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Book Haul: An hour and a half in Waterstones.

As I mentioned on Twitter, on Wednesday, I found myself with around four hours to kill between finishing work and my lift home. After a long and indulgent lunch in Costa, I wandered down the high street to Waterstones. With an hour and a half to spend in the relatively small branch, it was lovely to have a natter and swap book recommendations with the staff, who I have come to know quite well over the years.

Of course, I couldn’t come away empty handed.

The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

I’d been aware of this book for a long time – I’d seen and heard it talked about, it’s been referenced in other books, the film is on Netflix – and it always seemed inevitable that I would one day purchase it. However, until now, I found myself distracted; sometimes it can be hard to justify spending the money on a very short book. Finally in my possession, I’m really looking forward to finally finding out what the story is about.

The little prince
The Little Prince is a classic tale of equal appeal to children and adults. On one level it is the story of an airman’s discovery, in the desert, of a small boy from another planet – the Little Prince of the title – and his stories of intergalactic travel, while on the other hand, it is a thought-provoking allegory of the human condition.
First published in 1943, the year before the author’s death in action, this translation contains Saint-Exupery’s delightful illustrations.

The white book – Han Kang

I loved The Vegetarian which won the Man Booker International prize in 2016, the prize for which this is shortlisted this year. So, upon discovering the existence of this beautifully designed work, I formulated a plan to hunt it down as soon as possible. As it happened, Waterstones had kindly placed copies on a display table so the hunt was brief. This is a book that I think could very easily go one of two ways with me. Either I shall find it poetic and beautiful, or I shall find it pretentious and possibly jarring. There is only one way to find out.

The white book.jpg
The white book is a meditation on colour, beginning with a simple list of white things. It is a book about mourning, rebirth and the tenacity of the human spirit. It is a stunning investigation of the fragility, beauty, and strangeness of life.

Why I am no longer talking to white people about race – Reni Eddo-Lodge

I have heard such good things about this book. Conversations about race and race-relations are so important and following a discussion with one of the Waterstones staff members about this book and the topic, I knew I couldn’t leave it on the shelf. Plus, I miss Sociology…

Why I am no longer talking to white people about race
The book that sparked a national conversation. Exploring everything from eradicated black history to the inextricable link between class and race, Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race is the essential handbook for anyone who wants to understand race relations in Britain today. 

Never mind (Patrick Melrose novels #1) – Edward St. Aubyn

Seeing the advert (trailer?) for the adaption starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Patrick Melrose reminded me of these novels. I haven’t read them before but recollections of the covers were brought forward from the recesses of my memory. Having a spare few minutes at work I searched for our copy but was unsuccessful. However, by this point,  I knew that I would happily purchase a copy if Waterstones had one available.

At his mother’s family house in the south of France, Patrick Melrose has the run of a magical garden. Bravely imaginative and self-sufficient, five-year-old Patrick encounters the volatile lives of adults with care. His father, David, rules with considered cruelty, and Eleanor, his mother, has retreated into drink. They are expecting guests for dinner. But this afternoon is unlike the chain of summer days before, and the shocking events that precede the guests’ arrival tear Patrick’s world in two.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society- Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I was set to order this book immediately after seeing, for the first time, the trailer for the film adaptation; it looked wonderful and the source material seemed to have good reviews. However, discovering that it is written in the form of letters caused me to hesitate a lot and to feel quite disappointed. I have historically struggled with novels written in anything other than prose. I was worried that what looked like a really uplifting, poignant, yet fun read could actually make me quite frustrated simply due to my own issues with its format. Although still concerned, buoyed by the success I had had in the shop so far, and by the comments made by other customers, I decided that I wouldn’t put it down again; I would give it ago.

The Guernsey Literary and potato peelpie society.jpg
The war is over, Juliet Ashton is grappling with writer’s block when she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – a total stranger living halfway across the Channel, who has come across her name in a second-hand book.
Juliet begins writing to Dawsey, and in time to everyone in the extraordinary Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The society tells Juliet about life on the island – and the dark years spent under the shadow of German occupation. Drawn into their irresistible world, Juliet sets sail for Guernsey, changing her life – and theirs – forever.

Have you read any of these books, what did you think? Let me know in the comments section below.


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