This week’s book haul

OK, so after contemplating clearing out some of my books, I am trying to reduce my purchases…honestly!

The first two books this weeks were charity shop finds, both perfect for my summer holiday: Firstly, The Complete Short Stories of Muriel Spark. As you’ll see when I publish my piece on Spark’s ‘The Hothouse by the East River’, I’ve recently become besotted with this wonderful writer and as short stories always work in hot climates, this is a perfect holiday read. The next holiday read is in case the climate becomes too hot – ‘Ancient Sorceries and other Stories’ by Algernon Blackwood should hopefully provide a shiver or two. This is another writer who I seem to have known about forever but never actually read. The cover’s talk of ‘nocturnal cat people of a sleepy French village’ and ‘reincarnated Egyptian fire-elemental embodied in a bowl of hot blood’ could mean a terror-fest or the campest thing since Ernest Thesiger in ‘Bride of Frankenstein’. Either sounds good to me!

‘Three Women’ by Lisa Taddeo seems to be everywhere this summer, promising the intimate real lives of three American women. I’m hoping for something akin to the searing, brutal honesty of Nancy Friday whose ‘My Mother My Self’ and ‘Jealousy’ were truly gripping, enlightening and also a little frightening…

I love the Pet Shop Boys, so to have a collection of Neil Tennant‘s lyrics with slight commentaries is a lovely thing.

newby3This week I also received my subscription copy of ‘The Modernist’, a quarterly magazine produced in Manchester and devoted to mid-twentieth century architecture…a thing of beauty, this issue boasting (amongst many other things!) some lovely photographs of New York in the 1950s, an item on Burnage in Manchester (‘a ‘miniature garden city’), a look at Skelmersdale new town and the Scottish churches of Gillespie, Kidd and Coia. I know this isn’t for everyone but I love ‘The Modernist’ and would urge anyone with an interest to subscribe  (And if anyone has a spare copy of The Modernist no.1, let me know – it’s the only issue I don’t have!)

And finally, an anthology which looks perfect for my holiday: ‘The Stonewall Reader’ by rid9the New York City Library. For a slender (305 pages) it packs a punch: extracts from books detailing life ‘Before Stonewall’ from LGBT luminaries such as Audre Lorde, Virginia Prince, Joan Nestle and John Rechy. ‘During Stonewall’ gives us extracts from books but also some fascinating interviews with people who were there and some who we rarely hear in interview: trans activists Marsha P Johnson & Sylvia Riviera, Warhol starlet Holly Woodlawn. ‘After Stonewall’ gives us work from those who took the spark and flew with it: Lesbian writer Jill Johnston; performer Penny Arcade, activist Harry Hay, Historian Jonathan Ned Katz amongst many others. I’m itching to read it, but have three weeks before my holidays begin…


This entry was posted in Algernon Blackwood, Lisa Taddeo, Muriel Spark, Nancy Friday, Neil Tennant and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to This week’s book haul

  1. Pingback: A book haul…and holiday reading! | wordsandpictures

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