I’ve gone on a bit of a Book Mooch spree over the last couple days, something I haven’t done in a long time. But I can only let those points sit there for so long before the fact that each point can get me a book for free (or for “free,” since I earned points by mailing books to other people) becomes too much to contemplate, and I break down and use them. I requested seven books recently, and that still leaves me with nine points — plenty left in case some really cool books become available. Here’s what I got:
- Henry Green’s Loving, Living, Party Going. These are three separate novels, collected into one volume. I’ve never read Green, but he’s someone I hear of now and then, not frequently, but just enough to keep him in mind. I believe Francine Prose praised him in her book Reading Like a Writer, which brought him to my attention once again. I could love him or hate him — I have no idea. It will be interesting to find out.
- Vivian Gornick’s Fierce Attachments: A Memoir. Here is another author I have never read and don’t know much about, so I am taking a bit of a risk with her. It’s a memoir of her relationship with her mother.
- Maria Edgeworth’s Helen. I’ve read one Edgeworth novel (Belinda) and am looking forward to reading more. She is an early 19C novelist; she sometimes writes about Ireland and Irish/English relations and was also known in her day for her children’s writing as well as her adult novels. Helen was published in 1837.
- Lionel Shriver’s Double Fault. I enjoyed Shriver’s novel The Post-Birthday World, and this one looks fun — it’s about a tennis-playing couple who become rivals and suffer from competitiveness and jealousy. I’m not suggesting, let me be clear, that this is at all parallel to the experience Hobgoblin and I have racing bikes together!
- Emile Zola’s Germinal. I’ve never read Balzac, and I’ve never read Zola, and this book seems like a good place to start. I’ve been saying I’m going to read those two for years — maybe I’ll actually get around to it this year.
- Jonathan Raban’s Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings. I like reading travel writing now and then. Here’s a description: “In a 35-foot sailboat Raban traverses over 1,000 miles of often treacherous waters … Passage to Juneau is a lesson in comparative literature, the history of the Northwest’s Indians and the first European explorers, and a sociological treatise on class and technology. But most of all, Passage to Juneau is a fascinating navigation through Raban’s psyche — a brave interior exploration of family, relationship, and mourning.”
- Barbara Pym’s Jane and Prudence. I do already have one unread Pym novel on hand (No Fond Return of Love), but Pym is so good, it’s impossible to have too many of her books around. And I’ve heard such good things about this one.
Now that my Book Mooch spree is over, maybe I can let my remaining points sit for a while …