New stash, and other things.

Barter Books.
Sunday was my birthday, and yesterday I had a birthday outing to Barter Books, where I spent my birthday money! Here's what I got:

  • The Complete Poems by Emily Jane Brontë. I haven't read much poetry at all by the Brontës, so it's time to remedy that. 
  • Kilvert's Diary by Rev. Francis Kilvert. A few years ago I read The Assassin's Cloak, an anthology of diarists including Kilvert (who was writing in the late 19th Century). I remembered particularly enjoying his entries, so I've been on the look out ever since. 
  • The Diary of a Country Parson 1758 - 1802 by Rev. James Woodforde. Seeing this in the biography section reminded me to look out for Kilvert, so that itself was fortuitous! But this one looks intriguing: it's remarkable for being rather unremarkable - Rev. Woodforde wrote in his diary almost every day for fifty years, and he chronicles his day to day activities. In a way, it's like finding an everyday relic from the past - it's always exciting to find treasure, but the treasure is untypical; one learns a lot more from the mundane. And, that said, it most likely isn't a mundane read, I think it will be fascinating.
  • The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. This was the only title on my Classics Club list that I didn't own or have access to. 
  • The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein. I first read about this when reading an essay on Virginia Woolf's Orlando and I've wanted to read it for a while.
  • Praise of Folly by Erasmus. I've read next to nothing from the Renaissance period, and I think this will be a good start!
  • Germinal by Émile Zola, translated by Leonard Tancock. My copy of Germinal translated by Peter Collier is one of my most favourite books, but I'm interested to see how a different translation would fare. 
  • Electra and Other Plays by Sophocles. Sophocles is 32 in The Guardian Top 50 Literary Figures, and I'm looking forward to getting acquainted with him!
  • A Russian Journal by John Steinbeck. It's Steinbeck, need I say more? 
  • Against Nature by J.-K. Huysmans. Described on the back as "A key text for Wilde; for Zola 'a terrible blow to Naturalism'; and for the public, a work of alarming depravity" - it's hard not to want to read this!
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. I wasn't greatly into Crime and Punishment translated by Jessie Coulson, yet I've loved the other "big four" (Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Devils, and The Brothers Karamazov) so perhaps I'll prefer this translation.
  • Esther Waters by George Moore. I've not read anything by George Moore, and this was described as being "one of the first English novels to defeat Victorian moral censorship", so I think it's an important one. 
  • Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane. The only German Literature I've read is Goethe, and this is described as "Possibly the most famous German novel of the ninteenth century", comparable with both Flaubert and Chekhov. I'm looking forward to this. Interestingly, Douglas Parmée, the translator, also translated Émile Zola's The Earth, which is one of the few Zolas I didn't like, so we'll see what I make of it.
  • Selected Letters by Madame de Sévigné. These were written between 1648 - 1696, and it will be good to get an insight into what was happening in France then.
Finally, on my birthday itself, my mother gave me Vita Sackville-West's Sissinghurst. Having planted about three or four plants in the garden now, I fancy myself as a gardener, so this will be some inspiration! It's a beautiful book, and I'm very much looking forward to reading it.

And - as I was putting these on LibraryThing, I noticed I now have over a thousand books! This has been a life-long goal! If you want to see what I've got, they're all here

So, there's my new stash!

This week is set to be intensely busy, and I may not be around so much. I finished Oblomov and I'm hoping to write a few words on it, and I do want to at least read The Warden before the month is out (I may have to leave off reviewing it until early April). So, I may not be around so much. Oh, and a word on The Odyssey - I'm still reading it, and I'm quite into it, but I won't finish it this month for sure, and again, it'll be April before I get to write about it. Hopefully I'll surprise myself, but it's unlikely!

Have a good week, everyone!


  1. Well, happy birthday to you! Books are the best b-day present ever. If you get to read The Sound and the Fury before me, I am so interested in what you think of it. I am tempted to pick up a copy.

    1. Thank you :) I will do - it looks an interesting book, though not sure I'll get to it for a while. Trying to read some of the books left from my Classics Club - the ones I *don't* want to read! :)

  2. Happy birthday!! It's so exciting to get new books, and these are such interesting ones. Like Ruth, I'll be interested to hear what you say about The Sound and the Fury. I've had a preview of his writing style, but still have to dedicate time to his books.

    1. Thank you :) What did you make of whatever it was you read? I've not read a single thing by him!

  3. Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! *** followed by lots of musical notes **** Books are just the best presents, aren't they?

    Diarly of a Country Parson looks fascinating; I read Diary of a Country Priest so it would be interesting to compare the two. Praise of Folly is on my list; I love Sophocles' plays ……. ah! they all look great!

    I really, really want to visit England one day and disappear into all the fantastic book stores! That's what I'd like for my birthday! ;-)

    1. Thank you!

      Yes, there are some good bookshops here, and on the Scottish borders as well :)

      I'm looking forward to Diary of a Country Parson, and Kilvert as well - those are my most exciting buys (I think, I'll probably change my mind, though!).

  4. Happy birthday! Those are great new additions to your collection. 1000 books-how exciting!

    I read that particular translation of C&P when I was about 16 and liked it. It is an accessible translation in my opinion without it being a bad one.

    There was a course on about Ancient Greek and Roman lit and I was basically doing a read-along of the Odyssey and other great works with thousands of people. Not to mention that the teacher was quite passionate and an expert in mythology. It did help me understand it better and all the cultural factors behind The Odyssey. I'm curious to read your observations :).

    1. Thank you :)

      Just checking out that link - looks interesting :)

      Hoping that translation of C&P will work better for me, although that said when I first read C&P I remember things being quite hectic, so perhaps I didn't give it a proper chance.

  5. Wow, what a great haul! The diaries sound really interesting, I look forward to hearing what you think of them. And your library! Gush.

    The Sound and the Fury is one my favorites, but it was definitely hard to get into. It helps if you remind yourself that the first narrator, Benjy, has trouble with concepts like gender and time. Then you'll get to Quentin's part and be blown away (hopefully!)

    Happy birthday. :)

    1. Thank you :) I shall keep that in mind!

  6. Awesome haul!! Bookstore shopping is the best, especially on your birthday! Happy Birthday!

  7. What a lovely haul! Now that's what I call a lovely birthday. A little bit of champagne, a meal, and some cake and it's perfect. I'm reading Crime & Punishment at the moment and enjoying it. I'm only at the first 50 pages mark. However from your list I can tell you that Letters by Madame Sévigné is quite an interesting read. I read it when I first came to live in France 25 years ago. Enjoy your books! I've got a haul to put up too. I never do hauls on my blog but have suddenly decided why not. My subbies on You Tube love when I do them. Happy birthday and happy reading! 😀

    1. Thank you :) It was indeed a lovely birthday!

      Looking forward to reading Madame Sévigné :)

  8. Happy (belated) birthday :) You certainly got lots of interesting books. Sophocles has written my favourite greek plays, I hope you'll enjoy them!

    1. Thank you :) I don't think I've ever read any Sophocles, it'll be good to start and familiarise myself with him.


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