The Last Book Buys of the Year (I hope)

Last weekend when we were up in Doylestown, Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving I was just going to browse some used books while John and Shane were getting pedicures. It turned out the building with the used bookstore actually houses TWO used bookstores. Needless to say, I did not come out empty handed. The first pile is from Central Books, which is general purpose reading copy type secondhandbooks, the second one from Bucks County Bookshop which deals in more antiquarian and rare stock.

Rumer Godden – In This House of Brede (have never read this author)
Julian Barnes – Talking it Over (interested in more Barnes after reading Arthur and George)
Elinor Lipman – The Pursuit of Alice Thrift (I love Elinor Lipman)
Graham Greene – The Human Factor
Graham Greene – The End of the Affair
E.M. Forster – The Hill of Devi (memoir of his time in India)
J.M. Coetzee – The Master of St. Petersburg (like Coetzee a lot)
Ian McEwan – On Chesil Beach (I really love this book but I didn’t own a copy)
Kate Chopin – The Awakening (about time I read this one)
E.M. Delafield – Diary of a Provincial Lady (was surprised and delighted toto find this one, heard lots about it on other blogs)

With the exception of the Haggard, these are all authors I have read and liked.

Elizabeth Bowen – The Little Girls
Wilkie Collins – The Dead Secret
Wilkie Collins – Hide and Seek
Bruce Chatwin – What Am I Doing Here
Bruce Chatwin – Utz
W. Somerset Maugham – Christmas Holiday
Muriel Spark – The Takeover
Muriel Spark – Symposium
Heinrich Boll – A Soldier’s Legacy
Heinrich Boll – The Safety Net
Heinrich Boll – What’s to Become of the Boy or: Something to Do with Books
Shirley Jackson – Life Among the Savages
William Haggard – The Areana (I have never run into a green Penguin crime book in the USA. So even thought it is not a genre I read, I am going to give it a whirl.)

So what do you think? Favorites? Cautions? Tips?

19 thoughts on “The Last Book Buys of the Year (I hope)

  1. Val December 2, 2009 / 3:02 pm

    If you haven't already, read The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I've only read it once, but I have a feeling it will make it's way off the bookshelf and into my hands every few years.


  2. mel u December 2, 2009 / 5:21 pm

    I read both of the Grahamm Greene books many years ago-liked them both-I will read the Woman in White in Jan 2010-very nice purchases=

    question-I can find


  3. Lucille December 2, 2009 / 6:05 pm

    I'll be interested to hear what you think of Rumer Godden. She wrote for children too and I loved those books. I've been reading her autobiography written with Jon her sister. I was going to say more but will resist.
    Re: Sissinghurst have you got Adam Nicholson's 'Sissinghurst'? and Vita's 'Illustrated Garden Book' an anthology by Robin Lane Fox?


  4. theliterarystew December 2, 2009 / 7:19 pm

    Great choices! I have In this House of Brede on the way so I hope to read it next year. I've just read one Godden, The Greengage Summer which was wonderfully written. We're doing a group read on it right now.


  5. Frances December 2, 2009 / 9:27 pm

    Definitely the Elizabeth Bowen. Love, love, love her writing. Appears lean, spare but conveys such depth of emotion, voiced and unvoiced. The sum total of small actions, small choices.


  6. JoAnn December 2, 2009 / 10:44 pm

    What a great haul! Maugham's Christmas Holiday sounds like a timely choice, plus The Painted Veil was one of my favorites last year.


  7. M Denise C December 2, 2009 / 10:45 pm

    Oh my goodness! And congratulations on your 100th book this year. I am sure you will read a few more (8 or 9) before the end of the month!


  8. savidgereads December 3, 2009 / 7:27 am

    Anything by Wilkie Collins gets the thumbs up from me. I also rate Spark very highly. I don't know which book I would choose first though its a wonderful, wonderful selection!


  9. Jodie December 3, 2009 / 8:06 am

    The End of the Affair is just beautiful and bitter, like all Greene's work (can you tell I am a fan girl?). His style is kind of quiet, but piercing so I think you mgiht just come to love him.


  10. Thomas at My Porch December 3, 2009 / 10:09 am

    Val: I have read the Woman in White, quite recently in fact. And I loved it even though it is not the kind of book I typically read.

    Mel: You will love the Woman in White. I have read a few Greenes. Thought it was time to read more.

    Lucille: We have a very nice book on Sissinghurst but I forget who wrote it. And John has lots of Vita's gardening books which, I think, are compilations of a gardening column she wrote in a newspaper.

    Literary Stew: I was drawn to the Godden because I saw something very recently on the blogs about the Greenage book. It may have been your blog. The premise of this one sounded interesting so I thought I would find out more about Godden.

    Frances: I have read two or three Bowens and agree with your assessment and affection for her work.

    JoAnn: I thought I had read, or at least heard of all of Maugham's fiction. But this one was new to me. And it is perfect timing as well.

    MDC: As I mentioned in an early post, the 100 for the year really did sneak up on me. I never set out to do it. I have about 4 more going already and am 100 pages into War and Peace. Maybe I will finish that by the end of the year.

    Simon S: Well you introduced me to Collins and I loved the Woman in White. So the shop owner can thank you for those two purchases.

    Jodie: I have read a few Greenes and I really loved Travels with my Aunt. But I think Susan Hill says that it is not very indicative of his output. So I thought I should read more of him so I could decide for myself.


  11. jennysbooks December 3, 2009 / 10:20 am

    Oh, In This House of Brede! I love Rumer Godden and Brede is one of her very best books. Lucky you, reading it for the first time!


  12. Margaret Evans Porter December 3, 2009 / 8:03 pm

    In This House of Brede is one of my all time most favourite-est books ever in the world. Just seeing it atop your list gave me such a warm fuzzy. I have absolutely no time for self-indulgence, I've got my own ms. to revise and an advance copy of somebody else book to read so I can give a blurb. But oh, my goodness, it is so tempting to race down the hall to one of my many book rooms and grab my copy off the shelf.

    I grew up with her children's tales about the inner life of dolls. Poignant, as I recall. I've re-collected and re-read some of them.

    You are in for such a treat…I do hope my response isn't overselling a really special story. (There was a tv film of Brede with Diana Rigg, long time ago. I believe that's what moved me towards the book…as sometimes happens. With–as always happens–the novel being far and away the more compelling and complex.)


  13. Steerforth December 5, 2009 / 9:08 am

    I was completely distracted by your beautiful home – even with piles of books, it still looks tidy.


  14. Thomas at My Porch December 6, 2009 / 5:53 pm

    Jenny and Margaret: I just picked up Brede by chance. Now I understand it was a great find. I look forward to reading it.

    Steerforth: Although I help keep the place tidy, my inclination is to be much messier. But the husband keeps me in line. :)


  15. AnswerGirl December 7, 2009 / 11:41 pm

    In this House of Brede is one of my all-time favorites. If you don't like it . . . well, I'll be sad. And I love The End of the Affair almost as much.


  16. BookishNYC December 8, 2009 / 12:13 am

    I have to chime in and say you must read In This House of Brede. Now. Without delay. It's a terrific read, and it's even worth seeking out the 1970-something television adaptation with Diana Rigg in the lead role.
    And The Provincial Lady books are an enduring delight. Enjoy!


  17. Thomas at My Porch December 8, 2009 / 8:20 am

    Answer Girl and BookishNYC: Brede has gotten lots of good press in this comment section. I can't believe I didn't hear of it earlier. And I am officially putting it at the top of my TBR.


  18. StuckInABook December 9, 2009 / 8:44 pm

    Provincial Lady, hurrah! You can't not love this… I also think The Awakening is fantastic (and loved Kate Chopin's short stories in Portraits)

    You've reminded me that I want to get hold of Life Among the Savages… off to Amazon I go…


  19. Thomas at My Porch December 9, 2009 / 9:21 pm

    Simon T: With all the positive buzz about Provincial Lady I am definitely looking forward to it.


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