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Sunday Salon: Stocking up the bookshelves

Celebrated the end of the week with some lucky finds which have not only enriched my bookshelves but saved me money.

Browsing in my local Red Cross shop, amongst the usual Grishams and Pattersons, I found a copy of White Tiger by Aravind Adiga. Adiga  won the 2008 Man Booker prize with her debut novel about India’s class struggle. I’ve had a good experience with Indian-based Booker winners recently so am hoping this one will not disappoint.

Also in the store was North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. I read Cranford by her a few weeks ago and wasn’t overly impressed but I’m told North and South is less frothy and more substantial. It was only £1.50 so was almost begging for me to buy it.

Then I happened to pop into the library and they were having a sale – £1 for as much as you could carry. I walked away with another Booker prize winner (The Sea by John Banville) plus Summertime by JM Coetzee. Coetzee is one of only two authors to have won the Booker prize twice. Coetzee won in 1983 with Life and Times of Michael K and then in 1999 with Disgrace (the novel also brought him the Nobel prize for literature four years later). I haven’t read either yet but was intrigued by Summertime which is a fictionalised autobiography about a writer finding his feet in South Africa.  I also snaffled an Iris Gower and a Joanna Trollope for my mother so quite a fruitful hour all round.

it’s been a good week on the reading front.

I finished one book from my ‘to be read’ list of Booker prize winners – Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald which I didn’t rate at all. It didn’t have a promising start and never got any better. I’m mid way through Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve which is required reading for my children’s literature list but which I approached with a sense of dread because it’s science fiction and I really don’t do that genre. But I’m actually enjoying it, mostly I suspect because its an adventure story at heart and the science fiction bit isn’t that difficult to follow. And I’ve also started reading Made to Stick – a non-fiction book which looks at why some ideas endure (so why do people still talk about Nostradamu’s prophase 400 years later and why do urban legends persist). Early days yet but it has me thinking…..

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