This week I bought a bunch of books online. Only, of course, after committing to not doing so a couple of weeks back. So much for that. Well, anyway, I thought I’d share with you all my newest additions to the already double shelved bookcases. This would also be a good time to recommend a website called The Book Depository for all you international folks out there. An angel sent to Earth in the form of a bookstore salesperson told me about it a couple of years ago, and life’s never been the same. So when the lovely second hand book stores fail you, go ahead. They sell brand new, very reasonably priced books with FREE INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING. Yep. You heard correctly. No more of that $12.99 Amazon bullshit.
- Out of Orange: A Memoir / Cleary Wolters
I’ve never binge-watched a show in the way I did Orange is the New Black when it first came out in 2013. But first I read the book. Yes, there’s one of those. I discovered the series was based on a book, read through it in a matter of days, and then rotted away in front of my TV for nearly 14 hours straight. Despite being funny and entertaining, the book also provided serious criticism of the criminal justice system in America, touching on topics such as non-violent offenders, gender, race, and the effect on the individuals lost inside the system. Out of Orange: A Memoir is a book written by Cleary Wolters, the real life “Alex Vause”, the heroin dealer Piper Kerman (the real one, not “Chapman”) became romantically involved with, eventually laundering money for the drug operation Wolters was in, which led to her famous prison sentence. Imagine some random nobody becoming a fictional character in one of the world’s most famous TV shows. Sounds surreal. Now imagine that fictional character passing back into our reality and writing a memoir about it. Sounds fantastic.
- Nine Inches: Stories / Tom Perrotta
Another one of my time-consuming habits, apart from reading, is writing. Over the years I’ve discovered that my true passion, and talent, if I may say so myself, lies in short stories. Thus, I’m especially interesting in reading short story collections and learning through that. A couple of years ago I read “Little Children” by Tom Perrotta. I absolutely loved it. The writing, the story, the characters – everything was wonderful. And now here I get reading, writing lessons and Tom Perrotta all in one. Yay!
- Kingdom of Olives and Ash / Ayelet Waldman, Michael Chabon
Ayelet Waldman and her husband, author Michael Chabon, compiled a collection of essays by international writers about the Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank. I don’t mention being Israeli very often here, but I am, and a politically aware one at that. Despite being very left wing (demonstrations, retreating to 1967 borders, “splitting” Jerusalem – the whole shebang), I often find myself getting defensive when it comes to discussing Israeli politics with outsiders (just like we often find ourselves defending that most annoying sibling whenever someone else insults them), so I’m very interested in seeing the topics discussed in this book and my reaction to them.
- Why We Write About Ourselves: Twenty Memoirists on Why They Expose Themselves (and Others) in the Name of Literature / Meredith Maran
Again, some more learning through reading. In 2012 I discovered the Eclectic Reader’s Challenge, a challenge aimed at getting readers to venture outside their comfort zone. One of the categories was “non-fiction”. Up until that point, I’d had this unexplained hate for non-fiction books that I’d developed at a child. But then I discovered the beautiful creation that is memoirs. It was love at first sight, and has been going strong ever since. I hope to eventually develop the essay-writing-style skills myself, the ability to make one’s own personal moments captivate an audience. It’s an incredible thing to be able to do. But for now I’ll settle for a little glimpse behind the curtain.
- The Twelve Chairs / Ilf and Petrov
Not sure how I came across this one. I’m kind of worried it might go over my head because the whole being a Russian satirical novel from the 20’s thing going on here, but we’ll see. Reading War & Peace has made me feel so fancy, with my newly earned Russian lit experience, so here’s to some more fancy vibes.
That’s it for now. A pretty diverse selection. I’d pat myself on the back, but I really shouldn’t have bought any of these in the first place. At least I’m honest.
Read any of these? Want to? Hate it all? Need to share the book buying guilt with an understanding soul? Let me know what you think!