My sister managed to find three of her tomes in old orange-spined Penguin editions in a secondhand bookshop for me: Providence, Falling Slowly, and A Closed Eye. Talking of my thesis, I had to buy a physical copy of Virginia Woolf’s Between the Acts and The Years. I plumped for a Wordsworth Edition, as I really like their designs, and find their introductions quite informative. Plus, you can’t scoff at the price!
I also added a few more books to my Kindle this month. I spotted that several Mary Stewart tomes which I did not already have were priced at just 99p, and couldn’t resist. I chose Touch Not the Cat, Nine Coaches Waiting, and Madam, Will You Talk?. I also decided to purchase a copy of Gabrielle Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve‘s The Beauty and the Beast, as I had never read it before. My final choice was one of Richmal Crompton‘s non-Just William books, The Holiday, which I absolutely adored.
Which new books have you welcomed onto your shelves of late? Do you find that book-buying bans ever work?