Recent Acquisitions

I’ve gone on a bit of a Book Mooch spree over the last couple days, something I haven’t done in a long time.  But I can only let those points sit there for so long before the fact that each point can get me a book for free (or for “free,” since I earned points by mailing books to other people) becomes too much to contemplate, and I break down and use them.  I requested seven books recently, and that still leaves me with nine points — plenty left in case some really cool books become available.  Here’s what I got:

  • Henry Green’s Loving, Living, Party Going.  These are three separate novels, collected into one volume.  I’ve never read Green, but he’s someone I hear of now and then, not frequently, but just enough to keep him in mind.  I believe Francine Prose praised him in her book Reading Like a Writer, which brought him to my attention once again.  I could love him or hate him — I have no idea.  It will be interesting to find out.
  • Vivian Gornick’s Fierce Attachments: A Memoir.  Here is another author I have never read and don’t know much about, so I am taking a bit of a risk with her.  It’s a memoir of her relationship with her mother.
  • Maria Edgeworth’s Helen.  I’ve read one Edgeworth novel (Belinda) and am looking forward to reading more.  She is an early 19C novelist; she sometimes writes about Ireland and Irish/English relations and was also known in her day for her children’s writing as well as her adult novels.  Helen was published in 1837.
  • Lionel Shriver’s Double Fault. I enjoyed Shriver’s novel The Post-Birthday World, and this one looks fun — it’s about a tennis-playing couple who become rivals and suffer from competitiveness and jealousy.  I’m not suggesting, let me be clear, that this is at all parallel to the experience Hobgoblin and I have racing bikes together!
  • Emile Zola’s Germinal. I’ve never read Balzac, and I’ve never read Zola, and this book seems like a good place to start.  I’ve been saying I’m going to read those two for years — maybe I’ll actually get around to it this year.
  • Jonathan Raban’s Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings. I like reading travel writing now and then.  Here’s a description: “In a 35-foot sailboat Raban traverses over 1,000 miles of often treacherous waters … Passage to Juneau is a lesson in comparative literature, the history of the Northwest’s Indians and the first European explorers, and a sociological treatise on class and technology. But most of all, Passage to Juneau is a fascinating navigation through Raban’s psyche — a brave interior exploration of family, relationship, and mourning.”
  • Barbara Pym’s Jane and Prudence.  I do already have one unread Pym novel on hand (No Fond Return of Love), but Pym is so good, it’s impossible to have too many of her books around.  And I’ve heard such good things about this one.

Now that my Book Mooch spree is over, maybe I can let my remaining points sit for a while …

15 Comments

Filed under Books, Lists

15 responses to “Recent Acquisitions

  1. I’ve been meaning to read Henry Green for years. I’ve got one of those three as an individual volume that I picked up at a second hand book sale a while back, but I can’t even remember which one! I must dig it up and dive in. David Lodge has an interesting essay on him in his collection “The Practice of Writing” which I think is what piqued my interest in the first place.

  2. Ohhhh what fun!! I have one book in the mail to me now, but I’m hoarding some points too, for when all the books you recommended to me on Saturday are available for mooching. :)

  3. adevotedreader

    I’ve also been meaning to read Henry Green, mainly because of James Wood’s discussion in How fiction works. His novels were also included on the recent 1001 novels you must read list in The Guardian.
    I’ll be interested to hear what you think.

    I read Double Fault and am sorry to say I found it appalling. There is one sex scene in particular which includes the phrase “instrument of their mending” and still makes me flinch now that I think about it. That said, I haven’t liked anything by Shriver I’ve read so you may feel differently.

    It can be hard to know where to start with Balzac and Zola, can’t it? Germinal is a very good but very grim depiction of the life of French miners. By Zola, I’d also recommend The Ladies Paradise.

  4. Lovely books. I have the Gornick to read and am looking forward to it. I loved Jane and Prudence, very much enjoyed Double Fault and am also a Zola fan. I can’t recall Germinal so well (it’s the one about the coal mine, yes?) but seem to think it was very powerful.

  5. I loved Germinal, but The Masterpiece is my favorite Zola work. Hooray for BookMooch!

  6. What a great bunch of books you have mooched! I have been wanting to read Germinal for some time now and last year a coworker was reading it and I mentioned that and she gave me her book when she was done, just gave it to me to keep. Out of gratitude you’d think I would have gotten right to it, but still it sits on my shelf.

  7. I haven’t read any of Maria Edgeworth’s novels, but I love “An Essay on the Noble Science of Self-Justification” which makes me laugh each time I read it. It is included in Letters for Literary Ladies, published in 1795 when she was only 27. I really should try her novels.

  8. For what it’s worth, I think Loving is one of the great novels of the century. Great as in beautiful, artistic, well-written and so on, not as in Profoundly Engaged with the Issues of Our Time.

  9. I have the Henry Green book with the three novels as well and am looking forward to reading it. I started Jane and Prudence last year, but set it aside as I had been gorging on books and was feeling overwhelmed–I liked what I read, though, and need to go back and properly read it. After complaining recently about not finding anything good on bookmooch I also sat down and did some browsing and now have a few coming my way as wel! :) Enjoy those packages as they come in the mail!

  10. Oh how fun, a BookMooch spree! I’m waiting on a couple of books too.

    I hope you’ll love Jane & Prudence. I thought it was fabulous. I really should read another Pym especially as I have several of her books sitting on my shelves now.

    Enjoy your books!

  11. Henry Green is an inspired 09 choice. A reader guru told me early last year that Green is a must. I’ve had a couple of Green’s books on my shelves for 20 years, have never read them. Strongest recommendation from Amateur Reader, plus a James Wood factor, make this very exciting.

  12. Kate — hmmm … tons of people are recommending Green. He is perhaps a “writer’s writer,” a phrase I don’t particularly like, as it sounds dismissive and like someone you wouldn’t want to read, but it seems that lots of writers recommend him.

    Debby — I tend not to hoard points for too long, but it IS fun to keep them to enjoy the sense of possibility they bring — something really cool could show up!

    Adevotedreader — that’s too funny about Shriver. The phrase is dreadful … we’ll see how I do with the book. I didn’t know until now that Wood writes about Green — interesting that Wood and Francine Prose both praise him. Good recommendations there. Thanks for the Zola recommendation — I’ll be prepared for grim!

    Litlove — I’m so glad you have such good things to say about my books — that makes me even more eager to get to them! I know nothing about Germinal (can’t remember why I chose that one), but adevotedreader answered your question about the coal mines.

    Amanda — good to know The Masterpiece would make a good follow-up read!

    Stefanie — I know how that goes. There are hundreds if not thousands of books I’ve said “I must get to that soon” about, and I rarely do … my intentions are good though :)

    Jenclair — I can only speak for Edgeworth’s Belinda, but I suspect you’d enjoy it. It’s definitely her most famous (except perhaps for Castle Rackrent), and it’s a great read.

    Amateur Reader — well, then, I’m looking forward to reading Loving even more now. Very glad to hear you recommend it so highly. That’s high praise indeed. (and it’s out of the 19C! I wasn’t entirely sure you read 20C books! :) )

    Danielle — I’m glad you found some good things from Book Mooch. I find it does take some browsing, but good things are there — just maybe not necessarily what you originally wanted. I’m glad you liked the start of Jane and Prudence — I’m sure it would be worth going back to when you can.

    Iliana — I thought I only had one Pym novel on my shelves before mooching J&P, but it turns out I have two (An Academic Question also). That will make three unread Pym books — yay!

    Zhiv — Green seems to be one of those writers people hear about and intend to read and yet who goes unread for a long time … I hope he doesn’t sit on my shelves for 20 years! All the recommendations do make this very exciting.

  13. Jenny

    I read Loving not too long ago and really enjoyed it. Beautiful prose. This makes me want to go browse for a while on Bookmooch!

  14. I haven’t read any of these. Don’t read them all too quickly, please, as my goodreads to read shelf is beginning to sag a bit from the weight of all its books. And I am trying VERY hard not to acquire any new titles until I’ve read at least a handful from our own (non-virtual) sagging shelves.

  15. Jenny — I’m glad to hear you enjoyed Green! I’m looking forward to getting to him.

    Emily — I think it will be a while before I get to these books, as excited as I am about them. So no worries!

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