Sunday, 11 December 2011

Our postie's been working overtime this week!

It's been a bit of a week again.  I seem to do this every year before Christmas.  When other people are panic-buying mince pies, batteries, stuffing mix and party nibbles as if they'll never be available on the shelves ever again, I'm doing the same with books!  Needless to say, our postman and the local courier delivery men have been rather busy of late...  

So, first up, these three books came from The Works on Tuesday.  "But Ellie, didst thou not already pillage Ye Olde Works of Yonder Town last week?" I hear you cry.  Well, yes, but this was a different store with different stock, and I was hurting after my first physiotherapy appointment.  I also came home with a bundle of super-nostalgic sweets from the old-fashioned sweet emporium, so you can see what kind of mood I was in.  Anyway, Arlene Russo's The Real Twilight: True Stories of Modern Day Vampires was the first book I saw, and for £1.99 I thought it might be interesting to see just how far weird vamp-obsession can go.  Cash, Johnny Cash's famous autobiography, was tucked under a heap of other books so I plucked that out as well.  And just as we were about to leave, I spotted a hardcover copy of Karl Pilkington's An Idiot Abroad hidden behind a big display.  I think he's hilarious but his books are usually so darn expensive, so £4.99 seemed a pretty good deal!

And Then There Was Amazon.  Sometimes I just can't help myself, I have to bring about a personal little 'early Christmas' by means of a large box of glossy new bookish goodies.  First on my list was a taster of the great David Levithan and his stellar co-writing success.  I've heard so much about these books and I thought it was high time to find out what all the fuss is about!  Behold: the beautiful shiny Will Grayson, Will Grayson (co-written with John Green) and the festive Dash and Lily's Book of Dares (with Rachel Cohn)!

Two more YA books I've had my eye on also made the cut.  I've been reading a fair amount of heavier stuff recently as I've pushed forward with my Books to be Read Challenge, so I had a feeling I might be in the mood for something lighter during the holidays!  Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan was a must-have after I finally devoured The Lightning Thief recently (read my review here).  And Lia's Guide to Winning the Lottery by Keren David looks like a lot of fun, exploring what happens when a teenager wins the lottery and finds out it isn't all it's cracked up to be.

I actually went looking for Denis Avey's The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz in The Works last week, but came up empty-handed.  It doesn't take long for me to rectify the situation with a little mouse-clicking if the need arises...  I also bought John Elder Robison's Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's.  My copy is actually bright blue, more fun, and lot less creepy than this edition, but I couldn't find an image big enough!  Anyway, it's a very well-respected autobiography and is apparently one of the influences behind Jim Parsons' portrayal of Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory.  Works for me!

Next up, a book I FORGOT to look for in the library last week - Darkside by Belinda Bauer.  I very much enjoyed her debut novel Blacklands when I read it earlier this year, so I have high hopes for this one.  Speaking of high hopes, I finally succumbed to the massive hype around the books and television series, and ordered A Song of Fire and Ice 1: Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.  I don't know what it's about, I haven't seen the series, but the buzz has been so huge that I reckoned it was about time I checked it out for myself!

From the lovely Jen Campbell at the famous Ripping Yarns bookshop (whose blog, This is Not the Six Word Novel, is currently boasting a hilarious collection of Christmassy customer gaffes - I'm now trying to insert "JESUS. I AM YOUR FATHER." into conversation as often as possible) came Wild Abandon by Joe Dunthorne.  His first book, Submarine, is currently perched atop my TBR pile (and I have the movie waiting in the wings too), and in Jen's interview he came across as such a funny, down-to-earth bloke, so I was well chuffed to win a copy of his new novel!  Thanks Jen... :)

One more book arrived for review as well, to add to my new stash of ARCs.  This is a bit of a wild card YA novel from Random House Children's Books - definitely not something I'd normally have picked up - but we'll see.  It's the first book in a new series (another one?!), it's called Black Arts: The Books of Pandemonium, and it's a collaborative effort (another one?!) from Andrew Prentice and Jonathan Weil.  I'm not sure what the plot is about, but I gather it involves historical London, magic, John Dee and a young hero rather mischievously called 'Jack the Nipper'...

Now, early Christmas presents!  One of my bestest book buddies (and occasional bookshop visitor), Jess (of Jess Hearts Books) sent me a copy of Rick Riordan's The Red Pyramid, which I'm SO EXCITED to read!  All the magic of Percy Jackson but with ANCIENT EGYPTIAN GODS!  Awesome.  And just to temper the chaos and violence, look at this beautiful little bookmark!  Jess has a bit of a bookmark fetish herself, and this art deco-style amber butterfly is so lovely!  Thank you Jess!

And finally, two entirely unexpected surprise gifts from the 'naughty but nice' Stephen, one of my bestest LibraryThing buds!  Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived is Ralph Helfer's account of his many decades with Modoc the elephant.  They were raised together in a small German circus town and formed a bond that lasted their whole lives.  It sounds wonderful - though definitely one to read with a box of tissues on hand for the ending, I think!   He also sent The Owl Keeper by Christine Brodien-Jones, just because the cover was so cute and he knows I adore owls!  It'll be perfect for reading one winter afternoon this Christmas!  Thanks sweetie... :)

So, another, er, elephantine week!  And it's not over yet, folks...  I still haven't addressed my Amazon Marketplace possibilities, for a start!  It looks like I might be making a return trip to town on Tuesday, which means another chance to scope out the library (I need a graphic novel for my challenge, dammit!) - and since I don't have any Christmas shopping left to do, I reckon I could leave Mum to it and go spend a PROPER morning browsing Waterstones.  Like, without a list, or an agenda, or anything to do but scour the shelves and see what tickles my fancy.  It's been a long time since I hit a bookshop without a book list and a tight schedule, so it should be lovely!  And I'm sure I'll end up walking away with a few more goodies to boot.  Now, excuse me, I'm off to carry on reading the wonderful Ape House and hope the rain keeps a few more grumpy customers at bay!

Have you already read and loved any of my new additions?  And what arrived in your mailbox this week? 


  1. Great Mailbox this week!

    If you have a moment, please come and show your support for either Hermione or Katniss - Here
    My Mailbox

  2. Great lot of books coming in. I read 'Miss Peregrine' a couple of weeks ago and have to agree, I was freaked out by the photos. Worth reading but not one of my favourites for the year. You would probably enjoy Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
    The Owl Keeper cover is gorgeous, kudos to Stephen for giving a great gift.

  3. George R.R. Martin can be addictive but be warned. He is slow to write and always leaves you hanging.

  4. Awesome haul! I'm really curious about Will Grayson I've had a few people recommend it to me.

    Xpresso Reads


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