Behold, my latest batch of beauties to join in the stacks!
And they couldn’t have come at a better price, only RM5 each (equivalent to USD1.60 or £1) save the Orhan Pamuk, and they’re all new as well! These were all picked up from the recent Aftermath Sales of the same fantastic book sales I went to at the end of last year.
I was thrilled to find a copy of Raymond Carver’s collection of short stories Will You Please Be Quiet, Please as I have been really curious to try out his writing, ever since havong read a particularly convincing piece of review on one of his collections on a blog some time ago. And so having gotten my hands on it, I wasted no time in diving straight in, but only to find myself feeling somewhat disappointed with what I found. Maybe this being his first collection of stories, one could say that I should still give him another try, and maybe I will. But as it is, I am already struggling to finish the remaining stories in here. I don’t doubt that Carver is a good writer, it’s just that I didn’t quite like the taste I’m left with at the end of each story.
Doris Lessing is another writer whose short stories I have been wanting to sample. And from what I’ve managed to glean to so far, I think there’s a possibility that we just might get along much better. Anyway, here’s hoping for a more rewarding journey To Room Nineteen.
Next up, two biographies of two formidable & accomplished women, both of whom I am unfamiliar with but am highly interested to learn more about now. Charlotte Mew and Her Friends by Penelope Fitzgerald is said to be an “…. unexpectedly gripping portrait of Bloomsbury’s saddest poet”. The poet whom Thomas Hardy had once declared being ‘far and away the best living woman poet’ of the twentieth century, has a tragic tale to tell. “To all appearances, she was a dutiful daughter living at home with a monster of an old mother. The proprieties had to be observed and no one must know that the Mews had no money, that two siblings were insane and that Charlotte was a secret lesbian, living a life of self-inflicted frustration. Despite literary success and a passionate, enchanting personality, eventually the conflicts within her drove her to despair, and she killed herself by swallowing household disinfectant.”
Would anyone here be familiar with her poetry, by any chance?
Norah Lindsay: The Life And Art of a Garden Designer by Allyson Hayward, is the other formidable personality I am curious to be acquainted with. This lovely coffee table book tells the story of famous English garden designer, Norah Lindsay’s life and work, who interestingly just began her career at the age of 51 after finding herself with “no husband, no money, no home…..” as she wrote a friend. Her commissions ranged from the gardens of quiet English manor houses to the grand estates of the country house set, to royal gardens in Italy, France and Yugoslavia. She gardened in different soils and varied climates across all of England and throughout Europe. All this time she managed to give the impression that she remained ‘a social butterfly, a gadfly’. The truth is that although she dined at the tables of the rich, the next day she would be up at dawn to work with their gardeners.” I am really interested to read about this esteemed gardener whose circle of upper-class friends included the likes of Winston Churchill, the Prince of Wales and Edith Wharton. The book also comes with a fair amount of photographs of the prized gardens. This had to be the bargain of the day (or year!) considering the price I paid for it!
I was also very pleased at finding a good few books on travel writing (one of my favourite genres) at the sale. Two Patrick Leigh Fermor ‘A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods & the Water’, a Paul Theroux ‘The Tao of Travel’, W.G Sebald’s ‘The Rings of Saturn’, Robert Byron’s classic The Road to Oxiana and an anthology of travel stories in Escape: Stories of Getting Away. The anthology is made up of contributions from a rather impressive list of writers such as Winston Churchill, Elizabeth Parsons, Vladimir Nabokov, Issac Bashevis Singer, John Updike, Michael Chabon, Jamaica Kincaid, D.H. Lawrence, Sylvia Townsend Warner and a few others. ‘Who doesn’t dream of escape, whether to defy the strictures of a conventional or restricted life, to outrun the fates, to pursue an extraordinary goal, or, most inevitably, to distance oneself from the suffering, loss, and pain that unavoidably bear down on our lives. Now Escape is the first collection to bring together a wide array of the very finest stories about this universal impulse.’
I think there’s gonna be some really good stuff in there.
I also got myself a copy of Favourite Sherlock Holmes Stories handpicked by the author himself (Conan Doyle) and Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales which somehow appealed very much to me in that particular edition I found it in. Skimming through the pages, I realised just how little I had managed to retain of all those fairy tales I vaguely remember reading. It’s time for a refresher, I think.
I had been on the lookout for D.E Stevenson’s Mrs Tim of the Regiment for quite a long time now, and was naturally delighted to find a solitary copy among the stacks on that day. Jane Gleeson-White is new to me, but her Classics: Books for Life, both look and sound good to me and so it found its way home with me as well. And lastly, Orhan Pamuk’s Other Colours. Pamuk has been on my ‘intend to read’ list for some time now, and this collection of essays (and a story) sounds as good as any place to start with.