Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sunday Salon

I am greedy. I acquire books at a faster rate than I can read them. This has never been a problem for me, as they have always been absorbed by the thousands of books I have on my shelves at home and therefore all evidence of my extravagance disappears. It is quite alarming then, when you move to a temporary home and only bring fifteen or so books with you, when your book collection suddenly doubles and is well on the way to tripling. So I have tried to hold back a bit, only getting books out of the library or not at all, and it has been torture, but my bank balance is no doubt thanking me. I have been walking around bookshops longingly fondling the books I would like to take home with me and love. 

So I was delighted when, after doing a reading at the local UBS bookshop for Poetry Day on Friday, I was given a very generous and welcome koha - a book voucher. With my voucher I bought two books: Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier, which I had checked out of the univeristy library but which had been recalled before I had made much headway into it. Since it is a source of inspiration for my new novel, I thought this is one book I should own rather than borrow. The other book I bought was Emily Perkins' Novel About My Wife. I have wanted to read it ever since it came out, but had been holding out on the actual buying of it until I knew I had the time to sit down and read it. And still it called to me...

The voucher was unexpected, so it was a huge relief to be able to purchase these two books that have been cooing my name for so long.

My greed continues. Not only did I get myself these two books, but as it was my birthday this week, I also got given two new books, both, coincidentally, by Anne Enright: Making Babies, her memoir about pregnancy and motherhood and Taking Pictures, a collection of short stories. I finally finished The Gathering and while I felt a little unsatisfied at the end, I thoroughly enjoyed the writing, and it made me want to read more of her work. Having heard her speak, too, I knew that she would be the perfect person to write an antidote to the What to Expect When You're Expecting/the First Year type baby books. I will definitely be reporting back on that one.

So I have all these new books beckoning to me, but first I have to read Petropolis by Anya Ulinich as I think I can reveal that she is one of the authors on the session I will be chairing at the Christchurch Writers Festival in September. The programme is being launched on Tuesday, so I'll reveal the others anon.

11 comments:

Gondal-girl said...

Go the book greed is what I say - I relate to your bookshop fondling, just have been doing the same today, and have made no purchases, but last week, not so lucky...

I shall let you in on my secret, once I have read a book, and I don't think I shall refer to it again ( or haven't adored) I let it go, to anyone who wants it or the second hand bookshop, as the space is an issue ( but that doesn't stop the mini - tower of Babel's sprouting up around the place of un-read books)

Intrigued to hear about the Enrights, Louise Erdrich has a pregnancy/writing book from a while back to which I am yet to read, The Blue Jay's Dance I think.
Have only read Enrights, Eliza Lynch which was great ( about 19th Century Irish courtesan getting caught up in South american politics...)

Happy reading and more even more happy writing - don't you think that sometimes reading other books is the fuel that gets ones own words flowing???

Ruth said...

I do that too with books! I got a job recently, and apparently all of my newfound wealth is going on filling up my new bookcase... it's a great feeling though.

Both those novels (Rebecca and Novel about my wife) are ones I've looked at recently too... I actually own a second-hand copy of Rebecca, though I haven't read it yet — would be interested in hearing your opinion of both/either! :)

Clare Dudman said...

Yes, it's a little disquieting how these books stealthily build up - I wonder how that happens? :-)

This sounds like an excellent haul. I have the Enright (Gathering) on my pile, but the only other one I know is Rebecca which I loved when I was a teenager, and keep meaning to re-read - but then there's always something else, isn't there?

gautami tripathy said...

I too buy more books than I can read! If I did not buy for a year, my books would still last two years!

Here is my SS post

Vanda Symon said...

Gondal-girl, how can you bear to let them go?! I can't, I must possess them, they are mine, my precious, mine.

Gondal-girl said...

How can I bear to let them go...my two bedroom apartment makes sure of that - still have lots of books, just let some go to new homes regularly after reading them, sharing the love, not quite bookcrossing, but similar...

Rachael King said...

Thanks for all your comments. In answer to Gondal-girl's question about books being the fuel for writing - I am not one of those people who stops reading novels when I am writing. If anything I read more. The more I read good writing the more I think about why it is good and the more the 'magic' can rub off on me. I am confident and strong enough in my own 'voice' that I don't worry about absorbing someone else's, as I know some writers are.

Gondal-girl said...

I was like you Rachael until this novel I am writing, I can't read novels for the time being because as soon as a I enter a fictional world I find that my brain has been dancing with my characters and a whole lot of time has gone past me with staring at a page, blankly...though I have been secretly hoarding my next stash of novels for when the drought breaks....

Anonymous said...

Hi, Rachel. First visit to your interesting blog. Do you know Piers Dudgeon's bio of J.M. Barrie? It discusses Barrie's influence - some of it baleful - on the du Maurier family. A fascinating, illustrious family - though your interest may be more in Daphne du Maurier's fictions. There's an article about it here:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2008/07/13/sv_jmbarrie.xml
(I hope that link works!)
Best wishes,

Tim Upperton

Rachael King said...

Thanks for the link Tim - a thread that will have to go unexplored right now - too much on my plate! I am at this stage interested in Rebecca as a rehashing of Victorian gothic romance, rather than the du Mauriers themselves (though coincidentally the drama 'Daphne' was on TV the other night and I have it taped ready to watch). I can see how scholars take years to write biographies with all the connections to follow up.

Mary McCallum said...

Kate Morton (Australian writer) has made a killing writing gothic fiction and her second novel is partly set in Cornwall around the lost gardens of Helligan and inspired by Rebecca! Ta-dah!