Hello there! If you’re coming here from Part One of the book haul, then welcome, because there are some serious delights and bookish anecdotes in this half.
I had to split it up, because over the weekend I gained a whole pile of new books. I only bought three of them, and the rest were gifts or borrowed. But I know you’re itching to find out what they were, so I’ll let you carry on now…
P.S. If you’re here thinking, ‘Part Two? Part two of what? Then fear not, because you can find Part One right here.
Into the Water, Paula Hawkins
Published May 2nd 2017 by Doubleday
Paperback, 356 pages
When The Girl on the Train came out, I got it in hardback and read it in a day. It was an addictive thriller, the kind that I need to read every so often, usually on a Sunday. Thriller are different kind of pleasure reading, but I am careful not to read too many. They’re best in small doses, and this looks set to be my next.
My mum buys The Sun newspaper, and Tesco were selling this book for £2 when bought with the paper, so she picked it up for me! I don’t know much about the plot, but it seems like it’s going to dark and complex. However, it’s not that high on my TBR pile, so I don’t know when I’ll actually get round to it…
Link to the book on Goodreads: Into the Water
Release, Patrick Ness
Published May 3rd 2018 by Walker Books (first published May 4th 2017)
Paperback, 288 pages
I’ve waited too long to read this. I wanted it when it first came out, but I’ve waited patiently for the paperback. On Sunday 20th May, I went into Nottingham with my wonderful bookish bestie, Kathy (finallyimkath) and we went to Waterstones together for the first time ever. I made a beeline for the YA level and picked this up straight away.
It’s inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, of which I’ve only read one (the Woolf). But these days I’ll read anything that Patrick Ness releases (see what I did there?) because he’s an amazing writer and I love his characters and his plots.
I don’t quite know what to expect, but I’m looking forward to finding out. This book is the next one I’ll begin reading after I finish Leah on the Offbeat.
Link to the book on Goodreads: Release
Issue 42, Spring
You will have read in Part One of this haul that I bought a back issue of Oh Comely magazine after finding it in Oxfam for 29p. Well, after reading part of the issue and LOVING it, I decided to find and buy the latest issue. First, I checked my local WHSMiths, because that’s where I tend to always see this mag, and never buy it. So once I went back specifically to buy this magazine…they didn’t have it. Not a single copy. I was disappointed, but once I got into Waterstones with Kathy, it was looking right at me.
I’ve already started reading it, and there’s so much I love about it. It has minimal style, and the editorial is about culture, women, personal stories, BOOKS, and other things that just make life seem that little bit brighter. It’s wonderful, and it feels like a friend.
Please please check it out, I promise it’ll be worth it. Find their website here: Oh Comely
Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris
Published 2001 by Little Brown and Company (first published May 2nd 2000)
I’ve seen this cover so many times. I’ve heard of David Sedaris for ages. But I’ve never picked up his books. I’ve flirted with this one before, but was reluctant because I didn’t know much about the author or his writing style. So he slipped through my fingers, until now.
In our many email exchanges, Kathy and I got onto the subject of diary writing and memoir. Whatever I expressed on the subject prompted Kathy to ask me if I’d ever read David Sedaris, and on finding I hadn’t, switched to capital letters, urging me that I HAD TO READ DAVID SEDARIS, RIGHT NOW.
I looked for his books in the library and in Oxfam, but couldn’t find a single one anywhere. Then, on Sunday, she gave me my birthday presents. Three books. One of them being this. I told her how I get ‘Jon Ronson vibes’ from him, and she said that if Jon Ronson wasn’t a journalist, and took life less seriously then that’s who David Sedaris is.
If that’s the case, I’ll love this book.
Link to the book on Goodreads: Me Talk Pretty One Day
The Lonely City, Olivia Laing
Published March 2nd 2017 by Canongate Books (first published March 1st 2016)
Paperback, 315 pages
Full title: The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone
The first time I properly remember becoming aware of this book and actively wondering about it wasn’t all that long ago. I had been with Kathy again, and we were talking about what we thought of the novel Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and naturally the subject of loneliness came up. It is then that Kathy started telling me about The Lonely City. And then, she bought it me for my birthday, which I am so thankful for.
It’s a non-fiction, memoir-ish book which explores loneliness through works of art. But Kathy assures me that the reader doesn’t need to be clued up about artists to be able to enjoy the book and the angle it takes.
It’s her passion about it, and her drive for me to definitely read it that makes me excited to read this book. And the fact that I’ve not really read a book dedicated to the subject of loneliness before, so I’m hoping it will be very insightful. I love the full title too, and the phrase ‘the art of being alone’, as that is something I’d very much like to explore further, as someone who often prefers to be alone.
Link to the book on Goodreads: The Lonely City
The Book of Disquiet, Fernando Pessoa
Published January 18th 2011 by Serpent’s Tail (first published 1982)
Paperback, 262 pages
I didn’t know I wanted or needed this book in my life until I read the mini volume of poetry released as part of the Penguin Modern series. I had never heard of Fernando Pessoa previous to this, but I took a chance on his poetry because I liked the title and the focus on the idea of alter-egos. You can read what I thought of that book here.
I quickly found out about his other works, and the one that stood out to me most was this one, and lo and behold, it made up the third of my bookish birthday gifts. It was the first one I saw when I unwrapped them, and I just had to take a moment of relief and happiness that I had been given such a beautiful edition.
Link to the book on Goodreads: The Book of Disquiet
This is Going to Hurt, Adam Kay
Published April 19th 2018 by Picador (first published September 7th 2017)
Full title: This is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor
This is a book that I keep hearing about from various people, and they all say its brilliant, incredible, and must be read. I didn’t intend to buy it, but it got mentioned again when I was walking round Waterstones with Kathy. She mentioned that it was ‘so real’, and another seed of curiosity about this book was planted.
It ended up being an impulse buy, in that the shop was shutting, I rushed to the tills and noticed a pile of them sat there, with the ‘Buy One Get One Half Price’ sticker on. My copy of Release also had one of these on it, so I grabbed one and got it.
I’ve never read a book delving into the lives of doctors, or the pressure and everyday stresses of hospital life. I think it will be an eye-opener if nothing else. I’m quite squeamish when it comes to watching TV shows about this, or even dramas like Holby City and Casualty. I can just about manage them. So I think this book will probably be my best chance of really getting into the subject and finding out what it’s really like. Although I can’t guarantee I won’t end up scared of hospitals.
Link to the book on Goodreads: This is Going to Hurt
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson
Published May 9th 2013 by Picador (first published April 17th 2012)
Paperback, 330 pages
Full title: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir
This part of the ‘book acquiring process’ happened when visiting Kathy’s house for the first time, and meeting that most important of companions: her bookshelf. This was like its own mini library, and of course it contained books that she’s been recommending to me for months now. I ended up borrowing a bunch of these from her, which makes up the next four entries in this haul.
Until this recommendation, I had no idea who Jenny Lawson is. This came about in a similar way to finding out that I might enjoy reading David Sedaris. I’m into memoirs, and I’m also into writing memoir-ish things, or personal diaries. From what I’ve read from the blurb and mini-reviews of this (and the next book in this list) Jenny Lawson’s books are very funny.
I love books that make me laugh, and although I don’t want to lump books together in boxes with each other, I’m going to say that for me, Jenny Lawson will be similar in style, comedy and sheer ‘no holds barred’ factor, to that of Bryony Gordon, author of Mad Girl.
Jenny Lawson might be more commonly known (for those of you clued-up on all the things happening in the blogosphere) as ‘The Bloggess‘. And apparently she’s running an online book club, with what sounds like a zany and hilarious first book for discussion.
Furiously Happy, Jenny Lawson
Published June 16th 2016 by Macmillan (first published September 22nd 2015)
Paperback, 329 pages
Full title: Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
This is the Jenny Lawson book I’m really looking forward to, and it’s where my previous comparison to Bryony Gordon came in, because this book focuses on Lawson’s ‘lifelong battle with mental illness’ specifically depression and anxiety. And the cover has already made me laugh.
It’s clear from just getting to look at two of her books in person, and peruse her blog a bit, that this woman has a seriously intense and hilarious personality, and I’m expecting to be crying with laughter reading this.
Link to the book on Goodreads: Furiously Happy
How to Build a Girl, Caitlin Moran
Published April 9th 2015 by Ebury Press (Fiction) (first published September 23rd 2014)
Paperback, 343 pages
Up until whenever I read this book, I’ve only ever been familiar with Caitlin Moran’s writing in her Times Magzine column. I used to read it on and off, but have fallen out of it in recent times. I often see her books when volunteering in Oxfam, and have been quietly curious about them for a while, but never bought one.
But now I’ve had the chance to borrow this one, which is probabaly the one I one I’ve been most drawn to, as it’s a work of fiction. I also love the title, but don’t really know what to expect from it. But one thing I feel sure of? It’ll be funny.
Link to the book Goodreads: How to Build a Girl
Scribbles in the Margins: 50 Eternal Delights of Books, Daniel Gray
Published May 18th 2017 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published 2017)
Hardback, 160 pages
This is one of those mini treats of a book about books. I haven’t read many like this, although they appeal to me quite a lot because…bookish. Just the title makes me want to get my head into a book and really read it. It’s evocative of all the times I sit reading a book with a pencil beside me for making notes or underlining quotes.
I’m feeling that this book would be a good ‘in-between reads’ kind of book. Or if you’re in a reading slump, read this and re-discover the joy of books.
Link to the book on Goodreads: Scribbles in the Margins
Issue 15: Yak/Tibet (Feb – Apr 2018)
Aaaaand the beautiful Womankind makes another appearance, in pretty much exactly the same way (but in reverse) that Oh Comely features in this haul. I found this issue in the Politics section of Oxfam, for the very attractive price of 49p. It turns out that because I couldn’t find this issue easily in Beeston (and I couldn’t get to town) I missed out on buying it. But someone has donated it, and I’ve managed to get it!
This issue focuses on Tibet, a place I really want to know more about. What I love about this magazine is that I get to explore myself and the world at the same time, and for someone who is not very well-travelled, this is invaluable to me at this stage in my life. I’ve no doubt that this will be yet another gem of an issue leading to plenty of insights and personal truths.
Check out their website to get a flavour for their style (you won’t regret it): Womankind
The Private Life of the Diary, Sally Bayley
Published July 1st 2016 by Random House UK (first published February 18th 2016)
Hardcover, 256 pages
Full title: The Private Life of the Diary: From Pepys to Tweets: A History of the Diary as an Art Form
Earlier this year I became inspired by my own relationship with diaries. I’ve kept one since 2007, with a brief period away from it. It started as a summer holiday project and as a way to prove to myself that I could start something and stick with it. It became my ‘thing’. I was the one who kept the diary, and I used to introduce myself through how many volumes I’d filled, thinking of this as my greatest achievement. When I didn’t know what kind of person I was, or needed something to re-connect to myself through, the diary was the key. The diary was the constant.
I wanted to start writing about diary writing. I wanted to look into its past, and it’s place in the present. But then I found this book in Oxfam, priced at £4.99. Because I’m tight, I didn’t buy it. Then I found it in my local library and borrowed it immediately. It’s still in Oxfam, now reduced to £1.99, but I’ll read this copy from the library.
If you’re fascinated by diaries and personal writing forms (blogging, tweeting, journaling) then pick up this book. I also want to mention that it was originally published through Unbound, which is a platform allowing books to be funded by readers, or a ‘crowdfunding publisher’. Authors share their ideas, readers donate to a book they would like to help publish. If this sounds like something you could be part of, check out their website: Unbound
THAT’S IT. We made it. At the time of writing, it’s Monday 29 May and providing I don’t buy any more books between now and Thursday, this post is done. I do not expect to achieve this level of book-haulery every month, but I think we can all agree it is 100% acceptable during my birthday month.
Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of the books featured in this post. What did you think? Or are there any here that you really want to read too?
Roll on June.