It’s my party and I’ll buy if I want to…

My birthday month, my right to buy books!

In fact, they’ve been creeping up on me for a while now and the ones I got in Berlin (pretext: much cheaper to get them directly there than to pay for P&P) were just one of many slippery slopes. First there was a slip of the foot as I entered the Waterstones Gower Street on the way home.

Second hand bijou:

I remember my mother’s generation (all of my friends’ mothers too) were reading (alongside The Thorn Birds) the Jalna series by Mazo de la Roche (who, it turns out, is a woman rather than a man). A bit of Canadian history and family saga, something very unlike what I would usually read, so why not push the boundaries and see what all the fuss was about?

Jessa Crispin is perhaps better known as the Bookslut (although that book blog has closed down now). I’m somewhat ambiguous about her most recent book against what she calls ‘lifestyle feminism’, which has become indistinguishable from white capitalist privilege. I agree with many of her points, but find it strangely de-contextualised, as if she hasn’t read any other feminist texts which address many similar issues. However, this book The Dead Ladies Project sounds interesting, even though I’m not usually of the self-discovery as a book project school of thinking, because the author travels through Europe in the footsteps of women writers as exiles, expats, and exploring ex-countries.

New acquisitions:

I picked up Breton’s Nadja, which I read in my teens, to see how I might feel about it nowadays, and because it was quoted by Joanna Walsh in Break.Up. I’d meant to get The Sorrows of Mexico at Hay Festival, because I saw the editor speaking there, but better late than never. I couldn’t resist the last instalment of Rachel Cusk’s trilogy, which somehow resonates with me, forever the anthropological observer. I heard so much about Jacqueline Rose’s Mothers and am never immune to that subject. Last but not least, I’m still not over my Hamilton fixation, so I thought I’d attempt to read the biography that started it all.

Arrived too late for a group photo: Rhode Island Red by Charlotte Carter, an almost forgotten book about a young black woman playing jazz saxophone on the streets of New York and casually solving crimes alongside. Two late additions which have not arrived yet but will also fall in my birthday indulgence (and after that I stop! I promise!): Josephine Corcoran’s debut poetry collection What Are You After from Nine Arches Press and Lucy Fricke’s Töchter (Daughters) about taking a terminally father to Switzerland and then travelling on, trying to make sense of life, loss, middle-age and female friendships. It came highly recommended by a German blogger I trust, Cafehaussitzer (Uwe Kalkowski), but I only read it after my trip to Berlin, so had to order online…


9 thoughts on “It’s my party and I’ll buy if I want to…”

  1. Lovely! If you can’t have books for your birthday, what is the world coming to! I’ll be interested in your thoughts on Nadja. I read it many moons ago and loved it, but I’ve seen it heavily criticised because of Breton’s treatment of the main character in real life.

  2. I think birthdays are a perfect time to add to your bookshelves, Marina Sofia. And you’ve got some great ones here. I’m especially interested in what you’ll think of the Carter. I’d heard of it (just barely), and got interested, but didn’t know whether I should look for a copy. I hope you enjoy it.

  3. Happy birthday month, MarinaSofia! It makes me really happy to see you have your cake and eat it too. All the books you bought are unknown to me, but they look fantastic. I hope you enjoy them, and we can talk about them soon! x

  4. Have fun!

    I loved the Jalna series when I read it as a teenagers. That and the Denizière series set in Lousiana. Wonderful memories of page turners.

    I have a question: Why would you read Breton in English?

    1. You are absolutely right – and of course I read him in French as a teenager. I probably read more French than English as a teenager, to be honest. I was a full-blown Existentialist, Surrealist, shoulder-shrugging, cafe-sitting, turtleneck-wearing (but not cigarette-smoking) wannabe French philosopher. I think in fact most Romanians at the time were more Francophile than Anglophile. Nowadays it’s mostly the American influence that youngsters are after, although this might not be so popular since Trump came to power.

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