Saturday, 4 June 2011

This week's new arrivals!

First, pretend it's Sunday, when I normally post my weekly confession.  Tomorrow I'm hosting Lauren Kate for her fourth blog tour stop, so I thought I'd shift the new arrivals forward a day.  Second, sit down and get your glass of water/whisky ready: it's another shocking week this week, since my pile of incoming books has been absolutely dwarfed by the multiple bags I've ruthlessly de-shelved and carted off to the shop.  It has not been a good week in the bookish-chaos stakes.  After the promising start to the book decluttering process last week, I started anew a day or two later and managed to trip over a huge pile of the darn things, bruising my knee beautifully and nearly going head-first through the patio doors.  Not good - and deeply ironic since I never fell over them once until I started tidying up!  A couple of days later I found an enormous house spider lurking underneath the box of books I was trying to sort through. 

My sister decided she wanted her wardrobe space back (quite reasonable, really) so I spent my post-work hours on Thursday sorting through yet more books and lugging great bags full down the stairs and up to the flat to stash in my kitchen.  Then that night I had a horrible dream in which my house was in the middle of a burning neighbourhood, the police were trying to evacuate us to safety, and all I could do was run around my living room like a headless chicken, trying desperately to find the things I really wanted and needed to pack in my little rucksack before we left, being hopelessly hindered by the very lifelike piles of books, newspapers, paperwork and other miscellaneous crap covering every surface.  I woke up thinking 'Jeez!  I have to tidy this stuff up!'

So the clearing process continues!  I've managed to persuade about 160 books to decamp from my flat onto the shop shelves, where some of them have immediately sold, thus removing the temptation to just take them home again.  And I barely remember what I've brought in, so I can't have been so very attached after all...  There are one or two older books that I hope to replace sometime soon - The Diary of a Provincial Lady being the main one - but the rest are history.  Some more chick lit and crime fiction that I can pick up anytime here to borrow, a couple of Thomas Hardy novels that I will keep putting off forever because I already know the most depressing parts (the movie Jude scarred me for life, I don't think I've ever cried so hard as I did when Kate Winslet opened that bedroom door...), plus a few non-fiction books that I just don't fancy any more.  More still to go!

Yeah yeah, I know, you can see the shiny halo from there - but what delights came IN this week?

First up, a big thank you to my lovely friend Rachel (In the Library of LadyViolet) for the birthday present she sent that just missed last week's post...  Being the true book-enabling devil-on-my-shoulder that she is, I now have a very generous Amazon voucher cradled in my inbox just waiting to be let loose upon the world.  What to choose, what to choose?  Since I've managed to convert her to my TV love, Gilmore Girls (*runs shameless lap of honour with her arms out and her shirt over her head*), I'm thinking I might use it to buy some of the coveted titles that are on my Gilmore Girls uber-list so far.

Speaking of which, a few days ago I headed down to the indie bookshop along the road from us, my thought-process being that by buying a couple of books new and full-price (not normally my first choice since I run a second-hand bookshop, get significantly lower than minimum wage anyway, and there are three charity shops round the corner) I would choose wisely, buy less AND be supporting the bookshop itself.  Of course, this being me, particularly during that self-indulgent post-birthday few days, it didn't really end up working that way.  I balked at the £8.99 price tag of a few flimsy classic novellas (Anthem by Ayn Rand being one of the worst offenders - can you say 'Lit-Student Exploitation'?), flicked through a few more titles, then, er, discovered that one of the owners has developed a rather brilliant music and Beat Generation corner...  Row upon row of books that just screamed 'Jess Mariano!' and 'Lorelai Gilmore!' there for the taking. 

So take I did - seven books in all...  First up, All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander *pops off to double-check spelling* Solzhenitsyn.  Both have been on my radar for a long time but I've never quite managed to get around to acquiring them, so now I have!  The rest are from my romp through the Beats and music sections.  I used to have Kerouac's On the Road, but it was another one of those books where I couldn't read it at thirteen, thought 'Oh, I don't like it' and gave it away.  Like thirteen was the end of my reading life or something.  Continuing with the Jess Mariano/Gilmore theme, I bought Charles Bukowski's Notes of a Dirty Old Man and Ham on Rye, at least one of which Jess is reading in season 2 or 3.  I'm With the Band by Pamela Des Barres has been mentioned twice already (I'm up to the end of season 3 in my list-all-books-and-movies quest), one time by Lorelai who was sitting reading it on the sofa.  And finally, to round off the bunch, an impulse purchase of The Sixties by offbeat writer Jenny Diski, just because it sounded interesting.  The bookshop owners were delighted that I'd hit on their passion, and advised me to put on some cool jazz and open a bottle of something naughty in order to fully appreciate my reading!  That's why I love indie bookshops...  : ) 


I also got two belated-birthday presents in the post on Thursday, which was exciting.  Every year a guy in America - I guy I don't know, have never met, and only interacted with briefly on an environmental-type social network about ten years ago - hits my Amazon wishlist and sends me something to celebrate another year.  It's amazing, he does this for loads of people and even with my mind wide open and determinedly cynicism-free I'm not quite sure why or how!  But every year, without fail, a package arrives with something amazing from my list.  First it was a copy of George Orwell's Essays, which was a lovely gesture and took me completely by surprise.  The second year it was one of the limited-edition Bill Amberg leather-bound copies of one of my all-time favourite books, The Picture of Dorian Gray, which completely blew me away.  Last year it was a stand-up comedy box set.  This year he really outdid himself with TWO amazing books: Lonely Planet's massive coffee-table tome The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World, filled with pictures and quirky trivia from every corner of the Earth, and Human Planet by Dale Templar and Brian Leith, another gorgeous book accompanying the BBC series, about the way people have adapted to live in difficult terrains across the planet.  What an incredible gift, I can't wait to start browsing through them!  

One more book arrived this morning, one I've been lusting after for ages and found at an AMAZING price on Amazon Marketplace - Chasing the Sun: The Epic Story of the Star that Gives Us Life by Richard Cohen.  It's got the most beautiful cover, and explores the way the sun has played a part in our culture in every conceivable sense - mythology, religion, science, literature, health and more.  Doesn't that sound fascinating?

Well, I think that's a nice mixture for the week, don't you?  And it feels pretty good to be clearing out the detritus from my shelves and replacing some of those books with things I really want to read, rather than stuff I've nicked from the shop on a whim!

Have you read any of these books?  Are you an aficionado of music or Beat Generation books, and do you have any recommendations as to what should be next on my list if I enjoy this little bunch?  Oh - and what do you think of the newly made-over blog?  Jeez, has it been a long time coming...  Leave me a comment and let me know!


  1. Mwa ha ha ha, glad to be enabling a fellow addict :P
    Just watching GG now ;-) I'm really considering kidnapping Jess so I can just stare at him all day with a goofy smile on my face- dude that boy is becoming sweeter every time he appears on screen. xx

  2. Haha, I know, right?! And now I can READ like him as well as swooning over him. The project's coming on great btw, I'm up to season 4 and going back over season 1 with another source I found as well. Transcripts, wikis, trivia pages, the lot, and I'm still really annoyed that there's one or two books I've seen too glancingly to know what they are! I'll post them over one or two blog pages when I'm done I think... :)

  3. Wow! Those travel books look incredible! I'm an absolute sucker for travel books - mainly for the pics!! I recently went and saw The Bang Bang Club - have you seen that movie. Quite something!

    Anyway - was just stopping by to say there's a little award for you at my blog. I really enjoy reading your blog and although I'm hopeless at leaving comments - sorry - my TBR pile is growing at a rate of knots and a lot of recommendations come from you - so thank you!


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