Book Haul 📚 | December 2019

Book Haul 📚 | December 2019

Hi everyone, I’m here today to talk to
you about all of the books that I bought recently and have been sent for a review. As
usual all of the titles that I mention will be linked down below if you’d like
to go and find out more. First up is a book I bought myself this is
Constellations by Sinead Gleeson. I know that Sinead is a really poetic writer
and that this has been on my radar for quite a long time because it’s a series
of essays that revolve around the body and it’s mostly memoir and it’s about
the body during sickness, growing up motherhood and as I said it’s been on my
radar for a while, I know that Lauren over at Lauren and the Books has fallen in love with it and that gave me the final push to pick it
up. Next I was sent this for review from Princeton University Press, this is part
of the new series that they’ve been publishing on fairy tales and as you
know I’m all about that, in fact I have a new video on the history of little red
riding-hood coming up soon and if you haven’t seen my other videos on the
history of fairy tales I’ll link that playlist down below, but this one is on
Shakespeare and the folk tale so it’s about how Shakespeare’s plays influenced
fairy tales and I’ve spoken about that in my individual videos; how Bottom —
and the myth of the minotaur going back to classics but then Bottom — in Midsummer
Night’s Dream influenced the tale of Beauty and the Beast, and other stories
like that, so I think this is going to be really really interesting. Next I bought
a copy of this and Jean also picked this up, we were both in Foyles and were drawn
to it this by Lafcadio Hearn, it’s called Japanese Ghost Stories; he was
born in the 1800s on an Ionian Island and then he was left by his parents
brought up by an aunt… let me double check that, yes, a great aunt in Ireland
and England, then he traveled around a lot and then settled in Japan and he’s
now remembered for his translated and collected Japanese ghost stories, which
is what this is. It says “the dead wreak revenge on the living, paintings come
alive, spectral Brides possess mortal men and a priest devours human flesh” I mean,
sigh me up. I am very much in the mood for that. When I was in Foyles I also
bought this which is Arias by Sharon Olds, so it’s her new poetry collection,
this follows on from Odes which I read I don’t know if it was last year or the
year before last and really enjoyed, so I’m looking forward
reading this one, she’s great. Whilst in Foyles I also bought two middle grade
books, this one because Jean has been raving about it this is Bloom by
Nicola Skinner, this is about children who… I’m not sure if they swallow seeds
or what, if it’s some kind of rebellion etc but plants start growing from
them and if you’ve read my short story collection The Beginning of the World
in the Middle of the Night, especially the short story of Plum Pie, Zombie Green,
Yellow Bee, Purple Monster, you’ll understand why I’m particularly
intrigued by this. This came out this year and Jean says it’s brilliant
so I look forward to getting to that and we both we both also picked up a copy of
this which is A Pinch of Magic by Michele Harrison, the back says “three
sisters trapped by an ancient curse, three magical objects with the power to
change their fate, will they be enough to break the curse or will they leave the
sisters even deeper into danger?” and the cover of this is by Melissa Castrillion
which is just beautiful. Next I bought this book here which is Quicksand by Junichiro Tanazaki and it’s translated from the Japanese by Howard Hibbott, the
reason that I bought this is because Vintage very kindly sent me their set of
Japanese classics last month so I did some more research into other Japanese
classics that might tempt me and this one came up, it was first published in
1947 and it’s about a woman called Sonoko who’s a cultured Osaka lady in
an uninspiring marriage and she decides to take an art class where she meets
another woman and they fall in love and start a passionate affair, so yes this
one is now on my TBR. Next I was sent this book for review by Oxford
University Press, it’s coming out in February it’s called A Bite of the Apple: a life with books writers and Virago by Lennie Goodings. Virago was an independent
feminist press that was set up in 1987 it published people like Angela Carter
and Margaret Atwood, you probably recognize this symbol here which is on
the spine of all of their books, it was then bought by Little, Brown and
continues to publish work by women today and so this is part memoir and part
history of that press and I’m really looking forward to reading it. Next I was
sent this poetry collection for review it’s called ‘and then she ate him’ by Tom
Denbeigh and I’ve been sold this as a queer, fairytale-inspired collection of
poetry which I really look forward to reading, I will report back.
I was also sent this book for review from Vintage which is their lead
non-fiction title for 2020, it’s called You’re Not Listening: what you’re missing
and why it matters by Kate Murphy. It says “at work we’re taught to lead the
conversation, on social media we shape our personal narratives, at parties we
talk over one another, so do our politicians. We’re not listening and no
one is listening to us” and a fact in this book: it says “over the past century
the time we spend listening to other people has dropped by almost half from
forty two percent to twenty four percent” so we’re just not very good at listening
to each other anymore and that can only be a bad thing, really, so I would like to
read this book and learn more on this topic. I then received this book
unsolicited in the post but was so excited to receive it because it’s a new
book from Ella Frances Saunders and I love her book, she wrote Lost in
Translation and Speaking in Tongues, both of which were about hard to translate
phrases from around the world, beautifully illustrated and I had no
idea that she had a new book coming out this is a Small Illustrated Guide to
the Universe, so this is scientific facts but along with her beautiful
illustrations, I think this would make such a great Christmas gift, I know I’ve
already done my Christmas gift guide but this is one I’m throwing in late if
you’re stuck you want to buy a fun book of facts for somebody with beautiful
illustrations that’s easy to digest but full of stuff that you’ll want to tell
everybody else about, then I think maybe this is the one that you need to get for
that person. I was sent this book for review by Dzanc books it’s called The
Snow Collectors by Tina May Hall and it sounds like a very me book let me just
quickly read the blurb it says “haunted by the loss of her parents and twin
sister at sea, Henna cloisters herself in a northeastern village where the snow
never stops. When she discovers the body of a young woman at the edge of a forest
she’s plunged into a mystery of a centuries old letter regarding one of
the most famous stories of Arctic exploration: the Franklin expedition,
which disappeared into the ice in 1845. At the
centre of the mystery is Franklin’s wife the lady Jane, Henna’s investigation draws
her into a gothic landscape of locked towers, dreamlike nights of snow and ice,
and a crumbling mansion rife with hidden passageways and carrion birds’… I
mean, I think I’m probably gonna read this over Christmas because that sounds
very much up my street, and then lastly I bought two books, one that has been so
hyped but I just I succumbed to the hype and this is the Seven Deaths of Evelyn
Hardcastle, everybody and their mother has read it but I’ve been told it’s
great so I’m going to give it a go, so I bought that one and then I bought this
because of Lex I just completely blame Lex over at Lex Croucher if you don’t
follow her channel you should, I’ll link it down below
she was completely raving about this book it’s called Red, White and Royal
Blue by Casey McQuiston, it’s not my usual read but it did make me think that
maybe I’ll fall in love with it in the same way that I fell in love with all of
the Remus and Sirius fan fiction I used to read when I was younger, it really does
sound in that vein it says “what if America’s first son falls in love with
the Prince of Wales?”. This is just supposed to be a really cozy, lovely read
and as I said it’s not normally the kind of thing that I go for but around this
time of year maybe I’d like to curl up with something along those lines, so I’m
going to give it a go and if I don’t enjoy it, Lex I’m blaming you. So those are all
the books that I have bought and been sent for review recently, as I said I’ll
link them all in the description box down below, have you read any of these,
would you like to, what books have you been picking up recently from bookshops
and libraries? I would like to know. I hope you all have a great rest of the
week and I will speak to you very soon lots of bookish love x

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  1. When you said he was "brought up by an ant" I was like "is Jen talking about the author or the book" and then I realised you'd sent aunt and we just have different accents.

  2. Shakespeare and the folktale looks really interesting.
    Quicksand is also interesting…

    You make me want to read all of them, point.

  3. A fair warning for 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – the fatphobia is pretty horrendous. While I still enjoyed the mystery, I was so very close to putting it down because it made me feel so terrible about myself.

  4. A lot of interesting books and I bought "A Small Illustrated Guide to the Universe" immediately and put the rest of her books on my wish list.

  5. Hmmm, I don't know much about Japanese literature, but that lesbian romance (in a beautiful Vintage Classics edition no less!) could tempt me. 🙂 Also that little book about science facts, that sounds right up my alley!

  6. Red, White & Royal Blue is one of my Top 5 favorites of the year; I hope you love it! 'It's such a funny, heartwarming romp.

  7. Alas, I haven't read a book since 20th November, but I did read A Pinch of Magic last month and rather enjoyed it. I'm a fan of Sharon Olds' poetry, but haven't read that particular collection, I shall seek it out at some point. I hope you find much enjoyment from these books, and that you're having a marvellous week.

  8. You always make any book you hauled sound so interesting! Anyways, I read Red, White and Royal Blue earlier this year and had a blast.

  9. I've read A Pinch of Magic. It's lovely, fun and Diana Wynne Jones -esque. I also read (or rather listened to the audio book) of Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and enjoyed that too. (in fact I bought it as a birthday present for my daughters b/f).

    Am putting The Snow Collectors on my TBR pile.

    Also, if you want to try more classic Japanese literature, I would recommend I Am a Cat.

  10. I've just purchased Quicksand and Japanese ghost stories from a website I love called Some of the purchase amounts goes to a local bookstore near you. Plus most of the books are discounted too!

  11. Your looking warm and comfy. Nice hat. Havent been reading much of anything lately. Just quit my job. Which has probably saved me from a stoke or heart attack so the month of Dec is relax and detox. Japanese Ghost stories sounds fun. I have hope that the art of conversation is not dead. To with there are now pubs being built where the owner is installing a Faraday cage in the pub. Faraday cages prevent the phones or laptops connecting to the internet or recieving a signal. Which means people actually have to talk to one another. The bussiness has gone up. I'll get of my soap box now.

  12. I've read A Pinch of Magic and I enjoyed it. I've also Read The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and thought it was quite dreadful – a good example of "Plot Is All". The plot is intriguing, but I'm not sure its internal logic stands up to scrutiny; the writing is poor and the characters merely ciphers. Like other commenters, I found some physical descriptions very hard to read. I've got Arias but haven't read it yet. Very interested in The Snow Collectors AND Quicksand AND Shakespeare and the Folktale.

  13. Such an interesting haul! Just in case you wanted more information on Lafcadio Hearn, the author of Japanese Ghost Stories, he spent his boyhood summers in the town I am from in Ireland called Tramore before he went to Japan. Just a few years ago, the town council opened a Japanese garden in his name and it is absolutely gorgeous, though a bit small (as is our seaside town) : )

  14. A Pinch of Magic, the premise was promising; the execution, unfortunately, wasn’t. Look forward to your review of Bloom though😊

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