Monday, May 18, 2009

Latest Purchases!

Today's post is brought to you by Oscar Wilde:

The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.


Nightingale Wood - Stella Gibbons

Isn't the cover simply gorgeous? Cold Comfort Farm is a very underrated book written by a comic genius and I cannot wait to receive Nightingale Wood as it has just been reprinted by the lovely Virago Press. Along with Cold Comfort Farm, it's the only book by Gibbons still in print. I don't understand how such a great author can remain out-of-print. Have a look at the summary:
Life is not quite a fairytale for poor Viola. Left penniless, the young widow is forced to live with her late husband's family in a joyless old house. There's Mr Wither, a tyrannical old miser, Mrs Wither, who thinks Viola is just a common shop girl, and two unlovely sisters-in-law, one of whom is in love with the chauffeur. Only the prospect of the charity ball can raise Viola's spirits - especially as Victor Spring, the local prince charming, will be there. But Victor's intentions towards our Cinderella are, in short, not quite honourable ...

84 Charing Cross Road - Helene Hanff

A shame I still haven't read this book. I can't wait to put my hands on it. Epistolary exchange between a book-lover and a bookseller.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay - Michael Chabon

I'm slowly becoming more and more interested in comic books. I think the movie adaptation of Watchmen may have had more of an impact on me than I realised at the time (still waiting for some money to buy the comic book). The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is not a comic book. It's a novel that won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2001. But it's very inspired by comic books. I have great expectations so I hope it won't disappoint. I think this part of an Amazon review is quite beautiful. In any case, it's the part that made me want to purchase it immediately:
Suffice to say, Michael Chabon writes novels like the Escapist busts locks. Previous books such as The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and Wonder Boys have prose of equal shimmer and wit, and yet here he seems to have finally found a canvas big enough for his gifts. The whole enterprise seems animated by love: for his alternately deluded, damaged and painfully sincere characters; for the quirks and curious innocence of tough-talking wartime New York; and, above all, for comics themselves, "the inspirations and lucubrations of five hundred ageing boys dreaming as hard as they could". Far from negating such pleasures, the Holocaust's presence in the novel only makes them more pressing. Art, if not capable of actually fighting evil, can at least offer a gesture of defiance and hope--a way out of a world gone completely mad.

Decline and Fall, Vile Bodies & Put Out More Flags - Evelyn Waugh
I didn't understand Brideshead Revisited. Looking back, it resembles Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty but while I can understand Nick's attraction to a world of privilege and leisure (which is only one of the reasons why this book is so important to me, frankly it's a masterpiece and I don't know what else to say to make you read it!), I couldn't understand Charles' attraction to Catholicism or religion in general. At all. Which made the book boring and pointless. I'm willing to give Waugh another chance and because I'm a great believer in the power of laughter, I think I may appreciate these satires more than what he tried to do in Brideshead.

Much Ado About Nothing & Love's Labour's Lost - William Shakespeare

I adore Shakespeare. No matter what he wrote, you can be sure it's still relevant today. I enjoy his comedies and tragedies very much but I'll also get to his histories eventually (I liked Richard III). I try to buy and read at least three plays per year. I only buy them in the Arden edition to have a neat collection that's as complete as they come, and since the third edition is currently being published, I've decided I only want to buy my plays in this third edition. I'll have to wait for some since some are only available in the second edition, which I find a bit dated in terms of literary commentary. So here are Much Ado About Nothing (I saw the movie adaptation starring the wonderful Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh) and Love's Labour's Lost. I'm waiting for As You Like It to be in stock again to buy it.

Oscar Wilde and P.G. Wodehouse will be next.


Can I get a high-five? This was only a matter of time. I'm so happy I finally gave in! I'll talk to you soon about another movie starring William Powell (sadly, without Myrna) that I saw recently. It made me realise just how fabulous this actor is. I adore these two to pieces and talked about their movies extensively on this journal.

The Forbidden Hollywood boxsets will be next.


The Andrews Sisters may just be my favourite band! No complete collection has been released but by comparing the different tracks present in the different compilations, I managed to make a list of 4 records to buy with no overlapping. The first two I already own: The Golden Age of the Andrews Sisters (in fact, a boxset of 4 CDs) and Now is the Time, both released by the ever-so-lovely label Jasmine. The other two are Melody Time with the Andrews Sisters and Music Lessons with the Andrews Sisters which I plan on buying shortly. I hesitated a long while before clicking to buy this record because I have so many CDs to buy. But I like to buy methodically so I'll just complete my collection of Andrews Sisters tunes before starting another collection.

Billie Holiday is next.

I turned 21 a few days ago, so I don't feel too guilty about these purchases. I think nobody can feel guilty for long while listening to the Beach Boys, anyway. "The Beach Boys attitude" to me means lots of ice cream and vanilla milkshakes, funny sunglasses and a good read. Enjoy these Sounds of Summer!