Monday, 27 June 2011

June Acquisitions and RAK!

Once again, this month has been one in which I have acquired FAR too many books! It has been my birthday, though, so I've been gifted a lot, and as usual, the vast majority of my books haven't cost a lot (like, between 20p and £1). Also, it's really fun to put up pretty pictures of books :-) This month, we ran out of bookshelf space, for about the billionth time, and instead of telling me to stop buying books, my wonderful fiance started looking for corner shelving! We found this, and the plan is that we will get a different bit of it every month, to replace the crappy looking thing we have at the moment - it has no sides or back and looks awful! But it does hold a hell of a lot of books.

So, here goes with the books (and lists, two of my favourite things in one post!)
First up, the books I bought myself this month:

Because the picutre is blurry, which is the fault of the phone (and the fact that I can't apparently stand without rocking after a long day of working in retail (standing) in the heat!), here are what the books are, from bottom to top:
  • A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel - After Reading Lolita in Tehran, I got all excited about the idea of books about books and reading, and this was being offered for the price of postage on ReaditSwapit. It sort of seemed like destiny. I'm not sure when I'll get to it, but currently it's looking very pretty on my windowsill, which is the space for the books which never quite make it to the shelves...
  • The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie - OK, so for years I've been dying to read this book. When I was a teenager, and I guess still now, but less so, I had this big attraction to banned books, or books that had got their authors into trouble, and as they go, this is kind of a major one. I've always wanted to read it to see what the fuss is about! Also, it's on my list for the Back to the Classics Challenge.
  • At Home by Bill Bryson - I love Bill Bryson. He is both hilarious, and interesting. I was actually initially planning to buy this because it was on a 2 for £7 offer with The Fry Chronicles (Stephen Fry also hilarious and interesting), but I committed the cardinal sin of not buying them when I saw them, and when I went back, The Fry Chronicles were nowhere to be found :-( So I bought it anyway, and it looks fascinating.
  • The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry - After the disappointment of not being able to buy it on above mentioned offer in Asda, I tried, without any success at all, to swap for it. After a while, I gave up, and went to a different Asda, and bought it for £4. I'm currently buried in the depths of it, and it's making me wish I'd gone to Cambridge, and also making me want to write, so so far it's a very successful read!
  • How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff - Charity shop find while I was back in London for my birthday weekend. No idea why I bought it, really, except that bloggy people have been talking about it in a positive way (sorry, I don't remember who, specifically!).
  • The Postmistress by Sarah Blake - At the moment, I'm really into watching and reading stuff related to the Second World War. I watched Atonement for the first time last night, and I have to say I didn't much care for it. The book I liked, although it is the only Ian McEwan I've been able to stomach, and believe me, I've tried and may well continue to try, but the film was veeeeerrrry pretentious. And I'd forgotten how much I hate Briony. Anyway! That aside, I'd looked at this in Waterstones, and then I was listening to an episode of Bookrageous where they were talking about it, and then it turned up in the charity shop, so it had to be had.
  • Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan - My yearly 'beach read', in the most girly sense. I basically bought it because it had cakes on the cover. Shallow? Me? :-p
  • Howards End is On the Landing by Susan Hill - I was ecstatic to find a like new, beautiful hardcover of this in another Charity shop. Somebody else (again, I can't remember who, the heat today has melted my brain!) reviewed this recently, and in keeping with the whole books about books thing, I had to get it!
  • Up the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton - Cost me 10p, and I have the other two Faraway Tree books. They were some of my absolute favourites as a kid, and I've been searching out the old versions, before they changed the names of the kids. I just can't read them with their new names, they feel like different books!
Long list! Now onto the books I was given as gifts this month!

Again, from bottom to top:
  • The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ by Philip Pullman - Given to me by my awesome friend who works in a Charity bookshop, and picks out all the best stuff for me before it goes on sale (Judi I loooove you!!). I need to read this for my Canongate Myth Challenge, for which my total read is still one...
  • Going Out by Scarlett Thomas - I am the most excited a person has EVER been to get a book EVER about this one. One of the books she wrote pre The End of Mr Y, it's disgustingly difficult to get hold of, and you can imagine how much I screamed when the bf informed me that he'd got not only this, but also Bright Young Things for me.
  • The next four are birthday presents from my lovely parents :-) They knew I was running low on Streatfeild for my challenge (also her books are my comfort reading), and so they bought me:
    • The Painted Garden  - my favourite of all her books that I've read so far. I adore this book. It's a gorgeous story of childhood, exotic locations, and literature, interspersed with pianos and ice cream. What more could you want? Also, the link goes to Goodreads, where the title is the U.S title, which I hate, and an awful cover, which is just so unrepresentative of the book it makes me sad :-(
    • Tennis Shoes - One of her earlier books, which I've never read. Very much looking forward to it.
    • Curtain Up - I remember reading this from the school library when I was about seven. I don't remember much else, so looking forward to a re-read! Again, link goes to U.S title. I don't get this.
    • Ballet Shoes for Anna - Similar situation to Curtain Up.
  • In Your Face by Scarlett Thomas - Again pre Mr Y (and by the way, if you haven't read The End of Mr Y, you really, really should. Seriously), this is the middle of a trilogy of which I have read the first and last. Technically, it was my birthday gift to myself!
I have another two special gifts to mention. Firstly, I got a gorgeous illustrated hardback copy of Edward Lear's Complete Nonsense, from the same awesome Charity bookshop working friend. Here it is, spine up, because the spine is the most gorgeous part I could photograph:

And secondly, I'm fairly sure that you'll all be sick of me going on about how awesome Hanna is. I think I've mentioned her at least three times this month on the blog, but really, she is lovely! And to certify this, she sent me an RAK this month. If you don't know about RAK, firstly, where have you been? And secondly, go sign up for it, now! Basically, you sign up with your wishlist, and so do lots of other people, and the idea is that people will give you books, and you will give people books. It's so much fun and you get to meet lots of awesome bloggers through it! So here is what she sent me:

Excuse the terrible picture, and my swirly patterned table cloth behind. I've been excited to start this series for a while, and having a shiny new copy of the first book is a very big incentive! Thankyou!

Right. Last picture. I do understand that by this point, I'm pretty much doing this for myself, as you will have all gone off to stare at your own piles of books, or even actually read some of them! But anyway, this last pile is a few I've been sent this month for review:

Bottom to top:
  • Sew Retro - I requested this from Quayside Publishing Group, and they were kind enough to send me a copy of this gorgeous book. It's a history of sewing, interspersed with patterns for some awesome things. Grouped by decade, I think I'm really going to enjoy this, and my sister and I plan to try and make some of the stuff as we go!
  • Olga - A Daughter's Tale by Marie- Therese Browne - The author contacted me asking me to review this book, which is the true story of her mothers life, which she had no idea about until her mother became seriously ill.
  • Apology for the Woman Writing by Jenny Diski - requested from Virago UK, who are now my favourite publishers, because, unrequested, they also sent me
  • Touchy Subjects by Emma Donoghue - Being as how I'm the last person in the WORLD to read ROOM, I think I'll prolong it a bit, and read this collection of shorts first.
So that's my book fever done for the month! Blog-wise, I've sucked. I've posted lots of opinions, lists, and random rambling, and not very many of the many many reviews and features that I have either written but not posted, almost finished but not drafted, or that haven't quite made it out of my head and onto paper yet! I'm still sucking at not being exhausted when I get home from work, and the weird weather isn't helping!

Having said that, July and August are set to be eventful here at An Armchair by the Sea! I'll post more when it's finalised, but there's the UK and EU Summer Hop in August, where I'll be giving away some exciting stuff, and, also in August, I'll be writing a guest review as part of the Georgette Heyer month, over at Stiletto Storytime, plus a couple of other, unconfirmed things. I'm excited! :-) How are you? Read any of my books? Any you loved or hated or think I must read, right now?


  1. Wow!!! That is a lot of books. And you are correct, some very pretty ones at that.

    I've been hoping to stumble across a copy of Howard's End is on the Landing at my local bookshops for a long time now and have yet to do so. I think I'm going to have to break down and order it.

    At Home was a wonderful book that I really enjoyed. So much detail. I re-read so much of it aloud to my wife that it felt like I read the whole thing twice in one go.

  2. Aww, that's so nice! Again lol. I'm so happy that it hurts me a little bit inside!

    I read Howard's End is on the Landing in January, I think. I really enjoyed it but it kind of loses its way a little towards the end.

    Sew Retro looks really good, I saw it on Amazon a while back. Let me know what you make of it?

    Haha, my boyfriend doesn't even live with me yet (we work together at the minute, so living together and working together.... ack), but he's already muttering about the huge amount of bookshelves we'll need. At least yours supports the concept of book shelves (ahh, shelves... supportive.... see what I did there? :)).

  3. Carl - yeah, I was amazed when I found it. I may have shrieked a tiny bit... :-/ I usually really enjoy Bill Bryson, I think because his style is quite conversational, which makes it light reading even though the books are often fairly big!

    Hanna - I wish I could make tone convey through the internet so I could express the hilarity I feel towards the supportive joke :-P my boyfriend and I work opposite each's a good job he's so nice lol. People have said that to me before about Howards End is on the Landing, I guess I shall just have to see for myself! And yep will let you know what I think of Sew Retro, i'm excited about it, despite my sewing skills being more in my head than in reality :-P

  4. Hilarity? Sure you don't mean 'mild pity?' :p

    I've looked it up on Amazon, I'm a sucker for 50s style clothes. I had to go buy some summer clothes today because I'm a moron and only packed dark jeans and t-shirts to survive for five days in scorching weather. I came home with three dresses and then realised that they're all the exact same 50s circle dress in different patterns :| If I could make my own, I'd live in the damn things!

    I /hated/ How I Live Now, I don't think I got past the first three pages before disgust overtook. I've heard wonderful things about it but I couldn't get on with the 'voice.'

    And the Edward Lear book is amazing. I can't believe that was going to a charity shop.

    Argh, one day I'll learn to respond to your posts with comments, not essays.

  5. That is lot of books.And the very fact that they are with 1 pound is awww !!! :)
    Happy reading

  6. Haha no! I like the essays! :-P I kinda wish i'd taken a pic of the Edward Lear inside. Each poem/story is illustrated by Quentin Blake, it's gorgeous!:-)

  7. Geeze, you went all out, didn't you. I heard great things about The Satanic Verses. Will look for your review.

  8. Ben - the problem is that my acquisitions are on that scale or more every month... It's actually starting to threaten our living space :-P i'm looking forward to The Satanic Verses, as i've not read any of Rushdie's books yet!