I had a little indulgence while on my trip to the USA earlier this year and ended up with more new books than I could fit into the suitcase so had to ship some of them home. The US mailing system screwed up somewhere along the line so it took far longer than expected. By the time they arrived late last week I’d forgotten what I’d bought….
First of all three books I bought in a discounted store.
I’ve read only Penelope Lively to date – her Booker winning novel Moon Tiger. It was a stunner so I’ve been on the look out for a few more titles from her. Family Album is her 16th book. As you’d guess from the title, Family Album concerns a family. In this case Alison and Charles who have established a seemingly perfect life in a restored Edwardian mansion. But when their six adult children return to the family home, their visit triggers a set of revelations and the unravelling of long-held secrets.
This was a completely speculative buy since I have never read anything by Kunzru. I bought it on the strength of the synopsis. The central character is Mike Frame who appears to be the kind of dad that doesn’t stick out from the crowds. But Frame is really Chris Carver, a former member of an underground far left group that, in the 1970s, advocated violent action against the state and protested against the Vietnam War by setting bombs around London. Now a mysterious figure from those days has reappeared and wants to dig up Chris’ past.
Last year saw me dip my toe in the waters of South African writing. Those novels proved to be some of the highlights of the year. Andre Brink is one author I’ve been aware of for some time but never got to read so when I saw this buried in a corner of the bookstore at the ridiculously low price of $1 I jumped at it. A Dry White Season is set in Johannesburg during the time of apartheid. It features Ben du Toit, a white schoolteacher who believes in the essential fairness of the South African government until the sudden arrest and subsequent ‘suicide’ of a black janitor from his school. His quest for the truth draws him into a world of lies and corruption which then engulf his own family. Sounds terrific doesn’t it? The New York Times certainly thought so, making it a notable book of the year when it was published in 1979.
And finally, a book that I know only as a film and wouldn’t have thought about reading except for a discussion on the The Readers podcast which gave me the clue that the text of Breakfast at Tiffany’s could be far superior to the film. It’s only now looking at the book after a gap of more than 2 months that I realise this is really more of a short story at 87 pages long.
18 thoughts on “New acquisitions”
I had that same copy of Capote. I also vaguely remember watching the film right after reading the book and thinking something along the lines of “why is this film so iconic, it has nothing on the book?”
maybe it says more about the actress and direction than the story?
Maybe. I know her in that role is super iconic, but even then I was like uh…
I hope you enjoy your new books 🙂
i shall try my best Jessica
I love Truman Capote. He hated the casting of Audrey Hepburn in the film and later there was a suggestion of a re-make in which he wanted Jodie Foster cast as Holly – a very different type of actress but one he thought would be much more like the character he wrote.
Those are radically different styles of actress – would indeed be fascinating to see how the film would change as a result
The only Penelope Lively book I’ve read is Consequences – definitely a good one! Looking forward to hearing about Family Album (one I’ve not seen a review for). A Dry White Season also piques my curiosity. I love finding discounted treasures. 🙂
i’ll keep an eye out for Consequences – happy to add to my Lively collection
Nothing more exciting than speculative buys – over the last few years I’ve challenged myself to walk into a bookshop and choose a book I know absolutely nothing about (nothing about the author, no reviews, no bookshop or author endorsements…). Oddly through this process I read what turned out to be one of the biggest books for that year – The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton!
I haven’t read Breakfast at Tiffany’s either (but have it in the TBR stack) – always makes me think of that Seinfeld episode where George joins a book group.
what an exciting strategy. It must be difficult sometimes though to find a totally unknown book given the level of activity on the blogosphere where I seem to get dozens of recommendations every day
It is very difficult but possible! 😁
Oooh, I read and reviewed Moon Tiger just last year. Wonderfully engaging writing! (http://books-n-music.blogspot.com/2015/12/complex-and-poignant-just-as-people-are.html) Anxious to know your thoughts on Family Album. A Dry White Season seems to have some similarities in plot to My Son’s Story by Nadine Gordimer that I read and reviewed in March. (http://books-n-music.blogspot.com/2016/03/more-than-he-ever-wanted-to-know.html) And the book club I facilitate is reading Breakfast at Tiffany’s for our August meeting. Like you, I had no idea it was so short! I just love such wonderfully inexpensive book deals!
Gordimer is someone I want to get to know more – I have yet to read The Conservationist even. It’s on my Booker project list though
I enjoyed Gordimer’s writing, though this book was rather depressing, IMHO. Though I’m sure it was meant to be. I marked The Conservationist.
I read Family Album and liked it a lot. Hope you enjoy it.
Good to know that Guy. quite when i get to experience it myself is another matter…