Posted on June 20, 2017
Recently I’ve been watching, and loving, Lauren and the Books’ bookshelf tour series on YouTube. She has a wonderfully chatty style and I find it fascinating to hear about the stories behind the books she owns, so I thought I’d shamelessly copy the idea and do my own bookshelf tour!
I’m starting with the first shelf on my ‘not read’ bookcase (yes, I have a whole bookcase of them), and I’ll pick out the books that have interesting stories behind them. Plus, doing this might inspire me to read some of the books I already own, rather than taking even more out of the library. Here we go!
First up are a couple of sci-fi books I picked up from the National Trust bookshop at Cotehele House, both by Brian Aldiss. Helliconia Summer I picked up because there’s an beautiful country vista that wraps around the front and back cover, and the whole thing is being watched over by a yeti with horns. An Age I bought because the blurb contains the words “tense psychosexual thriller”. I mean, sold.
MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood has been sitting there for a while because it’s the concluding novel in a trilogy, and I have to read the slightly less appealing Oryx and Crake first (which is only less appealing because my copy has a hole in the cover). But look at this lovely hardback, signed by Atwood herself when she came to give a talk in Bristol! She was witty and clever, and when I went up to get my book signed I was far too starstruck to say anything.
Here’s another series that I started and ground to a halt with, even though I really enjoyed the first one. This is a historical fiction series from the 80s about an orphaned Cro-Magnon girl raised by a tribe of Neanderthals, and the level of detail and research that has gone onto it is astonishing. I have borrowed these from my family home, and I remember looking at these exact copies on my parents’ bookshelves the entire time I was growing up and desperately wanting to read them but not being allowed to until I was older (fair enough, there’s some heavy stuff in there). OK, I’m feeling seriously inspired to get back into this series now.
Several years ago, I found a website called Swagbucks which gives you Amazon credit in return for filling out surveys. I obsessed over it for a few months and spent all my credit on books, mainly Penguin Classics, that were being sold for pennies on Amazon. Now I realise that the earnings per hour is not great, but I did pick up quite a haul back then, including Paul Bowles’ The Sheltering Sky.
Back when I first moved to Bristol, Iain M Banks came to my local Waterstones to do a talk/book signing. I’d read The Wasp Factory, but I didn’t make the connection between Iain M Banks and Iain Banks (the first is his sci-fi pen name, the second his literary fiction name), so I didn’t go, and man do I regret it. Now I have these two hefty books to get through, which will hopefully make up a little for the pain.
Finally, we have The Strangler Vine by MJ Carter. I got this one from the only Penguin Books promotional event I’ve ever been to. It was in London. I arrived, they gave me a tote bag and pointed me at a table piled high with free books. I filled my boots. This beauty was one of them.
That’s it for the first shelf. I hope you enjoyed this, and I have many more interesting books stories to come!