BOOKLOVE: October 2013 and The Birthday Edition

Here we go again with an update on my recent bookish acquisitions. This month’s BOOKLOVE will be regarding the significant books I acquired for the month of October and, to save space, the books given to me on my birthday which was last November 7. But first, the books acquired last October:

BookLove October2013

  • We Others: New and Selected Stories by Steven Millhauser – After reading and enjoying Millhauser’s collection of short stories, Dangerous Laughter, he has been in my radar. Thus, after seeing this collection in a bargain bookstore, I never hesitated to buy it. Millhauser is one of my “lucky” authors and by “lucky” I mean that I am always able to find and buy his works at bargain bookstores all around the metro.
  • Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories by Tobias Wolff – Tobias Wolff is a writer primarily known for his short stories and, you know me, I’m all about short fiction. Again, this book popped up in one of the bargain bookstores that I often haunt.
  • The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson – I loved The Lottery ever since I read it in one of the anthologies of American literature that I found in my grandfather’s library ( I dream to have a library like his). Last October, after reading Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, I came upon this book again in a bargain bookstore (in retrospect, all three came from the same place).

So I guess the notable acquisitions from October were all short story collections. Again, I’m a short-story man so you can’t find any complaints on my end. Anyway, let’s segue to the books that were given to me on my birthday. First, the pile from my cousin:

BookLove Shenina2013

  • The Rush for Second Place by William Gaddis – Gaddis is very much an elusive author since I’ve been looking for The Recognitions and J R for almost a year now to no avail so when this was included in the pile that my cousin gave me, I got excited. The Rush for Second Place is a collection of Gaddis’ works primarily essays and criticism.
  • The Drowned and The Saved by Primo Levi – To tell you the truth, Primo Levi is a writer that I know nothing about. I have heard of him and sometimes saw his books but I was never compelled to buy his works. Apparently, according to Italo Calvino, Primo Levi is “one of the most gifted and important writers of our time” and this book about the holocaust was well-received if you would believe the blurbs.
  • Barrel Fever by David Sedaris – Sedaris has a reputation of being a funny writer and he is well-known for his humorous essays. However, I haven’t read any of his works yet and this book seems a good starting point.

That was the pile from my cousin and I am quite excited to read her gifts. Anyway, last but not least, Rhena, my beloved, has also given me another pile of books:

BookLove Rhena2013

  • Carmen by Prosper Mérimée – Rhena knows I collect these beautiful novellas from Melville House’s Art of the Novella series and this is actually a welcome gift from her even though I only know the author vaguely.
  • Latin American Writers at Work: The Paris Review edited by George Plimpton – Rhena knows how I love Latin American authors especially Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Pablo Neruda who are included in these interviews from The Paris Review that have been collected by one of the founders of The Paris Review, George Plimpton.
  • Reasons of State by Alejo Carpentier – Here is something that I didn’t know until I read the synopsis on the back of the book. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Augusto Roa Bastos, and Alejo Carpentier challenged one another to write a political novel about the dictatorships in Latin America. Gabo came up with Autumn of the Patriarch, Bastos with I, the Supreme, and Carpentier with Reasons of State. So far, among all the gifts, this is my favorite.

These books were definitely a good haul and I can’t wait to read all of them. Of course, my TBR just keeps on growing but, as a friend said, it’s a happy problem.

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