Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!
I’ve had a bit of a book buying splurge this week. I think it’s come from having cabin fever, and I felt like I deserved a treat…
Here are the books I bought this week:
Bluets by Maggie Nelson
This has been one of my most anticipated books of this year so I couldn’t resist treating myself this week. It’s a beautiful looking book, and I can hardly wait to start reading it.
Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color . . .
A lyrical, philosophical, and often explicit exploration of personal suffering and the limitations of vision and love, as refracted through the color blue. With Bluets, Maggie Nelson has entered the pantheon of brilliant lyric essayists.
The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke
I’ve heard so much advanced praise for this book that I’ve been very keen to read it. I treated myself this week and really want to read this book very soon.
‘Against anything I had ever been told was possible, I was turning white. On the surface of my skin, a miracle was quietly brewing . . .’
Suburban Australia. Sweltering heat. Three bedroom blonde-brick. Family of five. Beat-up Ford Falcon. Vegemite on toast. Maxine Beneba Clarke’s life is just like all the other Aussie kids on her street.
Except for this one, glaring, inescapably obvious thing.
Our Young Man by Edmund White
This book has been calling to me since I spotted it a couple of weeks ago and I just had to order it in the end. I want to read this book but I also want to pick it up when I have time to just sit and read it in one go… hopefully very soon!
‘Has everyone always been in love with you? Of course they have, who am I kidding? What did they say about Helen of Troy? That her face launched a thousand ships? That’s you, you’re that beautiful. A thousand ships’
New York City in the eighties, and at its decadent heart is Guy. The darling of Fire Island’s gay community and one of New York’s top male models, Guy is gliding his way to riches that are a world away from his modest provincial upbringing back home in France. Like some modern-day Dorian Gray he seems untouched by time: the decades pass, fashions change, yet his beauty remains as transcendent and captivating as ever.
Such looks cannot help but bring him adoration. From sweet yet pathetic Fred to the wealthy and masochistic Baron, from the acerbic and cynical Pierre-Georges to Andre, fabricating Dalí fakes and hurtling towards prison and the abyss, all are in some way fixated on him. In return for the devotion and expensive gifts they lavish on him, he plays with unswerving loyalty whatever role they project onto him: unattainable idol, passionate lover, malleable client. But just as the years are catching up on his smooth skin and perfect body, so his way of life is closing in on him and destroying the men he loves.
Monte Carlo by Peter Terrin
I saw a fab review of this on a blog recently (apologies that I can’t find where I noted down whose blog so if it was you, please tell me and I’ll amend this) and knew I had to read it. It’s a short book so I’m hoping to read this in one go in the next couple of weeks.
It is the Monaco Grand Prix in May 1968. Jack Preston, a mechanic for Team Sutton, is making the final checks on his car as the beau mondemingles with the drivers under the eyes of the world’s press and the galleries of spectators. DeeDee, a starlet of great beauty, seems to be walking towards him, or perhaps towards the royal box. Without warning a fireball rips across the starting grid. Preston will always bear the scars as a consequence of his unthinking heroism, his saving the life and the beauty of the girl, but details of the accident remain vague – no photographs capturing the moment have come to light.
Weeks later, Preston emerges from hospital and goes home to his wife in a remote English village from which the drab atmosphere of the 1950s has yet to recede. There, as he slowly recovers, he awaits word from his employers and some sign of DeeDee’s gratitude, an acknowledgment that it was he who saved her life.
Modern Lovers by Emma Straub
I bought this book on a whim when I spotted in the sale on Kindle this week. It sounds like a great summer read so I’m looking forward to getting to it.
Twenty years later and they were supposed to be grown-ups…
Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.
Summer in the city . . .
College friends Elizabeth, Zoe and Andrew had a band, grew up, settled in New York and now they were still living round the corner from one another (and in each other’s pockets).
One hot summer as their kids come of age, making those first hesitant steps into adulthood, it’s the parents who find that the lives they’ve so carelessly stitched together begin to slowly unravel . . .
Dark Chapter by Winnie M. Li
I happened to see this book being discussed online this week and immediately I wanted to get hold of a copy. I was happy to spot it was part of Kindle Unlimited so I downloaded it and I want to read it soon. It does sound like an intense read though so I’m going to wait until I’m feeling a bit less fragile.
Vivian is a cosmopolitan Taiwanese-American tourist who often escapes her busy life in London through adventure and travel. Johnny is a 15-year-old Irish teenager, living a neglected life on the margins of society.
On a bright spring afternoon in West Belfast, their paths collide during a horrifying act of violence.
In the aftermath, each is forced to confront the chain of events that led to the attack.
Inspired by true events, this is a story of the dark chapters and chance encounters that can irrevocably determine the shape of our lives.
Here I Am by Jonathan Saffron Foer
I’ve had this on my wishlist for a while and have been undecided about it as I love his earlier novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close but I’ve heard mixed reviews of this new one. When I saw it in the kindle sale this week though I decided to take a chance on it and if I love it I’ll be buying a print copy to go on my bookcase.
Jacob and Julia Bloch are about to be tested . . .
By Jacob’s grandfather, who won’t go quietly into a retirement home.
By the family reunion, that everyone is dreading.
By their son’s heroic attempts to get expelled.
And by the sexting affair that will rock their marriage.
A typical modern American family, the Blochs cling together even as they are torn apart. Which is when catastrophe decides to strike . . .
Confronting the enduring question of what it means to be human with inventiveness, playfulness and compassion, Here I Am is a great American family novel for our times, an unmissable read for fans of Jonathan Franzen and Michael Chabon, a masterpiece about how we live now.
I received seven review books:
The Things We Thought We Knew by Mahsuda Snaith
I was thrilled when I was contacted about reading and reviewing this book as it’s another book that I’ve been eagerly anticipating. It arrived yesterday and I read the first few pages and I feel sure this is going to be a book I won’t want to put down once I pick it up properly.
Ravine and Marianne were best friends. They practised handstands together, raced slugs and went into the woods to play.
But now everything has changed.
Ten years later, Ravine lies in a bed plagued by chronic pain syndrome. And her best friend Marianne is gone.
How did their last adventure go so wrong? Who is to blame? And where is Marianne?
Dodgers by Bill Beverly
The publishers of this book very kindly emailed me a copy of Dodgers this week, which made my day as this is another book that I’ve been keen to read. I’m snowed under with review books just now but I hope I can squeeze this book in soon.
Dodgers is a dark, unforgettable coming-of-age journey that recalls the very best of Richard Price, Denis Johnson, and J.D. Salinger.
When East, a low-level lookout for a Los Angeles drug organisation, loses his watch house in a police raid, his boss recruits him for a very different job: a road trip – straight down the middle of white, rural America – to assassinate a judge in Wisconsin.
Having no choice, East and a crew of untested boys – including his trigger-happy younger brother, Ty – leave the only home they’ve ever known in a nondescript blue van, with a roll of cash, a map and a gun they shouldn’t have.
Along the way, the country surprises East. The blood on his hands isn’t the blood he expects. And he reaches places where only he can decide which way to go – or which person to become.
The Detriment by David Videcette
I won’t lie, I squealed when the author contacted me to see if I’d like an advanced ecopy of this. The previous novel, The Theseus Paradox, was one of my favourite books of 2015 so this has been a book I’ve been waiting for. I’m hoping to read and review it around publication day at the end of June.
“The truth costs nothing, but a lie can cost you everything…”
June 2007: a barbaric nail bomb is planted outside a London nightclub, a spy is found dead in his garden, and a blazing Jeep is driven into Glasgow airport. Three events bound by an earth-shattering connection that should have remained buried forever.
From the author of ‘The Theseus Paradox’, the smash-hit 7/7 thriller based on true events, comes the sequel about a real-life mystery that threatens to destroy a nation. Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan must uncover how a series of astonishing events are inextricably linked, before the past closes in on him.
We all have secrets we say we’ll never tell…
Bad Choices by Ali Almossawi
This review book arrived yesterday and I’m really intrigued to read it. It looks like a book that can be read in between other books, so I might pick it up soon.
Readers around the world have embraced Ali Almossawi’s whimsical illustrations and his funny, clarifying explanations of complex subjects. In Bad Choices Almossawi demystifies a new topic of increasing relevance to our lives: algorithms. This is a book for anyone who’s looked at a given task and wondered if there was a better, faster way to get it done. What’s the best way to organize a grocery list? What’s the secret to being more productive at work? How can we better express ourselves in 140-characters?
Presenting us with alternative methods for tackling each scenario, Almossawi guides us to better choices that borrow from same systems that underline a computer word processor, a Google search engine, or a Facebook ad. Once you recognise what makes a method faster and more efficient, you’ll become a more nimble, creative problem-solver, ready to face new challenges.
Baby Lost by Hannah Robert
I’ve already started reading this book and it’s so moving. It’s a tough read but it’s one I’d recommend.
What happens when a death occurs within your body, but you survive? Two days after Christmas, law lecturer Hannah Robert, eight months pregnant, was driving her partner and stepkids home from a picnic when their car was crushed by a four-wheel-drive. Hannah’s baby didn’t survive.
When Hannah told her story in court, the judge wept. In her struggle to make sense of the personal and legal aftermath, Hannah had to find out what it means to mother a dead child and to renegotiate her own relationship with hope. Her powerful story is written with clarity and beauty, shining light on an unimaginably dark event and is, unexpectedly, tempered with life and promise.
The Scandal by Fredrik Backman
I got an email from NetGalley about this book and I downloaded it based on the synopsis before I even took notice of who wrote it. I’m even more keen to read it now I have noticed – I hope to get to this soon.
‘Late one evening towards the end of March, a teenager picked up a double-barrelled shotgun, walked into the forest, put the gun to someone else’s forehead and pulled the trigger.
This is the story of how we got there.’ Beartown is a small town in a large Swedish forest. For most of the year it is under a thick blanket of snow, experiencing the kind of cold and dark that brings people closer together – or pulls them apart. Its isolation means that Beartown has been slowly shrinking with each passing year. But now the town is on the verge of an astonishing revival. Everyone can feel the excitement. Change is in the air and a bright new future is just around the corner. Until the day it is all put in jeopardy by a single, brutal act. It divides the town into those who think it should be hushed up and forgotten, and those who’ll risk the future to see justice done. At last, it falls to one young man to find the courage to speak the truth that it seems no one else wants to hear. With the town’s future at stake, no one can stand by or stay silent. Everyone is on one side or the other.
Which side would you be on?
Last Seen by Lucy Clarke
I was thrilled to be offered a copy of this to read and review for the forthcoming blog tour. I’m a fan of Lucy Clarke’s novels and am really excited to have a copy of this.
Seven years ago, two boys went missing at sea – and only one was brought to shore. The Sandbank, a remote stretch of coast dotted with beach huts, was scarred forever.
Sarah’s son survived, but on the anniversary of the accident, he disappears without trace. As new secrets begin to surface, The Sandbank hums with tension and unanswered questions. Sarah’s search grows more desperate and she starts to mistrust everyone she knows – and she’s right to.
Someone saw everything on that fateful day seven years ago. And they’ll do anything to keep the truth buried.
So, that’s all of my new books from the past week. Have you bought any new books recently? Tell me all in the comments below, or if you have a stacking the shelves post on your blog feel free to post the link below too.
My weekly wrap up post will be on my blog tomorrow so please look out for that.