Sunday Salon

Sunday Salon: New book haul

Even though it’s my birthday today and I knew I would be unwrapping some bookish presents (well what else would you buy an avid reader??), I couldn’t resist the temptation yesterday to add to my TBR pile. When you find a title that so many people have recommended and its at the incredible bargain price of £1 (roughly equivalent to 75 US cents) it would be madness to leave it on the shelf wouldn’t it? Particularly when the proceeds are going to a good cause (heart disease research in this case) and I’m making a contribution – admittedly small – contribution to the British economy.

So I am now the owner of a very good condition copy of Rohinton Mistry‘s A Fine Balance, a novel that won the 1996 Commonwealth Writers Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker prize in the same year.

Here’s what else I acquired.

bookhaulHaving seen the film  84 Charing Cross Road at least a dozen times, I’m hoping the book will be just as brilliant. Helene Hanff as portrayed by Anne Bancroft comes across as a wonderfully dry-witted character that would be a tremendously entertaining dinner party guest. Wonder if that comes across in the book?

Maggie O’Farrell is an author whose work I was introduced to when I friend bought me The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox which I found riveting with its interwoven narratives whose connections only slowly become apparent. The Hand that First Held Mine was just as good so I’m looking forward to reading O’Farrell’s third novel The Distance Between Us. 

There’s been a lot of media attention recently for The Reluctant Fundamentalist which has just been released as a film featuring Kiefer Sutherland and Riz Ahmed. This story of a Pakistani man whose life in the U.S. changes dramatically after the 9/11 attacks, won acclaim from several quarters and was also Was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

The last book in my pile, Edward Marston’s The Railway Detective, is a wild card for me. I’ve not heard of this author before or this series but the cover just appealed to me. Maybe there was also a subliminal connection to the reading I was doing earlier this week about the connection between railways and novels for a posting as part of my history of the novel challenge. Hope it proves to be a lucky coincidence.

As for what delights lie in store as birthday gifts, I have to wait unfortunately until Mr Booker Man can drag himself out of slumberland so I can open them…


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

17 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: New book haul

  • Fantastic book haul 🙂 Admittedly, I haven’t heard of the Maggie O’Farrell and Edward Marston choices however, A Fine Balance is an epic book that brought my experience of India to life, The Reluctant Fundamentalist is supposed to be highly intriguing if a little frustrating, and, after reading it last year, I’m confident you’ll find that Helene Hanff’s wry tone comes across even more so in her book, which is charming,

  • Happy belated birthday! And yeah, 84 Charing Cross Road the book is even better than the movie.

  • Looks like a fantastic haul! Those are all really good titles. 3 of them are on my TBR pile too. 🙂

    My Sunday Salon

    • Maybe we can prod each other to actually get to read them Rachel, instead of just buying and admiring them on the shelf

  • Loved the movie 84 Charing Cross Road but it’s the book which I re-read every few years. It leaves room for the imagination. And Happy Birthday from Down Under Hope the weather was kind.

    • thanks for the birthday wishes. unbelievably for the uk we managed a day without rain and there was even enough sunshine that I could get out into the garden. 84 charing cross must be good if you re-read it when there are so many other novels demanding attention!

      • It’s a bit like comfort food. There are times when all you need is something that’s familiar and sweet and not too taxing !

        • And chocolate flavoured preferably…..

  • Happy birthday Karen!

  • Happy birthday. What interesting reading. Maggie O’Farrell sounds very intriguing. I love books that only gradually reveal themselves to the reader. You make me want to run off to book sale or used book store right now.
    Have a lovely day.

    • she’s definately worth trying Barbara. Pity these shops are not open on Sundays or we;d all be there….

  • Happy birthday! Congrats on your haul…I always enjoy Maggie O’Farrell’s books…and haven’t read that one. I recently read her Instructions from a Heatwave….


  • Happy birthday! That’s a fine book haul indeed. I hope there are more goodies to come later today!

    • Thanks for the birthday wishes Laura. There were one or two yes! Disgrace (Coetzee) from the Booker list and two from my attempts to read more broadly; Laurent Binet’s debut novel HHhH which I’ve heard a lot of good things about and Wife of the Gods by the Ghanian author Kwei Quartery. I seem to be immersed in all things africa at the moment. My husband even bought me a watch with an african motif strap


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