Friday 17 June 2011

I Broke My Six Month Book Buying Ban!

Until today, I had not bought a single book since December 2010.  I had been doing very well at requesting books from the library, reading from my shelves and requesting from NetGalley.  I was even not wanting to go into bookshops anymore, and told myself I was over new books.  But then I had a worrying time at the hospital today and decided to cheer myself up with new books.  I fear the floodgates are open again!  Summaries pinched from amazon.

From Oxfam (Charity Shop):

 The Piano Teacher by Janice Lee
 Claire Pendleton, newly married and arrived in Hong Kong in 1952, finds work giving piano lessons to the daughter of Melody and Victor Chen, a wealthy Chinese couple. While the girl is less than interested in music, the Chens' flinty British expat driver, Will Truesdale, is certainly interested in Claire, and vice versa. Their fast-blossoming affair is juxtaposed against a plot line beginning in 1941 when Will gets swept up by the beautiful and tempestuous Trudy Liang, and then follows through his life during the Japanese occupation. As Claire and Will's affair becomes common knowledge, so do the specifics of Will's murky past, Trudy's motivations and Victor's role in past events.  Love the setting of this one...
 African Laughter by Doris Lessing
After the wars fought by black nationalists for the liberation of Rhodesia ended in 1980 and the nation of Zimbabwe came into being, Lessing was able to return to the homeland that had officially exiled her 25 years earlier because of her opposition to the white government. The distinguished novelist ( The Fifth Child , etc.) details four trips she made to Zimbabwe in 1982, 1988, 1989 and 1992 in a series of haunting vignettes dealing with facets of life there: the corruption--and achievements--of the black government, poverty, land erosion, wildlife destruction, the emergence of feminism, the death of Marxism, AIDS and the daily problems of the people as they cope with social change
I love Doris Lessing, so can't wait to read this one.

  Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
After her impoverished family learns of its noble lineage, naive Tess Durbeyfield is sent to make an appeal to a nearby wealthy family who bear the ancestral name d'Urberville. Tess is seduced by dissolute Alec d'Urberville and secretly bears a child, Sorrow, who dies in infancy. Later working as a dairymaid she meets and marries Angel Clare, an idealistic gentleman who rejects Tess after learning of her past on their wedding night
I'm not much of a Hardy fan, but want to try this.

From Waterstones:

 The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey
It’s Jake’s birthday. He is sitting in a small plane, being flown over the landscape that has been the backdrop to his life – his childhood, his marriage, his work, his passions. Now he is in his mid-sixties, and he isn’t quite the man he used to be. He has lost his wife, his son is in prison, and he is about to lose his past. Jake has Alzheimer’s. As the disease takes hold of him, Jake struggles to hold on to his personal story, to his memories and identity, but they become increasingly elusive and unreliable. 
Really hope this is as good as it sounds...

  Tiger, Tiger by Margaux Fragoso
I still think about Peter, the man I loved most in the world, all the time. At two in the afternoon, when he would come and pick me up and take me for rides; at five, when I would read to him, head on his chest; in the despair at seven p.m., when he would hold me and rub my belly for an hour; in the despair again at nine p.m. when we would go for a night ride, down to the Royal Cliffs Diner in Englewood Cliffs where I would buy a cup of coffee with precisely seven sugars and a lot of cream. We were friends, soul mates and lovers.
I was seven. He was fifty-one.
 I want to see for myself what all the controversy is about...

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
In Sue Monk Kidd's The Secret Life of Bees, 14-year-old Lily Owen, neglected by her father and isolated on their Georgia peach farm, spends hours imagining a blissful infancy when she was loved and nurtured by her mother, Deborah, whom she barely remembers. These consoling fantasies are her heart's answer to the family story that as a child, in unclear circumstances, Lily accidentally shot and killed her mother. 

 The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson
He should have seen it coming. His life had been one mishap after another. So he should have been prepared for this one. Julian Treslove, a professionally unspectacular and disappointed BBC worker, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer and television personality, are old school friends. Despite a prickly relationship and very different lives, they've never quite lost touch with each other - or with their former teacher, Libor Sevick, a Czechoslovakian always more concerned with the wider world than with exam results. 
I've not had much luck with Booker winners, but Jacobson writes for the newspaper I read and I love his columns.

 The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
A tiger escapes from the local zoo, padding through the ruined streets and onwards, to a ridge above the Balkan village of Galina. His nocturnal visits hold the villagers in a terrified thrall. But for one boy, the tiger is a thing of magic - Shere Khan awoken from the pages of The Jungle Book. Natalia is the granddaughter of that boy. Now a doctor, she is visiting orphanages after another war has devastated the Balkans. On this journey, she receives word of her beloved grandfather's death, far from their home, in circumstances shrouded in mystery
I've always enjoyed Orange prize winners and hope this will be no exception!

I am now feeling a bit guilty for breaking my ban, but can't wait to read all of my new books! 


  1. Well I think you did very well with 6 months! I don't think I could even do 6 weeks. And, besides, books don't go bad, they just wait patiently for whenever you're ready to read them.

    Secret Life of Bees is very good and I have Tiger Tiger on my TBR shelf too. I'm also curious about The Tiger's Wife. I'm looking forward to your reviews ;)

  2. WOW! That's impressive that you've had a six month streak going! Your choices look great too. The only one I've read is The Secret Life of Bees (which I really liked) but a lot of the others sound really interesting! Happy Reading!

  3. I loved The Secret Life of Bees. If you like it, you might try her interesting autobiography Dance of the Dissident Daughter, which I thought was far better than her other novel, The Mermaid Chair.

    Good luck on the Finkler. I really didn't care for it. If I could have picked a book to win the Booker, it would have been Room, or the David Mitchell which didn't even make the shortlist.

    I've been wanting to read The Piano Teacher too. All great picks, and I hope the tangible, sensory reading experience of new books takes your mind off whatever your concerns are.

  4. You did very well for six months! I'm particularly drawn to The Piano Teacher. I'm going to check it out. Enjoy your books =)

  5. Trish - It actually wasn't too bad after the first few weeks, the temptation passed! :P

    Lisa - I've heard only good things about The Secret Life of Bees so can't wait to read it. My six month streak was impressive until I broke it! :P

    Jenny - I was a bit unsure about The Finkler Question but it was half price and I do usually find Jacobson to be a good writer. I think the Booker judges rarely choose the best book, I've not had much luck with booker winners.

    Playing Librarian - I was drawn to The Piano Teacher too, and it does sound like your kind of book :)

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  7. I must applaud 6 months! I am itching at the moment to get into a bookshop.

    I have not read any of these books, so I look forward to hearing about them all.

  8. @Jo
    I really needed to break my book buying habit - I have hundreds of books at home that I have not read. I'm trying to go back 'on the wagon' now!

  9. If you have to have a vice, book buying is a good one to have, I think :)

    I loved Tess of the D'Aubervilles; I actually wrote my first college English paper on that book.

    Enjoy all your new reads..

  10. @TheBookGirl That's true, there are far worse vices! :P
    I sort of liked The Mayor of Casterbridge but wasn't amazed by it so I hope I do like Tess.

  11. You should definitely congratulate yourself on abstaining for so long even if you didn't make your intended goal. That is quite a feat in my eyes. Plus, you picked some great books to succumb to. I definitely want to check out Tiger, Tiger for the same reason you do. Enjoy!

  12. Hi! Hope you are feeling better and enjoy that nice TBR pile you have accumulated there! I read Tess in high school long ago but enjoyed it, and I am looking forward to Secret Life of Bees too! --Rae

  13. I don't think you should feel bad - you made it quite a long way! Nice haul. I've been interested in picking up The Finkler Question, and I thought The Secret Life of Bees made for a nice summer read. Enjoy :)