Friday, 4 September 2009

More Books...

While I am eternally grateful to the nice people at the 'Review' section of The Weekend Australian for informing me of the wonderful institution that is the Book Depository, a part of me knows that it is a double-edged sword as I'm probably going to end up spending more in the end, if only on more bookcases to house my burgeoning collection. I'm trying to stick to a routine where, every two weeks (on pay day), I browse the site (and my long, rather messy, wish-list which lives on my desk at work) and spend as much money as I would on buying one full-priced book from an Australian bookshop. Thanks to the extortionate prices here, and my penchant for buying cheap versions of classic novels which are out of copyright, that usually means I get three for the price of one. Brilliant.

So what has been dropping through my letterbox recently? Well, for starters, most of the books I've reviewed over the past month or so. In addition, I have a nice collection of Wordsworth Editions classics sitting waiting to be read: 'The Return of the Native', Dostoyevsky's 'Demons', a collection of Tolstoy's short stories, 'Dubliners' and 'David Copperfield'; and yesterday, when I got home, my long-awaited edition of Mishima's 'Runaway Horses' had arrived. Yay :)

The sneaky side of me would like to end the post there; however, my honest, ethical side (damn him, the idiot do-gooder) feels the need to confess to some furtive book buying. You see, the campus bookshop is having its semesterly clearance sale, and... well, let's move along. To cut a long story short, I walked out $15 lighter and two books heavier, but happier. One is a novel by the Ukrainian writer Andrey Kurkov, whose book 'Death and the Penguin' has had some good reviews. I wasn't lucky enough to come across that, but I snapped up a copy of 'The President's Last Love' which will hopefully also be a good read.

The second book is called 'Classics' and is the work of an Australian academic who has chosen sixty-two works of literature (mainly prose) from throughout history, starting with Homer and ending with 'Midnight's Children', and written a few pages on each, explaining its importance and context. At the end of each review, there is also the distraction of a short piece from famous contemporary writers and artists talking about their favourite books. I don't think this is one to read from cover to cover, so I may be dipping into it for years to come (starting with the books I've already read!).

Phew. The Catholics are right - confession is good for you. Well, until I get home and find that my wife has read this post anyway...