Hello again

I’m back home in the comfort of my own bed after three weeks on the other side of the Atlantic. I’d thought I would have plenty of time while away to catch up on all the blogs I follow as well as make a dent in my review backlog. It was not to be.

By the time I got back to my hotel at the end of the day all I felt capable of doing was watching series one of Call the Midwife and some rather uninspiring episodes of Poirot with David Suchet in the lead role. I didn’t even read as much as I expected: Richard Flanagan’s Booker winning A Narrow Road to the Deep North (superb); Denis Thierault’s The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman (quirky) and half of The Daughters of Mars, Thomas Keneally’s epic of Australian nurses in World War One.

Despite the feelings of exhaustion I did it seem have enough reserves of energy to go book shopping. In an outlet store I picked up three bargains –  all works by Penelope Lively to add to my collection (don’t ask me what they were because I forgot to note them before I shipped them back home). On a second expedition I bought André Brink’s classic novel, A Dry White Season, which is a hard hitting book about racial intolerance  and Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I’ve seen the film adaptation a few times but only recently heard a podcast discussion which suggested the book has more of an edge than the movie.

I’d thought to buy a lot more but the price of books appears to have shot up in America in recent years. It seemed ridiculous to pay sixteen dollars (minus tax) for a fairly slim paperback that I could get for around three quarters of that price back home. Anyone know why the American editions are so much more expensive?

So now I’m back and having caught up on some sleep am ready to catch up on the hundreds of blog posts I missed… Stand by for lots of commenting.

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

25 thoughts on “Hello again

  • April 29, 2016 at 6:20 pm
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    Yup, $12-16 is what paperbacks cost these days. Been that way for some time. Hardcovers are generally over $30. I use the library heavily in order to avoid the sticker shock.

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    • April 30, 2016 at 3:34 pm
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      American readers seem to buy more hardbacks than we do over here. Surprising given the price tag

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  • April 27, 2016 at 12:57 pm
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    I don’t often buy books, but they seem to me cheaper in the US than in France. And most definitely for ebooks.

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    • April 28, 2016 at 8:27 pm
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      that is a signal to me that I should make sure to take plenty of books with me to France so I don’t have to buy any

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  • April 26, 2016 at 6:30 pm
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    I have had the Flanagan book on my shelf for a while and keep putting off reading it, but you inspired me to fine The Postman… and now I will look for Daughters of Mars. You are a great resource – thanks.
    And I am a fan of Penelope Lively too – been some time since I read her though.
    As for American pricey books, isn’t everything expensive here?

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    • April 28, 2016 at 8:29 pm
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      I was delaying reading it too Rosemary thinking it would be rather grim. Although it has sections which are a rather gruesome they are not used gratuitously. Daughters of Mars also has plenty of blood and misery but isn’t anywhere as riveting a book.

      Lots of things in USA are much cheaper than in UK – food generally and also clothing

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  • April 26, 2016 at 8:31 am
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    Sixteen dollars converted to pounds sounds the going rate for some thin paperbacks in the UK the last year or so. An hour-long thin paperback can be £12, it’s crazy. I think it’s mostly down to lesser popularity, though, so I guess overheads and all that.

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    • April 28, 2016 at 8:30 pm
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      I’d never contemplate paying £12 for a paperback – would rather wait for it to become available in the library.

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  • April 25, 2016 at 8:55 pm
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    Welcome home. It sounds like you were having such a wonderful trip if you didn’t have the energy to read.

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    • April 25, 2016 at 9:12 pm
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      It was more a case of exhaustion after an early morning start and then non stop work for the next 10 hours!

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  • April 25, 2016 at 7:40 pm
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    I didn’t realise books were more expensive in the US – it sounds like you had one full trip and there is something very restful about David Suchet playing Poirot I think!

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    • April 25, 2016 at 9:12 pm
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      He was so restful (or in my words, unexciting) that I kept falling asleep before the end of the episode

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  • April 24, 2016 at 4:12 pm
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    I never seem to get as much read when I’m gone away as I think I will, either. But,really, that probably just means that the trip itself is full and rewarding. I hope that was the case for you! Where did you travel?

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    • April 25, 2016 at 8:09 am
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      I was in a place called Midland, Michigan for the whole time. On the plus side I got to meet a lot of colleagues who have become friends but the trip also coincided with snow and cold mornings.

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  • April 24, 2016 at 3:11 pm
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    I thought Suchet was the main actor who did Poirot. Was there someone else who played him? Just wondering.

    I always thought British copies were more expensive myself. 😉

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    • April 25, 2016 at 8:13 am
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      Suchet is certainly the actor who comes to mind in the role Bryan but plenty of other people have played Poirot too, like Orson Wells (an odd choice perhaps)

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  • April 24, 2016 at 2:30 pm
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    I buy mostly e-books these days, to keep from over-filling my bookshelves…LOL. But I buy hardcover books occasionally from the B & N bargain table…or from Amazon if it’s a book I really want. With prime, I don’t have shipping costs.

    My Kindle charger stopped working last night, a downside to Kindle. This is my second charger! Ordered another, but I’m thinking I should have Jumbo packets of them.

    Enjoy being home…here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

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    • April 25, 2016 at 8:15 am
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      I like the portability of devices like Kindle but they are prone to technical issues. My first e reader crashed and had to be replaced.

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  • April 24, 2016 at 1:54 pm
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    I don’t buy many books, partly because they got so expensive. I get most things from the library these days, including e-books.

    Glad you made it home safe! Exhaustion is always a big part of my overseas trips — I’m trying to figure out a way to stay longer so that at least part of the trip can feel more like normal.

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    • April 25, 2016 at 8:14 am
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      I would do the same if our library system carried more of the books I want to read

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  • April 24, 2016 at 12:02 pm
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    The average price of American books bought in bookstores has been 16 dollars for at least seven years, if I recall correctly. I don’t know why they are at that price point, though.

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    • April 25, 2016 at 8:10 am
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      Maybe in that case I wasn’t paying enough attention in previous trips.

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  • April 24, 2016 at 11:57 am
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    The movie of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” is certainly much more optimistic, I would say. I had read the book prior to watching it, and I think it’s a good idea to read it if you want a slightly different perspective on the story 🙂

    I’ve also noticed an increase in the price of English/American books in my country :/ I’m usually reluctant to pay more than 10-11 euros for a paperback (I might as well get the hardback if I am to pay more anyway..).

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    • April 25, 2016 at 8:11 am
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      Thanks for that endorsement for Capote, it was exactly the reason I was interested in reading the book

      Reply

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