you're reading...

It’s a Wrap! : January 2011 (and rampant book buying)


A new year and a new beginning. May you not be concerned with what had happened and what will be.

Yesterday is a history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that is why it is call a present. – Mr. Oogway from Kungfu Panda.

So what history have I recorded in January? For one I have read 6 books this month, not bad for someone who went through a reading slump at the end of last year.

  1. The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
  2. Love in the Headscarf by Shelina Zahra Janmohamed
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (5-star read)
  4. A Crime in the Neighbourhood by Suzanne Berne (Book 4 and 5 reviews in one blog post)
  5. Quicksand by Junichiro Tanizaki
  6. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Out of the 6, I love these two best:

And what books have I bought in January? Loads!! I gave myself excuses to go out and buy books because there have been many book sales going on in my neighbourhood and I felt it will be a shame if those good books do not end up in a good home like mine (forget about the joke that I used some of these books as my leg rest!), so off I went with my book basket and got some of these in this month.

Set 1: One stack to accompany one glass of Spanish red wine Albali here we have:

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan – I read this book 2 years ago before my pre-blogging years and felt it resonates long after I put down the book but have now forgotten the minute details of what it’s all about. I like to re-read some day but you all will remember it is about 4 pairs of Chinese mothers and daughters who migrated to the USA and their joy and tribulations of living in a foreign land and their complicated mother-daughter relationships.

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger – is another favourite of mine. It is a shame if I don’t own a copy for re-reading. My reviews can be found here.

Notes on Scandal by Zoe Heller – is shortlisted for 2003 Man Booker Prize. It is about a female teacher at a London Comprehensive School who begins an affair with an underage pupil (sounds like another Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader). I didn’t know it was turned into a movie released in 2006 and stars Judi Dench and Cate Blanchette. Anytime for a scandalous read, I say!

Pop Co by Scarlett Thomas – No particular reason except I pick this book up because of it’s beautiful cover. I know, I am shallow.

Birthday Stories introduced and selected by Haruki Murakami – This was up at bargain price, wouldn’t miss this short stories collection for the world.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand – A bit miffed that I didn’t win this book on one of the giveaways, so I bought myself a copy. If I don’t like this one, the thickness of it would sure make a good foot stool, I’m kidding.

Set 2: Munching with Sainbury’s Almond and Chocolate Biscotti, we have the following offering:

Blood River by Tim Butcher – one of the best travelogues and journalist account of Congo and his journey around the war torn country along the river of Congo. Read this in 2008 pre-blogging years, highly recommended.

Danny and the Champion of the world by Roald Dahl – You know what? I haven’t read any books by Roald Dahl. Shame on me. This looks fun and new, going for 25p, it’s bargain. If I don’t like it, I’m sure my 5 year old will read it soon.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters Jill of Rhapsody in Books raved about it, Matt of A Guy’s Moleskine Notebook love it. I got a paperback copy, but lets make the commitment to read and keep this by buying a hardback! The paperback copy is subsequently passed on to my respiratory physio, Jan. She gave me back my lungs, and I am eternally grateful. 😉

The Orange Girl by Jostein Gaarder – The story is about Georg Roed tried to write a book about his father who died 11 years ago. He had never expected to hear from his dad again, but now they are writing a book together. Something tells me this is going to be weird. The person who figures most in the letter is not actually Georg’s father; it is the mysterious Orange Girl. ok not sure where this is going… but at 151 pages, I ‘m sure I’ll get through this in a breeze.

The Autograph Man by Zadie Smith – What intrigues me about this book is that it says it will expose our misconceptions about our idols – about ourselves – unforgettable tale about who we are and what we really want to be. oooo…… can’t wait!

Shōgun by James Clavell – This book is published in 1975 and has been a permanent feature in my household since I was a child. It is wonderful to be able to read something that seems like a family heirloom and my parents’ favourite. I like to know more about the feudal Japan in 1600, some months before the critical battle of Sekigahara, it gives an account of the rise of the daimyo “Toranaga” (based upon the actual Tokugawa Ieyasu) of the Shogunate, seen through the eyes of an English sailor whose fictional heroics are loosely based on William Adams‘s exploits.

I still remember the handsome Richard Chamberlain in the highly acclaimed TV series in the 80’s.

Baudolino by Umberto Eco – A novel about 1204, Constantinople is being sacked and burned by the knights of the Fourth Crusade. Amid the carnage and confusion, Baudolino saves a Byzantine historian and high court official from certain death and proceeds to tell his own fantastical story.

and in between the pages of Baudolino I found a used nail file (see picture above, on the table).

Set 3: In the dark black-out nights under the candle light,  tales of blood curdling horror continues to haunt the white-knuckle junkies….

This stack was bought at 21 Jan, Saturday on another book sale to the left of my home.

Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada – 1940, a German named Otto refused to bowed to Hitler’s rule and drop poison letters across the city condemning Hitler. Soon this silent campaign comes to the attention of ambitious Gestapo inspector Escherich, and a murderous game of cat -and-mouse begins. Whoever loses, pays with their life. This book is labelled as modern classics, the author Hans Fallada, real name Rudolf Wilhelm Adolf Ditzen is born in 1893 and died in 1947.

The Book of Murder by Guillermo Martinez – Martinez is an Argentinian and a Phd in Mathematics. His famous work was The Oxford Murders which has been made into a film starring Elijah Wood and John Hurt. Very rare to find a Latin American writer, more so one who write crime fiction, so I bought this.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote – requires no introduction. Nothing like a master work of a true crime. A reconstruction of the 1959 murder in Kansas, this book has received many rave reviews.

The Ice Princess and The Preacher by Camilla Lackberg – No blurbs for these two except that their glossy beautiful covers  and new editions tempted me to buy them just in case for the days of reading slump and for Nordic reading Challenge.

Set 4: The next day I felt as if I may have lost out in taking full advantage of the book sales and went out for a second look. Like a junkie craving for my favourite Walker’s Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli potato crisps, I can’t help but step out of my house and prowl for more books……

Family Matter by Rohinton Mistry – discarded library stock at 10p, such a shame if I don’t pick this up! Same goes for Real Time by Amit Chaudhuri, a short story collection about life in India.

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks – is a book about many groups of people obsession with a single book, a medieval Jewish prayer book, Haggadah, recovered from the smouldering ruins of the war-torn city of  Sarajevo.

The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville – Winner of the Orange Prize 2001, this book is a funny and touching romance between two people who’ve given up on love. It tells a story about Douglas and Harley, who are on collision course on day one. But out of this unpromising conjunction of opposites, something unexpected happens; something even better than perfection. I’m curious to know what is that thing which is better than perfection??? 🙂

I may be out scouting for more in the first week of February, after that I’m telling myself I will be on a book buying ban. I suppose I have replaced one addiction with another. If I don’t loot from the library I substitute that with book buying, which come to think of it the latter may hurt my wallet a little more, but at least I don’t have to watch out for libraries deadlines regularly. But if I read more from the library, I will end up not reading any of my own books.

Either way there is no way to get rid of my book addiction, I have come to empathise with smokers who need help to quit smoking. This ad often shows in British TV:

and I hope there is a similar nicotine patch that I could use to kick off some of my book buying addiction. 😦

What about plans for February?

Yes, I have my mind focus on clearing my TBR check list. Read Eat, Pray, Love, The first 90 days, maybe start East of Eden by John Steinbeck, and read a few more titles with animal sounding names to wrap up the Animal Challenge III, on top of that focus on my new job!


About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.


24 thoughts on “It’s a Wrap! : January 2011 (and rampant book buying)

  1. What a great haul of books! I love/want to read so many of them. I’m especially interested in Shogun as I have a copy here and really want to read it at some point. Hopefully I’ll find the time later in the year.

    Posted by Jackie (Farm Lane Books) | February 1, 2011, 12:09 pm
  2. wonderful haul Jov ,a good lot books for jan ,all the best for feb ,stu

    Posted by winstonsdad | February 1, 2011, 12:11 pm
  3. I agree – great haul, and I love the accompaniments for the books!

    Posted by rhapsodyinbooks | February 1, 2011, 2:07 pm
  4. Glad to hear you’re out of your slump, and you did well in january! 🙂 And omg did you acquire some (a lot) of great books! Fingersmith is so fantastic. I haven’t the ornage girl yet, but I know there’s a film adaptiation that looks pretty and dreamy 🙂 And no reading without snacks 😉

    Posted by Bina | February 1, 2011, 9:27 pm
  5. I love the accompaniments too – the sweet chilli chips in particular – I don’t have much of a sweet tooth but I have been known to kill people for a packet of really tasty crisps 🙂

    Hope you enjoy People of the Book – I really liked it (though not quite as much as an earlier book of hers, Year of Wonders – that one is still one of my top ten favourite novels ever). You look like you’ve got lots of good reading ahead anyway and as addictions go I think there are lots worse than ours 🙂

    Posted by bernadetteinoz | February 1, 2011, 10:29 pm
    • Bernadette, lol. Kill me kill me! Let me have that packet of tasty crisps anytime! 😀

      Ohh.. I am hearing so much about Geraldine Brook’s books. I think she is talented to be able to write about so many different things. I’m thinking of reading from my stacks and not borrow too many from the library. I can’t keep track of the due dates for all books, it drives me insane! 🙂

      Posted by JoV | February 2, 2011, 12:15 pm
  6. An excellent reading month, I have read 3 of the six books you read-a great book haul!-

    Posted by Mel u | February 2, 2011, 2:26 am
  7. My goodness, do you ever stop buying books? That’s probably why you have little time to read them! I have a Mistry book waiting to be read, and I’m looking for more Fallada as I read ‘Little Man, What Now?’ for A-Levels (a lifetime ago!).

    Posted by Tony | February 2, 2011, 10:23 am
    • Tony, ok ok I’ll stop! I’ll stop! I’ll try to stop!!! 🙂

      Which Mistry book is this? is it “Such a long journey”? Hans Fallada books look promising. I am happy to be able to put another German author on my TBR besides Hermann Hesse and Stefan Zweig (Austrian, but nationality is not what I’m concern with. ;))

      Posted by JoV | February 2, 2011, 12:25 pm
  8. Wow, that IS a haul ! I don’t know where to start ! I’m glad you liked Blood River since it’s been on my TBR for a year or so. Know I KNOW I must read it.
    Can’t wait to read your review of People of the Book. I read it a few years ago and rather enjoyed it, (I was also lucky enough to see the author in person when she came to Powell’s here in Portland and was able to buy an autographed copy). BTW, after reading Bernadette’s comments I might have to read Year of Wonders, since that book has intrigued me for several years.
    Based on your brief description, Baudolino sounds VERY intriguing. Can’t wait to read your review of that one, too.

    Posted by maphead | February 3, 2011, 5:21 am
    • Maphead, LOL 😀 Blood River is my favourite of 2008 (pre-blogging year). You REALLY HAVE to read it Maphead, you will love it. I am listening to Bernadette, if Years of Wonders is this good, I wouldn’t miss it for life. I love historical fiction, but I somehow I didn’t get the chance to read more of it. I have a list of TBR to plough through. Once I have done that I’ll start looking at this stack. Fingers crossed I don’t borrow any more books from the libraries! 😉

      Posted by JoV | February 3, 2011, 9:44 am
  9. Raaaah, SO MUCH book envy xD Not even mentioning the wine and the snacks ;D I only received 2 Murakami books (don’t have Birthday Stories yet…) and another Nordic book (on a roll lately thanks to the Nordic Challenge) called The Unit.
    I really would like to hear your thoughts on Gaarder’s writing. Have you read Sophie’s World yet, or any of his other books?

    Posted by Chinoiseries | February 3, 2011, 7:51 pm
    • Chinoiseries, LOL 😀 Did you not have Walkers crisps in NL? They are the best. 🙂 I read Sophie’s World many moons ago, like in 1997, last year I bought myself another copy and resolve to re-read it again when I’m “Older” so that I could appreciate those philosophy mumbo-jumbos more. Just that one, and I wanted to read the one you have read “The Castles of Pyrenees”. Sounds fun. Did you see Orange Girl trailer Bina posted in her comments? I think it’s nice. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzxU_O9QdYc

      Posted by JoV | February 4, 2011, 9:31 am
  10. You have a glorious bundle of books there. I hope you enjoy each and every one of them. Snacks and books are also a good combo. I recommend maltesers and the minty aeros in a pack. Chocolate raisins also go down a treat.

    You did much better than my measly 3 books for January. I just can’t seem to get any reading time in at all these days! Frustrating.

    Posted by mywordlyobsessions | February 3, 2011, 11:31 pm
    • Zee, ahhh… maltesers, who can do without it? Chocolate raisins sounds good too! Thanks for the kind words zee, I hope you read more books next month, albeit it is going to be a short month! lol 🙂

      Posted by JoV | February 4, 2011, 9:37 am
  11. What an awesome, excellent, wonderful stack of books you’ve photographed! So many are my favorites, but I must recommend Atlas Shrugged. Footstool, perhaps for some, but for me, one of the most important books I’ve ever read. It scares me, as I feel America is becoming lost to Ayn’s philosophy. Which I adhere to with all my heart.

    Posted by Bellezza | February 4, 2011, 3:53 am
    • Bellezza, that’s the same reason Allan Greenspan says about his friend Ayn Rand as to how much her philosophy is prophetic. I’m taking your words for this and give this giant book a shot in the future. 🙂

      Posted by JoV | February 4, 2011, 9:40 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 271 other followers

Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City

JoV's favorite books »
Share book reviews and ratings with JoV, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

%d bloggers like this: