Category Archives: New books

New books: September 2015

[This post was typed up in October, but I haven’t got round to posting it. Some of the things that I say in it are out-of-date by now, but I’m leaving the post as it was written. I’ll add the amendments at the bottom and maybe elaborate in a subsequent post.]


September threw up an unexpected surprise, as well as an unexpected sadness. I was going to do a separate post on both of these at the time, but didn’t get chance to, and it seems a tad pointless now. Anyhoo.

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  • Edmund White –  Chaos*
  • Valeria Parrella –  For Grace Received: Four Stories of Modern Naples*
  • Antoine Francois Prevost –  Manon Lescaut*
  • Todd Solondz –  Storytelling*
  • Malcolm Bradbury –  Inside Trading*
  • Gavin Young –  Something of Samoa**
  • Imme Dros –  Annelie in the Depths of the Night*
  • Philip Gross –  Marginaliens*
  • Sylvia Plath –  Collected Poems*
  • Marivaux –  The Game of Love and Chance*

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  • Nathaniel West –  The Day of the Locust.    50p
  • Thomas de Quincey –  Confessions of an English Opium Eater.    99p
  • Virginia Woolf –  Orlando
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez-  Love in the Time of Cholera***  –  In Evil Hour  –  Chronicle of a Death Foretold
  • Jon McGregor-  so many ways to begin***
  • Charles Dickens –  Martin Chuzzlewit***
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  • Thomas de Quincy –  On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts.    80p
  • Charles Dickens –  The Signalman: A Ghost Story.    £1.99
  • Pu Singling –  Wailing Ghosts.    80p

* 20p

** 10p

*** Library book sale

Now the sad news. All of the books in the first picture were from Webberley’s, which we learnt over the summer is to close in the new year. Webberley’s is the only independent book shop in the city that sells new books (we have several second hand bookshops), and so will be a big, big loss to the city when it closes. On the plus side, there may be another sale… No, I think I’d prefer to have the bookshop still open rather than a few more bargains.

However, some good news that I wasn’t expecting this month. I knew that following the publication of ‘Autobiography’, Morrissey was working on his first novel. However, I only learnt on about the 21st that this was to be published on the 24th, so we rushed to Amazon to place an order. Yes, I know we should have gone to an independent bookshop (or at least Waterstones), but… we can be fickle. I read a few reviews of this on the day it came out, and was slightly surprised that they were so negative. I’d expected there would be some that were less-than-glowing (coz, hey, it’s Moz, and the British press love to hate him just because he is), but was shocked by just how scathing they were. This has coloured my opinion somewhat even before I read it, which I wish it hadn’t. I want to be impartial, or at least not be negatively influenced from the outset. We’ll just have to wait and see.

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[Since this post was originally written, Webberley’s has closed (mid-Jan.), and I read ‘List of the Lost’ (Nov?). Despite the rather unnatural dialogue, I didn’t think it was that bad. There are some wonderful turns of phrase in it, and the ending is actually quite shocking, even if the plot is a tad odd. I do hope he writes more, even if it is just to write a novel that is on the same level as the sublime ‘Autobiography’. I’ll do a full review eventually, but will definitely re-read it, as there are things to pull out of it with repeated readings.]

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New books: August

Now, I can’t put prices on these as I can’t recall how much I paid for some of them. However, brace yourselves. There’s a few.

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  • Victor Hugo –  Notre-Dame de Paris     50p
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald –  The Collected Short Stories     50p
  • Evan S. Connell –  Mrs Bridge     99p
  • Patrick Hamilton –  Hangover Square     99p
  • E. M. Forster –  The Obelisk     £1.49
  • Evelyn Waugh –  Vile Bodies     99p
  • Robert James Waller – The Bridges of Madison County     20p
  • Mary Shelley – Frankenstein The 1818 Text     20p
  • Roald Dahl –  The Enormous Crocodile     50p
  • Seth MacFarlane –  A Million Ways to Die in the West
  • Donald Barthelme –  Sixty Stories
  • Christopher Marlowe –  The Plays

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  • Apollodorus –  The Library of Greek Mythology
  • Herodotus –  The Histories

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  • John Kinsella –  Shades of the Sublime & Beautiful
  • William Congreve –  Incognita
  • Three Revenge Tragedies
  • Anne Fadiman –  Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader
  • Brian Friel –  Translations     –     Making History
  • Edwin Morgan –  The Play of Gilgamesh
  • Beaumarchais –  The Marriage of Figaro

These seven were all from the book sale at Webberley’s, the bookshop I mentioned in the July books post.

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  • Jeffrey Brown –  Star Wars: Jedi Academy

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  • Jane Austen –  Mansfield Park
  • Jules Verne –  Around the World in Eighty Days
  • Edward Bellamy – Looking Backward

Now, the reason that I never got this post up in August or September was because in late August I ordered a number of William S. Burroughs books off eBay and Amazon, and Royal Mail being what it is, these took a while to arrive. However, there should have been another book arriving that never did, and it was waiting for this one that held me up. We contacted the seller after several weeks, and they sent another out. However, as I type this, I’m still waiting for either copy to turn up. Luckily, we were able to get our money back, but I was a little bit pissed about it.

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  • William S. Burroughs –  Naked Lunch     –     The Yage Letters Redux     –     Cities of the Red Night     –     The Burroughs File     –     The Western Lands     –     My Education: A Book of Dreams     –     Last Words: The Final Journals of William Burroughs

A slightly pedantic point: the edition of ‘Naked Lunch’ shown here isn’t actually the one that I ordered. The one I ordered was the one from the same series as ‘Last Words’ and the copies of ‘The Soft Machine’, ‘The Ticket that Exploded’ and ‘The Place of Dead Roads’ that I got from Oxford back in June. My wife says that she prefers this cover that came, but I’m not too sure.

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My book collection: Ted Hughes

I mentioned a number of blog posts ago that I’ve been going on a bit of a Ted Hughes blitz in recent months. This is due to the fact that (despite what some other bloggers and literary fans may think of him) I adore his work. You may wonder why I don’t bother just getting the collected poems, collected poems for children and other such books, but there’s a few reasons for this:

  1. I already have a good few of his books, and so don’t want these to become redundant
  2. I much prefer reading individual volumes of poems, rather than finding collections in a collected works. They are so much more convenient- they can be taken on the bus and slipped into a bag or a pocket
  3. Ted Hughes’ Collected Poems is notoriously confusing to work through, as poems are rejiggled between collections and sequences to reflect the interesting publishing history of his texts.
  4. Hey- I like books, so the more the merrier.

I may still get the collected poems for the several hundred uncollected poems that this contains, but not at any time soon.

Here are the few (…) I’ve picked up over the last few months:

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  • Meet My Folks!
  • How the Whale Became and other stories
  • Nessie the Mannerless Monster
  • The Iron Man
  • Collected Plays for Children
  • Season Songs
  • Moon Whales
  • What is the Truth?
  • Ffangs the Vampire Bat and the Kiss of Truth
  • Flowers and Insects
  • The Cat and the Cuckoo
  • Tales of the Early World
  • The Iron Woman
  • The Dreamfighter and Other Creation Tales
  • Difficulties of a Bridegroom: Collected Short Stories
  • The Iron Wolf
  • Frank Wedekind – Spring Awakening
  • Jean Racine – Phedre

All of these were off ebay or Amazon, except two: The Iron Man was picked up from a charity shop for 70p, and has the original illustrations by George Adamson, rather than the Andrew Davidson illustrations that are used in the subsequent reissues (including the one I picked up last year); The Iron Woman (the companion reissue edition to The Iron Man) was found in The Last Bookshop when I went down to Oxford back in June for that conference.

A few other points. Difficulties of a Bridegroom actually contains all of the prose from the wonderful collection Wodwo, along with three other stories, and it’s these I bought it for, as I already have the other six in the parent book. It’s also a bit of a bugger to find online cheap. Moon Whales (in this edition, not the original American release), The Iron Wolf (a collection of animal poems written for children, collecting several shorter volumes) and Ffangs… are all gloriously illustrated by the fantastic Chris Riddell, and are worth getting for this point alone. The animal poems and Ffangs… are also quite good books. Moon Whales isn’t great, I must admit. I am not a big fan of when Hughes tried to rhyme, as much sounds too contrived and a bit clunky. Flowers and Insects is an interesting one, as it has never been properly reissued by Faber (except in the Collected Poems) and has never been issued in paperback. It contains some bloody awful watercolours by Leonard Baskin, whose otherwise magical line drawings graced the covers and pages of Crow, the first issue of Moon Whales, Gaudete, Cave Birds and Moortown. However, the layout of the book is also a shambles, with pictures being sliced, repasted oddly, printed more than once, or just generally reproduced badly.

Lastly, The Cat and the Cuckoo is not published by Faber, and was a nice find on ebay, but my copy is somewhat let down by the foxing on the endpages, which doesn’t make it an overly approachable volume. The poems are all (except one) in The Iron Wolf, but this edition is worth having just for the illustrations by R. J. Lloyd.

Now, for completeness I’m missing a number of his plays, as well as the individual 2011 reissues of the original versions of Remains of Elmet and River (before they were annoyingly rehashed for Three Books), but here is my Ted Hughes collection as it presently stands:

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Not a shelfie as such, but enough shelf porn to keep me going!

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New books: July

I promise that I will give up buying books for a while now after this month. Having no shelving as of yet for books means that I just keep piling ‘em up and hoping that they will fit somewhere when we move, and I can’t keep on. However, this month has seen me tempted terribly by both pretty classics (Penguin and Oxford, I’m looking at you), and a ridiculous book sale in the only independent bookshop left in Stoke-on-Trent. It would be bad not to patronise them when they have a sale on, surely?

Webberley's Bookshop

Webberley’s Bookshop

All but five of the following books were from the sale, bought over four visits.

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  • Allen Ginsberg – Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems £2.99
  • Daljit Nagra – Look we have coming to Dover!*
  • Thomas Hardy – Wessex Poems*
  • Ian Duhig – The Speed of Dark*
  • Maurice Riordan – Floods*

The Ginsberg was spied in the Oxfam on Turl Street in the centre of Oxford when I went down at the start of the month with a group of Y10 and ex-Y11 students from work for a two-day (one night) residential at my college, St. Hugh’s. I did visit The Last Bookshop (as mentioned in a previous book-haul post), but didn’t come away with anything from there.

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  • Federico Garcia Lorca – The House of Bernarda Alba and Other Plays*
  • Sophocles – The Theban Plays**
  • Bertolt Brecht – The Good Woman of Setzuan*
  • William Shakespeare – Love’s Labour’s Lost*          –               Four Comedies : The Taming of the Shrew – A Midsummer Night’s Dream – As You Like It – Twelfth Night*            –               Anthony and Cleopatra**
  • Oscar Wilde – A Woman of No Importance*           –               Salome*

I already own a copy of the Sophocles plays (the Oedipus trilogy) in a Robert Fagles translation, but this is a different translation, which I thought would be interesting to compare it with. Also it’s a nice Penguin Classics edition.

In the same way, I already own a copy of The Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night, but for the price I thought it daft not to get this four-in-one text; it works out at 5p a play. Also, it frees up some room, as the four-in-one take up far less room than my copies of those two plays do individually.

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  • Sivadasa – The Five-and-Twenty Tales of the Genie***
  • The Tain***
  • William Beckford – Vathek**
  • W. Somerset Maugham – Liza of Lambeth*
  • Colette – Cheri**
  • Jane Austen – Emma***
  • Henry James – Washington Square**
  • Henry Mackenzie – The Man of Feeling**

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  • Laura Schwartz – A Serious Endeavour: Gender, education and community at St. Hugh’s, 1886-2011             £10
  • Philip Ardagh – The Archaeologist’s Handbook**
  • Tracey Turner – Foul Facts from the Perilous Past**
  • Richard Mackay – The Atlas of Endangered Species***

The first of these was also bought when I was down in Oxford, from St. Hugh’s College itself. It was written for the 125th anniversary of the college in 2011, but I never got a copy when I was actually studying. The other three of these are for use at work.

Now, the next book (I hope) speaks for itself:

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How ACE. This was also from the book sale (**)

Now, lastly, these weren’t:

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  • Virginia Woolf – The Lady in the Looking-Glass**
  • Voltaire – Candide and Other Stories         99p
  • Marcel Mauss – The Gift £1.49

The Gift is one of the key texts that I used at Uni, and which I’ve meant to get my own copy of ever since I was studying. Also, on the subject of this book (and more specifically it’s author), our youngest son has a toy mouse that we’ve named Marcel. Only us…

Now- NO MORE BOOK BUYING!


* 20p

** 50p

*** £1

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New books: June

…and for this month’s books:

June books 1

  • Robert Louis Stevenson –  Treasure Island
  • John Osborne –  Look Back in Anger
  • Oscar Wilde –  The Importance of Being Earnest
  • Thomas Kyd –  The Spanish Tragedy
  • Oliver Goldsmith –  She Stoops to Conquer

These all came from a colleague at work who teaches in the English department, and who was offloading many of her university texts on the school library. I had first dibs on any that weren’t wanted for the students, and so I picked these few. Free books are greatly appreciated!

Now these ones I did have to pay for:

June books 2

  • John Milton –  The Portable Milton     50p
  • Andrew Motion –  Selected Poems 1976-1997     50p
  • Karel Capek –  Rossum’s Universal Robots     £2.50
  • William Golding –  The Double Tongue     £2.50
  • Kurt Vonnegut –  Breakfast of Champions  –  Armageddon in Retrospect     £2.50 each
  • William S. Burroughs –  The Soft Machine  –  The Ticket that Exploded  –  The Place of Dead Roads     £2.50 each

A few points- I already have a copy of Paradise Lost with extensive notes, and the Milton text here is a rather hefty tome, but it contains pretty much all of the poetry that he wrote, including Paradise Regained, so I thought it a worth-while purchase.

The Motion selection is also of note, as it adds to my collection of signed poetry books that I’ve managed to pick up cheap. I’ve already got two Simon Armitage and a Wendy Cope book signed.

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Ta-dah. Not bad for 50p.

Lastly, the last seven books were all picked up a few weeks back when I went down to Oxford for the day for a work conference. It’s the first time I’ve been back since the graduation in September 2013, so that was nice (even though it rained most of the time I was there), and I managed to nip to a favourite bookshop of mine. There’s a shop there called The Last Bookshop, which used to sell everything for £2, and which had quite a good run on academic texts, Faber poetry and classics. I spent  small fortune in there over the three years of my degree. It looks like it’s now under new management, and everything is now £3, but they do a nice ‘2-for-£5’ deal that led to me buying quite a few. Hopefully I can call in when I’m down again for work in the next few days!

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New books: May

Yep. I’m behind again. I’ve still got book reviews to type, and a few archaeology and anthropology posts to do. Will I ever get round to them? Perhaps not. For now, May’s books:

May books

  • Bob Dylan –  Tarantula     50p
  • Roald Dahl –  Rhyme Stew     50p
  • J.B.Priestley –  An Inspector Calls and Other Plays     £2.99
  • William Shakespeare –  Julius Caesar     20p
  • Bret Easton Ellis –  American Psycho     50p

I also picked up this:

Me, somewhat surprised with myself. I mean, come on- it's shit, isn't it? ...Isn't it...?

Me, somewhat surprised with myself. I mean, come on- it’s shit, isn’t it?

Don’t shoot me- I know it is shite, and just a cursory glance across the text and its grainy b&w plates reinforces the level of pseudo-archaeological, cod-scientific bull crap that it contains, but it is the book that got my Tutor at Oxford into archaeology, and I thought it worth buying just for that, and the comedy value. It was also only 50p. Expect a scathing deconstruction of this at some point, as I do intend on reading it soon.

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New books: February/March/April

I didn’t see the point in putting a new books post up for these months individually, as I’ve only had one or two each month. They’d have been pretty pointless posts. So the combined haul is as follows:

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  • Jack Kerouac – On the Road: The Original Scroll     £3
  • Aesop – Aesop’s Fables     99p
  • Ken Kesey – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest     50p
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky – Notes from the Underground        25p (library sale)
  • Yevgeny Zamyatin – We      25p (library sale)
  • Fred Wander – The Seventh Well      25p (library sale)
  • L. Frank Baum – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz      75p

I mentioned in my review of On the Road that I was interested in reading the unedited version, so the discovery of this in a Waterstones’ sale was quite nice. Also, you may notice from a previous post that I already have a Penguin Classics version of We. However, I read this recently (expect the review at some point in 2017…) and couldn’t follow it too easily, so wondered whether a different translation may help.

Also, Penguin have recently released a series of ‘Little Black Classics’ as per their previous small classics ranges for notable Penguin anniversaries, and I’ve had a few of these (all 80p each). I’m sure you can read the titles for yourself:

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Lastly, I have had more books than this over the past few months. I’ve purchased two poetry that I’ve forgotten to photograph:

    • Seamus Heaney – District and Circle
    • Simon ArmitageTyrannosaurus Rex versus The Corduroy Kid

Along with these (and after these) I’ve also bought quite a number of Ted Hughes books to try and complete my collection. These have all come off eBay and the tax paradise of Amazon, but I’m still waiting for a few more to arrive, so will do a separate post on all of these in due course (privatised Royal Mail permitting).

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New books: January

A bit late, but here’s January’s haul:

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  • Jerome K. Jerome –  Three Men in a Boat     £1.49
  • Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn –  A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovic     99p
  • Angela Carter –  The Bloody Chamber     49p
  • Douglas Adams –  The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy     49p
  • Dante –  New Life     50p
  • Anthony Trollope –  The Warden     50p
  • Richard Adams –  Watership Down     50p
  • Edgar Allan Poe –  The Works of Edgar Allan Poe     25p

You may (or more likely) may not notice that I do already own copies of the Jerome and D. Adams books (seen on posts here and here), but these new copies are better: the first is an interesting Penguin Classics edition, with notes and an introduction, and the second is not the film tie-in edition with added photos and interviews, so is shorter and thus takes up less space.

Now, I also had two other books:

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I will expand upon these in my next post!

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New books: December and CHRISTMAS!

There’s quite a few to be getting on with here! First of all, those bought over the course of December:

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  • Kurt Vonnegut –  Slaughterhouse 5     25p
  • Louis de Bernieres –  Red Dog     25p
  • Penelope Lively –  Treasures of Time     25p
  • Brendan O’Carroll –  The Chisellers     25p
  • Andrew Shail & Robin Stoate –  BFI Film Classics: Back to the Future     50p
  • Niccolo Machiavelli –  The Prince     50p
  • Frank Parkin –  Past Masters: Durkheim     50p
  • Tom Baker –  The Boy Who Kicked Pigs     50p

The first four books were from a library sale, and I do already have a copy of the Vonnegut book, which I had for free from my Sixth Form when they were clearing out their library. However, this copy here is a lot better, so for the price I thought it worth ‘upgrading’. Also, I never realised that Tom Baker (i.e. The Fourth Doctor) had written a children’s book. Oh, here I could go off on a ‘children’s literature as adult literature’ rant, but I won’t.

Now for Christmas! I hope you all had a goodtime, and here are some of my new books:

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  • Carol Ann Duffy –  The Christmas Truce     –     Dorothy Wordsworth’s Christmas Birthday
  • In Flanders Fields: Poems of the First World War
  • Russell Brand –  The Pied Piper of Hamelin

The WWI book is a rather nice copy, in a slip case, and the Russell Brand book is a (whisper it!) children’s book, but also illustrated by Chris Riddell, one of my favourite illustrators.

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  • The Jedi Path
  • Book of Sith
  • The Bounty Hunter Code

Yep, I like Star Wars. In fact, I really like Star Wars. And these are rather indulgent books, made to look like they’re written by various characters, and annotated by others.

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  • Brian May with Simon Bradley –  Brian May’s Red Special: The Story of the Home-Made Guitar that Rocked Queen and the World
  • Glenn Povey –  Pink Floyd Treasures

I also really like Queen. And Pink Floyd.

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  • Mock the Week’s Only Book You’ll Ever Need
  • Chris Fern & George Speake-  Beasts, Birds and Gods: Interpreting the Staffordshire Hoard
  • Paul Parsons & Gail Dixon – The Periodic Table:  A Field Guide to the Elements

That last book is going o come in quite useful for reference at work, and the Hoard book is of particular interest, as it looks into the animal imagery of the Hoard and places it in a wider Anglo Saxon context. Also, George Speake works at the Institute of Archaeology in Oxford, so I may have come across him once or twice in my time there.

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New books: November

Dark evenings and a need for sleep. Neither are very conducive with blogging. Anyhoo. Here are my literary purchases from November- and all of them were 50p each:

What a truly terrible quality image. For that I apologise.

What a truly terrible quality image. For that I apologise.

  • Marcel Proust – Swann’s Way
  • Theodore Fontane –  Effi Briest
  • Sam Selvon –  The Lonely Londoners
  • Muriel Spark –  The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  • John Mortimer –  Paradise Postponed, Titmuss Regained, and The Sound of Trumpets
  • Ernst Junker –  Storm of Steel
  • Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell –  Muddle Earth
  • Eric Hobsbawm –  The Age of Capital 1848-1875, The Age of Empire 1875-1914
  • Antoine de Saint-Exupery –  Southern Mail/Night Flight

Yes, you may have guessed that ‘Muddle Earth’ is a children’s book- I own it in hardback, but don’t really fancy reclaiming this from my parents’, and so intended to hunt out a cheap soft back. I didn’t expect to come across one quite so soon, to be honest. It’s worth getting just for the illustrations- I love Chris Riddell’s images in everything he illustrates- but it also helps that it is a ridiculously entertaining read. So what if it’s children’s fiction. I don’t believe that exists as a genre or a category anyway. But that’s for another post.

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New books: September and October

What with one thing or another, I didn’t get around to posting a ‘New books’ post for September, so thought that I may as well include it with October’s.

Here’s September:

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  • Tim Moore –  I Believe in Yesterday: A 2,000 Year Tour Through the Filth and Fury of Living History     10p
  • Roddy Doyle –  Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha     10p
  • Thomas Hardy –  Jude the Obscure     10p
  • Theocritus –  The Idylls     10p
  • Jennifer Hargreaves –  Sporting Females: Critical issues in the history and sociology of women’s sports     10p

These were all from two local library sales, hence the ridiculous prices. Also, astute readers may notice that I had this same edition of the Hardy book from a library sale (indeed, from the same library) several months back, but this copy here is in far better condition, so it replaces my previous version.

…and now October:

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  • Janni Howker –  Isaac Campion     50p
  • Daniel Defoe –  Robinson Crusoe     50p
  • Peter Schneider –  The Wall Jumper     £4
  • Jules Verne –  Journey to the Centre of the Earth     50p
  • Terry Pratchett –  The Colour of Magic     50p
  • Thomas a Kempis –  The Imitation of Christ     1 of 3 for £2
  • Gustav Flaubert –  Madame Bovary     2 of 3 for £2
  • Bernard McCabe –  Bottle Rabbit and Friends      3 of 3 for £2

I’ve already got a copy of Robinson Crusoe, but this is an Oxford World Classics edition, and infinitely nicer than my existing edition, and I’ve alredy got a copy of the Verne novel (a rather nice Folio Society one), but this newly-acquired edition will take up less room on a bookcase, and is slightly more reader-friendly. Also of vague interest is the fact that I met Janni Howker back in 2005 when she ran a creative writing course for schools in our area, and have meant to get one of her books to try since then- only managing to do so 9 years later! The purchase of her book and the last book listed are also examples of my point about adult and children’s literature (which I will at some point get round to writing a full post on), as I’m beginning to blur the distinction between the two when it comes to my choice of reading. And the latter is illustrated by Axel Scheffler. He illustrated The Gruffalo and is a personal favourite illustrator of mine, which is my excuse for getting it. He’s illustrated a copy of T.S.Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats which is high on my book wish list too.

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New Books: August

I mentioned in a previous post that I recently acquired several Penguin Modern Classics via a well-known internet auction site, and so here they are in all their shiny and much-anticipated glory:

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  • William S. Burroughs –  The Wild Boys: A Book of the Dead
  • Albert Camus –  The Outsider
  • Albert Camus –  The Fall
  • Truman Capote –  Music for Chameleons
  • Truman Capote –  Answered Prayers
  • Hermann Hesse –  Steppenwolf
  • Franz Kafka –  The Trial
  • Franz Kafka –  The Castle

The reason that there is no price listed for any of them is because I had these for my birthday, even though I had picked them and knew they were coming (and didn’t bother receiving them wrapped in jazzy paper), and because I can’t remember the prices at any rate. However, I also got the book that I ranted a bit about in the aforementioned post:

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  • John Wyndham –  The Chrysalids

Here you can see a quite tatty and battered copy alongside the much cleaner edition that I was sent after complaining to the sender that it was not quite a ‘minor flaw’ afflicting it as they had suggested. The first one had been rather extensively water damaged, and was proving difficult to open effectively due to the crinkled pages.

Also, I picked this one up from a charity shop for 20p:

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  • Christopher Isherwood –  Goodbye to Berlin
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New books: July

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Up until the last few days in July, I’d only amassed the first four of these, and then…I weakened. Ahem. Anyway, they are as follows:

  • Nancy Mitford –  The Pursuit of Love     25p (Library book sale)
  • James Joyce –  Finnegans Wake     Free!
  • Leo Tolstoy –  Anna Karenina     50p
  • Philip K. Dick –  A Maze of Death     50p
  • Virginia Woolf –  To the Lighthouse     £1.49
  • Aldous Huxley –  Brave New World     99p
  • Graham Greene –  Brighton Rock     99p
  • Dante –  Inferno (trans. Robin Kirkpatrick)     £1
  • Teresa Monachino –  Words Fail Me     Free!

The two books that were free were given to me by my line manager at work, as he cleared out his office at the end of the school term (he’s leaving for a year) and didn’t want them. Obviously, greatly received by me though, especially considering I’ve been looking to get a copy of Finnegans Wake for a few months now. I’m quite interested in the cover, though, as it’s one I haven’t come across before. The 1990s Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics edition that keeps popping up on Google is the one with an image from the Book of Kells (I think it’s the Book of Kells- I should know considering the Early-Medieval period is my specialism), and the head of cartoon Joyce also appears on the spine, which is a tad unusual. This haul has also been profitable, as three of the books (Joyce, Huxley and Greene) were on my list of Classics to look out for. Usually, I don’t come across many of these if any, and those I get are just what I come across. And yes, I do have a list of Classics that I would like to own; a sort of wish list, if you like. The Dante book I do already own in a black Penguin Classics edition, translated by Mark Musa, but wanted to compare translations, and also fell in love with that cover. It’s embossed too, you know. Just zoom in on it or Google it. It’s a thing of beauty.

Also, just a quick point that the box room I mentioned we were going to clean out is now free of unnecessary and unused crap, and is home to books that are eagerly awaiting the arrival of shelves to sit on. I’ll be sure to take some pictures and get a post up when these are done.

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New Books: June

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Yep- only four this month. I’ve realised that if I keep buying at my previous rate, I’ll run out of room to house them, and I also will never get around to reading them all. So only four.

  • Fyodor Dostoevsky –  Crime and Punishment     £1
  • Rudyard Kipling –  The Jungle Books     50p
  • Colette –  Gigi and The Cat     50p
  • Milan Kundera –  Slowness     99p

I am tempted to go into a long rant about Penguin and their odd way of packaging their classics, but I won’t. Suffice to say that ‘The Jungle Books’ were published in 1894 and 1895, and so shouldn’t qualify as a Modern Classic, and now are published in the black Penguin Classics range. Anyway- it’s a nice edition of it, which I’ve been looking for for a while.

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New Books: May

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Here are my book purchases for May:

  • Penguin Classics Catalogue     £2 (that’s full price)
  • Wilkie Collins –  The Moonstone     25p
  • William Gibson & Bruce Sterling –  The Difference Engine     25p
  • Rebecca Hunt –  Mr Chartwell     25p
  • Jane Austen –  Persuasion     99p
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle –  The Sign of Four     99p
  • Joseph Conrad –  The Secret Agent     99p
  • Ted Hughes –  The Iron Woman     50p
  • George Orwell –  The Road to Wigan Pier     99p
  • Joseph Heller –  Catch-22     50p
  • John Christopher –  The Death of Grass      99p
  • George Orwell –  Animal Farm     99p
  • Barry Hines –  A Kestrel for a Knave     99p

I know I already have a copy of ‘Animal Farm’, but this is one of the wonderful Penguin Modern Classics editions with the big text on the front and the white spine which I truly adore (I prefer these to the black Penguin Classics, personally), which both matches my edition of ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ and includes introductions, which my previous copy doesn’t.

However, the Ted Hughes book was a bit of a let down, as I didn’t notice until I got it home, but the first page is missing. Ho-hum.

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New Books: April

As promised on my last book-purchases post, here are my new acquisitions from April (albeit a tad late):

 

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  • Geoffrey Berg- The Six Ways of Atheism: New Logical Disproofs of the Existence of God     10p
  • Patrick Moore- The Guinness Book of Astronomy     10p
  • Lesley and Roy Adkins- The Keys to Egypt: The Race to Read the Hieroglyphics     20p
  • Suetonius- The Twelve Caesars    99p
  • Caesar- The Conquest of Gaul     99p
  • The Paston Letters     10p

 

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  • Charles Dickens- Great Expectations     20p
  • E. W. Hornung- Raffles     20p
  • Penelope Lively- Moon Tiger     20p
  • Yevgeny Zamyatin- We     £2
  • Ralph Ellison- Invisible Man     £2
  • Leo Tolstoy- War and Peace     50p
  • Mary Shelley- Frankenstein     10p
  • Philip K. Dick- The Man in the High Castle     50p
  • Jonathan Swift- Poems Selected by Derek Mahon     Bought for me
  • William Shakespeare- Henry IV Part 2, The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night     50p each

 

Also, I had these bought for me (which I’d asked for):

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  • Timothy Taylor- The Prehistory of Sex: Four Million Years of Human Sexual Culture
  • Evelyn Waugh- Brideshead Revisited
  • Hermann Hesse- Strange News from Another Star and Other Stories
  • Dante- The Divine Comedy Volume I: Inferno, The Divine Comedy II: Purgatory, The Divine Comedy III: Paradise (I translated by Mark Musa; II translated by Dorothy L. Sayers; III translated by Dorothy L. Sayers and Barbara Reynolds)

 

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New, reclaimed, libraries etc.

More books!

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  • Solomon Northup –  12 Years a Slave     £1.25
  • The Britannica Book of Genetics     50p
  • Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels –  The Communist Manifesto     1 of 3 for £1
  • Michel Foucault –  Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison     2 of 3 for £1
  • Henrik Ibsen –  Four Major Plays     3 of 3 for £1
  • Patrick Moore –  On the Moon     £1.99

I also picked these books up from my parents’ house:

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  • Philip Pullman –  The Ruby in the Smoke, The Shadow in the North, The Tiger in the Well and The Tin Princess
  • Philip Reeve –  Mortal Engines
  • Eleanor Updale –  Montmorency

Yes, they are all childrens/teen fiction, but as with many of Pullman’s works, this quadrilogy of ‘Sally Lockhart’ books are as good as any adult novels in both style, plot, langauge and themes, and the Reeve book I haven’t actually read, but want to as it is a dystopian work in a similar vein to many sci-fi classics. Hell, why am I defending myself here for wanting to read or re-read children’s fiction? I feel as though this is an argument I am having with myself, and am sure that I am the only person who needs convincing that it is okay. When it comes to classic and decent fiction, the boundary between children’s and adults is decidedly and rightly blurred, and is one that is getting more and more irrelevant for me as time goes on. Blame Ted Hughes and his children’s poetry, which is also adult poetry; blame Lewis Carroll; blame Tolkein and J.K. Rowling.

…and on the theme of children’s works (and Ted Hughes) I also got this:

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I already own the tie-in version of this that was produced at the time of the film ‘The Iron Giant’, but that has certainly seen better days, and so when I saw this ‘Faber Classics’ edition with the 1980s cover restored, I thought that it was worth the £2.99 that I paid for it. You can’t tell here, but the title and the rivets around the border are all in shiny gold foil and are imbossed, which really adds to this edition and makes it a nice collectors piece. The book also looks far more substantial in this format, as the text is rather large and so the book has been padded out to over 100 pages. Also, this is the first brand new Faber & Faber book that I have bought since Seamus Heaney’s ‘Human Chain’ in paperback in 2011 (as opposed to second-hand), and so it is the first time I have seen the new Faber typeface in print:

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It looks a bit odd initially alongside the double-f logo, but I don’t think that it looks at all bad. it certainly has a nice 1920s/30s feel to it, harking back to the Faber of Eliot, and that is never a bad thing. Here is the font in greater detail, taken from their website:

 

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Image: faber.co.uk

Hopefully, I may see that grace my poetry in the near future… Yeah, right. I can but dream…

Lastly, two of our local libraries have been having booksales, and so I got these few:

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  • Jon McGregor –  even the dogs     10p
  • Frank Herbert –  Hellstrom’s Hive     10p
  • Mohsin Hamid –  The Reluctant Fundamentalist     10p

…and these…

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  • Ian Fleming –  Goldfinger     25p
  • Irvine Welsh –  Trainspotting     25p
  • Thomas Hardy –  Jude the Obscure     25p
  • Philip Reeve –  Predator’s Gold     25p
  • Jenny Turner –  The Brainstorm     25p
  • Archie Brown –  The Rise & Fall of Communism     10p

 


 

I’m wondering with these new book posts whether I should start doing them monthly instead of as-and-when I buy. I just think that that would be a bit easier and make this blog a bit more tidy. Also, I hope to sort out all my arch & anth, poetry and other books soon so as we can buy some bookcases, and then I can actually start using them again and have easy access to them, rather than them being piled up and very impractical. I’ll let you know how I get on, and promise to post some pictures once the shelves are assembled and the books arranged. Watch this space!

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Books from the past few weeks

A few more books purchased over the past couple of weeks:

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  • Mary Wolstonecraft –  A Vindication of the Rights of Men & A Vindication of the Rights of Woman     50p
  • Iain Banks –  The Wasp Factory     40p
  • Oscar Wilde –  The Happy Prince     20p
  • Ernest Hemingway –  The Old Man and the Sea     99p
  • Jeanette Winterson –  Sexing the Cherry     50p
  • Virago at 40: A Celebration     50p
  • George and Weedon Grossmith –  The Diary of a Nobody     50p
  • Laurie Lee –  Cider with Rosie     50p
  • S.E. Hinton –  The Outsiders     Free (swapped with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)
  • Ross Raisin –  God’s Own Country     Free (swapped with Through the Looking Glass)

The last two came from a book swap we’ve had at work for the past week, and I swapped my individual copies of Lewis Carroll’s wonderful work, as I’ve also got an Oxford Classics edition with both volumes in one book.

Interestingly, the Hinton book is one that I recognised but didn’t know why, and eventually realised it’s because I’d seen it advertised on the Penguin Classics website. This, however, is a Puffin edition, which I thought was interesting, showing again that the distinction between children’s books and adult texts is often blurred. I feel that I should do a post about that soon.

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Books, and ‘Reclaimed Books Part 5’

I came across these over the past few days:

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  • J.D. Salinger –  The Catcher in the Rye     50p
  • Francoise Sagan –  Bonjour Tristesse     20p
  • J.R.R. Tolkien –  The Hobbit     25p
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez –  Of Love and Other Demons     20p
  • Jennifer Elliot –  An Introduction to Sustainable Development: The Developing World     25p
  • William Shakespeare –  Macbeth     25p
  • William Shakespeare –  Henry V     25p
  • Ovid –  Metamorphoses     25p
  • Homer –  The Iliad     25p

The book on sustainable development is interestingly written by a woman who was (at the time the book was published) a Geography lecturer at my local university, Staffordshire University. Also, I nearly bought this book in Oxford when I was studying gender and sustainable development as part of one of my anthropology option papers, but didn’t like the price Oxfam were asking for it, so I was happy to find this copy for 25p!

Now hang on- there’s more! After I’d snapped this little lot, I then got these:

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  • Roald Dahl –  Switch Bitch, The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, and My Uncle Oswald     50p each

I would have also had one of Roald Dahl’s other short story collections ‘Someone Like You’ as well, had another man not grabbed it before I had chance.

Oh, and then yesterday…

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  • Elizabeth Gaskell –  Cranford     20p
  • Charles Dickens –  The Christmas Books: A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth     40p

Now, I know that I already own a copy of ‘Cranford’ that includes two other related novellas, but this edition includes a critical introduction, a Cranford-based short story, and a short essay by Gaskell. And it’s an OUP edition. And it was only 20p. The other book, I do actually own a copy of already in this edition, and it is still at my parent’s house. However, I have no idea where, and so I thought for 40p it wouldn’t hurt to get another copy incase that one doesn’t turn up.

This last point now moves me smoothly on to the ‘Reclaimed Books Part 5’ bit of this blog post title. Today, I picked these up from my parents:

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  • Euripides –  Medea and Other Plays
  • Sophocles –  The Three Theban Plays
  • Robert Harris –  Fatherland (one of my favourite novels, which I read in less than two days about four years ago)
  • Thomas Hardy –  Far From the Madding Crowd
  • William Shakespeare –  Romeo and Juliet
  • Daniel Defoe –  Robinson Crusoe

…and I finally remembered to get these:

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I picked up ‘The BFG’ and ‘Danny the Champion of the World’ a few months ago, and so these are the rest:

  • James and the Giant Peach
  • The Complete Adventures of Charlie and Mr Willy Wonka (Containing ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator’)
  • The Magic Finger
  • Fantastic Mr Fox
  • The Twits
  • George’s Marvellous Medicine
  • The Witches
  • The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
  • Boy and Going Solo
  • Matilda
  • Esio Trot

I know that they are children’s books, but I’m using the excuse that they are classic examples of children’s literature, and so can still be read by adults. Anyway, I like Roald Dahl, and want to read them again. Don’t judge me!

 

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New purchases

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I was actually going to have put this post up yesterday, but if I had, then I’d have had to post another today, as I got the last 5 of these books this afternoon. In all, these are:

  • Three Victorian Poets (containing poems by Tennyson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Robert Browning)     50p
  • Timothy Donnelly –  The Cloud Corporation (poetry)     50p
  • Anthony Burgess –  The Devil’s Mode     50p
  • Daphne Du Maurier –  The Birds & other stories     £1.49
  • Ernest Hemingway –  A Farewell to Arms     50p
  • Jane Austen –  Pride and Prejudice     50p
  • Jeanette Winterson –  Written on the Body     50p
  • Virginia Woolf –  Mrs Dalloway     99p
  • Jack Kerouac –  Maggie Cassidy     99p

The first book of poems is actually a student book, with activities and questions in, and has been annotated, but I got it simply because there are two of Robert Browning’s poems in it (‘My Last Duchess’ and ‘The Laboratory’) that both my partner and I studied at high school.

Also, I do already own a Wordsworth Classics edition of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (which I have read), but this one is an Oxford University Press edition (always a bonus) and matches the copy of ‘Sense and Sensibility’ that I got a few weeks ago (see my previous post). Similarly, the copy of ‘Mrs Dalloway’ that I bought today is also an Oxford University Press edition, and makes up somewhat for the fact that I missed out on a copy of this about a month ago. Annoyingly, that one was ony 25p. Ho-hum.

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Another library booksale

Again, our two children came out best from this latest sale at one of our local libraries, getting well into double-figures for only a few pounds. However, I did manage to get a few (the last two are not from the library though):

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  • Vladimir Nabokov –  King, Queen, Knave     25p
  • Christopher Hope –  The Love Songs of Nathan J. Swirsky     25p
  • John Preston –  The Dig     25p
  • Ian McEwan –  On Chesil Beach     25p
  • John Steinbeck –  Of Mice and Men     £1
  • Philip K. Dick –  Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?     £1.50

I’ve already read ‘Of Mice and Men’, as I studied it at GCSE, but have never had my own copy until now, and the Preston book ‘The Dig’ is a fictional account of the discovery of Sutton Hoo in 1939. I have to commend the cover of the Nabokov book, too, as it is in the same vein as the ‘Just So Stories’ cover that I was so taken by in my ‘Thoughts on…’ post a few months back. Here it is in more detail:

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I just love the simplicity of the image, on what is already a simple design (the 2000’s Penguin Modern Classics silver-stripe covers). It doesn’t have the playfulness of the ‘Just So Stories’ cover, with the swinging leopard’s tail, but I still think that this is a perfect example of less-is-more.

I’m also slightly annoyed with myself for buying the McEwan book, as I’ve said for a while that I’d never buy any of his simply because they seem to me to be too populist, but I didn’t think that I could argue with 25p. To be fair, the Classics that I am so enamoured of are only such due to being ‘popular’, but I tend to think of McEwan’s books to not be overly literary, due in part to them having won all of the awards that are over-hyped and over-biased. Anyway- only reading it will tell me whether it was a good move or not, and I will probably end up loving it and needing to buy all of his other books too. Probably.

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The first new books of 2014

I had a rather lucky weekend in terms of books. Let’s just say that all of the books in this photo here…

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…came to £3. They were ALL 25p each, which is not at all bad.

  • R.A. Sydie –  Natural Women/Cultured Men: A Feminist Perspective on Sociological Theory
  • Richard Fortey –  Trilobite! Eyewitness to Evolution
  • William Shakespeare –  The Tempest
  • William Shakespeare –  King Lear
  • Ben Jonson –  Volpone
  • Erskine Childers –  The Riddle of the Sands
  • Julian Barnes –  The Sense of an Ending
  • Erich Maria Remarque –  All Quiet on the Western Front
  • Jane Austen –  Sense and Sensibility
  • Edgar Allan Poe –  The Murders in the Rue Morgue
  • Toni Morrison –  The Bluest Eye
  • Kate Chopin –  The Awakening and other stories
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Christmas Books

It’s taken me a few days to get around to writing this post, but here I finally am. These first few are ones that I picked and therefore knew my partner was saving for me for Christmas:

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  • Jostein Gaarder –  The Ringmaster’s Daughter
  • Jerome K. Jerome –  Three Men in a Boat
  • J.G.Ballard – Crash

I also knew about this next one. You may remember a month or so ago that I was unable to pick up my old edition of ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’, and that I had decided to purchase one of the pleasantly-designed boxsets (see the discussion with myself in this previous post). Well, a while back I had a rather lucky find at the local library booksale:

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This was also saved until Christmas, and was a ridiculously good find- £20 worth of book for 10p! ‘The Hobbit’ isn’t included, but I should be able to pick that up at some point.

I also had:

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  • E.M. Forster – Maurice
  • F.Scott Fitzgerald –  The Last Tycoon
  • Truman Capote –  Breakfast at Tiffany’s
  • William S. Burroughs –  Junky
  • Rudyard Kipling –  Puck of Pook’s Hill (off my parents)

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  • Private Eye: A Cartoon History
  • Nicholas J. Higham & Martin J. Ryan –  The Anglo-Saxon World (off my parents)
  • The Private Eye Annual 2013
  • Private Eye: Eyeballs

Quite a nice amount of reading to be getting on with!

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Latest books

Created with Nokia Smart Cam

Just a few new books from the past couple of weeks:

  • Kenneth Grahame –  The Wind in the Willows     50p
  • E.M. Forster –  A Room with a View     50p
  • Vladimir Nabokov –  Lolita     50p
  • Elizabeth Gaskell –  The Cranford Chronicles     50p     (containing ‘Mr Harrison’s Confessions’, ‘Cranford’ and ‘My Lady Ludlow’)

I do already own a copy of ‘A Room with a View’, with this cover:

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However, the Penguin Modern Classics edition shown in the top image has an introduction and notes that this edition doesn’t, so I thought it was worth getting just for that. And, it is in the new Modern Classics series, which I adore on design grounds. However, I do think that this edition does look somewhat gloomy considering the images used on the covers of the other Classics editions:

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I think that the two on the left and the two in the middle are perfectly okay, but the ones on the right look a tad drab in comparison. However, the Classics edition image does look a lot better than the cropped and flipped version in the bottom right, as it seems a lot lighter and inviting. Anyhoo- the big question is which edition should I read? My existing copy or the new one? Decisions decisions!

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Four more books

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I managed to pick up four books today whilst shopping:

  • Harper Lee –  To Kill a Mockingbird     75p
  • Jean Rhys –  Wide Sargasso Sea     50p
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle –  A Study in Scarlet     50p
  • Edward W. Said –  Orientalism: Western Conceptions of the Orient     50p

The last book is the first anthropological work that I have bought for quite a long time, and which should make for interesting reading. At the moment, I am reading Jack Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’, which I was very excited about starting, and which is proving very joyful so far- but thoughts to come in due course.

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The further joys of library booksales

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You may notice that this photo is decidedly un-crappy, which makes a change from the photos of my last few book-purchasing posts. This time, you can read the titles, but I will still list them anyway:

  • Ian Fleming –  Casino Royale     50p
  • C.S. Lewis –  The Great Divorce     25p
  • Graham Greene –  The Human Factor     25p
  • Donald Barthelme –  Forty Stories     25p
  • Tennessee Williams –  A Streetcar Named Desire and Other Plays     25p
  • John Steinbeck –  East of Eden     25p

As the title suggests, these were all from a library booksale (not the same one as those in previous posts)… well, ‘Casino Royale’ wasn’t. The rest were, though.

Also, we managed to get a very nice and very hefty copy of Oscar Wilde’s collected works for 25p as well, but my wonderful partner has commandeered this one. I may be able to borrow it if I ask very nicely.

The Barthelme book and the Greene book were only spotted by myself as we were leaving the library, as I happened to glance back at the table, and the former caught my eye due to the interesting cover image. I didn’t recognise the author, but recognised the title as being one I read about at the back of my Penguin Classics edition of ‘Ulysses’ and thought sounded worth getting. I’d actually forgotten about it until I saw it at the sale, and hadn’t added it to the list of classics that I want (yes, I do have a list). The fact that it was a silver-spined Penguin Classic also won me around to getting it, too. At the moment, I’m pouncing on any of the Modern Classics that I see. As an aside, this edition also raises an interesting issue (if issue is the right word), as it is in the Modern Classics series, but doesn’t have the Classics-style cover. This is similar to the recent reissues of Kafka by Penguin, and those of John Updike in the Modern Classics range: penguins-kafka-2

I’ve read some rather uncomplimentary things about these covers, but personally I quite like them myself.

A further random book-related point: these aren’t the only books I’ve had recently, but my other half has put some of my recent purchases up for Christmas, including one very special purchase that I am itching to mention, but will save for a special post at Christmas. I’ll do two them, actually- one on the books I already know about, and one on those that I don’t know the identities of.

Oh- one last point: I’ve got two more ‘Thoughts on…’ posts to get up soon- one on Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’, and one on Penelope Lively’s ‘Heat Wave’. These will come soon, so please be patient!

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A new purchase- Matthew Prior’s ‘Poems on Several Occasions’

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This post regarding a new book purchase is dedicated to the individual book, as I thought that it warranted a small amount of description and further images. I came across this book at the weekend on the book stall at my church’s Christmas Fair, and paid 50p for it. It may look slightly worn, and is a copy of the first volume of a collection of poems by Matthew Prior, (whom I had never heard of until now), ‘Poems on Several Occasions’. However, the thing that drew me to it was this title page:

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Incase you can’t see the date at the bottom, here it is again, slightly larger:

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MDCCXXV. Or, in Arabic, 1725.

It is in surprisingly good condition considering it’s age, with only a bit of staining on the first few and the last few pages, and the edges of the pages having gone black.

Now, let me just detail a bit about the poet:

Matthew Prior (21 July 1664 – 18 September 1721)

born in Middlesex, Matthew Prior was educated at Westminster School, and here met Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax. With Montagu, he then went on to attend St. John’s College, Cambridge, where he took his degree in 1686, and became a fellow two years later.  In 1687, Prior and Montagu penned The City Mouse and Country Mouse, a satire of Dryden‘s The Hind and the Panther.

After Cambridge, Prior became the secretary to the embassy at the Hague. and was later appointed a gentleman of the King’s bedchamber, acting as the King’s Chief Secretary for Ireland from 1697 to 1699. He was also under-secretary of state, succeeding John Locke as a commissioner of trade, and in 1701, sat for East Grinstead in Parliament. Later, between 1713 and 1714, Prior was the British Ambassador to France, and his share in negotiating the Treaty of Utrecht led to it gaining the name ‘Matt’s Peace’- despite him disapproving of the Treaty personally. He was kept in custody from 1715 to 1717 after having been impeached by Robert Walpole, and lived comfortably due to receiving 4000 guineas for a volume of poetry, and a present of £4000 from Lord Harley, but he died a few years later at Wimpole, Cambridgeshire. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.

 

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This book is the first volume of his ‘Poems on Several Occasions’, which was published on numerous occasions both before and after his death, but most of the editions that I have found on the internet place Prior’s name on the title page, which this edition doesn’t. Also, I am unsure whether or not the binding is original on my copy, and I have very little knowledge regarding such book features, but to me it seems to be original. Don’t take my word for that, though. Interestingly, the contents is at the back of the book, and there are also several inscriptions on the reverse of the page with Prior’s image on, which I cannot quite make out. However, on of them does say ‘Coll: Jesu: Oxon’, which I thought was interesting considering I have lived in Oxford.

P1000898

The Oxford inscription can be seen at the top. Any help with what the rest of these say would be greatly appreciated.

I just thought that I’d share a bit about this, and don’t think that it is a bad find for 50p!

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A few more books, and ‘Reclaimed Books part 4’

WIN_20131117_202932

Well it’s time for the inclusion of more crappy-quality photos. Those above are:

  • Paulo Coelho-  The Alchemist     50p
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez-  One Hundred Years of Solitude     50p
  • Graham Greene-  The Heart of the Matter     50p
  • Nelson Mandela-  No Easy Walk to Freedom     50p
  • Sue Townsend-  The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾    30p
  • P.L. Travers-  Mary Poppins     50p
  • African Art, a book from the 1970s     10p (library book sale)
  • Gita Mehta-  Karma Cola     10p (library book sale)

I’ve been looking for the Marquez book for a while, so that was a nice find. Also, I’ve picked up a few more books from my parents recently. There are a few children’s books amongst them this time:

WIN_20131117_203142

  • J.K. Rowling-  The Tales of Beedle the Bard
  • Roald Dahl-  The BFG
  •                     – Danny the Champion of the World
  • Brendan Hook-  Harry the Honkerzoid
  • Bram Stoker-  Dracula
  • J.K. Rowling-  Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
  •                       –  Quidditch Through the Ages
  • Two ‘Doctor Who’ books: The Tomb of the Cybermen and The Five Doctors
  • Mary Shelley-  Frankenstein
  • Charles Dickens-  Hard Times

I do own the rest of Roald Dahl’s major books for children in the same editions to those shown (except ‘Boy’ and ‘Going Solo’, which are a more recent combined edition), but will pick up the rest (i.e. ‘James and the Giant Peach’; ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator’ as one volume; ‘The Magic Finger’; ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’; ‘The Twits’; ‘George’s Marvelous Medicine’; ‘The Witches’; ‘The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me’; ‘Matilda’, and ‘Esio Trot’) at a later date. The two I got this time have always been my favourites, and have been begging for another read for a long time. So what if they are children’s books- I enjoy them, and will read them as Classics, before passing them on to my children when they are old enough to read them.

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The joys of library booksales

Before I start, let me just say that the books you are about to see haven’t all been bought from library booksales, despite what the title of this post says. However, we have managed to strike ridiculously with the sale in our local library, as our two boys now have about 15 or more new books for little over £3. Who would argue with that?

I didn’t get as many, but have acquired a few recently from other sources too. Before I list these, let me just mention these two books first:

picture244

Please forgive the absolutely atrocious quality of the photo, but they are:

  • Plato-  Republic     50p
  • Francis Pryor-  Britain AD: A Quest for Arthur, England and the Anglo-Saxons     50p

I meant to do a blog post on these over a week ago, but just never got around to it. The latter book has refueled my interest in the Anglo-Saxons (I haven’t really picked up on this recently, in part because all of my Saxon archaeology books are still sitting in large fruit-boxes in our boxroom, along with the majority of our other books), and it actually seems to be an academic text masquerading as a populist history work. Always nice. However, the main thing I want to say about these is just that I was quite shocked with the way the woman behind the counter in the charity shop looked at me when I handed them over to pay. Do people in our area not read such books? Are ancient Greek philosophy and Anglo-Saxon archaeology beyond the scope of people here, are were they just beyond her? I don’t know. Anyhoo. The other recent purchases stand as follows:

picture249

  • Anthony Kamm-  The Romans: An Introduction     50p (library book sale)
  • Roald Dahl-  Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life     10p (library book sale)
  • Albert Camus-  The Plague     25p
  • Jean Rhys-  Voyage in the Dark     50p
  • Anon.-  Sweeney Todd or A String of Pearls     50p
  • Jules Verne-  Journey to the Centre of the Earth     50p (Folio Society edition!)
  • Stephen Hawking-  A Brief History of Time: The Updated and Expanded Tenth Anniversary Edition     50p (library book sale)
  • Lewis Carroll-  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass     10p (library book sale)

As you may recall from a previous post, I already own a copy of the Hawking work, but thought that 50p wasn’t bad for an updated edition; similarly, you may recall from a previous book-buying post and my ‘Thoughts on…’, I already have individual copies of the Carroll books, but for 10p… Well, there’s an intro. in this one, a series of notes, extra text not in the ones I had, and also the spine isn’t faded (as my individual copies were). Oh, and it’s published by Oxford University Press, too. Not bad. Also, the Roman book is published by Routledge, which is a very good publisher of archaeology texts, and appeared regularly in the bibliographies that accompanied my essays at uni. This book would actually have been handy to have had then, as it covers a lot of background about the Romans that would have been useful for essay background and revision.

I plan to get up soon several ‘Thoughts on…’ posts, as I’ve been reading quite a bit recently (as I said in my last post), and hope to get these done soon. The books I will be looking at are ‘Heart of Darkness’, ‘Roverandom’, ‘The Torrents of Spring’, ‘Just So Stories’, and ‘Diamonds are Forever’- so quite a bit to come!

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‘Reclaimed Books part 3’, and a quick rant

As I said on my last book-purchasing update, I was going to pick some more of my books up from my parents’ house, and I managed to do this a few days ago. Here are those I ‘reclaimed’:

picture242

  • Bill Bryson-  Shakespeare
  • An anthology of quotes called ‘A Booklover’s Companion‘ published by the Folio Society
  • Douglas Adams-  The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (film tie-in edition)
  •                              The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (film tie-in edition)
  •                              Life, the Universe and Everything
  •                              So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish
  • J.R.R. Tolkien-  The Children of Hurin
  • Edgar Wallace-  The Feathered Serpent
  • Emily Bronte-  Wuthering Heights
  • Sue Townsend-  The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole
  • Oscar Wilde-  The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • F.Scott Fitzgerald-  The Great Gatsby

I’ve read the Bryson, Adams and Fitzgerald books here, and already have a copy of ‘Gatsby’ in the house, as my partner bought a nice Vintage Classics edition a few years back, but this copy is the Penguin Modern Classic edition with a critical introduction (always a bonus) and my annotated copy from A Level English.

The Adams books that I picked up are missing the final volume, ‘Mostly Harmless’, and at the moment I am in two minds as to whether I should get this with the original cover, or whether I should wait and purchase the full set in the very asthetically-appealing, Hipgnosis*-designed boxset, as I’m not too happy with the editions I have due to two being the film tie-in editions. This is the boxset:

DA boxset

Also, you may recall from my last book-purchasing post that I had also planned to pick up the old editions of ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’ that I read as a child from my parents’. Well; this is where the rant comes in. I won’t go into detail, but suffice to say that I had a falling out with my Mum over this, as she seemed reticent to let me take these due to them belonging to my late Grandma, despite them now belonging to me. To save any further argument, I have decided to buy my own new copies, but have come across a bit of a problem. Which versions should I get? I’m not too fussed which edition of ‘The Hobbit’ I get, to be honest (as long as it is not the film tie-in edition), but am torn on ‘The Lord of the Rings’ between this set:

LotR boxset

…and this one (the picture shows ‘The Hobbit’ too):

LotR other boxset

Even though the latter matches the edition of ‘The Silmarillion’ that I bought the other day, I’m swaying towards the former, simply because I think that these would look far more impressive on a shelf, and because they are very very attractive editions. The only thing bothering me is the fact that the former editions look far heftier than the latter, and I am conscious of trying to conserve as much shelf-space as possible so as we will have to buy less bookcases. The benefit with the old copy I would have had was that it was a one-volume edition, and as a result was actually fairly thin (the joys of using thin paper in the 1960s). The new one-volume versions available are frankly awful to look at, and so are a no-no for me. The only other problem, is actually finding one of these sets for a reasonable price. Hmm. Preferably less than £10, and ideally nearer to £5. Double hmm. Maybe time to visit my local Oxfam, methinks, as they always seem to have a copy there- I just don’t know which edition. I’ll keep you posted!

*Hipgnosis are a design company who produce book and album covers. Famous clients include Pink Floyd (i.e. ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’, ‘Wish You Were Here’ and ‘A Momentary Lapse of Reason’ covers, amongst others), Muse (‘Black Holes and Revelations’) and Led Zeppelin (‘Houses of the Holy’).

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