Hello. My name is Danielle and I'm a book addict. This is something I've been grappling with for the better part of my life. The problem is, I don't really want to be cured.
Yes, this weekend was my public library's quarterly (no semiannual sales here--they do this four wonderful times a year!) book sale. I contemplated not going, but as you see I changed my mind. Had I known that all purchases were half off, I probably would have bought more, but perhaps it is just as well, as I doubt I could have carried home many more books on the bus. I have a very roomy bookbag needless to say.
The thing with my sale is--there is lots of popular fiction to choose from, and often some really great finds, but usually the popular fiction isn't exactly the sort of thing I like to read, or else I've already bought or read it. I tend to go for the mysteries and crime fiction, which is fine as I love the genre, but I wouldn't mind finding some more off the beaten track sorts of books (or else someone else just beat me to them most likely)--maybe a few Viragos, or a Persephone or some foreign fiction, or more classics. But here I am with a massive pile of book and I'm complaining. Silly me, let me share what I found, instead.
I think one of the most depressing books I have ever read is John O'Hara's Butterfield 8. So, what the heck, why not follow it up with his first novel Appointment in Samarra? Actually I wouldn't mind rereading Butterfield 8, though I expect it's as bleak as I recall it being. Depressing is okay in small doses, so I am looking forward to reading something else by him.
I was very happy with this find--Fools of Fortune by William Trevor--and a nice, pristine Penguin edition. I like Trevor and it's been far too long since I've read any of his work. Graham Greene called this Trevor's best novel. Post WWI Irish setting about revenge. More darkness.
"Deserted by her rakish husband, the beautiful Roxana abandons poverty, morality and her five children and embarks on a career of sexual intrigue and fraud in England, France and the Netherlands." Roxana, or The Fortunate Mistress by Daniel Defoe is definitely one to read next year, I think. More classics, and more early works.
A coworker told me I must read Nikolai Gogol's short stories, particularly "The Nose" and "The Overcoat". Both are in this edition of Diary of a Madman and Other Stories. The blurb on the book reads "Gogol is in some ways to Russian literature what Laurence Sterne is to English, a peculiar and brilliant original who created a world of his own."
Mary Beth Keane's The Walking People is a contemporary novel set in New York City about an Irish immigrant.
I've read and enjoyed one of John McGahern's novels, have another on my shelves and found The Barracks to add to my small collection. From what I understand he is one of the finest Irish authors writing today.
I couldn't pass up a historical fiction novel about WWI--Carol Ann Lee's The Winter of the World.
Eudora Welty is another author I AM going to read next year, or maybe even sooner (you never know). I keep collecting books by her. The Eye of the Story is a collection of essays and reviews. It even has "A Sweet Devouring", which I read earlier this year and loved (and what actually started my Eudora Welty kick).
I loved William Styron's novel, Sophie's Choice. It was an absolutely gut wrenching story, and one that seems to elicit strong opinions. For me it was one of those near perfect reading experiences, so I'm curious about Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness. Newsweek notes "Never has Styron used so few words so effectively."
Yes, there's more! This is getting to be a long post, so let me run through my mystery finds quickly.
Thomas Cook's The Cloud of Unknowing--I really like his work. Another author to read soon.
I've not yet read Henning Mankell, but from what I understand I think I will like him very much. I have the first Wallander mystery and couldn't help grabbing Sidetracked and The Pyramid, which are later novels.
I've already read Gerri Brightwell's The Dark Lantern, but it was a library book and I'd like to own a copy. It's one I'd like to reread.
The Becket Factor by Michael David Anthony is the first Canterbury Cathedral mystery--a "good ecclesiastical thriller". Hmm.
I used to read a lot of Minette Walters but her more recent books have appealed to me less than her earlier books. However, I did listen to a recent novel on my MP3 player in the summer and found I enjoyed it more than I expected (good reader?). The Devil's Feather takes contemporary events as her inspiration, but maybe I'll like this one as well.
Rennie Airth's River of Darkness is another book I read years ago when it was first published. I have his second John Madden mystery but thought I might reread the first since so much time has passed.
Edward Marston's The Parliament House is a historical mystery set in 1670.
I like Cynthia Harrod-Eagles's Morland Dynasty series, but I've never tried her mysteries. This is a Bill Slider mystery--Orchestrated Death Who's likely to list this? Fans of wordplay, classical music and Elizabeth George according to the blurb.
Another author I really must read--Fred Vargas. I snapped up Seeking Whom He May Devour. Great cover illustration by the way.
And The Maze of Cadiz by Aly Monroe is a spy thriller set in Franco's Spain. I checked this out earlier this year but it went back unread. Now I can read it when the mood strikes.
So, there you have it. The books will mostly get absorbed into my piles for later reading, but I like to play this little game when I have a new pile of books...which would I read first? At the moment it is a tie between the Airth, the Trevor and Agatha Christie's The Seven Dials Mystery.
Oh, and these books put me out all of $22.00--less than the cost of one new hardcover! It comes out to something like 88¢ a book. And it's for a good cause--the proceeds go to the public library for new materials. So, really, I did a good deed this weekend. Guilt free book buying. I highly recommend it.