Home Alone (With Books)

I am missing Mister Litlove, who has gone away for the best part of the week on a sailing holiday with work colleagues. I had written some other stuff about this, but decided that it was too whiney and wimpish for words, so we’ll leave it at that.

Anyway,  let’s look instead at some of my new books. Or new to me, at least, in several cases. First of all, non-fiction. I draw your attention to the HUGE book at the bottom of the pile which is the recently published history of my college, and a free copy to boot because I am a member. My son took one look at it and quipped that it was clearly a day-by-day history of the past five hundred years, and he may well be right.

Next we have the fiction pile. I can’t be bothered to write out all the titles, sorry, but some of the ones you can’t see so well include Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Siri Hustvedt’s The Summer Without Men, Ms Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum (about a teacher at a New York school, looks fab), Rose Tremain’s Trespass, The Finkler Question, Naomi Alderman’s The Lessons, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, Darcy O’Brien’s A Way of Life, Like Any Other, and Saraswati Park by Anjali Joseph. Actually I nearly did them all and Truman Capote should have been in the other pile, shouldn’t he? Naughty Truman.

And finally, for the two or three people who are interested in that sort of thing, here are the French novels I’ve acquired this year. I go for ages these days without buying, or indeed reading, anything French, and then I am overcome with need for something new and interesting.

Are those pictures as blurry as I think they are? Sorry! Photography not my forte! Fortunately I’m currently reading a wonderful book, The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe, which is a cult classic concerning five young career girls working in a New York publishing office.  Warmly recommended, although I will review it properly next week.  Any suggestions as to where I should start on my most recent tbr piles?


16 thoughts on “Home Alone (With Books)

  1. I always love the first day, possibly day and a half of being home alone, and after that I start getting a bit maudlin and talking to the dog about when David might be getting home. 🙂 So I relate.

    And I for one am always interested to see your new French titles!

  2. I vote for Fahrenheit 451! I haven’t read it in years but more recently I have been favorably impressed by Bradbury’s short stories. He writes an excellent story, that man.

  3. I do love looking piles of books. Thank you. Of all your piles, I have only read “In Cold Blood”. I remember thinking it was pretty good. I hesitate to say “I enjoyed it” considering the subject matter. I admire your ability to read in French. I am too lazy to read in other languages.

  4. I, too, love seeing photos of reading stacks. In Cold Blood. I remember hearing about the Clutter murders on the news during that time. It became a giant media event. Everyone was always talking about it. I can still picture in my mind a photo of their house. For a great many kids my age, it shattered our beliefs that we were safe in our homes, with our parents. When I was older, I bought the book which was a huge bestseller. But I was never able to read it. I don’t think I even ever opened it. It was just too close to my childhood terrors. I eventually gave it away. But, I understand it is gripping. I wish I could approach it with the eye of someone who did not experience it in real time.

  5. I see how it is, when Mr. Litlove is away the book piles grow and then when he returns and notices you can say it was because you were so sad at his not being there and needed comfort 😉 You have some yummy books in your piles. I love Fahrenheit 451, but the Murakami and the Tolstoy diaries, so tempting!

  6. If you’re looking for something quick and engaging, I really enjoyed “The Slap,” which one of my co-workers recommended at our store. It managed to stay on our bestseller list for a quite a while, which is a pretty good feat for an Aussie novelist not so well known in Massachusetts.

  7. I am so embarrassed to ask this question, but how do you know what to buy in French? I know the list of classics I haven’t read, but I just don’t seem to know how to get into the contemporary-fiction scene the way I do in English.

  8. I recently watched the movie “Capote” about the period when he was researching and writing In Cold Blood. Philip Seymour Hoffman is excellent, Catherine Keener is Harper Lee. Have you seen it? That movie got me interested in Capote, so now I’m reading … Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Don’t think I’ll delve into the murder again by reading it. But I sure like to read your review of In Cold Blood.

  9. Great piles and quite a few books that are on my piles as well, also on your French one (at least where I can read it… they are a bit blurry)or that I will add to the wish list.
    I am planning on rewatching Capote and agree with Arti, it is a fascinating movie.
    I am very curious to hear more about The Slap. I’m not sure whether I should read it or not.

  10. Oh pretty piles of books. The only one I’ve read is ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’, which is so interesting, if a bit odd (not sure I really got the full context of what makes this book so different from other narratives about fundamentalism, because I don’t read a whole lot of that stuff). So much interesting stuff here and I’ll wait to hear all about ‘The Best of Everything’ which seems to be the big reissue sensation of the moment.

  11. We all have days when we simply have to give up on whatever we’d planned to do and just do what our bodies feel is right. I know, I’ve learned to build spare days into any project just to allow for the fact. So, don’t feel bad about it. By the way, I think a couple of your comments to my blog bit the dust last week when Blogger had a hiccough. I hope you didn’t think I’d deleted them.

    Second by the way, Rohan from Novel Readings is hoping to be in Birmingham for a conference later in the year and wondered if you would be able to get over to join us for dinner. I know travelling is sometimes difficult (me too!) but if you wanted to stay over and go back the next day The Bears say to tell you you would be very welcome.

  12. Oh, what better way to deal with the absence of a spouse than stacking up books? And you’re brave enough to take photos, as well (this Luddite is truly impressed). Isn’t that just like Capote to wind up in the wrong pile? Anyway, happy, happy reading! If you’d like to read In Cold Blood Together (I’ve had it for ages and never get to it) and post on it, I’d be happy to do that. (Didn’t we talk about doing that with some other book at some point? I can’t remember what, though.) Anyway, happy, happy reading!

  13. Emily – bless you for such a lovely sympathetic comment. And I’m so pleased to find another francophile online! I’m really looking forward to discussing Sarraute later in the year with the Wolves.

    Jenny – I’m so pleased you do as I read hardly any science fiction/fantasy/dystopian literature and need a little push to pick it up.

    Ruthielle – ah, here I must confess that I used to teach French literature, so it’s simply somthing I do. I can’t claim special status for an everyday sort of skill – like other people bake cakes for a living, or take apart car engines. If I’d had a job in high finance AND read French on the side, that would be more impressive! I’m most intrigued to read In Cold Blood – it has a special significance, I think, for American bloggers.

    Grad – and there I was just talking about the special significance of In Cold Blood. Yes, it must be a very chilling book if you recall the real events on which it is based.

    Stefanie – now that has to be the perfect explanation! Although, I do hasten to add that these piles have grown over several months – but still! I got the Murakami in your honour and am looking forward to it.

    mbolit – that’s a recommendation indeed. I’ve read some good reviews of this one and really want to see what it’s all about.

    Lilian – thank you for being so kind! And books do help, don’t they?

    Jenny – but that’s a really good question! I used to be far more up to date than I am now because I subscribed to a French literary magazine – ‘Le Magazine litteraire’ no less. Here’s the online version: http://www.magazine-litteraire.com/ And then I do read amazon.fr, the way I read the UK amazon site. French readers are VERY critical, so if you find a book averaging 3 or 4 stars, it must be good!

    Arti – if it’s not a children’s film, you can pretty much guarantee I won’t have seen it! So thank you for that recommendation. I read a fantastic book about Truman Capote’s famous black and white ball (by Deborah Davis) and that made me very interested in him – a film would be a good follow up!

    Caroline – if there’s any title you’d like more details about, please do say! Thank you for seconding the Capote movie and I’m looking forward to reading The Slap, too, and will undoubtedly review it here when I have.

    Bookgazing – oh have you heard about The Best of Everything? I just saw it in the bookshop with the As Seen On Mad Men sticker and knew I had to have it – it’s really good. The Reluctant Fundamentalist was £2.50 in a WHSmith deal, so I could hardly walk away! I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Annie – thank you for such a lovely sympathetic comment. I am having nightmares with blogger, which won’t accept my comments for anyone’s site at the moment and I don’t know what to do about it (should make a formal announcement here, for one). That’s so exciting that Rohan is coming over – I’d love to meet up, although that is more than I’ve done in quite a while. Will you send me your email address, or drop a line to me at mine and we’ll chat about it more.

    Emily – Yes, please! I’d love to do a Capote readalong with you – when would you like to do it? I’ll drop you an email. And absolutely, there have to be compensations for absent spouses (spice?) and books are always the number one on my list.

  14. If Mr Litlove is away sailing then you surely should get the equivalent of that in books! Lovely piles by the way. I have that Rona Jaffe on my own pile so will be curious to hear what you have to say about it–it looks like a very fun read actually. I’ve just recently read Paris Wife, which I really enjoyed, but it looks like you have a number of wonderful choices here–have fun choosing one to read!

  15. Oh what lovely piles of books (even the one I cannot read a word of) 🙂 I think you should go with Fahrenheit 451 because your review will then spur me to relieve it from my own pile. Selfish, selfish…
    Enjoy your alone time.

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