Christmas Book Haul!

This is a tad delayed, but here’s a Christmas book haul!

Every Christmas I do the usual bookworm thing of asking almost exclusively for books. This year the vibe I got was that they’d rather get me other things too so I was a little more conservative with my Christmas list (I put four non-book items on it).

So I still did pretty well for books…

It helps that my brother also almost exclusively asks for books, which is how I ended up with The Buddha Of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi after my mum accidentally ordered two copies for him.

I’ve wanted Inua Ellams’ poetry collection, Six of The Fairy Negro Tales after I saw him speak at Bare Lit festival earlier in 2017. I have another anthology of his, #Afterhours, but never got round to buying this one off my wish list!

I also got One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, which has been on my list of planned reads for my Read the World project for Colombia for a while now!

These hardbacks of What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah, Mirror In The Sky by Aditi Khorana and The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso are gorgeous and I can’t wait to read them! I’ve had my eye on What It Means… for ages and couldn’t find it in any of my local bookshops so I’m so glad I finally own a copy!

Finally, I saw a friend talk about Not A Drop To Drink by Mindy McGinnis on Instagram and you know how I can’t resist a good dystopian!

Did you get any books this Christmas?

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Accidental Book Haul

  
I discovered something odd about Amazon yesterday and that is that if you order an already published book at the same time you preorder a book they’ll send them to you whenever they bloody we’ll feel like it. So, I’d forgotten I’d ordered most of these books when they turned up yesterday afternoon! Which was a nice surprise but a bit of a pain as I swore I wouldn’t buy any new books in April. Technically I suppose I had already bought them so I can forgive myself.

In any case, I got:

The Missing by CL Taylor- I loved The Lie and The Accident, they were gloriously twisted thrillers so I am so excited to read her brand new book about a child that has gone missing (incidentally, such an accidental theme on my Kindle I have had to make its own collection)

The Second Love of My Life by Victoria Walters- I actually took part in the cover reveal for this book back in February and it sounded like such a cute story about a young woman finding love after her husband dies that I had to preorder it for myself!

Paper Weight by Meg Haston- I think this one was recommended to me after a YA Amazon binge. About a girl who has been sent to an inpatient facility for an eating disorder, but who plans to die on the anniversary if her brother’s death anyways. It looks like something that will make me cry.

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey- I read and reviewed The 5th Wave recently so of course I had to find out what was you to happen to Cassie and the rest of human civilisation.

Speak by Louise Hall- I’ve had my eye on this one for a while so I’m  glad it arrived quicker than amazon predicted! This one is a sci fi about dying AI.

Stephen King Haul!

  

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with horror as a genre. At twenty four I am basically unable to watch any scary film with an eighteen rating without hiding behind a pillow. I am, essentially, a wuss.

Yet I find horror books to be strangely compelling. One of my favourite things to do at the gym is to put a zombie-esque dystopia book on my kindle, play a creepy playlist and run up stairs like my life depends on it. Recently I started reading Stephen King short stories and was inspired to pick up some of his longer novels. 

I read Carrie when I was about fourteen and absolutely loved it. The film is also one of the few horror films I’ve been able to stomach (presumably because it’s old enough to be able to see the wires that make up the special effects). I briefly read part of The Stand a few years ago but for some reason I never managed to finish it, I think I got caught up with uni work.

So I already own a few of his books. A while ago I decided I’d quite like to start reading all of his bibliography, but it’s taken until now to start building up a little collection of his work. Out of the three books I bought today I’m most excited about The Bachman Books because it’s an older edition that includes his out of print novel Rage. I remember age about fifteen deciding that I wanted to read it because I found the subject fascinating, but disappointed because it seemed to be only available in old editions.

So, a small book haul from one of my favourite second hand bookshops (I urge anyone passing through Rochester to visit Baggins Book Bazaar), but a pleasing one considering it’s essentially seven novels for £6.50!

What’s your favourite Stephen King novel? Which one should I read next?

London Bookshop Crawl


I have a hobby, although my family would probably call it a bad habit, and it’s meeting people from online for adventures. It’s stood me in good stead so far, having explored Poland with a woman who is now one of my closest friends and hopped around America doing everything from sight seeing, to kareoke to drunkenly chasing deers while naked and trying to kayak to Hawaii from Washington (turns out, you can’t).

So I had high hopes for yesterday’s #LondonBookshopCrawl and I wasn’t disappointed. I didn’t get neatly enough photos, but the hashtag on Twitter and Instagram is full  of people who did a much better job than me (and @mattdawhit’s Storify is great) Our plan was to meet in Foyles cafe at Charing Cross and then move on as a group of 23 around @ninjabookswap’s list of shops that were expecting us.
First… Orbital Comics.

Now, I’ve always had a fairly negative relationship with comics, having lived with a guy who told me I should be reading them instead of ‘books by dead Russian authors in prison for their political beliefs’. But I’ve mellowed recently and I do see the joy they bring other people. Not my thing, glad so many people love them, that makes me happy. I gather that it’s a wonderful store, and the layout was great for even a comic cretin like myself. I even bought myself a couple of bargain comics as souvenirs! Staff were friendly, everyone seemed happy.

I won’t show you the comics I bought as my flatmate has since inspected and shook his head sadly – they were more to do with Watchmen and less to so with Alan Moore – but they only cost me 25p.

Then on to… Any Amount of Books and Cecil Court!

I didn’t actually make it into Any Amount of Books, having spent too long wandering around Cecil Court but that place was incredible.


The gang, or part of it, surrounded by bookshops. Heaven!

I went in every shop for a nosey, but I was particularly enamoured with Peter Ellis, who sold me James Baldwin’s If Beale Street Could Talk. The shelves were lined with lovingly wrapped first editions and very well laid out. And, who I presume was Mr Ellis himself although I could be wrong, was a very welcoming man who happily, if somewhat confused, signed my piece of paper to say I’d bought a book there. Marchpane was another favourite, with an entire section dedicated to Alice in Wonderland.

And then there was Goldsboro Books, which broke my heart with it’s selection of first editions. So many of my favourites, so much more than I could hope to spend on books.



In fact the whole of Cecil Court has reignited my love for my favourites, particularly PG Wodehouse, who seems to be a collectible favourite.

Next… Lunch. A few of us stopped by Byron’s, predominantly because it was there, for burgers, fries and milkshakes. This vegetarian had a salad because there are only so many veggie burgers you can have in a lifetime.


Now on toPersephone Books!

Persephone were expecting us and gave us the warmest of welcomes. We were treated to a small tour of this tiny publishing house and a talk on the history, aims and some book recommendations tailored to whoever asked. There’s a genuine love here and it’s a fine example of people who love and breathe what they do. They have 115 books in their catalogue, mainly by women, all well thought out. Each has a grey jacket and a printed endpaper based on a fabric produced in the year the book was originally published. Which is a wonderful touch.


I debated over three for the whole time we were there and eventually decided on They Were Sisters by Dorothy Whipple. Although I could easily own the whole collection.

  
ThenLondon Review Bookshop.


This was a lovely bookshop, made more lovely by the welcome they gave us. Discount and some goodies never go amiss. I could have spent hours in there, but forced myself to a budget and in the end bought Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life after being recommended it a while ago by a colleague.

Our final stop... Waterstone’s Piccadilly.

Probably the biggest Waterstone’s I have ever been in but by this point in the day all I wanted was cake and a sit down. So @giants_orbit and I went down to the cafe for the largest slices of cake I have ever seen.


It was one of the best days out I have had. There’s something lovely about meeting up with people with a specific interest and I’m already planning my next bookshop trips and to go along to a  book club run by @HaggyT.

Looking forward to next year

Christmas book haul!

  
So, it’s Boxing Day and I’m laying on my mum’s rug… Full of food and trying to ignore the footie going on in the background. This Christmas was good for books, mainly because my wish list consists of books and books alone. I ended up with seven of the ones I wanted the most. I have finished one of them already…

The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubbs by David John Griffin who, coincidentally, is from the same county as me. 

Described as a ‘gothic horror’ (my favourite genre at school) this one appealed to me because it doesn’t sound like anything I’ve read in a while. I love a good horror and this one looks like it’s surreal, creepy and full of twisted characters.

Forget Me Not by Luana Lewis

A tragic suicide? Or the perfect murder?

Female written thrillers were like my genre of 2015 and this one, about a mother trying to solve her daughters death, looks like all of my favourites rolled into one.

Second Life by SJ Watson

I absolutely loved Before I Go to Sleep and so I was very excited when my brother got his newest book. I can’t even remember asking for it, my brother clearly just knew.

My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologies by Fredrik Backman

I’ve been looking for this book for ages. No bookshop I’ve been in has had it. I have a massive soft spot for books about old people getting up to mischief written by Swedish authors (it’s a thing, I promise) and I am do excited to read this one!

The Girls by Lisa Jewell

I need to review this one at some point today… Having finished reading it by the time I went to bed on Christmas. Lisa Jewell is one of my favourite authors and this book, about the complicated and slightly toxic relationships between young girls, was no disappointment.

Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell

I think I originally requested this one on Netgalley, right before it was released. The paperback version is beautiful though and I’m glad to have the physical copy. Kidnap-lit was another big theme of 2015 but Pretty Is, set after the return of two twelve year old girls, looks like an interesting take.

The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern

I always get my mum a Cecelia Ahern book for her birthday and Christmas, ever since she read PS I Love You and we watched the film together. This year I also got one! I’m reading her on my mums recommendation because I’ve never got round to reading them myself!

Book haul!

  

A kind of book haul. Recently a very good friend of mine posted on Facebook that she needed to free up some book space and, being like me, can’t bear to throw books away. I asked her if she would be willing to send me a few surprise books if I paid for shipping and this lovely haul is the result!

All of these are the kind of books I love to read, which I guess is what happens when someone who knows you inside out, and also has shared tastes, picks for you. There’s dystopian futures, young adult romance, family dramas, a thriller that borders on horror and, of course, somewhere in a blurb was the mention of an old woman getting up to mischief. Bliss.

I’m picking  my second Book And A Brew box today, will the excitement never stop!

I love coming home to new books

 

New and secondhand books from Amazon!
 
I got home from my holiday late last night and before passing out in my bed I caught sight of the package my flatmate had left by the door. I did a quick amazon order before leaving so I knew I had something to come back to! These have been on my mental wish list for a while after reading a few Lisa Jewell and Liane Moriarty books and being recommended We All Looked Up when I finished Station Eleven. So, what I ordered:

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

Before the asteroid hit we let ourselves be defined by labels: the athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever. But then we all looked up and everything changed.

So begins the blurb of this book… And I read the entire thing in the voice of Mathew Bayntun, who currently stars in the Sky drama You, Me and the Apocalypse. A program I would heartily recommend. I love a good apocalypse story and flu and asteroids are my favourite of the genre (I’ll go with zombies under special circumstances). The End Of The World Running Club, set in asteroid ravaged Britain, was one of my favourite books of 2015 and I’m looking forward to a slightly more teenage take on the apocalypse.

The Making Of Us by Lisa Jewell

Lydia, Robyn and Dean don’t know each other- yet. They live very different lives but each of them, independently, has always felt that something is missing.

What they don’t know is thatbanletter is about to arrive that will turn their lives upside down. It is a letter containing a secret – one that will bind them together, and show them what love and family and friendship really mean…

I’ve talked already about my love for Lisa Jewell and I like the fact that this version of the book includes a bunch of extra author stuff. I haven’t looked through it yet, because no doubt it contains spoilers, but I like those extras. 

The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty

Over seventy years have passed since sisters Rose and Connie Doughty found an abandoned baby near their home on the island Scribbly Gum. With no one to take care of it, Rose and Connie took the baby in as their own. Since then the ‘Munro Baby Mystery’ has brought fame and fortune, putting Scribbly Gum on the tourist map, especially for the island’s annual celebration.
But now, with Connie dead and outsider Sophie Honeywell about to move into her home, Rose begins to wonder if they made the right decision all those years ago. How much longer can they cover up the lie that has sustained their community for generations? And what other secrets are about to be revealed?

I love Liane Moriarty’s books. They’re like a twist on every genre I love. This one in particular struck me because it reminded me somehow of Angela Carter’s Wise Children. I’m sure it’ll be completely different (unless circuses and geriatric incest are a new common theme) but it was nice to be reminded of one of my favourite books from school.

Finally… The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

The Birds seem to be the perfect family: mother, father, four children, a picture-book cottage in the country. But when something happens one Easter weekend, it is so unexpected, so devastating, that no one can talk about it.

The family shatters, seemingly for ever. Until they are forced to return to the house they grew up in. And to confront what really took place all those years ago.
 I’ve already started this book and relate to one of the main characters far more than I’d probably like. Like most of her books there’s a lot of teasing over events in the past and I imagine it’ll be a while before I find out what really happened. But I’ll enjoy discovering it!