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.