Books I Bought On Vacation (And Brought Home!)


When I was over in the States, me and my partner (the dashingly handsome @BilliamSWN) picked up the hobby of Library hopping to check out their book sales. Now, sounds lame.. I'm aware of that. But it was both romantic and darn fun, if I do say so myself. If you're a book lover you'll know the rush that you get when you find a book you've been looking for on sale. It's great, so why not get that feeling multiple times a day? The only down point of our newfound hobby was the dreary realisation that I would have to part with our many, many, many finds for who knows how many months (Engagement visa issues). It took me a long darn while to decide which ones would be returning home with me, but after some pro-con lists, realistic thinking, Popsugar reading challenge consideration, NaNoWriMo, and weight allowance.. I settled on a modest fifteen paperbacks and one hardback. No bad going, aye? I may of had to leave half of my wardrobe there, but who really needs Summery clothes in Wales?

So what were my finds? What have I already read? Let the scrolling commence! 

The Lady In The Van
by Alan Bennett
My Reasoning: I had been wanting to read this one for a while, but the deciding factor on whether this would be in my luggage was that I needed something for the category of "Book With A Family Member Term In The Title" on the Popsugar 2017 Reading Challenge. My cat knows my mother as Lady, so I'm counting it. It counts!

Scrappy Little Nobody
by Anna Kendrick
Synopsis: Anna Kendrick’s autobiographical collection of essays amusingly recounts memorable moments throughout her life, from her middle-class upbringing in New England to the blockbuster movies that have made her one of Hollywood’s most popular actresses today. Expanding upon the witty and ironic dispatches for which she is known, Anna Kendrick’s essays offer her one-of-a-kind commentary on the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture.
Reasoning: It's both about and written by Anna Kendrick. Duh. Goddess. But really, I'm not huge on autobiographies, I have to really be interested in the person or else 'll end up bored and flicking to the photo section before finishing the first sentence. But I adore Anna Kendrick and she is one of the few celebrities I like purely for her person, and not because of something she has starred in. 

by Laurie Halse Anderson
Synopsis: After accidentally busting an end-of-summer party due to an unnamed incident, high school freshman Melinda is ostracised by her peers because she will not say why she called the police. Unable to verbalise what happened, Melinda nearly stops speaking altogether, expressing her voice through the art she produces for Mr. Freeman's class.This expression slowly helps Melinda acknowledge what happened, face her problems, and recreate her identity.
Reasoning: I've heard a lot of great things about this, especially given my preferred reading genre (Entirely depressing, as my partner would put it.). But as someone who somewhat skipped her teenage years but has yet suffered with different forms of mental illnesses and bullying, I can't not read about different people's portrayal about such subjects. I find it morbidly interesting, or rather, soothing. To know that I'm not alone in such matters. 

The Winter Of Our Disconnect
by Susan Maushart
Synopsis: If Thoreau could last two years in the woods without the mod-cons of the early nineteenth century (running water), then surely Susan Maushart can survive six months without the technology of the twenty-first century? But then, Thoreau didn't have teenagers ... or an iPhone ... or Facebook ...For any parent who has ever yanked the modem from its socket in a show of primal parental rage - this account of one family's self-imposed exile from the Information Age will leave you ROFLing (Roll on the Floor Laughing) with recognition.
Reasoning: This was mainly packed so I could check off "Book With A Season In The Title" from my reading challenge, but as a matter of fact, I thoroughly enjoyed this almost journal-like overview of how a woman and three teenagers managed without online connectivity. I've often found myself sitting in a public place and trying to count how many bystanders aren't just aimlessly scrolling on their phone. The outcome always saddens me. I liked TWOOD, and would strongly urge anyone with teenagers to give it a read - not to pull the plug, but to make yourself aware of how much you may be missing out on. 

The Killer Inside Of Me
by Jim Thompson
Synopsis: Everyone in the small town of Central City, Texas loves Lou Ford. A deputy sheriff, Lou's known to the small-time criminals, the real-estate entrepreneurs, and all of his coworkers--the low-lifes, the big-timers, and everyone in-between--as the nicest guy around. He may not be the brightest or the most interesting man in town, but nevertheless, he's the kind of officer you're happy to have keeping your streets safe. The sort of man you might even wish your daughter would end up with someday. But behind the platitudes and glad-handing lurks a monster the likes of which few have seen. An urge that has already claimed multiple lives, and cost Lou his brother Mike, a self-sacrificing construction worker who fell to his death on the job in what was anything but an accident. A murder that Lou is determined to avenge--and if innocent people have to die in the process, well, that's perfectly all right with him.
Reasoning: I hope to partake in NaNoWriMo this year, and my story revolves around a serial killer in a psychiatric establishment, so any help I can get to put me in that mind-frame is helpful (Yeah, it's gonna be a jolly month.) Alas, I'd heard about The Killer Inside Of Me after it had been made into a movie starring Jessica Alba back in 2010 - though I don't have any interest in watching nor giving that a shoutout due to the apparent overly done scenes that include violence against women. A book is scary enough, we don't need the visual. Thank you. It also kept popping up when I was searching for books on this particular topic.

Veronika Decides To Die
by Paulo Coelho
Synopsis: Depressed by the emptiness of her life, 20-something Veronika attempts to commit suicide through an overdose, but survives. Waking up in a mental hospital under the supervision of Dr. Blake, Veronika learns that her attempt has fatally damaged her heart, leaving her with weeks to live. Initially determined to kill herself rather than wait for death, Veronika's will to live is rekindled by Edward, a handsome fellow patient.
Reasoning: This was my plane book for the journey home, but it was also a little research for NaNo. I'd been wanting to read this after the movie got released with Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Original Goddess.. move other Alexa-annoying-infuriating-Bliss), and it didn't disappoint. It's a moving tale of a girl trying to find her place in the world. If you've ever been in a dark place, you'll relate with Veronika's inner battle.

Untimely Death
by Cyril Hare (Alfred Gordon Clark)
Synopsis: A delicious mystery of a haunting childhood nightmare and a vanishing murder victim, Untimely Death will enthrall Inspector Mallett and Francis Pettigrew fans. While on holiday with his wife, Pettigrew stumbles upon a body on the moor, but when he returns with help, the body is nowhere to be found. 
Reasoning: NaNo, again. Plus it's a double-whammy as I can use it for "Author That Uses A Pseudonym" in the reading Challenge. This will be my first in the Francis Pettigrew series, so I ought to check whether I can jump straight in. Do you know? Let me know!

The Bell Jar
by Sylvia Plath
Synopsis: The Bell Jar is the story of 19-year-old Esther Greenwood, the breakdown she experiences, and the beginnings of her recovery.
Reasoning: Whenever people recommend books to me, this is high on the list. Hell, even websites have suggested it on multiple occasions. I'm really looking forward to delving into this one, especially as so many have said how much it's changed their lives or at the very least, helped them feel heard about their depression.

The Handmaids Tale
by Margaret Atwood
Synopsis: Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian and theocratic state that has replaced the United States of America. Because of dangerously low reproduction rates, Handmaids are assigned to bear children for elite couples that have trouble conceiving.
Reasoning: I'll admit, I gave into the much-deserved hype of the TV series based on this book.I eagerly watched the show, right at the edge of my seat, had two episodes left.. and decided to be evil to myself and stop. I want to read what happens to the characters I got emotionally invested in, not watch it. So.. No spoilers. Pretty please. 

by Patrick McGarth
Synopsis: In the summer of 1959 Stella Raphael joins her psychiatrist husband, Max, at his new posting--a maximum-security hospital for the criminally insane. Beautiful and headstrong, Stella soon falls under the spell of Edgar Stark, a brilliant and magnetic sculptor who has been confined to the hospital for murdering his wife in a psychotic rage. But Stella's knowledge of Edgar's crime is no hindrance to the volcanic attraction that ensues--a passion that will consume Stella's sanity and destroy her and the lives of those around her.
Reasoning: You guessed it, NaNo. Plus it sounded rather interesting, though the cover isn't the most captivating. This will also be my very first Gothic Novel, so that'll be fun.

When Elves Attack
by Tim Dobsey
Synopsis: It's ho, ho, ho time in this hilarious and wacky Florida holiday tale, featuring bighearted psychopath Serge Storms and his sidekick, Coleman. Like Santa, Serge knows who's been naughty and who's been nice. Few can give with the generosity and creativity of Serge, and as December 24 rolls around, he is filling up the Serge sleigh with an unforgettable bag of presents. But before that, it's all a big free-range Christmas office party, where Serge will be spreading his special cheer. And there's that last-minute go-for-broke spree at the mall (just beware of those attacking elves—they bite). While you're there, skip the lame photo on Santa's lap—Serge will give you a lap ride you'll never forget. As for that addled elf Coleman, there's nothing like a white Christmas. Let it snow!
Reasoning: It has killer Elves, do I really need to explain myself? As an Elf myself for a large portion of December, I'm sure I will be able to relate to these little murderous creatures.. I'm joking. Christmas and Horror are two of my greatest loves, so mesh them together and I'll always be there. I'm aware this is the #14 in a series or something, but I'll just wing it. Killer elves!  

Murder For Halloween
by Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, Peter Straub and Ed McBain
Synopsis: From Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker to Peter Straub and Ed McBain, horror and mystery masters old and new join forces to present a terrifying collection of stories centered around the scariest day of the year. Includes Straub's never-before-published novella "Pork Pie Hat", McBain's new 87th Precinct story "Monsters", and Dorothy Cannell's "One Night at a Time".
Reasoning: "Book That Takes Place Over A Holiday Other Than Christmas" That one stumped me, Popsugar. Thanks. I don't know whether this will be any good or if the sort stories will simply drag, but hey, yay for Halloween!

The Wasp Factory
by Iain Banks
Synopsis: Meet Frank Cauldhame. Just sixteen, and unconventional to say the least: Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different and more fundamental reasons than I'd disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim... That's my score to date. Three. I haven't killed anybody for years, and don't intend to ever again. It was just a stage I was going through.
Reasoning: Yup, NaNo. But this may be the one I'm most looking forward to. Not only is it rather short, which intrigues me given the topic, but it just has a magnetic pull for me. You know those books that you're really itching to pick up, for no particular reason? Just me?

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
by David Levithan and John Green
Synopsis: Will Grayson meets Will Grayson. One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two strangers are about to cross paths. From that moment on, their world will collide and lives intertwine. It's not that far from Evanston to Naperville, but Chicago suburbanites Will Grayson and Will Grayson might as well live on different planets. When fate delivers them both to the same surprising crossroads, the Will Graysons find their lives overlapping and hurtling in new and unexpected directions. With a push from friends new and old - including the massive, and massively fabulous, Tiny Cooper, offensive lineman and musical theater auteur extraordinaire - Will and Will begin building toward respective romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history's most awesome high school musical.
Reasoning: "Book Written By Two People" on the challenge. I did have Gwendy's Button Box for this, but things got moved around and I needed something that'd be quick. Plus I nabbed this book fr free from a Library sale (Go to them! They're great!) Alas, it was what I expected from a John Green book - a bit meh. I really want to adore his writing like so many, but his stories just seem to miss something for me. They never feel finished, the characters are mostly annoying, and it's just all too.. Tumblr. Sigh.

So there we have it. I'm going to speed read these now, so that when I return back to my second home, I'll have an empty TBR that I can quickly fill up with my regrets. Yay!

What's been your favourite book that you've read on a vacation? Let me know!

- Anne x

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