Thursday, April 2, 2009

This pile snuck up on me


In an attempt to put myself on a stricter budget, and to force myself to read through some of the ridiculously large pile of books next to my bed, I made a resolution not to buy any new books this year. Okay, I knew that wasn't going to last. But I did want to see how long I could make it without getting out my wallet to buy books.

I'm actually proud of myself for the restraint I've shown so far this year. And I am making inroads into the crazy book pile. But I guess I'm a bit of a book magnet--I've still been acquiring books, even without buying many. I keep getting books as gifts, and ARCs. And I did make an exception to my "no buying" rule for book group books, of which there have been a few.

So here's the pile I've accumulated, despite my best intentions:

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery. This one is for my book group's next meeting. I've heard this described as both "the best book I've read all year" and "pretentious". Hmm...

The Believers, by Zoe Heller. Also for my book group. Also given mixed reviews.

Five Quarters of the Orange, by Joanne Harris. Given to me as a very, very belated birthday present, along with

Gentlemen and Players, by Joanne Harris. In which I am warned to watch out for something shocking. Again, hmm...

A Mercy, by Toni Morrison. Borrowed by my mother from her good friend, and left here accidentally on a visit. Sorry, Mom! I'll send it back to you when I'm done.

Any thoughts on these?

20 comments:

Suko said...

I thought I was the only one. There's a word for people like us--bookaholics.

Sarah said...

I've recently resolved to buy less books to save for an oversea trip, and am impressed by your restraint!

I thought Notes on a scandal by Heller was brilliant, and will be interested to hear what The Believers is like.

A lot of people have been reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog, with its mixed reviews I'm again curious to find out hat you think.

litlove said...

You have done MUCH better than me! And what you have bought is undeniably fabulous stuff. I'm also really interested in the Heller as I loved Notes on a Scandal. Oh and the Toni Morrison, too.

Joy said...

I loved Gentlemen and Players! Happy Reading! :)

Verbivore said...

My book group is reading Barbery for our June meeting, I believe. I'm looking forward to it, since, like you, I've read very mixed reviews.

And I am impressed with your book-buying reserve, I told myself I would do that this year but I've already made far too many Book Depository/Amazon/Dover orders...yikes!

BooksPlease said...

I'm a book magnet too!

Gentlemen and Players is very good.

I'm interested in reading A Mercy, so I hope you'll write about it soon.

Gentle Reader said...

Suko--you are so right, I am a bookaholic, there's no denying it :)

Sarah--I read the NY Times review of The Believers, and it was not a wholehearted recommendation, but I believe the reviewer enjoyed the writing, so I'm excited to read it. Another reviewer compared aspects of the book to Claire Messud's The Emperor's Children, which I enjoyed, and compared Heller's style to that of Lionel Shriver, another writer I like. We'll see!

litlove--I can't wait to start The Believers, but I'm reading the Muriel Barbery first. Anticipation! And I have to admit I have already raced through the Toni Morrison--she's an amazing stylist, and it was a dream-like read...I'll gather my thoughts and do a review soon.

Joy--so many people I know have really loved that book. I can't wait to read it. This how my TBR pile got so big--I keep getting excited about new books, before I've finished the ones I already had!

Verbivore--then we'll have to compare book group reactions, as my group will be discussing the Barbery, and the Heller, at our meeting in late April! I love the Book Depository, too--it's hard for me to keep away from all the good book sources out there on the internet...

BooksPlease--we'll have to discuss Gentlemen and Players when I read it. I finished the Toni Morrison--raced through it, really, and liked it--and will write about it soon (I hope)!

softdrink said...

I found Elegance of the Hedgehog to be heavy on the philosophy. And after I read it, I found out the author teaches philosophy, so she was obviously writing about what she knows. Since I'm not into philosophy, I found those parts a bit dense, but I did enjoy the rest of the story.

Looking forward to meeting you at the Festival of Books!

Gentle Reader said...

softdrink--I started the book, and I agree, it's definitely a book about ideas, sometimes a bit heavy. But I am enjoying it, so far. I'm looking forward to meeting you, too!

Jeane said...

Never read these books- but they look lovely! I have several piles of unread books around my bedroom, so I made a resolution earlier this year to avoid buying more until I'd read at least halfof them. Sadly, I was unable to stick to it. Now there's more than ever!

Gentle Reader said...

Jeane--Lol! I completely understand. I was hoping to have read more of my pile by now, too!

JoAnn said...

What a nice pile of books! I really liked Five Quarters of the Orange and bought Gentlemen and Players at the last library book sale. Can't decide about Elegance of the Hedgehog - it may be one of those books I need to be in just the right mood for.

Susan said...

I heard the Five Quarters of the Orange is good, from my friend who belongs to a book club. I haven't heard of the others, though. And nice try at not buying books! I think for mother's day you should get a gift certificate to a bookstore! lol then you can bring in more without actually spending any money yet!!!

J.S. Peyton said...

Toni Morrison's "A Mercy" just won this years Tournament of Books over at Morning News so you might be in for some good reading there. "Borrowed" book or no. = )

You are a strong, strong woman not to have bought any books for the past three months. I wish I had such will power.

Iliana said...

Oh what a resolution! I've tried going a month without buying any books and can't even do that! I have to buy at least one :)

But, I've scaled back mainly because like you, I'm trying to get some control over the crazy stacks of unread books. I'm definitely not winning that battle. ha.

I haven't read any of these but they are all on my list of course.

Matt said...

Like Beloved, I have heard mixed bag of feedback on A Mercy. The clerk at the indie said he read it all in one sitting on the flight to SF from DC. My friend from Louisiana said he had to put it down after the first 20 pages. I think Toni Morrison is not Toni Morrison without her making us in awe of her words. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Joanne Harris is an author whose works I want to more after Gentlemen and Players. This one sounds good but I have no luck getting a copy at the stores.

Lisa said...

All we can do is try -- I don't have any notion that I could ever actually succeed with a resolution such as this! A couple of these books are on my wishlist.

Gentle Reader said...

JoAnn--Well, I just finished The Elegance of the Hedgehog, and while I had reservations at the beginning, I finished up really, really enjoying it. So I'll try to write something up soon :)

Susan--LOL, I've already put in my request to my family for book store gift cards for the next gift-giving occasion!

J.S.--I finished A Mercy--it's a certain kind of read, maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but I enjoyed it. I'm not a strong woman, but I was pretty motivated to not spend money!

Iliana--the piles, the piles! They threaten to overwhelm me and sometimes even appear in my dreams! But I'm working on it :)

Matt--I enjoyed A Mercy, but I can see why it wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea (as I said above). It's exactly as you say, I was in awe of her words. Her use of language is so poetic, and moving.

Lisa--I won't last much longer on this resolution, I can tell!

Diane said...

I have Gentlemen and Players and A Mercy on my list as well.

Gentle Reader said...

Diane--I really can't wait to read Gentlemen and Players--I keep hearing great things :)