Last week was all about catching up with friends who I had not seen in a while; having a natter and a laugh. It was lovely. Like me, these friends enjoy a stroll up the hill to Waterstones (one friend is a fellow, far more consistent, book blogger over at DoodleMole Reader, I highly recommend you go and check out the reviews she writes) and who am I to so no to book browsing – okay okay, buying!
I always enjoy reading and watching book hauls and, as I have acquired quite a stack and a really aesthetically pleasing one at that, I thought I’d give it a try and share with you the outcome of the two trips to Waterstones.
The French Revolution: A very short introduction.
By: William Doyle
Synopsis: Beginning with a discussion of familiar images of the French Revolution, garnered from Dickens, Baroness Orczy, and Tolstoy, as well as the legends of let them eat cake, and tricolours, Doyle leads the reader to the realization that we are still living with developments and consequences of the French Revolution such as decimalization, and the whole ideology of human rights. Continuing with a brief survey of the old regime and how it collapsed, Doyle continues to elucidate how the revolution happened: why did the revolutionaries quarrel with the king, the church and the rest of Europe, why this produced Terror, and finally how it accomplished rule by a general. The revolution destroyed the age-old cultural, institutional and social structures in France and beyond. This book looks at how the ancient regime became ancient as well as examining cases in which achievement failed to match ambition. Doyle explores the legacy of the revolution in the form of rationality in public affairs and responsible government and finishes his examination of the revolution with a discussion as to why it has been so controversial.
This is my first venture into the ‘very short introduction series.’ Ever since I read ‘Revolution’ by Jennifer Donnely, and then more recently ‘Les Miserables’ by Victor Hugo, I have had a tentative interest in the revolution; I also love that it pops up throughout my degree. The revolution has had such an incredible impact on societies and ways of living today, and so it seemed a good idea to try and expand my factual knowledge of this time. This tiny, easy to read, engrossing book felt like the perfect place to start.
The gap of time (Hogarth Shakespeare series)
By: Jeanette Winterson
Synopsis: A baby girl is abandoned, banished from London to the storm-ravaged American city of New Bohemia. Her father has been driven mad by jealousy, her mother to exile by grief.
Seventeen years later, Perdita doesn’t know a lot about who she is or where she’s come from – but she’s about to find out. Jeanette Winterson’s cover version of The Winter’s Tale vibrates with echoes of Shakespeare’s original and tells a story of hearts broken and hearts healed, a story of revenge and forgiveness, a story that shows that whatever is lost shall be found.
‘A gap of time’ will be my third Winterson novel and my second pick from the Hogarth Shakespeare series. I have never been a great fan of Shakespeare. Forced to study Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest and Macbeth at school the basic outline of the stories are the best I can do. It is unlikely that I will ever pick up another Shakespeare play as I find reading them incredibly challenging and just a little dull (possibly because of the format and my struggle with it). However, it cannot be denied that Shakespeare and his works are of huge literary importance and therefore I’d like to be at least able to identify some more of his works. Step in the Hogarth series, modern retellings of the plays? – Perfect!
The yellow wallpaper (and selected writings)
By: Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Synopsis: Based on the author’s own experiences, ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ is the chilling tale of a woman driven to the brink of insanity by the ‘rest cure’ prescribed after the birth of her child. Isolated in a crumbling colonial mansion, in a room with bars on the windows, the tortuous pattern of the yellow wallpaper winds its way into the recesses of her mind. Charlotte Perkins Gilman was America’s leading feminist intellectual of the early twentieth century. In addition to her masterpiece ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, this new edition includes a selection of her best short fiction and extracts from her autobiography.
I hadn’t even heard of ‘The yellow wallpaper’ before last Monday and if it hadn’t been for my fabulous friend I probably still wouldn’t know about it. Knowing that I enjoy books about mental health and the human condition, and knowing that she enjoyed it, it was handed to me with a ‘have you read this?!’ I read the blurb, and now it is sat upon my TBR. I am very excited to pick this one up!
The readers of the broken wheel recommend
By: Katarina Bivald
Synopsis: Sara has never left Sweden, but at the age of 28 she decides it’s time. She cashes in her savings, packs a suitcase full of books and sets off for Broken Wheel, Iowa, a town where she knows nobody.
Sara quickly realises that Broke Wheel is in desperate need of some adventure, a dose of self-help and perhaps a little romance, too. In short, this is a town in need of a bookshop.
With a little help from the locals, Sara sets up Broken Wheel’s first bookstore. The shop might be a little quirky but then again, so is Sara. And as Broken Wheel’s story begins to take shape, there are some surprises in store for Sara too…
Usually, when I know I will be visiting a bookstore, I do a little bit of research before I go: a quick peruse of Goodreads and a glance at my wishlist. I find it helps me to focus and work my way systematically around the store rather than flying from one shelf to another frantically trying to find my next favourite book. On both of these occasions, I failed to do that and unbridled, unfocused enthusiasm and excitement ensued – it was fun. This book was lying on a centre table, calm, bright and pretty when I careered past and, glimpsing the gorgeous cover – who doesn’t like a book with a book on the cover? – I stopped. This book sounds incredible. Light enough to be a bedtime read but still engrossing and thought-provoking and it’s about people finding books and books helping people. Yes, please.
The Festival of insignificance
By: Milan Kundera
This is a book without a blurb or synopsis on its back cover. Yes, I could look it up, but the reason I want to read this book is that I know nothing about it. The cover is blue and yellow with a Picasso-esque drawing of a person on the front. It’s 115 pages long and published by Faber and Faber; its title is ‘The Festival of insignificance’ and it has received high praise from The Guardian, The New York Times and The times. That’s all I know and all I want to know.
Summer days and summer nights
By: Stephanie Perkins (editor)
Synopsis: A beautiful collection of twelve gorgeously romantic short stories, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. Collected together by Stephanie Perkins this wonderful collection of summer romances will delight all fans of YA. Summer Days and Summer Nights includes stories by:
Francesca Lia Block
Veronica Roth and many more
Summer is over; I know it’s time I moved on but I love the summer, it’s so warm and cheery and bright, and everything feels better in the sun. So, ignoring that I picked this up in entirely the wrong season, that is my rationale: I will use this book to bring Summer to me when I need cheering up and a break from my studies. It’s short stories, so I at least have a fighting chance of being able to limit myself to a sensible amount of pages per delve. Plus, if the work that Stephanie Perkins has previously produced is anything to go by this will leave me smiling for days.
So there it is, my first ever book haul. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it and think I’ll enjoy reading the books.
I am hoping that next week, if you enjoyed this one, to post another but slightly different book haul about my time at Bath Children’s Literature festival YA day. Let me know if you would be interested, I had a fantastic time.
Have you bought any books recently? Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments. 🙂