Topple over, you charming little TBR pile…

Well, yes, thank you very much for asking, my TBR pile is nice and healthy. Growing taller by the day. It’s such a charming creature, in fact, that I cannot help giving it some delicious tidbits although I know it should go on a diet.

So this is what I’ve been feeding the greedy little creature lately:

Geneva-related chocolates

I bought one of Kathleen Jamie‘s older collection of poems The Tree House in preparation for the masterclass in Geneva. Then I made the fatal mistake (or maybe it was deliberate?) of arranging to meet my friend at the well-stocked Payot bookshop at the railway station and indulged in two Swiss Romande women writers I have heard of, but never read: Alice Rivaz – a contemporary of Simone de Beauvoir and equally feminist, with a collection of short stories entitled Sans alcool (Without alcohol); Pascale Kramer’s L’implacable brutalité du réveil (The Relentless Brutality of Awakening) – prize-winning contemporary author with a novel about an expat spouse trying to make sense of motherhood and living abroad in California. Last but not least, I also have a copy of Offshoots 14, the literary journal published every two years by Geneva Writers Group. This edition was edited by Patti Marxsen and I am delighted to have a poem included in it.

Blogger Delights

From the Pandora’s box that is reading other people’s book blogs, I garnered an old copy of Letters from England by Karel Čapek, one of the foremost Czech writers.  Emma from Book Around recommended it as a delightful light read and how right she was! Although it is set in the 1920s, it describes many of the things which puzzles us foreigners about the UK (he also visited Scotland, Wales and Ireland, not just England) even now – and all done with great charm and affection (plus his own illustrations). Kaggsy and Simon Thomas also read this and really enjoyed it.

I can’t remember who mentioned Jonas Lüscher – it could have been Shigekuni, who is my source of wisdom in all things German language, or someone linking up to German Literature Month. Lüscher is a Swiss German writer who won the Swiss Book Prize this year for his second novel Kraft. However, I decided to get his first novel Frühling der Barbaren (Barbarian Spring), about privileged English bankers and a Swiss trust fund man finding themselves in the middle of a financial crisis in the Tunisian desert.

Last but not least, I am a great Shirley Jackson fan and a kind soul on Twitter told me that the excellent recent biography Shirley Jackson. A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin is now out in paperback, so it seemed like the perfect Christmas present for myself.

I Spy With My Little Eye…

I came across these books on the shelves of libraries.

The first one was at Ty Newydd by Welsh author Stuart Evans: The Caves of Alienation. I started reading it there and found it so enticing that I had to buy my own copy (not at all easy to find, incidentally). It’s about a well-known writer, the forces that shaped him, his controversial life and why he comes to a sticky end on an isolated Welsh island. It is very funny and clever, told from a variety of viewpoints (friends, lovers, teachers, documentaries, critics, biographers etc.).

Finally, I saw this children’s book at my local library and just couldn’t resist as a cat-lover. His Royal Whiskers by Sam Gayton is about the heir of the Petrossian Empire, Prince Alexander, who miraculously gets transformed into a fluffy-wuffy kitten… I don’t know if my children will read this – they might be too old for it – but I certainly will! And this proves why open shelf libraries are so essential: you find things you didn’t even know you were looking for. It jolts you out of your everyday and wearisome rote.

Now, greedy little monster, do behave and join your companions over there to digest your food on the night-table!

It is so nice to have a bedroom and two night-tables all to yourself. I have a set of crime fiction books and poetry on the right hand side, and the current books plus library books on the left hand side. These neat little skyscrapers are not so popular with Zoe, who tries to balance precariously on them as she joins me for some evening reading. Maybe she is jealous that the TBR pile gets fed more frequently than she does (or so she thinks). Maybe some day she will learn to jump up at the foot of the bed instead…


25 thoughts on “Topple over, you charming little TBR pile…”

  1. It seems a little early to be buying yourself Christmas gifts – you’ll really need to get something else nearer the time. A book or two, perhaps? 😉

  2. Well, if you ask me, Marina Sofia, it would be cruel and inhumane not to feed your TBR pile! Think of the poor, starving thing! At least that’s what I tell myself about my own… You do have some great selections, there, and I do hope Zoe approves of your choices…

    1. As long as I feed Zoe as regularly as I feed my TBR pile, we should be all right… Maybe I should give it a pet name, and resign myself to the fact that I have two pets in my house.

  3. There are several there that really interest me: The Caves of Alienation, Barbarian Spring and the Relentless Brutality of Awakening. All these Black Friday ads keep appearing in my email in box and I make a point of not stepping outside on that day. Nonetheless, it might be a perfect opportunity to look for those titles online.

    1. I think Barbarian Spring has been translated, but the Pascale Kramer one hasn’t. I hate Black Friday (and the fact that it now spreads over 2 weeks, interminably) but if you are planning to buy some books anyway…

        1. Well, I have a good friend who lives near Lausanne and is a translator, so she might do it at some point. If a publisher wants to take it on.

  4. Totally agree about the enticing nature of open or display shelves in libraries. My attention is always drawn to these & I’ve picked up (& enjoyed) many fiction and non-fiction books that would never have passed my radar any other way.

  5. Don’t feel guilty about those purchases – you are simply doing what many creatures do at this time of the year: storing up food for the winter months ahead. Not a time for diets at all.

  6. Zoe should learn to read, then she could feed her soul, perhaps with a little saucer of cat crunchies close by for the occasional, distracted nibble. After all, Marina Sofia has the occasional nibble whilst reading, doesn’t she?

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