A Few New Books (Book Buying 2013 – part 5)

So a few books arrived in the mail today. I have been trying to keep myself from buying more books but then I had to have the most hyped book of the year, I owed my boyfriend a book since he completed our reading challenge last year and I didn’t – and then I just had to get one more book for myself …

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  • Dan Brown: Inferno (Robert Langdon #4). Probably the most hyped book of the year. Dan Brown is back. I was very disappointed by the third book in the series, so my expectations are not high. That said, I really like Dante’s Inferno and I’m curious about what Brown makes of it. And if he has learned from the critique of his third Robert Langdon novel or if he keeps on writing the same book over and over again.
  • Diana Gabaldon: Voyager (Outlander #3). I have really enjoyed the first two books in this series so I’m excited about the third one. And it was really cheap so I just had to have it.
  • Laurent Binet: HHhH (Himmlers Hirn heisst Heydrich/Himmler’s brain is called Heydrich). My boyfriend and I are both quite excited about this one. As part of Hitler’s cabinet, Heydrich was one of the cruelest Nazis and seemed indestructible. Yet two men still managed to gun him down in broad daylight on a street in Prague. This is a book about these two men.

So this is the books that the nice postman brought to my door today. I’m looking forward to reading all three and I hope to get cracking on the Dan Brown one while it’s still new and everyone is still talking about it.

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And I did it again … (Book Buying 2013 – part 4)

It’s not like I don’t own enough books. I already have more than 200 books on my to-read list – and this is books I own (we’re not talking about my wish list in this post, that’s even more out of control). Anyway, even though I clearly have more than enough books on the shelves in my living room, I simply can’t resist a good bookstore. And recently, I’ve visited three good bookstores so of course, I had to get something. And I’m actually proud of myself for only buying 5 books. That’s less than 2 books per store so really, I can spin this so I deserve a pad on the back!

So here’s what I bought:

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  • Kate Atkinson: Life After Life. This is one of this year’s new releases that I’m really excited about. A baby is born in 1910 and dies before she can take her first breath. But in 1910, the same baby is born and lives on. How exciting does that sound? And the cover on this edition is gorgeous! And I love this quote on the back cover: What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?
  • Adam Johnson: The Orphan Master’s Son. So this is one of last year’s most exciting releases. I’ve been curious about this book ever since I heard about it for the first time. A book taking place in North Korea with a main character who is a rival to Kim Jong II – it is simply not possible not to be excited about this one! And since it has gone on to win the Pulitzer this year. So I’m really looking forward to reading this one!
  • Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird. I read this one back in 2010 and really loved it. I knew that I wanted to get my own copy of it at some point and that this book has the potential to become a favorite of mine. When I saw this 50th Anniversary Edition, I just thought this would be as good a time as any to pick it up.
  • Wilkie Collins: The Moonstone. I read The Woman in White last year and absolute loved it. I also read Dan Simmons’ novel Drood where Wilkie Collins is the main character and among other things talks about the inspiration for The Moonstone. I really want to read this book so couldn’t resist this one either.
  • Julian Barnes: Arthur & George. I have this on my list of books I want to read after having read Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books. And I have been wanted to read something by Julian Barnes ever since he won the Man Booker for The Sense of an Ending. I haven’t seen this book in the stores before so I grasped it as soon as I saw it.

So that end’s this latest book buying spree. And it brings my to-read list to 208. And it means that I have bought 24 books this year. I’ve read 6 of them so far so I need to get moving on reading more of them especially since I have a goal of having less books on my to-read list when the year ends than when it began – and I’m not doing so good on this goal…

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Book shopping in Copenhagen

As part of our vacation activities this year, my boyfriend/fiancé and I took a day trip to Copenhagen – mainly to buy books. My favorite Danish bookshop is located på Rådhuspladsen in Copenhagen and the reason that I love it is, that it stocks all the new contemporary fiction – in English. I am of course talking aboutPolitikens Boghal which is one of the few places in Denmark where you have a great selection of fiction written in English. And since that’s what I read the most, of course this is my favorite bookshop.

So I bought 7 books in Politikens. 6 fiction, one non fiction. Most of these were already on my wish list and I’m excited about all of them.

      

  • Lev Grossman: The Magician King (The Magicians #2). The second volume in this fantasy series, inspired heavily by Harry Potter and Narnia.
  • Ramona Ausubel: No One is Here Except All of Us. A sort of 1001 Nights set in a tiny Jewish village in Romania in WWII.
  • Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Prisoner of Heaven (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books #3). The final installment in this trilogy. The first one was amazing. I plan on reading all three together – hopefully soon.
  • Christos Tsiolkas: The Slap. What happens when a father slaps a child who is not his own? Simple premise – but I expect a lot from this Booker shortlisted novel.
  • John Lanchester: The Capital. I bought this book mainly because it takes place in London during the recession. An entire street in London with very different people, yet all receive a card in the mail with the same message on: We Want What You Have.
  • Tom Perrotta: The Leftovers. What happens after a rapture like event has removed millions of people from earth? How do the leftovers react and go about their lives, rebuilding societies etc?
  • Nicholas Joll (ed.): Philosophy & The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy so many times as a teenager. I plan on reading it again soon – and this will be a wonderful companion read.

Close to Politikens, you can find a small bookstore in a cellar, FantaskFantask is the place to go if you wish to buy comics, graphic novels and fantasy.

  

  • L. Jagi Lamplighter: Prospero Lost. A fantasy version of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Beautiful cover!
  • Terry Pratchett: Snuff. The newest paperback in the Discworld series. Can’t wait!
  • Neil Gaiman: The Doll’s House (Sandman #2). I am pretty sure I read the Sandman series years ago – now I’m slowly buying them for myself.

And finally, we also visited a sale. Again, very close to Politikens, there’s a huge – and I think permanent – book sale called Vangsgaards Bogudsalg. I mostly picked up some coloring books and picture books for the girls but I did pick up a couple of books for myself too – one of these unfortunately in Norwegian…!

 

  • Alan Moore: From Hell. Alan Moore’s take on Jack the Ripper. I’ve been wanting to read this book for years. But it sucks that I somehow ended up with a copy in Norwegian!
  • Jasper Fforde: Shades of Grey. I really like the one Thursday Next book I’ve read and the idea of your ability to see colors determining your place in society sounds intriguing.

So 12 books all in all did I carry back home in the train. Quite a good haul, I think. I’m looking forward to reading them!

Uh, uh, uh – so excited about my new book

I have one book that I have really been wanting to read for a long time. My friend Sisse (The Literary Princess) has it as one of her 10 favorite books and so many others have talked or written or chatted about this book – and it just sounds so so good. So finally I saw it in a bookstore the other day – and immediately picked it up.

The book is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It sounds like a story about love and a sinister Circus – and it sounds like something I will really enjoy. I’m so looking forward to reading this

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

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Being Bad

So remember how I wrote that I didn’t feel like buying books anymore? Yeah, that’s over. Very very over. See, the thing is, about a month ago it was my birthday. I got some great gifts – among them three books I haven’t even blogged about yet. On top of that, I got some charms for a bracelet. Unfortunately, I got three identical. Luckily, I could exchange two of these for money and buy books with. So without further ado, here’s both the books I got for my birthday as well as the books I’ve just bought.

Torben Munksgaard: Sort Hund (Title in English: Black Dog)

So Sort Hund is Torben Munksgaard’s third novel. Torben was in the same year as me at university and I know how much he wanted to be a writer so I’m so happy that he succeeded. This novel is about Bernhard who’s unemployed. One day he steals a dog because he’s lonely. The dog belonged to the wealthy Albert whose wife leaves him when the dog goes missing. The dog takes Bernhard new places and soon he meets the woman of his dermas whereas Albert’s life takes a turn for the worse. Destiny? Coincidence?

Andrew Taylor: The Anatomy of Ghosts

My brother bought me this for my birthday because he thought I would like it. I had never heard of either the book or it’s author before but it sounds very interesting.

1786, Jerusalem College Cambridge.

The ghost of Sylvia Whichcote is rumoured to be haunting Jerusalem since disturbed fellow-commoner, Frank Oldershaw, claims to have seen the dead woman prowling the grounds.

Desperate to salvage her son’s reputation, Lady Anne Oldershaw employs John Holdsworth, author of The Anatomy of Ghosts – a stinging account of why ghosts are mere delusion – to investigate. But his arrival in Cambridge disrupts an uneasy status quo as he glimpses a world of privilege and abuse, where the sinister Holy Ghost Club governs life at Jerusalem more effectively than the Master, Dr Carbury, ever could.

And when Holdsworth finds himself haunted – not only by the ghost of his dead wife, Maria, but also Elinor, the very-much-alive Master’s wife – his fate is sealed. He must find Sylvia’s murderer or the hauntings will continue. And not one of them will leave the claustrophobic confines of Jerusalem unchanged.

The Complete Illustrated Lewis Carroll

Well, as the title say, this is the complete and illustrated version of all of Lewis Carroll’s work. Here we have Alice Adventures in WonderlandThrough the Looking-Glass & What Alice Found ThereSylvie and BrunoSylvie and Bruno ConcludedRhyme and Reason as well as Miscellaneous Works. I don’t even know half of these – all I know is Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass & What Alice Found There. I’m not even sure if I’ve ever read Alice but now I have the chance, thanks to my brother.

Patrick Rothfuss: The Wise Man’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two)

I have such high hopes for this series so I’ve been putting off reading the first one because I want to read them together. I don’t know if I can wait ’till the third one comes out but now, at least, I have the two first. The third volume is due out May 1st 2013. And btw, I love the covers to my editions!

My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me.

The man was lost. The myth remained. Kvothe – the dragon-slayer, the renowned swordsman, the most feared, famed and notorious wizard the world has ever seen – vanished without warning and without trace. And even now, when he has been found, when darkness is rising in the corners of the world, he will not return.

But his story lives on and, for the first time, Kvothe is going to tell it…

Jonathan Safran Foer: Everything is Illuminated

I recently read Extremely Loud & Incredibly Loud and loved it. After finishing that, I knew I had to read more by Safran Foer and when I spotted Everything is Illuminated in the bookstore while shopping with my birthday money, I didn’t hesitate but grabbed it immediately. And since the main protagonist is named the same as the author, it reminded me of the Peter Høeg novel I read recently and the ambiguity between fiction and reality that can happen in such cases and which I find very interesting.

With only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man — also named Jonathan Safran Foer — sets out to find the woman who may or may not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war; an amorous dog named Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior; and the unforgettable Alex, a young Ukrainian translator who speaks in a sublimely butchered English, Jonathan is led on a quixotic journey over a devastated landscape and into an unexpected past.

John Irving: In One Person

I think I have raved so much about this novel that I hardly need to continue to do so before I actually pick up the book and read it and find out if it’s actually rave-worthy. Suffice to say, I bought it.

A compelling novel of desire, secrecy, and sexual identity, In One Person is a story of unfulfilled love—tormented, funny, and affecting—and an impassioned embrace of our sexual differences. Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character of In One Person, tells the tragicomic story (lasting more than half a century) of his life as a “sexual suspect,” a phrase first used by John Irving in 1978 in his landmark novel of “terminal cases,” The World According to Garp. His most political novel since The Cider House Rules and A Prayer for Owen Meany, John Irving’s In One Person is a poignant tribute to Billy’s friends and lovers—a theatrical cast of characters who defy category and convention. Not least, In One Person is an intimate and unforgettable portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man who is dedicated to making himself “worthwhile.”

China Miéville: Railsea

I’ve read Un Lun Dun and The City & The City and really liked them both. I’m so very impressed by Miéville’s creativity and his ability to use his creativity to create unique settings for his stories. So when I spotted his new novel, it too made it’s way home with me.

On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt: the giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one’s death and the other’s glory. But no matter how spectacular it is, Sham can’t shake the sense that there is more to life than traveling the endless rails of the railsea–even if his captain can think only of the hunt for the ivory-coloured mole she’s been chasing since it took her arm all those years ago. When they come across a wrecked train, at first it’s a welcome distraction. But what Sham finds in the derelict—a series of pictures hinting at something, somewhere, that should be impossible—leads to considerably more than he’d bargained for. Soon he’s hunted on all sides, by pirates, trainsfolk, monsters and salvage-scrabblers. And it might not be just Sham’s life that’s about to change. It could be the whole of the railsea.

So that’s it for me. These were my new acquisitions. Such great books. But this also means that my to-read list is back up at 179 books again – not including The Flame Alphabet since I haven’t gotten it into my home yet. But 179 … so back to working my way back again… (But great, great books!!!)

Btw – if anyone is interested in a Wordsworth Classics version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland (paperback), never been read, I have one to spare now I got the Hardcover complete and illustrated one. Let me know and it’s yours for the taking. 🙂

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The Missing Urge

I’ve talked before on this blog about my love for buying books (here for instance). I love it. I love browsing book stores as well as online shops. But something has happened.

My birthday was just recently and I got three identical charms for a bracelet – so of course, I returned two of these and now, I have book buying money. Only thing is, I don’t seem to want to. I have been looking at online book stores and wondering about some of the books I know they have in the bookstore. But I haven’t bought any.

I’ve picked out 6 books that I really want and I know there are a lot of more, I equally really want. There’s the new John Irving, there’s the next in both the Outlander and the Magicians series. There’s The Night Circus which I have been recommended from several people. And then Ready Player One and The Slap – both books I am very eager to read. But … I’m not pressing checkout even though I have my birthday money to use for this.

Now why is this? Well, one of my goals for this year is to bring my to-read list down. Way down. I started the year with 181 books on it and now, it’s down to 174 (not counting the one I had a friend buying for me and the books I got for my birthday – I really need to add these to my to-read list). Anyway, my list is down to 174 and I like that. I like to see the number go down. I love to see the number being in the lover 170s. And I feel like I’ve worked hard for it. So why should I spoil it by buying new books, more books?

Now, this is a new feeling for me. Usually, nothing can stop me from buying books. The more, the merrier. But lately, I have had this new and different feeling. This feeling of just wanting to actually read the books I own and not keep on buying. It has been easy because I haven’t had any spare money lying around, just waiting for me to buy books with. And I have been trying to be responsible and not just go and buy books anyway.

But now, I have money for books. And I’m still not buying. It’s a very weird feeling. Wonder how long it will last!!!

The never-ending to-read pile

I have 176 books right now on my shelves that I haven’t read and that I want to read. 176! Physically standing on my shelves. That’s a lot! Ideally, I would like this number to be below 100 – or even lower. That’s not going to happen. At least not this year. I started the year with 181 books and in spite of having read 17 books, I’m still at 176. Now, I am rather good at maths so obviously, there’s something going on with these numbers.

And the thing going on is really simple. Even though I want this number to go down, I haven’t stopped reading library books which doesn’t make the number go down. And even more important – I haven’t stopped buying books… And every time I buy a new book, the number goes up. So I’m actually rather pleased that it has gone down. Even if it is just a little bit down.

But I need it to get further down. It’s silly to own 176 books that you haven’t read! And it’s not like I don’t own some amazing books that are worth reading. I have The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, Ulysses by James Joyce, a couple of Dostoevsky novels, various Joyce Carol Oates novels, Orlando by Virginia Woolf, The Great Gatsby by Fitzgerald, a Robin Hobb trilogy and so many more, just standing there waiting.

I have a goal this year to end it with less books on my to-read shelf than when the year started. I have gotten the number down by 5. I will try for the rest of this year to read more books than I buy and I will try not to buy too many books. But it’s just so darn hard. Why do book stores and online stores have to have all these tempting new books that can so easily be mine?

I wish that I could get a year just to buy books. A year where there were no new books published so I could get that darn number of books down. Or rather – I wish that time would stop everywhere around me and I could just read and read for 365 days without feeling guilty, without having to deal with anything but just my books.

Or.

Or not.

Because the beauty of books is that they give you a break from your life. They offer you an escape when you need it. They give you the opportunity to go to imaginary worlds, to see amazing sights, to experience what’s it’s like to be someone else. But books work best in a context. If you shut yourself off from the world and spend all your time reading, having time to read stops being something to treasure. If all you could do was to read, eat and sleep, life would be boring. To read wouldn’t be a choice. It would be your only choice, your only option. You would have nothing else to do. And how sad would that be? Not to even have the comfort of someone else since that someone else would of course distract from your reading time? Just you and your books and nothing else.

So no. I don’t want. I want to read as much as possible while still living a life filled with people and experiences. People and experiences that sometime makes me miss my books a lot – but at other times makes me completely forget them.

So I’ll probably never have the time to get my to-read shelf down to 0 but I don’t want that either. I want to have it at a more manageable size but I’m working on that. It’s a thing in progress. I’m not giving up on my life and part of that life involves book shopping. So no, my shelves will never be without books I haven’t read. But that’s okay. That’s just right.