And More Books…

Birthday Books

I thought you might like to see the rather impressive stack of books I received for my birthday this year. I turned 39 at the start of the week and big hugs to those dear blogging friends who sent me messages – they were much appreciated. My birthday books (the pile on the right) are, in descending order:

David Sedaris – Holidays on Ice

William Maxwell – The Outermost Dream (literary essays)

John Cheever – The Wapshot Chronicles

Ann Granger – Beneath These Stones

Catriona McPherson – The Burry Man’s Day

David Roberts – A Grave Man and The Quality of Mercy (my father showing he has an eye here for books he can borrow off me once I’ve read them!)

Richard Powers – In The Time of Our Singing

A. S. Byatt – Portraits in Fiction

William Maxwell – So Long See You Tomorrow

Siri Hustvedt – The Blindfold

Mary Gordon – Men and Angels

Anne Sexton – The Complete Poems

Gabriel Josipovici – In a Hotel Garden

Cristina Garcia – Dreaming in Cuban

William Maxwell – They Came Like Swallows

Propped up against them is a book that arrived near my birthday and is a sort of present from me to me, Joan Acocella’s essays on literature and dance, Twenty Eight Artists and Two Saints. Let me tell you right now, I am in love with Joan Acocella. She Is Wonderful. I’m also waiting on Gabriel Josipovici’s Goldberg Variations, which ought to have arrived several days ago. I am concerned for its wellbeing as not so long ago a package of books from amazon in America arrived finally in my house after a detour via Germany. How could that be?

The other pile of books (on the left) represents my research reading for the rest of March and April. I have an article to write on French crime fiction novelist, Sebastien Japrisot, only I’m writing about his earlier incarnation as the child prodigy Jean-Baptiste Rossi (his real name, of which his other pseudonym is an anagram) who wrote about passionate love affairs based on the principle of submission-domination. His first novel, published at 17 won a major prize and tells the story of a transgressive passion between a 13-year-old boy and a nun. You might indeed raise your eyebrows. After that I’ve got a lot of books on dreams to read. I love that fresh start feeling at the beginning of research. What’s not to like about a whole new pile of reading to get through?


33 thoughts on “And More Books…

  1. How lovely! I suppose it’s like giving an addict drugs or a sweet tooth toffee. But it won’t keep you quiet, I’m sure. I haven’t any of these, so I guess you’ll talk me into a few of them over the coming weeks, although I have considered the A S Byatt and the Anne Sexton. And I’m sure I’ll find out about about Joan Acocella, who means nothing to me. HOW UNREAD it makes me feel,when you bandy these names about and tell me you love them! Hope you enjoy every word of them all and what a good time for a read-in, if the weather there is anything like it is here at the moment. On the journey of reading may the text rise to meet you.

  2. A very happy belated birthday to you litlove! This is a wonderful way to celebrate πŸ™‚
    I see you got the Slaves book there. I’m still waiting for my copy. Enjoy your books.

  3. Hey, happy birthday! As a special gift to you, I’ve tagged you for a meme. You can check it out at my site and do it when and if the spirit hits you.

    I’ve read “Final Payments” by Gordon. She’s a wonderful writer.

  4. Bookboxed – yes! It’s certainly a case of feeding the addiction! And just oause for a moment to consider how much more English literature you know than me…. yes, masses. I only heard about Acocella myself about three weeks ago, so it’s a very recent infatuation πŸ™‚ Curling up with a book IS the only way to combat the ghastly weather, isn’t it? Iliana – thank you so much! And I’m looking forward to reading the Garcia – looks wonderful! Chartroose – Thank you so much! And I love being tagged for memes. This one looks like a lot of fun, too! Charlotte – nothing like a touchy-feely book pile! I cuddle my books as much as I cuddle my child – oops, did I really say that out loud?

  5. Uh-oh, I have only read ONE of the books you received for your birthday (Sedaris. Wait till you read his piece about the “Xmas letter.” It’s what everyone dreams of writing back in response to some of those letter with which we are all familiar, I think, but no one dares). I have a feeling my TBR list is about to grow some more…

    And Happy Birthday, a little late! (It must have been so, with all those books coming to help celebrate.)

  6. Happy birthday, Litlove. What an impressive collection of books!!

    I **never** receive books as gifts. Everyone says it’s because they’re too scared they’ll buy something I’ve already read. Apparently they’ve never heard of gift vouchers!!

  7. Many happy returns of the day, Litlove! You’ve certainly been feted properly – that is quite an impressive bookstack you have there.

    I see your edition of Men and Angels is exactly the one I have (purchased on publication in 1984!) I think you’ll find it fascinating reading.

    I’ve received more than my fair share of books lately too – it’s been like Christmas at my house. Among them was Rosy Thornton’s Hearts and Minds which I’m devouring with great delight.

    Joan Aocella is a new name to me…here I go, off to look up another book!

  8. Happy belated Birthday, Litlove!

    I LOVE the Acocella book. I have been leisurely reading it, essay at a time, savoring each bite like a Godiva champagne truffle!

    The Sedaris book really has to wait until the season — to get the full effect… πŸ™‚

  9. Oh, and PS: You’re an Aries, hmm? Me too! Here is today’s horoscope from DailyOm:

    Safety In Trust
    Aries Daily Horoscope
    You may not feel comfortable trusting others today. You may question the motives of people around you, and if you are feeling suspicious, you may even withhold your thoughts and feelings from your loved ones, coworkers, and associates. Your reticence may result in others not getting the information they need or in someone’s feelings getting hurt. You may find that you are happier and feel less suspicious when you give people the benefit of the doubt. Opening up to others and sharing your emotions and ideas with them can help you maintain fulfilling, close relationships. Your willingness to speak freely with others today may inspire them to be similarly open with you.

    Believing in human goodness can help you relate to others openly and without suspicion. Trusting people as a matter of course can help you feel more comfortable interacting with others. Your instincts will let you know who not to trust and who to trust, so there is no need to worry. You’ll be able to give the people in your life the honesty they need to feel close to you without fearing that they will take advantage of your vulnerability. Working side by side with others is more fulfilling when you have confidence in your partners. When you give others the benefit of the doubt today, you’ll be able to interact with them on a deeper level.

  10. Dorothy – thank you! And absolutely! Sometimes, I love my work πŸ™‚ Hobgoblin – what a lovely way to greet me! Thank you! I’ll bet your bookshelves would be fun to look over. Emily – thank you so much! I’ll have to see what I can do to lengthen that TBR stack of yours a little… I am looking forward so much to that Sedaris piece on the Christmas letter! Jacob – if you love him then he moves that bit closer to the top of the pile. I’m very intrigued by Powers, never having read him before. Kimbofo – thank you! And poor you! I have an aunt who also loves reading and is good with book tokens, and just recently I’ve set up a wish list on amazon precisely for all the people who think it is too hard to buy me books πŸ™‚ Ravenous – thank you! How cool to think we have exactly the same edition – I’m looking forward to reading it very much indeed. And I do think you will like Acocella – she is a wonder. LK – thank you so much! And oooh another Acocella fan – isn’t she just the best? I think I like her writing as much as any critic I’ve ever read. I’m so glad you do too. And thankyou for the horoscope although I have misled you by being so close to the cusp (my birthday’s the 17th) and am still in Pisces. I will go and look it up on the DailyOm!!

  11. Happy belated birthday! All those beautiful books. I love celebrating with books. Is the A.S Byatt new? I enjoy her nonfiction as much as her fiction. she always seems to have something interesting to say.

  12. I arrived here via Bloglily. (We both responded to the “change my life post”). I’m so glad I found your site. Great, thoughtful, substantive writing. Thanks. Fun to see your birthday books. I’ve read the Cheever and everything Anne Sexton has written. Have you ever read her retelling of fairy tales, “Transformations”?

    “In the Time of My Singing” is on the bedside table, waiting in the wings. One of these days…

    I don’t do the academic thing anymore, but I definitely remember the “high” of digging into the stack of books and articles for a new research project. Enjoy!!


  13. What a gorgeous stack! I’m especially keen to try the Acocella essays. Those sound wonderful. And I hope you like The Blindfold as much as I did.

  14. Gloria – I promise you I count my blessings on that score daily – I couldn’t work with anything but literature now, one way or another. Must get you onto my blogroll. Stefanie – thank you! I have to say, books are all I ever want, really! I’m not typing this at home so I can’t check the publication date, but I think the Byatt is fairly recent. It looked so good I couldn’t resist it. I love that kind of thoughtful, semi-analytical type of book! Deborah – I was so inspired by your comment at Bloglily’s – thank you so much for coming to visit. I am very much looking forward to Transformations (which I checked was in the volume) and will be reading that soon. I hope to get to the Richard Powers soon, too. And the start of research is the best bit, isn’t it? Before the confusion sets in…! Andi – I’d love to know what you think of Acocella. And I have to thank you for getting me into Siri Hustvedt – I think she’s marvellous!

  15. That is a very impressive book stack! Happy (belated) Birthday!

    Personally, the Willia Maxwell and A.S Byatt titles take my fancy.

    It’s interesting to hear about Sebastien Japrisot’s earlier writing career. In wake of the movie, I read and really enjoyed his novel A Very Long Engagement.

  16. Happy belated birthday! What a great stack of books…I’m envious. I’m dying to read Siri Hustvedt and Gabriel Josipovici, thanks to you! Also, I now have to find some Joan Acocella…thanks for the inspiration, as always πŸ™‚

  17. What a wonderfully enticing stack of books. And I do hope we’ll get to hear about most or all of them as you start turning the pages. I’m now going to have to go find Jean-Baptiste Rossi! And I’ve never read Joan Acocella – is that a crime? πŸ™‚ With your recommendation I’m keen to see what I think! p.s. Happy Birthday – trente-neuf is a rather splendid age to be!

  18. Happy Birthday! These piles make me feel not quite so guilty about the many new books that continue to pour into my home. Maybe It’s always exciting to see them all together in a beautiful little pile. Good luck on the research!

  19. Ann – you poor thing! Ugh! the dentist…. I do hope you are free from the dreaded chair for a little while now, at least. Thinking of you. Seamus – thank you for your kind wishes. I am indeed lucky to be surrounded by people who are prepared to indulge my obsessions! Sarah – thank you so much! I’m very much looking forward to the authors you mention, and I’m reading more Japrisot at the moment – La dame dans l’auto avec des lunettes et un fusil. He really is an extremely interesting writer of crime fiction. I haven’t seen the film of A Very Long Engagement, but I agree the book is fantastic. He’s worhty of a post, one of these days. Gentle Reader – thank you so much! Would love to know what you think of Hustvedt and Josipovici, and also Acocella (who is new to me, too). I get many wonderful recommendations from you, too. Verbivore – do read Rossi as Sebastien Japrisot – try Piege pour Cendrillon maybe; I’d love to know what you think. And I am sure you would like Acocella (I haven’t legislated on reading her yet – but you never know, I might πŸ˜‰ ). And thank you for the birthday greeting! Lisa – thank you so much! Never feel guilty about having piles of books – without us big book buyers the whole industry would collapse – we are essential to its continued functioning, so it’s a social service we’re doing really! How can it possibly be wrong? πŸ™‚

  20. A Very Happy (and Very Belated) Birthday to you!! I hope you had a wonderful day. What a lovely stack of books you received! I take it that you’re reading Sebastien Japrisot’s books in French (and writing about him in French as well)? I’ve read all his noir novels in english that I can get my hands on, but I’m guessing that’s all that’s been translated. I popped the Cheever book of stories in the mail to you about two weeks ago now, I hope it turns up soon (and doesn’t arrive via Germany!). It’s too bad it didn’t arrive for your birthday, but it’s always nice having book mail to look forward to!

  21. LK – I always knew it! No wonder we found our way happily to each other’s blogs! πŸ™‚ Mark – thank you so much, how very nice of you! And I promise that Sigmund is certainly top of the pile (have been reading Beyond the Pleasure Principle today, in fact!) Polaris – thank you so much! I know, I was very lucky indeed. I think you might like Richard Powers, and I have never known anyone fault William Maxwell as a glorious stylist. Danielle – I am reading them in French (but thankfully writing about them in English!) and I think they have pretty much all been translated. Isn’t he good, though? I love him. I’m getting worried about the Cheever book as it really ought to arrive soon, but then, several books have taken a complete age lately. The Josipovici finally arrived, but that must have taken a fortnight. I will keep you informed, and we will track it down. I’m prepared to go to all kinds of lengths to get hold of the books that are intended for me!!

  22. Oh my goodness litlove, what a lot of lovely books! Happy, happy birthday (although I’m here so late this wish will have to be for next year!) I love knowing that we are both pisces people. (I could have guessed.) I hope it was a wonderful day. xoxo, L

  23. Thankyou, dear BL! It is evident, our shared Piscean nature, isn’t it? I do think so! It was a lovely day and it’s so sweet of you to send your greetings.

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