Retrospective Book Purchases

Many a day has passed since I recorded my book purchases. Unfortunately for me, it doesn’t mean that I’ve gotten a rein in my spending habits, alas! It simply means I’ve been lazier than normal in actually putting it up. Here then are my hauls on two separate occasions last month.
I’ve got some spectacular stuff, as follows:

I bought this set more than a month ago, when I wandered into Atria by mistake. I was driving, and the car was moving on its own accord, and [mutter mutter mutter]….
Anyway, the haul was satisfying:

  • Rabbit, Run – John Updike
    My third Updike, and a pleasant find.
  • Guns, Germs and Steel – Jared Diamond
    Ooo, I wanted this one a looong time ago. Very highly recommended. Dr Diamond is an acknowledged expert in the field, and his take on mankind’s journey throughout history is an interesting proposition. It is also a book where the typeface was very obviously irritating to me. It’s printed in a old style serif font, which reminded me of an old novel, and it lacks the smooth easy reading of typefaces used in more recently published books. This book isn’t new, granted, but I’ve never had a book’s font bother me before, and I’ve read my fair share of old books.
  • Seeing – Jose Saramago
    I frightened nearby shoppers when I saw this, as I started violently and let out a bloodcurdling yell. No, not really. But my eyes did open a little wider when I found it. Saramago’s sequel to the enjoyable Blindness has been on my list for sometime, but I didn’t want to get it at its current price on the bookshelves. Here in the warehouse sale bookstore, it cost me only RM8.
  • Confessions of an Economic Hit Man – John Perkins
    Devious machinations of rich countries as they manipulate economic, political and social events in third world countries to make even more money? I love to read about the realities of business and politics. It’s stuff like these that make me feel that sometimes all the goodwill crap you get in the media is all spin.
  • The Subtle Knife – Philip Pullman
    Finally! The missing book in the trilogy! The thrill of the hunt, this one. Check out my previous book haul blog post for some context here.
  • The Accidental – Ali Smith
    There were so many Ali Smiths laying around! I have given this book a miss every single time I was in Atria. And now I bought it. Have the book stare at your face long enough and the buyers will cave. To be fair, I know Ali Smith and the general acclaim surrounding her work, so I didn’t necessarily think I was wasting cash. And it sounded vaguely futuristic (but not scifi – oh no, someone like Smith would never commit something as sacrilegious as writing genre!), so what the heck.

Next, a watercolour extravaganza! A separate trip to MPH a week after I bought the above haul.

  • Kuala Lumpur: A Sketchbook
    I like looking at art. I don’t necessary enjoy them on a scholarly level, for sure, but I like to simply look at them, admire the workmanship of the piece, and appreciate the beauty and the feeling it evokes. Of all the types of paintings, I’m partial to oil, and strangely, watercolour. There is something calming about watercolours. So anyway, this book is by a local artist on my hometown of Kuala Lumpur. The Sketchbook series has done many cities, and the interesting places in each of these cities are given the same treatment – watercolour sketches and a brief description of the place. This particular book brings back a lot of memories for me, as a lot of the places depicted were places that were close to my heart.
  • The Innocent Mage, Karen Miller
    An almost impulse buy. I loved the cover – a watercolour drawing of a mage, not Gandalf-y. Struck me as how a mage should be drawn. I’ll talk a little about this book in another post.

As a really weird aside, I have recently gotten confused over two very similar words, retroactive and retrospective. Both at first glance allude to events past, but when does one use the former, and when the latter? I’ve always used retrospective, but apparently it isn’t appropriate when it comes to contractual legalese. I might be wrong here, but it certainly is in my experience. I don’t even use the word retroactive – it sounds like expired radioactivity, and anything to do with radioactivity, especially in innocent blog posts like this, is bad.


3 Comments

  1. I think you’ll enjoy the Pullman trilogy. Ditto the Jared Diamond.
    I’ve never read anything (surprisingly) by John Updike. What’s a good book to start?

  2. direstraits

    Actually, I have no idea, as I’m irrationally stocking up on everything. 🙂 I’ve started Terrorist, though, and it’s not too bad so far. This chap is feeling like Salman Rushdie so far (because of this POV, I suppose – Updike’s writing from the perspective of a Middle Eastern character).
    I also have Marry Me by Updike (tale of infidelity and examines the sanctimony of the institution of marriage). That sounded interesting too.

  3. You sound like me. I’ve been ‘stockpiling’ books for years.
    Heaven forbid I run out of books to read (’cause you never know when you’ll be snowed in and trapped inside for weeks)! 😀

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