“Books are a uniquely portable magic” – Stephen King
Yeah, not if you have a stack of them and you just want to read all of them at the same time, Stephen, I think then I’d need a bag a la Mary Poppins or Hermione Granger to consider them portable.
Which is my obnoxious way of saying HI I BOUGHT TOO MANY BOOKS THIS MONTH CONSIDERING I SHOULD BE BUYING ONLY REQUIRED READING. I should probably also actually complete the required reading since there are summer reading lists for the two courses I’ll be taking next term (Posthumanism and Early Modern Bodies and Spirits, for the curious) and they’re not insubstantial.
For now, however, I bring you an August Haul, aka a photo of things I bought/borrowed from the library and have put on my TBR for the tiny remainder of this month/September. And I really do need to have these read in the course of the new few weeks because I shall be returning to my beloved Lancaster on the 27th September sans my book collection. Let us all take a moment to mourn that loss… and then move on to consider all the shiny books I’ve hauled.
Look at the shiny!
First up we have David Lodge’s Changing Places, a book I have meant to get around to reading because I read his Nice Work and really enjoyed it. It’s another campus novel, there’s an Anglo-American professor exchange that happens and I pretty much love any book set on a campus because that’s my life. Yep.
Next is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell which I borrowed from the library a few days ago and have already read. I LOVED this book, my first dipping of my toes into the YA fiction pool in quite some years but why did I not read this sooner? So good. Review to follow in all likelihood, I made some notes and everything.
Then we have Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I have heard so many booktubers rave about this book and this ‘series’ and when I saw the library had it in stock, well, how could I say no? I’m currently reading this, on page 68, and yeah I’m liking it already, it’s so cute.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is my slightly odd choice. I’ve never really been one for sci-fi particularly but I’ve only heard good things about this book, again from booktubers. (It strikes me that if I’d just never discovered booktube I would still be stuck in that post-graduation book slump so I guess I should be glad about this!)
Below that and sporting one of the most beautiful covers/pages I have seen, we have Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I know precisely zero about this book and would like to keep it that way so I can go into it blind.
Next is a graphic novel – another left-field choice for me – The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman. I’m intrigued to read something that’s won a Pulitzer Prize, especially a graphic novel, since it’s not really my genre (I’m struggling to recall if I’ve actually read a comic or graphic novel before, in fact) but I’ve heard mixed things about this so why not!
Last in the library haul pile we have Jasper Fforde’s Shades of Grey. The cover is freaking amazing, it’s like a paint-by-numbers drawing and it’s so good. I’ve read a couple of Fforde’s other novels from the Thursday Next series and I really liked them, hopefully this one will be similarly enjoyable.
And now we move onto the actual I-paid-money-for-this-when-I-shouldn’t-have section of the haul. All of these books were bought used, though, so I feel a little less guilty about how much precious savings I’ve blew on them.
First up we have a few novels I actually needed to buy for my Posthumanism course. There’s Atomised by Michel Houellebecq and The Flood by Maggie Gee. I know precisely zero about these two apart from that they will be somehow connected to posthumanism in some manner. Atomised has a girl in knickers on the cover so that’s… something.
Then below that is JG Ballard’s Crash which is a novel I know a surprising amount about considering I haven’t actually read it. It’s likely if you’ve heard of it, it’s for the same reason I have – it’s about sex and car crashes, and yes those two together. I did a fun test with this book – open up to a page at random and skim read until you find a word/phrasing that makes you squirm, then repeat. And yes, practically every page I turned to had this. So the seminar will be interesting to say the least.
Next is Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. My grasp of American literature is basic, at best, and I knew I needed to read this at some point so when I saw this pristine Vintage edition in an Oxfam book shop in Liverpool, I knew I had to buy it.
Below is another book shop find, Guernica by Dave Boling. A friend took one look at it and went ‘huh so they’ll be romanticising it will they?’. We shall see if he’s right in due course, I’m sure.
Then we have a couple of Bill Bryson’s, namely Shakespeare and A Short History of Nearly Everything. I’ve started the latter, very good so far, and completely engaging and not at all dull… which I gather is the main praise in how Bryson writes. Promising.
Then we have Nathan Filer’s The Shock of the Fall and Carol Birch’s Jamrach’s Menagerie. I picked both of these up used in a charity shop, this time in York, for completely shallow reasons pertaining to their beautiful, beautiful covers. I’ve already read Filer’s novel during Bout of Books and enjoyed it well enough but have yet to pick up Jamrach’s Menagerie, but any book that describes itself as a mix of Treasure Island, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Moby Dick, and a sprinkling of Dickens wins my vote. Definitely looking forward to reading that one.
And finally a couple of non-book related purchases, also from Liverpool.
I caved and finally bought the diary I wanted from Paperchase. I ummed and aahed when on a shopping trip with my mum and she appealed to my sense of reason by saying why pay £12 for a pretty diary when you could get one for £5 in Wilkos and cover it with your own pretty paper? However, when I was in Liverpool with my friends, I had no such reason and impulse bought it. But it’s so preeeetty. Then 2 DVDs, The Emperor’s New Groove which I have not seen (and apparently this is a travesty?) and The Grand Budapest Hotel which I have seen and which I LOVED. 10/10 would recommend, yes.
Aaand that brings us to the end of my August haul. It’s been an interesting month containing two shopping trips so it’s unsurprising that I ended up spending money. Like I said though, I have re-joined the library and taken full advantage of their reservations system so hopefully that negates any impulse book buys for this month. Looking forward to sinking my teeth into those I have yet to ravage, oo er.
So how were your Augusts? Anyone else impulse bought a diary? A book? A DVD? Please let me know in the comments if you have so I can feel a little better about myself and my self-control (or lack thereof)! Equally, if you’ve read any of these and have an opinion, please do share, I’d love to have a bit of a chat. :]