Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Reason for the Season

Okay, so technically very few of the books pictured above are presents--Christmas or late birthday--but are instead the happy outcome of having a credit card company double points for educational expenses; otherwise making tuition payments are kind of a drag. And the season I'm talking about isn't the season that you're in the midst of celebrating or that you'll necessarily be entering into, but for me, I feel I have no choice: I'm a binge buyer and I need to go cold turkey. No more new books brought into the house (sans library books, downloads to the Kindle, and the four already ordered but not expected until January) until May.


I fully intend to buy the new A.S. Byatt as soon as it's published (in May), but I hope the moratorium will have made me more temperate and my purchases will proceed at a more leisurely pace for the rest of '09.

Call this the Winter of My Content to Read What I Already Own:

Poppy Adams. The Behavior of Moths

Margaret Atwood. Payback

Michel Faber. The Fire Gospel

J.G. Ballard. Miracles of Life

Jean Edward Smith. FDR

Jon Meacham. American Lion

Roberto Bolano. 2666

Adam Braver. November 22, 1963

Nick Hornby. Shakespeare Wrote For Money

Daphne Du Maurier. Don't Look Now

Julian Rubinstein. Ballad of the Whiskey Robber

Adam Gopnik, ed. The Best American Essays 2008

Peter Matthiessen. Shadow Country

William Faulkner. Snopes: The Hamlet; The Town; The Mansion

William Gaddis. The Recognitions


  1. Ooooo. . . The Snopes Trilogy. Nice!!


  2. FDR and the Hornby were part of my Christmas loot -- already picked up several more books since finishing the Hornby. (*happy sigh*) It pleased me to know end to see how similar our book piles can be (Hornby's and my own, that is), especially his (recent) penchant for YA/crossover fiction.

    Best regards.


  3. LOL! Pleased me to *no* end, that is. Heh, heh, heh. Too much work today, I think.

  4. One more remark: The Best Essays collection was disappointing -- so dense. I had thought the Amazon reviewers were just being hard (or obtuse), but there's some truth in their criticism: The collection is my least favorite since 1990. Let me know what you think.

  5. So many pretty new books. I like how you exempted new books for your Kindle. Is that because they don't take up any space? Since you got The Recognitions, will you be reading along with those of us who are reading it currently?

  6. Wow, that is quite a pile! I can only admire your determination for not buying any more until May.

    I'll be interested to hear about

    I didn't know Byatt has a new book coming out- I'm off to find out more as I love her work.

  7. Check out the UK cover on the Byatt, Sarah--it's gorgeous.

    Stefanie, I'm 100 pages in on The Recognitions and I've been following the Gaddis blog although I haven't posted yet. I started reading a first edition from the library but quickly realized I wanted a copy that I could mark up and keep. And yes, we are definitely out of space for books here. I'd love to get more bookcases installed in a bedroom, but since we don't know if my husband will lose his job after the first of the year, there's no way I can justify them right now.

    Melissa, I didn't read the reader reviews at Amazon until I'd already ordered the Best Essays or I might have refrained. I've never read a complete collection before; guess this won't be the one I start with. My daughter told me last night that she'd attended a Hornby reading in Chapel Hill awhile back--he read from Songbook. I can't remember if you've read Skellig--I was happy he talked about that one in particular.

  8. Oh, and Lezlie, have you read the trilogy? I've had a ratty ex-library paperback of The Hamlet for years, but never got around to it--because of the rattiness.

  9. I told myself I wouldn't buy anymore books until the new year, but I failed on that one pretty quickly. However, I've been using gift cards (and now I have a nice new pile to work with), as well as the Amazon payments (which while not huge will pay for a book or two a month--can't say no to free books). Now if I could just figure out a way to cover the books I get from The Book Depository I would be set! I really liked the Poppy Adams book, and I have the Bolano, too (though I opted for the set of paperbacks). And I really want that NYBR du Maurier! I must check out the new Hornby as well!

  10. I order from The Book Depository via Amazon. Usually the titles I want are available through the other sellers option.

  11. How scary about your husband! I'll keep my fingers crossed that all will be well. And fun to know you are so far in Gaddis!

  12. I admire your resolution not to buy new books for a while. I don't have the nerve to even attempt that. I know I'd fail miserably.


"I don't believe in ghosts, but I see them all the time."

Sherman Alexie cancels book tour for memoir about his mother.