September 22, 2012 23 Comments
I didn’t really need to go to the recent Book Sale – a big, big, exhibition hall full of books on tables, that were very nicely reduced. I have enough books, really. I enjoy being in the presence of books, though, so I thought, if I bicycle there (45 minutes each way), it will be good exercise and as a reward, I can have a look at those books. Maybe pick a few up for my mother (who relies on me for her reading). Since I still had a lot of my budget from the weekend before, when I went to a proper book fair, I erm… did buy some books for myself as well. Nine books in total (2 or 3 are suitable for Mum). [When you see two covers, I show you the English and the Dutch copy, I bought the Dutch one. I bought some books in English too.]
From the Book Sale
The Best Thing That Can Happen to a Croissant by Pablo Tusset
Such a crazy title! I just had to find out about this book.
Amazon.co.uk says: “An easy-riding, ball-busting comedy of bad manners, this is one of the most surprising and entertaining literary debuts of recent years. Pablo Baloo Miralles, a fat, useless and flatulent thirty-year-old, is the black sheep of his obscenely wealthy family. While he dedicates his days to online philosophy chatrooms and his nights to whatever pleasures he can find, his brother, ‘The First,’ is president of his booming family business. But, when ‘The First’ suddenly disappears, Pablo finds himself being sucked into a hair-raising, mind-bending adventure – an adventure in which he must use all of his well-honed survival instincts to come out alive.”
The Children’s Hospital by Chris Adrian
This book was recommended to me by the Dutch publisher of the book. Erm, yes. Well, she has some idea of what I like so I’ll take her word for it. The description sounds both fun (post-apocalyptic) and totally weird (green fire???)….
Description from the USA publishers: “Jemma Claflin is a third-year medical student at the unnamed hospital that is the only thing to survive after an apocalyptic storm. Inside the hospital, beds are filled with children with the most rare and complicated childhood diseases—a sort of new-age Noah’s Ark, a hospital filled with two of each kind of sickness. As Jemma and her fellow doctors attempt to make sense of what has happened to the world, and try to find the meaning of their futures, Jemma becomes a Moses figure, empowered with the mysterious ability to heal the sick by way of a green fire that shoots from her belly.”
The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
I heard a lot about this book and I’m very curious to find out for myself what it’s like. It’s a BIG book (in Dutch, at least) and I hope it’s good!
Description from the USA publishers: “Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother—a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang—and an influential father who runs a work camp for orphans. Superiors in the state soon recognize the boy’s loyalty and keen instincts. Considering himself “a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world,” Jun Do rises in the ranks.
He becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress “so pure, she didn’t know what starving people looked like.” “
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
I have read several books by Dickens, and this one was next on my list.
From Dutch online bookshop bol.com: “A TALE OF TWO CITIES begins on a muddy English road in an atmosphere charged with mystery and it ends in the Paris of the Revolution with one of the most famous acts of self-sacrifice in literature. In between lies one of Dickens’s most exciting books–a historical novel that, generation after generation, has given readers access to the profound human dramas that lie behind cataclysmic social and political events. Famous for its vivid characters, including the courageous French nobleman Charles Darnay, the vengeful revolutionary Madame Defarge, and cynical Englishman Sydney Carton, who redeems his ill-spent life in a climactic moment at the guillotine (“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done”), the novel is also a powerful study of crowd psychology and the dark emotions aroused by the Revolution, illuminated by Dickens’s lively comedy.”
My Last Confession by Helen Fitzgerald
Description from the UK publishers: “Tips for parole officers:
- Don’t smuggle heroin into prison.
- Don’t drink vodka to relieve stress.
- Don’t French-kiss a colleague to get your boyfriend jealous.
- Don’t snort speed.
- Don’t spend more time with murderers than with your son.
- Don’t invite crack-head clients to your party.
This is Krissie’s advice after being in the job for a month. She’s happy and in love, but her naivety and blind compassion plunge her into a shocking murder case that could jeopardise everything.
The case is that of Jeremy, who is on remand for the brutal murder of his mother-in-law. A tragic childhood accident combined with his lack of alibi seem to make it an open-and-shut case. But Krissie can’t help feeling there has been a miscarriage of justice and battles to secure his release.
A dark family secret is at the heart of the case, and Krissie is out of her depth. Because someone isn’t happy. Someone dangerous. Someone who will stop at nothing to get to her.”
The Finder by Colin Harrison
This was a cheapy that looked interesting. A nice, floppy American paperback. I was reminded of The Reconstructionist when I saw this book, and I thought I’d try it.
Description from the USA publishers: “Jin Li is a beautiful, driven young woman running a dangerous little operation. Manhattan corporations hire her for a simple but delicate task: to shred and destroy the reams of highly classified documents. But they don’t know that she and her brother, Chen, have been using their discarded secrets to game the international markets, making a pile of cash. When someone at the Good Pharma corporation, whose stock is plummeting, uncovers the scheme, two of Jin Li’s workers die a grisly death, and Jin is on the run. Her brother extorts Jin’s old flame, Ray Grant–an ex-firefighter with a disturbing 9/11 past–to track her down. He’ll have to comb every strata of New York, from the brutal Mexican mafia to the greed-fueled penthouse billionaires of Wall Street, to find her. ”
De gele ogen van de krokodillen [The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles] by Katherine Pancol. Translated from the French, Les Yeux Jaunes Des Crocodiles. A trilogy about a family with secrets.
Tegenlicht [Backlight] by Esther Verhoef. A Dutch writer. The story is about a woman with traumas from her youth trying to survive in her marriage.
De schuldigen [The Guilty] by Thomas van Aalten. Another Dutch writer. An attack on world’s only 7-star hotel and the super-rich parents of the main character are the themes in this book.