Sunday Steals

28Sep09

I haven’t gone on a good ol’ book-hunt in a long long time. I’ve always been doing something or t’other over the weekends, so, when I woke up this Sunday realising I was absolutely free, with no commitments whatsoever, I headed to Leicester Square, where there are a bunch of second hand bookshops, and more oft’ than not, I’ve stumbled on some amazing finds. Yesterday was no exception.

  1. Margaret Atwood – Oryx And Crake : I absolutely loved The Handmaid’s Tale, and was quite eager to read Atwood’s new book, The Year Of The Flood. However, it’s supposed to be the second book in a trilogy, where Oryx And Crake is the first, so… this was a must-buy!
  2. Virginia Woolf – Mrs. Dalloway : I haven’t read a single book by Virginia Woolf yet, and I intend to change that. I’ve always been slightly intimidated by her, so, I thought I should pick up a book, and dive in straight away.
  3. Angela Carter – The Passion Of New Eve : Yeah, I just can’t get enough of Angela Carter. I have no idea how this book is going to be, but, I figured it had to be done!
  4. Peter Carey – My Life As A Fake : It’s about a poet in the World War II era in Australia. Need I say more?
  5. Molly Keane – Full House : Sometimes I feel like I’m the only person in the blog-o-sphere who doesn’t have one of those green VMCs. Plus, this one looked really interesting, and it was a total impulse buy. It doesn’t seem to be very popular, but, I am actually looking forward to reading it.
  6. Neil Gaiman – Coraline : I didn’t end up seeing the movie, and the book’s always been so tempting. I always found an excuse to put it back on the shelf though, but, I think the time is right. Also, I haven’t read a single Gaiman. Must change that.

My favourite part of this excursion was the below though, just outside a secondhand bookshop:

I can’t think of a more inviting sign to a bookshop than this… and it’s one of my all-time favourite quotes.

Have you read any of the above? Are there any on your TBR?

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28 Responses to “Sunday Steals”

  1. I have a copy of Oryx and Crake, but haven’t read it. I always have mixed feelings about Margaret Atwood and can never decide if I actually like her books…

    • I’ve only read Handmaid’s Tale so far, so…. I was horrified by that, and literally shuddered to imagine that as reality.

      Thanks for the first comment on my blog – hope it’s the first of many =)

      • I’m warning you now, Bodily Harm is as atrociously bad as Handmaid’s Tale is excellent. Decent enough storyline, but the writing… well, it’s one of Atwood’s earliest novels. I slugged my way through.

      • Thanks – makes the note to self.

        Life’s too short to slug through books…

  2. I love days like that when you wake up and can do whatever you like. Sadly they seem few and far between for me, but I do occasionally find myself with a spare hour for bookshopping. I have The passion of new Eve on my TBR…

    • Tell me about it – this one came after eons! If for nothing else, the lie-in feels so rewarding.

      I get time for “book shopping”, but little time for “second hand book scouring and browsing”, if you know what I mean. Am looking forward to reading what you think about The Passion Of New Eve. Hopefully, I’ll get down to it soon as well.

  3. Congratulations on your finds! I have never been to the book shops in Leicester Square – I may have to pop into them one day!

    • Should do – Bookends is like a proper bookstore. None of the books even look second hand, whereas the others have smell of old books and paper, which is also fantastic. Should check it out next time you’re in the area – it’s bang opposite the massive Foyles.

  4. Oh, I’m so jealous! I’m banned from second hand book shops until the TBR recedes a little. I have to resist tempation from a distance of at least several miles…

    I have Oryx and Crake on the shelf, and I also haven’t read any Virginia Woolfe. For the same reason as you. I look forward to your review: if you enjoy it I might feel braver! I saw Coraline at the cinema and I do want to read it. The film was fantastic.

    I have an Amazon voucher burning a hole in my pocket, since August! I just can’t decide, but Angela Carter is way up there at the top of the list. (Your influence!)

    • The number of books I have on my TBR at home is about 15, which I think is pretty respectable (obviously excluding this purchase). However, it’s important to be able to choose your book depending on your mood….

      Ahh! Get the Angela Carter – it’s worth it… honest! (Or, find some of her books in a second hand bookstore, and while you’re there, who knows what else you might pick up?)

      I’m a terrible influence :)

  5. Nice finds. Like Sarah, I’m banning myself from taking in anymore books at the moment.

    I’ll probably get to Oryx and Crake at some point, which has been recommended. Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own was okay as far as assigned reading goes, but I don’t remember much else. Maybe one of these days I’ll pick up another of her books. I liked the movie Coraline enough to see it a second time in theatres, which considering I usually only go to the cinema a few times a year says a lot. The book’s in the queue. There’s an interview with Gaiman about Coraline and fairy tales I transcribed because I thought it worth saving. I really recommend American Gods, especially if you like mythology and folklore. I’ve also heard that Good Omens which is co-written with Terry Pratchett is really good and humorous.

    Green VMC?

    • Can I be a bad influence to you, too? :)

      I really wanted to see Coraline in the theatre, but it just passed me by, while I was busy doing other stuff – that seems to be life, though. After reading your comment, I *really* want to see it. Might have to get it on DVD.

      I have a copy of Fragile Things (not mine) lying around. Wondering if I should give that a go? It didn’t look too enticing… Good Omens is there on my TBR.

      Green Virago Modern Classics. Verity’s actually got a blog devoted to VMC reading, and I’ve been very intrigued by the green covers. They’re meant to have been published over 25 years ago or something.

      • There are some mixed reviews out there (as always), but I’d say try at least a few, especially this one: “Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire”. I read that in another anthology and thought it great and naturally Gaiman.

        Thanks for the clarification. And now you know you’re not the only one who doesn’t have one of the VMCs.

      • Haha, thanks for the solidarity vote :o)

        That’s an interesting title. Oh well, maybe I’ll just have to read it, and make up my own mind. Thanks for the pointer, and I’ll keep my eye out for the Forbidden Brides Of The Faceless Slaves In The Secret House Of The Night Of Dread Desire – boy, that name makes my conversation about uranium elephants sound tame.

  6. I loved Mrs Dalloway and Coraline. Hope you enjoy your new books.

  7. This is such a great group of books! Love, love Mrs Dalloway & Angela Carter (though I’ve only ever read her ‘fairytales’ so not sure what her other fiction is like) and I’ve heard a lot of good things about Oryx&Crake. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on all of these :)

    • I haven’t read her fairy tales, but I have read a book of short stories (Fireworks) which I didn’t think the world of, and The Magic Toyshop (which is my favourite book of the year, so far). I am quite looking forward to reading another novel by her now.

      I have my fingers crossed on Oryx and Crake, for I’ve seen mixed reviews, and I’m glad to hear you loved the Woolf, for it’s one of the books I’m slightly intimidated by.

  8. 19 Jacqui

    What a fabulous way to spend Sunday. I have just reread The Handmaids Tale after quite a lot of years and it was as good – if not better- than the first time. A very clever thought provoking book. I also love Mrs Dalloway (and Virginia Woolf)although it is not the easiest of reads (well not for me anyway). I’ve not come across the others (although have Angela Carters – The Magic Toyshop -on my tbr list quite near the top, so look forward to your reviews

    • Yeah, I loved my Sunday. Oh, for more of them…

      I just read The Handmaid’s Tale this year, but I do wonder if it’s one of those books that one appreciates more on a re-read. Hmm… I might just have to give it a go to find out :)

      Gosh, all the encouraging comments about Mrs. Dalloway is great. Now, I am really looking forward to reading it. As for The Magic Toyshop -do read it. I’d love to know what you think of it. Really would.

  9. The Passion of New Eve is like nothing you will ever have read before. It’s amazing and headache inducing and fantastical and feminist and just … wow. Again, not my favourite ;).

    Yay for your first green VMC!

    I love Mrs Dalloway but I didn’t the first time I read it. I would recommend reading Michael Cunningham’s The Hours around the same time or at least watching the film.

    I love the stretch of secondhand (and remainder) shops on Charing Cross Road.

  10. @Claire : Thanks for the link. I’m not in any hurry for this, as I do have another Carter in the wings. Once I finish that, I’ll probably order Bloody Chamber/see if I find it somewhere/something. I do like this cover a little more than the plainer one, but… I really like the ones done by Roxanna Bikadoriff.

  11. You’ll love Oryx and Crake. I think it’s almost as good as The Handmaid’s Tale. I didn’t realize that The Year of the Flood was was part of a trilogy (or Oryx and Crake for that matter!!).

    • I think the books can read independently on their own, but, if it’s part of a trilogy, might as well read the books in order, right?

      Oh, almost as good as The Handmaid’s Tale. You’re raising my expectations tenfold. :)

  12. Oscar Wilde can say nothing wrong! Great loot – I’ve been wanting to read Atwood’s Year of the Flood too but it’s too expensive for me to buy so I’ll have to wait to borrow it. Oryx and Crake is still sitting somewhere in my TBR so there’s time to read. Yay for Angela Carter! And I have the same copy of the Peter Carey (still sitting in the TBR – getting embarrassing!). And I think Mrs. Dalloway is the more accessible of Virginia Woolf’s books.

    • I agree with that! I looove Oscar Wilde.

      Oooh, get down to the Peter Carey soon – then we can exchange notes :)

      I think that’s one of the reasons I got Mrs. Dalloway. Just a little dip, and then I can figure out if I’ll sink or swim.


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