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?
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?
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?
This post is a little early, coming as it is before February has even finished, but I am going on holiday in a couple of days, and wanted to ensure that I remembered to post it. Without further ado, here are the books which I purchased during February, a month in which I’d told myself I wouldn’t buy anything new. I bought thirteen books in total; unlucky for some, but lucky for my bookshelf!
We begin the month with two travel guides. My boyfriend and I had originally planned to travel to Riga, and so I bought the Riga Rough Guide before trying to book our flights (which, it turns out, is nigh on impossible from Scotland if we don’t want to change plane twice and have a thirteen-hour long journey…). After three hours of searching supposed ‘direct’ flights – which was rather trying, believe me! – we eventually decided to book a trip to easy-to-get-to Amsterdam, hence my subsequent purchase of a Lonely Planet Guide to The Netherlands. The Lonely Planet guides are a little pricier than others, but I absolutely love them, and try to buy them for as many trips as I can.
I lucked out somewhat by finding an omnibus collection of two Elisabeth Sanxay Holding novels. I have wanted to read The Blank Wall for an absolute age, but have never found a physical copy of it, and those online were rather expensive. I managed, somehow, to order a used copy with the aforementioned, as well as another of her novels, The Innocent Mrs. Duff. Good old Internet!
February was, I suppose, a month of classics for me – or modern ones, at least! I purchased my final outstanding William Maxwell novel, Time Will Darken It, which I am both ecstatic and rather sad about reading. I also chose two books by Sylvia Townsend Warner – the Virago edition of her Diaries, and the also gorgeous green spined Selected Stories. I love Warner’s work so much, and am just as excited to get to her non-fiction as I am to read more of her short fiction. Carrying on with the green spines, I also bought one of my last outstanding Nina Bawden novels for some well-needed escapism away from my research work. I chose A Little Love, A Little Learning almost at random, but have later found that it has been well reviewed by several of my friends, and bloggers whom I very much admire.
Two French classics have also made their way onto my shelves. Whilst neither was actually upon my original Reading France Project list, one of my esteemed reading friends on Goodreads gave both five star reviews, and I just couldn’t resist them. Thus, I am very much looking forward to Andre Gide‘s Strait is the Gate, and Therese by Francois Mauriac, both of which I endeavour to read whilst in France over Easter.
Two further short story collections and two contemporary novels finish my haul for this month. With regard to the short fiction, I chose to finally get my hands on a copy of Karen Russell‘s St Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, which I have wanted for such a long time. As Mother’s Day is also coming up, I plumped for a gorgeous Everyman’s Library hardback edition of Stories of Motherhood, edited by Diana Secker Tesdell. With regard to my contemporary picks, I chose One by Sarah Crossan, in which my interest was piqued after watching a BBC2 documentary encouraging teenagers in one particular school to read, and Liz Jensen‘s The Uninvited. I’ve not read anything by Jensen in a long time, and the storyline intrigued me rather.
So ends this month’s book haul! Which books have you bought and received this month? Have you read any of these? Which should I begin with?
I thought that I would begin to keep a record of books which I’ve purchased in each distinct month, particularly after it was suggested that I add more book hauls to the blog. I used to film book haul videos, but since moving away from BookTube, I thought it would be a nice idea to create a relatively concise post at the end of each month. Without further ado, here are the tomes which I bought during January.
I shall begin with book club reads, several of which I have chosen to add to my growing TBR pile ahead of time. Being a full-time postgraduate student means that quite a lot of my time is spent buried in books, but I also have quite a busy social calendar, and want to ensure that I can get to group reads as far ahead of time as I possibly can. That said, I bought the lovely The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa for mine and Katie’s book club, and a copy of Lori Schiller‘s The Quiet Room for the book group which I run on Goodreads.
I purchased three books with some of my Christmas money whilst on my way up to Scotland at the beginning of the month. I chose a copy of Caroline Moorhead‘s A Train in Winter, which I have had my eye on for quite a while, and then took advantage of the half price offer in Waterstone’s, picking up Dan Boothby‘s Island of Dreams (which was a touch disappointing), and Agatha Christie‘s utterly brilliant The Witness for the Prosecution.
A couple of my January purchases were made with my 2017 reading projects in mind (see here). I am planning to read Vita Sackville-West‘s Pepita in the next few months; it will sadly be one of my last outstanding of her novels. The Cutting Room by Louise Welsh is a choice for my Reading Scotland list, and I want to get to it as soon as I possibly can because I so enjoyed The Girl on the Stairs. A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cosse is one of my most highly anticipated Reading France choices, and one which will also work nicely for my ongoing Reading the World project.
I also chose to purchase several books which could be included within my thesis. I’m unsure as to which of these, if any, I will end up writing about, but it’s lovely to be able to read so diversely, and sample new authors, as well as those whom I have previously enjoyed. In this vein, I chose to procure secondhand copies of Miriam Toew‘s A Complicated Kindness and Irma Voth, as well as Anita Brookner‘s Leaving Home and Kaye Gibbons’ Sights Unseen.
I rarely buy Kindle books, preferring instead to read free classics or sweep Netgalley for interesting tomes. This month, however, I made an exception. I had a sudden longing to read the rest of E.M. Delafield‘s Provincial Lady novels, and found them in a handy omnibus edition for barely any money whatsoever. I also bought a collection of five of her standalone novels (Zella Sees Herself, The War Workers, Tension, The Heel of Achilles, and Humbug), which I am looking forward to getting to!
I shall finish with those tomes which I didn’t need, but couldn’t resist buying. I scoured AbeBooks for a copy of Irmgard Keun‘s A Child of All Nations after so adoring Gilgi, and was rewarded with a first edition, which is just as wonderful. I was keen to try some of Gail Tsukiyama‘s work, and plumped for The Samurai’s Garden as my inroad. I saw a wonderful review of Sarah Rayne‘s A Dark Dividing on Goodreads, and had to get myself a copy; whilst I haven’t read it yet, it sounds as though it will be brilliantly creepy, and make the perfect read for a long winter’s night.
The Ice Museum: In Search of the Lost Land of Thule by Joanna Kavenna looked fascinating, and as my obsession with Scandinavia shows no sign of regressing, I had to buy myself a copy. I was also intrigued by Maryrose Wood‘s Gothic children’s novel, The Mysterious Howling, which marks the first book in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series. I have read and very much enjoyed it already. Last but not least, I bought a copy of Karl Pilkington‘s Happyslapped by a Jellyfish for my boyfriend (but I’ll more than likely end up reading it first).
Have you read any of these books? Which tomes were added to your shelves during January?