I wrote few weeks ago how I finally caught up with all the reviews, that is now officially in the past, I am three books behind again and surely soon it will be four. This however is a common state of affairs, one may even say it was highly unusual to be caught up with everything.
This weekend I was in Cambridge, I had a fantastic time and thanks to my dear friend, who is working on her PhD and was there on a conference I was able to get into colleges and experience the Cambridge student’s life at least a bit. It is like in the movies, really. A completely different world, it was a respite I needed from huge glass buildings in Canary Wharf and financial data, a reminder that if financial world is one extreme there also exists the other in the form of academia.
Over the last 10 months I have been pretty good with my book buying ban, I only got 10 books this year, which compared to the previous rate at which I was acquiring new books was really very, very moderate. But one cannot go to Cambridge and not buy a book, it wouldn’t be right. So I strayed from the straight and narrow, big time. This time I cannot blame it on the 1GBP bookstore close to my house, but I do blame it on the 3 for 2, because I had 4 books and because of that I had to find two more, to have 6 for 4, I had to, right? And then there was Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, which I wanted to read for 2 years now, and that’s how you end up with seven book in the penultimate month of the challenge. Cambridge was so magical that my other explanation is to pretend that the books just magically appeared in my apartment, they followed me like a bookish Pied Piper. I know, it sounds a bit crazy, but it’s this or I’m simply out of explanations, once an addict always an addict. I am a bookaholic.
Oh, I just came up with another redeeming statement: if I really focus I probably could read all of those books by the end of the year! 😉
Here’s what I got and below some more attempts at excusing every purchase separately in its own right. Have you read any of those? Which one would you start with?
- Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson (r) – I bought her Why Be Happy if You Could Be Normal (r) forever ago and then it lingered on my Kindle, only to be read in January 2016. I loved it and I decided to read Oranges.., the only problem was I didn’t have a copy, now this problem is solved!
- My Name is Lucy Barton – Elizabeth Strout (r) – another familiar face, I read Olive Kitteridge (r) just few months before Why Be Happy… and liked it a lot too, also I have read so many good reviews of this book that it was only a matter of time before I bought it.
- Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro (r) – partially inspired by this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature, partially by the fact that I am still in awe after reading Remains of the Day (r). Yet another familiar face, of course.
- Nutshell – Ian McEwan – the last of the familiar ones, I’ve read a few of McEwan’s books, I think it is still The Children Act that made the biggest impression recently (I read the Atonement so many years ago I barely remember it), but I’ve also read and blogged about On Chesil Beach and Amsterdam, if you are interested. Nutshell seemed to divide opinions, so I was curious. That is the last familiar face on the list (at least for me)
- Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier – everyone seems to have read and loved it, so I decided to follow the crowd on this one.
- All That Man Is – David Szalay – the only complete experiment on the list, I have no idea what to expect, I don’t think I’ve read a single review of this book, just something about the cover grabbed me. This is how I stumbled across some of the best books I’ve read, so I usually consider this worth the risk.
- Ghosts of Christmas Past (r) – it is a collection of seasonal ghost stories. Last year I read Christmas Days by Jeanette Winterson and it was a great help to get in the cosy mood, so I decided to follow the crowd yet again and try to find at least one Christmas related book every year. This surely will not be cosy, but may make the armchair in my family home feel all the cosier, when I read it during Christmas.
With that I think I got my fix untill the end of the year, I still will end up with a smaller TBR, as I started the year with around 400 books, I read 78 so far and only bought 17 (I got some more as gifts, but I’ll have some mercy over me). There is definitely progress, also I think I made good progress on my planned TBR this year: I read exactly 20 out of 40, which taking into account my commitment issues (somehow as soon as I put book on a public TBR I lose all interest in it) is not a bad result.
Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska