Book Buying Binge!

I’ve written many posts in the past months, but alas, have not taken the step to actually post them. I won’t trouble the two of you reading this post about what happened offline, but suffice to say my online presence was much limited.
During my online hiatus, my book-buying has continued unabated, which is, of course, bad. Well, not *that* bad. My haul was pretty prolific, as it was over a period of a couple of weeks. Since I’m pretty fanatical (read:crazy obsessive) about continuity, I’ve decided to post everything I’ve bought, in as close to chronological order as possible.

  • Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud
    I’m more than an occasional graphic novel/comics reader. Years of comic book buying has made me more jaded than your average oyster, so I only seek out works that either I’ve heard good things about, or genuinely interest me because of the subject matter. This book has been on my comics wishlist for a long time, but it’s only recently that I’ve put my mind to actually finding it. A trip to Borders and after jostling in the aisle with fashionably dressed teenagers yapping on mobiles more expensive than my monthly mortgage, I found it. My impressions will be in another blog post, naturally.

Shortly after my McCloud, I accidentally made my way to the Big Bookshop Warehouse Bookstore in Atria, and as I have for the last few visits, took out a stack of books. This place is dangerous – I spend almost 100 bucks every time I walk in.

  • Chess, Stefan Zweig
    A book about chess. Thinner than some of the contractual documents I have to read at work. How can I resist? It’s about this chess champion who is aboard a luxury liner, and is challenged by a fellow traveller. While the challenger is having his butt handed to him, someone in the crowd whispers suggestions that is more than a match for the grandmaster. Who is this mysterious person, and what is this potent chess player’s story?. I finished this book, and it was an enjoyable romp, albeit a short one.
  • The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Leo Tolstoy
    It’s probably as close as I’m ever going to get to a Tolstoy, as I’ve decided I will not read Karenina or War and Peace.
  • Marry Me, John Updike
    Infidelity as told by a modern maestro of literature? The ‘maelstrom’ that is marriage – of 2 couples who are each cheating with the other’s spouse? Are you kidding me? This one went straight to my shopping basket.
  • Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser
    I hear this one is gonna make me stay away from McDonald’s and other fast food chains. Already the mere whisper of the suggestions contained in this book is making me wary of 5 minute burgers. Unless I’m incredibly hungry, of course.
  • Metamorphosis and Other Stories, Franz Kafka
    The thought processes of a man who turns into a cockroach. Who wouldn’t be intrigued?
  • The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
    Now it is in one of the forums I frequent that I first heard about this. I had no idea it was a fantasy classic before I then. I’m a jaded fantasy fan, so anything fresh is welcome, and I’m hoping this will whet my appetite. The devil in 1930s Moscow, and a satire of high-renown. There a chick in there somewhere too, and with a name like Margarita, I’m thinking it’s gonna be cool.
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    I’m a little worried about this one. Its reputation precedes it like lightning before the boom of thunder, and I’ve heard this literary thunder being alternately praised and booed. For this reason alone I intended to read it and decide for myself.

I had a voucher that I have to use, so I went and bought:

  • The Harmony Silk Factory, Tash Aw
    Up and coming Malaysian author. Won some prizes too. I get such a thrill seeing the word ‘Malaysia’ in published novels, so this one will probably have me doing cartwheels, seeing that it is set in Malaysia.

There another weekend saw me walking unexpectedly to a Borders sale in The Curve! Here, I got:

In another round of shopping, I found this at a great price:

Actually, before I bought the NLP book, I was shopping somewhere, and there was a used bookstore. Under a pretense or other, I sneaked in and came out with 3 books:

  • The Book of Merlyn, T.H. White
    Don’t you hate it when you buy a book and you find that the ‘real’ ending is really in another book. That’s what I found out when I bought The Once and Future King. So I hadn’t started on King Arthur’s adventures until I found this book. Good thing it’s cheap too.
  • Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
    A seminal piece of science fiction. So I heard. I’m dying to find out exactly how bad it really is.
  • Grass, Sheri S. Tepper
    Heard good things about this lady. Next to Le Guin and Bujold, probably one of the more acclaimed female sci-fi author out there.

The reason I listed it here instead of above is because I took a picture of them together with my latest stash, which was purchased earlier this week. They are:

  • The Weekend Novelist, Robert J Ray and Bret Norris
    I know I have at least a book in me. Apparently if I follow the directions in this book, I will have a full novel in my hands in 52 weeks. Well, start the clock! Uhm, wait. I didn’t say when.
  • An Introduction to English Poetry, James Fenton

    Continuing my self-education of the intricacies of literature, and this time it is an effort to more deeply understand the murky waters of poetry. Murky for me, that is. I love poems, but can hardly delve beyond the obvious in most works, which I suspect is like admiring the tip of the poetry iceberg. I’m hoping this book will shed some light on the remaining 90% that is hidden from my view.
  • Northern Lights, Philip Pullman
    Found this cheap. Found Book 3 (see below) too. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find Book 2, which is a bummer. I hate it when I can’t get the complete set, as I tend to wait until I get the full thing before embarking on the series. You know, in case the books are really good, then the waiting to get the missing book will be intolerable.
  • The Amber Spyglass, Philip Pullman
    I hate it when I can’t complete the full set. Oh, I’ve said it already?
  • Blooming Beautiful by Melanie Sykes
    This one was chosen by the wife. She’s apparently some celebrity in either UK (or US). Uhm, I’m not going to read this.

Hmm… didn’t this make up for all the missing blog posts before this?


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