Wednesday, May 27, 2009

UEFA Champions League Cup final trip to the bookshop

Wednesday was the UEFA Champion League Cup final day and as you know, I am a BIG Manchester United fan. I have to say I was nervous as a kitten up a tree and that wouldn't be too far off the mark. The time difference between Hong Kong and Europe always means that any given day comes sooner to us here and we have to wait so much longer for a European or US event to happen, or so it seems. I had my Manchester United shirt on 10 hours before kick off and was already pacing the floor in agony. Then I had a thought, "How about a distraction?" What better way to calm the nerves than to spend hours prowling around the shelves of the village bookshop? Off I trotted!

Before you say it, I know I don't need any more books to put on my TBR pile, I really don't. I've been thinking about this a lot and to counteract any criticism in this area I have now invented an ever growing list of 'Books To Look Out For' ('BTLOF'), which is entirely different to TBR and has come about since I started visiting other peoples blogs. Before blogging I would mooch along the shelves of the bookshop without a lot of focus, alighting on books if a cover caught my eye or if I came across anything that was written by an author I liked. Now, when I go shopping for books these days it is not for additions to the TBR pile at all because I have a purpose, I have a BTLOF list which is different and makes me feel much better when handing over the cash!!

Here are my purchases from yesterday:

The Distant Land of My Father, Bo Caldwell.

This is a book about an American girl, Anna, who was born and brought up in China. When the Japanese invade Shanghai during WWII, her father sends Anna and her mother back to California, for their safety. As time passes, the father does not return to his family and Anna gives up hope of ever seeing him again. Then, years later, when she has a family of her own, her father turns up in her life again.
Can't wait to read this, to be honest. It has all the ingredients of my favourite kind of book.

Peter Ustinov, The Gift of Laughter, John Miller.

This is a biography of Peter Ustinov which was written with his absolute collaboration. Ustinov is one of my favourite entertainers and I have heard excellent things about this biography......I'm excited at the prospect of reading it.

Ten Thousand Miles Without a Cloud, Sun Shuyun.

'Ten Thousand Miles Without a Cloud' is a Buddhist saying which means 'the search for a mind clear of doubt'. This book is a memoir of Sun Shuyun who was born in China during the cultural revolution. Her family were devout Buddhists and under the communist regime were forced to give up practicing their faith. Sun Shuyun learns the way of the communists as she grows up but shares a bedroom with her grandmother. Here she learns Buddhist prayers and listens to stories of historical hero's as her grandmother remained a practicing Buddhist, in spite of being forbidden to do so. Sun's favourite hero becomes Xuanzang. When she is older she decides to retrace the footsteps of his epic journey from China to India and back again, one which he took in order to bring Buddhist scripture and teachings to the Chinese people. Sun's book tells of a spiritual discovery where she finds the faith of her ancestors as she tries to understand what drove Xuanzang on. Another can't wait to read for me!

Five Finger Discount, Helene Stapinski.

I have read this book before and loved it, but somehow it went missing from my library. I probably let somebody borrow it and it never returned. Imagine then, the delight I felt when I saw it there, sitting in the bookshop waiting for me to find it again. Helene Stapinski is a now a journalist and this book is a memoir of her childhood. Her family are a bunch of murderers, crooks, petty swindlers and mobsters and she grows up in New Jersey City. She tells of corrupt local officials and the way her father would smuggle all kinds of wonderfully exotic foods from Cold Storage, where he worked. It is a funny and poignant view of a family surviving against the odds and her struggle to escape an inevitable future. I will read it again and it can now go on my "Read and Loved" shelf.

Bangkok 8, John Burdett.

I am not one for thrillers and cop stories usually, but, the blurb on the back cover of this book had me convinced I would like it, not least of all because it is set in Bangkok, where we lived for three years. I always think that tackling a book set in familiar territory is easier to read and identify with, than one where you have to paint the scenery yourself. I am not sure how I will go on with the violent scenes, I'm usually a bit squeamish, but, I'll give it a go and let you know.

So there you have it, my haul for the day and before you tell me that I did not pick up one single thing off my BTLOF list, I already know, but, in my defense I have to say that I would have added all of them to that list had I thought about it earlier ;)

Now, if only the Manchester United team could have been bothered to turn up for the Cup final I would have had a perfect day!! (You think that comment is bad, the non-reader thinks all the team should be fined a million pounds each for playing so badly!! I wouldn't go that far, but, I see his point!). Terrible game, boo hoo!!

Have you had any bookshop hauls recently?


  1. What a succesful haul! I am looking forward to your reviews when you have read them!

  2. I got 24 books at the used bookstore today. I have Bangkok 8 and Bangkok Tattoo around here somewhere. Have not read them yet. You will probably get to them before I do so I will be looking for your review.

  3. I haven't read any of those. I look forward to hearing all about them!

  4. Thank you, Dot, I am excited, but, last night as I was walking back home, a neighbour of mine stopped me and thrust Michael Parkinson's autobiography into my hands. She told me it is the best book she has read in years and i have to read it - so the reviews of this haul may take a little longer!
    Candy and Jackie, I noticed that you have both been book buying in the last couple of days, too and if my memory serves me correctly, the same thing happened a few weeks ago! Several fellow bloggers went on a buying spree at the same time. I wonder if there is something cyclical in the world of bookaholics or is it that we are always off buying books?