books · bookshelves

Check In

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 marketsecuring all the other Naipaul titles I’ve seen at a particular stall for my own shelves.

13624830_1771661396426868_1329191919_nHere are four of them, being very pretty.

  • A Bend In the River
  • In a Free State
  • Guerrillas
  • Mr Stone and the Knights Companion



13595967_1771661339760207_1716577471_nAlso 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:

  • 13599476_1771683539757987_711023497_nThe 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.

Shakespeare, naturally…

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.

13618143_1771661399760201_1799471366_n13625352_1771661406426867_1607123607_nBy 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.


12 thoughts on “Check In

  1. I love reading all about your book hauls, you always find so many I haven’t heard of, although I really enjoyed A Bend in the River so will be excited to read your thoughts on the rest of the books you purchased.

    Summer ruins everything, a permanent Spring with a bit of Autumn would do fine.

    1. As I do about yours – it’s always interesting to see which books people are getting.
      Yes, permanent autumnish Spring would be great.. Or maybe not permanent since it’s nice to see some snow every once in a while..

      1. I will have a a post of a bunch of books coming up soon, just need to finish the Boston posts off first then I will be getting all bookish again for a time!

        You’re right about the weather, otherwise it would be like a more benign Narnia!

  2. Those Penguin editions of Naipaul do look lovely, with the exception of the not so pretty one (hahah…) I was quite looking forward to reading him some years back, until I read of his sexist remarks, which had then really put me off his works till now. I am still a little interested in A House for Mr Biswas, and I have a copy of his correspondence with his father on the shelves…. so I guess it’s just a matter of time (later rather than sooner, probably).
    Love the cover of the Arnold Zweig! :) What language is that in?

    1. Yes, I’ve read some of his interviews and he strikes me as a person I would not like, not only for sexist remarks but for his apparent arrogance and conceit. But, I am not one to judge the man without truly knowing him and, better yet, I am not to judge his books. Before reading them, that is. :)
      Arnold Zweig – it’s a translation to Bosnian. :)

      1. I like Diana Athill’s comment in regards to Naipaul’s offending remarks …. “It’s sad really because he’s a very good writer. Why be such an irritable man?” :)

    1. I am looking forward to getting it as I am sure I will enjoy it. We (and here, ‘we’ means ‘we, on the Balcans’) have a great publishing house called Geopoetika (Serbian publishing house, exclent books) and I am hoping to see them again this Winter Book Salon – they translated three Ransmayr’s books but I want two.. One that has been on my wishlist for quite some time – The Terrors of Ice and Darkness and this ‘new’ one, Atlas of an Anxious Man. :)

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