Thursday, 20 August 2009

Recent book buys

I'm still only halfway through The Secret History by Donna Tartt (it's very good) so I thought I'd fill the silence with a recent acquisitions post. I still think I must be kidding myself that I haven't bought as many books as usual this year - these new book posts don't seem any less in number and nor have they less books in them it seems to me. Oh well.

This House of Sky was recommended in this post by Robin of A Fondness for Reading. It's the autobiography of Ivan Doig - an unknown author to me - who grew up in the wilds of Montana.

Desirable Residences by E.F. Benson is a book of his short stories which I nabbed from my local Oxfam charity shop.

Rambles beyond Railways by Wilkie Collins is a record of various walks this famous author did around Cornwall in the 1850s. Danielle at A Work in Progress gets the indirect blame for this one as she only mentioned a walking book about Cornwall by Collins, it was *me* that had to go and look it up and then couldn't resist buying it!

The Mother-Daughter Book Club I saw blogged about on Book Psmith's blog and thought it was something I and my eldest daughter would enjoy. There's quite a bit about Little Women in it apparently, which I've read but not for donkey's years, so I got a copy of that to reread too. Any excuse...

Three books acquired from my eldest daughter:

Wild Designs by Katie Fforde - superior chick-lit.
Four Ways to be a Woman by Sue Reidy - no idea what this is but my daughter enjoyed it so...
Lord Valentine's Castle by Robert Silverberg. Classic fantasy, the first of the Majipour books I believe, which I begged off my daughter as I quite fancy reading the series.

All I had to do was mention to my daughter and grandaughter that I fancied rereading Enid Blyton's 'R' titled books to see if they were still as magical and the grandaughter was off up the stairs like a shot and returned with this anthology. It includes:

The Rat-A-Tat mystery. "Someone knocks on the door of Rat-A-Tat house in the dead of night, but when Barney, Roger, Diana and Snubby go to answer it, no-one is there. Even more mysteriously there are no footprints in the snow." How good does that sound???
The Ragamuffin Mystery. "Merlin's Cove is the perfect place for a holiday, Roger, Diana, Snubby and Barney are looking forward to having fun. But who is the mysterious bearded stranger? And what is the sinister birdwatcher really looking for?"
The Rubadub Mystery. "Whilst staying at an Inn on holiday, Roger, Diana, and Snubby find themselves caught up in a police investigation. Who is the enemy agent at the nearby submarine harbour? Could he be staying at the Inn?"

Is it any wonder that kids still love Enid Blyton, even after 50 or 60 years?

I don't know what the other book is but my grandaughter wanted me to read it so that's fine.

And last but not least my current library pile.

Raffles: The Amateur Cracksman - E.W. Hornung (short stories)
The Various - Steve Augarde (new to me fantasy series)
Lord Jim - Joseph Conrad (heard mention of on Rick Stein's Asian cookery show and was intrigued. Heard of it of course but never read it.)
The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of his Mouth - Roger Zelazny (sci fi short stories)
A Rogue's Life - Wilkie Collins (random grab)
Rifling Paradise - Jem Foster (Aussie historical, random grab)
Jigs and Reels - Joanne Harris (short stories, random grab)

I think those are enough to be getting on with. :-)


DesLily said...

I am far, far, FAR, from being a speed reader.. and sometimes I wonder when I see so many books (especially from libraries.. old school here, my last time in a library books were only allowed out for 2 weeks at a time! Can we say "stoneage?"!) I wonder how long it would take each of us to read our entire tbr pile?..and how many books would be in the NEW tbr pile waiting us when we finished the old pile? LOL...

and yep the Wilkie Collins book sounds like you for sure!! Keep reading those Cornwall books so when I get there (in my wheelchair) you can take me all over Cornwall and tell me all it's history! (is cornwall where Merlins cave is?) One day I will dig deep into my tbr pile and actually READ the Woman in White! Drood still sits here too! argh~

Cath said...

And I'm even further from being a spped reader than you, Pat, as I know in normal circumstances you read a few more books than me each year. What's the phrase I'm looking for here... 'self-perpetuating'? I think so because as quick as I'm reading books off the pile, new ones are coming in 'tother end. *cackle*

Yeah, Merlin's Cave is in Cornwall - Tintagel to be precise, where Arthur's castle is supposed to be. I sent you a couple of links. The coastline around there is really beautiful.

verity said...

I like the sound of the mother/daughter book club.

And the Wilkie Collins book walking around Cornwall sounds absolutely amazing - we just rediscovered Collins last weekend and are off to Cornwall next week so I MUST get a copy!

Kailana said...

Enjoy all of your books! That is quite the haul. I have never read Enid before... Maybe I will get a book by her from the library...

Val said...

Younger daughter loves Enid Blyton Cath... "I like the way the Toys come to life and the magic" actually I think she likes the magic and fun in a safe predictable structure.
They (6 and 8 year olds) have also begun the Secret Seven, The Mystery series and the Secret Island ..The mysteries and Secret Seven are a bit tooooooooooo exciting for the younger sofar she prefers the short stories.

BooksPlease said...

Lots of good books - I'm tempted to re-read Enid Blyton too, just to see if I can still find her books as magical as I did as a child! I have quite a few as my sister (who died last year) collected them and I already had a few of my own. I think they include the 'R' mystery books.

Book Psmith said...

I remember reading Secret History and not being able to put it down. Both of my children have loved Noddy the show but I didn't know that is was based on books until recently. Your post reminded me that I wanted to look for some of her books. I do hope you enjoy the book club book:)

Susan said...

I've read Lord Valentine's Castle! be prepared, very good, one of my ex-husband's favourite series too. And enid Blyton! those titles brought back so many memories, I forgot I read them too! I wonder if there's much by Enid Blyton that I didn't read? how wonderful your grandkids can supply you with books!!! lol

gosh, my husband might like the Wilkie Collins book - remember he's been to Cornwall as a child and loved it - hmmm, I have to get Christmas shopping soon (did I say that? Christmas? shhh!)....

A very wide variety of books, Cath!

Cath said...

Verity: I liked the sound of the mother daughter book club too when I read about it. I'm looking forward to reading it and Little Women together.

How lovely that you're off to Cornwall next week! Collins's book would suit that perfectly it seems to me. Hope you have a brilliant time... I'm very envious, I haven't been *home* in a while.

Kailana: Yes, I would think nabbing something by Blyton would be a good idea, rather than buying as they're quick easy reads.

Val: I wonder if children will always love Enid Blyton. It seems to me her simple adventure stories are timeless. As a child my favourites were these 'R' titled books and the 'of Adventure' series (valley, castle, island etc.) My grandaughter likes them all - she's wasn't so keen on the Famous Five at first but has now collected the lot and rereads them all the time.

Booksplease: I reread three of the 'of adventure' series last year. I thought they were great fun but whereas my previous favourites had been the castle and the valley, I now found I preferred the island because of the delightful descriptions of the Scottish Isles. If you have that one I would recommend it.

Book Psmith: The Secret History is excellent. I wish I'd read it before actually. A similar sort of read is A Fatal Inversion by Barbara Vine, although it doesn't have the academic background and concentrates more on the crime element. It's very good.

Oh yes, Noddy. Probably the first books I read to myself after learning to read. I used to get them by the bagfull from the library.

I'm pretty sure I'll enjoy the book club book.

Susan: I'm really looking forward to trying the Majipour books. Can't think why I've never read them before.

Mallory Towers is probably the only Blyton series I didn't read. I have no idea why. Yes, it's so lovely that my grandaughter is now of an age where she wants to give me books to read. It was so funny the way she was gone in a flash to get the books for me.

Oooh, I hope I gave you an idea for a Christmas presentm for your husband. I always find mine hard to buy for so am always grateful for ideas.

Hope you got my Last Rituals e.mail okay. Happy to post when you're ready.

Danielle said...

I'm glad I am not the only one still buying more books than I had wanted to this year....I am so tempted to buy that Wilkie Collins book on Cornwall, but I will see what you think of it first! I have not read the other Collins book you picked out either, though I think it is one of his earlier ones! Lovely new books (and I must read Donna Tartt sometime, too...).

Cath said...

Danielle, I haven't read any Wilkie Collins since I read The Woman in White and The Moonstone in my teens. I keep seeing posts, including yours, about his books so I nabbed A Rogue's Life when I saw it last week, in a library I don't visit very often. That and the Cornish walking book will make a nice reintroduction to his books.

Thomas said...

Oooh, I want the EF Benson. It never occurred to me that he may have written something beyond Mapp & Lucia. What was I thinking?

Cath said...

Thomas: here's a list of Benson's work:

As you can see, there's a lot! I've only just started on the Mapp and Lucia books - read two, now looking for Lucia in London.

Before those I knew Benson best for his ghost stories, which I read quite a few years ago. I own several volumes of his 'spooky stories' and I really would highly recommend anything you can find in that line. He's almost as good as M.R. James.

This new book of his I picked up seems to be a mix of all kinds of short stories, including a Mapp and Lucia one entitled, Desirable Residences.

Hope that helps!

Nymeth said...

Oh, I love the cover of The Mother/Daughter Book Club! And the book itself sounds good too.

Cath said...

Nymeth: the cover on that one is nice isn't it. Love any cover that has loads of books all over it. :-)