Christmas Book Haul!

No, that’s not a mistake. My lovely in-laws gave me a gift certificate to my favorite indie bookstore for Christmas–or my birthday, same difference. I saved it, because January isn’t a great time to find new books, and celebrated the Victoria Day long weekend with an orgy of admiring pretty covers and feeling paper and browsing blurbs. I love e-reading for convenience and reduced clutter and giant print, but there’s a sensuous pleasure in paper books that I can’t entirely give up.

So here’s what I got:

Book HaulYou want to know more, right?

Helene Tursten (trans. Steven T. Murray), Detective Inspector Huss TurstenWhy? I’ve had good luck with the Soho Crime imprint (I love Rebecca Pawel’s books set in post-revolutionary Spain). Huss, a Swedish detective, is the middle-aged mother of teens. And look at the cover image! I think this is an aspirational book choice for me. I need aviators and a trench coat.

HartleyL. P. Hartley, The Boat Why? I’ve never read The Go-Between, the best known of Hartley’s books, but his name and the cover image caught my eye. It’s a portrait of wartime village life, apparently, “examin[ing] the multiple layers of Casson’s relationships with servants, local society and friends.” I blame Middlemarch for my love of books that take in a whole community.

Barbara Lambert, The Whirling Girl Why? An inherited Tuscan Lamberthouse (Goodreads showed me ads for Tuscan villa rentals on the book page), a heroine who’s a botanical illustrator, archaeology, and a blurb calling it “a fairytale for grown-ups.” I’ve been enjoying literary fiction that treads some of the same territory as genre romance, but from a different point of view. This sounds like it fits the bill. When I was paying, the bookstore owner said she’d met the author, who was lovely in person. That never hurts!

IzzoJean-Claude Izzo (trans. Howard Curtis), Total Chaos Why? Marseilles-set noir! I love travelling via mystery fiction. And I’m a sucker for the beautifully-produced Europa Editions (it seems they have a new “World Noir” series. Israel? Algeria? Ooooh). This is probably darker than my usual fare.

Suzanne Joinson, A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar Why? I’m Joinsonshallow enough to grab this for the title and cover alone. But I also like dual-timeframe novels, and the Central Asian setting of the historical part is unusual. I’m hoping for something I’ll love as much as Ahdaf Soueif’s The Map of Love rather than a colonialist disaster, but the Goodreads reviews aren’t entirely promising. 

Graeme Simsion, The Rosie Project Why? The Australians I follow Simsionon Twitter have all been talking about how this would be marketed as romantic comedy or chick lit if a woman had written it. The hero is a socially-awkward scientist who designs a questionnaire to help him find the perfect wife. I’m guessing Rosie upends his plans. I had a library hold on this, but it’s “on order” at the library and those can take forever to come in (I’m waiting for one that’s been “on order” for six months already). So when I saw it, I grabbed it.

It could be years before I actually read and review any of these, of course. Less time until that blissful new book feeling turns into nagging TBR guilt.

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6 Responses to Christmas Book Haul!

  1. Rohan says:

    Great haul! Isn’t guilt-free book shopping the best? (Were you at Hager Books, by any chance?) I’ll especially look forward to your report on Detective Inspector Huss. I’ve taken it out of the library about four times b/c it looks so good and seems a perfect fit, too, to internationalize my “women & detective fiction” class — and somehow I always end up returning it unread.

    • Liz Mc2 says:

      It was Hager, of course! In the in-laws’ hood, so I often drop by while the kids are visiting grandparents. I did spend $7 of actual money, but the lack of guilt was lovely.

      I think I’ll get to the Huss soon. I’m in a mystery mood.

  2. Sarah says:

    Lucky you! What an excellent way to spend a holiday. I immediately went to my library’s website to see if I could request the Simsion book. Sadly, they only have his 459-page ‘Data Modeling Essentials,’ which doesn’t sound like quite as much fun. And it doesn’t look like ‘The Rosie Project’ is readily available in the US right now…so again, lucky you! I’m interested to see what you think of it.

  3. I think I may have read Minotaur, one of the Israeli book that is part of World Noir, when I was a teenager. If it’s the book I’m thinking of, at that age, I didn’t appreciate it.

  4. I’m intrigued by The Whirling Girl (I stayed in Cortona a couple of times so the setting was an instant hook) but it doesn’t seem to be available in the US, even on Amazon. Now I know how people feel about geo-restrictions! Off to try the Book Depository.

    • Liz Mc2 says:

      It’s from a small Canadian press, so this is an elephant/mouse problem as much as a geo-restriction problem, I suspect.

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