More new books from June

Because I buy so many/too many books I do ask myself when I pick one up in a bookstore – will I read this? Or do I just want to have it.

  • Naomi Klein, Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalisation Debate (2002) – I remember seeing this in bookstores when I worked at Purdy’s Chocolates downtown, specifically at a Christmas kiosk in Pacific Centre mall; I thought at the time, ‘how appropriate – it’s even designed as a stocking filler!’ And it is a small book too, not just in shape – most of it was originally on the Globe and Mail editorial page.
  • Gavin Young, Worlds Apart: Travels in War and Peace (1988) – Collected essays of a foreign correspondent; lots of Vietnam. Most of it was originally published in The Observer and as a Canadian that seems kinda cool to me. But then The Globe and Mail probably sounds a lot more meaningful if you don’t get it delivered to the door of your apartment building every day.
  • Marc Auge, In The Metro (1986, trans. 2002) – I ordered this from Amazon on recommendation. “Tourists climb the Eiffel Tower to see Paris. Parisians know that to really see the city you must descend into the Metro.” And that’s exactly what I did in Paris; one free day in the city was one day in the subway system, from here to there and back again.
  • George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London (1933) – What a nice new edition and this may be the first book by George Orwell I will read since 1984 in Grade 11.
  • David Fromkin, Kosovo Crossing: The Reality of American Intervention in the Balkans (1999) – a small book from the guy who wrote the great big Ottoman Empire/WWI book I read last month, and a nice, angry little book about history in motion.
  • Jenny Diski, Stranger on a Train: Daydreaming and Smoking around America with Interruptions (2002) – my biggest regret from my five years at the Simon Fraser Student Society is that I couldn’t use the Amtrack ticket I bought for my April 2008 UPass conference in Reno, Nevada. It cost a much to take the train as to fly so I took a few extra days and booked a round trip but with a month to go a landslide took out the track south of Klamath Falls, Oregon. I just read this, last weekend and it is good!
  • John le Carre, The Honourable Schoolboy (1977) – I had a pocket book copy of this that I got last summer in Port Alberni but the spine was cracked and this edition matches the other two I have. Said to be the weakest of the “Karla series” but I can’t wait to finally read it.
  • Steven Heighton, The Admen Move on Lhasa: Writing and Culture in a Virtual World (1997) – I think Steven Heighton is a really interesting guy and rather than continually checking for this in used stores I just ordered it online. Short essays, and not a lot of them.
  • Paul Theroux, Riding the Iron Rooster: By Train through China (1988) – yeah it’s another travel book by train! Also my first book about China.
  • Hal Niedzviecki, We Want Some Too: Underground Desire and the Reinvention of Mass Culture (2000)  – 10 years ago, when this came out, I had more deeply felt opinions on ‘underground desire’ and ‘mass culture’ than I do today. So this is maybe some effort at personal archaeology. All I know about this book, really, is its two-page dismissal  in The Rebel Sell – “The worst thing about Niedzviecki’s predicament is his failure to realize that it’s all been done before.” So I’ll read this book to get the full story, after having already read the rejoinder. Oh well.
  • William Gibson, Pattern Recognition (2003) – have never read this guy, surprisingly enough. Really look forward to reading this. I remember, my friend Rich was excited to move to Vancouver, long ago, because he might run into William Gibson just walking down the street, or sitting at a coffee shop.
  • Stephen Dorril, MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service (2000) – This is a difficult one. From PulpFiction, 800pg of MI6, post WWII.
  • Joey Smallwood, I Chose Canada: Memoirs (1973) – this is the one; will I read this, ever? 600 pages of Joey Smallwood?  It’s a discard from the Port Moody Public Library and I got it for $1 at a thrift store on Broadway at Carolina. With HST my morning coffee at the Bamboo café is $2.52. I probably will read this, one day, some day and on that day I’ll be glad to have found it for less than half the cost of my morning coffee.

1 Comment

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One response to “More new books from June

  1. Yup. You are the BookMan.
    re Orwell. my lowly two bits: can’t stand Animal Farm. Couldn’t finish 1984 but I love Down and Out.
    Also, his essays, on, for instance, Yeats. Geist Mag has links to some of his right-tight-little-thoughts on “How To Write”.
    re Gibson. I bought Pattern Recognition as a gift, then read it before wrapping. Eeek! A disappointment.
    John The Square’s Smiley series, excellent. Have you seen the TV series. TSSS, still the best one. No. Actually, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold is the best one, according to, er, me. Why do I need to rank books as “The Best.” Yuk. or, Yuck.
    Did I send you thanks for your annotations to that bizarre Penguin Amazon “best selling paperbacks of all time”? Hope so. Your notes, rocked. Do people still say that, “rocks” to indicate praise. I hope to reply to your notes, soon. r

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