Friday Finds: The Book Bunny Edition!

Since we’ve been on holidays, my husband and I have been to a bookstore every. single. day. This is a booklover’s kind of wonderful. (And actually, it’s been escalating to twice and even three times a day!)

I have tried to moderate my purchases somewhat, as I’ve still got to fly home with all this stuff…

So here’s my first issue of Friday Finds, inspired by a thought on one of our rare trips to the beach instead of the bookstore: I would rather be a book bunny than a beach bunny.

So my first purchase on this trip was a new condensed one volume edition of  Thoreau’s Journal, published by NYRB Classics. I want to read Walden at some point and love reading other people’s journals, as well as nature writing.

Next I picked up The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon, partly because I’ve been hearing more about it online and also because I was thinking about investigating it before. The first few paragraphs about the beauties of each season are delightful! But reading further reminds me how much it is about a culture very different from my own (medieval Japan) and I feel a bit in over my head…

I also picked up a second copy of Emile Zola’s The Kill because I suddenly decided to join in on the Classics Circuit tour of Zola and didn’t have my copy with me… If anyone would be interested in acquiring this once I write my review of it on April 23, I would be happy to mail it to you!

A few days later, my husband and I came across a little used bookstore near a beach, with a lot of old paperbacks and a few interesting finds. Like a cheap non-movie tie-in edition of Cheri and The Last of Cheri by Colette! I’ve been interested in reading this French love story with a twist (about an older woman with a younger man) for a while.

I was also able to pick up What I saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell in hardcover for just under $5. It’s a noir-ish 1940s teen coming of age story set in Florida and just won the National Book Award. I thought it would be good Florida beach reading, since sometimes a book with a local setting works well on holidays, but I just kept reading Mrs. Dalloway once we got to the beach. I am excited to read this eventually though.

Finally, yesterday evening as I was browsing in the Jane Austen area at a Borders bookstore (I already own all of her novels, but you know, I just like to look at all the other editions!), I saw something that made me catch my breath, even though I knew it couldn’t quite be true: it looked like a new Jane Austen novel I hadn’t read or even heard of it! Entitled Catharine (And Other Writings), it is actually a new (? to me!) collection of Austen’s early stories. I had heard of them, but never paid them much attention. But: they are HILARIOUS. Perhaps that is not surprising, but still. I was laughing very loudly over them this morning, reading sentences out to my husband in between giggles. It also contains some of her letters, so I will be reading this with pleasure for a long time to come. It also inspires me to finally read her early unfinished novels The Watsons and Lady Susan and possibly a biography as well. So there is more Austen for me after all!

I also found With Violets (by Elizabeth Robards) the same evening, a novel about an imagined affair between Berthe Morisot and Edouard Manet and the ‘dawn of Impressionism’, as the book cover states. I was so excited to find this book, I love 1860s Paris (and have thought about writing a book set there actually), I’ve studied Manet and love his paintings, especially one of his paintings of Berthe Morisot in which she is all in black, holding a bouquet of violets. I began reading this as soon as I got home last night. The problem is… it’s full of editing problems, with past and present tenses constantly interchanged. Not only that, but I felt it was very light on the history and much too heavy on the romance (that art historians don’t think ever happened). Perhaps my expectations were high because I already know something about the time period (it’s also when Zola’s novels are set and if you want to learn more about Second Empire Paris, he was actually there and even had his portrait painted by Manet and writes about the time period beautifully), but it took historical figures I admire and gave them completely infantile thoughts and dialogue. I don’t know if I can finish it, but it has left me with a itch to learn more about Berthe Morisot!

I have more than one full week left in Florida, let’s see how many more books I end up with…! 🙂

11 thoughts on “Friday Finds: The Book Bunny Edition!

  1. atla says:

    I like your list. I’ve never heard of that Austen work either.. how interesting!

    Yes, Friday Finds is for books you’ve heard or read about, but I think books you randomly picked up is fine too! It’s all in the interpretation. 😉 hosts a meme called Mailbox Monday, which is actually deceptively named because it’s asking “what books came into your house last week?” (not just by mail, from what I can tell.)

    • afewofmyfavouritebooks says:

      It’s an Oxford edition, maybe they just released it or bookstores aren’t thinking clearly about all the Austen extras they could be selling!

      Yes, I’ve seen Library Loot and Mailbox Monday on various blogs, it seems like a lot of memes going around! And thanks for coming by to answer my question. 🙂

  2. Lisa says:

    Ha–I do the same thing in book stores–browse the Jane Austen books even though I already own them all! But I don’t own the new one you found–going to have to head to the bookstore this weekend!

    • afewofmyfavouritebooks says:

      I first bought my Jane Austens when I was a student (and before there were quite as many nice editions as there are now), so I only went for cheap… but now a possible solution is presenting itself: I’m getting my mom to read Austen and may give her my old copies so I can get new ones! 🙂 Although the old ones have all my underlining in them at the best lines!

      & thanks for stopping by!

    • afewofmyfavouritebooks says:

      I read Sandition a few years ago and definitely agree with you, I wish she had been able to finish it. Other authors stepping up to fill in an ending are not the same as her.

      (I read your comparison of Mansfield Park to Pride & Prejudice and found it very interesting, I’ll have to reread MP with those things in mind! I also loved your “most pathetic scene in literature” award going to Proust for the hawthorn hugging! Aww, I love my lil Marcel. ;))

      • Amateur Reader says:

        I’ve read however many more books since then, and have yet to find a more pathetic scene.

        I’m going to redo the whole Mansfield Park versus Pride and Prejudice argument sometime, though. That’s a good event for Blog Sweeps Week, or would be, if there were such a thing.

  3. Karenlibrarian says:

    I’ve read Austen’s six major novels, I had no idea Catherine was so funny! I love the photo at the top of your blog, is that your bookshelf? I have so many of those books (some read and some still unread, sigh). Though I still don’t have the nerve to tackle Proust. Someday!

    • afewofmyfavouritebooks says:

      This edition entitled Catherine and Other Writings is actually a collection of all her early writing and her satiric humour really comes to the front. I’ll have to start posting about it soon, they’re really great over the top stories and even a short play!

      It’s a photo of some of my favourite books, I had them all on my desk like that for a while, so decided it was a good photo op. And I’m glad you like it. 🙂 I’m planning to post pictures of my bookshelves once I get back from holidays! I hope you read Proust someday, I found it a very rewarding experience and not as difficult as say, James Joyce at all.

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