As my surgery was looming, I decided to treat myself to a fair few books in August in order to stash them away ready to read during my recovery. Because I clearly don't already own enough unread books...
eileen by ottessa moshfegh
A lonely young woman working in a boys' prison outside Boston in the early 60s is pulled into a very strange crime, in a mordant, harrowing story of obsession and suspense, by one of the brightest new voices in fiction.
I have been wanting to read this book since it was first published but I decided to wait around for this particular edition because I love me a beautiful book. Teaser: keep an eye out over the next couple of weeks for further beautiful book news. This has actually been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize since I pre-ordered this edition so this purchase actually makes it look like I have got my shit together. Don't be fooled.
fingersmith by sarah waters
Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs Sucksby, a "baby farmer". Mrs Sucksby's household also hosts a transient family of petty theives - fingersmiths - for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home. One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives - Gentleman, an elegant conman, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: if she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naive gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, they all will share in Maud's vast inheritance. With dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to the plan. Once in, however, Sue begins to regret her decision.
I may have gone out and bought every other Sarah Waters' novel that I didn't already own after reading The Little Stranger...A lot of people hold this in high regard so I think I'll save it for last and read some of her others first. I'm all for the Victorian-era London so I'm hoping this'll be something I can really sink my teeth into.
dracula by bram stoker
Young lawyer Jonathan Harker is summoned to the Transylvanian castle of Dracula to advise the Count on his relocation to England, but he soon finds himself imprisoned and terrified. Meanwhile, a fog of dark occurences begins to creep across England, and it is up to a small group of men and women, led by Professor Van Helsing, to battle with the undead to save the souls of humanity.
I own a few Roads Publishing editions of books but I have always had my heart set on owning this title because of that cover. I think I read Dracula back at school but I'm looking forward to actually reading it with even the slightest bit of interest because Year 8 English class wasn't the easiest forum to experience literature.
affinity by sarah waters
Following the death of her father, Margaret Prior has decided to pursue some 'good work' with the lady criminals of one of London's most notorious gaols. Surrounded by prisoners, murderers and common thieves, Margaret feels herself drawn to one of the prisons more unlikely inmates - the imprisoned spiritualist - Selina Dawes. Sympathetic to the plight of this innocent-seeming girl, Margaret sees herself dispensing guidance and perhaps friendship on her visits, little expecting to find herself dabbling in a twilight world of seances, shadows, unruly spirits and unseemly passions.
This is, supposedly, Waters' darkest novel and you know I'm all about that so I'm hoping I'll warm to it. A lot of people seem to hail this as their least favourite of hers but I'm looking forward to the spiritual aspect. It seems to be the shortest so I may read this in the earlier days of recovery as it'll probably be more manageable.
marvel and a wonder by joe meno
In summer 1995, Jim Falls, a Korean War vet, struggles to raise his sixteen-year-old grandson, Quentin, on a farm in southern Indiana. In July, they receive a mysterious gift -- a beautiful quarter horse -- which upends the balance of their difficult lives. The horse's appearance catches the attention of a pair of troubled, meth-dealing brothers and, after a violent altercation, the horse is stolen and sold. Grandfather and grandson must travel the landscape of the bleak heartland to reclaim the animal and to confront the ruthless party that has taken posession of it. Along the way, both will be forced to face the tragedies of their past.
Marvel and a Wonder had been sitting on my Goodreads 'to buy' shelf for literal years and so I thought I'd take the plunge and just purchase it. Reviewers have likened it to Faulkner and since I enjoyed As I Lay Dying there's a good chance I'll really enjoy this. I love stories that involve physical journeys or adventures so I'm hoping that aspect of the story grabs me as much as I hope it will.
girl in a band by kim gordon
For many, Kim Gordon, vocalist, bassist and founding member of Sonic Youth, has always been the epitome of cool [...] In Girl in a Band, the famously reserved superstar speaks candidly about her past and the future. From her childhood in the sunbaked suburbs of Southern California, growing up with a mentally ill [...] to New York's downtown art and music scene in the eighties and nineties and the birth of a band that would pave the way for acts like Nirvana, as well as help inspire the Riot Grrl generation, here is an edgy and evocative portrait of a life in art.
I have learnt that I really enjoy memoirs written by creative women, such as Patti Smith and Carrie Brownstein, so I thought it was about time that I read Kim Gordon's. I love Sonic Youth but I don't know a whole lot about them as a band or their creative process so I'm hoping that this'll give me an insight. If you've got any further recommendations for memoirs, do tell.
tipping the velvet by sarah waters
Nan King, an oyster girl, is captivated by the music hall phenomenon Kitty Butler, a male impersonator extraordinare treading the boards in Canterbury. Through a friend at the box office, Nan manages to visit all her shows and finally meet her heroine. Soon after, she becomes Kitty's dresser and the two head for the bright lights of Leicester Square where they begin a glittering career as music-hall stars in an all-singing and dancing double act. At the same time, behind closed doors, they admit their attraction to each other and their affair begins.
This is meant to be an incredible debut and, despite not really being into romance novels, I'm so ready to find out more about Nan and Kitty. Queer love stories in literature are so so important and I'm hoping that this'll make me appreciate romance in books a little bit more.
the postmortal by drew magary
John Farrell is about to get 'the cure'. Old age can never kill him now. The only problem is, everything else still can...Imagine a near future where a cure for aging is discovered and - after much political and moral debate - made available to people worldwide. Immortality, however, comes with its own unique problems - including evil green people, government euthanasia programs, a disturbing new religious cult, and other horrors.
I had never heard of this author until Penguin posted a photograph of this, alongside his latest title, and the fluro cover grabbed me instantly. Reading more into the plot, this book sounded like something for me and so I ordered it pretty much straight away. I don't think this will be sitting around on my TBR shelf for too long...
fates and furies BY lauren groff*
Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but behind closed doors things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed.
Penguin recently got in touch with me about their #ByBook campaign which is designed to take adult, parent and teen readers to new places and to celebrate the idea that you don't necessarily need to leave the comfort of your armchair to have a holiday. There are 22 titles that have been paired up with various holiday destinations and I picked New York. I was, therefore, sent Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. Fates and Furies had actually been on my wishlist after it was all over Booktube a couple of months back so I'm happy to own it. It's not my usual sort of thing but I love the whole duplicity of relationships thang.
If you'd like to scroll through all of my book blog posts then you can. Or, alternatively, you could just flick through my book hauls instead.