August Book and Poster Haulin’

My book buying got a little intense this month – new books by some of my favourite authors have come out so what else could I do but pick them up straight away?  My last two posts went through my tbr list for the next few months – pretty much all of these books have made it on there because I can’t wait to read them and I’m finishing a book every few days right now.

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First up is Stone Mattress – Margaret Atwood’s new collection of nine short stories. I also picked up Oryx and Crake which is the first in a trilogy. The covers for both of these are just perfect. I’m also thinking about going to her event at the Cheltenham Literature Festival – David Mitchell and Kazuo Ishiguro are also there over the same few days which is basically my dream line-up.

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Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage –  Murakami seems to a love/hate kind of guy – I like him a lot and it comes with stickers, which probably made me way happier than it should.

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I’ve just finished J by Howard Jacobsen – completely unlike any book he’s done before: a dystopian book in the same vein as 1984 but with the same wit as the Finkler Question. I couldn’t stop reading it and the book has the most beautiful red endpapers (which matched my skirt perfectly –  which again made me inexplicably happy).

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Bad Feminist is another one that I’ve finished recently (a quick heads up: I didn’t pay for this – I’m a bookseller and do sometimes get free books. I always write a disclaimer to make it clear which ones they are) there are some amazing essays on: Sweet Valley High( how amazing!), women in Literature, The Hunger Games, and Django Unchained. I’m going to pull all my thoughts together on this and post something over the next few weeks. And lastly The Opposite of Loneliness – a collection of short stories and essays by Marina Keegan.

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I’m redecorating my room and I got this beautiful A Midsummer Night’s Dream poster to hang next to my bookcase.

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That’s everything – I have a lot of reading to do before I’ll let myself buy anything else even though there seems to be a new book I want coming out everyday right now.

 

Early Autumn TBR: Part Two

This is part two of my early autumn tbr list (part one is here). I’ve tried to create a list made up of books I’d never heard of, authors I’ve always meant to read, sci-fi and horror to take me out of my comfort zone, and a little poetry and travel thrown in there too.

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Ready Player One is the only sci-fi book on the list – I have a love/hate relationship with it as a genre but the concept of this sounds so good. A Visit from the Goon Squad is a book I’ve had on my to buy list for years; I’m really interested to see how it works as you are supposed to be able to read each chapter as a self-contained short story. I wouldn’t normally pick JG Ballard off the shelf but I was given a few of his books so I’m going to give The Atrocity Exhibition a go and keep an open mind.

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Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame is a collection of poetry by Charles Bukowski – probably one of my favourite authors and poets, ever. I adore this bright orange cover – the poems inside were written between 1955- 1973.

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Never Mind by Edward St Aubyn is the first of five Patrick Melrose novels. I finished it two days ago and it’s been all I’ve thought about since. It’s also one of the most English books I’ve ever read; so I’m not sure how the dark humour and irony translates to everyone else. The Secret History (and The Little Friend) have been on my tbr list ever since I finished The Goldfinch, which is my favourite book of the year (it could be my favourite book, ever).

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Inside the Rainbow – is a collection of Russian children’s illustrations in the first twenty years of the Soviet Union there are also some translated poems and essays inside. Honestly, I opened this book and knew I had to have it it’s just so beautiful. It was quite expensive, I’m not going to lie, but I know it will stay in my collection forever. America Interior is a travel book by Gruff Rhys.

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The last book on the list is Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. It’s quite intimidating; very intense and very long. To ease the pain I got the Penguin Deluxe Edition which has the most beautiful art work on the cover.

I’m going to add a last minute honourable mention to Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay which I’m reading now. I’ve just finished the essay on Girls, which is one of my favourite tv shows, thinking about it ( and the reasons why I like it) critically is a little uncomfortable but the book has me hooked.

So that’s my autumn tbr list – although with new David Mitchell and David Nicholls books coming out soon it might be getting a little longer.

Early Autumn TBR: Part One

With summer coming to an end I’ve started to think about what I want to read during late August, September, and October. I’ve picked out some books from my tbr shelf that I’m really excited to read but are still fresh and challenging. There are sixteen books on the list  (a little ambition never killed anyone) so I’m going to talk about seven of them here and post part two later this week.

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First up are What You Want by Constantine Phipps and The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham. I was after a couple of books that I hadn’t heard anything about – there is something amazing about discovering and falling in love with a completely unknown book. What You Want is written in verse – I’m very very curious to see if it works. The Snow Queen caught my attention because it’s set in New York, which is the backdrop for so many of my favourite books. It’s also inspired by the Hans Christian Anderson short story – which can only be a good thing.

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Fun Home is part of an attempt to get back into reading graphic novels. I’ve read Blue Is the Warmest Color, Chew, and Saga over the summer so I’m making, slow, progress. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will probably be the first horror book I’ve ever read, and Perfume is a long overdue reread.

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I’m not going to lie these two originally caught my eye because of their beautiful cover designs. They also both have amazing opening lines: All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld has been sat on my shelf for months and I opened it up a few days ago and reread “Another sheep, mangled and bled out, her innards not yet crusting and the vapours rising from her like a steamed pudding” and knew it had to be on this list. Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi starts with “Nobody ever warned me about mirrors, so for many years I was fond of them, and believed them to be trustworthy.”

 

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Really hope you guys like this sort of tbr post – I really enjoy reading about what people are planning to read and I’ve never posted one before so it’s kind of new territory for me.

June Favourites

Books – The Handmaid’s Tale which I’m reading now (I haven’t finished it though so this may be a bit premature). I first came across Margaret Atwood when I was given The Blind Assassin by my mum years ago –  I loved it and since then I’ve also read the Oryx and Crake trilogy. I came across this beautiful vintage cover and had to have it. After reading the first few pages I knew I was going to adore the book and I’ve spent the last few nights reading when I definitely should have been sleeping.

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 I’m on week two of listening to Ultraviolence by Lana Del Rey on repeat. My favourite song of the album changes everyday but at the moment it’s Fucked My Way To The Top with Money Power Glory a pretty close second. I really like that it has a completely different feel to Born to Die.  I’ve spent the day pretending Lana isn’t playing Glastonbury this afternoon and I’m not insanely jealous of everyone who is there.

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Kill Your Darlings is my film of the month. Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg is insane in this – it’s definitely the best film/tv show I’ve ever seen him in (although I do really want to watch A Young Doctor’s Notebook now). It’s also funny how much of  beat culture has been appropriated into our own – but that’s a whole other conversation.

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I’ve tried to embrace Summer – I’m naturally an autumn and winter person – those seasons make me happiest: I love the weather, food, clothes but I’ve made the effort to go on a lot of walks(with my headphones in and Lana on)and enjoy the weather. This is a shameless selfie of me with a suntan – you can see why I like winter.

That’s it for June – I haven’t been posting as often as I want to.Life has just gotten a bit intense but I’m going to try and get myself back into the routine of posting regularly again.

March Favourites

The Grand Budapest Hotel was my favourite film of the month – and the first Wes Anderson film I’ve, ever, seen. I’ll be watching Rushmore and Moonrise Kingdom next. I’m going to pick up the book that the film is based on – The Society of the Crossed Keys soon.

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I added Jane Eyre to my Penguin Drop Caps collection this month – they’re a hell of a lot of beautiful Penguin classics editions at the moment but I love the simplicity of Drop Caps.

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 At the beginning of the year I was in the biggest reading slump – for the first time in a long time I didn’t want to read and had to force myself to pick up books. I seem to have come out of that now.  Although none of the books I’ve read over the last month; The Shock of the Fall, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, or & Sons really stand out as amazing to me – my first March favourite is the feeling of wanting to read again.

I’ve played Benjamin Francis Leftwich on repeat all month – mainly Pictures from Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm – it’s been out since 2011 but I come back to it again and again.

My new favourite word, sonder.

n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

I finished this blog post a few days and between then and now I’ve started two amazing books The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and How To Be a Woman (which I’ve put off reading for the longest time) I adore both of them so far —  so thought I’d include them and keep you guys updated on my feelings when I finish them both. 

Book Haul – All the Birds, Singing

Books I’ve bought this week.

A Girl is a Half Formed Thing – Eimear Mcbride

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 I’ve wanted this for a while – it’s written as a stream of consciousness – narrated by a young girl in Ireland as she deals with her brother who suffers from brain damage, a fanatically religious mother, and sexual abuse by her uncle.

It has been longlisted for the Women’s Prize for fiction; usually I’m not interested in literary awards but I’ve made a conscious decision to read more woman writers as I seem to unintentionally gravitate to men.

& Sons – David Gilbert

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“Fathers start as gods and end as myths and in between whatever form they take can be calamitous for their sons.” – I started this yesterday and I’ve been blown away by the writing.

 At the centre of the novel is A. N. Dyer a reclusive author – think J. D. Salinger and you have the right idea. Narrated by a family friend it follows him as he tries to reunite his estranged sons.

Half Bad – Sally Green

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The hype surrounding this book is, honestly, the main reason I bought it and I hope it doesn’t disappoint. It’s set in a world that is divided into warring white and black witches. The protagonist, Nathan, is half white and black. I got the hardback version; but it’s available in paperback too.

Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami & Americanah – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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I’m also trying to read more non-western writers after a really interesting conversation about whether British and American novels are over hyped.

Kafka on the Shore will be my first Murakami novel – I asked friends which of his books I should read first and this came out on top ( with the added warning that it will trip me out).

Americanah is another novel longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction – it follows Ifemelu and Obinze who emigrate from Nigeria to America and Britain.

The Son – Philipp Meyer

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The Son, which is a follow up to American Rust, is set in Texas and follows the McCulloughs and the rise and fall of their family oil business.

Evie Wyld – All The Birds, Singing

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I’m stupidly excited to read All the Birds, Singing – I’ve wanted this for a few months after reading the first few lines in work “Another sheep, mangled and bled out, her innards not yet crusting and the vapours rising from her like a steamed pudding”. The book has a double narrative which alternates between an island off the British coast and Australia.

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The last thing isn’t a book – but I couldn’t not include it – it’s a Jane Eyre charm bracelet from Scribbelicious (I’ve linked them, which I don’t usually, because I think they’re amazing). They recycle damage books and use the page fragments in jewellery.  I’m already thinking about getting a Brightstar bracelet too.

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The Photo Diary

Tea at Leaf in Liverpool

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An Afternoon with We the Animals

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Tribeca in Liverpool

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Abe just chillin with John Williams

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Dinner while watching the Maple Leafs with friends

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Owner of the best hat

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and lastly boredom…

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