New books…mwa ha ha ha ha!

14 June, 2010

Only last week I had resolved not to buy any more books. Epic fail. I did manage to restrain myself from buying Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay at a charity shop in the weekend but I slipped when I went to the library. But can you blame me when they were only 30p each?

Home by Marilynne Robinson – I’ve heard so much about her I just had to have this. Plus I’ve got Gilead on my TBR pile. Did someone say I should read that first before getting this? Too late.

All the Sad Young Literary Men by Keith Gessen – I actually read this last year and loved it. How could I not want to own it?

I now wish I’d just cracked and got the Chabon instead of dreaming about it for the last week.

I was also lucky enough to win three books by Henrik Ibsen from OUP. Thank you Kirsty who also blogs at Other Stories. I’ve never read any Ibsen (very uncultured here) so I’m looking forward to dipping into these:

Peer Gynt
Four Major Plays
An Enemy of the People/The Wild Duck/ Rosmersholm

And I borrowed the following from the library:

Never the Bride by Paul Magrs – this looks delightful and I can’t wait to get my teeth stuck into it.

The Samurai by Shusaku Endo – perfect for Bellezza’s Japanese Literary Challenge 4 (my list will be posted soon).

I got a big shock when I visited my local library because they’ve installed ‘do it yourself’ book borrowing and returning machines. It’s all rather swish but I kind of miss interacting with the librarians. I hope this doesn’t affect jobs…

And to end on a happy note, I went to the book launch for Peirene Press‘ wonderful Stone in a Landslide where I got to hang out with Novel Insights, Savidge Reads and stuck in a book drinking wine, enjoying some bookish chat and hearing Clare Skinner read. We got to meet the lovely Meike who runs the small press single-handedly. What an inspiration. Meike kindly gave me a copy of their first publication, Beside the Sea by Véronique Olmi, which has garnered some strong responses. I’m looking forward to reading this to see what all the fuss is about. And if there is a contemporary European novel under 200 pages that you would like to see translated and published in English, don’t be shy and make sure you contact her!

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16 Responses to “New books…mwa ha ha ha ha!”

  1. Bellezza Says:

    You can be glad you left Kavalier and Clay behind; although I’m the only one I know how loathes that book, and I even read it twice! Once because of all the rave reviews, and the second time for my book club because I needed to refresh my memory for discussion. Both times were an exercise in immense frustration for me.

    Anyway, glad to see Shusaku Endo in your stack. I just finished, and reviewed, Silence. I loved his novel Wonderful Fool; he’s such a provocative writer, causing me to think so deeply about the issues he raises. I’ll look forward to your list for the JLC4 and subsequent thoughts.


  2. Interesting choices, Sakura! I have only read The Doll’s House by Ibsen but have that same Four Major Plays edition.

    Don’t worry about the new self-check machines at your library; mine has had them since I joined early last year and it doesn’t prevent half a dozen staff working and interacting with me (I always go to them and only to the machine if it’s a book I’ve just picked up from stacks or to check my account).

    I’m sorry I wasn’t at the Peirene event as it would have been lovely to see you again. I’m looking forward to seeing what all the fuss is about with Beside the Sea too!

  3. chasing bawa Says:

    Bellezza: I was actually hoping to find Silence in my library, but they only had The Samurai. I’ve been meaning to read some Endo for a while and especially since David Mitchell is a fan:) I’ve been intrigued about Christianity in Japan especially since seeing a programme about kakure kirishitans many years ago. Regarding Chabon, maybe I’ll start with The Yiddish Policemen’s Union…

    Claire: I thought you’d be there at the Peirene do as well and was looking forward to chatting with you. Next time! I’m glad to hear about the library, gave me a bit of a scare. My book collection seems all over the place, but there is a plan somewhere…


  4. “But can you blame me when they were only 30p each?”

    Oh, my, no: it would have been sheer foolishness to have left them behind.

    “…read this last year and loved it. How could I not want to own it?”

    Of course you couldn’t not want to own it. You really had no choice.

    ::nods in bookish vehemence::

  5. Carin B. Says:

    I’m glad that other people have compulsive book shopping habits. I have banned myself from the bookstore because I have too many books to read (but I’m still SO tempted to go).

    @Bellezza – My husband read Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and told me I wouldn’t like it. I think he thought it was just ok.

  6. farmlanebooks Says:

    Sorry I missed seeing you at The Stone in a Landslide event. I really wanted to come, but couldn’t get a babysitter 😦

    I hope that you love Beside the Sea as much as I did – get those tissues out for it!

  7. Nymeth Says:

    You should go back for Kavalier and Clay ASAP! It’s one of my all-time favourite books. Sorry to egg you on 😛 And that’s a fantastic win! I also have yet to read any Ibsen, but he’s been on my list for far too long.

  8. Fëanor Says:

    I liked Kavalier & Clay, I gotta say. But I liked Chabon’s Gentlemen of the Road a bit more.

    Btw, I got a Waterstone’s gift coupon as a farewell gift from my previous job. Gotta use it, no? I think I’ll get the recently published 3-vol set of the complete Arabian nights. Paperback. The hardcover is £500! 🙂

  9. chasing bawa Says:

    Buried In Print: No, I really didn’t. Circumstances beyond my control and all that…

    Carin B: I think we are all tainted by the same brush. However, good luck with your ban!

    farmlanebooks: I know, it would have been nice to see you too. Like I said to Claire, there’s always next time! I know you really liked Beside the Sea, and I’ve heard that it’s rather sad.

    Nymeth: You’ve caught me out! I am still thinking about the Kavalier and Clay. If it’s still there when I go next, then I know it’s meant for me.

    Fëanor: I haven’t heard of Gentlemen of the Road, so thanks for the rec. And I don’t think I’ve ever read the Arabian Nights properly, only the abridged version when I was small. How exciting that it’s going to be a fully translated version. But you’re not getting the hardback? Really???

  10. JoV Says:

    I’ve got “Home” in my pile, can’t wait to her what you think about it!

  11. Mystica Says:

    Thats a pile of books worth going overboard for and at that price! I’d like to see what you think of Never the Bride! the title intrigues me.

    So nice to see other people also have the book buying madness that I also have.

  12. kimbofo Says:

    Sorry to miss you at the Periene event; I was all scheduled to come along but something cropped up at work and I couldn’t make it. Maybe next time?

  13. chasing bawa Says:

    JoV: I’ve heard so much about how amazing her books are. Exciting! But I think I have to read Gilead first…

    Mystica: I’m so glad you understand (but then of course you would!) Never the Bride is intriguing because it’s set in Whitby (where Dracula first landed in the UK) and features two interesting characters solving a gothic mystery.

    kimbofo: Definitely! Looking forward to seeing you again. I think Simon T is planning something in September…

  14. gaskella Says:

    I tried with Gilead, but it’s not the book for me, whereas Never the Bride is and I absolutely loved it.

  15. Colleen Says:

    Cavalier and Klay: I love the first 2/3 and then Chabon lost his mind, in my opinion, for the last 1/3.

    I have Endo’s The Samurai! Does it have very few characters? If so, maybe I could read it now too. 🙂

    I love library sales. It would be morally objectionable to pass up a book going only for 30p! You did the right thing.

  16. chasing bawa Says:

    Gaskella: People have been raving about Never the Bride – so exciting. Sorry Gilead wasn’t for you. I’ll just have to see whether it’s for me, especially since I got the second book!

    Colleen: Cavalier and Klay seem to divide readers. Interesting. I’ve only just started the Samurai so I’m not sure how many characters there are. But I’m sure it’s much less that The Tale of Genji:) My guilt has already disappeared. You’ve all convinced me I did the right thing!


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