Monday, November 2, 2009

Readings 2K9: October summation, and the McGill Book Fair

So, the final tally for me from this year’s McGill Book Fair is as follows:

The Cloud of Unknowing
Woodcuts of Albrecht Dürer
M.H. Abrams / Natural Supernaturalism: Tradition and Revolution in Romantic Literature
John Aubrey / Brief Lives
Iain Banks / The Business
Richard Harris Barham / The Ingoldsby Legends
Max Brooks / The Zombie Survival Guide
Edward Bulwer Lord Lytton / The Coming Race
Italo Calvino, translated by William Weaver / Mr. Palomar
G.K. Chesteron / The Man Who Was Thursday
Charles Dickens (with plates by Cruikshank, selected by J.B. Priestly from Sketches by Boz) / Scenes of London Life
Nalo Hopkinson / Midnight Robber
Ellic Howe / Urania’s Children: The Strange World of the Astrologers
Sam J. Lundwall / Science Fiction: An Illustrated History
The Works of John Milton
Iris Murdoch / Acastos: Two Platonic Dialogues
Iris Murdoch / The Book and the Brotherhood
Iris Murdoch / Bruno’s Dream
Iris Murdoch / The Green Knight
Iris Murdoch / The Message to the Planet
Miyamoto Musashi, translated by Nihon Services Corporation / The Book of Five Rings
David Pringle / Modern Fantasy: The Hundred Best Novels
Apollonios Rhodios, translated by Peter Green / The Argonautika
The Complete Short Stories of Saki
Robert Silverberg (editor) / New Dimensions 1
Carl E. Schorske / Fin-De-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture
Leon Surette and Demetres P. Tryphonopoulos, editors / Literary Modernism and the Occult Tradition
John Timbs / Abbeys, Castles, and Ancient Halls of England & Wales: Their Legendary Lore and Popular History
Janet Todd / The Secret Life of Aphra Behn
Edward John Trelawny / Records of Shelley, Byron, and the Author
J.F. Webb and D.H. Farmer, translators / The Age of Bede
H.G. Wells / Meanwhile and The King Who Was a King
Ronald Wright / A Scientific Romance

Oh yeah, and in a moment of nostalgia I also grabbed a couple of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks:

Ian Livingstone / City of Thieves
Keith Martin / Vault of the Vampire

So that’s 35 books for a total of $70.50. Not bad, really. Still, it was a slow year. The Milton I bought just as a replacement copy for another edition I own which is falling apart from years of use; the Banks was a mistake, as I already own a copy (anybody want it?); and I also already owned a copy of the Chesterton, part of a massive anthology, and bought this edition for the convenience of having the book in a stand-alone volume.

As a contrast, last year I bought 66 books (including gamebooks, graphic novels, reference works, and so on) for $141. Now, I’m not complaining about my haul this year; but the fact is I only bought half of what I did in 2008. Deduct the three books I mentioned above from the total, deduct another four books I’m planning to give as gifts, and ignoring the gamebooks — I end up with 26 books to be read added to the apartment. Which is a more manageable number than I’d been expecting.

I will say that there seemed on the whole to be less interesting older material at the fair this year— the John Timbs book is an example of the sort of thing I mean. An obscure hundred-year-old-plus book (this looks like a first printing, which would put it at 1872), with an odd subject. There’s a curiosity factor to volumes like that, and in other years I’d find several such, but not this time. Then again, I went to the fair hoping to pick up some books by Iris Murdoch — a major influence on A.S. Byatt, I grew curious about her after reading all that Byatt a few months ago — and that certainly worked out. Plus I found some books I'd been curious about for a while, notably the Bulwer-Lytton.

Fun as always, then, but not one of the great Book Fair years for me. That does mean, though, that I have a shot at ending the year having actually made a dent in my books-to-be-read pile, despite only completing one book in October. I added one book to the apartment besides the books I bought at the fair, as well (so 27 added, 1 read, 26 down for the month). Overall: 102 books read, 13 fewer unread books in the apartment on the year. Not bad.

Of course, next Saturday is another book fair at the Westmount Library ...

[This post was edited because I managed to miss the Trelawny in the first version of the list I posted.]

1 comment:

Stu Crump said...

Durn good thing you got yourself that Zombie Survival Guide.

They's a shamblin'. Can you hear it?