June Book Haul

It’s been a while since I’ve let myself go crazy with buying books, but after my birthday last month I not only received money to buy some books, but also received plenty of actual books from friends. It seemed apt to have a little post to commemorate the 21st birthday book haul, and maybe introduce you to some books you may not have seen.

First: the stack.

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This, ladies and gentleman, is the mighty stack of books that make up this haul post. Seven of them were gifts and the rest were picked up by me, so we’ll go from top to bottom.

You can see that the first four books are much smaller that the others, and these are from the new Vintage Minis series from Penguin. The series is made up of books on subjects, everything from Babies and Swimming to Drugs and Death. They look beautiful as a collection and each one is written by an incredible author – and they’re all £3.50 each, so win-win. The ones that I decided to pick up were Liberty by Virginia Woolf, Desire by Haruki Murakami, Love by Jeanette Winterson, and Death by Julian Barnes. These are perfect insights to an array of subjects and will also give you a taste for the writing from these unbelievable authors. I’m especially interested in reading Winterson’s Mini, as I’m a fan of her Weight which I did for my dissertation, as well as reading something from Murakami, a very popular author who I’ve yet to read anything from.

Next on my pile is American Gods by Neil Gaiman which, spoiler, is not the only book that I’ve picked up from him. I absolutely adored Neverwhere, and have been thinking about reading something else from Neil Gaiman for a while. As there is now a TV show on the book, one that everyone adores, I figure that American Gods should be the next one I try to delve into – despite it being one hell of a chunky book.

I then picked up two books from J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye and Franny & Zooey. I’ve never read the first, a classic that everyone has heard of, and the latter has been recommended to me by some colleagues who say it is one of their favourite classics. As someone who is trying to read more classics, I thought these two would be good to pick up and have a try.

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Moving on to the books that were gifts by my brilliant friends who have excellent tastes (which is to be expected, as most of them are also booksellers). I received Hotel World by Ali Smith, an author I have been desperate to read something from for ages, so couldn’t be happier with this pick. The same friend also bought be Chess by Stefan Zweig and Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest, both of which I have already finished. Coming from someone who sometimes struggles with ‘classics’, which for me is not the same as ancient classics which I adore, Chess was perfect. As a novella, it was easy to digest and get through without feeling bogged down at any moment, but it by no means lacked in description or character development. Exquisitely crafted, this is definitely one I’ll be recommending to others in the future. If you read this blog, you’ll know that I recently tried milk and honey and didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped. Reading a poetry collection from Kate Tempest, however, showed me everything that I wanted from poetry and more. Especially considering that I adore ancient mythology, this collection is framed around Tiresias, a character from Greek mythology, and the messages and themes that it depicts were just stunning and perfect. I have definitely been won over.

Then we have How To Be Parisian, the perfect coffee-table book which I received, and I’m hoping it will make me more stylish (though I’m not holding my breath). I was then given another clothbound classic, which was Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys to add to my ever-growing collection.

After that, something I’m very excited about, is The Secret History by Donna Tartt, which was given to me – pretty much all of my colleagues and friends outside of the book industry have told me how amazing this book is and how much I’m going to love it, so I’m at once excited and nervous about picking it up. The final book I was given was Insomniac City by Bill Hayes, and whilst I’m usually not too good with non-fiction I have heard nothing but good things about this one, so I cannot wait.

Then, last but not least, I bought Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. As we all know, I absolutely adore all things mythology, but I haven’t had a chance to delve into norse mythology – until now. Considering how much of a fantastic writer Neil Gaiman is anyway, I’m sure that this book will be as entertaining as it is informative, so I can’t wait to start it.

And that brings me to the end of my June book haul! Let me know if you’ve read anything in this pile, or even if you have any more recommendations (preferably for books, but I’ll take what I can get).

If you haven’t already, you can always follow me on Goodreads if you’re interested to see what I’m reading (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/25185380-eleanor). Currently, I’m reading I Love Dick by Chris Kraus and the novelty has worn off, so I now feel very anxious reading it on public transport.

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Christmas Book Haul

I seem to have acquired quite a few books recently, thanks to Christmas presents and Christmas money that of course was immediately spent on more books. So I thought it would be fun to make a post about the various books I’ve received and what I’m planning to read next.

Starting with Christmas presents, one of my best friends gave me a two old editions of Euripides’ plays along with The Art of the Publisher by Roberto Calasso. It was such a thoughtful gift, especially considering the career I want to go into, and I can’t wait to read it. My parents bought me two books from the Penguin Clothbound Classics series, Paradise Lost and Dracula which I’m looking forward to add to the collection. (Although it was really difficult holding up these two with one hand, as they were both pretty hefty)

My parents also gave me the December Owlcrate box, which included Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst. I’ve only briefly read the blurb, but it sounds like it’s packed with adventure and action all about a princess who falls for another girl, and I’m so glad to see more books with LGBTQ+ characters as protagonists, instead of just secondary characters. I picked up a signed copy of Blood For Blood by Ryan Graudin at work, thanks to a late gift from my brother, as I adored the first book and can’t wait to see where this one goes.

Then with some Christmas money, I picked up these two beauties – Runemarks by Joanna M. Harris and Hot Milk by Deborah Levy. The latter I had been hoping to purchase for a while now, since it was nominated for the Man Booker 2016 prize, and when I saw a signed copy I immediately had to get it. I only know Joanna M. Harris through her book Chocolat, but the real reason I bought Runemarks was the absolutely stunning cover which not only was shiny and reminded me of stained glass, but it had a horse on the cover. I know. Incredible, isn’t it? I didn’t read the blurb until after buying it, and once again was lucky in discovering it was about mythology! Norse mythology, at that, which I can’t wait to read.

And finally, these two books were sent to me for review. I’m so excited to read Truthwitch by Susan Dennard as I’ve heard so many great things, and the Children of Jocasta by Natalie Haynes sounds like just my kind of book. It’s a reimagining of Oedipus and Antigone, the latter of which is my favourite Ancient Greek play, focussing on Jocasta (mother/wife to Oedipus and mother of Antigone) and Ismene (daughter of Jocasta and Oedipus, sister to Antigone). I’m looking forward to see what she does with these characters and where she’ll take the story.

And that’s it! A very exciting haul of books, and I want to read all of them immediately – not to mention that I’ve recently joined a feminist book club and our read for this month is Americanah by the legendary Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. As the sequel is coming out soon, Truthwitch will probably be my next pick followed by the Natalie Haynes, whilst reading Americanah and Paradise Lost for university as well. Normally I hate reading more than one book at the same time, but it’s become a must with university. Such is the hard life I lead with such difficult choices, but someone’s got to do it.

April Book Haul

It’s safe to say that working in a bookshop is very dangerous – and I mean very dangerous. Every shift you’re walking past book after book, watching people buy book after book, and lusting after every single one (the books, not the people – ugh, people).

I have to restrain myself from whipping out my discount card and money every time I go to work, but in April I caved and ended up buying four books. Only one of which that I was expecting.

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So first up we have the beautiful Temeraire by Naomi Novik, which I happened to finish last night (and that unfortunately means I just missed out on adding it to my book count for April, which is pretty dismal). This is the book I was expecting to buy, as a little treat to myself. As you all know from my review of Novik’s Uprooted, I was desperate to read more of her work – especially when I found out that it was about dragons. Dragons, people. This, actually brings us to the next purchase.

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A colleague of mine was with me when I picked up Temeraire, which they hadn’t heard of, but a dragon book they absolutely adored was A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan. Apparently a victorian-esque scientific journal, with a witty strong female protagonist – how could I say no?

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Now this one I blame entirely on the fact that my friend wouldn’t stop going on about how much she loved it along with the fact that it was a special, signed edition. How can you say no to an exclusive signed edition? I certainly don’t know how you do it, which is why I ended up grabbing The Bricks that Built the Houses by Kate Tempest, known a lot for her poetry and spoken word.

Now, we get to the one that is pretty embarrassing. And not in reference to the book, but for the reasons I took it. You can probably guess from the picture.

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I mean COME ON, how the hell are you supposed to resist that cover? LOOK AT IT. It’s beautiful, it’s shiny, it has a tribal wolf design on it, swirly funky old-school lettering, and the spine of the actual book is just perfection. I saw it during my shift and, no shame, grabbed it immediately without even reading what it was about. The Tiger and the Wolf, as I have now looked up, is in fact about clans that can shape-shift into animals, and our main character can shift, uniquely, into two (no points for guessing which two animals). As a die-hard Jacob fan from the Twilight saga, this luckily does appeal to me. Heck, even if it didn’t I’d still be happy – just look at that cover, damnit.

And so concludes my mini book buying splurge. Next post up will be my appalling April Wrap Up, and essay and exam season has definitely hit. I think The Tiger and the Wolf has also inspired a post about book covers and how really they do matter, not matter what we like to tell ourselves. Anyway, hope you’re all well and keep reading – book suggestions welcome, but also don’t make me want to buy any more books. Please. My purse hurts.

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