New books

Thanks to all for your kind comments from yesterday; Hobgoblin and I had a nice day, although, as it turns out, we didn’t spend it in Manhattan. Shortly after I posted here, I learned that a huge storm had hit the city, leaving flooded roads and shut down subways. We decided not to head there — we may have been fine, but maybe not, and we didn’t want to risk it. So, we went to New Haven instead. It’s not as exciting as Manhattan, but it’s still a nice place to spend some time, and, as hoped for, we ate some good food, went to a history museum, and bought some books. So, as promised, here’s what I got, from Book Trader, a used bookstore:

  • Jane Stevenson’s The Winter Queen. Historical fiction fans will be proud of me; this is the first novel in a trilogy which is set, in part, in 17C Holland. I heard about it on a listserv I’m on and thought I’d give it a try. Has anybody else read it?
  • John McGahern’s Amongst Women. I’d heard about McGahern from Kimbofo, and now I finally have something of his.
  • Geraldine Brooks’s March. I’d been trying to get this on Book Mooch again and again; it kept appearing, but somebody always snagged it first. So finally I bought it. I liked Brooks’s Year of Wonders so much I thought I’d try another one.
  • Harriet Martineau’s novel Deerbrook. I’d heard of Martineau before, although I’d never read her and didn’t know she wrote fiction; this is her only novel. It’s published by Penguin, I just found out, but the edition I bought is a Virago. I picked it up because I like Virago books, and it sounded intriguing.

That’s all I got yesterday (although there was plenty more that was interesting), but I’ll also list some books I’ve recently mooched:

  • Robyn Davidson’s Tracks. This is the story of how Davidson walked 1,700 miles across Australia. Amazing, right? Danielle recommended this one to me.
  • Alison Lurie, The Last Resort. I’ve decided it’s a good idea to have an unread Lurie novel lying around, just in case I get in the mood. This will be my third when I get to it.
  • Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, to add some science fiction to the mix!


Filed under Books, Life

16 responses to “New books

  1. Glad you were still able to have a nice day even though the original plans got derailed. And some nice new books too! Winter Queen looks interesting. I look forward to you convincing me I have to read it ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Oh! Amongst Women is simply brilliant! That was the first book I finished this year and I fell completely in love with McGahern. Then I got distracted by other books. ๐Ÿ˜€ It is an astonishing novel though so I hope you enjoy it once you get around to it.


  3. I really liked March (and Year of Wonders, too!).

    Happy anniversary!


  4. “March”, I thought was the best book I read last year – but then I always wondered what about Mr March when I read Little Women. I hope you enjoy it and the other books too. Manhattan sounds really bad just now. The floods here in Britain are receding, but now the news is of the outbreaks of Foot & Mouth again!


  5. Lovely books, Dorothy!

    Here’s some more…..

    I ended up with so many that I’ve just put them in a list for you!

    William Maxwell – The Chateau
    Peter Ackroyd – Chatterton
    Jeanette Winterson – Sexing the Cherry
    Carol Shields – The Stone Diaries
    Rosamund Lehmann – Invitation to the Waltz
    Penelope Lively – Moon Tiger
    Goethe – Elective Affinities
    The stories of Heinrich von Kleist
    Anything by Penelope Fitzgerald or Jane Gardam

    I suppose I’d call them all modern classics (apart from the 18th century German stuff!). And because you don’t read much crime fiction, Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.

    I just picked them because I thought you might like them!


  6. I’ve not heard of Jane Stevenson before; you’ll have to let us know if she proves an author to track down.

    I really loved ‘The Left Hand of Darkness’ when I read it as a teenager and I must, must, must get round to re-reading it as an adult. Le Guin asks such delicious questions about gender and love, and I’d say that ‘Left Hand’ was a seminal experience for me in that sense. ๐Ÿ™‚

    (Litlove: what a brilliant list!)


  7. Cam

    I’m sorry that your trip to Manhattan was cancelled, but I can attest to just how chaotic it was here on Wednesday. Subways, buses, cars, on foot, the ferries — didn’t matter what mode of transportation, it was crazy! As Colbert said on his show, apparently the only thing needed to cripple NYC is to get New Yorkers wet! I’m hoping for the 3rd day in a row to actually fly out of here. I love NY but I need to be home!

    I have had a copy of March for a long time; maybe it’s time to pull it off the shelf and read it. I haven’t read Left Hand of Darkness in 20 – 25 years, so I don’t remember the specifics of it. I look forward to reading what you think of it. I wonder whether the gender politics in it still seem fresh for today’s reader or if it seems a little dated.


  8. I’ve not heard of the Stevenson before–it sounds like it could be good. I may have to check that one out myself! So glad you got Tracks. It’s not your usual sort of travel narrative, but I think that’s why I liked it. I’d like to read something else by her. I have Deerbrook on my wishlist–I’ve been curious about it, so I look forward to hearing what you think. Glad you guys had a good time even if you didn’t get to Manhattan–it sounds like it was a mess!


  9. What a great way to celebrate ๐Ÿ™‚
    I am curious to hear what you think of the Jane Stevenson book. I love historical fiction so always on the look out for a new author to try.


  10. Stefanie — I’ll make sure to have a full report!

    Imani — good to know about McGahern — you’ve got me even more interested in reading him.

    Diana — I’m glad you liked March; I’m looking forward to it.

    BooksPlease — same to you — I’m glad you liked March, and that I have such a good book to look forward to.

    Litlove — Thank you!!! That list is fabulous. Every one has gone on my TBR list, and the Lively book is on its way through Book Mooch. I’m so excited to read these! I’ve read only one of them already, the Carol Shields book (and I’ve read a lot of Winterson, but not that particular one). Thanks again.

    Victoria — I’m intrigued by the gender stuff in the LeGuin novel; that should make for a fascinating read.

    Cam — I’m so glad we didn’t go! It’s good to hear your report, which confirms that we made the right decision. I hope you make it home okay!

    Danielle — I seem to have found a historical fiction book nobody has heard of! I’ll certainly have a full report when I get to it. I’m fascinated by Deerbrook too — it’s a long novel and looks like fun.

    Iliana — I’m not sure when I’ll get to the Stevenson (so much is out there to read!), but I look forward to it.


  11. I’m throwing in the towel on “Wittgenstein’s Mistress.” Got about 40 pages into it. I found the narrative style dull, coy and indulgent. So this gal is by herself, talking to herself about whatever pops into her head; not only that, she has the resources of the whole, apparently deserted world at her disposal, but nobody to share it with? Snnnnnnzz. She has no one to interact with, and hence nobody to stop her endless navel gazing. I understand that writers should push the envelope with new styles and voices, but this book fails. Maybe it would’ve worked better as a short story.

    On the other hand, “The Road” is tense and gripping. I am torn between the urge to keep reading it, and the need to put it down because I’m afraid something bad is going to happen. I hope they never make a movie out of it; it could never measure up to the horror on the page.


  12. I was wondering if you’d made it to New York, or gotten stuck, or what. I think you were wise not to attempt it, and it’s almost as hard not to find good food in New Haven as it is in New York. I’ll be interested to hear what you think of March. I’ve been wanting to read that one for some time now, even checked it out of the library once, but never seem to get around to it.


  13. Almost Jane is very good worth watching definetly

    I read March last year and loved it


  14. Glad you tracked down a McGahern! It’s an excellent novel, and one I mean to read again at some point. I am still making my way through his back catalogue — only one left — but I’m putting it off because I don’t want to be in the position where there isn’t another McGahern in my TBR pile!


  15. Fendergal — I really don’t blame you for quitting the Markson novel; I think you can get the gist of what he’s doing quite well without reading the whole thing. It really doesn’t develop a whole lot. I think you’re probably right about the short story idea — it doesn’t need to be over 200 pages long. I’ve been meaning to read The Road!

    Emily — we had a great time in New Haven, and have decided we need to go back regularly!

    Janice — I’m looking forward to March — everybody says such good things about it!

    Kimbofo — I know that feeling; it’s quite sad when there isn’t another unread novel.


  16. Pingback: Post-Apocalyptic Eco-Feminism « The Hobgoblin of Little Minds

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