Thursday, 28 April 2016

Book Purchases - Apr 2016 Update

April is almost over and our local Rotary Club is having its biannual Book Sale. It runs from 27 Apr - 30 Apr. I went yesterday after Physio and found a few books (ok ok, I found 18). It was a pretty good deal, 3 books for $5.00. You can't go wrong with that. I might drop in again on Saturday, as generally it's $ 5.00 for a bag of books. We'll see if they continue with that. It makes sense as they do like to get rid of as many as possible.

I figure it's the perfect opportunity to update you on the books I've purchased over the past month. I've still traded in more than I've purchased so far this year, so I guess that's a good thing. :)

Anyway, since my last update at the beginning of the month, these are the books I've managed to find; both at the Rotary Club Book Sale and at my local used book stores and a couple that I ordered online. I've broken down by categories, including a new one; Canadian Literature (Can Lit). I've been reading a book I received for Xmas a couple of years ago, which is basically a list of the author's favourite selections of Can Lit from the '80s on. I've noted a few of the selections down and have found some of them this past month. Hence, the Can Lit category.

Ok, here we go.


Mystery is by far my favourite genre these days and my purchases tend to reflect this. Of the books you'll see, over half are from the genre. It's so varied and wide - ranging.

British Mysteries
These are some of the British mysteries/ adventures that I found. Hammond Innes wrote over 30 novels during his life. I've previously read The Trojan Horse and enjoyed very much. The Angry Mountain sounded interesting and it's one of his that I've been looking for. Ruth Rendell wrote the Inspector Wexford mysteries and I've read the first in the series. I do have others in the series already, but I try to read in sequence if possible and A New Lease of Death (published as The Sins of the Fathers in the US) is Number 2. Add to these two, Michael Gilbert's The Final Throw, which was published in 1982.

US Mystery Series
I have found a few more books from various US mystery series. Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch series is a new one for me and I've been looking for the first book for awhile now. The Black Echo will finally get me started on this series. I saw the Kat Colorado series listed in another book I was reading. It's written by Karen Kijewski. I have found a couple of others of this series, but I was happy to find the first book, Katwalk, at the Rotary Club Books Sale. I have purchased a couple of other series books as well this past month; from Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series, Prisoner's Base and from Nevada Barr's US Park Ranger, Anna Pigeon series, Destroyer Angel.

Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt
I've become interested in the various Clive Cussler series over the past couple of years. I read the first book in the Isaac Bell series, The Chase, this year and I've purchased the first books in his NUMA and Oregon Files series as well. Pacific Vortex and Iceberg belong to the Dirk Pitt series. I hope to read a couple more of Cussler's books this year.

Gaslight Mysteries
I took a chance on the first book of this series a few years ago and it was pretty good. I've now read the first three books and each one has been better than the last. The series is set in 1900's New York when Teddy Roosevelt was Police Commissioner and features mid-wife / detective Sarah Brandt and her reluctant associate, police detective sergeant Frank Malloy. Murder on Marble Row and Murder on Mulberry Bend are the 5th and 6th books in the series.

Canadian Mysteries
Howard Engel is a familiar writer to me. I've read a few of his Benny Cooperman mysteries and also enjoyed the books that were turned into TV movies by the CBC many years ago. Memory Book sort of follows Engel's real life situation. Engel suffered a stroke in 2000 which left him with alexia sine agraphia, a condition that affects his ability to read words without difficulty but enables him to write. In Memory Book, Cooperman is hit on the head, with similar results. Seaweed on Ice by Stanley Evans and Never Saw It Coming by Linwood Barclay are books by new authors for me. I've enjoyed many other Canadian mystery writers so it's always good to give some new ones a try.

Miscellaneous Mysteries
The above section features two new authors and one I've read before. Susan Hill writes mysteries and horror. I particularly like The Lady in Black. The Shadows in the Street is the fifth book in her Simon Serrailler mystery series. I enjoyed the first book and look forward to continuing with this series. David Liss writes historical mysteries. I have his second on order. A Conspiracy of Paper is his first book and is also the first in a trilogy featuring recurring character Benjamin Weaver. The book is set in 1720. Qiu Xiaolong is another new writer for me and, amongst his writings, he pens the Inspector Chen mystery series. The Mao Case is one of the later books in this series. Will I wait to find the first one? We'll see.

Science Fiction/ Fantasy/ Horror

SciFi/ Fantasy/ Horror
The three books above are all quite different. I discovered Shirley Jackson when I read her short story, The Lottery, a very strange, interesting story. I next read The Haunting of Hill House, which has been turned into movies twice. Finally, I tried We Have Always Lived in the Castle, another unique horror story. The Rotary Club Book Sale had a couple of her books, so I thought I'd give The Bird's Nest a try. It definitely looked interesting. China MiƩville is a relatively new writer to me. I just finished his Perdido Street Station, which has been one of my favourite books of 2016. It's a different, exciting world he's created. The Scar, while not technically a sequel, is still set in the same world, just at a different time and with different characters. I've heard it's better than the first. Finally, I've begun to explore the Young Adult world of fantasy; the Divergent series, the Scorpio Races and The Hunger Games. Rick Riordan has written a series of books featuring Percy Jackson, which also features the Olympic Gods. The Lightning Thief is the first book in this series and I've heard good things about it.


I have read Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange before. He's one of those authors who, for some reason, I never think of having written more than that, probably because it's such a unique work. The Rotary Club Book Sale had a couple of his other books, so I thought I should give at least one a try. It's described as a story of Shakespeare's Love-Life. It definitely sounds interesting. I've also read one other book by Richard Brautigan, that being The Hawkline Monster, a combination western/ gothic horror story, quirky but so readable and interesting. I have no idea what Trout Fishing in America is about. The notes on the back say things like; 'Mr. Brautigan submitted a book to us in 1962 called Trout Fishing in America. I gather from the reports that it was not about trout fishing" (The Viking Press); or, 'Reading Trout Fishing in America won't help you catch more fish, but it does have something to do with trout fishing; (Fly Fisherman: The Magazine for the Complete Angler).. I'll let  you know what it's about. Finally, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit II, was written by Sloan Wilson, who also wrote The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit and A Summer Place, both of which were turned into movies.

Canadian Fiction

I'm currently half way through Hooked on Canadian Books, which is a list of the good, better and best Canadian novels since 1984, according to its author, T.F. Rigelhof. As I mentioned earlier, I've noted a few of the books listed as worth giving a try. The books below, with one exception came from those listed in this book.

Can Lit (1)
Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad was not listed in Hooked on Canadian Books. Well, at least, not so far. I've read a few of Margaret Atwood's books and enjoyed. The Penelopiad is her take on the Odyssey, which is Homer's book about the voyage of Odysseus, as he returns to his home and wife, Penelope, from the Trojan War. The Penelopiad tells the story of his return from the point-of-view of Penelope. As I understand it anyway. I've read Mordecai Richler's works during my university days; The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and St. Urbain's Horseman come to mind. So it's been many years since I've delved into his works. Solomon Gursky Was Here will be my first.

Can Lit (2)
The remaining authors are all new to me. Guy Vanderhaeghe's The Last Crossing is set in the 2nd half of the 19th century and is a search for a missing brother which encompasses the treacherous and unknown landscape of the American and Canadian West. Douglas Coupland's Player One is a five-hour story set in an airport cocktail lounge during a global disaster. Add to this two other new books that aren't pictured; Michael Ignatieff's Scar Tissue, deals with a philosophy professor's coping with his mother's decline into dementia and David Adams Richards' Nights Below Station Street explores the day-to-day lives of people from the wrong side of town.

So there you have it, my updated book purchases. I may head over to the Rotary Club Book Sale one more time. If I do, I'll have more to add. I hope this gives you some ideas of books you might like to try.

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