Sunday, 18 December 2011

Yet another bumper pre-Christmas IMM!

Yes, I've done it again.  Thanks to my annual pre-Christmas book-buying panic and a good couple of hours browsing the book stalls, Waterstones and large library of one of my largest local towns, I've got another cracking crop to share this week!

First up, My Trip To Town.  As you might remember, this same town was also the cause of my bookish downfall two weeks ago - and this time I had twice as long to look round and no Christmas shopping to do, hooray!  My first stop, right after I left my mum and grandma to Do Their Thing, was a book stall I spotted, hidden away up a little side street.  From there I picked up two 'unread but definitely shabby' novels: Jumper by Steven Gould (I heard it's much better than the movie) and No and Me by Delphine de Vigan (which got some good reviews across the blogosphere when it was published a year or two ago - and oh, what a pretty cover!).  Both of 'em for a bargainous £3, marvellous!

 From there it was just a teeny wander down towards a corner on the outskirts of town, by the church, where I remembered there being a few charity shops.  I haven't wandered that far for years (agoraphobia, remember?) but there was still a large Save the Children shop with a big expanse of bookshelves to explore!  For an even-more-bargainous total of £2.50 I picked up Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic Abroad - I've only read the first book but it was much more fun than I expected! - and Jonathan Franzen's much-hyped Freedom.  So far, so awesome!

After that little flurry of unexpected book-buying, I had a good hour and a half to browse Waterstones.  It's been years since I've gone into a bookshop and just BROWSED (agoraphobia again) so I was really looking forward to it!  Usually I make a list of possible titles from my Amazon wishlist, so I can just skip from shelf to shelf looking for the pertinent sections and maybe have a quick look at the display tables as well.  This time I looked at everything!  I trawled every fiction shelf, most of the non-fiction, the display tables and the YA section, and wound up with a fairly restrained five books in my basket.

On the fiction front, first into my basket was I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore.  The reviews have been variable, to say the least, and I don't like the sound of this whole James Frey Writing Factory thing, but the book sounds quite exciting so I reckoned it was time to give it a go!  Anno Dracula by Kim Newman sounds fascinating - it is an alternative history novel based on the premise that the heroes of Bram Stoker's Dracula failed to stop the dastardly vampire taking over Britain.  In fact, he marries Queen Victoria...  Sounds brilliant - and apparently there are more books after this one, yay!  Last on the fiction pile is Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, which I've heard mentioned many times and have never really bothered to look at properly.  It's huge, but I was quite pleased with it as a magical impulse purchase!

  On the non-fiction front, I was delighted to find a copy of Wolf Within: How I Learned to Talk Dog by Shaun Ellis.  He appeared on a Martin Clunes documentary about dogs, so I knew his name already.  Having always been fascinated by wolves, he spent two years living with a wild wolf pack (without human contact), and now lives with two wolf packs in a wildlife park here in the UK.  I'd seen his hardcover book disappear and go out of print and was so disappointed not to have bought a copy earlier - but I hadn't realised it had been reprinted under a new title!  Hooray!  My last Waterstones book was Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.  I've never read him before but fancied giving him a try - it sounds amusing! - and I was lucky I picked it up when I did because I heard another woman asking for it two minutes later.  I sneaked away around the corner like Gollum, hugging my basket gleefully!

All that rampant buying done and dusted, I still had half an hour to go fill up my library quota!  Last time I only had enough time to forage for ten of my allotted sixteen books, so I figured my winter blowout wouldn't be complete without completing my annual Library Pilgrimage properly.

Again, I seem to have managed a good mix of fiction and non-fiction this time.  I seem to be very good at buying/borrowing copious amounts of non-fiction, but I read fiction more quickly, especially at this time of year.  I need to be more realistic, I think!  So anyway, on the non-fiction front, I picked out a couple of more accessible-sounding and intriguing titles from my heaving wishlist.  Garlic and Sapphires is Ruth Reichl's take on her work as an 'undercover' food critic, which should be an interesting read.  Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin appeared in last year's haul, but I didn't get to it before it had to be returned so I'll try and do better this year.  And finally, Incoming! or, Why We Should Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Meteorite, by Ted Nield.  This only arrived on my wishlist a week or two ago, so I was well chuffed to find that the library had a copy.  And what a fantastic title!

After I'd picked up these three I still had a few minutes and three library slots left, so I headed back downstairs to the fiction for one last sweep.  When I finally located the teen section (on a completely different floor from the kid's stuff, even though there was a fair bit of crossover, oops) I picked up Annexed by Sharon Dogar, which I might love or hate, given my well-documented admiration for The Diary of a Young Girl.  I also chose The Man in the Picture by Susan Hill, because I'm a huge fan of The Picture of Dorian Gray.  Big shoes to fill in both these cases, I think!  And last but by no means least, another very recent addition to my wishlist, The Silent Land by Graham Joyce.  This is a wintry tale about a couple staying in a remote mountain village, who wake up to find everyone else has disappeared under an avalanche during the night.  Then creepy things start happening...  Sounds perfect for these cold nights!

On Wednesday I made the most of the sunshine and had a little wander into town before the bookshop opened for the day.  Besides the couple of Christmas bits and pieces I had yet to buy, I also bought another five books!  What can I say, I had to pass a charity shop AND a bookshop to get across town, I couldn't help myself! 

From the MIND charity shop, I picked up four titles.  The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood has been floating on and off my radar since the movie came out. I had Christopher Paolini's Eragon in hardback for a while, but I wanted something more portable really, so I picked up a shabby paperback copy.  I've never heard of The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton, but with a title like that how could I resist? And Flat Earth News by Nick Davies, a timely exposé of poor, deceitful and downright unpleasant journalistic methods, was actually on my library list but I couldn't find it on the shelves, so I was well chuffed to find a hardcover copy for a very reasonable £3.50!  Serendipity indeed.

From there I went down to the bookshop on the corner, because I'd heard that the old owners had retired and so I wanted to go say hi to the new people to *cough* 'remind them' that there was a second-hand bookshop down the road if anyone came in wanting out-of-print titles.  As a measure of goodwill, I picked up a copy of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, for next year's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Book Challenge.

Last up (for now)... we picked up our weekly batch of off-the-shelf charity shop books on Thursday morning, and that provided another book for my winter TBR pile.  I really enjoyed Morgan Spurlock's documentary film Super Size Me, so when I caught a glimpse of Don't Eat This Book as we sifted through the pile, I called dibs on it before it could make its way onto our shop shelves!  And for once, Mum said yes... :)

So, that's it for this week!  (She says, as if she's actually showed some restraint or something...)  I'm still waiting on a couple of Marketplace books, but they'll just have to wait until after Christmas now!  I'm not planning to sit putting together an IMM post on Christmas Day (unless the telly gets REALLY bad) so you'll all have to wait until the following week to see what I've been buying - and what Santa's left under the Christmas tree for me this year...  :)

What's in YOUR mailbox this wintry weekend?


  1. Sounds like you had a good time browsing Waterstones Ellie! Huge haul this week! Looking forward to seeing what santa brings for you ;)

  2. I really enjoyed Garlic & Sapphires and plan on reading more by Reichl.

  3. WOW- that's a lot of books! The Morgan Spurlock book looks really good- is it basically a wordish reprisal of Super Size Me, or is there more to it? Also, I'm so excited to do a Christmas IMM! (Although, like you, hopefully not on Christmas day...)

  4. Now I feel like I need to catch up! I've been really restrained this week.. I've actually not bought anything this week but it's taken huge amounts of willpower. I've declared next year the year without Amazon, so maybe I should just go nuts now...

  5. You must have huge arm muscles! How do you carry this much?! Respect where its due!

    I read 'Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell' earlier this year (after having it on my shelf for years) and really enjoyed it. It's worth every minute spent lamenting how heavy it is in your handbag!

    'Anno Dracula' sounds brilliant! I've never even heard of it before but will definitely be looking out for your review...and my own copy...

    Hope you enjoy them all! :)

  6. Whoa, you got a TON! I'm so jealous! I absolutely loved Charlie St.Cloud (both the book and the movie), so that's a great one :) I hope you enjoy all you got this week!

    Here's my IMM!

  7. i hadn't realized Jumper was a book!! loved the movie.

    Stop by my IMM?!

  8. Wow wonderful haul this week lots of new books to me that sound great I'll have to check them out on GR!

    Xpresso Reads

  9. Wow - what a haul I hope you enjoy them all!

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd OUt

  10. Woah! That's a lot of books! Looks like a good week :) I like Sophie Kinsella.

    Visit my IMM :

  11. The Life and Death of Charlie St Cloud is absolutely wonderful. I haven't seen the film yet because I'm not sure I could take having my heart broken again.

    Hey Ellie, I have an idea - why don't we talk about happy books some time soon? :P

    Yay for 20,000 Leagues! I've been keeping my eye out for the titles I need too :) I really liked this one though, but I did skip the fishy descriptions. I'm terrified of fish!

  12. Wow, lots of comments... Hi everyone!

    Jess - Me too! :P

    Morphy - I've heard really good things about this one (and also just found out they're making a movie) so I have high hopes!

    Laura - I'm not sure yet, but I'll try and get to it sooner rather than later so watch this space!

    Bex - Wow, that's willpower! I go totally mad at this time of year, it's ridiculous! I think I've bought enough over the last three weeks or so to last me the whole of 2012!

    Lit Addicted Brit - Practise, strong tote bags and careful packing! Can't wait to get stuck into this lot...

    Jessica - I'm glad I found it then! I wasn't even planning to go into that charity shop, it just sort-of happened on my way past and I found a handful of books I really wanted, so I'm well chuffed!

    Lindsay - I think I'd heard about it, vaguely, but I'd never actually seen a copy until this week. Hooray!

    Giselle - Thanks! Hope you find one or two that tickle your fancy. :)

    bookdout - I live in hope... Happy reading!

    Anjana - I've read a couple of Sophie Kinsellas now and enjoyed them, so I'll look forward to the next installment of Becky's exploits!

    Hanna - Warning heeded. Do Not Read This Book While Living In The House Because Someone Will Inevitably Catch You Sobbing. Got it. Oh, and I like fish, awww. Oh, AND I'm reading a happy(ish) Christmas book now. For kiddies. I'm hoping for seasonal joy and not more weeping. :D


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