I recently received *a certain book* in the post, and my mind jumped to hauling it on this here blog before I realised I don’t have any other books to haul… However, in this case, a little absence from LibroLiv in recent months is not a bad thing, as it means I can haul all my recent book purchases! So sit down, relax, enjoy this list of books I have recently acquired, and perhaps find some you’re interested in, too!
So, in the last few months – between revising for exams and being generally busy – I picked up a total of 9 books. Don’t they look so pretty? I’ve only read one so far – I’ll let you guess which one!
Let’s take a little look closer…
I picked this book up second-hand from Amazon, because the price was just amazing. Less than £3 I believe, and then postage. This book had been on my TBR for months at this point, and I just couldn’t resist when I saw it! It’s a little battered and bruised here and there, but – as I’ve said many a time on this blog – I love a used book.
On a damp October night, 24-year-old Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror film director Stanislaus Cordova–a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.
For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.
Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world. The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more.
Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises
I can’t remember exactly why I randomly wanted to read Hemingway. I think it was because I had been studying World War I literature in preparation for my exams, and I kind of wanted to read around that period of time. I’m still excited to read The Sun Also Rises, and excited to read a novel by the man commonly called ‘the greatest writer of all time.’ (Also, isn’t that cover just lovely?)
The quintessential novel of the Lost Generation, The Sun Also Rises is one of Ernest Hemingway’s masterpieces and a classic example of his spare but powerful writing style. A poignant look at the disillusionment and angst of the post-World War I generation, the novel introduces two of Hemingway’s most unforgettable characters: Jake Barnes and Lady Brett Ashley. The story follows the flamboyant Brett and the hapless Jake as they journey from the wild nightlife of 1920s Paris to the brutal bullfighting rings of Spain with a motley group of expatriates. It is an age of moral bankruptcy, spiritual dissolution, unrealized love, and vanishing illusions. First published in 1926, The Sun Also Rises helped to establish Hemingway as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century.
The Waste Land and other poems
T. S. Eliot
This is another purchase related to my recent A Level studies: studying The Great Gatsby made me really curious about 20th century literature, especially when I heard that the ‘Valley of Ashes’ motif is commonly cited to have been inspired by Eliot’s The Waste Land. I also believe Fitzgerald was a big fan of Eliot. This was another second-hand purchase, and I was surprised to realise (upon receiving it in the post) that someone has written little annotations inside. I’m excited to see both what I think of Eliot, and what this mystery person thought of Eliot, too!
Few readers need any introduction to the work of the most influential poet of the twentieth century.
“In ten years’ time,” wrote Edmund Wilson in Axel’s Castle (1931), “Eliot has left upon English poetry a mark more unmistakable than that of any other poet writing in English.” In 1948 Mr. Eliot was awarded the Nobel Prize “for his work as trail-blazing pioneer of modern poetry”.
The Secret History
If you didn’t guess already from the battered spine in the first picture, this is indeed the book I have already read in this haul. And I loved it. Tartt kept me so engaged, pushing me to love her characters, hate them, hold disdain for them – every other feeling, too. I would highly recommend this novel.
P.S. I took it on holiday – that’s why it looks so damaged! Although, books on my shelf often look like this…
Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality they slip gradually from obsession to corruption and betrayal, and at last – inexorably – into evil.
I read 1Q84 by Murakami earlier this year, and what can I say? I just wanted more! I’m actually also currently reading another book by Murakami – The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – but I’m borrowing it, so it unfortunately didn’t make it into this haul. I was actually recommended this book long before I knew who Murakami was. I only realised when I recognised the name and the plot from the synopsis!
Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.
The Remains of the Day
I purchased this at the same time as the previous Murakami number, and I am equally as excited. I read Never Let Me Go last year and An Artist of the Floating World early this year, and adored both. I’m sure I’m going to enjoy The Remains of the Day, too.
In the summer of 1956, Stevens, a long-serving butler at Darlington Hall, decides to take a motoring trip through the West Country. The six-day excursion becomes a journey into the past of Stevens and England, a past that takes in fascism, two world wars, and an unrealised love between the butler and his housekeeper.
I must admit, I didn’t actually purchase this book for myself. I actually won it in pass the parcel in my last ever English Literature lesson! This is such a cute cover and book size, and I am sure this little guy will be coming to university with me when I go!
T.S. Eliot once wrote that, “Shakespeare gives the greatest width of human passion,” and it is this passion that has traditionally made The Sonnets appealing to literati and laymen alike. Surrounded by mystery, these poems of devotion and jealousy, of a young courtier and a Dark Lady, have been the subject of endless speculation. They are highly mystical and at the same time highly honest; as W. H. Auden wrote, “…what is astonishing about the sonnets, especially when one remembers the age in which they were written, is the impression they make of naked autobiographical confession.”
Because they are witty, passionate, personal, and often ever bawdy, The Sonnets stand as one of the greatest poetic tributes ever written to a beloved.
The White Book
I love reading poetry, and the concept of this collection just intrigued me straight away. I love experimental poetry, emotional poetry, insightful poetry. From what I’ve heard, The White Book ticks all of those boxes. I can’t wait to read it!
Both the most autobiographical and the most experimental book to date from South Korean master Han Kang. Written while on a writer’s residency in Warsaw, a city palpably scarred by the violence of the past, the narrator finds herself haunted by the story of her older sister, who died a mere two hours after birth. A fragmented exploration of white things – the swaddling bands that were also her shroud, the breast milk she did not live to drink, the blank page on which the narrator herself attempts to reconstruct the story – unfold in a powerfully poetic distillation. As she walks the unfamiliar, snow-streaked streets, lined by buildings formerly obliterated in the Second World War, their identities blur and overlap as the narrator wonders, ‘Can I give this life to you?’. The White Book is a book like no other. It is a meditation on a colour, on the tenacity and fragility of the human spirit, and our attempts to graft new life from the ashes of destruction.
Amie Kauffman & Jay Kristoff
Last – but by no means least (definitely not least, as this is the *certain book* that made me want to do a haul in the first place) – is Illuminae. I ordered this book the other day after reading this review by Erin @ Undercover Binge Reader – it had been on my radar for a while but I was always intimidated by the size and format. But Erin’s glowing review completely changed my mind, and I just had to have it! It is so beautiful – though quite hefty – and I cannot wait to read it!
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.
BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.
That’s everything! I hope you enjoyed this haul – let me know in the comments which books you’ve recently picked up or if you’ve read any of these!
As always, thanks for reading!