September 2022

Blog Archive - October 2022

3 October 2022

A serendipitous find

As it happens from time to time, Toriaz told me she wanted to go into the city to buy a particular Agatha Christie novel for her Golden Age Reading project. Would I come with her? Of course, I said.

I will state from the beginning that I had no plans to buy books, since I am already overwhelmed with books waiting to be read and reading projects I have planned of my own. But when we walked into Abbeys Bookstore we both saw it immediately: a Cambridge centenary edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses. It comes with the full 1922 text, maps, essays, annotations on each page and some illustrations. Anyone who read this blog last month will know that Toriaz and I have planned for the near future to read Ulysses together and have been considering annotated paperback editions aimed at the student market. This book, however, was beyond my expectations, both in the scope of its reader support as well as its size. I felt compelled to buy an extra bag that would be strong enough to get it home on the train. To give you an idea, I’ve pictured it here next to the other book I bought yesterday, a regular-sized paperback edition of John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces.

As for Toriaz, she bought more than the one book she was after. She bought more than two books. I may have suggested building a barge to ship her purchases up the Parramatta River, and then a road train from there to the Blue Mountains, and she might have ignored my quip. But she assures me that she will post a blog about her happy haul here tomorrow.

- bikerbuddy

4 October 2022

My Sunday book haul

As bikerbuddy’s blogpost of yesterday says, we went into Sydney on Sunday to look at the bookshops. I wanted to see if I could get a copy of Agatha Christie’s 4:50 from Paddington. I did buy more than I had planned, but it was hardly a book haul worth building a barge for, and I will add, I have seen bikerbuddy return from Sydney with over twenty books purchased in a single day. So I feel no shame.

Not only did I find 4:50 from Paddington, but I was able to purchase the lovely hardcover edition, pictured below. I also bought two Sherlock Holmes books in a beautiful hardcover edition. Doyle’s Holmes stories have always been amongst my favourites, and I decided it would be nice to replace my old volumes with this new set. I plan to purchase the rest of the set in the future.

I had heard of Your Guide for not Getting Murdered in a Quaint English Village. It’s a humorous book that plays on the idea of the number of classic crime novels and television shows that set their murders in small English villages, as if that is the only thing that ever happens there. It was an impulse buy, even though it had already piqued my interest. However, Renault’s The King Must Die is a book I have long been interested in getting, but I had kept finding her other books, instead, particularly the sequel, so when I saw it on Sunday I had to buy it. Soji Shimada’s Murder in the Crooked House sounded interesting and is by a Japanese author I haven’t read before. And I was intrigued by Phoebe Wynne’s Madam from what I read on the back cover, particularly with its hints of a Dark Academia which I particularly enjoy. The blurb suggests the book is reminiscent of Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, both of which I love.

So, that’s seven books to add to my pile, although I have read all the Holmes stories several times already. I shall try to not burden Karl, my book cart, too much with my new fare, in case my anthropomorphising of him turn serious, and like a mistreated Pinocchio, he barges out of the house to escape his servitude.

- Toriaz

PS: bikerbuddy was responsible for adding that terrible pun at the end when he posted this. He couldn’t resist.

6 October 2022

Of authors and advertising

Two things about my morning:

First, I experimented making an animated gif as an advertisement for Michael Duffy’s new crime novel, The Strange Death of Paul Ruel. I reviewed the book yesterday and the author sent me a kind message this morning. Michael hadn’t requested the ad, didn’t know I was going to do it, nor is he paying for it. I decided to do it because it fulfils several of my aims. One is that while I have made videos before, I have never produced an animated gif, so it fulfils my aim to use this website to learn more skills. Also, part of the purpose of this website is to promote reading and authors. Michael is a local author, and so it seemed a perfect opportunity to support a local author and his work. You can read my review of Michael’s latest book by clicking here. There are a few little technical things I would wish to improve if I did this again, but time is limited, so here is the little ad I made which currently sits on our front page:

I also had a surprising delivery. Simon & Schuster, the publisher, sent us a copy of Roger Simpson’s Halifax Transgression. I’m not sure how that happened. WaywardWoman likes this kind of book more than me, so she has agreed to read and review it. I thought I’d put the book cover up here as another little advertisement.

- bikerbuddy

17 October 2022

Bojan returns and the Booker

Today, Bojan the Librarian returns with a second review for the Reading Project: Barbaric: Murderable Offenses, a graphic novel by Michael Moreci and Nathan C. Gooden. Thanks to Bojan! You can read the review by clicking here.

In other news, the Booker Prize is announced tomorrow (Sydney time). I’ve reviewed three of the shortlisted books, Glory, Oh William! and Small Things Like These. I made a prediction, earlier, that Glory would win, although I recently saw that Treacle Walker by Alan Garner was a favourite in betting, despite some negative responses to it.

Only one more sleep!

- bikerbuddy

18 October 2022

Booker Prize 2022 Announced

I was in Penrith this morning to get some garden supplies and decided – much like King Canute attempting to hold back the waves – to try to find a copy of this year’s Booker Prize winner, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka. The prize was announced this morning, our time. I wasn’t likely to find a copy because I’d previously checked to see what was available from the Booker shortlist, and Penrith is woefully devoid of decent bookstores.

I’d read and reviewed three of the six shortlisted books, of which Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo was my favourite. This gave me a 50% chance of already having read the winner for our Booker Prize Project. But as my son pointed out a few days ago, a 50% chance gives you a nine in ten chance of failure, according to Andy Rooney’s 50-50-90 rule.

Toriaz messaged me to say that Dymocks in the city has copies. I’m hoping they will have some left by the time I can get in there. Years ago when Vernon God Little won, the book sold out and there weren’t any copies to be had. This was before I would consider buying a book online. One of the store staff at Dymocks in the city said they had no idea when the book would be in stock again, and then proceeded to try to sell me his personal copy for $200. I declined and it wasn’t too long before copies were again available. Vernon God Little is still one of my favourite Booker winners. Hopefully, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida will prove just as good but more available!

The book's selling blurb says this about the story:

Colombo, 1990. Maali Almeida, war photographer, gambler and closet queen, has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in the serene Beira lake and he has no idea who killed him. At a time where scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long, as the ghouls and ghosts with grudges who cluster round can attest. But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. He has seven moons to try and contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to a hidden cache of photos that will rock Sri Lanka.

- bikerbuddy

21 October 2022

Booker Prize winner sold out

I guess it was inevitable. I took a trip into Sydney yesterday after confirming the day before that bookshops in the city had copies of the Booker winner, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka. Of course, by yesterday, they were all sold out. I stopped at Parramatta on my way home to check the small Dymocks store there, too. Same story.

This morning I will be ordering it online and just wait for it to turn up at home.

P.S.:I just ordered the book from The projected date available is the 15 of November! Obviously, I won't be getting around to reviewing this book soon.

- bikerbuddy

November 2022