A dozen new books

I’ve been a sorry blogger lately, I must confess. I haven’t answered your kind comments on my posts or visited your blogs to write my own comments, although I have been reading everyone’s posts regularly. It’s just one of those times when my desire to read or my computer fatigue or both win out over my desire to blog. You probably know how that goes.

I did want to tell you about a dozen new books I bought recently, though. Two weekends ago my book-buying friends, Hobgoblin, and I took a trip up to the Northampton, Massachusetts, area to explore bookstores there, of which we found plenty, not just in Northampton, but in the surrounding towns as well. We visited five and could easily have found many more if we had had more time. It was worth a trip, and I’m looking forward to going back at some point. So, here’s what I found:

  • Bill Bryson’s At Home: A Short History of Private Life. I’ve read rave reviews of this book, and I find the topic fascinating. At $5 for the hardcover, I couldn’t resist.
  • Alfred Kazin’s A Walker in the City. I have a small but growing collection of books about walking, of which this is an important addition.
  • Rebecca Solnit’s A Book of Migrations. I love Solnit’s book Wanderlust and recommend it to everyone who might possibly be interested. A Book of Migrations is about Solnit’s travels in Ireland.
  • John Berger’s To the Wedding. I know absolutely nothing about this book, but John Berger is intriguing.
  • John Berger’s Ways of Seeing. Art theory — who can resist?
  • Jenny Erpenbeck’s Visitation. Another book and author I know nothing about, but I have vague memories of reading interesting things about her, so I went with it.
  • Laura Kipnis’s Against Love: A Polemic. I’m intrigued by Kipnis and by the title of this book. I’m hoping to find some lively, controversial writing here.
  • Mikhail Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita. I have heard about this book so many times on various blogs and in reviews, but I still couldn’t tell you what it’s about. I have a feeling it’s one of those hard-to-sum-up books.
  • The Best American Essays 2011. I just started reading the 2010 edition of this series so I’ll be ready for the 2011 one soon. This series has introduced me to some awesomely great writers, and I’m unfailingly loyal to it.
  • Frances Sheridan’s Memoirs of Miss Sidney Budolph. For when I’m in the mood for some eighteenth-century fiction.
  • Laurie R. King’s The Moor. I found a trade-sized edition of this in very nice condition and couldn’t resist even though I have another book in the Russell series to read first.
  • Nicholson Baker’s The Everlasting Story of Nory. I just heard an interview with Baker on Radio Open Source today, and it was great. Baker is my hero.

So those are my dozen books. I spent an entire two days in Manhattan this weekend but I didn’t step a foot into a bookstore, which is very unusual. But it was because my sister and her husband were in town, and they had other things on their agenda. Hanging out with my sister in the city was fabulous — it involved music, art, tall buildings, people-watching, Central Park, and Indian food — and I hope we can do it again sometime soon.


Filed under Books, Life

13 responses to “A dozen new books

  1. That’s quite an exciting stack of books! I own At Home but haven’t read it yet, but yeah, it sounds so good. And ooh, A Book of Migrations – I hadn’t heard of it, but I also love love love Wanderlust and recommend it all the time, and clearly I need to read more by Solnit, so clearly I should seek this one out. Have you read A Field Guide to Getting Lost?


  2. You are more than welcome to rest, recuperate, and read. We are happy to read and comment on your blog without need for replies. When you have the energy and desire we are here.

    I have a few book-related things that need writing up when I have the energy, but now a little home improvement, taxes, work, and a quickly approaching bike race at the Suzuka F-1 track.


  3. John Berger’s To the Wedding is probably one of my ten favorite books ever. I hope you enjoy it – he does something very special with this short novel, even if it is mostly a sad book.


  4. I’m with Michelle on Berger’s To the Wedding, an exquisitely beautiful book. My favourite Berger though is Here is Where we Meet.

    Have you come across Robert Macfarlane’s Wild Places? With your love of Solnit’s book, you may also enjoy Macfarlane.


  5. – I’ve read the Berger books, and use “Ways of Seeing” with my students.
    – Totally agree: “The Best American Essays – series” is a great way to get to know good writers, have not seen the 2011 edition yet.
    – I’m planning on reading Jenny Erpenbeck’s “Visitation” as part of my German Literature Month.
    – Never heard of “A Book of Migrations”, love Solnit’s other books, so definitively have to check this one too!


  6. Your books look so interesting! I’ve heard of most but read none, so will be most intrigued to know what you make of them.


  7. What a great haul! The Bulgakov is a bit hard to sum up plot-wise, but it’s basically “about” how the repressiveness and dogma of the Soviet state is (was) misguided. But much weirder and funnier than that sounds. 🙂

    I’ve been a terrible blogger recently, so I feel you.


  8. I’ve added the Solnit to my list as well: thanks! The only one in your stack that I’ve read is the Frances Sheridan novel; I remember having more fun with it than I’d expected to. I’ve got the Bulgakov at hand; I’ve been wanting to read it for awhile now, but it never seems to strike me right. Perhaps I’ll have to add it to one of my Must-Read lists as I’ve heard (as Emily said above) that it’s really quite entertaining!


  9. I love hearing about your bookstore excursions! I miss browsing in bookstores, but we don’t have many of them left where I live. I have Wanderlust–I think I must have bought it after you wrote about it–I need to pick it up sometime soon, and I like the sound of A Walker in the City, too. I’ve never read John Berger but both the books you bought sound really interesting. Breaks are really good–especially if it means more reading time! 🙂 Enjoy your new books!


  10. Nice pile of books! They all look good. I had the Bryson in my hand at Barnes and Noble the other day but opted for a new vegan pie cookbook by my favorite cookbook author instead.


  11. What a nice stack! I had 2 just arrived and am expected a 3rd soon, and still have a few from my editor.


  12. I have not read any of these, although I’m familiar with a few titles and authors. I’m printing out a list of these for a new reading itinerary!


  13. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who hasn’t been posting or commenting as much as I would like to. We had a wonderful time with you and Hobgoblin, and with the colder weather since then, I’ve been doing a lot of reading which has been fantastic.

    Hope you are staying warm and still able to read this week!


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