August’s Incomings…

As always if you don’t like posts about books are incoming then look away now, there is another post coming later today about my favourite memoir of the year, if not in quite some time. But now to the post in hand and the books which have come in during the last month. I hope you will note it’s a much slimmer selection than in previous months.

Of course August is Man Booker month and so a few of those came in through the door…

I have to say that I was really excited about the longlist this year when it was announced, but from dipping in and out of some of them I am beginning to simply not get it. There are six books I think could make a rather strong short list (more about that next week) but in the main I am a little bit non-plussed after trying and failing with a few of them. I am thinking it might be time to introduce a new series of posts on ‘Books I Didn’t Finish and Why’ but maybe with a snazzier title.

So moving on from Booker books what else has popped in from the publishers? Well you will be shocked to learn that I can fit my hardbacks, trades and paperbacks in one photo, that’s quite a breakthrough. I haven’t had as many unsolicited books and those I have had have been much more my cup of tea. Hoorah! So here they are…

  • Good Offices by Evelio Rosero – unsolicited copy, winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize sounds a little bit different and is short so could be worth a read.
  • Ragnarok by A.S. Byatt – I didn’t think I would try another Byatt, I find her a little full of herself in her writing and in person (oops), but books should be about good stories and this looks a treat as its one of the Canongate Myth retelling series.
  • The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai – A book about a librarian who kidnaps and is kidnapped by one of the children who comes to the library. I am half way through this and I think it is wonderful so far. I can’t wait to tell you more.
  • Blow On A Dead Man’s Embers by Mari Strachan – I really liked her first novel ‘The Earth Hums in B Flat’ so I begged for this one. When it arrived my aunty, who is a whatsit for a title, asked if it was about something rude. I hadn’t thought of it but now I keep giggling when I see the book. Oh dear.
  • The Gendarme by Mark Mustian – You know when you see a book in Waterstones and just love the cover but aren’t sure it would be quite your cup of tea, you keep seeing it and you keep being torn. Well, now I have it and am expecting quite a lot.
  • Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson – I thought Winterson’s debut novel ‘Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit’ was wonderful, I am puzzled by the author though. On TV I have seen her be delightful or prickly, and I know she had a phase of hating being labelled as an LGBT author, and yet now we have a very LGBT book. Should be interesting, but puzzling too.
  • The Book Lover’s Tale by Ivo Stourton – I admit I asked for this solely based on the title.
  • The Blue Book by A.L. Kennedy – This is probably going to be read this weekend. It’s a book about psychic’s on a cruise ship and just sounds right up my street. I have struggled with Kennedy before so am hoping this is the way in. It’s also a beautiful book to look at.
  • The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan – I have wanted to read this since Marieke Hardy called it a ‘cock forest’ on The First Tuesday Book Club, she didn’t like it and her reaction just made me want to read it even more.
  • The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen – I love Tess’ books so there is no way I couldn’t have this. Its signed too. Hoorah.
  • 666 Charing Cross Road by Paul Magrs – A new series starts… could be very exciting.
  • Twenty Six by Jonathan Kemp – Twenty six (very) short stories from one of last years Green Carnation short listed authors. Looking forward to this one.
  • Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes – Kevin from Canada mentioned this on the Man Booker forums as a brilliant crime and had a very nice review of it too. It’s not his genre so if its got non crime fans raving then I need to give it a whirl.
  • Something Was There edited by Kate Pullinger – unsolicited copy, Asham Award Winning shost stories, perfect for the autumnal nights which seem to have come early this year.
  • The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson – unsolicited copy, a book about sideshow freaks and the love story between the Human Skeleton and the Bearded Lady, erm yes please (I have to say if I had seen the drab cover in a shop though I wouldn’t have picked this up, Picador are normally ace at covers, what’s this about?).
  • The Shadows in the Street by Susan Hill – unsolicited copy, had the hardback so this reminded me a read was due, especially seeing as the next one ‘The Betrayal of Trust’ is out in October, which I will of course really be desperate to read.
  • Electricity & The Man Without by Ray Robinson – I thought ‘Forgetting Zoe’ was brilliant and so I am really looking forward to reading his back catalogue.

There was a second hand spree this month so I can’t say I have been that good in terms of treats. However I have had a lovely loan and two lovely gifts too.

I did a call out to see if any of you had Sue Johnston’s first autobiography as I am ‘in conversation’ with her next Tuesday at Waterstones Deansgate (a review of her stunning autobiography out today will be up this afternoon) and the forementioned Paul Magrs had a copy of ‘Hold onto the Messy Times’ which he has kindly loaned me. I don’t know why I didn’t ask Paul first, he has lots of the TV books from the 1980’s so it should have been an instant thought. Ruth from my book group has kindly given me her latest finished read which is ‘The Fallen Leaves’ a Wilkie Collins book I don’t own. Naturally I was thrilled. And finally, all the way from the USA, Rachel of Booksnob sent me ‘Bedilla’ by Vera Caspary which she read and adored and with a tagline ‘she seduces men… but does she kill them? A mystery bout the wickedest woman who ever loved’ knew would be right up my street. Thrilled, again.

A more compact month, but a month filled with gems I think you will agree. What have you had through the post/from the library/bought from the shops lately? Which of these have you read or are looking forward to reading and which would you like to see reviewed on Savidge Reads in the near future?

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18 Comments

Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

18 responses to “August’s Incomings…

  1. Louise

    I loved Far To Go, and The Silent Girl..I was a little unsure about the lastest Gerritsen simply because of the Chinese influence and I wasn’t sure it would work as well, I loved it though, and the snipets of myth, I’m a fan of Chinese folklore anyway. I’m dying to get my hands on The Last Werewolf, it seems up my street, plus I did love how it was hated, anything called a ‘cock forest’ has to be a winner, right? ;-)

    • I didnt love Far To Go that much, didnt think it was awful either though. Need to pop a review on here really though, I have reviewed it for We Love This Book, so expect something soon!

      I haven’t read the Tess yet but so want to, just have to read a few of the others first. Nice to have so many treats ahead though.

      I think the ‘cock forest’ that is ‘The Last Werewolf’ needs to be a soon to be read.

  2. cath

    I’m afraid I haven’t read even one of them, though like you I very much liked Mari Strachan’s first one as well as Susan Hill in general. I’ve had Joyce Carol Oates A Widow’s Story through the mail, purchased Sissinghurst An Unfinshed Story, Adam Nicolson in a book sale, brought Amor Towles Rules of Civility home from the library and requested through ILL Violet Trefusis Broderie Anglaise.

    • I must read some Joyce Carol Oates at some point, shes another author people have said that I would really like. I have The Falls I think.

      Havent heard of the other authors or their books, just scarily shows how many books are out there.

  3. So many books. I would love to see you review of Byatt book, and of the Last Werewolf

    • The Byatt intrigued me, but I havent read it yet, I am worried it will be a hefty thing and have been in a crime phase, then a not really reading phase and now a not sure what to read phase. Last Werewolf is tempting me.

  4. David

    I shall look forward to reading your thoughts on the A.L. Kennedy – I was very impressed by “Day” but for some reason her books still always look really daunting to me!
    I do agree with you about the Booker longlist. My initial thoughts were “where is such-and-such” but then, like you, I started to warm to the idea of all these unknown or overlooked books. But, having read five of them and bits of three others “non-plussed” sounds about right. There is a reasonably good shortlist in there I’m sure but, in such a strong year, I think there could have been a fantastic one. Ah well…

    Recent purchases: a few Canadian novels – “Natural Order” by Brian Francis (has had excellent reviews so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it crop up on the Giller longlist next week), “Shelter” by Frances Greenslade, “Glass Boys” by Nicole Lundrigan, and Ondaatje’s “The Cat’s Table” (I’ve only read one of his before and didn’t get on with it, but this one sounded good).
    Also: “The Sojourn” by Andrew Krivak, which sounds like a very promising novel about the First World War; “The Rules of Civility” by Amor Towles; and “Vault: an Anti-Novel” by David Rose. Right now I’m in the middle of Francesca Kay’s new novel, “The Translation of the Bones” – I’d had high hopes for this having absolutely loved her debut “An Equal Stillness” but so far I’m a bit underwhelmed.

    • This new A.L. Kennedy seems to be something rather different, from what I have heard as I havent read it yet, its next after a few short classics. It sounds like a tricky book, in a good way.

      I’m ok about the shortlist apart from Barry’s exclusion but have posted about that elsewhere

      Sounds like you have some great books indoors. I have never read Ondaatje, maybe I should.

  5. Yay it got there safe! Hope you love Bedelia! You have got quite the mound of books to get through, haven’t you? I think I’d have a heart attack if that many books came through my door!

  6. Jen

    Simon, I really enjoyed The Last Werewolf. I listened to it on CD while I drove back and forth to work. I can’t wait to hear what you think! Have you read The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins? Also very good!

    • Oh good Jen, I have to say I am really looking forward to it.

      The Hunger Games had a huge buzz here a while back, I didnt fancy it really but everyone does say its good. I have mentioned it to my mum as she teaches english and classics.

  7. Lovely books, I have The Borrower on my ‘want’ list and Far to Go on my TBR list.

  8. I would love to hear your thoughts on Ragnarok – it is one of those books that I am considering getting myself. I’ve never read anything by A.S. Byatt (and Possession, though intriguing, is not quite up my alley at the moment), and I am eyeing this one up as an introduction to her.

    Regarding the ‘list of books you’ve not finished and why’ series – I would love to see it. It is hard to write poorly about books at times (I’ve done it myself), because you’re just not sure if you’ve missed it. But I want to know what you’ve not enjoyed and why. It will help me better understand what kind of books really interest you…

    • I have only read The Childrens Book by Byatt so far and thought it was good but over written, this looks short so could be a better pairing for me and her.

      I think the ‘books I havent finished’ series is definitley on the way. I have been mulling the idea over.

  9. A Wilkie you don’t own!? I was very chuffed as I beat Alan at University Challenge the other day largely on the strength on my answers to a sequence of Collins questions. I couldn’t believe my luck! There no cat breed questions though (you devil – you know what I’m referring to).

    ‘Books I Didn’t Finish and Why’ sounds highly entertaining. Look forward to that one!

    • I think ‘Books I Didn’t Finish and Why’ will have to come out sooner rather than later.

      I know, a Wilkie that I didnt own, and hadn’t even heard of, what a shocker. Pleased he won you a round of University CHallenge, lol.

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