Friday, 9 December 2016

Books Upon Books

Unable to think of further haul puns. Any suggestions would be welcome.

(Alternate title: Emily Never Posts The Books She's Bought So Here's A Photo Dump From The Past Six Months You're Welcome.)

The various secondhand:

Beads, Boys and Bangles // #2 in the Threads trilogy, a series illustrating how very mistaken one can be when one judges books by their covers and titles. I still haven't read the third one, but I now own them all and when I read them all again it shall be a beautiful and glorious time. (It's a friendship and art story set in London. They hang out in the V&A. Could you actually ask for anything else?) (Also, Sophia Bennett once commented on this very blog. I may have died. Just a little.)

Career of Evil // can I have an ASGKLAJGSKL for JK Rowling, Queen of my Heart? In case you missed it, I LOVE THE CORMORAN STRIKE NOVELS WITH ALL OF MY SOUL. I LOVE CORMORAN. I LOVE ROBIN. I LOVE LONDON. I LOVE IT ALL.

Image result for fangirl screaming gif
Career of Evil was soooo good. I mean it was so. good. And the next book is coming out early 2017! WHICH IS REALLY SOON. Except I am going to be in Kenya. So I'll need to wait till I get back. GAAAHHH.
The Beggar of Volubilis // because I love The Roman Mysteries with every muscle and fibre of my heart.

The ones I bought secondhand in St Andrews:

A Moveable Feast // I adore Hemingway -- sure, I've only read two of his books, but they were exquisite -- and I never stop seeing quotations from A Moveable Feast.

[source] // how is it possible to write such a long sentence with no commas and repeat the word together twice and yet it is still ... perfect? (Hemingway's disregard of commas validates all my choices. I love it. Love him. So much.)
[source] // then there's this picture. One of my favourite pictures ever, I have no clue who these people are but I just really love it. I have it on my wall. And he's reading A Moveable Feast. Don't I always say it? Everything is connected.
The Captain's Verses // fun story, that time I went to Chile I visited two of Pablo Neruda's (beautiful, incredible) houses, one in Santiago and one in Valparaiso. I read one of his poems while there, because the original copy that he wrote (with a translation beside it, thankfully) was sitting on the desk in the Valpo house. Since then I've read a couple more poems and they're lovely, so I can't wait to dive into this book! 
La luna hace girar su rodaje de sueño.
Me miran con tus ojos las estrellas más grandes.
Y como yo te amo, los pinos en el viento,
quieren cantar tu nombre con sus hojas de alambre.
The moon turns its clockwork dream.

The biggest stars look at me with your eyes.

And as I love you, the pines in the wind
want to sing your name with their leaves of wire.
~ from Aquí Te Amo (Here I Love You)

Horace's Complete Odes and Epodes // I freaking love Horace. Last year for Latin I wrote a dissertation comparing themes of time and transience in his poems and the poems of Shakespeare and Marvell. Horace is the originator of the phrase carpe diem. He is a master of irony, or, to put it more bluntly, sass. I'm reading this book at the moment and loving it.
Don't ask what will happen tomorrow.
Whatever day Fortune gives you, enter it
as profit, and don't look down on love
and dancing while you're still a lad, 
while the gloomy grey keeps away from the green.
~from Ode 1.9

Birthday Letters // and if you don't know that Ted Hughes is my favourite poet, you're a) new here (hi! Welcome!) or b) do not listen. Birthday Letters is the last and most famous of Hughes' books. For this reason I'm kind of putting it off? I sort of like to read authors' works in order, sometimes, rather than reading the best regarded one first, because sometimes if you start with “the best" you can find you've peaked at the beginning? Not that that could happen with Hughes, obviously, because I've already read lots of his books. So I don't know. I don't understand myself either. ~shrugs~

The ones I bought secondhand in Glasgow:

Across the River and Into the Trees // because, again, Hemingway. This one is set in Venice! Where my heart lives! (No, I've never been, but that's just a detail.) And don't you love the title? Rivers! Trees! My two favourite things! I love books with “trees" in the title. Bit of subtle self-promotion there.

Much Ado About Nothing // I love this play a lot. And the shipping is real. Best hate-to-love romance.

Physik and Flyte // because you know what is great? Hilarious British children's high fantasy with a main character literally called Septimus. I spend 80% of my reading life looking forward to when I can next reread a kids' fantasy series (this Christmas it's going to be Skulduggery, SOMEBODY HOLD ME), and I can't wait for this one.

Cutest, tiniest edition of Much Ado ever! And I love that Hemingway cover. Venice!
The ones I was randomly given:

Jane Eyre // my mum gave me this rather battered copy of Jane Eyre. (I think she found it in the house somewhere. Who even knows. Our home is a book labyrinth, you could get lost for years.) It has a beautiful illustration on the cover.

Image result for jane eyre cover
How lovely is she? I can't wait to reread Jane Eyre. I enjoyed it the first time, aged thirteen, but I think I was a little young.
From the Mouth of God // my minister gave me this as a sorta “good-luck-on-your-gap-year-congrats-you're-an-adult-now" type thing. How nice?? And I'm told it's a great book. Looking forward.

All the Light We Cannot See // this is a short vid of my face when my mum casually gave this to me:

From the off, the title of All the Light attracted me, and despite being an avowed historical fiction avoider, I do bend the rules for WW2. And the cover is really pretty. 

Also it is a Pulitzer Prize winner.

I don't normally base my opinions on prizes, but you know what won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014? The Goldfinch. And in 2007? The Road. After making this connection between these two of my favourite books, I made it my business to devour all the Pulitzer winners. 

So I started visiting All the Light in Waterstones quite some time ago. (That's what I do -- I find books I want but I don't buy them straight off, because it's a big commitment, buying a book firsthand when you really know nothing about it except look the cover is pretty -- and I visit them for a while. Eventually, sometimes, I take the plunge. At the moment, if you're interested, I'm visiting Grief Is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter; By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart; and a lovely illustrated edition of Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.) I almost bought it on numerous occasions. And then my mum's friend came to stay, and gave her the book, and my mum finished it, and gave it to me!

A Clash of Kings // a friend (shout-out to you, Cat) was clearing out books and gave me this. Once upon a time I thought I'd never reread A Song of Ice and Fire -- because they're frigging massive and who has time? -- but increasingly I don't know. Basically I just want to read A Feast for Crows again because Jaime. He doesn't have any POV chapters in A Dance With Dragons Part 1 because of the way GRRM splits the books geographically rather than chronologically. So today I was reading A Dance with Dragons Part 2 and, on p112, he got his first POV chapter for more than a book -- and eighteen months of my reading life -- and I legit nearly started crying. Moreover, who knows when The Winds of Winter will come out? NEVER, PROBABLY, SO WE SHOULD READ WHAT WE'VE GOT. (Though this is the gross TV show edition. But we can't have everything in this life.)

The ones my brother (a babe) gave me for my birthday:

Crow // because Ted. My one and only.

The Flame Trees of Thika // set in Kenya. Will be fun to read in Kenya.

A Grain of Wheat // also set in Kenya, in the 1950s as they gained their independence from the British. This was a wonderful book. Review on its way.

No Country for Old Men // because The Road by Cormac McCarthy is one of my favourites of 2016.

Things Fall Apart // I was disappointed in this one, considering its extreme renown. Review forthcoming.

Out of Africa // a beautiful tribute to Kenya. Review shortly.

Darling // I have very nearly finished this poetry collection by Jackie Kay, the Scots Makar (which is like the Poet Laureate, but in Scotland), and I love it.
Across the world were mirrors to see
faces that looked like me,
people caught between two places,
people crossing over the seas.
~from Yell Sound

Jackie Kay was born to a Nigerian father and Scottish Highlander mother and adopted by a white couple from Glasgow. As someone extremely interested in national identity -- as someone planning a book about national identity -- Darling is fascinating. I'm sure I'll share more from Kay as I talk more about LesMisBook.

The one I bought firsthand:

Lanark // that's right, the only book of this post that I actually got from a firsthand bookshop. I was going to say, “with my own money!" ... but it wasn't. During the summer my school sent me a book token with a note saying, “lol u won this prize nd we forgot 2 give it 2 u here's £10." So I still don't know what the prize was for ... but I got Lanark all the same!

Her abs are #goals. Gray did all the illustrations himself: absolutely stunning!

What books have you bought recently? Do you, like me, avoid firsthand book-buying like the plague? Have you read any of these? Come, let us get excited together.


  1. I've heard of quite a few of those books. I don't think I'll get them because they seem really intimidating to read.

    1. Agh no! This haul is quite classics-heavy, so I know what you mean, but I'm sure there is something for you! I would definitely recommend A Grain of Wheat.

  2. Points to you for being so big into classics! I've been slowly getting into them more and more in the past year or so or whatever and some of them have been really good, but at other times it's like dude why was this even published? Like I absolutely hated Jane Austen's "Emma" (rather enjoyed "Pride and Prejudice" though) but "Frankenstein" rocked.

    And I am unsure of what to think of Cormac McCarthy. My sister had to do a novel study on "The Road" and the amount of complaining I endured makes me want to burn the book and I haven't even read the thing. *sighs* I suppose I'll actually have to read it and, you know, form my own opinions or whatever people do these days.

    Those poetry snippets you posted are just lovely :) Might have to read some poetry in the near future. Have you read much Sylvia Plath? I finished "The Bell Jar" a few weeks ago and adored it so I'm not sure what her poetry is like but the few poems I've read of hers have been pretty good. Idk, I'm just not really a huge poetry person. I think I've learned more about poetry by reading your blog than I have in all of my schooling. (Kinda like how I've learned more about feminism from whatever tumblr posts show up on my Pinterest feed than I ever had from school. The education system has failed me.)

    In terms of first-hand vs second-hand books... I'm slowly getting into second-hand more. I used to be 100% first-hand, but that was back when my parents bought all my books for me and now that I have to be a responsible adult or whatever I'm finding the joy of buying the entire "Hunger Games" trilogy for $6 in decent condition. 2nd hand stores are amazing on my wallet. (I once bought my friend 18 books for her 18th birthday for like $30, which is pretty spectacular.) Excuse me for that novella of a comment there...


      I mean I love P&P but EMMA???????

      ~lies down in darkened room for a while~


      Ugh, but The Road is soooo good. I loved studying it! (But my teacher was a babe and a half, so that makes a massive difference.)

      You defs should! I have read The Bell Jar -- great book -- and I've read Ariel, which is her last, most famous and best regarded poetry book. I am a fan, although she was married to Ted Hughes and they had a very turbulent relationship (to say the least) so I cannot get fully on team with her. (I was reading Ariel with my deerstalker hat on, trying to work out which of the poems were about Ted.) But I feel v honoured to have taught you a bit about poetry!! :3 (And agreed RE feminism! XD ) In terms of poetry recs, I would say Jackie Kay -- you especially would like her because of all the race/national identity stuff -- and Carol Ann Duffy are good for first-time / new readers. The World's Wife by Duffy is a really funny, amazing feminist book and Rapture is beautiful love poetry. 100% recommend them both.

      Lol, responsible adult! But ... yes. *ahem* The trouble with secondhand is it makes you more reckless. Like if a book is firsthand you are more careful, because what if you spend £8.99 and then don't like it?? But if it's only £2 I'm just like, pfft, I'll just go for it! And all those £2s add up ... as both my bank account and bookshelf can testify! >.<

      But 18 for $30 is AMAZING! And never apologise for novella comments, I love them! <3


      I'll have to read it... someday. Eventually. I'll get there. I'll also have to get ahold of Ariel and those other recs, because I feel like I've done the fiction, I've started getting into non-fiction and now it's time to dig into some poetry and expand my world view a bit.

      Responsible adulting is a bit lame, but it's important apparently. AND YES. I BECOME A RECKLESS BEAST WITH SECOND-HAND BOOKS. Reckless is the perfect word for it, actually. The first time I discovered 2nd hand books I got so many comments as to why on earth I was buying like 30 books in one go (I kid you not. I had to keep explaining that half of them were for a friend, I am not insane, I promise, stop staring at me!).


      Let me know about your poetry exploits!

      Apparently ... And yes, SUCH A RECKLESS BEAST. XD

  3. Major kudos to you for reading so many classics and getting so many books secondhand! Really. There are a lot of books here that I know I SHOULD read, but I haven't and who-knows-when I'll get to them. I have been very good in past years about not buying a crazy amount of books, for which I am quite proud and my wallet thanks me. Although I DID buy Career of Evil firsthand and will purchase Cormoran Strike #4 thusly because WORTH IT.

    1. Thanks! Well done to you for not buying many books! Wish I could say the same ... D: BUT YES MUST PURCHASE #4 FIRSTHAND THE SECOND IT COMES OUT, I CANNOT WAIT. THE ENDING OF CAREER?? LIKE WHAT??


    Although, you are scaring me a bit here. A lot of these books are HUGE!

    I do usually buy firsthand either? It really is a big commitment, and I like wandering through secondhand stores too much. I have difficulty bringing myself to purchase a book from a supercenter like Wal-Mart because. . . It's just, it's not a bookstore. But sometimes that's all that's available.

    So the poetry books sound awesome. It makes me want to read some poetry. (You will adore Birthday Letters, so much.)

    I recently got some books for Christmas and most of them are large. Now if only I could read faster. XD

    1. Pfft no they're not! Well ... maybe one or two ;)

      Exactly! I'm pleased to say I've never bought a book from a supermarket, except our local Tesco has a secondhand book bucket where you can get MARVELLOUS THINGS sometimes, eg Carol Ann Duffy's Selected Poems for 30p and a BRAND NEW COPY OF THE GOLDFINCH FOR 50P THIS HAPPENED!

      You should! (And I CANNOT WAIT. ~heavy breathing~)

      Feel that! But ooh what are they??

  5. Impressive book haul! And lovely pictures. Your books are just so photogenic. I especially like the second last one with all the black, white, and red.

    This makes my reading of classics look like piddly beans. :P I read maybe two classics last year? "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and "Peter Pan." Both were short. The latter was very easy to read. So...they're the kinds of classics I enjoy, but they're also not terribly impressive. XD

    But all the poetry! I really should read some more of it one of these days. The last time I checked a book of poems out of the library, it was Emily Dickinson, and I didn't get through all of it.

    1. All the poetry! While in Kenya I read Crow -- it was stunning -- and finished the Horace book, which I really liked, and read The Captain's Verses, which was also good. Do love a bit of poetry, me!


Thanks for commenting! :)