Thursday, 21 January 2010

Recent Acquisitions

Here they are, the first books of 2010. I've even read one already and began another!

The Spare Room by Helen Garner: Canongate declared this "the decade's best unread book", I popped it on my wish-list and when Frances of Nonsuch Book was cleaning out some book, I took this one off her hands; Frances describes it as "Spare and dark and unsentimental treatment of caring for a cancer patient not viewing their illness with much realism. Quick and memorable read."

To Bed With Grand Music by Marghanita Laski: As you know I acquired several Persephone Books recently when I visited the shop with Verity of The B Files but this is the one I purchased and that I am most excited about. I intend to read this soon not least of all because I know many of you are tempted by this one yourselves.

Life & Times of Michael K by J.M. Coetzee: Disgrace was one of my favourite reads last year and Coetzee an amazing new-to-me author discovery. I couldn't resist his other Booker winner when I found a new copy for £2 and I'm tempted to go on a bit of a Coetzee binge this quarter.

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates: this is the book that I wish I had read last year. The film adaptation was sublime and I am excited to finally read this, more so as Rachel of Book Snob is hosting a Season of Yates and has some lovely things to say about him (but then she has lovely things to say generally).

Les Liaisons dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos: Polly of Novel Insights chose this as our next Riverside Readers book group read and I purchased it immediately, I was so excited. This is a French classic that I have been wanting to read for some time, I have never seen the film (I intend to before we discuss the book) and I have started to read the book and I am enjoying it immensely.

The Passport by Herta
Müller: until Müller won the Nobel Prize for Literature last year I knew nothing about her and this was something that I sought to rectify. The Passport is a slight novella by her, which seems to be touted everywhere as the book of hers to read, so I thought it was the one to go for; Simon of Savidge Reads implies that it is a challenging and unique reading experience, which makes it sound as if it could be inaccessible but I'm up for a challenge! Ultimately he enjoyed it though so that's all that matters.

Pastors and Masters by Ivy Compton-Burnett: a good friend wrote her Master's thesis on the works of Ivy Compton-Burnett when we were at University together and that was going on four years ago ... I have been reading to read Ivy since that time and Simon of Stuck In A Book has been another advocate. Simon recently reviewed Pastors and Masters and conveniently I had just won a copy to review from Hesperus Press (via LibraryThing). Simon classes it as "ICB-lite" so I'm thinking it is a good place to start.

Audition by Ryu Murakami: another writer that I've been wanting to read for some time and one I was discussing with Jackie of Farm Lane Books in relation to gritty Japanese thrillers last month. Ôdishon was a Japanese film released over a decade ago based on Ryu Murakami's novel; Bloomsbury released the novel in translation last year and kindly sent me a copy.

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez: this novel was cited in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz and I wanted to read it from then and when Nymeth of Things Mean a Lot reviewed it shortly after, I purchased it. I am trying not to plan my reading but it is all I can do not to score out a couple of days in my diary in early February so that I can curl up and devour this book.

Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde: I have already read and reviewed this acquisition (because I couldn't wait!) Many thanks to Steph of Steph & Tony Investigate for sending me a copy of this book when I won one of their generous bloggiversary give-aways. I loved this book and have no qualms in declaring it my favourite and most enjoyable read of 2010 so far.

Wild Child by T.C. Boyle: Bloomsbury also sent me the latest collection of short stories by T.C. Boyle, which I am looking forward to savouring. T.C. Boyle is a writer I admire a lot, whose works I plan on reading more of this year and that is thanks to JoAnn of Lakeside Musing and her enthusiasm for him. It's been a few years since I read any of his novels but read his short story "Chixiclub" recently and he can write short fiction along with the best of them.

Just as I was about to post this yesterday my internet died. We have an engineer coming to fix it tomorrow but until that time I will be offline.


verity said...

Ooh, lucky you! The one that is most up my street is To bed with grand music, which as you know I've already read, but I'll be interested ot learn about the others in due course. Hope you get back online soon!

Jennifer @ Mrs. Q: Book Addict said...

Nice stack of books! Enjoy reading.

farmlanebooks said...

Great selection of books! I've been wanting to read some Helen Garner for a while, so I hope you enjoy that.

I have a copy of Revolutionary Road and will read it as soon as Love Film send me the dvd!

I look forward to your thoughts on Murakami - I think I will start with In the Miso Soup, which I hope to get from the library at some point.

Enjoy your new books!

Rachel (Book Snob) said...

Thanks for the compliment, Claire! I have already read Revolutionary Road but am going to reread it at the end of my 'season', so I could let you know in plenty of time so you could read along with me, if you like?

I got the ICB from Librarything too - am a bit scared to start but I need to crack on as Librarything are demanding I write a review soon!

Anonymous said...

What a fab selection of books that is. I have to say that I need to try more Coetzee this year, and I think I might go for Disgrace as the first.

I look forward to your thoughts on The Passport, I really liked it its just very surreal but I love that, some people arent such fans. I also thought The Spare Room was stunning.

Sounds like you have some great reads coming.

Steph said...

So many great books in your stack, and quite a few I've actually read (Rev Road, Les Liasons Dangereuses, In The Time of the Butterflies, and of course Shades of Grey!). You know that I read my first Coeztee last year and loved it, and I'm going to absolutely read more fiction by him this year (I think I will also tackle Life & Times of Michael K next!). And I saw Wild Child at work one day and despite not being a great short story reader, I thought it looked great! I wish you good luck with all of these, though SoG will be a tough act to follow! ;)

Vivienne said...

Coetzee and Fforde are two authors I hope to read this year.

The Persephone one is one of their new books isn't it. I was reading about it in their biannual magazine.

Enjoy all your lovely books.

kimbofo said...

The Spare Room is wonderful. Hope you enjoy it.

I began the Muller a couple of months ago and gave up about 30 pages in because it just wasn't doing it for me. I'll try it again at a later point when I'm in a more receptive frame of mind.

Enjoy your books!

Anonymous said...

Interesting selection. Hope you have more success with Helen Garner than I did!

claire said...

I'm reading Yates along with Rachel too, though a different title. Rev Road is awesome, enjoy!

JoAnn said...

What a great stack of books! How will you ever decide which to read first??
I hadn't heard about Wild Child by T.C. Boyle. Looks like it was just released in the US today. He had a story in The New Yorker last week, "A Death in Kitchawank". Is it part of that collection? And you're right - he CAN write short fiction along with the best of them!

Desperate Reader said...

look forward to your review of 'To Bed With Grand Music' found it got entirely under my skin - I think it's one of the best books I've read for disscussing in months.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I really want to read Life and Times of Michael K. I got the same copy of Revolutionary Road as well.... really should get down to reading it soon.

Nymeth said...

I can't wait to hear what you think of In the Time if Butterflies! And I've been eager to Ivy Compton-Burnett myself lately - Michael Dirda made her sound irresistible in Classics for Pleasure.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to your review of To Bed with Grand Music. And, from what I've read about it so far, there's certainly a lot to talk about there!

Paperback Reader said...

Verity, I'm itching to read To Bed With Grand Music but have a few other books lined up first - did you review it? I can't remember. I'm sure I'll like it for the same reason you did - the social history.

Good to be back on line!

Thank you, Jennifer :).

Jackie, hope to let you know how the Garner books is soon.

The film adaptation of Revolutionary Road is outstanding and it will be interesting to read the book after seeing the film (as it's always the other way around for me).

I requested In the Miso Soup from the library a while back but I'm still waiting - popular book!

Rachel, I'd love to read Revolutionary Road along with you so let me know when!

I haven't received any demands from LibraryThing but shall read it soon, just in case.

Simon, Disgrace is a marvellous book and I hope that you enjoy it.

Thanks for the positive comments about both The Passport and The Spare Room; I look forward to reading both. I too enjoy surreal.

Steph, SoG was a tough act to follow but I managed to read a couple of good books in its wake :). Definitely more Coetzee; I'm excited about reading more of his work this year and sharing my thoughts with you (I think we're both in for a treat with Michael K).

Vivienne, two very different authors but I hope that you enjoy them both.

To Bed With Grand Music is indeed one of the newest titles and it was the account of it in the biannually that had me desperate to read it!

Kim, I noticed your "WTF?" comment on Simon's post on The Passport! I'm going to wait until I'm in the right frame of mind.

Paperback Reader said...

Claire (Captive Reader), that sounds ominous about Helen Garner - was it The Spare Room?

Claire, I look forward to your thoughts on other Yates work as I imagine I shall want to read more of his work.

JoAnn, I went for Shades of Grey first followed by Dangerous Liaisons and those were decided by based on both expectation and deadline (for Fforde event and for forthcoming book group); what I'll read next from the stack is the dilemma!
That short story isn't in this volume so I'll need to look for it in The New Yorker. Did you know that his last novel, The Women, is about the architect, Frank Lloyd Wright? I'm very curious to read it.

Hayley, good to know! I'm hoping to read it over the next week and have high expectations...

anothercookie, yes, you should! As should I... Perhaps you could read the Yates along with Rachel and I and the Coetzee with myself and Steph? Have you managed to find a copy of Song of Solomon yet?

Ana, neither can I! I am very excited about it. Too many great books to choose from although I know that one will be read within the next month.

I'm looking forward to our thoughts on Ivy.

makedo, I plan to read it and write about it soon! I imagine that it's going to be highly thought-provoking.

JoAnn said...

Claire - My daughter got me a signed copy of The Women for Christmas. (She found it at her college bookstore) That will probably be my next read!

Danielle said...

Lovely stack of books! I read Julia Alvarez's novel some time ago and thought it was great. I think it's been made into a movie, too. And I have Richard Yates in mind as well (after reading Rachel's posts!). Have fun reading your books!

Becky said...

What great purchases! I really want to read the Spare Room by Helen Garner, I can't wait to read your review of it!

bookreviews said...

I'm off to see Jasper Fforde talk later this week. Can't wait to get started on this one!

Paperback Reader said...

JoAnn, lovely gift! I'm looking forward to your thoughts as it has definitely piqued my interest.

Danielle, good to read another positive endorsement of Alvarez. I suspect a few of us will be picking up Yates soon :).

Hi Becky, thanks for commenting. The Spare Room is only a slight novel -albeit hefty subject matter- and I hope to fit it in soon.

Hi bookreviews, thanks for commenting. Shades of Grey is such a fun read and I saw Jasper Fforde at a signing on Monday - he's very entertaining, like a stand-up comedian rather than a writer.