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Saturday, 24 May 2014

Me and Hanna go shopping... again...

Hello, hello....  So, this is a rather late post about the books I bought when Hanna and I met up to go shopping the other week.  You may remember that last time the two of us met up near me I managed to buy a whopping 29 books and thoroughly exhausted myself AND Hanna in the process.  Thankfully this time I managed to rein it in a bit - to 11 books and a DVD - though that may have had more to do with the shorter shopping day than my own willpower.  Also, there were a few books I liked the look of in WH Smith, but they were FILTHY.  The tops were dirty, the covers felt all grimy...  It's not even like the shop's on a road (we had that problem on some of our shelves from time to time) - the bookshelves are set back from the door, and the shop itself is in an undercover precinct - so there was really no reason for every shelf to be filled with grubby paperbacks.  Very strange, I'm sure it wasn't like that last time...  ANYWAY.  Here's what I DID buy.

After a fortifying stop at Caffé Nero (the rapidly-becoming-traditional start to our shopping day, so that we're all fuelled up and caught up and also Hanna can tell me about all the crappier books she's read recently so I don't have to buy them), we hit the precinct to start book hunting.  As I've already mentioned, WHS proved disappointing, so no books there this time; instead, my shopping started in the Bargain Book Time remainder shop, where I picked up Balthazar Jones and the Tower of London Zoo by Julia Stuart for a bargainous £1.  Well, Hanna picked it up and made me buy it.  Same difference.  :P 

In the little British Heart Foundation shop, where last time we met up Hanna got very irate at me for buying a shite book, and traumatised a volunteer with her Bad Book Wrath, we instead managed to befriend a lady who was very keen to tell us aaaaaaall about her penchant for Brad Pitt and depressing movies.  While said lady satisfied both urges by buying The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on DVD, I won her approval by picking up Fight Club on DVD, and also a pristine copy of The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury.  At least, it WAS pristine, until I made the stupid decision to walk back through town and catch the bus at the end of the day instead of just getting in a taxi at the train station... and got caught in a torrential downpour.  For 25 minutes.  On a temporary bus stop with no shelter.  Sadly, the book wound up looking like this:

I had to wedge it in a drawer while it was still soggy, then later hung it AND Balthazar Jones over my clothes airer in front of the radiator to try to fan the pages out to dry without them all sticking together.  Fortunately my other, pricier books were inside plastic carrier bags which I'd THEN tucked into my canvas tote, rather than shoved straight in there unprotected like these two.  I normally hate asking for a carrier when I've got a tote with me, but I'm glad I did!  Otherwise I'd have had a lot of ruined full-price Waterstones buys to show for my day out.  *has heart palpitations at the mere thought*
I ended up buying three books from The Works this time around.  I didn't quite manage to fulfil the 3-for-£5 deal, but did buy two books from that shelf anyway for a tiny £1.99 each: Skarlet by Thomas Emson, which one of my favourite customers at the bookshop highly recommended, and Split Second by Sophie McKenzie, a book about a young man and a young woman brought together in the aftermath of a terrorist attack on London - only it seems that the boy, Nat, may in fact have had some involvement in or prior knowledge of the bomb plot.  I was really surprised to see this book remaindered already, because it only came out at the end of March, so I didn't hesitate to snap it up for such a crazy price!  My last book was Love and Death: The Murder of Kurt Cobain by Ian Halperin and Max Wallace.  I think it's a more definitive follow-up to their previous book Who Killed Kurt Cobain? which I've got but haven't read yet.  What can I say, it's Cobain-related, and I can't resist a so-crazy-it's-almost-plausible conspiracy theory.  Should be an interesting read, if nothing else!
My last few books are all from Waterstones.  I had a £10 gift card from the lovely Katie to spend (THANK YOU KATIE I LOVE YOU!) plus a mental budget of my own, and therefore spent lots of time picking up books, sitting in a corner looking at them, getting in elderly people's way, and then putting many of them back again, all in the name of Choosing Wisely.  Several of the books I put back are now on my birthday wishlist (which I tend to buy a couple of things from with my birthday money afterwards too), so I'm sure I'll acquire them fairly soon anyway, one way or another!
One of the books I definitely knew I wanted to buy was Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes.  Not only does it have one of the best, most strikingly simple cover designs I've seen in ages, but it looks really good in hardback and sounds fascinating.  Basically it's about Hitler waking up in modern Berlin and quickly becoming a viral media sensation as he goes about trying to bring back his vision of a perfect Germany. Hanna bought it too and has already read, reviewed and loved it, so go read her take on it to find out more!  I balanced this out a bit with Elie Wiesel's Holocaust memoir Night, which I'd had my eye on for a while.  £8.99 is a lot for such a tiny book, but it was time...
I picked up the beautiful new Vintage edition of Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, inspired in part by Bex's current happy reading of the series.  I read and reread the first book over and over as a child, and later read a few more of the series from my school library, so it'll be lovely to read it again as an adult.  And not just for the hilariously-named Able-Seaman Titty... *snorts in a most unladylike manner*  Next up was A Clockwork Orange, which I really wanted to read and which my fellow cult novel junkie RGsDevilship loved and assured me was more accessible than it looks (watch her review here); I was still a bit apprehensive about the slang so I really wanted this restored edition with the glossary in the back, just in case!
And finally, two books from the Buy One Get One Half Price tables, which MAAAAAN caused a lot of angst on my part.  I thought Hanna was going to hit me round the head with a cookbook just to get me away from there already!  I'd already picked up The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves by Stephen Grosz, which is about psychiatry, has been in the Times bestseller chart for months, and has rave reviews on Amazon.  After that things went downhill as I tried to decide what to buy to go with it - a YA novel?  An adult novel new out in paperback?  Something non-fiction?  Hanna wouldn't let me buy the book about bumblebees, even though I like bee books (Robbing the Bees, A World Without Bees...), because 'You won't read it!' (*blows raspberry and sulks in a corner until the time inevitably comes when she caves and buys the bee book anyway*), and I wasn't sure about the Ruby Wax mental health book or the new Dave Eggers, so... in the end I went for Love, Nina: Despatches from Family Life by Nina Stibbe, which has also had a lot of hype and general good buzz recently.  It's a book of letters written by the young Nina - a London nanny in the 1980s - home to her family, describing her new life, her utter failure at domestic tasks, as well as the interesting visitors to the household.  I've heard Alan Bennett features highly and hilariously, which bodes well...
Aaand that's it!  We had a lovely day, complete with much imbibing of delicious hot beverages (and one cookie), dodging rain showers and poring over book choices.  The running theme being, "Oh yes, I've got that... but I haven't read it yet.  It's on my 'to read soon' pile though!"  (This became so repetitive that it nearly earned me another clobber with that cookbook by the end of the day!)  And yes, I got soaked, and two of my books suffered for it... but it was worth it.  As always!  :)
I'll be back with another book/birthday haul at the end of the month - I turn 27 on Thursday, eek! - but in the meantime, have you read any of these?  Which do you recommend most?  Tell me aaaaall about it in the comments...


  1. LOOK AT ALL THE BOOKS! :) :) I've noticed "Look Who's Back" since it first got published, but I'm not sure whether I could handle a novel from Hitler's point of view. It has a great cover, though.

    I'd set Friday aside for book shopping this week, and it was pouring down with rain, so I thought I'd have to postpone because of the same canvas book-bag problem. I wasn't sure even plastic carrier bags would quite protect my purchases. Luckily it cleared up by about 2, and I got what I wanted. I intend to show them off in a Sunday Summary post this afternoon. Not as impressive as your book haul, but I was happy nonetheless.

    I shall be in Derbyshire for a couple of days at the end of June (25th and 26th) if you want to meet up and go on another book splurge - although I've a sneaky suspicion that's when you're on holiday too.

    1. Yes, I'm on holiday from 21st or so... dammit! Oh well, next time... or maybe I'll have to come on a second holiday to the Isle of Wight or something. :P

      I was definitely worried that the plastic bags might not have been enough, but fortunately I'd kind of wrapped them around themselves neatly to fit everything in the one tote bag. It was still a bit of a nervous moment though, unpacking them, just in case they'd been soaked somehow en route home. I didn't mind with the £1-2 books, but when I've paid £10 for one I'd rather it didn't arrive home looking like I've dropped it in the bath! I shall await your post with due eagerness...

      And yes, I'm really looking forward to Look Who's Back. It's such a clever yet simple idea (and a clever yet simple cover), and Hanna enjoyed it, so I have high hopes! I think it could have some very interesting perspectives on our modern life...

  2. Yay, I love the pretty edition of Swallows and Amazons! :-D Awesome book shopping. We must all meet up again soon, although it might have to be after summer what with baby having and my sister getting married in August and stuff... so November? We can make it an annual November thing :-p

    1. It IS lovely, isn't it? I've had my eye on it since before it even came out, back when I first started looking at pretty editions I might want to rebuy at some point. November works for me, currently at any rate... not too hot for shopping, not too busy for city time... Plus a little recovery time for you after all the Life Milestone shizzle happening over the summer. Babies! Weddings! :)

  3. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, adventures with Hanna! These are my favourite kind of posts. I feel you with the 'I have that, but I haven't read it yet' nature of book shopping, cause every time I go into waterstones, I look at one of their tables and go 'yep... I have all of you. Gooood books' only probably less creepily.

    ALSO I got The Examined Life as a Kindle Daily Deal (99p, Ellie!) without realising it was a times best seller and whatnot, so that definitely makes it seem more exciting!

    1. Oh god yes, I do that in Waterstones! And The Works, even more so, because their stock doesn't rotate so much. That's why I try not to go in TOO often, so at least everything's been mixed around again so I have new books to explore and stroke and generally ogle like some sort of... bookish sex pest. If there is such a thing. If there is I AM ONE. #noshame

      Ahhh yes, if there's one thing I miss about the Kindle it's the thrill of getting brand new bestsellers for 99p. Only, I'd never have read it, because it was just a name on a list in a file, whereas NOW with a real shiny copy, it can sit and wave at me every time I go past and therefore I WILL READ IT. Such is the way of my reading life. I hope we both enjoy it, it has SUCH good buzz and looks easier to read than I expected too, which is always a bonus when it's hot and hayfevery weather. :)

    2. 'Adventures with Hanna.' I feel that that would be an incredibly boring book series.

    3. Not if you made it some kind of crime novel series, with a sassy beheeled protagonist and a disgraceful amount of clever literary references. I'm just sayin'... I would read that. :P

    4. I've just seen this... but that would be INCREDIBLE.

  4. I'm paranoid that your birthday present is in the clutches of Amazon's own delivery people. It may come by pigeon or hedgehog or a scary drone. Who knows. Please let me know when you get it though (providing I wrote who it was from on there...I think I did).

    1. OMIGOD AMAZON DOES HEDGEHOG DELIVERY?! I would quite like to get a drone delivery, just once. I'd feel like I was in a Terminator movie. After that, no, because I'd probably have nightmares. :(

      You sent me a birthday present! Awww, Other Ellie... *smushes* I do have two Amazon packages sitting here right now, which I'm not opening until Thursday; they arrived on Saturday so I'm ASSUMING they're birthday presents since I haven't ordered anything myself. Yet. :P

  5. I have not read any of the books that you got, shame on me! They all look so excellent though. I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I have also never seen Fight Club either. What rock have I been under?!
    Love, Nina is one I had not previously heard of before your post, but I am super excited for that one as I used to be a nanny myself and I have a feeling I will be able to relate quite a bit to this book!

    1. I only watched Fight Club a year or two ago - it was worth it though, such an interesting movie! And there was only ONE moment that made me go "Ewww, so glad I'm not eating dinner right now..." which surprised me a bit because, y'know, PALAHNIUK. :)

      Love, Nina sounds so whimsical yet hilarious, so I'm HOPING it'll be kind of like Helene Hanff's 84 Charing Cross Road, only with children instead of books! Maybe a good one to take on holiday this year, we'll see...

  6. Funnily enough, I was in Waterstones over the weekend and there was a woman in front of me at the till, complaining to the cashier clerk that she always uses Waterstones because the books are so dirty at Smiths. Clearly it's not just a Chesterfield thing. Maybe it's due to the layout of their storeroom? If Head Office doesn't invest in carpet or their delivery boxes are left outside or something.

    Well, Hanna picked it up and made me buy it. Same difference. :P
    Well, yes. As you protested SO HARD!

    We always end up talking to people in BHF, don't we? At least the lady admitted that she liked depressi ng films because, seriously, she did. Benjamin Button? Come on.

    Oh God, you really did get soaked! And I thought I was miserable!

    PLEEEEEAAAASE read the Hitler book! I want to talk to somebody about it! Plus, you found it, so technically you have to :)


    I love that you have more free time now :) We can see each other more often!

    1. Huh, well... there we go then! I don't remember the books being so grimy last time we went though, or I wouldn't have bought anything from there. How strange...

      I did not protest at all, you're right. I know you've read books about the Tower of London Zoo and enjoyed them, and it was only £1, so I could hardly NOT buy it could I? There was no logical argument to be made.

      I haven't seen Benjamin Button but it SOUNDS depressing as hell. I'd probably have bought it myself if she hadn't, just to give it a watch!

      I got super-soaked, yes. It started raining somewhere around the top end of Vicar Lane on my way back down through town, and I was on the shelterless open bus stop for a good 25 minutes or more before the bus showed up. It was thunder-type rain, so there was no getting away from it. You know it's bad when you're wearing a coat but you still feel water trickling down INSIDE YOUR BRA where your clothes are so saturated they can't hold any more water. Hence... dead books at the bottom of the cloth bag. Poor books. :(

      I will read the Hitler novel soon, I promise. AND I WILL READ THE BEE BOOK, JUST LIKE I READ THE OTHER BEE BOOKS. I now have that pretty novel The Bees which we didn't buy, but which looked super-beautiful in hardback and which I got for my birthday. I also have The Hive by Bee Wilson (no, really), another non-fiction book, so the bumblebee one will fit right in. AND I SHALL INFORM YOU LOUDLY AND TRIUMPHANTLY WHEN I READ THEM, JUST TO BE FACETIOUS. :D

      Free time is good. We should definitely see each other more often now that I'm... y'know, in a mood conducive to leaving the house and doing things. It's always so much fun, apart from the bit at the train station where we're always like "No, YOU leave first!" so we need to do it more while we have chance. Y'know, before I have to get a job or something. :P

  7. Firstly, it's nearly Thursday which means HAPPY BIRTHDAY for tomorrow! I hope you have the bestest day. Well, with these new additions, how could you not?! Swallows and Amazons and the Able-Seaman Titty has been a long-standing joke within my family. I always laugh so hard when my brother says 'Titty was an able seaman'. I am an adult, I promise. Anyway, enjoy your new purchases!

    1. Able Seaman Titty and Roger the Cabin Boy... aaaaah, nostalgia is so much fun when it secretly sounds like a bad porn film. I had a good day, albeit a busy one, thank you - a GOOD psych appointment (hallelujah!), a grandparental visit, a delicious Indian takeaway, and a few pages of my book before bed. The last few days have been a bit busy, actually, so I think tomorrow will be my unofficial 'day off' for reading and watching a movie and eating a SHIT TON of chocolate cake. :D

      P.S. You are very much discouraged from being an adult. It's overrated anyway. :P


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