Wednesday, April 06, 2011


My hopes to keep my book purchases within the 2-4 books a month range have been dashed. I've received three books--David Foster Wallace's The Pale King, Diana Wynne Jones's Fire and Hemlock, and Sarah Blakewell's How to Live--since the photo was taken and expect a couple more within a few days.

In Great Waters. Kit Whitfield. Mermaids! Alternative history! I've had this on my wish list since it made the top ten of 2010 at Eve's Alexandria.

Purple Hibiscus. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Read for the staff book club at the library--but the book club dissolved before the discussion took place. Long story short, it was also the latest selection for the campus-wide book club, which met this afternoon. Good group, good discussion, and I put in a few good words for Half of a Yellow Sun.

The Aleph and Other Stories. Jorge Luis Borges. The idea of Borges scares me, but when I went to Borders to buy Purple Hibiscus and Purple Hibiscus wasn't there, I had to justify the trip somehow. . .

A Novel Bookstore. Laurence Cosse. From the Borders trip--a Slaves of Golconda suggested title.

The Yacoubian Building. Alaa Al Aswany. From the Borders trip--a Slaves of Golconda suggested title.

Going Out. Scarlett Thomas. An early Thomas. From the used bookstore here in town.

The Plot Against America. Philip Roth. I can't believe I haven't read this yet; a find from the used bookstore.

This Vacant Paradise. Victoria Patterson. I've already read, and enjoyed greatly, this contemporary retelling of The House of Mirth.

The Autograph Man. Zadie Smith. John recommended this to me ages ago. Whatever happened to John?

Her Smoke Rose Up Forever. James Tiptree Jr. Tiptree's one of the science fiction authors mentioned in Among Others, and since I'd read a Tiptree story a few years back and enjoyed it, I therefore concluded I ought to read more.

Princes in the Land. Joanna Cannan. I can't believe I actually got this book! I've tried ordering it from Book Depository at least twice before and my order would always wind up cancelled. I practically lunged when I saw it was back in stock.

The Wise Virgins. Leonard Woolf. A used copy with only a bit of a coffee stain. . .

The Vet's Daughter. Barbara Comyns. This has been on my wish list for years; reading Who was Changed and Who was Dead moved it into the shopping cart.

Irretrievable. Theodor Fontane. One of the latest releases from NYRB.

Grief Lessons: Four Plays by Euripedes. Anne Carson, trans. Sasha's review influenced this purchase.

The Towers of Trebizond. Rose Macaulay. Because of the famous first sentence about the camel.

Morte D'Urban. J. F. Powers. I think this was the first NYRB I've come across at the used bookstore.

Anathem. Neal Stephenson. A rainy afternoon spent browsing at Barnes and Noble and I come home with this. I think I must have been trying to get the most words for my money. Should I read Anathem or Quicksilver first?

Minding Frankie. Maeve Binchy. Review copy.


  1. Read Anathem first.

  2. And even two Persephones. What's up with The Book Depository--they seem to be out of every book I want to order????

  3. NOT that I should be ordering books, but....

  4. I love the idea of trying to get the most words for your money. I've worked with children who felt that way about pictures. Not enough pictures, not worth spending their pocket money on.

  5. Two Persephones -- how wonderful! I read The Wise Virgins recently and I quite liked it. I haven't read Princes in the Land so I look forward to reading your thoughts.

    I also bought The Towers of Trebizond because of the famous first line. Still unread. Sigh.

  6. Nice piles! Towers of Terbizond is on my TBR list as are several others in your pile. Happy reading!

  7. Anathem (which I haven't yet read) is a standalone, while Quicksilver is the first three books of an eight book (in three volumes) series. So I'd go with Anathem. But I highly recommend diving into the Baroque Cycle when you're in the mood for an immersive, 2700 page extravaganza!

  8. I've never read Scarlett Thomas. What is she like? Which authors does she resemble? Can you finish this sentence: "If you liked _________, you'll enjoy Scarlett Thomas."


As a reader I cherish the fantasy of one day stopping acquiring books, of subsisting only on what is already stashed away in the crammed lar...