This summer was all about spending time with family, getting sun-kissed, waking up in the wee hours of the morning, working on art projects, creating mix-tapes, watching Korean dramas, reading YA novels, gushing and dancing at a music festival, watching horror flicks, getting smitten with a kitten, rolling down the car windows and singing along to ’80s songs at midnight, and of course, hoarding books.
If, at this moment, the books on my bedside table start vomiting, they would be spewing out snow, misfit runaways, a chateau mystery, tennis balls, a jukebox, and Mona Lisa’s smile.
We didn’t go out as often as we used to, but I mostly went in and out of bookstores every time we did. I’ve found pretty sweet stuff from bargain bins and secondhand bookshops:
It was such a delightful surprise to find The Second Mrs. Gioconda by E.L. Konigsburg, which is a historical novel that explores the origin of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
M.L. Longworth’s Death at Chateau Bremont seems like a fun and charming read, while Charles Bock’s Beautiful Children promises to be gritty and harrowing.
I have fallen in love with Under the Tuscan Sun (both the book and the film adaptation) by Frances Mayes, so it was a treat to find her A Year in the World.
John Clarke’s The Tournament has such a clever and fantastic conceit. In this book, he gathered the most brilliant minds of the 20th century and had them duke it out in the craziest tennis tournament that could end all tennis tournaments.
Hidden among dusty gems at a secondhand bookshop in Manila was Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories. I have read rave reviews of Life After Life and heard Kubi sing its praises, which is why I’ve finally decided to read it and obtain more books by the author.
I was immediately drawn to Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend, mostly because of the creepy doll on the cover (thanks, in large part, to one of the world’s best cover designers, Chip Kidd). The gloomy weather seems perfect for a deliciously creepy novel, and I can’t wait to start reading it.
I was elated to find A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin and two more books from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series at a secondhand bookstore in Subic.
Bill Bryson’s Neither Here nor There promises to be a riot, while Michael Chabon’s A Model World and Other Stories offers another opportunity to marvel at the author’s delectable sentences.
I’ve read and loved Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog, but didn’t have my own copy of the book. Both of my sisters have their own copies but this one has a beautiful cover, which was what convinced me to buy it.
Patrick Gale’s Notes from an Exhibition earned high praise from one of the most brilliant people on the planet, Stephen Fry. He described it as “complete perfection” so naturally, I bought it.
Daphne Kalotay’s Russian Winter is simply intriguing and beguiling. I can’t wait to read it.
These two books were given by Kubi, my partner-in-reading-and-book-hoarding. I’ve breezed through pretty much all of the heady works of Francesca Lia Block except for Pretty Dead, which was surprisingly hard to find.
Carol Rifka Brunt’s Tell the Wolves I’m Home was such a beautiful book that had rendered me catatonic. Now that I have my own copy of the damn book that made me bawl my eyes out at three in the morning, I am looking forward to reliving the experience and underlining the bejeezus out of it.
I bought these three delightful books yesterday, while preparing to get my heart ripped to shreds at a screening of the film adaptation of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.
Diane Johnson’s Into a Paris Quartier is a memoir that provides an intimate look at her beloved St.-Germain-des-Prés. My sister and I were surprised to discover that it was signed by the author herself. Admittedly, it was dedicated to another person, but it was still signed nonetheless.
I learned about cozy mysteries from a discussion that Jim Parsons had with Craig Ferguson. Craig is quite possibly my most favorite human bean in the entire multiverse. It was he who introduced me to a multitude of fascinating writers, including Lawrence Block, who writes brilliant mystery novels. I found The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart, one of the books in Block’s Bernie Rhodenbarr series, as well as Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, which is the first of many delicious mysteries in the Hannah Swensen series by Joanne Fluke.
Unsurprisingly, I have no more shelf space. If my TBR pile were a monster, it would swallow me whole.
This was a post by Hanna, who is thinking of black bean noodles.
*Photographs courtesy of the sister