Mister Litlove Grows Suspicious

It has been a little unfortunate that these past few days Mister Litlove has been a witness to rather too many parcels of books arriving in the post. Usually the post comes while he is at work and I can slip a book here and there into my ever expanding TBR piles without him noticing. Alas, there was no way I could hide the rather large box that arrived from The Book People containing the books you see in the first photo below. Even my son was moved to express amazement (commenting wryly, ‘That was never going to get through the letterbox!’) and letting the cat out of the bag to his father when he got home later on. I did protest, however, that The Book People are a particularly fine way of getting books. They do these fabulous deals on book sets, the ten novels from Oneworld Classics costing me a mere £10, and the three Laurie Kings just £5.99. I also received ten Mary Stewarts for comfort reading, also for a tenner. They currently have the shortlist of the Orange Prize for less than £20, ten Ruth Rendells or Donna Leon for £10, ten poetry books or ten Somerset Maugham novels for £10, ten modern classics, all the Sharpes by Bernard Cornwell, ten Garcia Marquez books, oh and just lots of others books too. I think they’re great – the sole drawback is that they only operate in the UK.

Quite unlike the other book club I buy from, Books Direct, who took a whole month to deliver two books that were supposed to arrive within five working days. It didn’t help that one of the books I’d ordered was given to me in the meantime by a publisher, and that despite writing to customer services twice to ask for the order to be cancelled (the second email sent a week ago) the books turned up eventually, the day after my other delivery, and in a box way too big for just two books, thus making Mister Litlove increasingly suspicious. Not good.

There have been some books arrive here that have been generously sent to me, which you can see in the next photograph. The three Graham Greene’s and the Paul Auster all came from a grateful student at the end of term, which was just a lovely surprise. Jenn Ashworth’s Cold Light is a book I was fortunate enough to win at Caroline’s site. And the other two are review copies. Alice by Judith Hermann is a series of five interlinked stories dealing with grief, and The Damnation of John Donellan is a sort of eighteenth century true crime story, in which a dissolute heir dies in suspicious circumstances and the recent son-in-law to the family is accused of murder. It sounds very scandalous and lots of fun and I hope to read that one very soon.

The other two books that arrived these past few days, pushing Mister Litlove to the brink of a book buying ban, are part of this next group. I realised recently that I have never read a book of Italian literature in my life. Isn’t that dreadful? So I’m arranging a sort of mini-challenge for myself. I already owned Alberto Moravia’s Contempt, a novel about a man who manages to ruin his marriage through his own insecurities, and the Titian biography by Mark Hudson I actually began a few months back, but had put aside in favour of books I needed to read sooner. I added to those books two modern classics: The Leopard by di Lampedusa, the story of a 19th century nobleman, and Italo Svevo’s As A Man Grows Older, a study of hopeless love. I own a rather elderly copy of Boccacio’s Decameron which I might try to read (although I fear I might not get through it unless I break a leg and end up immobile and obliged to read for days on end) and I’m also hoping to read Zeno’s Conscience by Svevo too.

There may have been a few other books that have made their way to me recently, including Zadie Smith’s essays on literature and Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists, but let’s just keep that between ourselves, shall we? I really don’t think Mister Litlove’s nerves could take the strain….. let’s just hope the post comes later next week.

27 thoughts on “Mister Litlove Grows Suspicious

  1. What is this Book People business? That they will send you books all matching and so pretty? But only to the UK? Why have I never heard of them? I feel like I have wasted some time not complaining about the Book People and their UK-only situation.

  2. My husband is the same…there are always parcels of books arriving and he wonders where I’m going to put them amongst the ever growing piles. “More books, I see,” he says, and you can almost see him stroking his moustaches malevolently as if trying to decide whether he can tie them up in a sack and drown them.

    But I can’t help it..I love them so. Your new stacks look delicious.

  3. I just went on a book buying spree today that I’m feeling guilty for, but I got such a good haul, including Reading Women by Stephanie Staal, which you made sound so attractive, and American Wife, which I remember you reviewed awhile back. I’m excited that you’re going to be reading Italian literaure, I’m almost done with The Betrothed by Alexander Manzoni, I’m loving it, and I also realized I need to add more Italian lit to my reading.

  4. Ummm, I’m *green* with envy over here! Why is there no US Book People?! *sob*

    I read a OneWorld title and loved it, and you know I’m a bit of an evangelical for the Mary Russell series. 😉

  5. I am terribly jealous of those deals offered by The Book People. Of course you had to order those books given the prices! The Laurie Kings look particularly nice, I don’t think I’ve seen those editions yet (mine are all old, mass market paperbacks).

    I’ve been doing my best to sneak my own recent purchases into the house but, alas, I have failed rather spectacularly. Everyone in my family works from home so, of course, there is a mad rush whenever the post comes. I’m usually the last person to find out I have a package since my office is the furthest from the front door.

  6. No suspicious boxes in the mail is a plus for ebooks. However, although there are plenty of wonderful things for free in the public domain (and free is the best deal any day), I’ve never seen such good bargains on ebooks has you’ve found with these Book People. Too bad that they are UK only.

  7. I got my Book People parcel last week! I ordered The 20 books called English Journeys and 10 Penguins with classics like Lucky Jim. Last time I got 10 books by Helen Dunmore. How are these prices possible? There isn’t a day with a book delivery or other at my place. Why does Mr Litlove care? The space? Space could be an issue, I agree. I hope this is not your first Judith Hermann. I would say she is one of the 5 or 10 best writers in Gemany today but this wasn’t such a good book compared to her outstanding short stories. Still far better than many other books.

  8. I always feel the luckiest people on Earth are the one’s that have a constant supply of book. So looks like you are number one in my list of lucky people.
    And the sight of all those books have made me book-hungry now. All that apart, Happy Reading!

  9. I admit to compulsively filling my eBook reader with books. My experience of Italian Literature is limited to Dante (Dorothy Sayers’ translation) and the wonderfully light “Don Camillo” tales. It is also good to see someone else enjoys Donna Leon’s work. I am nattering to avoid thinking about the unfairness of a book company only operating in Britain! Especially since we Aussies have just lost one our major book chains.

  10. What a list! So interesting. I’m actually rather glad that Book People doesn’t operate over here; the temptation would prove too great!
    Happy reading:-)

  11. That the book people only operate in the UK is a pretty major drawback! I’d love to have the Orange prize shortlist for so cheap, and there are so many other awesome deals. Sigh. How could Mr. Litlove possibly object when the books are so cheap? 🙂

  12. Just wonderful to look at all those books… I don’t feel so bad now 😉 The ten for £10 is marvellous. Wonder if The Book People ship overseas. The 10 Somerset Maugham is so alluring. I sometimes order from The Book Depository. They’re from England and they ship any no. of item anywhere in the world free. Their prices are usually lower than Amazon too. My son recently offered to buy me an eReader, a Kindle or a Kobo (sweet of him), but I said no thanks. I’m an old fashioned book lover. This post is delicious.

  13. Oh god, the no-outside-UK policy stopped me cold! I so wished for an alternative to Amazon. I read The Leopard while in high school and remember it fondly. Your latest shopping spree seems great!

  14. Jenny – lol! Although boo hoo, as well, because it isn’t fair, is it? Mind you, I think the US had these fantastic library sales regularly, which we seem hardly ever to have, and I get very envious about them. I do think it would be great if the Book People expanded their deliveries, though.

    Becca – oh your comment did make me chuckle, particularly the part about your husband wanting to put them in a sack and drown them. I have seen EXACTLY that look in Mister Litlove’s eyes.

    Miriam – I DO so hope you enjoy Reading Women and American Wife – I thoroughly enjoyed both of them. And how interesting that you are currently reading Italian lit. I’m looking forward very much to reading your review (you will review it, won’t you?).

    Eva – it just isn’t fair is it? I do commiserate. I would never have bought all the oneworld classics at full price because so many are completely new to me and I’d be worried I wouldn’t enjoy them. But for ten pounds I’m more than happy to take the risk. Looking forward very much to the Russell series, as well.

    Claire – ah you understand! It would be criminal, wouldn’t it, to walk away from those prices? But I’m most concerned to hear about your postal situation. Nobble the postman – get him to push your books through a window. Some things a girl has to keep to herself. 😉

    Cam – it is too bad. You need to find relatives who work in the British forces, because they will ship through the forces network. Then of course you’d have to wait for a visit from the relative and it would probably end up the slowest way ever to get books. At least you can get lots of freebies on your ereader.

    Lilian – always pleased to entertain you! 🙂

    Mary – I am delighted to give you a laugh! Believe me, Mister Litlove will take the sympathy. 🙂

    Caroline -ah very interesting about Judith Hermann. It is my first novel by her but I’ll bear your words in mind. And yes, those book prices are just so good. It is space mostly that Mister Litlove worries about, not least because if I want another bookcase, he will try to make it for me! Which is sweet, but can be a bit of a stress for him.

    Dovereader – I am a very lucky woman at the moment, and I am very grateful! And I know what you mean – if I didn’t spend so long looking at other people’s piles of new books on the internet, I might not get so book hungry myself (but then again, I might….).

    Archie – it’s bad for the book chains at the moment isn’t it? And a friend of mine who lives in Australia said he had a three hour round trip to the nearest bookstore, which is NOT great. So I quite understand the lure of the ereader and I’m glad you have it fully stocked! I feel a bit uncertain about reading Dante, as on the whole I tend not to go back in time before 1830 (and exceptions are generally only made for things that look like novels). But it is a bit bad not to consider Dante, isn’t it!

  15. ds – lol! I quite understand. I think Mister Litlove would happily move it abroad, too. 🙂

    Dorothy – well QUITE. 🙂 It is a bit of a shame as the deals are very good – perhaps the company will branch out? I hope so.

    Arti – oh that’s so nice of your son! But I feel just the same way about paper – just the look of a book makes me feel happy. Alas, the Book People don’t ship overseas, or at least only to British forces, so if you know someone in the forces nearby, that might work, even if it would be a bit slow! But I’m glad to make you feel better about your own purchases – I’m always relieved when I hear about bloggers with TBR piles as big as mine! 🙂

    Smithereens – it is a shame! Do you have any British relatives at all? If I’m ever in Paris again, I’ll be sure to ask if I can courrier anything over to you! And thank you for the recommendation of the Leopard. I’m really looking forward to starting on those Italian books.

    Colleen – then I will! Believe me, I would never suffer book deprivation willingly. 😉

  16. Not very lady-like, I know, but I SNORTED with laughter when I saw the title of this post on my sidebar! (Been away, so no blog reading for a few days.) An all-too-familiar scene in our house as well… Your turn of phrase, to the brink of a book ban and back, is a joy, as ever. Very much enjoyed the Capote post too.

  17. It’s probably best that the Book People only operate in the UK otherwise my beloved might be looking at me askance with all those great deals to be had! If you are going to read Italian lit, do be sure to partake of some Italo Calvino. He is really something special especially his book If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller.

  18. Contempt looks like a fantastic book. I checked it out on Amazon and intend to get it from the library (I have purchased too many books lately!). I am currently in the process of reading The Divine Comedy, which is quite a challenge, and I have Paget Toynbee’s biography of Dante as well a several secondary works on the Divine Comedy. I tried Massoni’s The Betrothed a while back and could not get into it, but it is supposed to be a wonderful Italian classic.

  19. Book People is brilliant isn’t it – my parents now give me the entire Booker shortlist in hardback for my Christmas present every year! And they do come to lots of workplaces (though often they only bring recipe books and kids books with them).

    Hope you enjoy the Paul Auster – it’s got a special place in my heart, because the Man lent it me to read just as we were tipping into a more serious couple. And I read the Leopard earlier this year – not sure I really see why it’s such a classic, but definitely worth a read with some moments which really hit home.

  20. So many books! I’m jealous (especially of Zadie Smith’s essays)!
    Thanks fo the tip about the Book People. I noticed one of thei vans once, but thought it was a mobile library. I’ve just googled it and they do operate in Ireland; great offers!

  21. Deborah – lol!!!!! I’ve been hopelessly disorganised this week and a bit under the weather so I’m behind in everything (as usual!) but looking forward to catching up with you on your blog, too.

    Stefanie – I kicked myself after writing the post as I’d meant to mention Calvino. I’m sort of tempted towards Invisible Cities – what do you think? Not so good as a first read of his?

    Ali – how nice to find another reader intrepidly heading into Italian territory! Do let me know how you get on with Contempt – I’d love to know.

    Rose – the Booker shortlist is a delight and my dad sometimes gets it for me for Christmas. Ahh that is so sweet about the Paul Auster. We ought to get a meme going around about important books in the lives of couples. It’s funny how often there is one.

    Em – yup, Ireland is fine. They have fantastic deals! Although I do fear I may be leading you astray…. I am so looking forward to reading Zadie Smith’s essays but, umm, I seem to have quite a few books in the queue ahead. Absolutely my own fault!

    Liz – it seems like her first one was a real hit, so I’m looking forward to this very much. Do hope to get to it soon.

  22. Googling Mary Stewart and was thrown into your blog, lovely as always, and oh my goodness me will not be able to resist TEN Mary stewarts. I love all her books and these are a must. My favourite is Airs above the Ground

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