I know what you’re thinking, am I really hauling another lot of books so soon after my first book haul of the year? Yes, in short. Amazon is the devil, it encourages me to buy books, and they make it so easy to acquire books that I just can’t say no. Their 3 for 10 paperback offer in particular is especially cruel. It’s a problem. Honest. See also: I have no impulse control. But we all know why you’re here (if you’re still here, wait, no, please, come back), so let us just get onto showcasing the shiny shiny books I have acquired lately…
A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
The third book in the A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy, this is probably my most anticipated book for this year so obviously I pre-ordered it as soon as I could. I re-read the first two books prior to diving into this one and I’m so glad I did because it just made this beauty of a book all the more funny and heartbreaking all in one. I’m sure I don’t need to sing its praises since countless people have done so before me but it features a crown prince who is equal parts Jack Harkness and Prince Harry (not kidding), a magician able to travel into parallel Londons who owns a pretty damn amazing coat (yes, I want one), and a badass girl who has a touch of Jack Sparrow’s ‘now bring me that horizon’ sentiment about her. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wish you didn’t care so damn much about this merry band of misfits. Plus, I mean, just look at that cover design – it’s simply just gorgeous, right?
The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon
Again, The Song Rising is a third book in a series I adore, so obviously when this “collector’s edition” (i.e. them mercifully continuing to publish editions that match the old cover design) became available to pre-order, I was all over it. Once again, I re-read the previous books before diving into this one and may I just say, as I am currently in the middle of this right now, how dare you Samantha Shannon, you’re breaking my heart here… and I love you for it. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of reading it, The Bone Season is the first book and it tells the story of a dystopian London in which a sort of underground community of clairvoyants exist despite the Scion-controlled government’s best efforts to wipe them out, and then the story takes a detour into the beautiful Oxford, as you’ve never seen it before. The Mime Order, the second book focuses more closely on the politics and shenanigans of the syndicates/gangs of clairvoyants within London and it’s an amazing sequel and really ups the games. So, basically what I’m saying is, if you haven’t read it, you really should.
The Sally Lockhart Quartet by Philip Pullman
If you follow the blog closely, you may have seen my Feature post discussing the books that “made me”, the books that I read as a child and shaped who I was as a reader and as a person, to be honest. This series featured on that list as I adored Philip Pullman’s take of Victorian London via the spunky Sally Lockhart. When I recalled how fondly I used to think of this series, I knew I had to purchase it for myself. A couple of clicks on Amazon and whoops, here we are, no regrets, look at that very apt cover design, it’s wonderful!
The Diary of a Nobody (Penguin Classics) by George Grossmith and Weedon Grossmith
I know nothing about this book, but what I do know is that it came highly recommended from my lovely friend Sarah’s dad. So why do I have this book? Because Sarah is lovely and when she came to visit she brought me a book as a belated birthday present and, as everyone knows, books are the best kinds of present and I will automatically look fondly on a book that has been gifted to me so kindly. Thanks Sarah!
Russian History (A Very Short Introduction) by Geoffrey Hosking
I’m still kidding myself that I’m “currently reading” Tolstoy’s War and Peace. I have, however, identified what the sticking point has been – I know very little of Russian history, like zip, zero, zilch. Imagine someone who knows very little about Russian military events and then subtract some more knowledge so you’re left with my utter ignorance about the matter. And that makes reading the war sections kind of confusing, you know? I thought maybe this Very Short Introduction could help, since it did with the French Revolution and its aftermath when I was writing a dissertation on A Tale of Two Cities and Les Misérables. Hey, it’s worth a shot, right
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
So, you remember when I mentioned Sarah in the previous paragraph? Well, after we had a breakfast in the Wetherspoons in town and I packed her off on a train for the next stage of her journey, I obviously found myself left to my own devices. Of course I could have just turned around and hopped on a train home from town but… I’m incapable of not “popping in” to Waterstones first. And, as anyone from the UK knows, once you enter Waterstones it’s very difficult not to emerge with a book (or two) in hand. I spotted this on one of their tables (a very successful selling tactic) and recalled wanting to read it. Plus, I don’t read nearly enough non-fiction so I’m slowly building up a modest collection of it for when the mood strikes.
On The Other Side (Waterstones Exclusive Edition) by Carrie Hope Fletcher
This was also on a table in Waterstones and, as I had heard, it has purple sprayed edges so… oh, you mean that’s maybe not considered “enough” of an excuse to buy it? Um, it was in the Buy One Get One Half Price offer along with Sapiens? I really wanted to read it and support Carrie because I love her YouTube videos? And I feel better about giving my money to Waterstones than Amazon, especially if they have the incentive of a pretty edition? There you go, those seem like plenty enough reasons when combined, so this book came home with me.
My Lady Jane: The Not Entirely True Story by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows
I like historical fiction, true enough, but I adore historical fiction that doesn’t take itself quite so seriously and maybe has a touch of fantasy about it. (See also: Viper Wine by Hermione Eyre.) So when I heard that this was a re-imagining of a Tudor historical figure (Lady Jane Grey ruled England for, what, 9 days? My history is, once again, shoddy at best) and heard tell it was weird and wacky, I thought I’d give it a shot. I hate the UK paperback cover, it even put me off buying it for the longest time but then it was included on Amazon’s 3 for £10 paperback deal and I couldn’t stop myself any longer. I mean, I still hate the cover but I’m sure I’ll get over myself once I get to the story inside.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
I adore this memoir, it’s genuinely beautiful writing and so incredibly touching. Paul Kalanithi really has a way with words that I had heard about but didn’t quite believe the hype until I read this memoir when I borrowed it from my local library. I always wanted to own a copy so I could lend it to friends or family and now I’m making good on that promise to own it, thanks once again to Amazon’s 3 for £10 offer. I find myself incapable of writing a review of this book but it did make it onto my Best Books of 2016 and made an appearance on a Top Ten Tuesday of books I loved but never reviewed, during both of which posts I heartily encourage you to read this book if you have not. This is another one of those posts – please pick it up and read it.
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
I needed a third book to complete my 3 for £10 offer on paperbacks and I noticed this new release by Marissa Meyer was included. I’m going to be honest, I’m not sure what I make of Marissa Meyer. Back in 2015 I enjoyed Cinder and Scarlet well enough and everyone was telling me how amazing The Lunar Chronicles were but I just… didn’t really continue on with the series, even despite the inability to escape the hype once Winter was released. I feel like I wish I liked that series more that I actually do, or maybe I’m being harsh and need to revisit them? Also quite possible. In the meantime, however, I have Heartless which is Marissa Meyer’s Alice in Wonderland retelling exploring the past of the Queen of Hearts and seeing what happened to make her the “villain” she becomes in the story. I generally like those kind of explorations of villainous characters (I love me a morally grey villain) and so I’ll give it a shot, why not?
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (Penguin Modern Classics) by John le Carré
I read and thoroughly enjoyed The Night Manager (the fact my favourite actor was then in the TV adaptation didn’t hurt matters, to say the least), so I thought I really ought to explore more le Carré in the future. This is the first step on that journey and as this was part of a 3 for £10 paperback, it seemed rude not to take advantage of that offer and get myself a matching set of Penguin Modern Classics.
The Night Manager (Penguin Modern Classics) by John le Carré
As mentioned above, I previously read this book and enjoyed it and even though I own two other editions of it (no, I’m sadly not kidding), I decided to buy it in the lovely Penguin Modern Classics editions. I still don’t really understand why there’s a tiger on the cover though… did I miss something about that in the story? Clearly I must have.
A Murder of Quality (Penguin Modern Classics) by John le Carré
This is the le Carré I saw that feels the least le Carré, and by that I mean it doesn’t initially sound very espionage-focused or Cold War-ish. Of course, it features le Carré’s George Smiley character so it won’t be too far away from the usual fare but this promises to be a murder mystery which “moves outside the world of espionage to reveal the secrets at the heart of another particularly English institution”. And I am all about that, I was sold.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
People keep telling me this book is amazing. I borrowed it from my local library and tried to read it and… well, I failed. I didn’t get the fuss, I didn’t find myself itching to read it again. I’ve bought the audiobook via Audible, I bought the Kindle edition, and now it looks like I’ve bought a used paperback from a charity bookshop in town in order to have zero excuses as to why I can’t read a book on any given day. My bag is too full? Read Kindle edition on my phone. Train so full I can’t read off my phone? Listen to the audiobook edition. I have zero excuses now, it will happen this year.
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien
Once again (there’s a theme), I went into an Oxfam bookshop. This time Liz was with me so she ought to have stopped me but I didn’t stop her from buying like four books so I think I’m the one who ought to be in trouble here. As for the book itself? I’ve heard tonnes of amazing reviews and it was Shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize so that’s plenty enough reason to grab it. Plus I really do need to start diversifying my reading in terms of genre and by that I simply mean not just reading fantasy; I’ve got to the stage where if something doesn’t contain magic I’m starting to think “well what’s even the point?” and that’s not a place I want to be really.
Well that was it, that was my second book haul of 2017. I have a problem, I know, but at least I’m self-aware??? I’m hoping to save money this year in order to go away on holiday (I now have a goal to aim for, yay!), so I really ought to slow down my book buying to just the necessities… but, as we all know, every book seems a necessity when you’re in a bookshop. We’ll see how that goes, shall we?
What books have you acquired recently that you’re excited to read?
Are there any I’ve hauled which you also have your eye on?
Comment below and let’s talk books.