I have acquired sixteen books over the past two weeks, most as a result from visiting various bookshops during my recent vacation to England and Scotland, which was an amazing trip! The rundown of these books is below, with the books separated into sections based on where they were bought. The sections are listed in chronological order.
Hatchard’s, London, England
Hatchard’s is the oldest bookshop in London, having opened in 1797. It was walking distance from my hotel and it was an awe-inspiring experience to be in a space that has been used for the same purpose for over 200 years.
Clare, John. Major Works. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008.
I have been looking for a selection of Clare’s works since reading about his escape from a lunatic asylum in a book on psychogeography about a year ago. This volume has a large selection of his poetry as well as some of his prose, which is what I am most interested in.
Kureishi, Hanif. Something to Tell You. 2008. London: Faber, 2009.
Kureishi is one of my favorite British authors and thus I thought it would be appropriate to buy one of his books while I was in England.
Topping & Company, Bath, England
This was a fantastic bookstore, my favorite on the trip. Bath is a lovely little city.
Bashō, Matsuo. The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches. Tr. Nobuyuki Yuasa. London: Penguin, 1966.
I really enjoy Bashō’s haiku, thus when I discovered this slender volume on the shelf I thought it presented a good opportunity to read some of his prose. I also like the idea of buying a book about travelling whilst travelling.
Lee, Hermione. Biography: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009.
I am considering doing some scholarship on memoir and thought this little book would be helpful for understanding some of the theoretical issues surrounding the genre.
Peter Bell Books, Edinburgh, Scotland
One of the things that impressed me about Edinburgh was its large number of bookshops–I discovered seven of them just wandering about a half-mile radius from my hotel. All but one of these (Blackwell’s below) were independent stores, tiny holes-in-the-wall. This included Peter Bell Books. Its website (linked to above: “We have been bookselling in Edinburgh since 1980, and are reliable and professional in our business dealings.”) is a good digital manifestation of the shop itself.
Spark, Muriel. The Bachelors. 1960. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1963.
I was hoping to buy an old British Penguin paperback because I love their design, and this book fit the bill. I love the little notice on the back cover letting buyers know that it “is not for sale in the U.S.A.” I paid £4.00 for it, more than its original price of three pounds and six shillings (it’s so old that they were still using shillings!).
Blackwell’s, Edinburgh, Scotland
It made me happy that all of Edinburgh’s small bookshops are able to coexist with this larger chain shop.
London, Jack. The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Other Stories. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009.
The shop was having a two-for-one sale on Oxford World’s Classics, so this is the book that I got for free.
Zola, Émile. The Ladies’ Paradise. 1883. Tr. Brian Nelson. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008.
I have never read any of Zola’s work despite his importance to the genre of the novel. I recently read a bit about this particular book and thought its portrayal of urbanization and gender sounded interesting, so I decided to buy it.
Oxfam, York, England
Butler, Bryon. The Official Illustrated History of the FA Cup. London: Headline, 1996.
There was an Oxfam used bookshop just down the street from Yorkminster Cathedral, which is one of the sites I visited during the trip. I found this coffee table book and decided to buy it because Manchester United were playing in the FA Cup final later in the day and I thought buying it would bring them luck, and it did! It cost £3.45.
WHSmith, Gatwick Airport, London, England
Ferguson, Alex, with Michael Moritz. Leading. 2015. London: Hodder, 2016.
Despite all of the other better bookshops on the trip it was still impossible to resist a quick walk-through of the airport bookstore, and I ended up purchasing this book because it was half-price.
The Strand, New York City
On the morning after arriving back in the U.S. I stopped at the Strand, my favorite bookstore, before taking the train back to Utica.
DeLillo, Don. Zero K. New York: Scribner, 2016.
I am incredibly excited to read DeLillo’s new novel because he is one of my favorite authors. I exclaimed with delight when I saw it on one of the front tables.
Heti, Sheila. How Should a Person Be? 2012. New York: Picador, 2013.
I love Women in Clothes, the book that Heti co-edited about women’s experiences with clothing, but have never read any of her writing itself. A stack of How Should a Person Be? was on a table labelled “The Future of Fiction” and I decided it was time to check it out.
Mukherjee, Neel. The Lives of Others. 2014. New York: Norton, 2015.
I read Mukherjee’s first novel, A Life Apart, in England and loved it. I decided that I will teach it in one of my courses this coming fall, and thus that it would be helpful to read The Lives of Others sometime this summer to give me more context for his work.
Nelson, Maggie. The Argonauts. Minneapolis: Graywolf, 2015.
I read a review of this book in the New Yorker a few months back and it sounded fascinating for three reasons: it deals with queer issues, it blends genres, and, as noted above, I am thinking about doing some scholarship on the memoir genre and thought it would be helpful to read this book since it is all the rage. Nelson has also published a book about one of my favorite poets, Frank O’Hara, that sounds interesting, so she seems like a fascinating person.
The Chicago Manual of Style. 16th ed. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2010.
I am currently working on a bibliography that I plan to submit to a journal that uses Chicago Style, which I am not familiar with, so I decided to buy this book to help with the project. I am also seriously considering switching to Chicago Style as my primary style because I am not fond of the new version of MLA style (note that I am still using the older version of MLA style to format the entries for the books in this post).
Darling, Ron, with Daniel Paisner. Game 7, 1986: Failure and Triumph in the Biggest Game of My Life. New York: St. Martin’s, 2016.
Like many Mets fans I am obsessed with the 1986 team and will buy any book associated with them. This book promises to offer a fascinating perspective on the team. Many people forget that Darling started game 7 (and did not pitch well, leaving trailing 3-0) because Sid Fernandez ended up being the pitching hero and there are all of the iconic images of Jesse Orosco throwing his glove into the air after the final out. Even though the Mets scored eight runs, everyone talks about how the pitching was what won the Mets the game, and I look forward to reading Darling’s analysis of why this is the case.
The last of the sixteen books is
Pashley, Jennifer. The Scamp. Portland: Tin House, 2015.
Pashley gave a reading with several other authors in Utica last night that was quite enjoyable. I have her two excellent short story collections and decided to buy her recent novel in part because I like her writing and in part because it is important to support local authors and independent presses.