I just checked, the last ‘new acquisitions’ post I had put up was in May earlier this year. This will probably give the impression that I have been on ‘good behaviour’ and was contented with reading happily from my stacks of TBR on the shelves. This couldn’t be further from the truth than what the actual scenario is.

Truth is, I have been bad. I have been greedy and covetously acquiring more books than I could ever possibly finish reading in this lifetime. And yet I am not doing anything to stop the books from sneaking in. Why, I wonder? It is probably a disease. And I reckon it’s one that I can never be fully cured of. It could also be that I am probably a collector first, and only a reader second. Whatever the case may be, one cannot somehow also discount the fact that the books themselves are often too good to resist!

And so, without much resistance, these somehow found their way to my shelves (or floor, more likely).

Leave the Letters Till We’re Dead – this sixth and final volume of Virginia Woolf’s collected letters will be the starting point for my on-going long-term ‘mission’ to collect all the other volumes of her letters (& diaries). And just in case you might be interested to know, I have managed to track down the first volume (The Flight of the Mind) and it’s already winging it’s way here even as I am writing this. If only my reading was as efficient as my buying…

The Mitfords : Letters Between Six Sisters – Actually, I already have the hardcover copy of this in a different edition but when I found this paperback edition going at a really unbeatable price during a sale, I just couldn’t leave it behind. My reasoning was that it would be much more convenient & comfortable to read this tome in paperback rather than hardback. Right?

Anyway, moving on….

The Library At Night (by Alberto Manguel)
This has been sitting on my wishlist for a long time now. “Manguel, a guide of irrepressible enthusiasm, conducts a unique library tour that extends from his childhood bookshelves to the “complete” libraries of the Internet, from Ancient Egypt and Greece to the Arab world, from China and Rome to Google. He ponders the doomed library of Alexandria as well as the personal libraries of Charles Dickens, Jorge Luis Borges, and others. He recounts stories of people who have struggled against tyranny to preserve freedom of thought—the Polish librarian who smuggled books to safety as the Nazis began their destruction of Jewish libraries; the Afghani bookseller who kept his store open through decades of unrest. Oral “memory libraries” kept alive by prisoners, libraries of banned books, the imaginary library of Count Dracula, the library of books never written—Manguel illuminates the mysteries of libraries as no other writer could. With scores of wonderful images throughout, The Library at Night is a fascinating voyage through Manguel’s mind, memory, and vast knowledge of books and civilizations.” Doesn’t that sound lovely?

Virginia Woolf’s Women (by Vanessa Curtis)
“This is the first biography to concentrate exclusively on Woolf’s close and inspirational friendships with the key women in her life, including the caregivers of her Victorian childhood who instilled in her a lifelong battle between creativity and convention: her taciturn sister, Vanessa Bell; enigmatic artist Dora Carrington; complex writer Katherine Mansfield; aristocratic novelist Vita Sackville-West; and riotous, militant composer Ethel Smyth.” 
This should be an interesting one.

The Trials of Radclyffe Hall (by Diana Souhami)
I have been wanting to read The Well Of Loneliness (the book on the theme of ‘sexual inversion’ that caused Hall to be put on trial under the Obscene Publications Act, back in 1928) for some time now. This would pair nicely with the reading of that, I think. “….. Brilliantly written, this biography is a fresh and irreverent insight into the lives of one of the most alluring and eccentric women of this century.”

Charlotte and Emily: A Novel of the Brontes (by Jude Morgan)
Got this at the same bargain books sales as The Mitfords. Have not heard of this title, nor read anything by the author prior to this. But the subject matter appealed to me (not to mention the price, as well) and so, I was game to try this. “From an obscure country parsonage came three extraordinary sisters, who defied the outward bleakness of their lives to create the most brilliant literary work of their time. Now, in an astonishingly daring novel by the acclaimed Jude Morgan, the genius of the haunted Brontës is revealed and the sisters are brought to full, resplendent life: Emily, who turned from the world to the greater temptations of the imagination; gentle Anne, who suffered the harshest perception of the stifling life forced upon her; and the brilliant, uncompromising, and tormented Charlotte, who longed for both love and independence, and learned their ultimate price.” Anyone here read this?

Nothing If Not Critical: Selected Essays on Art and Artists (by Robert Hughes)
This is yet another writer that I was unfamiliar with but again, I found the subject matter highly appealing (as with the bargain price since it was at the same book sales) so into the basket it went. And I don’t think I will regret it. “This collection brings together over 90 essays, many of which have already appeared in major journals. Hughes considers the Masters, 19th-century art and artists, the Modernist spirit, American and European painters, and contemporary artists in prose that is historically informative, understandable, witty, and often opinionated. Perhaps most interesting is Hughes’s introduction, a recognition and partial analysis of New York City’s decline as the center of the art world. This well-written, thought-provoking collection will appeal to most who find art and the art world important and entertaining.” I do love a good collection of essays, so here’s hoping that they are. 

Down The Garden Path (by Beverley Nichols)
Although I am not one who is into gardening, somehow in recent years I find myself having a growing fascination for books that have gardens in their theme. This is probably the result from reading the blogs of so many of you ‘garden loving’ bloggers out there. I have always been curious about Nichols’s books, having read many good reviews of them. And I always thought that the titles to his books are such delightful ones ….. Merry Hall, Laughter on The Stairs, Sunlight on the Lawn, etc… Don’t they just seem to have the word “JOY” printed all over them? Really looking forward to reading this. 🙂

The Claudine Novels (by Colette)
Colette’s Claudine novels are another item off my long list of ‘anticipated reads’. And to get this complete set for the price of one (plus it’s in the edition with the cover I like, unlike the ugly but newer and easier to get edition here) is really quite a good deal! “Among the most autobiographical of Colette’s works, these four novels are dominated by the child-woman Claudine, whose strength, humor, and zest for living make her seem almost a symbol for the life force.”

That’s the stack for now. And that’s just the ones that came before my trip to Amsterdam and Paris last month. I haven’t yet share my little bounty from abroad with you, have I? :p

I think it’s better to leave that for another day. Meantime, I will need to have some reshuffling work done to clear things up abit, and make room for a little *cough* shipment that is due to arrive anytime now.

Like I said, it’s incurable.

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11 thoughts on “The not-so-new “new acquisitions”…..

  1. I don’t know that particular Jude Morgan book but if you like his style he’s written about other writers and historical figures. I remember seeing one about Byron, Keats and Shelley at the library a while back. 🙂

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    1. Yes, so many wonderful books….. but sadly, so little reading time. Will really have to ‘revamp’ my schedules in order to make more time for these wonderful books! I have high expectations for both the Mitford letters and the Manguel. Can’t wait to get started on them!

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  2. I sympathize, I’m just as incurable as you are. It’s not just about reading, either. My husband has a Kindle, and he keeps telling me I would love it and that it’s just like switching over from a film camera to a digital one. I don’t object to reading on a Kindle, but I doubt it will ever be my preferred method of reading. Physical books have personality, and for me that is part of the pleasure.

    Your stack looks wonderful, and I hope you get just as much enjoyment from reading through it (someday) as you had collecting it.

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    1. Thanks, Kathy! Yes, I think you would love the world of e-books, too (as do I!). I love the fact that I can have the pleasure of having whole library of books to choose from at any one time, wherever I am. I love to browse and flip through different books on different themes and subject matters at the same time. Must be that I have a short concentration span or something, but I just love to dip in and out of books. Which is why I always take so long to finish a book proper!
      I agree too, that digital books will never have the personality that physical books have. That is why I still find so much pleasure in collecting physical ones. 😉

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  3. What a wonderful pile of books. Collecting is no bad thing, as long as you are collecting books you hope to have time to read one day. Think of it as literary insurance. A sensible investment, and of course you are doing a good thing supporting the world’s booksellers!

    I’ve read and liked one of two of Jude Morgan’s novels and liked them, but not the one you have. And I love Colette and have been meaning to reread the books I know and then will in the gaps with the ones I don’t.

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    1. Thanks for the reassurance, Jane. 🙂 Good to know you liked at least one of the Jude Morgan’s. Am very looking forward to reading Colette for myself too, hopefully it won’t disappoint.

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  4. I never noticed that the volumes of Woolf letters had such interesting titles – they weren’t used on the U.S. editions, but there it is, in tiny letters on the front of my copy. They’re wonderful to read. I’m going to look for the Vanessa Curtis book!

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