These days, the books I read tend to be titles I’ve known about ahead of their release, but it wasn’t that long ago that I just bought books because they looked good and then read them with no outlet to discuss them beyond actually talking to people. Shudder. This week’s TTT topic is a nice way to revisit some of those pre-blogging books, so thanks to The Broke and The Bookish for another fun idea.
Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas
I hadn’t read any other Scarlett Thomas books before this one, which I picked up in a local discount bookshop basically because it has a beautiful cover. I took it on holiday to Devon with me last summer and was extremely surprised and happy to discover that it is set in the exact area I was staying in, thus giving me loads of annoying geographically-relevant things to say to my husband while he was trying to listen to Satnav. I’ve got a couple more of her books waiting next to my bed.
The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
I bought this without ever having heard of Chabon, which I think is actually quite shameful. I lapped this one up; the combination of historical/family drama, New York and superheroes made it a total win for me.
Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
I used to spend basically my whole life hanging around charity shops to pick up cheap paperbacks, and Invisible Monsters was one of my best finds. Although I’d seen the movies of Fight Club and Choke, I’d never read one of Palahniuk’s books, and this was so excellent I became a Palahniuk completist. Although I think he’s gone off the boil recently (Beautiful You, ironically, was one of the most hideous books I’ve read), Invisible Monsters remains a brilliant book.
Nod by Adrian Barnes
I came across this a few weeks ago in Waterstone’s and was intrigued by its premise: one night, everyone in the world except a very select few stops sleeping. Anarchy quickly takes over. It’s a really interesting and clever book which I’ll be reviewing over at Fourth and Sycamore in June.
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
I bought this entirely because it has a very cool and beautiful cover, and was extremely pleased I did because of its fascinating and incredibly weird plot. Annihilation is the first book in the Southern Reach trilogy, the main subject of which is the mysterious Area X: a great swathe of the USA which is only accessible by the shadowy Southern Reach organisation. I loved this series.
Goodbye Johnny Thunders by Tania Kindersley
I have no idea when or where I picked up this book, but I was obsessed with it during my boy-drama phase and re-read it every time I had suffered once more at the hands of a cruel male. I was obviously in such an emotional state every time I read it, I can’t particularly remember what it’s about, but I think the main story is about a woman who falls for a very emotionally unavailable dude who’s obsessed with Johnny Thunders.
The Basic Eight by Daniel Handler
Another book I’m obsessed with; I think I saw this on some kind of Buzzfeed list and thought it sounded good. And then I read it and realised “good” wouldn’t cut it as an adjective for this book because it is amazing.
Fortune’s Rocks by Anita Shreve
In my years of frequenting charity shops for my bookish fix, I discovered that Anita Shreve was someone who had a) written about a bazillion books and b) wrote the kind of books that people clearly feel compelled to donate to charity shops. Fortune’s Rocks was my first Shreve; I remember starting it thinking it would be really cheesy and then enjoying it an embarrassing amount. This was in no small part due to the fact that the main character of this historical drama is, if I remember correctly, Olympia, and that is awesome.
Mosquitoland by David Arnold
I think I’ve expressed my love for this book enough that the author is probably scared of me now, but I initially picked it up having heard basically nothing about it and that was one whim which definitely paid off.
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers
As I’ve mentioned, I like to read books set in the places I visit, so when staying in New Orleans 6 years ago, I was pleased to find this excellent but harrowing story set around Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. It’s not easy reading, but is deeply affecting, especially if you read it while in its location.
I now want to reread all these books. Damn you, Top Ten Tuesday!
I’d love to know your whimsical book purchases so please leave a link in the comments.