17. (Way too many) Books Bought, February 2012…

03 Mar
17. (Way too many) Books Bought, February 2012…

Books Bought: 30/1/12 – 28/2/12

The most cursive of data analysis will reveal several trends behind my past month of book buying: an awful lot of books on the history of London; a variety of kids’ books; several books on psychology and popular science; and a bunch of books by authors who just happened to be at London Jewish Book Week, 2012. There were also several from Jonathan Safran Foer, and two from different authors essentially called ‘Peace,’ (Shalom and Sholem). One unseen trend included books bought in second hand shops, but you weren’t to know that.

Perhaps most importantly of all, having written them all down, I can finally admit that maybe I have a problem. 56 books, (plus possibly one or two I forgot and/or didn’t write down in my ‘Books Bought’ list), in less than a month. That’s practically two a day. If I was reading three a day, it wouldn’t be so bad, but as it is an awful lot of these are destined for The Cupboard. There are, however, three mitigating factors.

Firstly: nine of them were presents bought for other people, (six of them for my two-year-old niece, explaining the kids’ book bias…although not all of them were for her, if I’m being honest. I love those Andy Stanton‘s), and two of them were presents given to me.

Secondly: a dozen of them were bought due to the presence of their authors at the Jewish Book week which I managed to somehow become a volunteer for, (‘somehow’ probably involving offering to show up for several hours every day and do whatever was told of me for no financial remuneration bar a pasta salad on the last afternoon). This therefore goes back to my inexplicable addiction to collecting signed books, and explained why I shelled out £40 I can’t really afford on an art book after a particularly fascinating talk from Israeli designer Ron Arad. It was a great week for discovering new authors, (the hilariously dark Etgar Keret, the wonderfully irreverent Shalom Auslander), meeting legends, (Claude Lanzmann, friend of Jean-Paul Sartre, lover of Simone de Beauvoir and director of the nine-hour holocaust documentary ‘Shoah’), and for getting a signed copy of the stunning ‘Everything is Illuminated‘ onto the ‘Signed Books’ shelf, where it ranks amongst my favourites.

Thirdly, (you really can learn a lot about my life from my book buying habits), I got a job giving guided tours of London, requiring me to pick up as many books on the history of my capital as possible in order to read them all in time for my test tour yesterday. Well, technically I didn’t have to buy them, I could have stood in bookshops and taken notes or photos on my iPhone, or even gone to the library to rent them, but that’s another blog entry for another time. I wanted them, so I bought them, generally at a string of second-hand shops across London itself.

I had planned to make this entry about second-hand shops, but given the length of the ‘books bought’ list to follow, (which is mainly for me to look back on with interest, I can’t imagine many of you will find it particularly interesting, but I may be wrong: feel free to leave a comment letting me know), I think that, too, will be another entry for another time. In the meantime, I am off for a holiday to New York, and since I won’t be reading much but London history books, I think the next few posts will be blog entries on events I saw and was asked to report on during the Book Week. Enjoy!

The Third Policeman,’ Flann O’Brien

Monkey,’ Wu Ch’eng-En

Predictably Irrational,’ Dan Ariely

Buy-ology,’ Martin Lindstrom

The Optimism Bias,’ Tali Sharot

The Unfolding of Language,’ Guy Deutscher

The Drunkard’s Walk,’ Leonard Mlodinow

Status Anxiety,’ Alain de Botton

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work,’ Alain de Botton

‘Under the Frog,’ Tibor Fischer

Voyage to the End of the Room,’ Tibor Fischer

Unpacking My Library: Writers and their books,’ edited by Leah Price

Among the Russians,’ Colin Thubron

Straw Dogs,’ John Gray

The Dilbert Principle,’ Scott Adams

Foreskin’s Lament,’ Shalom Auslander

The Spirit Level,’ Richard Williamson and Kate Pickett

Philosophy in the Boudoir,’ Marquis de Sade

Tevye the Dairyman/Mott the Cantor’s Son,’ Sholem Aleichem

The Miracle of Castel di Sangro,’ James McGinniss

Olivia’ and ‘Olivia Counts,’ Ian Falconer

Bear vs Shark,’ Chris Bachelder

The Collector Collector,’ Tibor Fischer

Baudolino,’ Umberto Eco

Outliers,’ Malcolm Gladwell

Eating Animals,’ Jonathan Safran Foer

‘London: A Biography,’ Peter Ackroyd

The Tudors: A very short introduction,’ John Guy

An Impartial History of London,’ John O’Farrell

Horrible Histories – Even More Terrible Tudors,’ Terry Deary

Ladybird Book of Kings and Queens: Book 2

Everything is Illuminated,’ Jonathan Safran Foer

Tree of Codes,’ Jonathan Safran Foer

The Believer magazine, number 87, Feb.2012

London: A Short History,A.N.Wilson

Horrible Histories – Stormin’ Normans,’ Terry Deary

Horrible Histories – Terrible Tudors,’ Terry Deary

Horrible Histories -Slimy Stuarts,’ Terry Deary

Eloise,’ Kay Thompson

Mr.Gum and the Biscuit Billionaire,’ Andy Stanton

‘The Monster at the End of the Book,’ Seseame Street

Missing Kissinger,’ Etgar Keret

The Imperfectionists,’ Tom Rathmann

The Pleasure of Finding Things Out,’ Richard.P.Feynman

Inverting the Pyramid: the history of football tactics,Jonathan Wilson

‘Ron Arad talks to Matthew Collings,’ Phaidon

The Patagonian Hare,’ Claude Lanzmann

Pantheon,’ Sam Bourne, (aka Jonathan Freedman)

The Book of Kings and Queens of England

Horrible Histories – the Rotten Romans,’ Terry Deary

Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems,’ Allen Ginsberg

‘The Gunpowder Plot,’ Alan Haynes

Pudd’nhead Wilson/The Extraordinary Twins,’ Mark Twain

Khayelitsha: umlungu in a township,’ Steven Otter

‘Discoveries: the selected Sandman covers,’ Dave McKean


Posted by on March 3, 2012 in BOOKS


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

2 responses to “17. (Way too many) Books Bought, February 2012…

  1. Roman Mcnamee

    March 4, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Are you spleening me? I loved “Everything is illuminated”!


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