July’s Incomings…

I decided that after seeing all of your thoughts and responses on incoming posts, and discovering that you like them, I would carry on doing them monthly. However what has changed is the way I deal with books that have arrived. Id I have asked for them then they go straight on a special part of the TBR (which is getting a big update and cull this week), or they get read within a few days. If they are for The Green Carnation then they live with all the other (and it’s a vast amount) of submissions. As for the unsolicited ones… well… I decided instead of just piling them all up until then end of the month I would try and do ‘instant elimination’. So now I try and dip in and read a few pages here and there in the book, after reading the blurb, and decide if it’s a book for me, my Mum, Granny Savidge Reads or the charity shop. So far the system is working and so there are fewer books in this month’s incomings, let’s take a look at them.

First up the paperbacks…

  • August by Bernard Beckett – I saw this on The First Tuesday Book Club as Jennifer Byrne recommended it and it sounded intriguing, plus I loved the upside down title. When I saw I could bagsy it from We Love This Book HQ I did… obviously to review for them (and for you).
  • The Legacy by Kristen Tranter – unsolicited copy, this is a ‘9/11’ book I believe and whilst I am not sure how I feel about those, this one sounds like it might be from an angle you wouldn’t expect.
  • The Player’s Curse by Brian Thompson – unsolicited copy (but a very me one), this has reminded me I need to read the first in this series still, so I will be digging that out. I think this might be the third and I can’t read out of sync so will have to get the others if I like the first.
  •  Your Presence Is Requested At Suvanto by Maile Chapman – unsolicited copy, a tale set in a hospital deep in a wood, how can I not want to read this one?
  • Conference at Cold Comfort Farm/Westwood by Stella Gibbons – unsolicited copies, now I haven’t read Cold Comfort Farm yet so this is a timely reminder to, in fact these books set me off wondering if I am reading too much contemporary modern fiction currently.
  • The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman – I said yes to this one, not because I had read his previous novel, but because it was a novella and also one that sounded like a fairytale.
  • Visitation by Jenny Erpenbeck – I asked for this one because I saw it somewhere and it sounded really spooky, so I cheekily asked when the publishers were sending me something else.
  • Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong – unsolicited copy, not sure why I fancied this one now, but I did.
  • No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod – unsolicited copy, this won awards in 1999 I believe, but seems to have been reissued. I want to know more.
  • Things We Didn’t See Coming by Steven Amsterdam – unsolicited copy, I fancied this because of the cover (shameless) but sadly you can’t see how quirky it is.
  • Two Cures for Love by Wendy Cope – Cope was the cure for my poetry fears, I have this collection of Selected Poems awaiting me.
  • A Mind To Murder/Unnatural Causes by P.D. James – after having met her and then done an article about her I want to read more of her. I also got her ‘Talking About Detective Fiction’ which I couldn’t find to photograph. Oops.

The Hardbacks…

  • Everything That Began After by Simon Van Booy – this nearly went off to my Mum, as it’s set in Greece and she loves the country as she teaches classics, however I then looked him up and thought ‘I want to read this first’, I have and thoughts coming soon.
  • Bed by David Whitehouse – sounds like a really, really interesting and quirky debut novel about a bedridden boy.
  • East of the West by Miroslav Penkov – unsolicited copy, which came with a lovely hand written note from the publicist saying just why she loved it, you can’t not try a book when a publicist does that.
  • Rivers of London/Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch – I asked for these as I keep seeing them everywhere and when I read the blurbs I thought they sounded like a lot of fun, and a fun escapist read is what you need now and again.
  • Solace by Belinda McKenn – unsolicited copy, I am glad this turned up, there is a huge buzz about this book building so I want to read it before it all starts getting over hyped. Watch this space.
  • My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher – unsolicited copy, this sounds like a brilliant young adult novel and one I am going to read before passing onto my sister.
  • Pure by Andrew Miller – I resisted this book until I heard it was about cemeteries and I have a strange fascination with them, I do miss tour guiding at Highgate so much.
  • The Ascent of Isaac Steward by Mike French – I am trying to say yes to more independent publishers, I feel its something I am missing so am going to give this a whirl.
  • The Cold Eye of Heaven by Christine Dwyer Hickey – unsolicited copy, heard lots of praise about her last novel, and this one seems short-ish, so why not?
  • Jubilate by Michael Arditti – I read Arditti many years ago and it was quite an impressionable read for me in my late teens so I wanted to check in on him again with his latest.
  • The Picture Book by Jo Baker – Again this was all thanks to the publicist and the passion for the book in an email, I couldn’t say no.
  • You by Joanna Briscoe – I liked Joanna Briscoe’s debut Sleep With Me which I read before I blogged, I think, and it was a darkly delicious unnerving book. This one sounds very good indeed and also like it might have some interesting twists, its next to read.

Now before I go onto what I bought for myself I wanted to share two proof copies I got that are so simplistically stunning I couldn’t not show you…

I know nothing of Kevin Wilson, though I think ‘The Family Fang’ is a brilliant title, and have enjoyed a previous Ellen Feldman novel. But aren’t these so nice to look at? There’s no cover picture to judge, just the title, the author and the blurb. I really like it.

So what did I buy myself this month? Well there were the car boot bargain books but until Friday nothing else. I had to hunt out a copy of ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth’ by Walter Tevis for a project you will be hearing more about later today. I then accidentally walked into Fopp and it gained three new friends because they were only £1 each (some random one day offer)…

  • Easter Parade by Richard Yates – I was trying to remember which blogger specifically made me want to read this but then realised there was a whole host of them.
  • The Quarry by Damon Galgut – we long listed his ‘In A Strange Room’ for The Green Carnation Prize last year and I never reviewed it, which was silly, I liked it and wanted to try more. This isn’t his most famous by any stretch but it starts with a random murder that gets out of hand and I thought sounded worth a try. I have already polished it off.
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan – an utterly random purchase where I thought ‘oh I will risk it’. I loved the title, the cover and the blurb, simple as that.

So what do you think of this month selection? Any you would recommend I race to read or would like me to read soonest? Also, what do you think of my new filtering regime for books. Do you have any system in place that you could recommend?


Filed under Book Thoughts

23 responses to “July’s Incomings…

  1. I love the Kevin Wilson and Ellen Feldman covers. They are stunning and make me happy for reasons that are beyond understanding.

    All I can say is thank god for the my local library which lets me reserve books for 40p and then lets me collect them when they arrive. Otherwise I would be bankrupt after visiting a page like this. Must go and see what they have…

    • I really love the covers of these proofs too Heather, much more than the finished ones which have no arrived. I will be keeping the proofs and giving the others to family I think.

      Do they charge 40p a go, see I am spoilt now I am in Manchester, its free.

  2. I think you are using a sensible system, my only recommendation is to stick with “one-touch” filing. Once you have made a decision about which pile then don’t revisit them.

  3. My friend Carly reviewed Easter Parade for my blog ( http://wp.me/pWuJh-cz ), which you kindly commented on – so I’m going to give her credit for inspiring you. 😉


    p.s. Carly’s own blog can be found here: http://teacupinthebay.blogspot.com

    • Hahahaha yes she was one of the people who inspired me, so shame on me for not having said that. Thanks for the link too, its added to my favourites, though I am being a little rubbish at reading blogs at the moment – oops.

  4. The only one we have in common is August – and for some unfathomable reason Hubby has decided that’s for him , not me! Could be interesting though to see what the two of you make of it….

  5. lizzysiddal

    In order to assess the effectiveness of your filtering system, Mr Savidge, I’d need to know how many were filtered out before you posted! 😉

    What I find fascinating about these posts is the lack of cross-over between your incomings and mine. There are only 4 in that lot which shows the vibrant state of publishing and leaves me coveting Pure, August and Everything Beautiful Began After.

    I await your comments re The Quarry with interest. I wasn’t a fan. On the other hand I adored Visitation.

    • Is Visitation spooky enough to leave until Halloween Lizzy? I would love to know. (Sorry, this is so late and sorry I havent been by your blog in a while am playing catch up today.)

      I think the lack of cross over is interesting but I think publishers are getting a little better at knowing bloggers, I am not saying our reading has nothing in common by the way, and so sending more specifics out. Though the amount of unsolicited copies is still bonkers.

      I might tuck into The Quarry next.

  6. I wondered if Ben Aaronovitch is any relation to journalist and broadcaster, David, so I looked him up and, sure enough, it turns out they are brothers. After all we are such a small nation: with a mere sixty odd million of us jostling for position we should not be surprised to see the same families popping up time and again. There’ll be brothers in the cabinet next … oh, that’s already happened!

    That wasn’t meant to sound bitter, by the way. Honest.

    • Apologies for this rather pointless and misguided comment. I later realised, to my horror, how it could me misinterpreted as a jibe at the expense of a particular group. I’m not sure how this happened. I’m normally incredibly careful with my comments. I’ll endeavour to do better next time, Simon, not least because I would not wish to abuse your hospitality as host.

      • I didnt read it as a jibe at all David, I thought it was quite funny. Maybe writing and politics just run in the family? Or some families? I mean you get sibling actors dont you etc.

  7. I am really curious about Your Presence is Requested… picked it up in a bookshop in the US and turned it over a while, staring at it, but I didn’t buy it for reasons that escape me now. I’m interested to see what you make of it.

  8. Envying you the Stella Gibbons and would recommend skipping everything else before you and getting right to Cold Comfort Farm first. One of my favorite books. My go-to comfort read when things go awry. Happy reading!

  9. I’ve not heard of many of these but I love the sound of The Forest of Hands and Teeth – will look forward to hearing what it’s all about!

  10. David

    Have you had chance to write a review of the Van Booy yet, Simon? I had never heard of it until you put it in your longlist prediction over on the Booker site, but I finished reading it last night and would love to read your thoughts on it. For me it has to be my read of the year so far – I just loved it.
    I don’t think Van Booy is yet the great author that I suspect he imagines himself to be but I reckon he could be one day. Some of the writing was a bit pretentious, especially in the early parts of the novel, and occasionally some of his sentences were so abstract as to be almost meaningless, even if they were beautiful. But, oh my, some of the writing was phenomenal – it has been a long while since I’ve read anything with so many lines that I’ve wanted to memorise, or with so many original ways of putting things (“Like a single drop, she hung upon the edge of sleep” – perfect!). And the story was just heartbreaking.
    Anyway, thank you so much for bringing it to my attention.

    • I havent yet, I am still mulling it over David and want the review to be just right. I havent reviewed Hollinghurst and a few other books for similar reasons, though maybe not such positive ones hahaha.

      There is some pretention in it, and I think I prefer some of the short stories he has written but I thought it would have been worthy of the Booker longlist, especially after having both read and dipped into a few of the others.

      • David

        I’m glad to hear that you rate his short stories. Beautiful Books is selling the two collections, signed, on their website – a tenner for the pair – so I snapped them up and am very much looking forward to reading them soon.

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