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Latest Acquisitions (February – April 2018)

It has again been a while since a post of this kind; my reading speed at the moment is slow, and I’m reading more of the books I already have. I have also got to the point in my blogging where I’ve really, truly, learned what is a good acceptance rate of books. The request-them-all phase bloggers often go through is long over and I appreciate not having to read books back to back. There’s also the fact that it gives me more time to think about what I want to say. I think back to the time a couple of years ago when I had eleven books to read in four weeks, a mix of awards, event preparation, and review copies – I finished them all in time and in fact it was quite exhilarating, but I’d rather not do it again!

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Arundhati Roy: The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness – In the autumn of last year I was in a bookshop and came across two books I haven’t previously come across but found myself really wanting. This was one of them. I didn’t get either of them at that time but they kept coming to mind so I recently decided to go for it, particularly after seeing this book was on the longlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

Edward Carey: Little – Out in October in the UK, this is a novel based on the life of Madame Tussaud. It’s done well so far. Expect a lot of interesting history but also, likely, a fair bit of gore.

Laura Pearson: Missing Pieces – A story of family secrets, out in June. I’m purposefully staying away from reviews until after I’ve read it; the last book I read that had a similar blurb required you stay away from the secret in order to really enjoy it.

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Manu Joseph: Miss Laila, Armed And Dangerous – A very contemporary thriller set after an election in India.

Özgür Mumcu: The Peace Machine – A Turkish novel set at the start of the last century, that questions whether violence could be put to an end.

Polly Clark: Larchfield – This was the second book I found in the bookshop; it switches between a contemporary narrative, and a story of W H Auden.

What was the last book you originally said ‘no’ to but couldn’t get out of your mind?

Latest Acquisitions (September – October 2017)

I didn’t realise the last time I posted about acquisitions was January. High time for another; I may write about books in my Reading Life series but unless I’m actively reading/considering reading any one work at that time, it’ll get missed.

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A J Waines: Lost In The Lake – You knew this was coming! This is the author’s latest book and one we’ll be focusing on in our conversation. (I’ll be recording the event and may well write about it here as we’re working with a slightly different approach.)

April Munday: The Heir’s Tale – Released just last week, this is April’s latest book, a medieval romance with a blurb that has me thinking of Elizabeth Chadwick – awesome. You’ll know April from my blog comments; we’ve known each other a while. Look out for my review, it’ll be posted later this season, and may well prompt another foray into stories about the Middle Ages.

Hanif Kureishi: The Last Word – Those times when you read about something, are intrigued and then start seeing it everywhere. Mix that with finding a book that’s a comedy (it reminds me of Alan Bennett), a semi-quick read, and a heavy discount, and buying happens.

J Courtney Sullivan: The Engagements – I’ve wanted to read Sullivan’s Maine for years, but it’s proved very difficult to find in Britain. (I once found a copy but it was very battered and not worth the brand new price.) This is the next best thing.

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Jane Harris: Sugar Money – I saw this in an article last week and noted it was going to be released on 5th October. I studied American slavery and abolition at university and it’s one of the subjects I’ve retained a big interest in. And when you add the author’s name to that… So, yesterday morning, I looked online for stock at my local Waterstones and there was a copy. I got there after work and it was nowhere to be seen on the shelves; I finally found it on the trolley, yet to be shelved. Bit of a laugh with the member of staff; I was most certainly allowed to take stock from the trolley and it was great it hadn’t even made it to the floor before being sold. With this book, I think my December reading list is complete.

Peter Ackroyd: Civil War – A couple of years ago I bought the previous book in this series in hardback, an impulse buy that nevertheless made absolute sense because, as I believe the common phrase goes, ‘because Tudors’, and thought I might get the next. Never did, and I passed that time when hardbacks are replaced by paperbacks. Then a nephew wanted a toy dinosaur, I found myself in The Works, and there was the book for £3. (For anyone not in Britain, The Works is mostly an art shop but they also sell a whole heap of discounted books.)

Tony Peake: North Facing – From the publisher, a book about South Africa set in the political upheaval of the 1960s. I can’t pretend to know anything more than that but the publisher, Myriad, have proved to be good so far.

Virginia Woolf: Mrs Dalloway – Readying myself for Christmas; I was planning to buy Orlando but it wasn’t there when I went in and I decided to take that as a hint that I should be starting with something else.

As you can tell by the essay above, I’m pretty excited about these books! I should also stop spending money on brand new books and concentrate on my backlog. Best intentions and all that. I’m currently living by the famous quote from Erasmus.

Do you ever go to buy a book on its release date?

Latest Acquisitions (November 2016 – January 2017)

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Barbara Erskine: Sleeper’s Castle – I’ve never read Erskine before; had always planned to; listening to her speak at Hay and reading a sampler had me putting it on my Christmas wish list.

Elizabeth Chadwick: The Autumn Throne – The last of Chadwick’s Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy; loved the first book, not yet got to the second…

Helen Irene Young: The May Queen – Set for an April review, this is a historical novel with a great premise; to be honest, the cover likely would’ve been enough to grab me, it tells you a lot.

Hiromi Kawakami: The Nakano Thrift Shop – So excited.

Josephine Johnson: Now In November – A 1930s novel that I hadn’t heard of before but is apparently rather well-known; I’ll be reviewing this in a few weeks.

Lauren Owen: The Quick – I may not get to this for a while but I’ve been wanting to read it for ages.

Margaret Laurence: The Stone Angel – Another older novel that has been republished; rather looking forward to reading it.

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Meelis Friedenthal: The Willow King – The cover had me very excited and I haven’t wanted to look too closely at the premise for fear of spoiling it but I think it’s more present-day than historical.

Nicola Cornick: The Phantom Tree – Cornick’s previous, House Of Shadows made my top 7 in 2015; I believe the genre of this new one is the same.

Sally O’Reilly: Dark Aemilia – Having read Elizabeth Fremantle’s The Girl In The Glass Tower I’ve been particularly interested in this because both are about the same Aemilia; Fremantle concentrated on Aemilia’s later life and wove her into Arbella Stuart’s story, O’Reilly’s book looks at her life in the context of Shakespeare.

Sylvia Plath: The Bell Jar – It’s been a long time coming; I’m ready for what I hear is a difficult book (I haven’t wanted to read too much about it).

Tom Connolly: Men Like Air – A study of relationships, this follows a few different characters.

Tony Grey: The Tortoise Of Asia – Historical fiction based on a legend, this is about a Roman soldier who is taken prisoner and ends up battling for the Huns.

Latest Acquisitions (June – August 2016)

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Augusto Di Angelis: The Mystery Of The Three Orchids – 1940s Italian crime fiction. From the publisher.

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen: Waking Lions – Very excited about this one, having loved One Night, Markovitch.

Bill Burnett and Dave Evans: Designing Your Life – I had heard great things about the events these authors have been at and when I received this book I read a chapter at random and it does indeed seem very good. I’ll be reviewing it later this month.

Dan Richards: The Beechwood Airship Interviews – The author decides to build an airship and interviews various famous people (including Dame Judi Dench) about their artistic lives. If it’s anything like Climbing Days it’ll be excellent.

Frédéric Dard: The Wicked Go To Hell – The second Dard to be published by Pushkin Press. The first was pretty great and very original.

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Helen Slavin: Crooked Daylight – The first in a new fantasy series about the daughters of a witch. Scheduled for later this month.

Jemma Wayne: Chains Of Sand – Wayne’s first book was longlisted for the Bailey’s Prize and the Not The Booker Prize, and this has been shortlisted for that second prize. I’m rather excited – the first paragraph, which I read for another round of first line analyses, is excellent in itself.

Keith Stuart: A Boy Made Of Blocks – This is a novel inspired by the author’s experience raising a child with autism; the author’s Games Editor for The Guardian and has written about the positive impact Minecraft has had on his son and their communication with him. Very excited to read this.

Linda Stift: The Empress And The Cake – An Austrian psycho-thriller, the latest Peirene and the last in their fairy-tale series. You’re pretty much guaranteed a great read when it’s Peirene.

Solomon Northup: Twelve Years A Slave – It’s time, enough said.

Pick one of your recent acquisitions/borrowed books – what made you choose it?

Latest Acquisitions (February – May 2016)

It has been a long time, by reader standards, since my last acquisitions post. Whilst I didn’t receive fiction or prose-like non-fiction for Christmas, I did receive gift cards; this post is made up of the books I spent my gift cards on, an Easter gift, and some review copies. I’m changing my format for now and it may continue; there is too much white space left in these posts.

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Anna Hope: The Ballroom – It seemed everyone loved Wake and when I finally got to it myself I joined the ranks; there was no question – I was going to get this book.

Ayelet Gundar Goshen: One Night, Markovitch – Remember when I said I’d been eyeing this one since its release and it would get me one day?

Colm Tóibín: Brooklyn – Have I got those accents right? I’ve been after this one ever since it came out; if my pile could breath a sigh of relief, it would.

Deborah Levy: Swimming Home – I was intrigued by the previous cover and it was on a shortlist or two, but then I had the chance to hear Levy speak at a Peirene Salon, about Raymond Jean’s Reader For Hire, in fact (not her own book), and her thoughts on that book impressed me so much this one became a definite want.

Gabriel García Márquez: One Hundred Years Of Solitude – So I went in to get Margaret Forster’s biography of Daphne Du Maurier but whilst browsing I saw this and a voice in my head just kind of said ‘it’s time’, which was weird, actually, because whilst I’m not against it, García Márquez has never been on my want-to-read-at-some-point list. Anyway, it was a strong feeling so I left the mint-condition Forster on the shelf and got this instead.

Gerri Brightwell: Dead Of Winter – From the publisher, a darkly humorous thriller set in a small town in Alaska.

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Haruki Murakami: Norwegian Wood – I’ve asked for opinions before, about which Murakami to start with, and most people say another, but I just can’t shake the draw I have to this one and it’s stuck around through a cover change.

Martin Holmén: Clinch – From the publisher, this is a Scandinavian thriller that looks to rival others and has been described as ‘a remarkable début’.

Sue Gee: Trio – Very excited about this; I’d thought of requesting it, didn’t get round to it, then found it in my mailbox anyway.

V H Leslie: Bodies Of Water – Ditto the situation with the Sue Gee.

With the gift cards I was strict and got books I’d wanted for some time. Suffice to say I’m excited.

What are the books at the top of your to be read pile?


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