Here it is! A photo of my haul of shame:
It wasn’t deliberate that, excepting Nigella Bites, all the books I bought were written by postcolonial authors. Whilst I follow and read a number of book bloggers who focus on diversity in literature, I’d be heartbroken not to have total unlimited choice of reading material.
Back to my haul, I affectionately call these two my nostalgia duo:
I first encountered both novels during my semester abroad in London. I call those beautiful four months ‘the best time of my life,’ mostly because what happened immediately after was the darkest time of my life. London came to symbolize that precious time when one felt the world was their oyster and theirs for the taking.
I had never heard of Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies until a glorious sunny autumn day in London – yes, sunny autumn days do exist in London. I was on a tour boat, cruising the River Thames with a delightfully snarky Brit as guide. I sat next to out chaperone professor as I felt bad no other student wanted to sit next to a professor. I needn’t worry, he had an engrossing novel. Halfway through the trip, we struck a conversation. I remember precious little: he had been to London several times and I really ought to pick up Sea of Poppies because it is excellent. It was with a smile and with sweet memories I picked up Sea of Poppies at Big Bad Wolf.
Brick Lane was another novel raved about by a London professor. But what pushed my purchase button was the beautiful memories I made in Brick Lane; from taking photographs for class projects to sampling South Asian desserts that turned out absolutely vile to a delicious curry dinner paid for by our Shakespearean professor. That Tesco sticker is staying there – that enabler of endless late night munchies.
I named this photo “new and interesting” on my laptop despite knowing all of the authors. Some buying motivation aka navel-gazing behind all of them starting clockwise.
V.S. Naipaul has said some very funny things about women and women writers. Yes, misogyny is still very much a thing. But the blurb of Among the Believers whet my appetite. It’s non-fiction and in it, Naipaul compares Islam in four countries: Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia. I am fascinated by outsider views on Indonesia and I cannot resist books centered on such. So into my arms Among the Believers went.
I almost bought A Thousand Years of Good Prayers at full price from the famous Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park. So of course I wasn’t going to pass up a copy sold for 60 thousand rupiahs (around $4.50). I’ve never read Yiyun Li before but I’ve wanted to ever since her “A Sheltered Woman” won the Sunday Times short story prize. “A Sheltered Woman” is available to read for free here.
Of course I wanted Things Fall Apart. I’ve never read Chinua Achebe before and everyone starts with Things Fall Apart, but there were only three Achebes at the Big Bad Wolf: A Man of the People, Anthills of the Savannah, and No Longer at Ease. I found No Longer at Ease the most interesting from the blurb and its first pages so it came home with me. Hey, at least when I review No Longer at Ease, I can say: how many reviews of Things Fall Apart does the book blogosphere need anyhow?
A creative writing professor once commented that a short story of mine reminded him of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s early village fiction. My heart soared despite having read next to nothing of Marquez’s works. I’ve made it a mission to read more Marquez during the new few years. Even without that personal quest, the blurb of Chronicle of a Death Foretold would have spurred me on to buy it. It’s apparently a non-linear story about a brutal murder and the contradictory testimonials and journalistic pieces surrounding why and how the murder happened. I love that. I love crime stories that focus on psychology; I don’t read enough psychological thrillers, really.
A final note on Nigella Bites: Oh, how I have wanted Nigella cookbooks for years! I just didn’t want to part with my money. Cookbooks are expensive, but at the Big Bad Wolf, they go around for about $10 dollars. I’ve already marked some recipes I want to try. I’m more of a baker but the salmon fish cakes are really calling my name…
Let me know if you went to the Big Bad Wolf and have written a post about it. I’d love to read about your experiences and your hauls!