Simon’s Bookish Bits #8

Another week seems to have hurtled by and I am suddenly realising I am getting a little rubbish at keeping up with blogs and commenting (both on them and on my own) next week will be better I promise. Today’s ‘Bookish Bits’ is going to be a fairly short one with some reminders and updates, then a bit of library looting and then some coveting all which will be made better by your comments at the end. So without further a do lets get on with it.

First up just a quick reminder if you want to ask Kate Grenville anything and possibly win a copy of her book then you have until last thing tomorrow to go here and ask any question you like, its that easy and I want you involved of course. The second thing is a huge thank you to everyone who has signed up for Penpals of Prose, its wonderful to see so many of you and to let you know the matching of pen friends will start on Sunday and I will be emailing you all soon. If you haven’t joined yet then fear not I have no plans on closing it so do join whenever.

Next up, I thought I would show you how restrained I was at the library as I only got three books…

Margaret Atwood’s ‘Negotiating With The Dead’ is a book I have been hankering after for quite some time and have popped on the bedside so can dip in and out of it at leisure. I saw ‘Mariana’ by Monica Dickens and Persephone’s are like gold dust in a library so I grabbed it and have started reading it, so far so good I have had occasional moments of being ‘persephoned out’ though, maybe I am getting a fever? Last but not least is ‘Real World’ by Natsuo Kirino. I have been wanting to read more of her since I read Grotesque for a past book group and though I have ‘Out’ on the TBR it is quite big and as is often the case I wanted to read the one I didn’t own more than the one I did.

Now I am being much better with the library as I said however that could all go wrong today as I am off to pick up the latest Riverside Readers Book Club choice from a library a bus ride away (under my rules I can’t pay for a book to be sent from one library to another locally) and am now on the hunt for a book solely for its cover…

It was in fact only on the tube home from town yesterday early evening that I saw the cover of ‘Dark Echo’s’ by F.G. Cottam. I had not heard of the author until I saw the book and in fact had to discreetly try and see the first name (which didn’t work at all) or initials as it turned out. I don’t know why this cover leapt out at me the way it did I just knew it was some kind of destiny that I now need to read it. Having looked up more about the book I am most vexed to find it’s about a boat (never a favourite subject for me) but it des sound quite chilling, thrilling and dark so might just be my up of tea. I have also looked at other Cottam works and now want to read her entire back catalogue, isn’t it odd how that can happen?

Right that’s me done, so now to set you your weekend questions (and again remind you about Grenville questions and Pen pals) which this week are; What have you got from the library of late? Have you read any I picked up? What are you reading this weekend? Have you read any F.G. Cottam? Which books have you coveted for the cover and then got and did they live up to your expectations?

27 Comments

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27 responses to “Simon’s Bookish Bits #8

  1. Haven’t taken anything out of the library since leaving uni. I just found my hometown library such a disappointment after having a two uni libraries. This weekend I’m getting stuck into reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, I’m almost half way through. I find it is one of those books that once put down I struggle a little to get back into. However I will persevere as it is interesting.

    • Oh Jessica shame on you with the library thing hahaha. I have just been today and got the book group book… and a couple of others, whoops.

      I thought The road was amazong, I read it in one sitting, couldnt put it down.

  2. I read Cottam’s first book, The House of Lost Souls, last September or October. There were things I liked about it but overall, I didn’t love it. I would probably read something else by him though. I tend to give authors the benefit of the doubt after a first novel.

    • It wasn’t at the library today in fact no Cottam books at all, but am thinking after your thoughts loaning might be wise (rather than on the birthday list) as I can see how I find them.

  3. gaskella

    I’m ashamed to say I don’t do the library these days – doing my best to keep the local bookshops and fave charity shop in business bookwise.

    I’d happily give Cottam’s 2nd a go. I read Cottam’s first too and I agree with Kristen – the ending in particular was rather rushed. It did leave me wanting to read some Dennis Wheatley though – something I haven’t done since my teens!

    • Yes you see thatas where my BBB falls flat as I dont help with local bookshops or indeed the charity shops (well apart from giving them books) anymore. However in supporting libraries hopefully they won’t disappear.

      I have never heard of Dannis Wheatley, I also had no idea Cottam was male!

      • gaskella

        Never heard of Dennis Wheatley! Writer of many thrillers and occult novels – The Devil rides out (1934) is a classic (fab Hammer Horror film with Charles Gray and Christopher Lee made in the 60s). Cottam introduces Wheatley (and Aleister Crowley) as characters in the House of Lost Souls.

      • Ooh dear, I am clearly a book fraudster frankly Annabel hahaha. I will see if I can find any of his works in the library next time I go and give him a whirl.

  4. I’ve not read anything from Cottom, but I can see why you were vexed with the cover. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason for the attraction, but I caught my eye as well. I am a huge user of my library, mostly for audio books. They are way to expensive to buy, and I go through one to two a week, so this is a good deal. My daughter and I are in the middle of the series about the asteroid hitting the moon (Life As We Knew It, and now The Dead and the Gone) which also came from the library.

    • I hadnt spotted the blood on the cover actually, as the woman who was glued to the book was holding it at a funny angle, its only intrigued me more though!

      It must be lots of fun reading with kids, my cousin is here this week so maybe I can indulge in some of that! I love it when they hang on the readers every word.

  5. Deb

    I haven’t read REAL WORLD, but I strongly recommend Kirino’s OUT, it was one of the best books I read last year–and a very interesting view of life in Japan for people who live somewhat on the margins–part-time workers, Brazilian ex-pats of Japanese ancestry, club owners, bar girls, etc.

    From the library today: Kate Atkinson’s ONE GOOD TURN, Sebastian Faulks’s ENGLEBY, Stuart MacBride’s FLESH HOUSE, Denise Hamilton’s THE LAST EMBRACE, and Ruth Rendell’s THE MONSTER IN THE BOX. This week we have Mardi Gras holidays in Louisiana (I work in the school system) and I expect to have a grand time doing very little but reading!

    • I didnt realise some of the characters in Out were Brazilian ex-pats that has made me want to read it a little bit more, but then again have heard its the best so am savouring it for a raint day or week.

      One Good Turn is excellent and I have heard great things about Engleby. I havent heard of the other books enjoy your readathon Debs.

  6. catharina

    First time commenting on your blog, having read it for a couple of weeks now and really liking it .
    Brought home from the library an hour ago: Ellen N. LaMotte The Backwash of War ( The Human Wreckage of the Battlefield as Witnessed by an American Hospital Nurse) , Susan Hill The Beacon and Joyce Carol Oates Beasts. I haven’t read any of yours nor any Cottam. This weekend I will be reading Samantha Hunt The Seas. Still thinking about penpals: is there room for a newly retired consultant?

    • Thanks for commenting Catharina, unless people comment I dont know exactly who is reading and the like so its lovely when people do those known and those who are new.

      I really want to read The Beacon so may welel give that a go very soon. I have lots of Oates work but havent read a word so let me know how that goes. Oh I read a Samantha Hunt before and quite liked her… I think it was Samantha Hunt!!!

  7. You crack me up with the “I want to read the one that I didn’t own more than the one I did” part regarding Out. Which is also on my TBR pile. In fact, I bought a used copy from eBay as I’ve read nothing by Kirino. Nothing, can you believe it? What kind of Japanese Literature Challenge host is that?! Maybe we can get to Out in 2010, but at least you’ve read Grotesque!

    • Its always the way though Meredith. I will see a book and think ‘oooh I already have one at home by them… but I want that one more’. Its sods law isnt it?

      Kirino is very very very good, I have heard Out is the best of her work, another reason I am saving it.

  8. I read F.G Cottam’s first book, ‘The House of Lost Souls’ and found it to be a bit of a mixed bag really. Strangely enough, it was the beautiful cover which attracted me too. My review of it is actually the latest one on my blog if you want to take a peep!

  9. I’ll be interested in reading what you thought of Real World, I’ve been meaning to pick it up after loving Grotesque.

  10. Simon, don’t feel bad about not reading/commenting; I think we’re all a bit like that just now or at least I am. Saying that, did you happen to notice my first midweek miscellany? Both Simons are completely to blame ;).

    I have been attracted by a cover many a time and will hunt down a copy of a book with a particular cover; I enjoy book cover collecting and am a sucker for a pretty cover.

    “Persephoned out”?! Say it ain’t so! Mariana was the fourth Persephone I bought; another 30 or so later and I still haven’t read it :s

    • I wonder if its a bloggish slump. I have noticed that January is meant to be the slump month but I have felt much more slumpy and tired this month than I have in ages and ages. I did see your midweek miscellany indeed.

      With regards to persephone’d out… they are wonderful books and lovely people work at Persephone (and you will see later in the week I cannot resist them) I just have a thing where if everyone goes crazy about a book or publisher etc I tend to back off as I worry it saturates things. This applies to anything not just books it could be music or films.

      It’s like if I see lots of reviews on blogs of a title and I own it, it inevitably goes further down the TBR rather than up.Maybe I am talking gobbledy gook?!!

  11. I enjoyed Negotiating With the Dead, so I hope you like it. I agree the cover of Dark Echo is quite intruiging! Over the weekend I was reading Grave Suprise by Charlaine Harris, which I enjoyed. Now I’m reading Solo by Rana Dasgupta which seems good so far but I haven’t read very much of it yet.

    • I should read a Charlaine Harris book, I have two but as I mentioned above to Claire if everyone is reading a book I tend to veer away from it for a while.

      Solo is meant to be excellent.

  12. Dark Echo is sitting on the shelves waiting for the right time. My mum liked it by the way, but she says the blurb is a bit misleading (when it said evil boat I was thinking of a ‘Christine’ type affair).

    • A blurb be misleading… never lol. I have to say I tend to be skeptical over blurbs in fact the more I read the more skeptical I become on that front I think too many times I have put a book down and thought ‘did the blurb writer read this?’

  13. I’m glad you sptted Mariana in your library. I’m impresed because my llibrary seems to have oodles of Persephones. But with only 15 short of a complete collection I don’t need to borrow them 🙂

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