Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The Latest

I like to keep an eye on what people are reading, always good for suggestions and just to know what's what - so today I'm simply throwing open the question: what was the last book you bought? Either in person, or which arrived through the letterbox.

And how did you hear about it? A trusty author, a new recommendation, or a complete impulse buy? None of the above?

I'm quite excited about my latest purchase, which arrived in the post this morning - Observatory Mansions by Edward Carey. I loved his novel Alva & Irva last year (and wrote about it briefly here) but for some reason hadn't got around to buying this, his first book.


The cover pictured is the one I have, but there is also a more haunting edition which has lots of outstretched hands on top of one another. Ooo. This one is jumping to the top of my reading pile, so you should hear about it soon - otherwise more info, including a fairly comprehensive review, is at the book's Amazon page.

More importantly - do let me know your most recent purchase, with as many details as you'd care to give! A later post will probably be devoted to your answers.

28 comments:

  1. The Women Who Lived for Danger: Behind Enemy Lines During WWII, by Marcus Binney

    I was surfing the net, looking for whatever info. I might find on the former bookshop at 84 Charing Cross Road. This led me to an obituary for Leo Marks, son of the owner of Marks & Co. He was the chief cryptographer of Special Operations.

    This obit was on a very special site - and I found several book titles there that interested me - and I ordered this one from Amazon.

    Oh, and that special site is:
    http://www.64-baker-street.org/obituaries/obit_2001_leo_marks.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. I bought Icelander by Dustin Long today. It seemed slightly familiar but its small size, awesomely printed cover, and the phrase "Nabokovian goof on Agatha Christie" sucked me in. I found the hardcover version for $3 at the used bookstore and it looks like it's never been opened.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have been scooping up all of Kate Atkinson since reading Behind the Scenes at the Museum....in fact I just posted a review of that one! I am besotted with it. I also just purchased The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have just placed an order with Amazon for The Selected Journals of L. M. Montgomery, so not quite through the letter box yet. I read the review from Elaine at Random Jottings so I know I will enjoy this one. Also I have placed an advance order for Purswarden's own book The Plantagenets: The Devil's Brood: I just love anything to do with the Plantagenets so can't wait for this one, although I'm going to have to wait a long time it will not be published until 2010. Still I'm sure it will be worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hehe...you could post this every week and I'd still have something to reply! My 6 weeks of not buying books didn't go terribly well...

    I went into Thorntons on the High on my way back from lunch yesterday. They have 50% off a lot of their books as they are about to close down. There were some really nice hardback fiction books which I was tempted by - Anita Brookner and Barbara Pym, but they were still quite expensive. And plus I thought they were mainstream enough to get from the library or in paperback. So when I spotted Gillian Avery's The onlookers, for £2.50 I decided to get that. I loved Gillian Avery's children's books - The warden's niece and The greater Gresham, but didn't know she had written books for adults.

    Definitely in the impulse buy category though :s

    ReplyDelete
  6. I must thank Nancy-B for her link to 84 Charing Cross Road; one of my all time favourite books.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I purchased The Crowded Street by Winifred Holtby from the Persephone shop this week and No Fond Return of Love by Barbara Pym from the Book Depository. I also received a lovely box of Booker winners from Vintage :).

    ReplyDelete
  8. I can't get enough of Elizabeth Taylor at the moment and I swooped on a nice original green virago of Palladian in Any Amount of Books on Charing Cross Road last week, a steal at £3. Can't wait to read it!

    It's going to be my last book purchase for a long while though as I have pledged - no more new books until I have read the ones I already have! The torture!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. My latest memorable purchase was Angela Brazil's Queen of the Dormitory, which leaves me with only one more of her school stories to find.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Stratton's War by Laura Wilson, bought yesterday at Indigo. I'm not a reader of mysteries at all but this past winter we fell in love with Foyle's War. Wilson's book seems reminiscent of that and flipping through it I saw lots of references to locations in London. Reminds me of my trip!

    ReplyDelete
  11. For a recent birthday, kind friends bought me books.
    John by Niall Williams.
    The Winter's Vault by Anne Michaels.
    Home to Roost by Deborah Devonshire,
    The Divide by Nicholas Evans.
    A good mixture, I am half way through the Niall Williams, I loved his previous books. This is, so far, rather slow, language a little ponderous. Hopefully it will change.
    C.B

    ReplyDelete
  12. I recently bought 'The Little Stranger' by Sarah Waters, 'Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit' by Jeannette Winterson and 'Ox-Tales: Fire' which includes a story by Winterson after seeing them read at the London Literature Festival (they were inspiring), and 'How to be Free' by Tom Hodgkinson because I'm trying to make sense of my life.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Looks interesting! My last book purchase was actually two-fold. :) I bought My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult (for a book club) and Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (to see what all the fuss is about). Both were purchases because the library waits on them were way too long.

    ReplyDelete
  14. As I think Simon knows I now almost never buy books, fortunately from the point of view of this post I bought Murakami's The Wind-up Bird Chronicle a few weeks ago.

    I have now read three books by Murakami, commencing with his classic Norwegian Wood, and I am full of admiration for his "surreal" reality, his mixture of love, hate, horror, menace, love and sex is just expertly done.

    The Wind-up Bird Chronicle continues these themes and is concerned with accepting responsibility, in particular for atrocities commited in China in WW2. It is just so good, but perhaps if you are squeamish it might not be the first book on your list. As usual in Murakami it can be difficult to separate the reality from the fantasy and from dream sequences; its quite a dense book and one I finished in a few days despite its 600 or so pages.

    Very strongly recommended!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I bought The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. I've made it the choice for our reading group for Septemeber so I hope we enjoy it as much as everyone else seems to have done.

    ReplyDelete
  16. My last "purchase" was an inexpensive pile of books at a great used bookstore in Philadelphia. A few Muriel Spark including a volume of short stories, a bio of Barbara Pym, a couple each Penelope Lively and Elinor Lipman, and a whole stack of May Sarton novels and journals.

    By the way, I loved Observatory Mansions. I read it soon after it was published and waited and waited for a follow up. Both OM and A&I are equally quirky but in different ways. I like the way he Carey can construct a kind of unreal, yet somehow believeble parallel universe.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I think my most recent bookish purchases must have been Capture the Castle and Penelope Fitzgerald's The Bookshop. I read I Capture the Castle several years ago and loved it, so I figured it was one I should own. The Bookshop I hadn't read, but it was one I'd been wanting to read so I snatched it when I saw it on the shelf. Having now read it, I liked it very much but didn't find it very satisfying.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Sarah Water's 'The Little Stranger' and it was fantastic. I actually had a nightmare about it.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Farewell Miss Julie Logan by J.M. Barrie, a lovely 1932 edition.

    Corner of the Library
    http://cornerofthelibrary.blogspot.com
    Printable bookmarks

    ReplyDelete
  20. The last books I bought were in the Cowley Road Oxfam last week: Jan Morris' 'Oxford' (at last!) and the Virago title 'Devoted Ladies' by Molly Keane (M.J Farrell).

    Button

    ReplyDelete
  21. Stasiland: Stories From Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder. My sister, who is an absolutely voracious reader (she really does put me to shame) insisted that I read it immediately. As yet I haven't, as I have a massive stack of library books that I must get through before their due date, but it is next on my list.

    ReplyDelete
  22. The cover art on that copy is eery...I love it. Would love to see the other one as well!

    My last book purchase...I've been relying pretty heavily on the library recently (piles and piles, oh my!), but I think that the last book I actually bought was Travis Holland's The Archivist's Story. Moscow before WWII...terrifying and depressing but beautifully written. And library-related!!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Si

    I'm confident that your readers are not particularly interested in the fact that I bought a copy of the 2010 lectionary (the list of readings to be used in churches during next year) yesterday; maybe I'll wait until I buy something more interesting. Was that a valid use of a semi-colon? the rules, which I have forgotten, seem to have changed over the years.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I've been relying pretty heavily on the library recently too but did buy Tainted Blood by Arnaldur Indridason - an Icelandic crime yarn - from a an Oxfam charity shop a week or so ago. A fellow blogger had recommended it.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Asking for Love by Roxana Robinson, purchased from AbeBooks.com. As I recall, I picked up on it from reading articles about J.D. Salinger's recent lawsuit, which he won. The article mentioned that he had written a note to Roxana Robinson telling her, in essence, what a great writer she was. That's mytwocentsworth.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I bought a copy of TROUBLE by Jesse Kellerman on Leeds Station in WHSmith. I adored THE BRUTAL ART and this one is good too, though it's getting extremely violent and I don't know how our hero is going to extricate himself from the really parlous TROUBLE of the title. Jesse is the son of Jonathan Kellerman and Faye Kellerman who is also, I believe, a rabbi!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I haven't bought any books in a long time (strict budget so I use the library a lot) but for my birthday my husband bought me Tolstoy's War and Peace, Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst, and The Language of Bees by Laurie King. And completely delighted I was, too!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I last bought 'Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It's Becoming and Why it Matters by Scott Rosenberg

    It was a complete impulse buy. I saw the title and could NOT resist! I ran immediately to Borders and bought their only copy. Then I emailed the author (co-founder of Salon, no less) and asked for a brief email interview.

    And he said YES!!

    Running directly to Borders to buy a book is something I never do, unless there's a really compelling reason (need it for graduate school, etc.). So this is rather special.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks so much for taking the time to comment - my favourite part of blogging is reading your comments!

Annoyingly, Blogger often messes up with comments... try refreshing, or commenting Anonymously (add your name in, though!) or using Firefox/Chrome instead of Internet Explorer. (Ctrl+c your comment first!)

Failing everything, email me: simondavidthomas[at]yahoo.co.uk - or just email me anyway :)

Thanks!