Lifeline Bookfest Haul January 2016

It’s that time of year again.  Lifeline Bookfest is back at the Brisbane Convention Centre! This biannual festival is a paradise for avid readers with its insanely priced secondhand books.  Despite a small budget, I got some great deals.  I’m pretty darned excited!

9780141019451On Beauty by Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith wowed me with her smart and sassy debut, White Teeth.  On Beauty is her third novel.  The printing is so gorgeous it borders on erotic.  Glossy flower patterns overlay a rich chocolate brown background.  If you judged this book by its cover, you’d expect wit, sensitivity, and sensuality – three things I know Zadie Smith is gifted with.

Lights Out in Wonderland by DBC Pierre8083820

Remember when I read Vernon God Little?  I loved it so much I knew I had to read more by its Booker Prize winning author.  I have enormous expectations for DBC Pierre’s third novel and I’m confident he’ll deliver.  He wields an irreverent poeticism that makes everything he writes both appalling and beautiful.  I can’t wait to see how his later work compares to his groundbreaking debut.

6238269The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

I fell in love with the French film adaptation The Hedgehog years ago (strongly recommend!)  This 2008 bestseller is translated from the French by Alison Anderson.  I’m intrigued to see how the layered story is structured in book-form, and how Muriel Barbery inhabits each one of the unique voices making up her moving narrative.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy9780307455291-uk

This is the film tie in copy of the Pulitzer Prize winning bestseller.  Despite its modest size, this book promises to pack a punch.  Cormac McCarthy is notorious for his unconventional but powerful style.  I’m excited to appreciate his brave techniques and learn more about writing in the process!  This could be the start of a long love affair with an amazing author.

Did you make it down to Lifeline Bookfest this January?  If so, what great books did you find?  If you have a Bookfest haul to share, I’d love to hear all about it!  Plus don’t forget to share your 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge.  

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Classics Haul + Summer Reading List 2015

I went a bit overboard when I visited Dymocks in the city recently.  Luckily I had my loyalty card to take the edge off this blow to my bank account.  Check out the classics I added to my collection!  I reckon these make pretty amazing summer holiday reads.  

15798121Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Truman Capote’s novella was first published in 1958, but I’m going to hazard a guess that you associate the title with Audrey Hepburn’s iconic portrayal of Holly Golightly in the 1961 film.  I’ve never seen the movie so I thought this short book would make compelling holiday reading.  Its longstanding status as a masterpiece ensures me I’ll enjoy it.


Lo and behold this almighty classic (pun intended).  Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov has sat on my to-read list for years and I’ve only just picked it up.  This is a must-own for lovers of classics.  You can expect a review in the new year.

1573226521-01-lzzzzzzzThe Beach 

This 1996 bestseller by Alex Garland is a modern classic.  Like Breakfast at Tiffany’sThe Beach is well-remembered for its film adaptation.  I think this gripping and dark adventure story would make a great holiday read.  Maybe while sunbaking on the beach…?

Catch 22catch-22_cover

War stories are never high on my to-read list, but this 1961 classic by Joseph Heller demands attention.  Although Goodreads reviews are unanimous about this book’s genius, I’ve read many that admit it’s a challenging read.  Some day I will have to steel myself to take on this giant.

Rye_catcherThe Catcher in the Rye

Most of us are well acquainted with  J.D. Salinger’s 1951 classic from being force fed it in high school.  I’ve tried to read it once before but lost interest.  I think it was my sense of obligation that put me off.  However, a friend recently pointed out that I would enjoy this as a Vernon God Little enthusiast.  So here I am giving it another shot!

I hope my summer holiday reading list inspires you.  This is my last post of 2015, so have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Haul | Avid Reader Bookshop and Cafe

I’m normally too far away from Brisbane’s West End to visit Avid Reader, but this particular day I was down that way buying frames at the optometrist.  I was lured into the bookshop by 1. their advertised sale and 2. the need to buy a book on my university set text list.  It was too good an opportunity to miss.  Here’s what I got!

Complete Prose by Woody Allen

417GW7EVDXL._SX294_BO1,204,203,200_This collection contains fifty-two pieces by famous film director, Woody Allen.  People seem to either love him or hate him, but you can always find me in the Woody Allen adoration camp.  I’ve enjoyed his uniquely neurotic humour ever since I first watched Annie Hall.  

Short story collections are easy reading.  Complete Prose is almost 500 pages long, but a single story will only take me a short sitting to read.  This makes them perfect for relaxing before bed or as a pick-me-up first thing in the morning before getting ready for the day.  I’ve read Woody Allen’s writing before, and I can confidently expect to be laughing out loud at this book.  I’m very chuffed to have got it for only $9.95 in Avid Reader’s sell out sale!

Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas

barracuda-book-coverYou might remember that I talked about Barracuda previously on my blog.  You can read that review here.  I ended up having to buy my own copy for my university unit about Australian writing.

This is a hefty-sized book, but it’s very readable and fast-paced.  I know I’ll enjoy analysing it more deeply for uni.  It has smart techniques and complex characters and themes that will be engaging to talk about in my research essay.

The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison

9781847088420Disclaimer: I didn’t actually buy this book from Avid Reader.  I met my friend at the bookshop and she leant me her own copy of this book, insisting that it would be right up my ally.  I couldn’t resist sharing it with you in this post.

The Empathy Exams is a collection of personal essays.  Through various scenarios, Leslie Jamison challenges the how, what, when, where, why of empathy.  I am so excited to read this.  Empathy is a quality that I’m deeply interested in and committed to, and I can’t wait for this book to challenge and teach me.

Back cover reviews describe The Empathy Exams as “fiercely, prodigiously brave” and “a work of tremendous pleasure and tremendous pain”.  I am hooked.  Expect a review when I finish reading!

So that’s all I got!  I sheltered my brown paper bag from the driving rain and got them safely (and drily) home.  What about you?  Have you bought any exciting new books recently?  Do you have a favourite bookstore to share?  

Don’t forget to check out Avid Reader’s website here or ‘like’ their Facebook page here to keep track of the exciting things happening in store. 

Haul | Rosetta Books Maleny

I let loose and bought a small stack of books when I visited Rosetta Books Maleny last weekend.  I want to share with you what I got.

721761d5-c411-4dee-9166-012a291543a6-bestSizeAvailableHow to be Both by Ali Smith

This jumped out at me because I’d heard my favourite YouTuber, Tanya Burr, mention it in a vlog.  (Funnily enough, Tanya has something to do with another book in my haul…)

How to be Both, published only last year, has already raked in so many accolades that you can barely see the front cover of my copy through its list of awards!  If my interest wasn’t already hooked, the New Statesman‘s review on the back would have clinched it: “Dizzyingly good and so clever that it makes you want to dance”.  That’s what I’m talking about!

The blurb doesn’t give much away.  I glean that it has a twisting narrative that transcends centuries, but beyond that, the story is a thrilling mystery (and I’m looking forward to it all the more because I don’t know what to expect).  I think it must be one of those have-to-read-it-to-know sort of experiences.  Honestly, I can’t wait.

9780571316465The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera

The latest novel by French-Czech author, Milan Kundera, only appeared on bookstore shelves earlier this year.  I feel thrilled to be reading such fresh-off-the-press literature!  You might have heard of Kundera’s best-known story, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, also a movie starring Juliet Binoche.

At only 115 pages, this is a tiny book.  The hardcover edition and its dust jacket are absolutely gorgeous.  The end papers are egg-shell blue, offsetting the crisp white pages and lemon yellow of the jacket.  This is a book that withstands being judged by its cover.

I read the first chapter to my dad, and we decided to read it together over a couple of weeks.  So far, I have a strong impression of a simple but smartly-woven story with a very Woody Allen-esque vibe.  I can tell I’m going to enjoy it.

love-tanya-burr-book-coverLove Tanya by Tanya Burr

Remember I said my favourite YouTuber had something to do with my haul?  I have loved watching Tanya’s vlogs for a couple of years now.  I find them reassuring since she understands on a personal level a lot of things I have battled with in the past e.g. anxiety etc.  You can check out her channel here.

Love Tanya is a big collection of her stories, tips, tutorials, and recipes.  It contains a lot of lists that count down her Top 10s in categories such as how to deal with anxiety or dress for a first date.  All very useful and relevant, and written with love as the title suggests.  It also contains blank lists for you to chronicle your own thoughts.  Tanya explains that she wants you to turn her book into your own keepsake of memories.

So that’s all I got!  I’m very excited about my purchases.  I can’t wait to finish reading my set texts for uni so I can do some reading for pleasure!