Good Books Come to Those Who Wait…

I had ordered some books a while ago, from many different sources (mostly from the US) and for two weeks the postman brought me nothing but bills and renewal notices. I began to think that he was avoiding the regular heavy book parcels. Yesterday four packages arrived all at once, so I take it all back and am full of admiration once more for my postie’s muscles and patience!

Three from US, one from Amazon. Yes, I admit I do still occasionally buy from Amazon, although I try elsewhere first.

So here are my latest delights:

Sam Shepard In Memoriam

Other than Robert Redford in The Great Gatsby and Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia, I am not a great admirer of blonde male actors. But Sam Shepard was an exception. He was not only the epitome of cool yet tormented, but the fact that he could also write – and write so well – was a major attraction. I loved his plays back in the days when we were doing amateur drama, especially Fool for Love, but I never owned any of his books nor read any of his prose. So, saddened as I was when I heard about his death, I felt I owed it to him to buy Fifteen One-Act Plays and (recommended by Stav Sherez, who is so much more knowledgeable about American literature than me and called it one of the best books of recent times) Cruising Paradise, a collection of short stories, dialogues, diary extracts to portray remote or small-town America.

Open Letter Irresistible

To celebrate the 4th of July, American publisher Open Letter Books (a nonprofit, literary translation press established at the University of Rochester) has a 40% off sale, so I went on their site intending to buy just one book but came away with three.

Lucio Cardoso: Chronicle of the Murdered House

I mean to read this Brazilian novel, translated by the ever-wonderful Margaret Jull Costa, as soon as it was shortlisted for the Best Translated Book Award, but I ordered from a German site and it never materialised. In the meantime, it has won that award, so this was my second attempt to get my hands on a copy, this time directly from the publisher. It’s a novel from the 1950s, set in the Minas Gerais region of Brazil (a former agricultural and mining heartland), and it describes the decay and fall of a patriarchal family. But it’s not your average historical family saga – it represents a move towards the modernism of Clarice Lispector, who was a close friend.

Dubravka Ugresic: Europe in Sepia (transl. David Williams)

One of the greatest Croatian and European writers of the past two decades, I love her more for her essays than her fiction. This is a collection of what one might call travel essays, but in her hands it becomes a meditation on the past, present and future of Europe, equally wise and well-informed, bitter and funny, whether she looks at history, politics or popular culture.

Inga Abele: High Tide (transl. Kaija Straumanis)

I couldn’t resist this contender for Latvia for my #EU27Project. This is apparently the story of a love triangle with political and historical dimensions, and Abele is one of the most notable young writers in Latvia, with a combination of lush descriptions, directness, evocative language and precision in mining psychological insights.


For Review

Eshkol Nevo: Three Floors Up (transl. Sondra Silverston)

A best-selling Israeli novel set in a Tel Aviv apartment building, this novel examines a society in crisis, social and political ills, through the lives and problematic decisions of three of its residents. I will be reviewing this for Necessary Fiction, which has been such an inspirational website, introducing me to so much less highly publicised writing from independent publishers, both in English and in translation. This book will be coming out from Other Press in the US in October 2017.

The Mistake

Francis Beeding: The Norwich Victims (An Inspector Martin Mystery)

This is the book I ordered from Amazon and it was, quite honestly, a mistake. I had read a review of it on the Puzzle Doctor’s blog and was planning to get it on Kindle, but I pressed the wrong button. Never mind, it wasn’t too expensive, and I prefer reading in paperback anyway. Originally published in 1931, now reissued by Arcturus Crime Classics. This is the one that arrived within a couple of days rather than a month.

My keen fingers may have slipped a little and ordered a few more books which should be arriving within the next two weeks – Brazilian, German, Austrian, Japanese and American authors will be joining me presently.


18 thoughts on “Good Books Come to Those Who Wait…”

  1. You did get some lovely deliveries, Marina Sofia! They all look appealing to me, and I hope you’ll enjoy them. I’m especially drawn to the Beeding; I’ve been thinking about that one, myself, and I’ll look forward to your review of it.

  2. My keen fingers may have slipped a little and ordered a few more books . . .

    It’s funny how that happens, isn’t it?

    The Nevo and the Abele look interesting, but I have Too Much to Read Right Now.

    1. Oh, me too, believe me! Don’t make me count the unread on my bookshelves. Well, OK, then, I believe there are roughly 200, and that’s not counting the many, many, many on my Kindle.

      1. OK, then, I believe there are roughly 200

        Is that all? Despite some recent purges and some genuine willpower in sidestepping book sales, my TBR bookcases are still bulging and the piles elsewhere towering. As for the tablet I daren’t even count — sites like Gutenberg and have a lot to answer for!

  3. Thanks to our valiant postal carriers. Mine has brought me so wonderful treats in just the past week and I am head over heels into Agatha Christie’s autobiography and Mary Smith’s Thousands Pass Here Every Day and of course there are a few stacks close by.

    1. I’m sure it makes a nice change from boring old bills for them! At least it does mean I get to know them well… Although it also means I sometimes need to go and pick up a parcel from the post office that is too big for my letter-box.

      1. Perhaps that is why they always hand them over with a smile. No need to go and pick up the ones that are too big. If I am not at home they leave them either inside my screen door or even just outside my window. They can be assured nothing will happen to them here. It there were a storm they would leave them with a neighbor. It works for us.

  4. So, I have just struggled up the hill with two bulging tagged bags of books ruthlessly culled from the groaning shelves (sobs piteously wishing for somehow the ability to have a magical Tardis, purely to contain over space for books, which could appear and disappear whenever I wondered ‘where is that book…’. ) Lacking this facility, I reached the book in, book out place many years ago, and when overstocks caused by irresistible buying start stacking up on the floor, some culling is needed. Always a sad day….though I do like seeing ‘my’ books in the Oxfam shop when I pop in to browse (and buy). Sometimes i’m sure I buy back a book I previously donated, thinking I would never want to read that book again…WRONG!

    1. Yes, I try to cull and donate as much as possible – to the local charity shops or to the library. But temptation always lurks around the corner… or on the internet.

  5. Some intriguing parcels there! I owned at least one Sam Shepard book once, and I may have read it/them but I can’t be sure and I don’t know if I still have them… As for our valient posties, one of ours has somehow divined that I purchase books and every time he delivers demands to know what I’m reading at the moment. I think he probably sometimes wishes he hadn’t asked…

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