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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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”

‘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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Book Haul

I wouldn’t call it a book-haul,but rather a catch-up of all the books I bought since July.

~ I suggest you click on the pics for higher resolution.

Folio Society books from the Summer Sale.

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Screwtape Letters was offered at half-price while a 30% discount was placed on a selection of children’s books including the Alice in Wonderland set and Charles Perrault’s Fairy Tales.Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales was also in that selection,but I didn’t have enough funds to buy it.I hope I will be able to acquire it soon,as I need it to complete my collection: besides the Perrault collection,I also have that of the Brothers Grimm,which I bought in February.
I’m particularly satisfied with my purchases as they all comprise the illustrations of their original artists; William ‘Bill’ Papas for Screwtape Letters,Edmond Dulac for Perrault’s Fairy Tales and John Tenniel for the Alice books.

Books from Bookdepository

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Excluding Wonder,all books were bought from the bookdepository.The Sense of an Ending has been on my wish-list for quite a while and everybody who read it says it is very,very good.As for Shirley Jackson,I learnt that The Lottery is regarded as one of the best short stories ever and was quite surprised to see that her collection of stories is highly rated on goodreads.I bought it out of curiosity and so far – I’m nearing the end – the stories are excellent.I have been planning on reading Alice Munro since she won her Nobel Prize last year,but I kept putting off buying her books.I don’t know why I picked Too Much Happiness out of all her other collections.I guess it was the title.Oh,and Wonder,I bought it in my local bookshop because there was no other book I was interested in.

Books Bought Yesterday

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My friend bought Beloved and The Old and the Sea for me as a farewell gift(Is that a farewell gift if I’m heading to university?).He is as fond of these Vintage covers as I,so he took me to a place where there was quite a good selection of these and told me to pick two.When I’ll be in the UK,I’ll try to buy more books of this edition.While roaming through the bookshop,I stumbled upon The Inheritance of Loss.It won the Booker Prize despite being a big outsider,so I’m quite curious to read it.I hope it’ll be a bit similar to The God of Small Things.In another bookshop,I also saw Jhumpha Lahiri’s The Interpreter of Maladies,but snubbed it,even though I will read it sooner or later.I wonder if I was right.

Book Haul

I bought some books in late May and mid-June,but it was only yesterday that I got the last of my orders.The bookdepository was unusually late and the guys at the post office,as lethargic as ever,took all their time to send me the pink card each time there was something to fetch.

Well,here are the books I bought:

1.Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote
2.The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
3.Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut
4.Metamorphosis and Other Stories – Franz Kafka
5.The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
6.Labyrinths – Jorge Luis Borges
7.Myth of Sisyphus – Albert Camus
8.Waiting for Godot – Samuel Beckett

The first three were available at 50% and 52% (thanks to a never-ending and,I think, bugged electronic voucher) so I thought it was bargain to buy them at that price! On average they cost me something like Rs 800 each. ( $23).

The discounts on Metamorphosis and Master and Margarita weren’t that great,but I wanted and needed the former while the latter seems to be a must-read Russian masterpiece.

As for the paperbacks,I wanted to read some books which would make me think,think,and think.They also focus on existentialism,a philosophy I’m much interested in.

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I have to say this cover for Waiting for Godot does not appeal to me at all,but there wasn’t a nicer edition of the book.Sadly.

And my Kafka collection is complete!Finally!

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