Book Haul: 2017

I have vowed not to buy any books whatsoever in 2017, choosing instead to read everything on my to-read shelves, and all of those tomes which I optimistically downloaded onto my Kindle a couple of years ago and have yet to get to.  Of course, if I do manage to finish everything, I will begin to replenish my shelves, but it looks highly unlikely at this juncture.

With that said, there are many books which I bought or received at the end of 2017 which I have yet to include in a haul post such as this.  Without further ado, I shall therefore detail every book which has come into my possession since my last haul post.

9781447294894I shall begin with my new Kindle books.  I saw a very favourable review of Lionel Shriver‘s The Standing Chandelier: A Novella on Goodreads, and ended up buying myself a copy for around £1; I’m very glad I did, as the idea is both original and inventive, and I certainly enjoyed the reading experience.  I took advantage of one of the daily deals, and got myself a copy of A Manual for Cleaning Women, a short story collection by Lucia Berlin which I have had my eye on for ages.

On Instagram, a fellow reader whom I follow had hauled a copy of Otto Prenzler‘s The Big Book of Christmas Mysteries, which they found in The Works for just £4.  Whilst I was unable to find a copy in store, I ordered it and picked it up the next day, along with a copy of Ghost: 100 Stories to Read with the Lights On, which is edited by Louise Welsh.  I also couldn’t resist ordering a copy of The Morlo by L.A. Knight, a travelogue about seals, which I randomly came across on a vintage bookshop on Etsy.

I took a trip to a local charity shop which sells four books for 99p, and chose a few to add 9780099478980to my to-read shelf at University.  I ended up getting 12 Days by Shelly Silas, which was a collection of rather mediocre Christmas stories; Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres in a lovely hardback edition, which I will be reading during my Around the World in 80 Books challenge this year; A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, which I enjoyed, but not as much as most others seem to have; the very enjoyable, and very quick to read, The Girls by Emma Cline; and The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios by Yann Martel.

9781786573353Another travel guide also made its way onto my to-read list.  My boyfriend and I have booked a holiday to Canada at the end of January, and so it was exciting to order a copy of Lonely Planet Canada.  They are definitely my favourite range of travel guides, and I’m very excited to dip in and see what Toronto has to offer.

Of course, I received some wonderful Christmas books this year, three of which were signed, which was very exciting.  My parents got me copies of Pablo Picasso’s Noel, Carol Ann Duffy‘s festive poem for 2017; Turtles All the Way Down by John Green; Winter by Ali Smith; Here Is New York by E.B. White; and I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death by Maggie O’Farrell.  I have 9780241207024already read and loved all of these.  Those which I have outstanding are Mythos by the wonderful Stephen Fry, and a random choice from one of my dearest friends, The Seven Noses of Soho by Jamie Manners, as she knows how much I am currently missing London.

I made the decision to order the 34 books which I needed for my Around the World in 80 Books challenge from AbeBooks.  I have scoured my Kindle and bookshelves for tomes which I could include, but there were many which I did not personally own, and which I was unable to find in either of my local library systems.  I ordered so many books, in fact, that the poor postman had to deliver them using a crate.  Whilst this enormous order sounds very greedy, I thought that ordering all of the books which I needed during 2017 would help me stick to my book-buying ban (fingers crossed!).  I shall detail them, along with the countries which they will be included for, in a bullet pointed list below, as this seemed the easiest way to organise such a big list of books!

  • Mrs Hemingway by Naomi Wood (Cuba) 9781447226888
  • The Informers by Juan Gabriel Vasquez (Colombia)
  • Broken April by Ismail Kadare (Albania)
  • The Sojourn by Andre Krivak (Slovakia)
  • Kaddish for an Unborn Child by Imre Kertesz (Hungary)
  • The Quiet American by Graham Greene (Vietnam)
  • The Bondmaid by Catherine Lim (China)
  • Resistance by Anita Shreve (Belgium)
  • Bitter Lemons by Lawrence Durrell (Cyprus)
  • First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung (Cambodia)
  • The Night Buffalo by Guillermo Arriago (Mexico)
  • Train to Trieste by Domnica Radulescu 9780307388360(Romania)
  • Solo by Rana Dasgupta (Bulgaria)
  • Mosquito by Roma Tearne (Sri Lanka)
  • Blood-Drenched Beard by Daniel Galera (Brazil)
  • The Silence and the Roar by Nihad Sirees (Syria)
  • The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas (Norway)
  • The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann (Switzerland)
  • Ways of Going Home by Alejandro Zambra (Chile)
  • Kamchatka by Marcelo Figueras (Argentina)
  • Death of a Prima Donna by Brina Svit (Slovenia)
  • The Colour by Rose Tremain (New Zealand)
  • The Diviners by Margaret Laurence (Canada)
  • A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov (Georgia) 9781408843161
  • The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andric (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
  • Lies by Enrique de Heriz (Guatemala)
  • The Hired Man by Aminatta Forna (Croatia)
  • Ours are the Streets by Sunjeev Sahota (Pakistan)
  • Burmese Days by George Orwell (Myanmar)
  • The Beach by Alex Garland (Thailand)
  • The Hacienda by Lisa St. Aubin de Teran (Venezuela)
  • Landfalls by Naomi J. Williams (Pacific Islands)
  • Ali and Nino by Kurban Said (Azerbaijan)
  • Eight Months on Ghazzah Street by Hilary Mantel (Saudi Arabia)


Have you read any of these?  Which were the last books that you bought?

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Book Haul: August 2017

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!

9780812994865My 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 9781472108685Sylvia 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?


Book Haul: July 2017

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 9781845029821The 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 CabinThe 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 9781860496929and 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.

9781594634888I 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; 9781509818402whilst 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?

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Book Haul: June 2017

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.

9781784872724Let 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 cover9780606264136 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 9781742207520Lonely 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?

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