Mailbox Monday 25/8/14: Mega Melbourne edition

I’d like to say I don’t know where last week went, but sadly I do – it was back to work in full swing with additional extras. I didn’t get to read very much, which made me a bit sad and grumpy. Fortunately, I was able to take some time to relax and read a new novella which was wonderful!

I promised you last week you’d see the fruits of my Melbourne trip, which included Australia’s National Bookshop Day, where I ran around to several bookshops and bought some new reads, as well as enjoying activities and seeing Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz (she looked just like Judy Garland), a number of princesses, some anime characters and a Dementor. It was an incredibly fun day and not one I’ll forget any time soon. Melbourne, you really know how to celebrate books!

But first, we should look at the books that did arrive via the post instead of a suitcase. Thanks to Penguin Australia and The Reading Room, I received a copy of The Sunnyvale Girls by Fiona Palmer. Fiona is a West Australian author, who shamefully I have yet to read! The book, out 24th September, is about three generations of women who discover a secret in a letter from the past that sends them across the world.

The second book was a prize from Harper Collins Australia – thank you! This year, I’m trying to read at least some (aim: half) of the Man Booker Prize long list, so I was happy to win one of the titles, The Dog by Joseph O’Neill. The book is about an attorney who accepts a job in Dubai after issues in his life in New York City. But things turn odd in Dubai too…

Now on to the haul…I did have a big splurge at Dymocks 234 Collins St, because it’s huge with a massive range! The following were bought over several visits. The first visit was a general roam around, with me making a list (how nerdy) then coming out with five books – easy to fit in the suitcase, right? Mary Renault’s The Charioteer has been on my wish list and it was on sale, so it was a must buy. It’s a war story of Laurie, who meets Andrew in hospital and is then introduced to a circle of gay men – should he choose pleasure or friendship? I hadn’t heard of A Dual Inheritance by Joanna Hershon before, but the cover grabbed me. It’s set in the 1960s, about two men from vastly different upbringings who are friends but go on to different things. Set over 50 years, I’ll be interested to read why their friendship stopped abruptly. This One is Mine is Maria Semple’s first novel, re-released. Set in the Hollywood Hills, this is about Violet who has everything she wants except Teddy (a musician, not a fluffy toy). Sally wants some of what Violet has but Violet’s decisions will affect both of them.

I also bought two romance books based on the love the members of the Australian Romance Readers Association have for them. Everyone raves about Anna Campbell’s books, so I bought Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed to join the legion of fans. It’s a historical romance where Sidonie submits herself to the scoundrel Jonas to save her sister’s life. It’s not the horrible experience she expects and the pair start to care for each other. Can this love survive those wanting to destroy them? Anne Gracie is another popular author and I bought The Autumn Bride which is also a historical romance about Abigail, who breaks into a mansion to save her friends and sister. There, she finds a neglected elderly lady who she begins to care for. All is well until her nephew returns to find strangers in the house and chaos erupts…

Finally, I just had to buy the new Haruki Murakami book, Colorless Tsukuru and his Years of Pilgrimage on the day of release, as you know. I haven’t read this tale about the four friends who desert Tsukuru, leaving him to an aimless existence until he meets Sara (nor have I applied the stickers) but knowing it’s by my bedside makes it all okay!

Next stop on National Bookshop Day was the always lovely Reader’s Feast. Their shelves always contain books that feel as though they’ve been picked just for me. I can spend ages browsing in their beautiful building! I restrained myself to two books, both quite different. Warpaint by Alicia Foster is set in 1942. Vivienne paints propaganda, while Laura, Cecily and Faith paint a record of life during the war. When the course of the war changes, they meet and have to ask the tough questions – what are the truths and lies that they should tell? The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima
is translated from the Japanese, a story of first love between the daughter of a rich man and a fisherman as the village gossips about their union.

I then headed out of the city to Readings in Carlton. This store is always packed with books and you can find so much on the shelves, which go nearly to the ceiling. I bought two books I’d heard good things about. The Vacationers by Emma Straub is strangely enough, a story about a family vacation. Naturally there are secrets and lies involved, as well as love and marriage. Sounds very action packed! Her by Harriet Lane is about a friendship between Nina and Emma – but they’ve met before and Nina wants something more this time and could be willing to go the extra mile to get it…(yes, the type of the title is blurry – it’s not your eyes or my picture taking!)

Back into town and I jumped off the tram to drop into Hill of Content, a cosy bookshop for the cloudy change in the afternoon. Another two books bought, both ones I hadn’t heard of before. Paradise of the Blind by Duong Thu Huong is a translation from the Vietnamese about the influence of the government on three women and their families and how it causes pain and uncertainty. Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok is the story of a mother and daughter moving to New York from Hong Kong. On arrival, they have no money and don’t speak English. Can they turn into the happy American dream, leaving their past behind? Should they?

That was it for one day! I did also serendipitously chance on a discount bookshop (can’t remember the name) in South Wharf and bought a few bargains. I enjoyed Jean Fullerton’s
Nurse Millie series, so I thought I’d try No Cure for Love, a story about life in Whitechapel and romance. I also love Tilly Bagshawe’s books, so grabbed Friends & Rivals, about three old friends, who might have to become enemies to rise to the top of fame and fortune. Ron Burgundy’s Let Me Off at the Top! Is a must because I would not have a clue on how to stay classy without his expertise (and perhaps it may mention Brick). Finally, The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood has been on my wish list for years, about Iris and Oscar who come from different backgrounds and are convinced to be part of some experiments that will affect them all…

I hope you enjoyed the books of my trip…I have to confess I also made some online orders while I was on holidays, so be prepared for them next week…

Do stop in at the Mailbox Monday blog for links to everyone’s mailbox goodies. Overseen by Vicki (I’d Rather Be at the Beach), Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) and Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit), I’m sure you’ll find something you want to read, as well as more great books!



18 thoughts on “Mailbox Monday 25/8/14: Mega Melbourne edition

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  1. You had a fab week in books! I love the look of Girl in Translation. The Sunnyvale Girls sounds very sweet too. Happy reading, Sam!

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