Sunday, 8 August 2010

Birthday Books

Megan and I went to London yesterday to meet up with someone Megan went to middle school with. On the train down there I started We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. 50 pages in it is one of the finest books I have ever read. So I don't need much encouragement to sit down and do some reading.

But if I did (and much of the time I do!), then my birthday today provided five little nudges. I look forward to reading them all over the coming weeks/months/years.

The Shipping News by Annie Proulx is one of those books that everyone who picks up seems to love. I've only ever read 'Brokeback Mountain' by her but this has been on my wishlist for years.

The Executioner's Song by Normal Mailer. First came to my attention while reading Chloe Hooper's The Tall Man in which it is quoted liberally. At over 1000 pages it wont be the next book I read but am fascinated to see how it compares to Truman Capote's In Cold Blood and other works of true crime reportage.

Betrayals by Charles Palliser. The Quincunx is one of my absolute favourite books and I had a wonderful day in Gorleston library earlier this year devouring The Unburied. I expect complex plotting and inconclusive answers and a mystery that I cannot put down until it is finished.

Selected Stories by Katherine Mansfield. For my birthday last year I was delighted to receive a couple of Penguin deckchairs. One is of The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler, the other is The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield. I haven't yet read either of them but at least now I have them both!

Omon Ra by Victor Pelevin. Had never heard of this book until Jonathan Safran Foer mentioned it as one of his favourites on The Book Show earlier this year. The story of a young man who always dreamt of becoming the ultimate Russian hero it was shortlisted for the IMPAC Award in 1995. Really look forward to reading this one: if its good enough for JSF its good enough for me. (How arrogant does that sound?!)

As well as these, I received a cheque which will promptly be spent purchasing two of this years Booker longlist: The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore and Room by Emma Donoghue.

Let the reading fest commence!

And now, back to We.


Juxtabook said...

Firstly Happy Birthday! I loved The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. I had a really battered copy in stock and it went into a lot of unwanted stock sold on ebay. Whilst I was repacking the books for the buyer to come and collect all the boxes in a day or so I started to read it. I was immediately hooked and so wanted to finish it - it was a race to do so before the buyer came. I was sitting on the stairs hoping he would be a few minutes late so I could make it through the last pages! Enjoy your birthday books.

Sam Ruddock said...

Thanks Juxtabook. What a compelling and exciting recommendation. Even more so I can't wait to read this now.