46. Books Bought & Read, October 2012…

12 Nov
46. Books Bought & Read, October 2012…

Books Bought, October 2012

The Boy Who Swam With Piranhas,’ David Almond/illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

The 13½  Lives Of Captain Bluebear,’ Walter Moers

Lullaby,’ Chuck Palahniuk

Don’t Eat This Book,’ Morgan Spurlock

The Essential Groucho: writings by, for and about Groucho Marx,’ Groucho Marx, ed.Stefan Kanfer

The Return Of Depression Economics,’ Paul Krugman

This Is How You Lose Her,’ Junot Díaz (P)

Look At Me,’ Jennifer Egan (P)

Wallpaper Guide to Rio

Umbrella,’ Will Self

Narcopolis,’ Jeet Thayil

The Canterbury Tales,’ Geoffrey Chaucer

The Believer Magazine, no.93, October 2012

Angels Of Our Better Nature,’ Steven Pinker

The Sense Of An Ending,’ Julian Barnes

The Invisible Hand,’ Adam Smith

Back Story,’ David Mitchell


Books Read, October 2012

The Ministry Of Special Cases,’ Nathan Englander

Thinking: Fast And Slow,’ Daniel Kahnemann

Mafia State,’ Luke Harding

Last Night,’ James Salter

The Believer Magazine, no.91, August 2012

A.A.Gill Is Away,’ A.A.Gill

The Boy Who Swam With Piranhas,’ David Almond/illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

Is That A Fish In Your Ear?,’ David Bellos

The Return Of Depression Economics,’ Paul Krugman

Ingenious Pain,’ Andrew Miller

The Art Of Fielding,’ Chad Harbach

Missing Kissinger,’ Etgar Keret

Howl, Kaddish And Other Poems,’ Allen Ginsberg

Confessions Of A Conjuror,’ Derren Brown

The Believer Magazine, no.93, August 2012

Narcopolis,’ Jeet Thayil

Umbrella,’ Will Self

Back Story,’ David Mitchell

Imaginary Homelands,’ Salman Rushdie

The Sense Of An Ending,’ Julian Barnes


Now that’s more like it! A return to big buying, big reading ways after a few months low on both counts: most of October was spent either trawling my favourite local charity shops, attending book readings and signings, or slouched in coffee shops or on my exceedingly comfortable sofa, reading.

17 books bought, 20 read, and many of them were BIG ones, too! (I’m looking at you, Kahnemann, Harbach and Self). It’s always nice to end the month with a positive balance, giving me a true feeling that, (as long as I live to be 817), I may yet be able to make a dent in the ‘To Read’ column of my life. Flicking back quickly through previous months, I see that I didn’t manage to do so in September, August or July, and indeed am starting to wonder if I ever have done: this is the very reason why I started this blog, instant stats at my computerised fingertips! (That, and the fact that these lists have helped me to spot that I wasn’t sent the August edition of my beloved Believer Magazine. An email to McSweeney’s shall be forthcoming).

One of the reasons for this turbo-reading month was the fact that, in less than a month’s time, I will be leaving my temporary home of the past nine months, Laahndon, and venturing out once more into the world. Guatemala awaits, and although I am fairly sure about 83% of my luggage will be books, there is a certain sub-category of them which won’t make the journey with me: signed books, which traditionally aren’t even allowed to leave my bedroom, let alone the country.

I broke that rule this month, deciding to try to get through as many of the dedicated books on my shelf as possible, meaning they came with me (carefully) in my bag to work, and got to enjoy the thrill of London’s many and varied bookshops, (safely wrapped in my Petit Prince book cover, of course). A whopping 13 of the 18 books read fell into this category, many of them bought earlier in the year at the Hay Literature Festival, but their number augmented by purchases made at the Booker Prize event I attended earlier this month, and after a reading in a church in Piccadilly by English comedian David Mitchell to promote his autobiography.

Since it was my birthday earlier this month, I had a dilemma when I was bought a couple of cracking books by someone who appears to know me too well: the latest novels by Junot Díaz and Jennifer Egan, both of whose previous releases I had absolutely loved, (especially Egan’s award-winning ‘A Visit From The Goon Squad‘), and neither of which I owned somehow. The dilemma? Whether to list books I had acquired, but not bought, in the ‘Books Bought’ column. I couldn’t leave them out, so with your indulgence, they have been included, with a (P) to keep them apart from their purchased counterparts.

So, signed books was the reading theme of the month, but luckily that theme led me to some absolutely stunning works. Chad Harbach‘s’ next big thing™’ novel, ‘The Art Of Fielding‘ lived up to the hype and left me volunteering to give up a day of work in order to finish reading it; I discovered a new short story writer in a friend’s toilet, (well, the book, not the writer), and subsequently polished off the twisted, cynical James Salter collection over several toilet trips; and hit the mother lode of psychology with Economic Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahnemann‘s ‘Thinking; Fast And Slow,’ which had me boring friends and tourists for weeks with his ingenious experiments, (and which I have no doubt I shall soon be boring you with in a forthcoming blog entry).

Light relief was supplied by an autobiography of my favourite illusionist, Derren Brown; the ever-informative Believer magazine; and the discovery that one of my favourite ‘children’s writers,’ David Almond, had teamed up with one of my favourite illustrators, Oliver Jeffers, to produce a fable of children, circuses and piranhas;

(This gives me an excuse to dig out a doodle Oliver Jeffers did for me on the iPad2 I was debuting for Apple at last year’s Hay Literature Festival:

Before I depart these (grey, cold) shores for Central America, I have a very short list of things to do: spend time with the people who gave me my genes, get my taxes in order, and get as many of these books de-quoted and blogged, ready to release to you over the coming weeks and months. They will all, after all, have to stay behind on the bedroom shelf, along with the several hundred which don’t make the cut for the journey…

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Posted by on November 12, 2012 in BOOKS


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