Sunday, 30 August 2015

Book Haul feat. Zora Neale Hurston

book blog uk vivatramp penguin essentials book haul

I'm still busy working my way through all the unread books on my shelves so, again, I didn't buy many books myself during the month of August. However, much to my delight and surprise, I ended up receiving some exciting bookish mail so I've still got lots of great stuff to show you. 

penguin essentials These books were sent to me for review purposes. 
I got a really exciting message at the beginning of the month from Penguin asking if I would like to receive the new additions to the Penguin Essentials series and, of course, I had to say yes. The 'Essentials' collection consists of some of the books that Penguin deem to be the most important of the twentieth century, with titles that are still as poignant and relevant today as they were when they were first published. I actually own a few of the first round in the series (Lolita, Lucky Jim and In Cold Blood) so I was pretty excited to add to my own collection of these backpack-friendly tomes. They're smaller than usual trade paperbacks so they're great for travelling around with. I have already read Hideous Kinky and Perfume, so keep your eyes peeled for those reviews soon. Which cover is your favourite? I'll start with one of mine...

in the country of men hisham matar uk book blog vivatramp

in the country of men by hisham matar*
Libya, 1979. 9 year old Suleiman's days are circumscribed by the narrow rituals of childhood [...] But his nights have come to revolve around his mother's increasingly disturbing bedside stories full of old family bitterness. And then one day Suleiman sees his father across the square of a busy marketplace, his face wrapped in a pair of dark sunglasses. Wasn't he supposed to be away on business yet again? Why is he going into that strange building with the green shutters? Why did he lie? Suleiman is soon caught up in a world he cannot hope to understand - where the sound of the telephone ringing becomes a potent of grave danger; where his mother frantically burns his father's cherished books; where a stranger full of sinister questions sits outside in a parked car all day; where his best friend's father can disappear overnight, next to be seen publicly interrogated on state television. 

hideous kinky esther freud book haul blog uk vivatramp

hideous kinky by esther freud* 
Two little girls are taken by their mother to Morocco on a 1960s pilgrimage of self-discovery. For Mum it is not just an escape from the grinding conventions of English life but a quest for personal fulfillment; her children, however, seek something more solid and stable amidst the shifting desert sands. 

asylum patrick mcgrath book haul uk book blog vivatramp

asylum by patrick mcgrath*
In the summer of 1959 Stella Raphael joins her psychiatrist husband, Max, at his new posting -- a maximum-security hospital for the criminally insane. Beautiful and headstrong, Stella soon falls under the spell of Edgar Stark, a brilliant and magnetic sculptor who has been confined to the hospital for murdering his wife in a psychotic rage. But Stella's knowledge of Edgar's crime is no hindrance to the volcanic attraction that ensues -- a passion that will consume Stella's sanity and destroy her and the lives of those around her. 

the mosquito coast paul theroux penguin essentials book blog uk

the mosquito coast by paul theroux*
Allie Fox is going to re-create the world. Abominating the cops, crooks, junkies and scavengers of modern America, he abandons civilisation and takes his family to live in the Honduran jungle. There his tortured, messianic genius keeps them alive, his hoarse tirades harrying them through a diseased and dirty Eden towards unimaginable darkness. 

moon tiger penelope lively book bloggers uk vivatramp

moon tiger by penelope lively*
The elderly Claudia Hampton, a bestselling author of popular history; lies alone in a London hospital bed. Memories of her life still glow in her fading consciousness, but she imagines writing a history of the world. Instead, Moon Tiger is her own history, the life of a strong, independent woman, with its often contentious relations with family and friends. At its center - forever frozen in time, the still point of her turning world - is the cruelly truncated affair with Tom, a British tank commander whom Claudia knew as a reporter in Egypt during World War II.  

billy liar keith waterhouse book haul vivatramp book blog

billy liar by keith waterhouse*
Billy Liar tells the story of Billy Fisher, a Yorkshire teenager unable to stop lying - especially to his three girlfriends. Trapped by his boring job and working-class parents, Billy finds that his only happiness lies in grand plans for his future and fantastical day dreams of the fictional country Ambrosia.

the history of love nicole krauss penguin essentials

the history of love by nicole krauss*
Leo Gursky taps his radiator each evening to let his upstairs neighbour know he's still alive. But it wasn't always like this: in the Polish village of his youth, he fell in love and wrote a book. Sixty years later and half a world away, fourteen-year-old Alma, who was named after a character in that book, undertakes an adventure to find her namesake and save her family. sands. 

foe j m coetzee vivatramp uk lifestyle book blog

foe by j. m. coetzee*

In an act of breathtaking imagination, J. M. Coetzee radically reinvents the story of Robinson Crusoe. In the early eighteenth century, Susan Barton finds herself adrift from a mutinous ship and cast ashore on a remote desert island. There she finds shelter with its only other inhabitants: a man named Cruso and his tongueless slave, Friday. In time, she builds a life for herself as Cruso's companion and, eventually, his lover. At last they are rescued by a passing ship, but only she and Friday survive the journey back to London. Determined to have her story told, she pursues the eminent man of letters Daniel Foe in the hope that he will relate truthfully her memories to the world. But with Cruso dead, Friday incapable of speech and Foe himself intent on reshaping her narrative, Barton struggles to maintain her grip on the past, only to fall victim to the seduction of storytelling itself. 

a passage to india e m forster uk book blog vivatramp

a passage to india by e. m. forster*

When Adela Quested and her elderly companion Mrs Moore arrive in the Indian town of Chandrapore, they quickly feel trapped by its insular and prejudiced 'Anglo-Indian' community. Determined to escape the parochial English enclave and explore the 'real India', they seek the guidance of the charming and mercurial Dr Aziz, a cultivated Indian Muslim. But a mysterious incident occurs while they are exploring the Marabar caves with Aziz, and the well-respected doctor soon finds himself at the centre of a scandal that rouses violent passions among both the British and their Indian subjects. 

perfume patrick suskind book bloggers uk vivatramp uk book blog

perfume by patrick suskind*
In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift - an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille's genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and fresh-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the 'ultimate perfume' - the scent of a beautiful young virgin. 

gift from grandma
I received a package from my Grandma containing a book that she wasn't really getting along with so, knowing how much I love to read, she thought she would send it my way in the hope that I would like it more. I haven't read this author before but I have heard of her through others so I think I'll keep this book and see how I get along with it somewhere down the line. 

emotionally weird kate atkinson book bloggers uk vivatramp

emotionally weird by kate atkinson 
On a weather-beaten island off the coast of Scotland, Effie and her mother, Nora, take refuge in the large, mouldering house of their ancestors and tell each other stories. Nora, at first, recounts nothing that Effie really wants to hear -- like who her real father was. Effie tells various versions of her life at college, where in fact she lives in a lethargic relationship with Bob, a student who never goes to lectures, seldom gets out of bed, and to whom Klingons are as real as Spaniards and Germans. But as mother and daughter spin their tales, strange things are happening around them. Is Effie being followed? Is someone killing the old people? And where is the mysterious yellow dog? 

suprise mail! This book was sent to me for review purposes. 
Sometimes publishers send me books out of the blue and I end up with surprise mail to open. It's like having a few miniature Christmases throughout the year! As you probably know, I love reading short stories so this little sampler of Penguin's upcoming volumes on the British short story is right up my street. I definitely want to add the physical books to my collection once they have been released in full later this year. You should check out my post on how to write short stories if you haven't already done so! 

the penguin book of the british short story uk book blog

second hand purchase
I sort of broke my book buying ban in order to purchase one of my favourite books in 'very good' secondhand condition in an edition that is currently out of print. I'm really happy to finally own it and I'm hoping to pencil in a little re-read next year in order to encourage as many people as possible to pick it up! I absolutely love these Virago designer editions. I'm after the DuMaurier ones next!  

their eyes were watching god zora neale hurston book bloggers uk lifestyle blog vivatramp

their eyes were watching god by zora neale hurston 
. When Janie, at sixteen, is caught kissing shiftless Johnny Taylor, her grandmother swiftly marries her off to an old man with sixty acres. Janie endures two stifling marriages before meeting the man of her dreams, who offers not diamonds, but a packet of flowering seeds.

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.



Monday, 17 August 2015

Bout of Books 14.0 Readathon TBR

vivatramp book blog uk readathon tbr pile boutofbooks

Earlier in the month I participated in the #booktubeathon readathon and enjoyed the experience so much that I thought I'd take part in another that runs from Monday 17th August - Sunday 23rd August. Bout of Books is a pretty chilled out readathon with the idea being to simply read as many books as you would like and whatever titles you would like to within the time frame. There are no challenges or strict guidelines to follow. Your 'to be read' pile is left entirely up to you! If you'd like to find out more, you can head over to the #boutofbooks blog.

Even though I read 7 books during my last readathon, I've decided to only pick out a few this time because I've got lots of boring admin bits to get done and I want to read these particular titles at a much slower place. Here are the books that I'm going to be reading over the next week. If you've read them, leave me a little review of them in the comments! 

perfume by patrick suskind   This book was sent to me for review purposes. 

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, born in a Parisian slum and abandoned on the streets, discovers he has an extraordinary - near superhuman - sense of smell. As he sniffs his way across France, this gift is exploited by Grenouille to make the world's most marvellous perfumes. Yet in seeking perfection in his experiments, he realises that a vital ingredient is missing for the perfect scent: innocence. And in order to get the ingredient he needs, he must capture it - whatever the price. 

I read The Pigeon at the start of last year and I have been meaning to read this book ever since. I'm currently 50 pages through this already and I'm hoping to finish it within the next couple of days as I think it's a book that deserves to be read within a shorter period of time. Suskind writes so delicately about even the most menacing of things so I have every faith that I will love this book. 

beloved by toni morrison

Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. 

I am incredibly ashamed to say that I am yet to read anything by Morrison but I've decided that now is the time to rectify that mistake. Everyone speaks so incredibly highly of Morrison and I'm really hoping that I, too, will become one of those people! 

siddhartha by hermann hesse

Set in India, Siddhartha is the story of a young Brahmin's search for ultimate reality after meeting with the Buddha. His quest takes him from a life of decadence to asceticism, through the illusory joys of sensual love with a beautiful courtesan, and of wealth and fame, to the painful struggles with his son and the ultimate wisdom of renunciation. 

The beautiful Nina sent me this book a year, maybe two years, ago and I promised myself I would read it once university was up. I read the first chapter a few months ago and enjoyed it so this should be a quick read to end the week with. I actually own another of Hesse's works, Steppenwolf, that I've yet to read so I'm looking forward to finding out what he's all about. 

Are you going to participate in the readathon? If so, let me know what books you're going to read. If not, what books would you have picked if you were able to take part? 


Thursday, 13 August 2015

Book Haul feat. Oscar Wilde

vivatramp book haul penguin books

Whilst I didn't buy any books during the months of June and July, I did acquire quite a bit of exciting bookish blogger mail and I thought you guys would like to see what I acquired because beautiful books are beautiful books. As ever, let me know if you've read any of the books featured and, if so, let me know which ones you would recommend that I read with some urgency. 


After seeing me loitering around their Instagram page, the people at Roads Publishing got in contact and asked whether I'd like to own some of their beautiful re-designs of classic books. I'm not entirely ridiculous so, of course, I said yes. I've not read Madame Bovary of Lady Chatterley's Lover but they're two books that I've always been interested in due to the controversy that their publications caused. I have, however, read The Picture of Dorian Gray and very much enjoyed it. I probably shouldn't own three copies of it though?! I've already popped some more Roads Classics on my wishlist and will be buying Venus in Furs, Dracula and Frankenstein when my funds allow! These pastel-coloured editions are such high quality that I would recommend them to everyone - they'd make the perfect gifts too.  

madame bovary classics book haul

madame bovary by gustave flaubert
 When Emma Roualt marries Charles Bovary she imagines she will pass into the life of luxury and passion that she reads about in sentimental novels and women's magazines. But Charles is a dull country doctor, and provincial life is very different from the romantic excitement for which she yearns. In her quest to realise her dreams she takes a lover, and begins a devastating spiral into deceit and despair. 

roads publishing haul

the picture of dorian gray by oscar wilde 
Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray sells his soul in exchange for eternal youth and beauty. Under the influence of Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life, where he is able to indulge his desires while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only Dorian's picture bears the traces of his decadence.

lady chatterleys lover d h lawrence classics

lady chatterley's lover by d. h. lawrence
Constance Chatterley feels trapped in her sexless marriage to the invalid Sir Clifford. Unable to fulfill his wife emotionally or physically, Clifford encourages her to have a liaison with a man of their own class. But Connie is attracted instead to her husband's gamekeeper and embarks on a passionate affair that brings new life to her stifled existence.


This bounty of books took me by surprise when they turned up on my doorstep but they were all entirely welcome. I'd not heard of any of the titles beforehand which was a bit of a treat. Thanks, BAMB! For those that don't know, Books Are My Bag is a nationwide campaign to get readers supporting their local bookshops and they run many fun events throughout the year. They do a fantastic job so head over to their social media channels and get involved.  

books are my bag independent bookshops uk

the apple tart of hope by sarah moore fitzgerald
Oscar Dunleavy, who used to make the world's most perfect apple tarts, is missing, presumed dead. No one seems too surprised, except for Meg, his best friend, and his little brother Stevie. Surrounded by grief and confusion, Meg and Stevie are determined to find out what happened to Oscar, and together they learn about loyalty and friendship and the power of never giving up hope. 


the beggar and the hare by tuomas kyro
Vatanescu is striving for a better life, and with it a pair of football boots for his son - but his search has led him to collecting small change on the streets of Helsinki, and he needs something drastic to change his fortunes. His lucky break comes when a fellow outcast - a hare with an injured paw - hops into his life. In rescuing the little creature from certain death, he finds not just a companion, but a source of unexpected inspiration and wisdom. Together, the beggar and the hare embark on an adventure that is both funny and absurd. Theirs is a moving story about the meaning of friendship, with the power to change the way we see ourselves.

book haul

the red notebook by antoine laurain
Heroic bookseller Laurent Letellier comes across an abandoned handbag on a Parisian street. There's nothing in the bag to indicate who it belongs to, although there's all sorts of other things in it. Laurent feels a strong impulse to find the owner and tries to puzzle together who she might be from the contents of the bag. Especially a red notebook with her jottings, which really makes him want to meet her. Without even a name to go on, and only a few of her possessions to help him, how is he to find one woman in a city of millions? 

uk book bloggers

gretel and the dark by eliza granville

Vienna, 1899. Joseph Breuer - celebrated pyschoanalyst - is about to encounter his strangest case yet. Found by the lunatic asylum, thin, head shaved, she claims to have no name, no feelings - to be, in fact, not even human. Intrigued, Breuer determines to fathom the roots of her disturbance. Years later, in Germany, we meet Krysta. Krysta's Papa is busy working in the infirmary with the 'animal people', so little Krysta plays alone, lost in the stories of Hansel and Gretel, the Pied Piper, and more. And when everything changes and the world around her becomes as frightening as any fairy tale, Krysta finds her imagination holds powers beyond what she could have ever guessed...

top uk lifestyle blogs

animals by emma jane unsworth

Laura and Tyler are two young women who have been tearing up the city streets for ten years, leaving a trail of angry drug dealers and spent men in their wake. Now Laura is engaged to be married and her teetotal classical pianist fiancé, Jim, is away overseas. Tyler wants to keep the party going but Laura is torn between the constant temptations provided by her best friend and a calmer life with Jim on the horizon. As the wedding draws closer, the duo's limits are tested, along with their friendship.


I was invited by the Penguin Class team to go to London for a swanky dinner to discuss all things bookish but unfortunately I couldn't go due to ill health. They were, however, very sweet and understanding and offered to send me a goody bag to cheer me up. The gems! 

book haul vivatramp lifestyle book blog uk

the world of sex by henry miller

Many people have castigated the shamelessness of Miller's Tropic novels - which were for a long time widely suppressed and illicitly supplied under the counter. Here, Miller seeks to set the record straight and argues that there is no contradiction between his salacious novels and his philosophy.  

hiroshima john hersey penguin book haul

hiroshima by john hersey

 On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atom bomb ever dropped on a city. This book tells what happened on that day. Told through the memories of survivors, this timeless, powerful and compassionate document has become a classic. 

top uk book blogs

the cellars of the majestic by georges simenon

 In The Hotel Majestic, Maigret investigates the murder of Mrs. Clark, the wife of a wealthy American industrialist, whose strangled body is found in the basement of an upscale hotel near the Champs-Élysées. Maigret's inquiries take him from the endless corridors of the Hotel Majestic to the countryside of the Bois de Boulogne and sun-drenched Cannes, into a world of prostitution, drug addiction, and blackmail. 

top inspector crime novels

lock no1 by georges simenon

Maigret is drawn into the orbit of the self-made, mercurial Ducrau, as the latter's past catches up with him in a claustrophobic provincial town.  

bonjour tristesse francoise sagan

bonjour tristesse by francoise sagan

Freed from boarding school, Cécile lives in unchecked enjoyment with her youngish widowed father -- an affectionate rogue, dissolute and promiscuous. Having accepted the constantly changing women in his life, Cécile pursues a sexual conquest of her own with a 'tall and beautiful' law student. Then, a new woman appears in her father's life. Feeling threatened but empowered, Cécile sets in motion a devastating plan that claims a surprising victim. 

penguin classics catalogue

penguin classics catalogue

penguin clothbound classics

confessions by saint augustine 

penguin little black classics

sketchy, doubtful, incomplete jottings by johann Wolfgang von goethe

                  A selection of the most insightful maxims and reflections from one of Germany's greatest ever thinkers.  


the life of a stupid man by ryunosuke akutagawa

 Autobiographical stories from one of Japan's masters of modernist story-telling. 
femme fatale

femme fatale by guy dumaupassant

         A selection of Maupassant's brilliant, glittering stories set in the Parisian beau monde and Normandy countryside. 


I turned 23 on the 3rd July and I received a few bookish gifts from my family members to celebrate. I have read all of the graphic novels that I received already, so check out my recent book reviews for my opinions on them if you haven't already done so! 

terry pratchett book blog

a slip of the keyboard by terry pratchett
 A Slip of the Keyboard brings together the finest examples of Pratchett's non-fiction writing, both serious and surreal: from musings on mushrooms to what it means to be a writer (and why banana dacquiris are so important); from meories of Granny Pratchett to speculation about Gandalf's love life, and passionate defences of the causes dear to him. 

to kill a mockingbird harper lee

to kill a mockingbird by harper lee
 A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father - a crusading local lawyer - risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime. 

alex and ada book review blog uk

alex + ada volume 1 by jonathan luna
(read my alex + ada review)

The last thing in the world Alex wanted was an x5, the latest in realistic androids. But after Ada is dropped into his life, he discovers she is more than just a robot. 

graphic novel review blog

rat queens volume 2 by kurtis j. wiebe & roc upchurch & stjepan sejic
(read my rat queens volume 2 review)

chew vivatramp book blog

chew by john layman & rob guillory
(read my chew review

Tony Chu is a detective with a secret. A weird secret. Tony Chu is Cibopathic, which means he gets psychic impressions from whatever he eats. It also means he's a hell of a detective, as long as he doesn't mind nibbling on the corpse of a murder victim to figure out whodunit, and why. He's been brought on by the Special Crimes Division of the FDA, the most powerful law enforcement agency on the planet, to investigate their strangest, sickest, and most bizarre cases. 


As well as receiving some books as presents, I also received an Anthropologie gift card that I used, in part, to buy one of the beautiful Rifle Paper Co editions. I've never read Little Women but I almost feel like I should read it?! 

little women louisa may alcott

little women by louisa may alcott
 Classic novel of 19th-century family life during and after the Civil War, in a household with four sisters. 

And that's all of the bookish post I received during June and July! I feel incredibly grateful. I supposed I'd better get reading...

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.


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