What I’m Up To These Days….

I’ve been in England for two weeks now. Lectures began last Monday.

This is my final year, and I’m determined to make the most of it – which means I’ll try to find the time to visit galleries and museums in London, read all sorts of books, and concentrate more on my studies.

Anyway, my room is such a mess that taking this little picture was not even easy. A Manual for Cleaning Women aside, the books arrived on Friday. I hope – I will try my best – to read all of them before the year ends. I initially wanted to read the Booker Prize nominees first, but I lost my debit card and couldn’t order anything for 1 week! So it would’ve been virtually impossible to read them in 3 weeks or so with my lectures.

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Here is why I bought these books:

A Manual for Cleaning Women: I bought the book in Waterstones during the Fresher’s Week because I didn’t have anything to read in my room. I’m halfway through it, but I’ll read it sporadically now that I’ve received my other books – the reason being that reading nearly 400 pages of short stories can get very tiresome. I like it though.

This Is How You Lose Her: I had already added the books I wanted to read to my Amazon basket even before I actually obtained my debit card back. However, when checking out I noticed that two collections of short stories present in the cart were by Irish authors. So I kept one (Young Skins by Colin Barrett), saved the other (Dark Lies the Island by Kevin Barry) and added Junot Diaz’s short stories, because he writes from a different background and I was very impatient to discover his writing. I’m currently reading and loving it!

The Vegetarian: The Man Booker International Prize 2016. At first I didn’t want to read it that bad. But I read how the translator, Deborah Smith, learned Korean shortly after finishing university at 21 and how she ended up translating The Vegetarian. I can completely relate to her feeling that she needed to do something different, that will make her stand out, after graduating. I can’t wait to read this book!

The Glorious Heresies: Ah, another Irish author. I somehow forgot this book but I saw some people around here who were reading it. It won the Bailey’s Award despite not even featuring in the Booker longlist, so I have a feeling it might be a book that divides opinion. But,anyway, I am very much looking forward to reading it. (I wanted the other cover, but that one was cheaper.)

The Art of the Short Story: I’m loving reading short stories at the moment so I was very interested when I saw this book on goodreads. Paris Review is synonymous with quality and its selection of short stories (twenty in total) looks very promising. I like how each of them is given an introduction, so that we can witness the art of ”shortstorytelling” in different settings and styles.

The Sympathizer: This book won so many awards, among which is the Pulitzer. I added it to my tbr list because I wanted to read more books by Asians or authors of Asian descent. What made me want to actually read it now is simply the fact that it is one of the best books of 2016. In 2017 I’ll have my eyes set on different books and might end up forgetting it. So now is the right time, I think, to read it.

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Late July & Early August TBR Books

Still on course to catch up with my reading this year, I will try to finish these 4 books by early August:

1. The Outsider – Albert Camus
StrangerI still haven’t got around to reading ” L’Etranger”. Oddly enough, it was one of my first Folio books, way back in 2013! Somehow I overlooked it for other more appealing books at that time. Everyone says it is brilliant.

2. I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing – Maya Angelou
maya angelouI bought this second-hand Folio edition a little before going to university. It was the first of many then. Published a very long time ago, it is one of the rare Folio editions that do not have any illustration. I guess that’s why I took so long to decide to read it, just as I did with The Outsider. The cover is oddly bland. Anyway, I hope it will be a nice book. My flatmate, whom I rarely saw throughout my 2nd year, said it is her favourite book. That’s perhaps the most striking memory I have of her.

3. The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
Remains of the DayI’m on a roll. At the time I’m writing this post the two last books I’ve read are The Sea and  The Narrow Road to the Deep North, both of which are Booker Prize winners. I know that The Remains of the Day is lauded by many and is so compelling that it can be read in a matter of days. In 2013 I loved reading Never Let Me Go, so I cannot wait to read this one, which everybody says is better.

4. Schindler’s Ark – Thomas Keneally 
SchindlerUntil late 2014 I didn’t know the book on which is based Schindler’s List won the Booker Prize. I saw it on sale on ebay in pristine condition, so bought it instantly. It’s been sitting on my shelf ever since.Lately, I watched The Labyrinth of Silence, a movie about how countless Nazis returned to their pre-war lives without penalty. It got me intrigued. While I’ve read bits here and there on the holocaust, I’ve never quite actually read a powerful enough book to make me understand what a horrible thing Nazism was. I hope it’s readable.

July’s TBR Books

My last exam was on May 25, but I had so much to do (packing for storage, sightseeing in London, moving my stuffs out of my room, cleaning the room, and packing for return) that I didn’t have the time to read much. I managed to do some catch up in June though, with Bell Jar finished and 3 stories left in Alice Munro’s Dear Life.

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I was in Lutyens&Rubinstein in London. I didn’t know which book to pick. Initially I chose Clarice Lispector’s compilation of selected stories, but the book was simply too big for my liking. So I put it back in its place and saw Dear Life just under it (books are arranged according to their authors’ surnames). I enjoyed Too Much Happiness which I read last year, so I knew I couldn’t go wrong with another collection of her stories.

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Then I went to Daunts Books. I was looking at all the South American works on display and picked a book by Clarice Lispector. I wanted to pick another book and went for Julio Cortazar’s selected stories (including Hopscotch). But the book was a bit too pricey, so I put it back. While doing so, my eyes chanced upon The Narrow Road to the Deep North for the second time in the bookshop. A friend of mine keeps raving about this book and calls it one of the best he’s ever read. Also, what made me bring this book home is what is written at the back: “Some years, very good books win the Man Booker Prize, but this year a masterpiece has won it.”

DSC_2264If you want to read more South American books, make sure you check this article out. This is how I came to know about Clarice Lispector. I read some extracts of her books on Amazon, and they were fascinating, to say the least. So when I went to London I knew I would have to look for her books. There’s no reason why I picked this particular title though. We’ll see how it turns out.

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I ordered this book at the start of my second academic year (in September), the time when you think that everything will go just fine. I tried to read it before going to bed, but realised soon that it is not the sort of book that you read when you’re mentally exhausted. I think now is a nice time to see what this Booker-winning novel is about. I hope it won’t disappoint.

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It caught my attention when I was in Waterstones in London. It was placed alongside popular classics such as Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird, Slaughterhouse Five and Cloudstreet on a table for ‘Unforgettable Reads’. One day I was buying some stuffs on Amazon and decided to throw in two books as well. One was to be Bell Jar, the other The Colour Purple (It took me a while to choose between The Colour Purple and The Collector). But when I opened my parcels, I saw I had ordered The Collector by mistake! Considering the rave reviews this book has garnered, I cannot wait to read it.

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Last year, when I was buying Folio books on eBay, I was looking for that book because it was so rare and beautiful. It was my luck the Folio Society started printing it again. I couldn’t go to London without visiting the Folio bookshop and I couldn’t leave the shop without buying something, so this is how I got this really gorgeous book – this picture doesn’t do it justice at all. I think it’s good value for money, as it’s around £28, relatively cheap for a Folio book of such beauty. As for the book itself, I loved The Great Gatsby and I heard that Tender is the Night is F.Scott Fitzgerald’s best work. We’ll see.

Folio Book Haul

While I was freezing in UK,I bought quite a number of Folio books at different intervals during the year and had them shipped to my country.I got my final order from the summer sale this morning,so I thought it’d be great time to finally show you my purchases.I didn’t take my pictures in the usual way; I wanted to give you a peek of the beautiful covers while not making the pictures too formal and ”rectangular”.

Continue reading “Folio Book Haul”

Book Haul: From cheap paperbacks to Folios

This book haul is pretty special.Three dearly-priced books (you’ll soon discover which) and some other stuffs left me quite broke.Consequently,I had to buy some very cheap paperbacks.When things got better,I still got back to buying Folios.Here is what I bought since my last book haul:

1.Cheap Paperbacks
DSC_2055Aphorisms on Love and Hate and The Meek One are part of the 80 Little Black Classics published by Penguin and sold at 80p each to celebrate its 80th birthday.I bought only two,because the other 78 were rather lacklustre.In fact,what bugs me is that these classics are not really classics.They are not so known and are part of a greater work.Aphorisms on Love and Hate,for instance,is merely a selection from Human,All too Human.I’m not saying the books are not great,but they are not what I expected.But still,they are priced at 80p and I’m looking forward to reading the two I bought.Maybe I’ll buy more in the future.

Then I bought 4 collections of short stories.A collection of short stories can be a hit or miss,so I didn’t want to invest much money in buying fancy editions of the titles above.I bought these Wordsworth Classics at £1.99 each,and was presently surprised by the quality; the books are not as horrible as I thought – notwithstanding the hideous covers.

2.The Mandarins – Simone de Beauvoir
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I bought this book shortly after my last book haul.As I said,I was eyeing it and hoping I would get it for cheap.One guy made a bid,but didn’t react when I outbid him,so I managed to get the book for £11.82,which is not bad for a book of this size.Simone de Beauvoir was a monumental French intellectual whose sphere of interests included feminism,existentialism and politics.Moreover the book is hugely autobiographical,as we see characters representing herself,Camus and Sartre,among other French personalities,discussing their roles in France after the Second World War.Given its subject,the author’s reputation and the fact that it won France’s most prestigious literary award (Le Prix Gongourt),it was hard to ignore The Mandarins.I didn’t expect to buy this book this year or anytime soon,but I might read it during holidays.

3.The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
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Believe it or not,but I hadn’t heard of The Wind in the Willows until two years ago.It happens to be the favourite story of many readers when they were kids,and several members of the Folio Society said the Folio edition of this book is very special.So I bought a sealed copy for £25 when it popped up on eBay.I was really impressed when it came home and certainly didn’t regret spending such a hefty amount on it.The illustrations are on thick artistic style paper, a far cry from other Folios in which the illustrations are printed on glossy paper,and the book even has its own personalised slipcase! It doesn’t surprise me that it has been a best-seller at the Folio Society ever since its publication.If you’re fond of this book,you won’t regret buying it.

4.The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy – Douglas Adams
DSC_2105This little book has been on my wish-list for a while,and I only wanted the Folio edition because I caught a glimpse of the sparkling cover in the past.I bought it,sealed,at £25,as it was near impossible to get it at a better price.The illustrations are fabulous and I just love the glitter in it.I don’t how they did it,but the sparkles do not rub off on your hands! I’m currently reading the book and taking all my time doing so,for I’m really enjoying it.I’ll now try to get the other two in the series,which have also been published by Folio.

5.The Collected Stories – Nikolai Gogol
DSC_2089I needed Gogol’s short stories for my Russian Folio collection,but the book was all too often sold at a price higher than what I was ready to spend.So,once I saw this book popping on eBay for £12.50,I wasted no time to buy it.It looks incredibly great,and the artist who illustrated it is the same one whose works feature in the Folio version of Master and Margarita.Gogol’s short stories are highly rated on Goodreads and he is the man considered to have inspired the likes of Chekhov,Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy,so I’m really looking forward to delve into his world.

6.A Folio Anthology of Poetry
DSC_2094I want to better appreciate the art of poetry,and I think this anthology might help me do it.It comprises 400 beautiful poems from various authors,some well-known,others not so much.I bought it at £27.50,which is half the price it is being sold at on the Folio Society’s website.It arrived in impeccable condition,save a bump on the lower right of the spine – which you can see in the picture.If I really like it,I might buy another copy one day.Also,I’ll definitely buy more poetry books in the future.

7.V for Vendetta – Alan Moore
DSC_2113This one has been on my wish-list for a while.My friend and I were discussing graphic novels,and this conversation of ours prompted me to look for one such book on eBay.I then saw this new hardback copy being sold for £8,which is the price of the paperback version.I was a bit disappointed when the book arrived,as it merely has a dust jacket; there is no big difference between the hardback and paperback,if not a harder cover,some extras and a dust-jacket.I guess I’m too used to reading Folio books.Nonetheless I’m very much looking forward to reading V for Vendetta.In fact,it is next on my reading list.

8.Anne of Green Gables – L.M.Montgomery
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Another children literature book I’ve never heard of when I was a child.I was in class when I bid for this book.I was at first bidding for a sealed copy of Pompeii,but got outbid in the dying seconds.I was quite annoyed,but was notified that bidding on another item I was watching – which was this book – was going to end soon.I bid for it successfully and got it for £12 in total.The book was sealed,and given that it is no longer available on the Folio Society’s website,I’m glad with the price I paid for it.I think I now have a decent childhood literature collection in my library.

Also happened:
I also bought a sealed Folio copy of The Name of the Rose for a superb £9.99! It surely is one of my best buys so far.I bought it as a replacement ; I wasn’t satisfied with the other copy I owned,as the seller failed to point its flaws to me – when I pay for a fine book,I expect it to be so.I will sell the flawed copy on eBay.If I make £10,I’ll be happy.
In mid-March,I thought I was doing a great transaction when buying an as-new copy of The Good Soldier,but the book was soiled and bore many scratches.I ended up returning it and recovering the amount I spent.Ha,this was my first real bad experience on eBay.

‘Bargain’ Book Haul

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Click on the pic for best resolution.

”How will you bring all these books back home? You will need a van to carry them!”

Said the receptionist this morning when,for the umpteenth time,I came to collect a book of mine.

Before I talk about the book haul,I should let you know that I was writing a review for The Inheritance of Loss,but as there is no auto-saver on the new WordPress editor,everything was gone when Windows restarted for an update.So bear a little longer for the review.

Back to the book haul.I know I said I wouldn’t buy any more books,but the ones I got since then were set at prices too good to ignore.With the exception of How the Mind Works,every other book was acquired at a price equal to or below £20.Given their size and condition,I reckon I made a bargain on all of them.(well,maybe not on The Devil’s Dictionary.)

Here are the books bought since last time:

1.Sylvia’s Lovers – Elizabeth Gaskell
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Well,hours before buying it,I had no idea about this book.I saw a sealed Folio edition of This Side of Paradise on eBay at a bargain price and immediately bought it.I then looked for its reviews on goodreads and was disappointed to see that,since it was Fitzgerald’s early work,it was a far cry from The Great Gatsby.I wanted to ask for a refund,but I feared I would get a bad rating on eBay.I then deemed it good to search the seller’s other Folio books,and this is how I found Sylvia’s Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell.Its reviews on goodreads were convincing enough for me to pick it.It cost me £14.95.

2.Lost Illusions – Honore de Balzac
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I saw this one sealed on eBay for £20.Given its condition,the price was just too good to be true.From what I understood on goodreads and Wikipedia,this book is a masterpiece and tends to be the favourite of quite a few people.I honestly think I made a bargain with this one,as you just don’t find a huge,sealed Folio book for that price.It comes from the same seller from whom I got a sealed Things Fall Apart for just £15!!

3.Don’t Look Now and Other Stories – Daphne du Maurier 
DSC_2044I bought it from the same seller who got me Lost Illusions.It too was sealed and at only £12.50 its reviews were taking a look at.Many people lavished praise on these novellas,calling Du Maurier a master at upholding suspense.To be honest,I really don’t know what to expect from it.I just hope I didn’t spend my money for nothing.

4.How the Mind Works – Steven Pinker 
DSC_2047This book has long been on wish list on the Folio website.It was terribly expensive and I could only wish for a deep discount.Two years later,my wish was fulfilled; the book was discounted at 50% in the last week of the New Year Sale.Even at £27.47 (plus £5.25 for shipping),I wasted no time to buy it!! It was finally mine!! It is a very huge book,but I wish to read it so as to know more about things,as I’m very curious by nature.It was quite criticized upon its release,but even so,was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

5.The Devil’s Dictionary – Ambrose Bierce
DSC_2048There was nothing else that attracted me in the sale,so I decided to buy something a bit cheap.In the past I hesitated a lot to buy this book,but this time I didn’t flinch.I read reviews and decided it would be a nice addition to my collection.Every now and then,I might share a quote by Ambrose Bierce.By the way,this is a satirical work,in which Bierce gives witty definitions to some very utilized words.It cost me £15.95 (plus £5.25 for shipping).

6.Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
DSC_2043I already own that book in Heritage Press edition,but since it is older than my parents,it might collapse whilst I’m reading it – I guess I will only expose it.To be safe,I opted to buy a Folio edition of the book -I read Anna Karenina in Folio and adored it; that’s why I so wanted Dostoyevsky’s novel from the same publisher.I stumbled upon one copy on eBay,but it was priced at £75!!! I tried looking for more copies,but there were none; the only copies I found belonged to a very old Folio edition.Some days later,somebody on a Folio Society forum told us about ‘bookfinder.com’,a pretty helpful search engine for books that searches through AbeBooks,Amazon and eBay.I used the site and looked for The Brothers Karamazov in Folio.I was lucky to find one that was in fine and unread condition.The price was incredible: £18,shipping included.If you saw the condition and size of that book,you would never believe it!

That’s it for my bargains! In the days to come,I might buy The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir and maybe,maybe,The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy.

I hope you like my pictures;I took them with my tripod and remote.I barely have any space in my accommodation,so I could not find a good,plain background.That’s why I suggest you only focus on the books and disregard anything else. 🙂

Book Haul

This is not a book haul,per se.As I bought them from different sellers,the books reached me at different intervals.I don’t think I’m going to buy more books any time soon (I’m broke and must save money for a coffee machine),so why not take a look at all my purchases since my last book haul on this site?

I bought Susan Cain’s Quiet before the Christmas break,but didn’t get the occasion to tell you about it.I bought it,well,because I am quiet and think I might learn a great deal from reading it,especially at uni where most people expect you to talk to exist.

Then,whilst at home,I kept on checking for bargains on eBay.I saw a sealed Folio edition of All Quiet on the Western Front for £20.I remembered it got great reviews here on wordpress,so I went for it.Then,growing desperate with my wish list on the Folio Society site,I resolved to buy some of the books on it on the second-hand market.This is how I saw a mint In Cold Blood for £14,shipping included.It is widely known as the first non-fiction novel,and many deem it as essential a read as Breakfast at Tiffany’s.So I bought it.Afterwards I saw a perfect copy of The Golem on auction.I wanted this book for quite a long time,as John Sutherland recommended it last year,but I didn’t have enough money to buy it,having at that time chosen Kafka’s Metamorphosis&Other Stories and Master and Margarita.I waited for the very last minute to place my bid and in the end managed to snatch it from a another buyer.Shipping included,I paid less than £10 for it!! 🙂

I also came across The Name of the Rose on sale.I dismissed it as an ancient version of Da Vinci Code,but seeing a fellow blogger – Bookarino,check her site out! – reading it made me curious; I read reviews about it and learned about some of its content,and ultimately came to be interested in it.I bought it for £20.

Then,before I came back to university,some of my old relatives gave me £20 notes each.In the first week itself,I saw a superb,still sealed,edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s Complete Tales.The set is no longer available on the Folio site and tends to be in great demand among Folio Society members.I went for it,deeming it as a Birthday present to myself.Oh,and let me tell you that the set comprises everything Hans Andersen has ever written in his life.I’m really glad I own it,as his stories were a big part of my childhood.I bought it at £47,shipping included.

On the very same night,I found a set of Tolstoy’s collected stories.To be honest,I saw it around October; I adored Anna Karenina and was completely under the charm of Tolstoy’s writing,so I considered buying it,although I didn’t,because of the hefty price.Since October I miserably kept coming back to it to see if it was still here.But this time,still in the frenzy of having spent some money on a beautiful set,I did the same on the Tolstoy set.I managed not to pay the shipping,as my best offer – which didn’t include the shipping cost – was accepted.This too is a Birthday present to myself – I keep bringing up my birthday to console myself,lest you haven’t noticed this.I paid £61 for it.

Finally I had to buy some things on Amazon,and I just could not resist the temptation of throwing a book in the basket.I picked Bioy Casares’s Where There’s Love There’s Hate,as I heard so many good things about it.So far,it is not letting me down.
You can see the books below.As I’m not currently at home,I have to do with the shelves of my accommodation.So sorry,if the pics are not as great-looking. 🙂

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The design on this slipcase is so Kitsch! Haha…

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