June Book Haul
I’ve acquired quite a few books this month but I have spent less than £15 on the lot!
What did I get?
The Virago Book of Ghost Stories – Edited by Richard Dalby
Thirty four spooky stories by classic storytellers of the twentieth century – many from the 1920s and 30s – chill and excite in this classic collection. All of them demonstrate a subtle power to delight and chill at the same time as they explore those ghostly margins of the supernatural which are part of private experience as well as of popular tradition. Authors include Elizabeth Bowen, Angela Carter, Elizabeth Jane Howard, E Nesbit, Fay Weldon, Edith Wharton and Lisa St Aubin de Teran.
I’ll admit I picked this on up purely because it was a) a hardback b) a collection of short stories and c) I liked the cover. It only cost me 50p from a boot sale, so I don’t feel too guilty.
Bastard out of Carolina – Dorothy Allison
Carolina in the 1950s, and Bone – christened Ruth Anna Boatwright – lives a happy life, in and out of her aunt’s houses, playing with her cousins on the porch, sipping ice tea, loving her little sister Reece and her beautiful young mother. But Glen Waddell has been watching them all, wanting her mother too, and when he promises a new life for the family, her mother gratefully accepts. Soon Bone finds herself in a different, terrible world, living in fear, and an exile from everything she knows.
Bastard Out of Carolina is a raw, poignant tale of fury, power, love and family.
I picked this up solely because it is one of Mercy’s favourite books ever. That, and it was only 99p in a fantastic local secondhand bookshop that I found this month. Win!
The Accidental – Ali Smith
Arresting and wonderful, The Accidental pans in on the Norfolk holiday home of the Smart family one hot summer. There a beguiling stranger called Amber appears at the door bearing all sorts of unexpected gifts, trampling over family boundaries and sending each of the Smarts scurrying from the dark into the light.
A novel about the ways that seemingly chance encounters irrevocably transform our understanding of ourselves, The Accidental explores the nature of truth, the role of fate and the power of storytelling.
I first heard of this book on the Bookish Blether podcast. I actually got this one for free! A secondhand bookshop near me takes old books in exchange for cash or store credit. Obviously I chose the store credit!
A Tale for the Time Being – Ruth Ozeki
Ruth discovers a Hello Kitty lunchbox washed up on the shore of her beach home. Within it lies a diary that expresses the hopes and dreams of a young girl. She suspects it might have arrived on a drift of debris from the 2011 tsunami. With every turn of the page, she is sucked deeper into an enchanting mystery.
In a small cafe in Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao Yasutani is navigating the challenges thrown up by modern life. In the face of cyberbullying, the mysteries of a 104-year-old Buddhist nun and great-grandmother, and the joy and heartbreak of family, Nao is trying to find her own place – and voice – through a diary she hopes will find a reader and friend who finally understands her.
Another one that I picked up purely because of Mercy’s recommendation. I also want to read more diversely, I’ve never read anything by Ruth Ozeki and have heard lots of great things about her writing. I got this for £1 at a boot sale!
Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.
Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.
This has been on my wishlist forever, I scored this one for £2.99.
The Crane Wife – Patrick Ness
One night, George Duncan is woken by a noise in his garden. Impossibly, a great white crane has tumbled to earth, shot through its wing by an arrow. Unexpectedly moved, George helps the bird, and from the moment he watches it fly away, his life is transformed. The next day, a beautiful woman called Kumiko walks into his shop and begins to tell him the most extraordinary story.
I have quite a few Patrick Ness books now, I am yet to read one. Oops. I got this for 99p, I loved the cover.
The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton
On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman knocks at the door of a grand house in the wealthiest quarter of Amsterdam. She has come from the country to begin a new life as the wife of illustrious merchant trader Johannes Brandt, but instead she is met by his sharp-tongued sister, Marin. Only later does Johannes appear and present her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations mirror their real-life counterparts in unexpected ways . . .
Nella is at first mystified by the closed world of the Brandt household, but as she uncovers its secrets she realizes the escalating dangers that await them all. Does the miniaturist hold their fate in her hands? And will she be the key to their salvation or the architect of their downfall?
I was recommended this by a friend and managed to pick it up in a boot sale for 50p! I’ve heard lots about it.
The Rithmatist – Brandon Sanderson
Joel is fascinated by the magic of Rithmatics, but few have the gift and he is not one of them. Undaunted, he persuades Professor Fitch to teach him magical theory. Joel can’t infuse his protective lines and circles with power, or bring his chalk-drawn creatures to life, but he’s quick to master the underlying geometric principles. His unique skills will soon face an extraordinary test when top Rithmatist students are kidnapped from his Academy.
Since he’s not a magic user, Joel appears to be safe – but he’s desperate to investigate and prove himself. Then people start dying. However, can Joel really stop a killer alone? As even more students disappear, he realizes he’ll need the help of Rithmatist apprentice Melody. Together, they must race to find clues before the killer notices them – and takes them out too.
I actually swapped this and Shadow & Bone with Elena from Elena Reads Books, each paying postage costs. I loved Steelheart so am excited to get to this one!
Shadow & Bone – Leigh Bardugo
The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.
Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite – the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?
The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.
But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?
I’ve heard lots about this and needed a new fantasy series, so decided to swap it with Elena.
The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.
Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.
Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…
This one doesn’t need any explanation. This was the best bargain of the whole haul – I scored this for 30p at a boot sale! 3op!
American Gods – Neil Gaiman
After three years in prison, Shadow has done his time. But as the time until his release ticks away, he can feel a storm brewing. Two days before he gets out, his wife Laura dies in a mysterious car crash, in adulterous circumstances. Dazed, Shadow travels home, only to encounter the bizarre Mr Wednesday claiming to be a refugee from a distant war, a former god and the king of America. Together they embark on a very strange journey across the States, along the way solving the murders which have occurred every winter in one small American town. But the storm is about to break… Disturbing, gripping and profoundly strange, Gaiman’s epic novel sees him on the road to the heart of America.
I really want to read all of Neil Gaiman’s books. This was 5op at a boot sale! My friend Charlotte also recommends this one.
The Art of Being Normal – Lisa Williamson
David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl. On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in Year 11 is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long…
Again, I’ve heard lots about this one. I’m really excited to read it, another bargain at 5op!
Noughts & Crosses – Malorie Blackman
Sephy is a Cross – a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a nought – a ‘colourless’ member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood. But that’s as far as it can go. Until the first steps are taken towards more social equality and a limited number of Noughts are allowed into Cross schools… Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity by Noughts, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum – a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger…
Another hyped read that I have been meaning to pick up. I got this one with my store credit after exchanging some of my unwanted and read books.
So, that was a pretty large book haul – but I didn’t spend more than £15. I’m really pleased with what I managed to hunt down at boot sales and in my secondhand bookshop!
Have you read any of these? What should I pick up next?