Christmas in August or Books, Books and more Books

Last Saturday I went to a book sale, as a result of an email from a bibliophile friend. I was so excited to go and have a look around and at the end of my shopping spree I came out with 10 books and the biggest, happiest grin on my face. Who says Christmas comes only once a year?
I got the books in the picture for about 34 US $ and that’s a pretty good deal considering most of the books I buy are at least 10 $ each.
As for choosing the books, here’s how it went:

NEVERWHERE – Neil Gaiman
Aaa, there you are, another Gaiman novel. Hopefully I will like it better than American Gods. I’m a huge fan of his short stories; I can’t say the same about his novels, but then I’ve only read one so that hardly counts. Ok, let’s give this a try since I’ve always wanted to read more of his books.

This does sound intriguing, I must have read a review somewhere on a blog and made a mental note to read it. Let’s do that.

TO THE LIGHTHOUSE – Virginia Woolf
I really enjoyed Mrs Dalloway so it’s about time to expand my horizons and go for another one of Virginia Woolf’s books.

The Scarlet Letter was an amazing book and that movie with Gary Oldman and Demi Moore wasn’t too bad either, and didn’t he write a vampire story I recently read somewhere? It turns out his son, Julian Hawthorne did, and the story is in this huge awesome book.

There are two reasons why I chose this book: the first being that I’ve read Emma a few years ago and didn’t like it all that much so I hoped this one would make me change my mind about Austen, and the second is closely connected to the read-along I am doing now. It seems The Mysteries of Udolpho is mentioned in this book so I wanted to know how and why.

Apart from a beautiful cover, the words in the title painted a vivid picture in my mind so I wanted to know what this book was about. Also, I was curious to read another novel by an Indian author because I thought The Alchemy of Desire by Tarun J. Tejpal was a beautifully written book and wanted to compare the styles.

Vampires, witches, werewolves, bingo! This collection of short stories was waiting just for me!

THE CORAL THIEF – Rebecca Stott
I just like the title and the action takes place in 1815, France. I love books from the 1800’s so I couldn’t let this one just sit there lonely on the shelf.

Reading the blurb at the back reminded me of a movie called Pan’s Labyrinth (original title: El laberinto del fauno) which I loved. Fantasy as a means to escape the real world. Sounds right up my alley.

THE PALE KING – David Foster Wallace
This is not a book I would have normally chosen on my own but my bibliophile friend warmly recommended it and so I thought why not, sometimes we have to get out of our comfort zone.

How do you buy books? Do you go with a list (like my friend did) or just go with the flow and pick whatever catches your eye (like I did)? Have you read any of these books?

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19 Responses to Christmas in August or Books, Books and more Books

  1. Caroline says:

    You were so lucky.
    For once I don’t have to say “I’ve got that and that and that but not read it”.
    The only one I’ve got but haven’t read yet is the Book of Lost things.
    I liked Northanger Abbey less than Pride and Pejudice but after having read The Mysteries of Udolpho, it’s a must. To the Lighthouse is my second favourite Virginia Woolf after Mrs Dalloway. Neverwhere is my favourite Neil Gaiman so far.
    I didn’t know Kelly Armstrong has a short story collection. That’s one to keep in mind. I thought her “Bitten” was fantastic. And I enjoyed Girl with a Pearl Earring a lot.
    Hope you will like many of the books you’ve got.
    I’m an impulse buyer that’s why I have high stacks… I’ve cut down now and make a list and if a book is on that list for a few weeks I buy it but never more than one novel at a time anymore for a while.

    • Delia says:

      I know, it was a great book shopping experience!
      That’s what I thought when I saw “Northanger Abbey”, I love it when I find references to books I haven’t read in the novel I’m reading. Maybe I’ll read “Pride and Prejudice” after that.
      “To the Lighthouse” is one of those books that I told myself “one day…” and I’ll just try to keep an open mind about “Neverwhere” instead of having high expectations. I hope I’ll like it as well as you did.
      I’ve already read two of Kelley Armstrong’s stories in the “Tales of the Otherworld” – one of them was familiar so I checked a vampire short story anthology that I have and it turns out it’s about the same two characters. There’s also a werewolf story called “Beginnings” which I really liked, and it’s actually a prequel to “Bitten”. Now I want to read that book!

      I am the same when it comes to books, I already have them piled up everywhere so a new shelf is on the list. Also, I am toying with the idea of buying a Kindle, don’t know if that’s going to help with my book buying, though.

  2. M-----l says:

    I read the Vikram Chandra about 15 years ago. I don’t remember anything about the plot, but I remember enjoying the book at the time. My copy has a monkey with a typewriter on the spine. It’s still one of my favorite book spines.

    I read the Gaiman just two weeks ago. I thought there were a couple places where the characters’ actions didn’t make sense, but I liked the book as a whole and bought another book by the author a couple days later.

    • Delia says:

      Hi M–l, it’s good to see you. I miss reading your blog.
      I had no idea the Vikram Chandra book was so old. I thought it was just published – it was wrapped in plastic when I bought it and it was crispy when I unwrapped it. My copy also has a monkey on it (or is it a lemur?) but it had moved to the back cover. No typewriter though. I’m glad you enjoyed it, even if you don’t remember much about it now.

      I’m excited about Neverwhere. Your comment gives me hope. 🙂 Which one did you buy?

  3. A good selection. As I live in Italy I do not get that many opportunities to attend events with real books to browse, however when I visit the UK I do take my wishlist with me!

    • Delia says:

      Don’t they have books in English in the bookstores there? But then if you go to the UK it makes sense to stockpile on books there. It’s funny, I get way more books in English here than back home.

  4. Vishy says:

    Wonderful new acquisitions, Delia! I started Neil Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’ sometime back, but have put it on hold for the time being. Planning to resume it soon. It is nice till now. I love the painting on which ‘Girl with a pearl earring’ is based on. I saw a video by Tracy Chevalier sometime back where she says that she loves doing research before writing a book and if she could only do research without having to write the book, she would love it even more 🙂 Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this book of hers. I want to read ‘Northanger Abbey’ too. I have seen ‘Red Earth and Pouring Rain’ in the bookshops here. I somehow remember the plot being similar to ‘The Margaret and Margarita’ (the monkey makes me remember the vodka-drinking-chess-playing cat from ‘The Master and Margarita’), though I am not sure whether that is the case. I read ‘The Book of Lost Things’ sometime back and liked it very much. Hope you enjoy the David Foster Wallace book. I have heard that he is a very innovative writer. Enjoy your new acquisitions! Happy reading!

    • Delia says:

      I look forward to the Gaiman book. Soon!
      I’d like to find out more about the painting that inspired Tracy Chevalier for her book; it looks like I’ll do a bit of research of my own. The Master and Margarita is a book I’ve had for years, read it once, a long time ago, didn’t like it all that much but decided to give it another try at some point. Maybe time will help me see it in a new light. The Pale King is another book I’m very curious about, we’ll see…
      Glad you liked The Book of Lost Things, it sounds like something I would enjoy, too.

  5. I don’t think a Kindle will help with book buying. You could be in bed at midnight reading Northanger Abbey, come across a mention of Udolpho and think, I’d like to read that. In a minute you can have it!

    I’d recommend Northanger Abbey. I don’t think Emma is the best first choice Austen novel. I now love and appreciate it but it was my least favourite for a long time. P&P is the best one to start with really BUT Northanger Abbey is underrated. You need to read it though with the right frame of mind. Some describe it as a spoof of Gothic novels but it is more, really, a spoof of Gothic novel readers. It is also an apologia for novels, which any lover of fiction would enjoy I think.

    Girl with a pearl earring is a good read. Not memorable writing so much, but a good story.

    To the lighthouse is great. I’ve read a few Woolfs but this is the only one I’ve read more than once.

    • Delia says:

      I was thinking of “physical” books as opposed to e-books. If I keep buying both at the same speed, well, that’s not a solution. I found out The Mysteries of Udolpho is actually available online, for free, but reading an almost 900 pages novel on a computer screen is not something I like.
      I am glad to see you speak in favor of Northanger Abbey. I hope this will be the book to change my mind about Austen. In any case I’d like to read Pride and Prejudice too, even if I’ve seen the movie adaptation and that kind of spoils things for me.
      Thanks for writing about the books you enjoyed. I am always curious to see how people feel about the books I’m planning to read.

  6. Delia says:

    @M-l: he does have a collection (more than one, I’m sure, but this is one I’ve read) and if you click on the “short stories” link in the blog post it will take you straight to my review of it.

  7. Hotly Spiced says:

    That’s a great abundance of books. You have some great reading there. What fun! There are a few there I would love to read – and I’m a huge Jane Austen fan xx

    • Delia says:

      Another Austen fan, they’re everywhere! 🙂
      It’s always fun to go book shopping but the best part is when I come back with quite a few interesting titles.

  8. Jenners says:

    Merry Christmas!!! You got a nice diverse mix!

  9. Pingback: Book shopping and reading plans | Postcards from Asia

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