Saturday, October 25, 2008

Recently Acquired Books

Today I picked up:

Kyril Bonfiglioli: The Mortdecai Trilogy
John Brunner: The Sheep Look Up
Raymond Chandler: The Lady in the Lake and Other Novels

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

TT: Favourite Bookstores

(From 12 August 2008): What's your favourite bookstore? Is it an online store or a bricks-and-mortar store? How often do you go book shopping? Is your favourite bookstore (or bookstores) listed as a favourite in LT? Do you attend events at local bookstores? Do you use LT to find events?
I must admit that I'm fan of big bookchains. In Australia, they're represented by Dymocks, Angus & Robertson and Borders. All 3 have huge stores in Sydney which I frequently visit during my morning tea and lunch breaks (although A&R is currently shut due to the redevelopment of Pitt St mall).

Borders is probably my main haunt, largely due to the fact that they cunningly send me vouchers every week for a certain % off books and most weeks I can't resist heading in to pick up a bargain. Both Borders and Dymocks have a pretty good selection of books.

I've also recently discovered Kinokuniya - they have a great range of books and are very good value, plus their website can tell you if they have the book you're searching for currently in stock AND it will provide you with an exact map of where the book is located in the store. Very cool! And it works: I tested it when I went to buy A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller Jr.

There are quite a few secondhand bookshops that I love too. Too many to list here, but I've found a lot of great stuff when browsing through those shops.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

BTT: Gold Medal Reading

(From 14 August 2008): Do you or have you ever read books about the Olympics? About sports in general? Fictional ones? Or non-fiction? Or both? And, Second: Do you consider yourself a sports fan?
I have a book about cricket (the greatest sport ever) that was written by a guy at my work. I didn't know who he was at the time - I received the book through a mutual friend - but I've now moved into his department and see him daily. I haven't actually read it yet, but I'll get to it one day...And I have another book about cricket called No-Balls and Googlies by Geoff Tibballs. It's a terrific little read full of interesting facts about the history of the game. I read it in a day or two while watching the cricket on TV. Pure bliss!

As for sport in general, I don't watch a huge amount. I see a little bit here and there, but if it's not cricket, I'm generally not interested (I'm especially not interested in soccer!) As far as cricket goes, I've been known to take multiple days off work in order to sit home and watch it. In fact, the next lot of holidays I have coming up (3 whole days) were chosen specifically because there's a test match on that I want to watch.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov

Rating: 9/10

Published: 1957
Number of pages: 160

Started: 8 August 2008
Finished: 14 August 2008

Summary (taken from blurb):
Timofey Pnin, a St Petersburg bourgeois until the age of twenty, has had to struggle most of his life - with foreign languages he can never get the better of, with foreign transport he always misses or arrives several hours too early for, and with foreign people whom he invariably misunderstoods, and who usually misunderstand him. But his principal protagonist is modern, gadget-ridden America, and the love-hate relationship between Pnin and his adopted country is the main theme of this very funny book.

Pnin is the second work of Nabokov's I've read, after Lolita. I find that Nabokov is not an easy author to read; despite the short nature of Pnin, it took me a week to get through it. Nabokov needs to be read slowly in order to appreciate the true brilliance of his writing.

Timofey Pnin is a wonderful character; one of the best I've read in literature. As a Russian professor living in America and bumbling his way from one situation to the next, it's hard to know whether to pity him or think he's a fool. Either way, you can't help but love him in all his quirkiness and foibles. Sheer brilliance!

Thank You, Jeeves by PG Wodehouse

Rating: 9/10

Published: 1934
Number of pages: 275

Started: 31 July 2008
Finished: 8 July 2008

Summary (taken from blurb):

Thank You, Jeeves is the first novel to feature the incomparable valet Jeeves and hist hapless charge Bertie Wooster - and you've hardly started to turn the pages when Jeeves resigns over Bertie's dedicated but somewhat untuneful playing of the banjo. In high dudgeon, Bertie disappears to the country as a guests of his chum Chuffy - only to find his peace shattered by the arrival of his ex-fiancee Pauline Stoker, her formidable father and the eminent loony doctor Sir Roderick Glossop. When Chuffy falls in love with Pauline and Bertie seems to be caught in flagrante, a situation boils up which only Jeeves (whether employed or not) can simmer down...

Ah, the joy of discovering a new author! Wodehouse's brand of humour is right up my alley and I thoroughly enjoyed my first taste of Jeeves and Wooster. Since finishing this book a few months ago, I've gone and bought a couple of dozen other works of Wodehouse. If that doesn't tell you how much I enjoyed this book, nothing will! A light, entertaining read and highly recommended.

Charlotte's Web by EB White

Rating: 8/10

Published: 1952, 1946, 1970
Number of pages: 530

Started: 19 July 2008
Finished: 1 August 2008

Summary (taken from blurb):

Charlotte's Web
This is the story of a girl called Fern who loves a little pig called Wilbur. And of how Wilbur's dear friend Charlotte A Cavatica, a beautiful grey spider, saves Wilbur from the usual fate of nice fat pigs, by a wonderfully clever plan (which no one else could possibly have thought of).

Stuart Little
Stuart Little is a fascinating character. A debonair, intelligent mouse, game for every kind of adventure, and always managing to overcome any difficulties.

The Trumpet of the Swan
Louis is a trumpeter swan without a voice, a swan of great character not at all deterred by his handicap. With the help of his friend Sam beaver, Louis learns to read and write, but his main problem is still how to woo the elegant Serena. And so Louis learns to play the trumpet.

I loved Charlotte's Web when I was young and was looking forward to revisiting it as an adult. The story has lost none of its charm and wonder for me and Charlotte and Wilbur's friendship is beautiful to behold.

Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan were equally charming stories. Highly recommended.

Recently Acquired Books

Picked up the first three Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer for a song today.

Artemis Fowl
Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident
Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code

I already have the second one, but it's a used copy and I never liked the cover much...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Recently Acquired Books

Found a couple of good secondhand bookshops today!

Clive Barker: The Thief of Always
Lois Lowry: The Giver
John Updike: Rabbit, Run
Dorothy Wall: Blinky Bill

I haven't updated my 'books bought' for a while, so here's the rest of what I've been buying, all for the month of September I'm afraid (and already posted in the other thread):

Arthur C Clarke: Childhood's End
Jack Kerouac: On the Road: The Original Scroll
Walter Miller Jr: A Canticle for Leibowitz
Vladimir Nabokov: The Real Life of Sebastian Knight

And from a bookfest:

Douglas Adams : Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
Virginia Andrews: Flowers in the Attic
Isaac Asimov: Foundation's Edge
Isaac Asimov: Prelude to Foundation
Isaac Asimov: Rest of the Robots, The
Isaac Asimov: Second Foundation
Isaac Asimov: Stars Like Dust, The
Isaac Asimov: Foundation
Isaac Asimov: Foundation and Empire
Clive Barker: Everville
Clive Barker: Galilee
Ray Bradbury: Day it Rained Forever, The
Ray Bradbury: From the Dust Returned
Ray Bradbury: Machineries of Joy
Ray Bradbury: Silver Locusts, The
John Brunner: Squares of the City, The
Frances Hodgson Burnett: Little Lord Fauntleroy
Orson Scott Card: Ender's Shadow
Geoffrey Chaucer: Canterbury Tales
Agatha Christie: Taken at the Flood
Arthur C Clarke: Cradle
Iris Rainer Dart: Beaches 2: I'll Be There
Philip K Dick: I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon
Philip K Dick: Divine Invasion, The
Philip K Dick: Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, The
Philip K Dick: Transmigration of Timothy Archer, The
George Eliot: Mill on the Floss, The
Michael Ende: Neverending Story, The
William Gibson: Neuromancer
Ursula Le Guin: Dispossessed, The
Thomas Hardy: Jude the Obscure
Dashiell Hammett: Thin Man, The
Harry Harrison: Deathworld 1
Harry Harrison: Deathworld 2
Harry Harrison: Deathworld 3
Harry Harrison: Stainless Steel Rat, The
Stanislaw Lem: Hospital of the Transfiguration
Stanislaw Lem: Memoirs of a Space Traveler
Stanislaw Lem: More Tales of Pirx the Pilot
Stanislaw Lem: Solaris
CS Lewis: Dark Tower, The
CS Lewis: Perelandra
CS Lewis: That Hideous Strength
Norman Lindsay: Magic Pudding, The
Michelle Margorian: Goodnight Mr Tom
John Marsden: Great Gatenby, The
China Mieville: Scar, The
Philip Pullman: Northern Lights
Olaf Stapledon: Last and First Men
Sue Townsend: Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years
Edgar Wallace: Door with Seven Locks, The
John Wyndham: Seeds of Time, The