Wednesday, January 30, 2008

naughty me

We-ell, I have been so boring the last little while that I've had nothing whatsoever to write about on here (unless, of course, you're interested in hearing about my sleeping patterns or what I ate for lunch - please let me know). Instead, I have had a little bit extra spending money for various reasons, and have been utterly extravagant in a way I do not usually allow myself to be - I have bought books instead of getting them out of the public library first! Horrors. But quite satisfying. So, in lieu of an interesting blog post subject, here are the books I have bought:

The Masqueraders, by Georgette Heyer. A totally ridiculous book, as are most of Heyer's, about a sister and brother who come back to England disguised in opposite genders as they were involved in a rebellion in the late 18th century - ridiculous, yes, but very fun. I've read it before but wanted this one to add to the growing collection of Heyers in my bookcase.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, by Marina Lewycka. Maybe this appealed because I've heard so much about the Ukrainian Mafia - I don't know. But it sort of just leapt off the shelf at me and was the first one I read. Set in the UK, it's about a woman trying to rescue her 84-year-old émigré father from a 36-year-old woman from the Ukraine who wants to marry him for British residency and his pension. A very funny book, it's also at times quite serious, and goes into the family's past that brought them to the UK and the feuds they have to overcome to deal with this new threat. I loved it.

Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis. I have read this before several times but my copy is very second hand and has been falling to pieces for a while. Finally (hooray!) I have bought a pretty version. I think everyone should read this book.

Rosetta, by Barbara Ewing. I have only just started this book but so far it's going quite well. It's a historical novel, set around the time of the French Revolution, and as far as I can gather will be about a young woman who has always fantasised about visiting foreign places, especially the Rosetta of Egypt which she was named after. I'm always a bit cautious about buying historical novels because I often find them either tedious, inaccurate, or too fixated on sex - but so far this doesn't seem to be too much of any of those!

Atonement, by Ian McEwan. Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2001. Okay, so I went to see the movie, I loved the movie, and only then did I want to read the book. I thought the movie was incredibly interesting, the way it plays with reality and fiction, and thought it must be a very good book that inspired such a movie. (I was also for the first time in a long time rather impressed with Keira Knightley. What a surprise. And James McAvoy is slowly becoming higher up on my list of good actors.) Haven't started reading it yet because I anticipate it needing commitment - but as soon as I'm through all the light tempting Heyer-like reads, I'll get into it.

Daddy Long Legs, by Jean Webster. I used to love this book but haven't been able to read it for a while because my version is so threadbare (like Mere Christianity) that a significant number of pages are missing. Then I saw the 1955 film version of it, with Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron (which was fun, but not perfect) and decided I need to buy it. Can't find it anywhere - too old, not popular enough here - so it is currently under order at Whitcoull's. Can't wait till it arrives.

Now comes the really, really naughty part. Last year I saw on TV the latest miniseries version of Jane Eyre, with Toby Stephens as Rochester and Ruth Wilson as Jane. I LOVED it - have been waiting for a good version like this for ages - and have been waiting for it to come out on DVD ever since. Hasn't happened. So yesterday I swallowed, went on Amazon, and bought it - despite the extra price for postage to NZ and the possibility that a Region 1 DVD may not play on NZ players, although I'm pretty sure it will.
While I was on Amazon, I got even naughtier, and looked up Northanger Abbey, a TV version that was made last year and looked excellent, from the five minutes I saw on YouTube. I've always loved the book (which is, of course, by Jane Austen) and decided that since I was getting something else, I may as well make the most of postage costs and get this too. Then I got naughtier again and noticed that if you bought Northanger Abbey with a 2007 TV version of Persuasion (my favourite Austen novel and an adaptation I didn't get to see but is apparently very good, according to my friend Katie) they were both cheaper! Sooo... I am waiting for three 19th century novel DVDs which were not cheap given the exchange rate, are totally self-indulgent, and two thirds of which I have not seen before. I'm too excited about getting them to care much, though.

Edit as of February 1: This is only going to make me look more extravagant, but... there are two more books I forgot to mention!

Cloudstreet, by Tim Winton. Set in Perth, Western Australia, where I recently spent five months. A really, really fantastic novel about two families who live alongside each other in a huge old Perth home in the fifties or sixties. Beautifully written, it raises some important questions and doesn't cop out.

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. This is written from the perspective of Death, looking at a small German girl called Liesel during the war, a girl who saves books from book burnings and whose guardians hide a Jewish man in their cellar. Quite unique, it is also a heffalump of a book (though very readable), and this is one book I had to read before buying as it was a little more expensive given its size.


LEstes65 said...

Oh there's nothing wrong with a good shopping spree. Especially since you bought good stuff and not just fluff. Although, I suppose fluff is in the eye of the beholder, eh?

But good for you!!!

Trish Ryan said...

You go, girl! You have quite spectacular taste :)

heidikins said...

I am drooling! What fantastic picks! If you don't mind, I am adding these to my "to read" list. (Copy, paste.)


Sarakastic said...

I love your new blog header you deserve to spoil yourself because you are wicked awesome & I'm also copying this list of books

~Virginia~ said...

There's nothing like the new-book smell!! Except new-car smell...but the books are way less expensive! :) I've been wondering about Atonement...haven't seen the movie yet though.

Bonsai said...

i totally agree about Mere Christianity! everyone should read it! by the way i might steal The Book Thief off you, i need a good book to read... mine are all in boxes.