Sunday 2 February 2014

Sunday Summary: First book splurge of 2014

My Precious...

January always feels like a long month financially, after the Christmas spending, presents and food. No matter how careful I think I'm being in December, somehow I always find my money stretches thinner after Christmas. Up to this point, my book-buying consisted of one children's book, second-hand, while I worked my way down the to-read pile and rereading old favourites. But Friday was payday. I fell in love with the new Lord of the Rings hardbacks as soon as I saw them, and figured that as my paperbacks have been read so many times that they're falling to pieces, replacing them with nice hardcovers would be a good investment. Payday fell on Friday this week, and I took myself down to Waterstone's. On taking the books to the till, I then discovered that Waterstone's were having a 20% off weekend - an added bonus!

This was going to be the end of my book-buying for now, but somehow my feet led me to The Works, who were filling their shelves with new stock after a big clearance. Lo and behold, the first thing I saw was a book on my wishlist - and the second thing I saw was another book on my wishlist; one that several people have given rave reviews of recently. Both were on the 3 for £5 offer, and it did not take me long to find a third title that caught my fancy, saving at least £15 on the full retail price. Evidently this weekend is the time for a good bookish bargain.

What I've been Reading:

One of the heroes of 2013 was Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield, who spent a large chunk of last year aboard the International Space Station. His autobiography, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth is an inspiring read and a fascinating insight into what it takes to be an astronaut: a lot more than merely having good brains and an interest in space. Hadfield is revealed to be ridiculously determined, having started planning for a ridiculously unlikely career from a very young age, but also wise and well-balanced, working hard to become an astronaut and go into space, but not making that his only purpose. It's astonishing how much you need to know, because when it's just you and a couple of other people in a spaceship, no one else can step in, your survival depends on your attention to detail, quick thinking and a wide range of skills. (An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth also brought home how completely improbable the storyline about Howard Wolowitz going into space was in The Big Bang Theory. It doesn't work like that, chaps.) But Hadfield's book is not just about space travel: as is suggested by the title, it is full of wisdom that can be applied to everyday life even for those of us who are destined to keep our feet on the ground.

Pretty Girl Thirteen is the story of Angie, a teenage girl who returns home after being missing for three years, with no memory of anything that has happened. This is part page-turning thriller, and part an exploration of someone trying to go back to living a normal life in the aftermath of a catastrophe. What marks Pretty Girl Thirteen as different is that Angie's lost memories are due to Dissociative Identity Disorder, which I'd never come across in fiction before. As it's a condition I'm unfamiliar with, I'm not sure how accurately it is portrayed in the novel, but it was an enlightening read, if sometimes striking me as feeling a bit supernatural. The brain is a very complicated thing. Although Pretty Girl Thirteen contains traumatic subject matter, it wasn't a particularly distressing read, due to Angie not having any memories of her missing three years. I read through this book in a single sitting on my day off.


  1. NO WAY are those books in The Works already?! I know they've been having a mega-clearance to make way for some new stuff, but woooooow sometimes I'm a bit pissed off to see brand new books that are practically only just off the highlight tables at Waterstones on sale for £1.99. Especially if I bought them at £7.99 the previous week. (I didn't, on this occasion, but IN THEORY.) I'm thinking a little trip into town might be on the cards sometime in the next week or two... In other book buying news, I succumbed to those hardback Tolkiens before Christmas, they're SO BEAUTIFUL and I love the way the spines go together. :)

    Pretty Girl Thirteen sounds very interesting... DID is definitely something I've come across before, but never really in fiction. Except Fight Club, I guess, but I haven't read the book yet, just seen the film.

    1. I feel a bit guilty for buying brand-new books dirt cheap, but on the other hand, that saves me a lot of money to buy MORE books for the full retail price. So everyone wins, right?

      Aren't the Tolkien books beautiful? My sister has "The Hobbit" in the same edition, which was also tempting, but I figured that two paperbacks and the graphic novel are probably sufficient, considering I don't read it as often as LotR. I figured if I wore out one set of paperbacks over a decade or so, I'd get through several more copies in my lifetime and the hardbacks should last longer. Also SO PRETTY! (but I might have mentioned that.)

      Do you know, I've never watched Fight Club, though I know the twist. Judith would be very shocked, I think.

  2. OH wow, nice!! You gotta love a good deal especially for ones that you're wanting!! I got a deal myself this week, a $4 hardcover! It's always fun to get bargain books! Happy Reading!

    Here's my STS

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

    1. I'd been saving up for the Lord of the Rings books, £10 each week, so it was a definite bonus to get an unexpected discount (to spend on more books.)

  3. Those lord of the rings books are so beautiful! You always make me want to buy real books but alas, I must be content with the words on my kindle for now. Buying books is a silly hobby when u live abroad!
    Have u read the maze runner? My brother sent it to me for Christmas and ive been looking forward to turning its actual pages!

    1. I haven't read The Maze Runner, but my best friend has, and she loved it. I think it's on the ever-growing list of books that she intends to lend me at some point. Hope you enjoy it.

  4. Oooooh, Lord of the Rings books, you so pretty! I got a set of the three books in a charity shop for some ridiculously amazing price when I bought mine, but I WANT THE PRETTIES. Ahem.

    Also, I'm pretty interested in Pretty Girl Thirteen- I don't know if you've ever heard of United States of Tara, (possibly not because it never aired over here AND you might not have been obsessed with Diablo Cody when it started) but Toni Collette plays a woman with DID- it's so good and funny but also very well thought out and not laughing at the expense of the person suffering from a mental illness... So basically I think I want you to watch United States of Tara more than I want to read Pretty Girl Thirteen, apparently!

    1. I've heard of "United States of Tara" but never seen it - I'll have to check it out, once I've finished watching all of the Buffy series. Is it on Netflix? I need to get Netflix, especially now both Blockbuster and my local HMV have closed. The library has some boxsets, but not usually the ones I want to watch.


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