Another Trip to the Confessional Booth

Let’s take a trip back a few weeks to where I talked about buying a couple of books at a book sale. I can see that you’re already ahead of me… Anyway, the devious people running the campus book sale decided that the final Friday would see the whole stock up for sale at 50% off the sale price. Now that’s just not fair for a poor person trying to live his life right (everything in moderation, including books).

So, what did I end up with after searching through the dregs of the season to find some rough (but cheap) diamonds? Well, surprisingly, I found three of Roddy Doyle’s finest – ‘The Van’, ‘Paula Spencer’ and ‘Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha’ -, and I also dredged up Julian Barnes’ ‘The Lemon Table’ and ‘The Twyborn Affair’, a novel by the famed Australian author Patrick White. Don’t worry though; I also bought my daughter a rather lovely Pocoyo book (which I was forced to read to her six times in a row when I got home, leading me to regret buying it in the first place). All in all twenty Australian dollars well spent 🙂

But the book frenzy doesn’t end there, oh no. Courtesy of those fine people at the Book Depository, who must have a really close relationship with Royal Mail to be able to send the books out with no charge for postage (either that or they have an inside man who sneaks the parcels into the sorting room in the wee hours of the morning when no-one’s looking), I have just received another couple of books. Wanting to brush up on my classics, I ordered a copy of Homer’s ‘Iliad’ (with not a mention of Brad Pitt in sight); I’m not much of an epic poem type of person, but I am a ‘want-to-have-read-everything-literary-under-the-sun’ kind of person, so I’m sure I’ll get around to perusing it at some point. However, the other recent purchase is a monster, a Godzilla of a book, a novel so big it makes ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ look like my daughter’s Pocoyo book (with fewer pictures); it’s even longer than ‘War and Peace’…

What is this lump of a book, I hear you ask (yes, my hearing is that good; very annoying when the cats outside are on heat)? I’ll end the suspense here (don’t laugh). In the very near future, and ending, once and for all, any chance I had of making it to a century of books this year (proving that I’m in it for the quality, not the quantity), I will be reading the humongous, best-part-of-1500 pages epic, Vikram Seth’s ‘A Suitable Boy’. Did I mention that it’s very long? I’ll probably start once my MTESOL assignment has been submitted in a couple of weeks – which means that it will probably take up the rest of October. Moving on…

In other book-related news, I was browsing the Book Depository today (and, yes, I am considering an approach to the company for a books-per-mention deal) after reading Clare of Paperback Reader’s review of a Katherine Mansfield story, and, funnily enough, the Wordsworth Editions collection (688 pages for about 3 pounds 49 pence – one day I must find out where those Australians have hidden the pound symbol on my keyboard) was out of stock. Coincidence? I think not – behold the power of the blogger!

Finally, a big thanks to Dan Holloway for my copy of ‘Songs from the Other Side of the Wall’ (which may be waiting a while to be reread – see above). You can download a free copy of this marvellous book at Dan’s web-site, or you can follow the links to buy a more tangible copy (with a rather wonderful cover and various added extras!). What are you waiting for? Check it out now!!! 🙂

P.S. It is now an hour after the original post was, well, posted, and I have just discovered another book which had slipped my mind, cunningly integrated as it is into my collection. After lunch with a friend a couple of weeks ago, we went into an Op shop (UK – second-hand shop, US – thrift store?) where she looked around for pretty pottery (which she could buy cheap from the old ladies in the shop and sell dear on e-Bay), I just happened to stumble across a copy of ‘A Room with a View’ for $1.50. OK, I didn’t stumble as such; my feet were perfectly positioned at all times, and there was no swearing, but you get the general idea. This is very worrying (the forgetting, not the stumbling. Which didn’t happen); what if I’ve actually bought lots more books AND FORGOTTEN ABOUT IT?! I’ll be sure to let you all know if I come across the complete works of Virginia Woolf hidden in the wardrobe in the spare bedroom…

8 thoughts on “Another Trip to the Confessional Booth

  1. Ha – the power of the blogger will bring Katherine Mansfield into popular reading!I have read The Iliad, A Suitable Boy and A Room with a View and enjoyed them all and probably in that order of preference.I have been good and refrained from purchasing anything of late bar a few outstanding pre-orders of forthcoming titles.

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  2. Sounds like you need some help. I just posted about this LOLhttp://bibliophilebythesea.blogspot.com/2009/09/need-to-stop-accumulating-books.html

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  3. Clare – I think you may have started something!Diane – I actually feel better after reading that article as I don't really have a problem with huge piles of unread books; as you can see from my blog, I'm actually reading them at about the same rate as I'm buying them!

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  4. Bless you Tony 🙂 Interesting – Farm Lane Books (I don't know if you know the site) posted something similar earlier this month. I think there's a whole bunch of people finally coming out and admitting their serious book addiction problem!

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  5. Dan – It's only a problem if it causes problems for you! I remember an American basketball star who denied he had a gambling problem; he said he was a multi-millionaire who liked gambling and could easily afford his (rather substantial) losses…Sam – Welcome back! I imagine your recent move has been taking up a lot of your time. No tears on the web-site please; you might make the lovely blue colours run…

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  6. With all of the TV shows about "finding" things in thrift shops and selling them at auction, it seems like all of the little old ladies I run into know what their stock is worth. The Internet has certainly made it harder to stumble on surprise rare books or modern firsts in out of the way places like you could once upon a time.It puts me in mind of one of the great Alan Bennett "Talking Heads" monologues where an antique dealer sells a small frame with a sketch of a finger in it for a fiver, only to find out later that it was a sketch study of God's finger done by Michaelangelo for the Sistine Chapel.

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  7. True, but I don't think the ladies behind the counter in this particular charity shop have much idea of the price of particular items of earthenware 🙂

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