If the last list was my June list then here is my July list and I phrase it that way so that I will stop now, while I’m ahead, and maybe not buy anything else until August. Wouldn’t that be nice.
- Philip Kerr, The One From The Other (2006) – Just last week I told my friend Renee that I had never heard of this guy. At the counter, this weekend, at PulpFiction, the guy ringing up my books said ‘Oh, Philip Kerr, I’ve heard really good things about him; I’d like to try him soon.’ Hey, you and me both, man.
- Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky (1949) – I’ve been looking for this and I didn’t even realize it. I’ve been picking up The Mosquito Coast for the last year before reading the back – no, this isn’t what I thought it was at all. The Sheltering Sky, however, is apparently exactly what I was looking for on the back of The Mosquito Coast.
- Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr Ripley (1955) – Same guy behind the counter at PulpFiction was happy to see me buying this. Really hoping for something on the order of Daphne du Maurier. Also, this is my very favourite format for a novel: ~300pg Vintage paperback in matte finish.
- Stefan Maechler, The Wilkomirski Affair: A Study In Biographical Truth (2000) – This is how I buy books, I look at the shelves, the same shelves every few weeks to see what’s there, and pull the occasional book out because I like the title, or the design, and here – this had been on the shelf for a while but I only just noticed the subtitle: A Study in Biographical Truth. And here’s what it is. In 1995 a book called Fragments became a sensation in Germany – the raw memoir of a child who had survived the Holocaust. But the story didn’t line up. Several years later and amid increasing furor the initial publishers commissioned a Swiss professor to conduct an investigation, and this is his report. This probably won’t satisfy my interest in ‘truth-in-memoir’ studies entirely but insofar as personal history and collective memory and all these wonderful angles I really look forward to reading this.
- David Adams Richards, The Friends of Meager Fortune (2006) – Major Canadian novelists I figured I could get along just fine without ever reading. But I remember a time when Alice Munro was also on that list so I bought this for just $4.
- Nick Flynn, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City (2004) – seven pages of ‘praise’ at the front! And, again, a recommendation at the PulpFiction counter. This is a memoir and it looks as though he does some really interesting structural stuff.
- John le Carre, The Russia House (1989) – The last of the Cold War and a book I just might save for a long weekend.
- Janice Gross Stein and Eugene Lang, The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar (2007) – an ‘insider’s view’ of the decision to go to war. Something I should read, given that, despite having assembled a care package of magazines for delivery to Kandahar last year, I still find it difficult to line up my sense of “Canada” with my sense of “war.” One of these things is not like the other, which says as much about my sense of war as it does for my sense of Canada.
- Colleen Fuller, Caring for Profit: How Corporations are Taking Over Canada’s Health Care System (1998) – I take phone messages from Colleen Fuller all the time. And, two years later, maybe I should actually learn something about the field I kinda almost work in.
- Ken Coates and William Morrison, Land of the Midnight Sun: A History of the Yukon (2005) – to compare and contract with my Alaska: Saga of a Bold Land.
- Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007) – I am on a roll. I have been hoping to find this in paperback for months, mostly because my reaction to the thesis when this came out in 2007 was “Yeah, I know, I’ve learned about this already.” I am especially interested in her chapter on Russia, having just read a book written at the same time about the pseudo-democratic revolutions that have swept a series of post-Soviet states following the initial breakup of the USSR.