Books That I’ve Bought of Late; The American Edition

I haven’t really mentioned my trip to America. I am currently working out how to do it in a way that won’t feel like one of those stomach dropping moments when you visit someone and they say ‘oh, let’s look at the pictures of my holiday’ and then go on to show you about a thousand pictures of which only about ten or twenty interest you in anyway. I will keep thinking. In the meantime before Other People’s Bookshelves returns next weekend (if you want to take part in a future one I would love you to) I thought I would share with you the books that I bought whilst I was away…

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The first book I bought on my trip was, some might say fatefully with my love of her, Daphne Du Maurier’s The Winding Stair. When Thomas and I went to the rather amazing and never ending second hand bookstore Capitol Hill Books in Washington, which I will have to post about, I could have bought lots and lots of books. The sensible boring part of my brain though was thinking of luggage allowance and so I snatched up just this. It is a nonfiction historical biography of Francis Bacon. I love the Tudor period and had seen this with its British title Golden Lads here in the UK ages ago for a small fortune. $4 was simply too much of a bargain.

Next up is the last book that I actually bought, but to put this at the bottom of the pile would have set off my OCD as it is so slim it would look odd – sorry too much ramble. Anyway, I was in the airport and still had about $40 that I knew would be turned into tuppence if I exchanged it burning in my pocket. So instead of buying The Beard another NYC police t-shirt or hoodie (don’t tell him) I decided to treat myself to Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage by Murakami who I am a big fan of and thought having the American version would be extra special and so snapped it up.

Many of you may be surprised that I have never read Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, which is actually the world’s bestselling mystery ever. Well I haven’t. E Lockhart had been singing its praises at Booktopia so it was fresh in my mind. Fate then intervened as I got caught in a torrential downpour in NYC so took refuge in Barnes and Noble and this was on one of the tables I perused and was just $10 (I of course forgot about the tax) and seemed like a good purchase in return for using the shop for thirty minutes while the rain passed.

Some of you may have heard on The Readers that I struggled with bookshops in Washington initially. Everyone said I would love Politics and Prose, and I probably would have if it hadn’t been for the fact a member of staff who had been hacking up phlegmy coughs as we perused was then incredibly rude to a customer on the phone and so I decided it wasn’t for me. However that all changed when Thomas took me to Books for America before his Spanish class where I found some gems which lead me to leaving The Goldfinch in Thomas’ spare room.

Life After Life by Jill McCorkle is a book I heard about on some US blogs and possibly Books on the Nightstand around the time that Life After Life by Kate Atkinson came out. It sounded right up my street as it is set in an old people’s homes and as I mentioned in my review of The Long Road I have a thing about old people’s homes as a setting, not as some strange fetish just to clarify again. It was also mentioned soooo fondly at Booktopia I had been hunting it in bookshops and not found it, then Thomas came up with it for just $4 and for a charity, oh hello!

I then also saw two of Truman Capote’s books that I don’t own and couldn’t leave without at such a bargain price as I love his writing so much. Music for Chameleons is a collection of some of his reportage and gossipy tales. Discussions smoking with his cleaner and trading sexual gossip with Marilyn Monroe were mentioned on the back. Sold. I also got A Christmas Memory as I love reading Christmas based tales at Christmas and this is three in one which I can sneakily hideaway with when the family get too much (we are at my mother’s this year, so probably on day two) if they do. Coughs.

The final four books came from the most infamous bookstore in NYC, The Strand, which I visited on my penultimate day and so felt I could go crazy in. Initially I thought I might go crazy at how big it was, then I couldn’t find any fiction books apart from the tables at the front… then I actually found the map and all became clearer. Well after I had decoded the symbols they use to illustrate different sections. If you ever go to NYC you have to go to The Strand, its endless and books are slightly discounted in the main fiction and downstairs there is a secret section where some hardbacks are half price, legendary.

I came away with two paperbacks that I had been mulling over since I saw them, but refused to buy them because of Mardy Mark, in Politics and Prose. Wilton Barnhardt’s Lookaway, Lookaway sounds so up my street. Jerene Jarvis Johnston is in the high society of her town, yet of course she has many a secret and a really dysfunctional family, but how long can she keep them under cover. Genius, very me. Oh and it was set in North Carolina where I started my trip, so I knew I would be able to conjure it when I was reading. Amy Grace Loyd’s The Affairs of Others caught my eye because of the cover, which helpfully you can’t see, then as soon as I read the blurb and saw it was a tale of a woman who has been widowed and so becomes a landlady soon welcoming unwelcome guests (that makes sense right?) into her life and her building, I knew I had to get it at some point. Lovely stuff.

On The Books is a graphic novel by Greg Farrell and comes with the subtitle, a graphic tale of working woes at NYC’s Strand Bookstore. I spotted it when I got hopelessly lost (I think they do this on purpose for this very reason) on the first floor and it seemed the perfect souvenir booky book to remind me of NYC. Oh and it was signed.

Hardback’s are quite pricey in the US, especially when you take into account tax which I constantly forgot about. The one that I had seen and most fancied getting was Your Face in Mine by Jess Row as it sounded unlike anything I have read before. One afternoon after moving back home Kelly Thorndike is called to by someone he has never seen before and has no recollection of. The man identifies himself as Martin, one of his oldest friends, only Martin was white and Jewish then and now he is very much an African American man. Why would he change his colour and what is his plan behind it all? Martin is about to be coerced into finding out and even helping Martin with his plan… Doesn’t that sound brilliant? It was amazingly in the half price hardback section and was the last copy. It had to leave with me.

So that was my holiday loot. I think I did quite well don’t you? I wasn’t excessive but definitely came back with some great finds. I am particularly excited by Life After Life, On The Books, The Affairs of Others, Your Face in Mine and Lookaway, Lookaway as they aren’t published in the UK (yet) which makes them seem all the more special and undiscovered, though I am sure some of you over the pond will have read one or two of them. I would love to know if you have, well, I would love to know if any of you have read any of them or about any books you have bought abroad. Oh and I was also a book enabler whilst in DC with Thomas as you can see here, ha!

I won’t be sharing any posts on books I have been sent anymore after my recent decision to change my blogging style and review policy. I will still be getting them and sharing them on Twitter and Instagram though so add SavidgeReads on both of those if you fancy a nosey at the occasional bookish post parcels. I will be posting intermittent Books That I’ve Bought posts though.

39 Comments

Filed under Book Thoughts, Books That I've Bought of Late, Random House Publishing

39 responses to “Books That I’ve Bought of Late; The American Edition

  1. Rhonda

    Great book trip.i always panic when I walk into Strand I literally talk to myself not outloud lol! deep breath start with one section.once I manage to sort of relax the book chase is on.so glad you enjoyed it,

  2. Kateg

    Love almost all your choices! I feel guilt-ridden yet again that as a life-long New Yorker, I have never set foot in The Strand. I think I am similar to Gav, not always a fan of books strangers have used……Anyway, I met Jill McCorkle at a previous Booktopia and enjoyed noth her and Life After Life. I am less of a fan of old folks, but the nursing home angle grabbed me instantly. And Then There Were None is a wonderful Agatha and I think you’ll enjoy it. As for the others, Truman Capote was a genius and I forget that he has written other than In Cold Blood, so I must put him on the TBR. I am glad you had a good time here in the US and I was sorry I was not in Asheville to meet you.

    • They aren’t all second hand. That’s the thing. You ought to head there and brave it.

      Glad Life After Life is getting another amount of praise. I love old people, soooooo many stories. Very excited about Agatha. Am having a thriller phase.

  3. E Lockhart sold me on the Agatha Christie, too. I’ve not read even one of her books before. I’m not sure how that happened. Then again, if I love it, there’s a lot of good reading ahead for me.

  4. kaggsysbookishramblings

    Nice books! And you were right to be put off by the Phlegmy Rudeness – that has no place in a bookstore. Hope you enjoy the Agatha – I haven’t read that one in ages!

  5. rivercityreading

    Oh, I’m SO glad you picked up Lookaway, Lookaway. It was one of my favorite books last year. I think it was a little overlooked, but it’s just hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time. I think your trip will definitely help you visualize some of the characters – they’re fabulous.

  6. I just read the new Murakami book and loved it. Now that I’ve read it I will be able to read your review.😉

    I’m in the minority of book lovers who don’t really like The Strand in NYC. Too big. I find it’s got lots of books, most of which don’t really interest me. And, I like smaller stores in general. If you go to NYC again, I recommend Three Lives and Housing Works. Three Lives for a wonderful selection of new books and Housing Works for a wonderful selection of second hand books.

    And, I would love to see a few pictures, maybe ten or twelve, of your trip.

    • I haven’t reviewed Murakami yet. I’ve not even started it hahaha.

      I went to the Housing Works, I just didn’t find anything I couldn’t have found in the UK which apart from the Murakami was my rule.

  7. And Then There Were None is simply marvellous. Do read it soon, sir!

  8. Very jealous of the Murakami, but mostly because I’m too cheap to buy them when they first come out. I’ll get it eventually🙂

  9. And Then There Were None is good – very clever, especially in play format! Got one of those cracking twists! Hope you enjoy!

  10. Rob

    We HAVE to keep buying books, especially from independent bookstores. I just received Sacred Country by Rose Tremain from a used bookstore in Greenfield Massachusetts. I also have the “Wallis Simpson” short stories coming from another used bookstore (can’t remember exactly where it is). NO Amazon books crossing THIS threshold!!!!

    • Good for you Rob. I am also completely anti Amazon here. I like my books from a shop and that is it. Hope youve enjoyed the Tremains so far! I am really looking forward to the next two!

  11. I’m also reading Capote’s Music for chameleons. My boyfriend gave it to me a week ago, or so. Did you enjoy the book? What’s your opinion about it?🙂

    • Hi Laura. I’ve not read them all yet lol. Just bought them. Once I have I may very well review them on here.

      Ps what a lovely boyfriend you have getting authors like this in your hands.

  12. David

    I’m almost tempted to order that Jess Row book just for the gorgeous spine design (I have a thing for book spines). I’ve toyed with getting his story collection “The Train to Lo Wu” several times over the last couple of years, so I’ll be very interested to see what you make of the new book.
    Also, whilst I’m being nerdish about books, aren’t American (and Canadian) hardbacks gorgeous objects? Deckle-edged pages, proper stitched bindings, they always feel so substantial compared to a lot of British books (I should qualify that by saying British books LATELY – I just bought a few Bloomsburys from the early 90s when they still had the ribbon markers and was reminded what lovely chunky things they used to be), which is why I always try and get hold of the US editions of American books.
    And I’m very jealous of all your travelling – I never seem to go anywhere!

  13. He is lovely, indeed🙂 I’m starting it today. I’m excited. Have a beautiful day

  14. **sigh** oh yes. Book porn. I read Music for Chameleons just a couple of months ago and was just blown away by it (as I never fail to be with Capote) so am confident you’ll adore it. I’m never overly bothered by short story/article collections but you can’t go wrong with this.

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