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?

OK, you guys thought I was just being good, right? Well, um, wrong ‘coz I couldn’t help myself and ended up with the following.

I bought:

13:55 Eastern Standard Time by Nick Alexander – for my book club which I couldn’t attend in the end because of all my driving stuff.

Women Writing About Men by Jane Miller – how could I not get this? I’m interested in the different ways writers portray the opposite sex so thought this was appropriate for my, ahem, research.

Wayward Girls and Wicked Women
edited by Angela Carter – a collection of short stories by women. Bazinga.

That Kind of Woman: Stories from the Left Bank by Bronte Adams and Trudi Tate – do I really have to give a reason for this?

Skippy Dies by Paul Murray – this has been all over book blogs like a rash and I admit I caved under the hype. Not sure whether it’s my thing, but hey, it’s supposed to be good, right?

Twelve by Jasper Kent – I’ve been DYING to read this book about a mysterious group of mercenary soldiers that helps out a Russian army in the 1800s. Something to do with fangs, apparently.

Engineers of the Soul: In the Footsteps of Stalin’s Writers by Frank Westerman – non-fiction, hurray! It’s about writers and Stalin’s Russia. I’m thinking lots of censorship, prison and exile to Siberia.

Holy Disorders by Edmund Crispin – I’ve got Crispin’s The Moving Toyshop featuring Oxford don and part-time detective Gervase Fenn which I’ve heard lots of good things about. So I had to get this.

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger – I really enjoyed The Time-Traveller’s Wife which I was expecting to be some kind of a soppy romance. Don’t get me wrong, I like my romance but not in the drown you with saccharine tweeness way. But as Niffenegger’s second novel is about Highgate Cemetary and twins, I couldn’t really resist. Especially now since the hype’s died down.

The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton – I’ve heard lots of good things about this book. That is all.

The Last Resort by Carmen Posadas – I’ve been stalking this book for YEARS since I first saw it in a bookshop. So I think it’s fair to say I HAD to get it when I found it in my local charity shop. A South American crime novel.

The Hours by Michael Cunningham – I was bowled over by the film and was really impressed by the treatment of depression and women. So I wanted to see whether the book will be better. Plus Cunningham’s a famous writer, right?

Bangkok 8 by John Burdett – I’ve been stalking this book for years as well and kept finding the later books in this detective series set in Thailand. Not a title you’ll find that often in a charity shop, let me tell you.

Granta 110 Sex issue – Ok, before you start calling me a closet perv, it’s got stories by Jeannette Winterson, Natsuo Kirino, Jennifer Egan, Dave Eggers and other proper writers, ok?


Mariana by Monica Dickens – Ok, I bought into the hype, alright? Lots of brilliant reviews of the Persephone version, but mine’s a Penguin:)

The Dark Philosophers by Gwyn Thomas – The title alone made me buy it. But it’s actually a book I’ve been curious for ages.

The Discovery of Heaven by Harry Mulisch – very serendipitous find as Iris on Books is doing a readalong at the moment. Mulisch is considered to be one of the finest Dutch writers.

The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas – this is another fantasy title that’s been getting lots of love from reviewers.

I got sent the following:

The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Book and the People Who Read Them by Elif Batumen – from the lovely people at Granta Books. I’m still planning to read War & Peace this year. I haven’t forgotten.

The Suicide Shop by Jean Teulé – from the lovely people at Gallic Press. Set in a near distant future France.

Monsieur Montespan by Jean Teulé – about the cuckolded husband of the Sun King’s mistress.

Alva & Irva and Observatory Mansions by Edward Carey – from lovely Simon because I passed my driving test. So sweet! Two books which he really enjoyed and which I thought sounded very intriguing. I’m looking forward to reading them!

And from the library:

BUtterfield 8 by John O’Hara – for my book group. I’d seen the film featuring Elizabeth Taylor years ago and have been wanting to read this book for a while.

Special Assignments by Boris Akunin – I’ve been wanting to go back and start reading Akunin’s Erast Fandorin books again after seeing him talk. This is the 5th in the series and the one with which I stalled. See, I do give books a second chance.

Fever Dreams by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child – yay, the latest in the Agent Predergast series. You know how much I love him and his Sherlockian ways, right?

Ok, I better get cracking and read some books.

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.

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???

I bet you thought I’d been really good and taken control of my book buying addiction. Yeah right. This month I got a mixture of books from some lovely publishers and of course lots more from the internet, charity shops and library sales. I know y’all like lists so let’s drool together.

I’d like to say a BIG THANK YOU to the lovely publishers from whom I received the following:

Hot Kitchen Snow by Susannah Rickards – from Chris at Salt Publishing.
Coconut Unlimited by Nikesh Shukla – from Gavin at Quartet Books.
The Swimmer by Roma Tearne – from Catherine at Harper Collins.
Fire by Kristin Cashore – which I won from Gollancz. Double yay because I LOVED Graceling.
Washington Square by Henry James – which I won on Twitter from OUP.
Someone Else’s Garden by Dipika Rai – again from Catherine at Harper Collins.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness – from Caitlin at Headline.

And I purchased the following from my library:

Bright Young People by D.J. Taylor – a steal at 40p. I actually read this very copy a couple of years ago and loved it. I had to get it, right? Especially for its extensive bibliography.
Commissariat of Enlightenment by Ken Kalfus – only 30p. I’d been eyeing this up for a while now but didn’t get a chance to check it out of the library. It’s fate, I say.


Surplus Women by G.C. Pain – I read about this on Hannah Stoneham’s Book Blog and ordered it pronto.

And secondhand:

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris – my current obsession with True Blood has spilt out to the books.
Club Dead by Charlaine Harris – ditto.
Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris – ditto.
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith – I wasn’t sure whether I already owned this, but I don’t. Yay!
The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh – my friend S has been going on about how amazing this book is for 10 years. So I had to get this when I came across it in my local charity shop. I’d also read some of Ghosh’s earlier books which I liked (but not Sea of Poppies yet.)
The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris – because I started And Then We Came To The End which I really liked but still haven’t finished.
The Marrowbone Marble Company by Glenn Taylor – because the cover looked just amazing and it sounded interesting.

And I borrowed:

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown – I borrowed this from my other friend S. I’d read both Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code before they both went nuclear and although there are better thrillers out there, I can’t help wanting to read about the esoteric and the mythic since I’ve been reading about them for the last 20 years. Let’s see what all the hype’s about.

OK, that’s a lot of books. So I better get cracking, right?