Birthday Book Haul
It was my birthday last week and I received a few books. Some of them were even from people other than me.
- Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem – I bought Gun, With Occasional Music on a impulse in a bookshop as a child. Since then I’ve read everything Lethem has published. There was a time I would have said he was my favourite novelist but I’ve rather cooled on his post-Motherless Brooklyn but he is still a fascinating writer.
- Feed by MT Anderson – I can’t remember who recommended Octavian Nothing to me but since I read that extraordinary novel I have been slowly working my way through Anderson’s back catalogue. I read this over the weekend and it is an astonishingly bleak dystopian love story that is aimed at teens but really gives the lie to the whole concept of YA fiction.
- Parrot And Olivier In America – As with Lethem, Carey is an automatic buy. I know quite a few people found his previous novel, His Illegal Self, a bit disappointing but, after a slow start, this is firing on all cylinders: the themes and dynamic of Theft mixed with the historical pastiche of Jack Maggs in order to re-imagine the life of de Tocqueville and tackle modern America.
- Ask The Dust by John Fante – This has been in my Amazon basket for the best part of a decade; I think it originally went in there on the strength of a Nick Mamatas recommendation but its been so long I’m not sure.
- Delusions Of Gender by Cordelia Fine – Gender essentialism seems to be a conversation that constantly raises its head in both my professional and private life. I want to be better informed and this was strongly recommended by Farah Mendlesohn.
- Anno Dracula by Kim Newman – I’ve always been a fan of Newman’s fiction without managing to read very much of it. This new revised edition of his 1992 novel seemed a good point to redress this situation (and the advertising push certainly helped remind me).
- Waterlog by Roger Deakin – My wife bought this after I raved about Wildwood, his follow up book, which I recently read whilst on holiday in the lakes. If you live in London you need a good blast of nature writing and it doesn’t come any better than Deakin.
- God’s War by Kameron Hurley – Niall Harrison made everyone in the British science fiction community buy a copy.
- Maus II by Art Spiegelman – I only got round to reading the first volume of Spiegelman’s deeply moving memoir shamefully recently having picked it up for cheap in a secondhand bookshop. I then found that buying the second volume was more expensive than buying the omnibus edition but what are you going to do? I certainly wasn’t about to let the story stand untold.
- The BLDG BLOG Book by Geoff Manaugh – If you don’t know BLDG BLOG, well, I refuse to believe you exist. This is blogging at its best, a wonderful resource for experts and amateurs alike. Hopefully the book will allow me to give the subject more of the attention it deserves.
- Erotic Comics: Volume One, edited by Tim Pilcher – At the risk of sounding pretentious, I think my appreciation of erotica exists on two levels: firstly, I just love dirty words and pictures, smut is frankly awesome; secondly, I find outsider art and invisible literature fascinating.
- David Nash by David Nash – Coffee table book in which the famous British sculptor discusses his work. Nuff said.