Back on the acquisition wagon

At the start of this year I decided my goal would be to read the books I already own and to rein back on new acquisitions. I’t’s not a book ban by any stretch of the imagination – I know that would be impossible for me since the minute I declared such a ban I’d be itching to get to the bookshop. It’s more of a restraint on buying/acquiring. And I’ve astonished myself by just how restrained I’ve been. Until this week that is. Four new books have mysteriously made their way into my home. I can’t imagine how they got there – perhaps the book fairies placed them there when I was asleep??

These are the four new acquisitions which are now in the pile I categorise as “waiting for a space in the shelves”.

Our nearest Tesco supermarket recently introduced a book donation shelf so of course I had to take a peek when I was in the store. Mostly the donated items were the usual crime fiction/romance/thriller titles but oh joy, there was a Virago Modern Classic in amongst them. I’d never heard of Maura Laverty but for the price of a donation to charity it was mine. I’ve since discovered she was an Irish author writing in in the early 1940s but whose first four novels (of which Never No More is the first) were banned in Ireland until the 1960s.

Flush with this success I called in at a second hand bookshop in Cardiff with a mind to buy some of the Virago Modern Classics I’d seen on my last visit. There wasn’t much of interest this time around though. But in browsing the shelves my eye was drawn to the familiar grey colour of one spine; sure enough this was a Persephone edition in excellent condition. I’ve never come across a Persephone in any second hand store before now so of course I had to have it, even more so because it was by Dorothy Whipple, an author who comes highly recommended by Ali at HeavenAli but whom I’ve never read. They Knew Mr Knight, Whipple’s second novel, is the story of a family who encounter and fall foul of a crooked financier.

After that moment of excitement I just had to celebrate with a visit to a coffee shop that just happens to be a bookcrossing zone.And they just happened to have Lewis Man by Peter May, an author I’ve heard about via Cleopatra at Cleopatralovesbooks. I took it home in the belief this was the first title in his crime fiction trilogy set on the remote Isle of Lewis in Scotland that features a former policeman who has returned to the island of his birth. Turns out I was wrong and The Lewis Man is book number 2. So now I have to hope the library can furnish me with book number 1 The Blackhouse. 

And finally, a few years ago I read Alex by Pierre LeMaitre which was a fast-paced, superbly written novel about a girl’s abduction. The beginning was so horrifying that I didn’t think I could continue reading but I did and it turned out to be a riveting story about revenge. So taken was I with LeMaitre that I planned to read more from him so when his publishers ran a giveaway recently of course I could not resist. Which is how I come to be the new owner of his latest novel Three Days and  Life which will be published in July. It begins in  1999, in a small provincial town of Beauval, France, where a twelve-year-old boy called Antoine Courtin accidentally kills a young neighbor girl in the woods near his home. He conceals the body and to his relief- is never suspected of any connection to her disappearance.  More than a decade later Antoine, now a doctor, moves back to Beauval and discovers there was a witness to his crime, a person who has the power to destroy his life. Based on what I experienced with Alex, I’m sure this is going to be a dramatic psychological thriller.

And now I have to pull in those reins again otherwise all the progress I’ve made on reading through my personal library will be undone.



About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on May 15, 2017, in Bookends and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 35 Comments.

  1. Three Days and a Life is excellent (I actually listened to it, in French), even more psychological than Alex, nothing too physical as in Alex. If you read Alex, you absolutely need to read Irene. Tough as well physically, but so so brilliant in the plot! And have you read his historical novel on WWII? So so good. I also read Blood Wedding, excellent as well. This guy is a master

  2. I <3 Persephone. I have a poetry collection from Persephone called "It's Hard to Be Hip Over Thirty" that I adore.

  3. Just to make you feel better, our annual book fair was this past weekend and there are now 24 new books in my house. Four is a very civilized number. 🙂

  4. Sounds like it was great fun. I am going to be your bad influence here and say, just keep buying! Go on, you know you want to!

  5. Four new books in one week?! You are starting the slide down the slippery slope! 😀

  6. I hoe you enjoy your new books 🙂

  7. No, these were good ones and totally justified! Mr Knight is a great read – I’m a big Whipple fan, too, and in fact I have her short stories coming up on the TBR soon!

  8. Well I think four books very restrained. Never no More is very good – look out for its sequel No more than Human. They knew Mr Knight is probably one of Dorothy Whipple’s strongest novels so really hope you enjoy that. Great finds.

  9. I just checked the price of used copies of Never No More on Amazon US and you got a bargain.

  10. How fab to find a Persephone book second-hand – they’re such beautiful books, aren’t they? I’m very envious that you won a copy of Three Days and A Life – I love this author’s books and am eagerly awaiting this new one. I hope you enjoy it and all your other new books. Happy reading 🙂

  11. Your bookshops—and even your coffee shops—sound like places to avoid if you’re trying not to acquire new books…lol. But how lovely to find some. I haven’t read Peter May, but I’ve been noticing great reviews of his work on Cleopatra’s site, too.

    Enjoy! Thanks for sharing, and here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

  12. I have just read a book-acquisition-confession – here is the link:

    if the link won’t work, it’s on Book Riot, My Book Buying Ban ……. you are not alone.

  13. Sometimes you just have to buy books – and these were far too good to pass up! If you don’t let yourself off the leash occasionally you’ll eventually go mad and have a real splurge!

  14. Wise words at the beginning of your post, Karen. Rather like strict diets, buying bans seem doomed to end in failure to me. Enjoy your haul!

    • i tried the diet approach once for books, thinking that if I read say 5 books i could buy one. but of course the one turned into two, and into three……

  15. What wonderful finds! Finding a green virago is always a joy but nothing beats the thrill of chancing upon a secondhand Persephone, does it? 🙂

    • Well the Persephone find was a first for me. Our stores around here don’t seem to have clientele that want to part with their copies (which I completely understand)

  16. It must be something in the cybersphere: I had a little attack of spendyitis this week too.

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