The shop is full of people buying books for Christmas presents, an excellent way, we think, of investing one’s hard-earned money! Talk in the staff room, when not about the festive treats and goodies given to us by reps and customers and bookshop friends (thank you!), is all about what we each intend to read in our precious time off.
Leading the pack are the Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante: My Brilliant Friend, Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay and Story of the Lost Child. There are about 4 or 5 of us curious to see what all the fuss is about, what with all the good reviews, and having watched customers come in to buy the first one and come back a couple of days later to buy the rest so that they are all set and ready to go when they finish the first. One of the interesting things we have discussed is how it seems to appeal to pretty much everyone, there is no typical reader. Watching someone reading them is kind of intense and the message is very clear: leave me alone, I have to read this!
Sadly for us though, customers have been buying up all our stock so we can’t buy it until the New Year when more stock arrives… frustrating but something to look forward to, and our booksellers’ hearts are v. pleased so many of our customers will be able to enjoy it…
So I will keep re-reading my way through Sophie Hannah’s Culver Valley mystery series. There are 9 books in all and they are some of the best psychological thrillers I’ve ever read. They are utterly engrossing and mystifying – Sophie Hannah would have won all those lateral thinking quizzes at school – and very satisfying. Stuffed full of peculiar but ordinary people behaving strangely and with more than a touch of the gothics.
I also have the new Ted Hughes biography (Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life by Jonathan Bate) to read – I woke in the night and saw him staring one-eyed out from the cover in the gloom which was startling – and the new James Lee Burke, House of the Rising Sun. He is always lyrical and thought-provoking and I am really looking forward to reading more of his beautiful writing.
My colleagues are planning on reading a wide range of books they’ve been saving for the break.
One is in the middle of Knausgaard’s fictional/biographical series so intends pushing forward with that and is also going to try and finish Empire of Cotton: A New History of Global Capitalism by Sven Beckert. Another has Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life lined up, along with Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See.
“everything and anything” by Isabel Allende is on another’s list – she hasn’t read any so wants to read them all, while one of our newest staffers is going to dive into The Kim Jong-Il Production: The
Incredible True Story of North Korea and the Most Audacious Kidnapping in History by Paul Fischer.
Tthis year’s Man Booker prize winner A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James is also on a couple of lists.
Whatever you are reading or planning to read, may your days be merry and bright and your books fabulous!