Blogging about books doesn't make money - but one of the perks is that bookshops/publishers/distributors/authors are very generous in giving me copies.
I've been a bit lazy blogging about donated books in the past, but am going to try to turn over a new leaf - and if I haven't time, energy or brain space to actually review them - at least I can feature them and let you know what's out there. Follow the links to find out more about each title.
The stack above came from distributor Pansing who are incredibly kind to me! Topping the pile is Mario Vargos Llosa's Bad Girl in which one of the masters of postmodernism takes possession of the plot of Flaubert's Madam Bovary, and makes it entirely his own. (Reviewed here by The New York Times).
Several of the books are historical novels. There's Ken Follet's historical epic World Without End, a sequel to his best-seller Pillars of the Earth, which takes place in the same cathedral city. The China Lover by Ian Burma is set in the movie industry in Shanghai during World War II and in postwar Tokyo. While The Lost Army by Valerio Massimo Manfredi is another historical novel - this time exploring the darker side of the Greek conquest. Narrated by a female camp follower the book tells of the katàbasis (return) of the Greek mercenaries of Xenophon's famed 'Anabasis'.
The two books that interest me most are Crime, in which Irvine Welsh tackles the topic of paedophile rings. It is hailed as a return to form for the author and Neal Stephenson's Anathem, shortlisted for this year's Hugo awards. The latter is set in the far-future on an Earth-like planet, Arbre, where scientists, philosophers and mathematicians—a religious order unto themselves—have been cloistered behind concent (convent) walls. It's a huge read - almost 1,000 pages, but looks fascinating. (I'm debating with myself - do I have the stamina to make this climb?)
At the bottom of the pile is a book I really will treasure - William Shakespeare on the Art of Love : The Illustrated Edition of The Most Beautiful Love Passages in Shakespeare's Plays and Poetry. It is also a stunning edition, bound in green silk, printed on quality paper and filled with photos and reproductions of paintings. I'd say that it would be the perfect Valentine's gift, but then you'd have to wait till next year to buy it for your sweetheart.
If there's anyone out there who would like to write a review for their own or this blog on any of these books, do let me know!