Thursday, 12 November 2015

Books I've bought recently

I can't remember the last time I did a 'haul' post of any kind, but as the (physical) books I've bought in the past month kept stacking up, it seemed like it'd be a waste not to write about them. Now I just need my reading pace to pick up...

Books I've bought recently

Randall / Jonathan Gibbs / Source: World of Books
A book that's been on my radar for a long time - sometimes I just look at something on my wishlist and decide it's time to buy it. Randall is described by the author as: 'a counterfactual novel about the art world in London and beyond in the 90s and since, about the fuss the YBAs made, and the strange trajectories their careers took in the years that followed. It is about how to balance friendship with adulation, and desire with doubt. It is not a satire, or not only. It is an insider novel written from the outside.' All of which sounds brilliant to me, especially since 'novels about art/artists' is one of my favourite mini-genres.

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere / Alice Furse / Source: Foyles (it's oddly not on their website, so here's a publisher link)
I've already read and reviewed Alice Furse's debut novel; this is just another opportunity to go on about how great it is. A nameless narrator ruminates on life as she tries to survive the banalities of a data-entry job at Weblands, which is a sort of every-office for the millennial generation. It shapes a story (and central character) that's simultaneously timeless and utterly relevant for present-day readers.

Two Eerie Tales of Suspense / Paul Torday / Source: Charity shop
If I'm completely honest, I only bought this because of the title. I've never read Torday before, and have always had this (unfair?) perception of his books as being quite twee. The two eerie tales are titled Breakfast at the Hotel Déjà vu and Theo, and are billed as 'suspenseful and intriguing... mysterious and sinister'; the beginning of the first one is interesting, with a classic feel; and who doesn't love creepy hotels?

Animals / Keith Ridgway / Source: Skoob Books
Ridgway is the author of the excellent Hawthorn & Child - I really enjoyed that book and his short story The Spectacular, but have never got round to reading any of his other novels. When I picked up Animals, though, I was transfixed straight away - it has a great first page, one of those that makes you a) laugh and b) immediately want to read on. Definitely a book I'll be reading sooner rather than later.

The Lone Pilgrim / Laurie Colwin / Source: Skoob Books
One of my aims when shopping at Skoob was to buy something I had no prior knowledge of, preferably something unavailable on Kindle and/or out of print, by an author I hadn't read before. I picked this up completely at random and bought it (no checking of Google/Amazon allowed) on the basis of the blurb and first page. Colwin is, it turns out, mainly remembered for her food writing, something that wouldn't really interest me - but this collection of short stories, portraying 'people who are experiencing, often for the first time, the startling, enriching, maddening complications of adult life', does.

I Love Dick / Chris Kraus / Source: Foyles
One of those social-media-buzz books - if you're on #booktwitter you're sure to have picked up on all the talk about this recently. Originally published in 1997, it's getting its first official UK edition this month, and has acquired the status of a 'cult feminist classic' in the intervening years. I'm trying to avoid reading too much about it as I don't want my response to be affected by expectations, but the few I have looked at have compared it to some books I didn't particularly enjoy, so I have a feeling this one could go either way...

The WikiLeaks Files / Various authors / Source: Amazon
I actually already had an advance copy of this in ebook format, but I was finding it difficult to read on my Kindle - it's very in-depth and so different from what I'm used to (I don't read enough non-fiction) that I felt I would get along with it better if I had a physical copy. This is the first serious text on international relations I've read since finishing my degree, and my progress has been very slow, but it makes for a stimulating change from fiction and is getting cogs turning in my head that have been out of use for a very long time.

Collected Screenplays / Paul Auster / Source: A discount bookshop somewhere in North London
How likely is it that I'll sit down and read a 500-page hardback book of screenplays any time soon? Not very, I have to admit. But when I spotted this on a table outside a bookshop with a big £2.99 sticker on the cover, I grabbed it instantly. I already have Auster's Collected Prose, and if nothing else, this one will look lovely next to it on my bookshelf (even though it's a little bit battered).

The Woman Who Lived in a Restaurant / Leone Ross + Last Christmas / John D Rutter / Source: Nightjar Press
(You can't really see these in the image; they're the two slim pamphlets propped up against the stack.) Some of you might remember that back in the summer, I was sent three of these limited edition short stories by Nightjar Press, and really enjoyed them. Since then, I've been periodically checking Nightjar's online shop and waiting patiently for more to be issued, so I snapped up their two new chapbooks as soon as they appeared. I haven't read either of the authors before, making these an exciting unknown quantity.

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