Jan 8, 2012

The Sunday Salon – The Book Loot to End All Book Loots

The Sunday Salon.com

I know, I know, I know – this isn’t really the best way to start a year in which I’m supposed to be focusing on my towering TBR pile. However, between unspent gift cards and generous birthday gifts from lovely friends and family, a book acquiring extravaganza on the first week of January has become somewhat of a tradition around these parts. This will be my last spree for a while, though, and plus many of these will make my reading goals for 2012 a little bit easier, so I don’t feel too bad about it. Here are my acquisitions – the books on the first pile were all gifts, while the ones on the second are mostly books I ordered with my Christmas and birthday gift cards:

Book loot 1
  • Piratica and White as Snow by Tanith Lee – I suspect Lee could become a favourite author of mine if only I would read more of her stuff. I’m sure these will be a wonderful start.

  • Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher, Regeneration by Pat Barker, Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith and Mare’s War by Tanita S. Davis – these were all part of Jodie’s themed Birthday Box of Awesome and Squee. In case you were wondering, the theme was the social side of the two world wars. She knows me so well.

  • Starlight by Stella Gibbons – yay! Bit by bit, I will read ALL the Stella Gibbons.

  • Cat Stories edited by Diana Secker Tesdell – This short story anthology includes authors like Neil Gaiman, Ursula K. Le Guin, Italo Calvino, P.G. Wodehouse, Angela Carter, Steven Millhauser and Doris Lessing. Debi clearly also knows me very well.

  • The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson – very timely, as I’ve already finished The Morning Gift and need even more Eva Ibbotson in my life.
Book loot 2
  • The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss – Hooray! As you might remember, I’ve been really looking forward to this one. I read it in one sitting yesterday, actually, and will hopefully review it next week.

  • Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones – I hear this is a good follow-up to Great Expectations, which I’m planning to read this year.

  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell – for Project Read More by Authors I Already Know I Love. I’ll probably read Cloud Atlas first, which I also own, but this was on sale and I couldn’t resist.

  • Birds Without Wings by Louis de Berniéres – As above. I think it was Alex who told me this was even better than Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, so the blame goes to her.

  • Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri – I loved Interpreter of Maladies and can’t believe it took me so long to get this.

  • Nylon Road by Parsua Bashi – I can’t resist an appealing graphic memoir.

  • Bayou Vol. 2 by Jeremy Love – Thank you, Debi! I loved volume one and can’t wait to read this.

  • The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey – from the Elemental Masters series, on which more next week.

  • Just Kids by Patti Smith – Completely Priscilla’s fault.

  • The Book of Night Women by Marlon James – And this is of course Amy and Amanda’s fault, as they read it for the Real Help Project and made it sound amazing.

  • Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston – This is Zora Neale Hurston’s autobiography, and it sounds absolutely fascinating.

  • A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry – I requested this from Bookmooch based on some interesting comments about it from Jodie. I thought it was funny how the spine creasing clearly shows that probably more than one reader abandoned it halfway through. Hopefully I’ll have more luck than they did. It does sound very much worth the time investment.

  • Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes by Billy Collins – This collection will be perfect for Kelly and Lu’s brand new poetry monthly event.

  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque – I’ve been meaning to read this for so long it’s not even funny. Plus it’s both on my classics list and on the reading list Debi gave me last year.
Not pictured because they haven’t arrived yet:
  • Ha’penny and Half a Crown by Jo Walton – the rest of the Small Change trilogy.
  • All Clear by Connie Willis – So I can finally read Blackout.
  • Women, Work and Politics: the Political Economy of Gender Inequality by Torben Iversen and Frances Rosenbluth – my feminist reading is heavily biased towards the social side of things, and while there’s nothing wrong with that per se I’d like to gain a better understanding of the economics underpinning so many of the issues I care about.
Finally, not a book but a lovely bookish gift – a cover for my e-reader. Isn’t it adorable?

e-reader cover

Now, which of my new books should I read first?


  1. I **love** your ereader cover! :--) Re Eva Ibbotson, I was reading a bit about her after reading The Countess Downstairs (The Secret Countess), and found out that she didn't even start writing until she was 50!

  2. You weren't kidding, Wow! That will definitely build a few levels on the towering TBR pile, or perhaps a new wing? :)

  3. love the e reader cover ,so many lovely books ,all the best stu

  4. The creasing of A Fine Balance is very funny! I have never read the book, but it's on my wishlist.

    I also own The Thousand Autumns.. but solely based on everyone's gushing about David Mitchell, I haven't read anything by him yet. I do also own Cloud Atlas, and am planning to read that first.

    I love Jodie's gifts, how kind of her!

    I somehow always think I own a Jhumpa Lahiri book, but I do not. I have never bought one because in the book shop I always think I already own one of them and am not sure which one. *sigh*.

    Wonderful ereader cover :)

  5. LOL--that's quite the interesting observation on A Fine Balance! I do hope you'll have better luck than its previous owners did. My money's definitely on you! :)

    Soooo...did you have to buy a new bookcase to house all these wonderful new goodies? ;) Of course, you don't have to be embarrassed about new acquisitions like I do, because you actually read your books!

    Btw, cutest cover ever! Seriously.

  6. That's a wonderful selection of books :) The only one I've read is Just Kids by Patti Smith - it's great! After I read it, I went to see her speak about it, which made me into even more of a fan. I'd like to read more David Mitchell too - have read Cloud Atlas but not his latest. I like the owls :)

  7. Pat Barker's Regeneration is on on my Top 10 of All Time. Did you know it's the first in a trilogy (followed by The Eye in the Door and The Ghost Road)? For me they're the best fiction written so far about WWI.

    Is the Theodora Goss a novel? I've read some of her short stories and enjoyed them very much.

  8. Ooh, I love that cover. How adorable!

    So this is unrelated to your post, but I read an article recently, which led me to putting a book on hold at my library, which Jason then saw yesterday and asked me about, because apparently you've been raving about it all year. I admit, I hit "mark all as read" more times than I actually READ blogs in 2011, so I never even saw that you read this, but apparently it's a squee-worthy book? Delusions of Gender? I'm about two chapters in. I think it's a little over my head in places, haha, but so far I like it.

  9. Wow, what a great haul of books! I hope you enjoy. :) I still don't see Fables, though... I was hoping someone would read the newest one so I had someone to talk about it with. So far I haven't seen mention of it anywhere. :(

  10. Yay for new books! I have The Star of Kazan sitting on my shelf right now. I hope we both enjoy it! :)

    Alison at The Cheap Reader

  11. Jill: I would love to learn more about her life! That actually makes a lot of sense, because her sensibility really makes me think of authors from an earlier period, like Stella Gibbons for example. I guess it's not so much that she wasn't their contemporary, but that she started writing later in life.

    Carl: A new wing would probably be more appropriate ;)

    Stu: A couple are in translation too, which will help me improve my dismal numbers this year. Seeing your example has me thinking I really could do better.

    Iris: My only Mitchell so far was Black Swan Green, which I adored. But yeah, I keep seeing bloggers raving about Cloud Atlas. If you wanted to read it together at some point I'd be totally up for it.

    Debi: Not yet, as the whole where-will-I-live-long-term issue has to be sorted first, but there are now a couple of book piles on the floor :P Thank you again for your lovely packages! <3

    Sarah: How awesome that you got to see Patti Smith! I'm really looking forward to reading the book.

    VictoriaH: I did know, and already have my eye on the sequels of course! Jodie said the same about it being the best WW1 fiction out there. I'm so excited to read it! The Theodora Goss is a novella. I didn't find it quite as satisfying as her short fiction, but it's certainly worth reading.

    Amanda: Yes, I read it last January and it was my top non-fiction read of the year. So excited that you're reading it!

    Kelly: I know, I know :( I was going to get it, but it was a bit pricey and I ended up going with other books so I could get more of them. The same goes for The Unwritten. Of course, I'm already having second thoughts...

    Alison: Yes, fingers crossed that we do :)

  12. I have a few gift cards for books left over from Xmas, but I'm trying to save them up for a day when I can actually get my butt to the bookstore and shop around for a few hours. It sounds too wonderful. Love your pile of books!

  13. I have White as Snow on my TBR pile as well. I haven't read any of Tanith Lee's books but I've heard good things about them. And yay for more Eva Ibbotson for you! <3

  14. Love the ereader cover! Those owls are adorable.

  15. What a great haul! I think that every new year should begin with books being brought into the home (to me, there's nothing else that will make me look forward to the rest of the year like reading will!), so I can't fault you here. And it looks like you brought home so many good ones. Very jealous of the Stella Gibbons - that's where I'd start if I were you!

    Oh, and I love that ereader pouch. So adorable!

  16. Wow, a lot of people love you! I'm interested in Mare's War, so I think you should read it first.

  17. Yay for getting so many books you wanted! Also belated Happy Birthday sorry to be late.

  18. Wow! How better to start the year than with an excess of books? I really enjoyed The Star of Kazan and am intrigued by all the books Jodie got you for your birthday (could there be a more intriguingly themed book box?). Whatever you choose to read first, enjoy!

  19. GORGEOUS e-reader cover!! I especially love the owls. I hope you enjoy the books. I've been trying to cut down on the acquisitions lately but a few of these have my eye. Been hearing a lot about Stella Gibbons lately.

  20. Wow! What a nice pile of loot! Glad you don't feel too bad about it even though trying to focus on TBR. I'm the same way; I often have goals the preclude buying new books, but I never feel too bad about it if I bring more in (especially if they are gifts or from gift money). Books just make me sooooo happy :) Enjoy!

    P.S. Glad you got All Clear so you can finally read Blackout. Yay Connie Willis!

  21. I love the owls on your e-reader cover. I've been going a little crazy on the book purchasing as well. I'm excited to see your review of The Thorn and the Blossom. It is a beautiful little book.

  22. *cough*Regeneration*cough* And then when you've read that trilogy there will be Life Class all ready and waiting for you (which is a grea book, but not about gay soldiers and war poets, which is why Regeneration made the box).

    If you haven't seen it, Eva's review pretty much sums up how I felt about 'A Fine Balance' although if I emember she had different feelings about the ending than I had.

    You made out like a book bandit ths year :)

  23. Ooh, that's a nice haul. Three cheers for Eva Ibbotson, Louis de Bernieres, Jo Walton and Connie Willis!

    I'm pretty sure I have BIRDS WITHOUT WINGS somewhere in my basement, since I've also been told it's better than CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN. Since the other is one of my favourites, I had to get it... and I haven't yet read it. How typical of me.

  24. Wow! You've got so any books there, I though Chris was guest posting for a moment! :-P

  25. Trisha: I thought about saving mine too, but then, hmm... well, I'm weak :P

    Chachic: I read Lee's The Black Unicorn last year and really loved it - especially for the writing, which bodes well for future books!

    Emily: Yes, aren't there? :D

    Steph: It's certainly a great way to start the year! I'm very tempted to start with the Gibbons - the only thing holding me back is that I read two others of hers recently and don't want to be greedy.

    Kathy: You're the second person to tell me that, so Mare's War is definitely high on the priority list! I've been reading the author's blog for years so I already know I enjoy her writing. It sounds like a great book.

    Amy: No sorry! Thank you so much <3

    Claire: Thank you! She did pick a great theme. Speaking of Ibbotson, you and Fiona were so right about The Morning Gift. What a wonderful book.

    Trish: Have you ever read her before? If not, Cold Comfort Farm is probably the best place to start. It's such a fun read :D

    Terri B: Yes, yes, yes. Books make me too happy for me to ever feel TOO bad about breaking acquisition rules :P

    LBC: I enjoyed the story a lot, and am in love with the book as a physical object. I'll save it for my review next week though :P

    Jodie: Good to know there will be more waiting for me :D I missed Eva's review of A Fine Balance but will look for it *curious*.

    Memory: That's me most of the time too. I'm trying to be different this year but we'll see how that goes :P

    Darren: lol! That actually made me laugh out loud, just so you know :P

  26. Regeneration - I LOVED that book. Haven't read the next two yet, but I have them. Great haul! :D

  27. I love the owls on your ebook reader :) and that's quite a load of books!

  28. Oooh...I love piles of books. I've been eyeing that David Mitchell book since I loved Cloud Atlas. I'm looking forward to your thoughts on it once you read it.

    I LOVE your e-reader cover. So cute. I need one!

  29. 'Mr. Pip' isn't one of those adaptations or sequels - it's actually the story of a white man in the South Pacific, who reluctantly becomes a teacher and reads 'Great Expectations' to his class every day. It's set against the back-drop of a civil war on the island, and it's a very impressive story :)

    As for 'A Fine Balance', it's an amazing book, and if anyone has abandoned it, they're obviously not worthy of reading it!

  30. Oh I loved Unaccustomed Earth. Just as good as Interpreter of Maladies. And I have had All Clear on my wist list for some time.

  31. Wow, hat great piles of books. My first response was read Birds Without Wings then I saw Regeneration and Bayou and Mr Pip so now I don't know what to suggest!

  32. Hi! Happy New Year to you! :)

    That's a great stack of books, here's to a wonderful reading year for you.

    Cute cover for your e-reader too! I simply love looking at the covers that are being sold for e-readers, especially on Etsy.

  33. :O So many good books!! I had no idea that you hadn't read Bayou Vol. 2 yet! It is really good Ana!! You know I still haven't gotten my ARC of The THorn and the Blossom :( I hope it comes soon!!! And that freaking ebook reader cover is SO adorable!

  34. I'm rather jealous of this stack of acquisitions, especially Ibbotson as I haven't read that one yet and the kindle case! I so want one like that!

    The only one from your list I've read is All Quiet on the Western Front. I thought it was beautifully written and very moving.

    All the best getting through all these!!

  35. When I saw the first photo, I thought, "Decent swag>" Then I saw that there was a second photo... wow. No kidding about the book loot to end all book loots!

    Good to see a New Zealand author up in there (for Mister Pip) and the rest look fab. I have A Fine Balance - we read it for Book Club but I was away that month so never got around to it. I know a few of our club peeps gave up on it but then again, one of the read it twice. Hope you get on well with it. I should try and read it myself this year.

    Also, love the e-reader cover! Very cute :)

  36. Me again. The new Unwritten was really good, too. I read it yesterday. You have treats in store when you get a chance to buy either of them. :)

  37. All Quiet on the Western Front! If you've been wanting to read it for a long time, I highly recommend it. One of the best war novels of all time and a wonderful book overall.

  38. I love, love, love Mister Pip! Wonderful book. I met Lloyd Jones at a trade dinner a couple of years ago and he was the loveliest man, very dry and witty too.

    I have been coveting the Everyman collection of Cat Stories so am most envious.

    A Fine Balance is devastating but incredibly worth it; I can't understand why anybody would abandon it halfway...

  39. Okay, perfect. You read Regeneration and review it in glowing terms so that I can love it too. I started it once and wasn't immediately gripped by it, so I gave up. But I don't want to give up! It has Robbie Ross in it and I love Robbie Ross! SO MUCH.

    I'm in strong favor of the Eva Ibbotson, btw. I'm planning to order her young adult books on PaperbackSwap one by one over the course of this year. Every time I feel like I need a treat. It's going to be amazing.

  40. The ereader cover is most wonderful! I need one of those for my new gadget too.

    Great list and several new books have now made it on to my list.

  41. That eReader cover is so cute! Owls FTW.

    I think you should read Piratica because I have it too. :)

  42. Happy belated birthday and congrats on all the great books. I hope you truly love them all... especially The Book of Night Women :D

  43. I'm so happy you got a couple of books by Tanith Lee. She's one of my favourite writers although I haven't dipped into her work for some time now. So thank you for reminding me that I should! What a wonderful selection of titles Ana!

  44. This looks like the mother of all Book Loots, Ana :) I read 'All Quiet on the Western Front' many years back and loved it. I can't believe that you got 'The Star of Kazan'. It is there on my 'TBR' list too. I got to know about it when I read about Lippizaner horses, which is a topic of conversation in a movie called 'Crimson Tide'. If you haven't seen 'Crimson Tide' I would highly recommend it - especially for the conversation on the Lippizaner horses.

    Happy Reading!

  45. so many yummy new books! I have several of those on my own TBR piles and a few on my list. And I didn't know you had a birthday so happy belated :)

  46. Wow, that is quite a list. Enjoy! And Happy Belated Birthday!

  47. What an amazing stack of books, Nymeth! From Flygirls to Mare's War to Bayou. . . Happy reading!

  48. My oh my oh my. What loot!

    1000 Autumns is wonderful, read it soon.


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