Around mid-May, I imposed a book low-buy upon myself for the rest of 2016 to control my swelling spending. But of course, there are books I currently want. There are always books I currently want. If I had a default mode, it would be: “always wanting books.” At the moment, these are the books that nags loudest of all:
Nathaniel’s Nutmeg by Giles Milton
I have wanted this book ever since I was in high school, because the spice trade is so fascinating to me. No doubt it is related to my nationality – I’m Indonesian and Indonesia is widely known as the Spice Islands. Nutmeg and cloves are indigenous to Indonesia, actually. And it is this very wealth that lured centuries of colonialism to our shores. I had thought that Nathaniel’s Nutmeg would explore the spice trade and the political situation in Indonesia at the time, but online research is telling otherwise. Nathaniel’s Nutmeg is more against-all-odds adventure caper, it seems. Boo!
However, my desire for Nathaniel’s Nutmeg has ebbed and flowed for such a long time that I suspect I may just pull the trigger and buy it. And yet, there’s probably a reason why I managed for years without it. It’s probably bad policy to buy a book unless you really, really want it. Gah, let’s just call my desire for Nathaniel’s Nutmeg low-level lust.
Anthony Bourdain Omnibus: Kitchen Confidential and A Cook’s Tour
This is another book for which my desire has waxed and waned. I have loved Anthony Bourdain’s travel shows ever since junior high school. Underneath his brash machismo is a deep respect for the culture of others. I specifically want this edition because it has two of his early books: Kitchen Confidential and A Cook’s Tour (also the name of the TV show that first put him on the map). Like Nathaniel’s Nutmeg, I have wanted this omnibus for a long, long time but have never pulled the trigger. Lately, I find myself wanting it again. Yet like Nathaniel’s Nutmeg, there’s probably a good reason why I haven’t shelled out my cash by now. I’ve never desired the book badly. And I guess I can always satisfy myself by binge-watching Bourdain’s television shows.
The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander, specifically The Book of Three and The Black Cauldron
Sometime this week, I watched Disney’s 1985 film The Black Cauldron following a dear friend’s recommendation. Such mixed feelings. The visuals were splendid, the score is moody and haunting, and there were moments full of childlike magic. But the storytelling and characterization left something to be desired.
According to the film’s Wikipedia page: “Jeffrey Katzenberg, then-Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios, was dismayed by the product and the animators felt that it lacked “the humor, pathos, and the fantasy which had been so strong in Lloyd Alexander’s work. The story had been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it was heartbreaking to see such wonderful material wasted.””
When I found out Lloyd Alexander authored the source material, desire for the Chronicles of Prydain sharpened. He is another author I’ve wanted to read for a long time but somehow never actually picked up.
(Yes, there is a definite pattern here)
I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
I squarely blame mudandstars for this lemming. Her review (link here) is irresistible for this literary horror lover. How could I resist a shrouding sense of menace, the specter of a break-up, creepy parents, and knotting dread and tension exploding into a climax? Ugh, I want this book.
Weirdly, listing all these books and analyzing why I want them has deflated my desire a little bit. Perhaps I find my own desires ridiculous? And perhaps I should make my monthly desires a regular post for my own sake?
This low-buy will stick all throughout 2016 excepting the month of September, when I will attend my cousin’s wedding in the USA. If I’m going all the way to the Bay Area-Seattle-NYC (in that order), I’m going to take full advantage of all the wonderful secondhand bookshops. Take all my money, America!!