Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Project

One of the things I love about my Kindle is the huge number of free or cheap books you can download.  I've downloaded lots of free classics, most of which I will probably not get around to reading, but when I saw the Complete works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on sale on Amazon I thought 'why not?'

For the princely sum of £1.92 I obtained the complete works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and so started The Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Project.

The simple aim of this project is to work my way through the complete works, in sequence, one story at a time.  And that's another thing I like about the kindle, skipping bits, jumping backwards and forwards is not as easy as with a physical book.

There is no timeframe, just one story at a time.  Keep track of my progress on the sidebar...

Wishlist: A Starting Point

I have an extensive Wishlist of books, most of which I can never remember when I'm in a bookshop or browsing Amazon, so I thought this would be a good place to record them...  I'd love to hear suggestions or comments.  What's good or what I should avoid...

Here's the list of books from my Mr B's book spa that made it into the 'buy later' pile:

A prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
The hand that first held mine by Maggie Farrell
Your presence is requested at suvanto by Maile Chapman
compass error by Sybille Bedford 
Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler 
What was lost by Catherine O'Flynn 
The thirteenth tale by Diane Setterfield
The enchanted April by Elizabeth von Amim
Death and the penguin by Andrey Kurkov

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights (aka Heaven)

What better way to start a new book blog than with probably the best book-related experience I've had in recent years.

I had some time off from the day job last week, and took my sister on a day out to Bath.  It's very pretty, nice and compact so it's easy to get around, has plenty of history, nice shops and all that other stuff I told my sister.  All good and fine reasons to visit Bath, but there was more to it... I had a badly disguised ulterior motive.  Since our newest book club member (from Fennell Books) joined and told us about book spas (who knew such a heavenly concept existed) I've been dying to get to a cosy little bookstore in Bath called Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights.  Yes, it is as delicious as it sounds.  Every time I check their website I've been salivating at the thought of treating myself to a Book Spa, or a Reading Year.

I finally took the plunge and decided to take a trip and get myself a Bibliotherapy session, but sadly they were fully booked.  As we were passing nearby (and where isn't nearby in Bath?) I thought I would pop in and take a look around anyway.  I love their VIB lists for quick inspiration, and thought I might find some new books to keep me occupied.

Trawling through the shelves my sister and I got talking to Ed about Jasper Fforde, and I cheekily asked if there had been any cancellations.  Ed explained they were short staffed and weren't doing any that day, but he would check.  A few minutes later they very kindly agreed to let me indulge myself in a Book Spa, and I settled down in a comfy chair to chat with Libby about my favourite topic; books.  Any committed book club member will tell you that other than actually losing yourself in good book there's little better than talking about books with like-minded people.  And that's even more pronounced during a Mr B's book spa. There's something really special about that time, when it's all about you, and someone wants to hear what you have to say, and your opinions count.  As if this wasn't good enough, Libby came back with a huge stack of about 20 or so books she thought I'd enjoy, and we went through them one by one.

Of all the books suggested, I only put two in the 'No' pile, and every other book went into the 'Definitely Maybe' pile.  I did love that pile of books.  Of course I don't have an inexhaustible supply of ready money, so I had to go through them and decide which to buy now, and which to buy later.  Some are included in the price of the Spa, so you know you're going to be able to leave with some books.  I had to limit myself to the value of books included in the price this time (next time I will plan farther in advance)...

I couldn't tell you why I chose some and not others, but here's what I left the shop with, reviews to follow as I read them...

Dark Matter by Michelle Paver
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Store of the Worlds: The stories of Robert Sheckley
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
The Parasites by Daphne Du Maurier
The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint by Brady Udall
Nocturnes: Five Stories of Music and Nightfall by Kazuo Ishiguro
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote (my choice, not a personalised recommendation from Mr B's, hope I won't regret it).