Thursday, April 2, 2015

Charity Shop Book Haul


Today I spent a lot more money than I intended to....on books.  Given the volume of work and books-waiting-to-be-read on my desk, it will probably be a while before I get around to reading and then reviewing these.  Nevertheless, I thought I would share my finds with you as I was particularly pleased with this bunch.  I envy my fellow book bloggers who find charity shop books for mere pennies; perhaps because I live in London they're more expensive, but I don't mind paying extra when the money goes to a good cause.  Plus, it's probably the only thing between me backing the car up to the shop and asking them to just fill it with books (yes, I have a problem, like the blog didn't give that away already!)

1. THE IMPRESSIONIST BY HARI KUNZRU (£1.99)

In India, at the birth of the last century, an infant is brought howling into the world, his remarkable paleness marking him out from his brown-skinned fellows. Revered at first, he is later cast out from his wealthy home when his true parentage is revealed. So begins Pran Nath's odyssey of self-discovery - a journey that will take him from the streets of Agra, via the red light district of Bombay, to the brick cloisters of Oxford and beyond - as he struggles to understand who he really is.

2. A RIVER DIES OF THIRST: A DIARY BY MAHMOUD DARWISH (£1.99)

Mahmoud Darwish is one of the most acclaimed contemporary poets in the Arab world, and is often cited as the poetic voice of the Palestinian people. During the summer of 2006, Darwish was in Ramallah. He recorded his observations and feelings in this diary as Israel attacked Gaza and Lebanon. Darwish writes of love, loss and the pain of exile in bittersweet poems leavened with hope and joy.

3. ISTANBUL: MEMORIES OF A CITY BY ORHAN PAMUK (£1.99)

Istanbul is a shimmering evocation, by turns intimate and panoramic, of one of the world's great cities, by its foremost writer. Orhan Pamuk, winner of the Nobel Prize in 2006, was born in Istanbul, in the family apartment building where his mother first held him in her arms. His portrait of his city is thus also a self-portrait, refracted by memory and the melancholy-or hüzün- that all Istanbullus share: the sadness that comes of living amid the ruins of a lost Ottoman Empire.  As he companionably guides us across the Bosphorus, through Istanbul's historical monuments and lost paradises, its dilapidated Ottoman villas, back streets and waterways, he also introduces us to the city's writers, artists and murderers.

4. THE BOOKSELLER OF KABUL BY ASNE SEIERSTAD (£1.99)

Two weeks after September 11th, award-winning journalist Åsne Seierstad went to Afghanistan to report on the conflict there. In the following spring she returned to live with an Afghan family for several months.  For more than twenty years Sultan Khan defied the authorities - be they communist or Taliban - to supply books to the people of Kabul. He was arrested, interrogated and imprisoned by the communists and watched illiterate Taliban soldiers burn piles of his books in the street. He even resorted to hiding most of his stock in attics all over Kabul.  But while Khan is passionate in his love of books and hatred of censorship, he is also a committed Muslim with strict views on family life. As an outsider, Seierstad is able to move between the private world of the women - including Khan's two wives - and the more public lives of the men. And so we learn of proposals and marriages, suppression and abuse of power, crime and punishment. The result is a gripping and moving portrait of a family, and a clear-eyed assessment of a country struggling to free itself from history.


5. HALF OF A YELLOW SUN BY CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE (£1.99)

In 1960s Nigeria, a country blighted by civil war, three lives intersect.  Ugwu, a boy from a poor village, works as a houseboy for a university professor. Olanna, a young woman, has abandoned her life of privilege in Lagos to live with her charismatic new lover, the professor. And Richard, a shy English writer, is in thrall to Olanna’s enigmatic twin sister. As the horrific Biafran War engulfs them, they are thrown together and pulled apart in ways they had never imagined.  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s masterpiece, winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction, is a novel about Africa in a wider sense: about the end of colonialism, ethnic allegiances, class and race – and about the ways in which love can complicate all of these things.

6. THE TIGER'S WIFE BY TEA OBRECHT (£1.99)

A tiger escapes from the local zoo, padding through the ruined streets and onwards, to a ridge above the Balkan village of Galina. His nocturnal visits hold the villagers in a terrified thrall. But for one boy, the tiger is a thing of magic - Shere Khan awoken from the pages of The Jungle Book.
Natalia is the granddaughter of that boy. Now a doctor, she is visiting orphanages after another war has devastated the Balkans. On this journey, she receives word of her beloved grandfather's death, far from their home, in circumstances shrouded in mystery.  From fragments of stories her grandfather told her as a child, Natalia realises he may have died searching for 'the deathless man', a vagabond who was said to be immortal. Struggling to understand why a man of science would undertake such a quest, she stumbles upon a clue that will lead her to a tattered copy of The Jungle Book, and then to the extraordinary story of the tiger's wife.


7. BRICK LANE BY MONICA ALI (£1.99)

Still in her teenage years, Nazneen finds herself in an arranged marriage with a disappointed man who is twenty years older. Away from the mud and heat of her Bangladeshi village, home is now a cramped flat in a high-rise block in London's East End. Nazneen knows not a word of English, and is forced to depend on her husband. But unlike him she is practical and wise, and befriends a fellow Asian girl Razia, who helps her understand the strange ways of her adopted new British home.
Nazneen keeps in touch with her sister Hasina back in the village. But the rebellious Hasina has kicked against cultural tradition and run off in a 'love marriage' with the man of her dreams. When he suddenly turns violent, she is forced into the degrading job of garment girl in a cloth factory.
Confined in her flat by tradition and family duty, Nazneen also sews furiously for a living, shut away with her buttons and linings - until the radical Karim steps unexpectedly into her life. On a background of racial conflict and tension, they embark on a love affair that forces Nazneen finally to take control of her fate.

Have you read any of these?   
Are you one of those lucky souls who can find books for mere pennies? 
Let me know in the comments!


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8 comments

Louise @ readsandrecipes.com said...

Glad to hear you enjoyed it, think I'll move it to the top of the pile! xox

Danielle said...

I love charity shop book shopping! They usually cost me a couple of quid each too - our local library sells second hand books quite cheaply though! X
embrace the detours

Alice said...

What a lovely haul! I'm currently half way through Half a Yellow Sun. I hope to finish it this weekend.

Louise @ readsandrecipes.com said...

Ooh yeah, my library does too, you've reminded me to check out mine! xo

Louise @ readsandrecipes.com said...

Awesome! Let me know what you think of it! xo

Jessica Mennie said...

I love charity shops for books! I really want to read Brick Lane, it's on my list.

Jess X

http://chasinglifeandme.blogspot.co.uk/

Becci Charlton said...

Half of a Yellow Sun is one of my all time favourite books. Adichie is an amazing author, I'm sure you'll enjoy it! I also picked Brick Lane up in a charity shop recently so that's on my to read list too!

sarah brown said...

Great haul! The bookseller of Kabul looks really good :)
I absolutely love charity shops, I got The Miniaturist for 50p yesterday :)

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