Snow & The Last Loot

Isn’t it amazing how snow (which we get almost every year) seems to cause no end of issues? It’s only frozen water. Maybe it’s just the northerner in me who had to trek almost a mile to school down steeply inclined hills and back up them daily even if we were 6 inches deep in snow who finds the drama in London a little hard to digest? If anyone has been to Matlock Bath you will know that when I say steep I mean virtually quarried hills. Here is a picture Gran sent me this morning, we used to live on the big hill opposite which is surrounded by valleys which you can’t see sadly but you get the gist.

So I find all the British snowy panic in the press seems a bit excessive, if you’re snowed in you get more time to read and it looks lovely! I am glad though that after two whole days of freezing weather with no boiler I am looking at the snow in the heat once more. The grump that living and working from home in no heat caused you might imagine was quite horrific, but it’s distracted me from the fact I have not been able to buy a book since my last mad loot last Thursday. I thought I would share that with you today. So here are the last books I bought before midnight struck on the 31st of December.

  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle – David Wroblewski
  • The Late Hector Kipling – David Thewlis
  • DeNiro’s Game – Rawi Hage
  • White Teeth – Zadie Smith
  • Bad Girls – Mary Flanagan

  • Ordinary Thunderstorms – William Boyd
  • Alligator – Lisa Moore
  • An Elergy For Easterly – Petina Gappah (you may notice two here, this is because I will be giving away one to one of you, I am always thinking of you guys)
  • Friendly Fires – Alaa Al Aswany
  • Wild Sheep Chase – Haruki Murakami
  • Cobwebs and Cream Tea’s – Mary Mackie
  • The Queen of the Tambourine – Jane Gardham
  • The Unbearable Likeness of Being – Milan Kundera
  • Scoop – Evelyn Waugh (had this already but not in this orange series I collect)
  • The Lure – Felice Picano

I think a final £6 spree for fifteen books isn’t bad is it? So did I do ok, what books of these have you read and what did you think?


Filed under Book Thoughts, Evelyn Waugh, Haruki Murakami, Petina Gappah, William Boyd

30 responses to “Snow & The Last Loot

  1. I usually take the same stance as you when it comes to snow, I think its beautiful as long as your not in it. I’m not a Northener but I am in Staffordshire in the Trent Valley, main roads fine my road treacherous, just had a driving lesson talk about baptism by fire. For once I am wishing the snow would thaw I’m meant to have my driving test on Monday!!
    I haven’t read any of these books to comment, is that David Thewlis as in the actor? Or someone with the same name?

    • It is indeed David Thewlis the actor and apparently from what I have heard from a few people he is a bit of competition for the wonderful Will Self so should be very interesting reading!

      Hope the snow sorts itself out before your driving test!

  2. I haven;t read any of them though I am reading another Milan Kundera (my first of his) for my book group. I love the snow.

    • I love the snow too, I just hate the whining it creates hahaha and all the drama.

      I think Kundera seems a daunting prospect to me, but am up for some challenging writing this year.

  3. Eva

    No heat?! Eek! We’ve been having power outages, but fortunately they don’t last long enough to dissipate all the heat.

    I’ve read precisely one of those books, The Unbearable Lightness of Being; I really enjoyed it when I was 15, but I want to reread it this year to see what I think of it now! I’ve read a different novel by Alaa Al Aswany and loved it. Same with Murakami! And I really want to read White Teeth this year, since I really enjoyed Smith’s essay collection Changing My Mind!

    When I lived in High Wycombe, I think we only got snow once in three years. Well, it also snowed during Christmas one year, but we were on vacation in Egypt so we didn’t get to appreciate it!

    • I will tell you what Eva, I dont think I have ever appreciated heat this much ever. I am slightly abusing it now and not switching it off so my bill will be stupid but hey ho, its freezing here.

      I am looking forward to Alaa Al Aswany my Gran loved The Yacoubian Building and has told me that I simply must read that asap.

      I didnt know you lived in High Wycombe once, I used to work there sometimes, thats randomness.

  4. Of your 15, I’ve read 3. I wasn’t impressed with either Ordinary Thunderstorms or White Teeth. Queen of the Tambourine is a different story altogether and sits on my to be reread pile.

    You obviously went to the 5 for £2 shop 3 time for emphasis on your last book-buying day! And now that you won’t be using it for a year, it’s time you let us know where we can find it! You do want it to still be in business when your embargo is over, don’t you?

    • Ooooh interesting thoughts. I am hoping Ordinary Thunderstorms is good as I utterly loved Restless, we will see in a few weeks.

      I did go to the 5 for £2 and when you are next in London I will email you just where it is and then as its all of 5 mins from my house you can come for coffee after!

  5. The only one I’ve read is White Teeth and, I’m sorry to report, that is the only book in the history of my book club to be universally disliked! That said though, I have On Beauty on my shelf and plan to read Smith’s essays, too.

  6. I am glad that you have heat again, Simon! We have brutally cold weather here – but the furnace is working just fine (knock on wood) and I enjoy a fire in the fireplace. I do agree, however, that snow storms are quite lovely – if looking from the inside out – and provide the perfect excuse to curl up with a good book.

  7. I enjoy snow, love the way it forces everyone to slow down and lays a hush over our city. Being cold is no fun though, glad you have heat again.

    Nice pile of books, Simon, I read the Kundera years ago, Elergy and Edwar Sawtelle last year. I enjoyed all three for different reasons.

    • Oh I am glad that those three have had some good feedback. I originally thought that the Edgar Sawtelle was definately not for me but when I saw it I for some reason just needed to have it. I hope I enjoy it its a doorstop!

  8. Nice haul. I want to read the Edgar Sawtelle but no more book buying for me so it will have to wait!

    I am fed up of the snow now. Barely a flake has fallen since yesterday afternoon and yet it still took me THREE HOURS to get to work today, which is completely unnecessary. I am now panicking as to whether I will be able to get home. Don’t you just love London Transport.

  9. Bargain! What a good haul. I’ve only read the Jane Gardam which was brilliant. I’ve got the Edgar Sawtelle and David Thewlis books on my TBR piles. Someone is going to have to tell us where this shop is soon!

    I’ve enjoyed the past two snow days,as the school where I work is due to re-open tomorrow (sadly!). I do think we’re far too soft about snow though in general.

    • Hahahahaha I will email you where the shop is if you are desperate to visit and as said to Lizzie I live five mins away so tea and biscuits at Savidge Towers are on offer after! Ha!

  10. Chelsea

    I have to say that I agree with your opinion on all the snow-based hullaballoo! People around here are buying batteries and bottled water like the Four Horseman were coming, not just a little bit of sub-zero precipitation!

    Of the books you picked up (wonderful bargaining skills, by the way – I’m wonderfully impressed!) I’ve only had the joy of reading through the Zadie Smith and, very recently, the Milan Kundera. The Kundera was good – the prose was simple, but the ideas took a bit more mind power to process than I was expecting. However, I found the Kundera book to be a lot better than the Zadie Smith, which I read after reading her other major novel ‘On Beauty’. The writing was good but the ideas seemed to lack…freshness. Either way, enjoy the haul from inside a warm and wintery wonderland!

    • I love the word hullabaloo, I so need to use that more often. I might see how many conversations I can get that into today!

      Thanks for the feedback on Kundera as this one is the book I am most daunted by (even without opening a page) so am pleased to see that people have enjoyed it so much.

  11. Rather like JoAnn’s bookclub, I was somewhat underwhelmed by White Teeth. I seem to prefer Waugh in adaptation rather than on the page, since I found last year’s radio serialisation of Scoop a more pleasurable experience than the book. As for Ordinary Thunderstorms, I read it last week and posted my thoughts here: In summary, I found it gripping but a little lacking in depth.

    With regard to the snow, as a northerner who is still in the north, (although Geordies probably regard Merseyside, where I am, as part of the midlands) I must admit that we do feel some amusement at how cold snaps always become big news once the capital and its hinterland get hit. No doubt our Scandinavian and Russian friends are even more amused at our national inability to cope with real winter weather. The important thing is that we are all safe and warm. I hope none of your readers have suffered pain or hardship on account of the weather. Unfortunately hiking boots and extreme caution were not enough to keep me on my feet yesterday afternoon. My arm is very sore from trying to stop myself falling. Fortunately I can still type and, more importantly, hold a book!

    • I think being a journo I am looking forward to Waugh’s fictional accounts fo journo’s from the past I guess. It holds that little bit extra personal interest. Plus I love the orange spined series so it was a MUST!

      Gripping with Boyd will do hahaha.

      I used to be a Geordie, in fact its where I met Novel Insights aged 3! I think all the snow hullabaloo (thanks Chelsea) is just a bit much. Yes its a pain but in 6 months we will all be complaining how its too hot.

  12. Jo

    We missed the worst of the snow here, but it is still cold and icy. I’ve seen Matlock in the snow though, and it really is pretty and does put towns and cities coming to a virtual standstill in perspective.
    Oh and I have to join in and say White Teeth is really overated, but I thought Elegy for Easterly was brilliant.

    • The icy bit in all honesty is the bit that I dont like about the whole thing. Its all the worry of going AOT I guess hahaha.

      Elergy for Easterly am looking forward to I might delve in this weekend.

  13. I can’t comment on the snow other than to laugh! I’m Canadian after all- it snows here 11 months of the year! (Not really.) I taught school in the Midlands (yes, your Midlands) a while back and I remember one year it snowed…like an inch. I trudged off to school only to arrive and discover everything had been closed. So funny!

    Anyway – of the books you purchased I’ve read Edgar Sawtelle. It was our June book club pick and I think I might have been the only one who actually finished it. I don’t really know how I feel about it – didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. It was l-o-n-g. I read Unbearable Lightness many years ago…I think I liked it. Alligator is getting lots of press…and same with DeNiro’s Game. When I worked at the book store we had about a zillion copies on display. Curious about all the negative comments re White Teeth.

    • And so you should laugh we make such a blinking hoohaa about it here its ridiculous. It’s not life threatening like some weather can be for people so I think everyone should just… erm… chill… hahahaha.

      Alligator I want to read as have been sent an advance of her second novel already so want to try that first.

  14. lena

    I can’t wait to see your review of De Niro’s Game (I hope you saw my wonderful review of this) and White Teeth! White Teeth was such a great novel. But heck, I love everything with Zadie Smith’s name on it, basically. And Kundera! For the last shopping spree, you picked up some amazing loot.

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