80. Books Bought & Read, July 2013…

01 Sep
80. Books Bought & Read, July 2013…

Books Bought, July 2013

The Road To Wigan Pier,’ George Orwell

Made In America,’ Bill Bryson x2

The Complete Poems,’ Walt Whitman

The Consolations Of Philosophy,’ Alain de Botton

Poets On Poets,’ various, McSweeney’s compilation

One Hundred And Forty Five Short Stories In A Box,’ McSweeney’s box set: Dave Eggers, Deb Olin Unferth, Sarah Manguso

100 Selected Poems,’ e.e.cummings

Home Game,’ Michael Lewis

The Best American Essays Of The Century,’ ed.Joyce Carol Oates

The Night Circus,’ Erin Morgenstern

My Name Is Red,’ Orhan Pamuk

There’s Nothing In This Book That I Meant To Say,’ Paula Poundstone

The Time Machine,’ H.G.Wells 1992_1812_l

Authentic Libretti Of The Gilbert & Sullivan Operas,’ Sir Arthur Sullivan and W.S.Gilbert 

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles,’ Haruki Murakami

Slaughterhouse 5,’ Kurt Vonnegut

The Jungle,’ Upton Sinclair

Notes From Underground,’ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Complete Works,’ M.C.Escher

Carrier Pigeon Magazine: issues 6,7 & 8′  

Collected New Fiction,’ Jorge Luis Borges


Books Read, July 2013

Wolf Hall,’ Hillary Mantell

The Consolations Of Philosophy,’ Alain de Botton

The Crack In The Cosmic Egg: the constructs of mind and philosophy,’ J.C.Pearce

Comic Insights: the art of stand-up comedy,’ Franklyn Ajaye

Made In America,’ Bill Bryson

Home Game,’ Michael Lewis

Junky: 50th anniversary definitive edition,’ William.S.Burroughs

The Time Machine,’ H.G.Wells

There’s Nothing In This Book That I Meant To Say,’ Paula Poundstone

Slaughterhouse Five,’ Kurt Vonnegut

The Best American Essays Of The Century,’ ed.Joyce Carol Oates (18 of 55 essays, anyway)

The Road To Wigan Pier,’ George Orwell

In one of my very earliest blogs, (to be found here), I lamented the fact that with all the books I haven’t read, and all the ones they keep producing, I would never come close to reading all of the books that I want to. That is one of the reasons I so rarely re-read books, even my favourites, and that makes it all the stranger that a quarter of 9583301-buffalo-new-york-red-flag-pin-on-an-old-map-showing-travel-destination-300x200all the books I read this month were re-runs.

This month’s selection were consumed entirely in the much-maligned and much-misunderstood town of Buffalo, NY: not so much Manhattan’s forgotten big brother as Manhattan’s fairly alcoholic, occasionally stylish, often funny and living-far-away-from-its-younger-sibling-because-it-couldn’t-stop-borrowing-money-from-it brother.

They were also mostly purchased there, as Buffalo has an excellent mix of new and used bookshops, not to mention a never-ending schedule of garage sales and the joy of finding a cute, local library which had its entire second floor dedicated to books for sale, (and most of them not even grimy, used library books but proper book books!)

I arrived halfway through my chosen airport-book, the fantastically addictive Henry VIII history/thriller ‘Wolf Hall,’ and was soon picking up any vaguely interesting books which my hostess had laying around, from 1960’s beat and hippy tomes ‘Junky‘ by the honestly messed up William.S.Burroughs, (excellent), and ‘The Crack In The Cosmic Egg,’ (less excellent), to the fascinating interview and advice book on stand-up comedy, ‘Comic Insights,’ by Franklyn Ajaye, (who knew every third person in Buffalo is, was or will soon be a stand-up comic? I even trod the funny boards myself, briefly…)

Q. Is it coincidence that ‘comic’ and ‘cosmic’ are only a letter apart?

A. Yes.


The one I bought – US cover

Anyway, as blogged recently here, I hunted down and read an old favourite, Bill Bryson‘s history of the American language through the history of American…well, history, and also picked up a copy of Alain de Botton’s (as-ever) wonderful down-to-earth philosophical musings, fooled into buying a book I’m fairly sure I own due to its different cover.


The one I already own – UK cover

I found a day each amidst all the fun I was having to read economics specialist Michael Lewis‘s fun, slim scribblings on why being a parent often sucks; H.G.Wells‘s classic ‘The Time Machine,’ which I had never read before and am glad I finally did; and the worst of the many comic autobiographies I’ve read recently, by Paula Poundstone.

And then it was on to serious stuff, being unable to resist buying and (of course) reading a $2 used copy of Kurt Vonnegut‘s classic war critique and cheek-tonguing ‘Slaughterhouse Five,’ and continuing my attempt to work my way through Orwell‘s back-catalogue with a whizz through his 1930’s Socialist tract ‘The Road To Wigan Pier,‘ which I enjoyed more for the gritty descriptive journalism of its first part than the political preaching of its second.

Finally, for first time this month, I started a book I had no intentions of finishing: a toe-endangering slab of a volume of America’s best ever essays which the library was selling for $1, and which I left behind where I was staying. I only add it to this month’s list, (which should really only total eleven books read, and not twelve), as I read practically one-third of the essays presented, choosing only authors I already knew, or had heard good things of, or ones with particularly good titles, and being blown away but just about all of them. It has always been a point of pride with me that I never give up on a book, (or a movie, for that matter), no matter how bad, so I guess I can justify this anomaly by visiting Buffalo, and my book, sometime soon.

I leave you with this gratuitous attempt to introduce you to one of the driest, funniest, most English of comedians whom you may not know: Stewart Lee. It turns out I wasn’t the only one to discover Franklyn Ajaye, the author of the book I discovered on American comedians…although it also turns out I was the only one of us two to actually pay any attention to what he said…

9781879505544_p0_v1_s260x420 wolf-hall consolations crack_197x300 images-1 images-2 06-junky_us_penguin_2003.400 9780486284729_custom-s6-c30 bookcover images-3  



Posted by on September 1, 2013 in BOOKS


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4 responses to “80. Books Bought & Read, July 2013…

  1. trippylatino

    September 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    One of the first entries into my quote book was Slaughter House Five’s much repeated ‘So it goes’. Seems to sum up a wealth of situations perfectly… Great blog.

    • doronklemer

      September 5, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      He sure has a way with words!…

  2. Char Hurson Entrop

    September 9, 2013 at 5:19 am

    How you find time to read all these books? I spend a lot of time both savoring and devouring the piles of books near bed and chair. I once considered a class in speed reading, but thought better when I considered my reading style. Now that I have retired, time is no longer an issue. Don’t you love the smell of books. I miss that in libraries where electronics have taken over. Read on.

    • doronklemer

      September 13, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      Hehe…a cunning combination of doing as little work as possible, taking unnecessarily long travel options, and taking every single opportunity to read, (toilet breaks; red lights whilst driving; a well-honed ability to read whilst walking, etc!)

      Never wanted to speed-read: I fear too much would be lost.

      And as for the smell of a good book: it’s one of the things I live for, and can often be seen with my nose literally in a new book, much to people’s confusion!!

      Keep up the good reading!


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