Summer is difficult. The heat is unbearable, it melts my body and numbs my mind. I rarely go out during the day. If there are some errands or some work to be done outside the house I strive to get it all finished by ten or eleven in the morning, to get back inside before the sun is at its height.
Some weeks ago, however, encouraged by gathering clouds, I set myself on a way to a used book market.
I came home with three books and immediately started reading one of them because it was thin, had a cat and a tree on the cover and an interesting title – it was Naipaul’s Mr Stone and the Knights Companion. A couple of days later I was back at the market, securing all the other Naipaul titles I’ve seen at a particular stall for my own shelves.
Here are four of them, being very pretty.
- A Bend In the River
- In a Free State
- Mr Stone and the Knights Companion
Also here’s one that’s not as pretty:
- The Mystic Masseur
I am eager to read them all and would also like to get my hands on some of his travel books.
Which just reminded me of Christoph Ransmayr’s Atlas of an Anxious Man and its promotion that happened last June. Stories he read that evening were mesmerizing, lyrical – it was travel writing such as I’ve never read before. A must have!
Back to my new books… I also got:
- The Tale of Genji. Murasaki Shikibu
- Breathing Lessons. Anne Tyler
- The Gentlemen of Verona/The Merry Wives of Windsor/Measure For Measure. William Shakespeare
- Put Out More Flags. Evelyn Waugh
- Virgin Soil Upturned. Mikhail Sholokhov
- Konji pa jahači. (Horses Than Horsemen) Nenad Ešpek
- Correspondence (1948-1957). Ariadna Efron, Boris Pasternak
- The Case of Sargeant Grischa. Arnold Zweig
The Tale of Genji was a delightful find. It’s truly amazing to think how diverse and magnificent the publishing was in late Yugoslavia. Amazing.
Anne Tyler I bought because of many good things I’ve read about her writing.
Waugh I haven’t read yet, but I’ve seen Brideshead Revisited (1981) and I feel certain that he is one of the authors whose style and wit I will appreciate. (One could discuss the author’s persona vs. his literature – just as Naipaul’s, really – but one won’t.)
Sholokhov I haven’t read either but I thought I shouldn’t miss getting these tomes so cheap (the price of each of these thirteen books was 1BAM, which equals 55 cents/45p); besides, I know he is great.
Next, another short story collection by Nenad Ešpek – I thought his Sea of Silence pretty good, so taking this one home with me was a proper thing to do.
By far the favorite book of this haul is a collection of letters that Ariadna Efron and Boris Pasternak wrote to each other. Wonderful. I will have to write about it soon.
And the last one, The Case of Sargeant Grischa – First and Second World War themed literature is something that I am getting more interested in as years go by. And the cover was too beautiful to be left lying in that dusty box.