You may recall that I have a new resolution this month to record all my book acquisitions (à la Nick Hornby's method in The Polysyllabic Spree), in an attempt to shed some light on what I bring into the house vs. what I actually read. My list so far went something like this:
- An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears (Gift)
- A Concise Companion to Shakespeare on Screen ed. by Diana E. Henderson (Gift)
- Ryder by Djuna Barnes (Gift)
- Blood Knot and Other Plays by Athol Fugard (Purchase)
- The End of Acting: A Radical View by Richard Hornby (Purchase)
- Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
When I was in seventh grade, my friend D (who is now a very accomplished playwright) read this, and I have had a strange mimetic yen for it ever since. The blurbs declare that it is "the right book at exactly the right time" (Elaine Showalter), that "Now the '90s can begin" (Barbara Ehrenreich) and that it is a "clarion call for the '90s" (Eleanor Smeal). The questions are whether it is still as compelling more than a decade and a half later, and whether we are now in an even darker place as a nation.
- The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
This, surprisingly enough, is on my list of 1001 Books I Must Read Before I Die. It is a Hercule Poirot mystery; it has been some years since I have read an Agatha Christie novel, but I do believe that everything I once read by her did feature her fastidious Belgian sleuth. This edition is lovely, with a soothing, pensive blue cover and a list of every novel in the Poirot series on the back. According the the blurbs on the back, this was the most controversial of Christie's mysteries.
- From Doon with Death by Ruth Rendell
Unlike Christie, Ruth Rendell is an author I have never read, in any of her noms de plume. This, I have been told, is the first in her acclaimed Inspector Wexford series. It is so delightfully slim that I almost can't bear to put it down again without reading it.
- A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters
I seem to be on quite a mystery-mooching spree, don't I? The odd thing about this is that I mooched books from all different genres at approximately the same time. The only thing I can conclude from this is that mystery readers are prompter to the post office than readers of other genres. This is "The First Chronicle of Brother Cadfael," a twelfth-century Welsh monk who goes about solving crime. I once read broadly in this series, but since then we must have given away our copy of the first book, so I have been frustrated in my attempts to return to it. Now, at long last, we are reunited. The cover of this edition is absurdly cheesy: it looks like an extra from a particularly low-budget production of Camelot has suffered an abrupt and unexpected death by arrow.
- Echo House by Ward Just
My first experience reading Ward Just, with The Weather in Berlin, was a grim and tedious affair, but I am giving it another shot with this novel about a political dynasty in my home town of Washington, DC.
- The End of the Alphabet by CS Richardson (from the delightful Lotus Reads)
I had the tremendous good fortune to win Lotus Reads' drawing for this almost irresistible small hardback about Ambrose Zephyr, who is told by his doctor that he has 0nly a month left in his life, and embarks on a final adventure with his wife Zipper. I can't wait to hop into it - Thanks, Lotus!