It’s been a full three months since my last book binge but you didn’t think I was being good, did you? Of course not. I really should spread this out more so that I don’t look like some crazy book buying lady. Really, I’m not that bad. REALLY.

As you can see, I’ve actually read some of them. Well done me.

I received the following:

Tomorrow Pamplona
by Jan van Mersbergen – from the lovely ladies at Peirene Press
The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto – from the lovely Melville House Publishing
Monster Billy Dean by David Almond – from the lovely people at Penguin Books
Wild Abandon by Joe Dunthorne – ditto

Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball 1973 by Haruki Murakami – from my lovely friends Y and A
The Frightened Man by Kenneth Cameron – I gave an iffy feedback on Amazon marketplace and received this as an apology which was totally unexpected. They asked me to pick another title which I did. Now that’s what I call service.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See – I won this on twitter from Bloomsbury Press
The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais – lent to me by my lovely friend S
When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman – ditto. Actually I just realised that I was under the illusion that this was Grace Williams Says It Loud by Emma Henderson. Too many books have mushed my brain. D’uh.
The Passage by Justin Cronin – lent to me by the lovely Polly. Dying to read this book.

From the library I borrowed:

Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway – Just wanting to read more by Papa Hemingway after A Moveable Feast. This is his first novel. Actually I kept thinking this was The Garden of Eden (his last novel) which was the book I wanted to read. D’uh again.
The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene – I felt like I needed to find out more about superstring theory, dark matter and dark energy after attending a fabulous talk by Prof. Jocelyn Bell Burnell at the Southbank. This seemed accessible and I saw one of Greene’s programmes on telly a few years ago which was fascinating.
The State Councillor by Boris Akunin – the 6th in the Erast Fandorin mystery series after Special Assignments.
This Night’s Foul Work by Fred Vargas – this was 40p at the library sale. What can I say? I LOVE Vargas.

OK, let’s get down to business. Here comes all the books I’ve bought. To be fair, this pile is from charity shops and the Notting Hill Book Exchange where I swapped books for vouchers and promptly used them to buy more books, as you do.

The Dragon Painter
by Sidney McCall – who is actually Mary McNeil Fennollosa, Asian scholar and who actually lived in Japan. Officially intrigued. It’s a novel set in Japan and has dragons in it. ‘Nuff said.
Illyrian Spring by Ann Bridges – totally influenced by Book Snob. It’s out of print which makes it even more desirable. It’s a pretty tatty version so I’m pimping it up with a hand drawn book cover.
The Revenge of Moriarty by John Gardner – to go with my matching copy of The Return of Moriarty. And it’s about Prof. Moriarty. I had to get it, right?
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson – I’m keeping this for Halloween. This time I’ll read the scary book at night unlike with The Woman in Black. Promise.
The Golden Mean
by Annabel Lyon – I’ve had my eye on this for a few years so snapped this one up. It’s all about Alexander the Great and his teacher Aristotle.
Schopenhauer’s Telescope by Gerard Donovan – I got this purely because of the title. No sane person would leave it.
The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith – I’ve read a couple of the Precious Ramotswe books which is nice and cosy, but this is the one I’m really interested in. Especially after hearing AMC talk at the Southbank. What an absolutely charming man. Yes, if you are charming it does influence my wish to read your books.
The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon – I’ve been wanting to read this, like, forever.
The Dig by John Preston – it’s a novel set in the 30s about the dig at Sutton Hoo on the eve of WWII. ‘Nuff said yeah.
Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim – this is all Simon T‘s fault.
The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne – it’s a mystery and it looks kind of golden-agey. And it’s by the author of Winnie the Pooh.
Girl Reading by Katie Ward – now this is just getting silly. What kind of crazy book lady would I be if I passed on this one?
The Watchers by Jon Steele – apparently this is Gaiman meets The Bourne Identity. I’m interested because there’s something about cathedrals and supernatural beings.

Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro – for my book group. I LOVE Ishiguro. Apparently The Unconsoled is what he should be famous for. Maybe I should get that too as I haven’t read it.
Nights of Villjamur by Mark Charan Newton – Fantasy. And apparently a very good one too.
Fables from the Fountain and Further Conflicts both edited by Ian Whates – I got this at the SF tweet-up I went to to see the SF exhibition at the British Library. Short story collection by some great writers including Gaiman!

And I’m on a Malazan roll if you haven’t noticed. I just had to get them all so that I can properly concentrate and finish them this year.

By Steven Erikson:
Reaper’s Gale – vol. 7
Toll the Hounds – vol. 8
Dust of Dreams – vol. 9
The Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach – short stories about the necromancers

By Ian C. Esslemont:
Return of the Crimson Guard – vol. 2

So, any of these familiar to you? And did I overdo it again?

Is it already the beginning of April? How time flies. And what a lot of books I’ve got my mitts on this past month. I’m almost embarrassed to share. Almost. Because I know how much y’all love lists of books, heh.

So first up is the Vintage Modern Classics edition of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood which is only available from Waterstone’s. It’s just so beautiful I had to get it. But I used up my Waterstone’s points so I probably got it at a 30% discount. Score! I thought I’d read it before I watched the film and as part of Tanabata’s Murakami Challenge. Let’s see whether I do get to read it before the film is pulled from the cinemas (they have such short run-times these day!)

My sister’s just moved house and we went for a walkabout in her neighbourhood one Sunday and stumbled upon an Oxfam bookshop where I got the following secondhand:

Reading and Writing by V.S. Naipaul – this is for my father who is a fan of Naipaul’s work. Of course I’ll try and read it before I hand it over to him. Buyer’s prerogative!

Writing for Their Lives: The Modernist Women 1910-1940 by Gillian Hanscombe and Virginia L. Smyers – A title by The Women’s Press. I haven’t really heard of the writers discussed (Dorothy Richardso, HD, Djuna Barnes, Marianne Moore and Mina Loy) so it should be interesting. Besides, I can’t really pass by books on women writers.

The Group by Mary McCarthy – need I say more? I’ve been looking for this book for ages and it just fell into my hands!

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe
by Charles Yu – I’ve been wanting to read this for ages too. It’s had some amazing reviews.

The Demi-Monde: Winter by Rod Rees – such a beautiful cover and with some interesting reception. A virtual world governed by some of the world’s most monstrous figures. Intriguing.

Some books I received for review:

The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton – has had some wonderful reviews.

Marie-Thérèse by Susan Nagel – about Marie Antoinette’s daughter. I’ve always wondered what had happened to her. I won this in a competition held by Bloomsbury Books.

The Good Muslim by Tahmima Anam – I LOVED her debut novel A Golden Age and cannot wait to read this. Kindly sent to me by Canongate Books.

Chinaman by Shehan Karunatilaka – I recently read a short story by him which was brilliant and am looking forward to reading this one. Selected as one of the Waterstone’s 11. Kindly sent to me by Jonathan Cape.

The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss – I won these in a competition. And The Wise Man’s Fear is SIGNED. Woohoo. Thank you Orion Books!

A Red Herring Without Mustard by Alan Bradley – the third in the delicious Flavia de Luce series. Love, love, love them. Kindly sent to me by Orion Books.

And from the library:

The Journey Home by Dermot Bolger – chosen by Reading Matters for my book club.

Occupied City by David Peace – I read Tokyo Year Zero several years back and was very impressed by the gritty and realistic portrayal of Japan after WWII even if at times I found it very uncomfortable reading. The 2nd in the series.

Bryant and May Off The Rails by Christopher Fowler – I’m a HUGE fan of Bryant and May. Fowler’s knowledge of London is exceptional and I lurve his books.

I went to a Penguin General Bloggers Event a few weeks ago and came away with an amazing goody bag filled with the following:

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess – I’ve only watched bits of the film but haven’t read the book.

Cat’s Cradle
by Kurt Vonnegut – I’ve heard so much about Vonnegut but have yet to read anything by him so I thought this would be a good place to start.

God’s Own Country
by Ross Raisin – he gave a wonderful introduction to his new novel Waterline. I’ve heard lots of good things about this one.

Landfall by Helen Gordon – a debut novel about an art critic and a teenager.

Mr. Chartwell by Rebecca Hunt – about Churchill’s ‘black dog’ in the flesh. Intriguing.

Anatomy of a Disappearance
by Hisham Matar – lovely writing from the excerpt I heard.

Thank you Penguin Books!

And finally, my wonderful friend J brought this back for me from the States:

Mystery Reader’s Walking Guide: London by Barbara Sloan Hendershott and Alzina Stone Dale – I squealed with delight when I got this. Mysteries plus London. And there’s a bibliography too.

Yes, book binge! Ha ha ha!

First up are some titles I received in the post:

Love in a Fallen City by Eileen Chang – from the lovely Frances aka Nonsuch Book who kindly sent me a NYRB copy of the novel. Such a smart series. Do check out Frances’ blog which always features lots of beautiful books.

Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead by Barbara Comyns – from lovely Simon aka Stuck in a Book who saw this and thought I needed to read a Comyns. And he said I don’t need to read it straight away. So sweet. He sent it together with the lovely Puffin postcard pictured.

Silence by Shusaku Endo – is a late birthday present from one of my best friends K. You all know how much I admire Endo’s novels and I’ve been dying to read this one, probably his most famous work.

Next World Novella by Matthias Politycki – from the ever lovely Peirene Press who seems to be going from strength to strength with lots of amazing reviews and publicity.

The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino – was kindly sent to me by the lovely people at Little, Brown. I’ve watched Galileo, the Japanese TV adaptation of Higashino’s mysteries featuring charismatic physicist Professor Yukawa, which I really enjoyed so I’m looking forward to reading this translation.

The Map of Time by Felix Palmer – was kindly sent to me by Harper Collins. An intriguing novel about time, Jack the Ripper and H.G. Wells set during the Victorian era. I can’t wait to read this.

I bought these:

Memories of Ice and House of Chains by Steven Erikson – because I’m on a Malazan kick at the moment. I’m actually excited that there are 10 volumes in the series (each as thick as a brick) and I’m still on volume 4! I ♥ doorstoppers.

Monsoons and Potholes by Manuka Wijesinghe – was recommended by Vindi aka Vindicated. I heard an excerpt which sounded very promising.

Inspector Singh Investigates: A Very Malaysian Murder by Shamini Flint – I’m a sucker for mysteries set in exotic places and times.

Map of the Invisible World by Tash Aw – because I loved his debut The Harmony Silk Factory and plus he was such a charming man. I’ve already finished and posted on this.

And I’ve finally claimed my books from storage (i.e. my sister’s house) and lugged 7 heavy boxes up the stairs to my room with her help. Thanks sis! She gave me strict instructions to ‘sort them out’ which I did and managed to cut down the number of boxes by … er, one. It’s a start, right? And I found all these books that I packed away half-read and unread when I moved house five years ago. So I made a pile of them to add to my TBR shelf:)

So what was I trying to read all those years ago?

The Annals of Imperial Rome by Tacitus – yes, I was actually reading this for fun. I think this was when I was reading the Roma Sub Rosa mystery series featuring Gordianus the Finder by Steven Saylor.

Les Belles Image by Simone de Beauvoir – this is actually an English version as I really doubt my French is up to scratch.

The Thief’s Journal by Jean Genet – you can see a trend here, right? French lit! I think I was also reading Andre Gide as well.

The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne – I was intrigued by the seven gables as I wasn’t sure what they were.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë – I thought I’d keep this on my shelf just in case I wanted to re-read it again.

Dubliners by James Joyce – I think I picked this one up because it was slim. Then I thought I’d move on to Ulysses. That may take a looong time.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James – because it’s such a famous ghost story and I think it’s because I’d read A.N. Wilson’s A Jealous Ghost which is based on James’ tale.

In a Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu – because this is another famous ghost story, I think.

Last Tales by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) – I was curious about Dinesen’s stories especially since having lived in Nairobi and visited the town of Karen where she lived and where Out of Africa was set.

Great Tales of Detection edited by Dorothy L. Sayers – I found this in a secondhand bookshop and had to get it just because it’s edited by the great Sayers.

The Picador Book of Crime Writing edited by Michael Dibdin – crime, crime, crime.

Modern Japanese Stories: An Anthology by Ivan Morris – a lovely hardback copy with illustrations.

Salmonella Men on Planet Porno by Yasutaka Tsutsui – I think I got this as a publicity copy when I was working at a Japanese bookshop. It’s a collection of short stories by the author of Paprika (which I also haven’t read) and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (I think I saw the film version).

My Life: An Attempt at an Autobiography by Leon Trotsky – Half-read, methinks.

Three books by Margery Allingham – Coroner’s Pidgin, Flowers for the Judge and Traitor’s Purse – I must have read all of these but I can’t remember the plot. Oops.

Motel Chronicles and Hawk Moon by Sam Shephard – I’m a huge fan of Sam Shephard the actor and wanted to see what he’s like as a writer.

The Green Knight by Iris Murdoch – one of my friends recommended this book to me.

Hunger by Knut Hamsen – A Rebel Inc Classic. I think I got this about the same time I did Nelson Algren’s A Walk on the Wild Side. Students, eh?

The Master and Margarita
by Mikhail Bulgagov – A writer I admired said this was one of his favourite books but I forget whom…

Burning Your Boats: Collected Short Stories by Angela Carter – I think I’ve read bits of this but not all.

The Vintage Book of Historical Feminism edited by Miriam Schneir – I felt I needed to know more about feminism and thought a collection was apt.

Anton Chekhov’s Short Stories – I think it was David Mitchell who said Chekhov’s short stories were masterpieces. So I had to run along and get this, didn’t I?

And finally, this treasure:

The Mysterious Case of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys by Marvin Heiferman and Carole Kismaric. Did you know that Caroline Keene was actually several people including a man? Neither did I. For all life-long fans of the plucky sleuths.

So, loadsa books, but most are old so I don’t feel too bad. Although I do have to actually read them at some point! Have you read any of these?

Okay, so it’s only mid-January but I thought I’d let you see my acquisitions from the last 8 weeks. I may have gone a little overboard here…

From the library I borrowed:

Chime of the City Clock by D.J. Taylor – I really enjoyed his social history Bright Young People: The Rise and Fall of a Generation 1918-1940 so thought a mystery novel set in the 1930s is just my thang.

Soulless by Gail Carriger – I’ve been reading about this title EVERYWHERE and there have been some amazing reviews from bloggers whose opinions I take note. Naturally they are right. Have already read this and am reading Changeless now.

I bought the following secondhand:

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman – from the library sale. I discovered that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t get the religious subtext when reading it the first time round so wanted to re-read it with ‘new and enlightened’ eyes, as it were.

Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson – OK, this is book 5 in the Malazan Book of the Fallen and so far I’ve only read book 1. But do you know how rare it is to come across Erikson’s (or other quality SFF) books in secondhand bookshops!? Do you???

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides – I had just finished reading the amazing Middlesex when this popped into my line of vision. Many people prefer Eugenides’ debut novel to his Pulitzer prizewinner so I had to see what all the fuss is about, right?

Still Life by Louise Penny – I have been looking for this book FOR AGES.

Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier – this just looked too moody to ignore.

Anything Goes: A Biography of the Roaring Twenties by Lucy Moore – The roaring twenties, people! I tend to read a lot about the interwar period in the UK, but not that much about the US (apart from Fitzgerald, of course). So I got this in the name of research.

And I bought online:

Inspector Singh Investigates by Shamini Flint – First in a mystery series set in Malaysia. Flint will be at the Galle Literary Festival and I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while, so I just had to press *buy* on Amazon.

Londonstani by Gautam Malkani – as I’m on a British Asian kick. I’ve heard this is gritty and real. Plus it was mentioned by my erudite friend Fëanor aka Jost A Mon.

And I received the following:

Read This Next by Sandra Newman – was kindly sent to me by Penguin Books.

Wild Seed by Octavia Butler – from my lovely friend H. I haven’t read anything by Butler yet although she’s been on my radar for many years. Yay!

American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis – my cousin-in-law left it behind so it came to me. Yay as I’ve only watched the film (which surprised me with its artiness and humour) and have been wanting to read this for ages. But I have been warned the book may leave me shocked and disgusted. Which naturally made me want to read it.

The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt – for Christmas. I was actually expecting a lot more books but only got this one. Well, at least I got ONE book. Progress!

And Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee – from Polly aka Novel Insights aka my book group Riverside Readers‘ secret Santa! Which I realised I forgot to put in this pile when I took the photo, oops.

Last weekend I met up with Simon aka Stuck in a Book and we spent some time in Notting Hill’s Comic and Book Exchange. I had just culled some books so I took it over there and came away with vouchers worth £15. So I had to spend it, right? Of course I didn’t spend ALL of it, silly.

Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie – the 2nd volume in the First Law Trilogy. I have the 1st which I’ve been meaning to re-read so hopefully this will push me to finally do it this year.

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters – this is the only book by Sarah Waters I haven’t read, although I did see the TV adaptation which was good fun but rather shocking. And you all know how much I love Waters’ writing:)

Borrowed Time by Roy Hattersely – I already have a copy of this but I couldn’t leave this behind forgotten in a dark corner of the basement. And it was only 50p! So I will be doing a giveaway once I come back from holiday so stay tuned!

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – I actually bought a copy for my dad last year but it’s stored safely somewhere amongst my sister’s things and she’s moving house. As Adichie is scheduled to give a talk at the Galle Literary Festival, I’m making it my mission to read this book before I see her.

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart – Yay! I’ve been wanting to read this book since I first heard about it and saw the book trailer. What serendipitous luck!

The Daisy Dalrymple series by Carola Dunn – I got this set of 8 books from The Book People together with the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris and both sets were under a tenner each. Bargain! Set in the roaring twenties, Daisy is a reporter who keeps stumbling across corpses. What’s not to like?

And from my lovely friend E all the way from Japan I received:

The Haruki Murakami interview collection – will help me brush up on my Japanese. And it’s ALL about about Haruki Murakami. SO EXCITING.

Garasu no Kamen (The Glass Mask) Vols 45 & 46 by Suzue Miuchi – one of the longest running manga series in Japan about a young girl who is a gifted actor. My mum and I both just want to know what happens! Will Maya get together with her man with the purple rose? Will she be chosen to play the role of Kurenai Tennyo (the Crimson Goddess) that she’s been rehearsing for the last 20 years? Will this story every end???

Oh yes it has. It’s been almost a month since I posted about new books. That’s a long time. Yes, it is. Bet you’re dying to know what I got, right?

I bought this for 30p at my library. Would have been rude to resist.

Taft by Ann Patchett – I love her novels. Since I read Bel Canto many years ago, I’ve been a huge fan and have also read The Magician’s Assistant and The Patron Saint of Liars. Her writing just speaks to me.

Secondhand I got these when I went to meet some UK book bloggers in Oxford last month from The Albion Beatnik Bookstore:

Sister’s Choice: Tradition and Change in American Women’s Writing by Elaine Showalter

Memories of a Catholic Girlhood by Mary McCarthy – an autobiographical account of her early life by the author of The Group (which I still haven’t read but really want to).

I bought the following:

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill – finally. I was in two mind about whether to read this first or go and watch the play but I’ve decided that I’d like to scare myself reading as it doesn’t happen often (considering I read a lot of vampire/gothic/supernatural books).

Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction by Jonathan Culler – because I felt it’s time I ingested a bit of lit theory. I wonder whether it will improve my posts.

Murder in the Dispensary by Jolyon Carr – Ellis Peters’ first novel! And a mystery! You can’t blame me.

On the Beach by Nevil Shute – for my book group. I had to get this one. And I loved it!

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen – I was going to wait for the paperback but the Franzen frenzy got to me. Plus it’s the wrong verson. But who cares? I enjoyed The Corrections when it first came out and thought it was immensely readable so I’m looking forward to reading this.

I won:

Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant – from Becca aka Oxford Reader at the UK Book Bloggers’ book swap. I haven’t read any books by Dunant so looking forward to this.

Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz – from Portobello Books on Twitter. It’s something I struggle with all the time so it would be great to get an insight on our fear of being wrong.

And from the library I checked out the following:

The Triumph of Caesar by Steven Saylor – the 12th book in the Roma Sub Roma mysteries featuring Giordianus the Finder. Great stuff and you learn a lot about the Roman Empire.

Vicky Had One Eye Open by Darryl Samaraweera – an impulse get by a Sri Lankan author. I haven’t heard of this one but I have a penchant for anything Sri Lankan.

Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link – I’ve heard lots of good things about this one and hear Neil Gaiman is a fan. Nuff said.

The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff – this seems like a suitably gothic read. Obviously I’ve got monsters on my mind.

Jasmyn by Alex Bell – I loved Bell’s first book The Ninth Circle which I read last month and am really looking forward to reading this one!

Well, looks like I really went overboard. I must have needed a lot of de-stressing. Now all I need to do is clear my schedule for some intense reading time. If only.

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!

OK, so we’re halfway through the year and the question is, am I halfway through all of my challenges? Let’s see, I’ve put my name down for a lot of challenges this year and at one point I thought my brain was going to spontaneously combust. However, on noting down what I’ve read, it seems I’m on track. Sort of.

Suspense and Thriller 2010 Challenge: 6/12
Flashback Challenge: 1/3
Terry Pratchett 2010 Challenge: 1/5 – I missed seeing Going Postal so will wait for the DVD
South Asia Authors Challenge: 6/5 – but I’m planning to read more
TBR Challenge: 1/12 – not very impressive
Women Unbound Challenge: 4/5
Once Upon A Time IV Challenge: 1/1
1930s Reading Challenge: 0/1

Not as bad as I thought, although my TBR pile needs some serious seeing to.

I’ve also decided that I will allow myself to buy one book with every three books I read from my TBR pile (unless I really need to, of course!) Just to keep the ball rolling.

Anyway, to end on a cheerful note, I received the following in the post:

The Killer of Pilgrims by Susanna Gregory – from the lovely people at Little Brown. Matthew Bartholomew and Brother Michael are two of my favourite medieval sleuths.

24 Hours Paris by Marsha Moore – which I won from Me and My Big Mouth. My whole family loves Paris and it’s got some great ideas about what to do there hour by hour.

The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley – from the lovely people at Orion Books. I have belatedly discovered the delightful Flavia de Luce in the first volume The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and can’t wait to tuck into this one.

And I found this at my library:

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde – I need a bit of Fforde fiction to tide me over until proper summer is here. I mean it, proper summer. You’re on your way, aren’t you??

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Eva and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library.

So I had a particularly stressful day at work yesterday and decided to treat myself to a visit to the library (as you do) and also pay off some fines (I like to keep a clean slate). As I already have a huge stack of books waiting to be read, I thought I’d just browse to clear my head, but no, I ended up spotting two new books I just had to grab.

The Angel With Two Faces by Nicola Upson – I enjoyed Upson’s first book, An Expert In Murder, featuring the crime writer Josephine Tey as a sleuth.

The Einstein Girl by Philip Sington – I have a weakness for books featuring the name Einstein. Can’t seem to shake it off. This looks like a mystery and love story set in the early 20th century delving into secrets about Einstein, relativity and murder.

Both books would be perfect for Nymeth’s The 1930s Mini-Challenge.

I’m trying to finish two books at the moment: To Live and To Write: Selections by Japanese Women Writers 1913-1938 edited by Yukiko Tanaka which is inspiring and Scarlett Thomas’ new book Our Tragic Universe. I had forgotten how much I like Thomas’ writing. And so far, her new book is as good as the amazing The End of Mr. Y, lots about writing, books and strange goings-on, and she’s not afraid of talking about science.

I seem to be the only book blogger who hasn’t received David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. But I’m not crying, because I’m going to go and see him talk at Foyles, Charing Cross Road on Wednesday May 5th at 6:30pm! Yay! He’s also signing at Waterstone’s, Gower Street on May 7th at 1pm. I just hope the volcanic ash doesn’t prevent him from coming down to London.

Some more books

9 March, 2010

I thought I was doing so well, resisting the lure of charity shops, but alas, I succumbed. But what a find! I got the following secondhand books:

The Outlander by Gil Adamson – this novel has had so many raving reviews on book blogs (I think I first heard about it on dovegreyreader scribbles) and it seemed a steal for a pound. With recommendations by Ann Patchett and Michael Ondaatje, it must be good.

Daphne by Justine Picardie – I love Daphne du Maurier and as it’s a mystery involving her and a secret about Branwell Brontë, how could I not get it?

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters – see below.

And from the library, I took out:

Affinity by Sarah Waters – also see below.

The Dark Volume by G.W. Dahlquist – I loved his first book, The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters and have been meaning to read this for ages, so I can’t wait to start the sequel.

Rebel Girls: Their Fight for the Vote by Jill Liddington – about suffragettes, perfect for the Women Unbound Challenge.

It looks like I’m on a bit of a Sarah Waters binge, and you aren’t wrong. I’ve been dying to read Affinity and when I spotted Fingersmith in the charity shop for a pound, I thought I’d give it another go as it seems it’s everyone’s favourite (mine is The Night Watch) and I wanted to see what I’ve missed. And it came signed too. Sweet!

And I bought the following:

The Queen’s Gambit by Diane A.S. Stuckart – who can resist a mystery featuring Leonardo da Vinci?

So what did you get this week?

Too many books??

2 March, 2010

You may think I’ve been reading a book a day for the last few weeks, what with the frequency of my book reviews. But fear not, I’m only human and I can only manage one book a week except when I’m on holiday or if I’m reading a particularly thrilling book. So most of the reviews I’ve posted have been from my holiday (that’s all the books relating to Sri Lanka and there are still a few more reviews to come) but also including some books I’ve finished since I returned to normal life.

You may be impressed to know that I’ve been trying hard to file down my library pile (currently 10 books) and was helped along by a number of reservations hanging over some of the titles.

Currently I’m racing through R. Scott Bakker’s first volume in The Prince of Nothing series, The Darkness That Comes Before, which is fabulous. It’s dark, complex and extremely well written and reminds me a lot of Steven Erikson’s epic Malazan Book of the Fallen. Everything you want from a fantasy trilogy. Too bad I can’t read it at a more leisurely pace as I need to return it tonight, but at least it’s kept me reading. Normally, I’d return a library book if it’s reserved and I hadn’t touched it, but the reason I decided to try and read it in 3 days is because I found the second volume, The Warrior-Prophet, in a charity shop. Yay! It’s actually quite rare to find good SFF books in secondhand shops. I think it’s because, understandably, readers don’t want to let go of them.

I also got Mrs. Einstein by Anna McGrail about Einstein’s daughter Lieserl born to his wife and fellow student Mileva Maric before they were married. She was given up for adoption and her existence was a closely guarded secret until Einstein’s letters to his wife were discovered in 1986. McGrail has taken Lieserl’s story and shaped it into a quest to gain recognition from her famous father by following in his footsteps and becoming a scientist. Doesn’t it sound fascinating?

And from the library this week, I checked out Ian Cameron Esslemont’s The Night of Knives and The Return of the Crimson Guard. Esslemont, together with Steven Erikson, is the co-creator of the Malazan World and his two novels are also set there. I can’t wait to start reading them once I’ve finished my current reads.

I’ve noticed that I’ve been reading a lot of mysteries lately and haven’t touched upon any books for the Women Unbound Challenge so maybe I’ll start on one of them soon. So many books, so many choices!

And on a final note, I just want to say thank you to tanabata who hosts the delightful Hello Japan! Challenge at In Spring it is the Dawn who sent me a cute little hanging thing in the shape of a tiger for this lunar year as a prize for January’s mini-challenge Music to my Ears. I’ve had so much fun participating in the challenge and urge you to join us if you haven’t yet.