I’ve been spending a lot of time on youtube recently enjoying book haul videos. Contemplated doing it myself until I saw the pilot. It’s not going to happen without pre-requisite plastic surgery and that’s never going to happen.
Instead, I shall share my annual Edinburgh splurge here, and given that it was financed by my final pay cheque, this may be the last splurge ever (unless I finance another by eating bread and jam for a month or two.). This post will also prove how irresistible the festival bookshop in Charlotte Square is to me. Although I am not alone in that. 62,000 full-price sales in 17 days is phenomenal book-selling, isn’t it? Publishers must love #edbookfest as much as I do. Anyway, here is my small contribution to the book-buying frenzy.
From left to right:
James Robertson: To Be Continued *
Each year I pick out the best looking cover in the shop and acquire the book. Oh yes, judging a book by its cover has benefits. I’ve discovered some great reads this way. Usually I add to my gold-gilted collection rather like Fitzgerald’s Flappers and Philosophers which I purchased about three years ago. This year, however, I found quirky to be the most attractive look. Couldn’t work it out … Until I got home and looked at my new party dress.
I’m not worried about not enjoying the novel. I’ve read plenty from James Robertson before. This will be good.
A Country Road, A Tree – Jo Baker / Dat Trickster Sun: Poems – Christine De Luca / The Lamentations – Mark Lawson / The Woman Next Door – Yemande Omatose *
Four novels, the acquisition of which were directly fuelled by the authors during their events. Fellow Lancastrian Baker’s second novel takes on the years Samuel Beckett spent in Paris; the years that, according to Baker, transformed him from a talent to a literary giant. Christine de Luca is the current Edinburgh Makar and this pamphlet of poems in English and Shetlandic joins my collection of the Makars’ poetry. The Lamentations deals with the devastation of historic sexual abuse allegations, tapping directly into contemporary issues and my unease with how we, as a society, are dealing with this. My interest in Omatose’s novel was spiked when I realised that the neighbour from hell wasn’t a Hyacinth Bucket figure, but that her novel, dealing with post-apartheid racial issues in South Africa has much more depth to it than that.
How to Look For A Lost Dog – Ann M Martin
Ah, the dangers of spending a sunny afternoon on the Charlotte Square lawn in bookish chat with other festivallers. Anne from Dublin, suitcase in tow, had just arrived, but had already succumbed to the children’s bookshop. Of course, I asked her what she’d bought, and, following the conversation, I had to get a copy of this book for myself.
Van Gogh’s Ear: The True Story – Bernadette Murphy *
Ah, the dangers of standing in a queue waiting for Susan Fletcher to sign my copy of Let Me Tell You About A Man I Knew and striking up a conversation with her publisher, which turned to this book. Given that my house is full of Van Gogh prints (not Pre-Raphaelites, surprisingly) of course I sought a review copy.
Walking with James Hogg – Bruce Gilkinson / How to travel without seeing – Andres Neuman
I’m going to be taking some long trips in the next 12 months (and blogging may be sporadic, depending on wifi access). I’m contemplating writing about these travels, but have no idea how to go about it. Hence my attendance at these events and the addition of these travelogues to my shelves.
The Nature of Autumn – Jim Crumley
Because autumn is my favourite season, and watching the leaves on the trees in Charlotte Square change colour is one of the great pleasures of the book festival. Plus this was the runner up in my favourite cover competition and I had a discount voucher to trade.
Dragon Games – Jan-Philippe Sender / Dream Story – Arthur Schnitzler
Because coming back from the Edinburgh International Book Festival without some new German literature simply will not do. German Literature was poorly represented this year. (Mind, I can’t think off-hand of any big UK-published releases this year.) Anyway, I read and enjoyed the first in Sendker’s Dragon Rising Trilogy last year and, although I couldn’t attend his event this time, I’m looking forward to reading this. As for Schnitzler in the new coloured Penguin classics format, how could I resist?
So there we have it. 12 acquisitions during the first 10 days of the festival. (Books marked with an asterisk are review copies, kindly sent by the publishers.) Just think what might have happened had I been able to attend for the full 17 days. (Which is the plan for next year. Now where is the bread and jam?)