Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, January 07, 2016

Celebrating an After Holiday Book Haul

As much fun as it is to get presents(and give them) during the holiday season, it can be even more enjoyable to treat yourself to a sweet little spending spree during the seasonal shopping aftermath, especially if you have a gift card or two to burn.

Thanks to a nice gift card that I got in my holiday stocking, I was able to make my biggest purchase at Better World Books to date; six books and a DVD! I had no idea that they sold movies as well, such a nice surprise. My multimedia haul arrived this morning and it is truly a great way to begin your day by having a beautiful box of books to open up:

YOUNGBLOOD HAWKE: This Herman Wouk novel is said to be based on the rise and fall of author Thomas Wolfe, as it chronicles the instant literary success of the title character as he is wined and dined by both New York and Hollywood upon the release of his debut novel.

I've read Wouk before but this is one of his big books that I haven't gotten into (along with Marjorie Morningstar) and would really like to. There is a small following for this book as a small indie rock band is named after it and there was a film adaptation made in 1964, starring James Franciscus with Suzanne Pleshette as his leading lady.  It might be hard to find the movie but at least I have the book on hand to indulge myself in:

 BECOMING JANE: I chose quite a few writer themed books in this buying bout(included two Hemingway related titles) and the one movie I added in follows along those lines as well.

Granted, I know that Becoming Jane is far from an accurate portrayal of Miss Austen( the made for TV BBC film, Miss Austen Regrets is superior in that regard and I do have that one in my cinematic library).

However, Anne Hathaway does give a good performance as Our Dear Jane and her onscreen chemistry with co-star James McAvoy as Tom LeFroy is suitably sparkling. Yes, there is a blending in of Pride and Prejudice in the story line that is completely unnecessary and true, Austen never meet Anne Radcliffe, as they do here, but there are moments of sweet romance and times that Hathaway channels a bit of that sparkling Austen wit that we all know and love, so it is totally worth while to include Becoming Jane to the English Lit section of my DVD collection:

AN INSTANCE OF THE FINGERPOST: For something rather different, I went with the novel that Iain Pears first become notable for, this elaborate murder mystery set in 17th century Oxford, England around the death of a collegiate don.

The story is told from four differing viewpoints, each of which could be an unreliable narrator,  all of whom have different reasons for being involved in this case yet their sleuthing can not prevent  an innocent party being sentenced for the crime, or so it seems.

 Since I do have an advance copy of Pears' upcoming new novel Arcadia, this felt like a good time to try Instance as well. When it came out in 1997, the book was favorably compared to The Name of the Rose, another scholarly mystery that I recall well, so this should be an entertaining challenge to engage with:

A DOUBLE DOSE OF KATE MORTON:  Having nearly finished The House at Rivington, I am eager for more of Morton's solid story telling magic and was happy to gain two more of her titles for this haul.

The Distant Hours is centered around the finding of a long lost letter from one of three odd sisters living at Midlerhurst Castle during WWII. Edie, a London book editor, is surprised to learn that her mother Meredith stayed there as an evacuee during the war and even more so at her reaction to finally receiving that letter.

Turns out that there were a number of strange goings-on during Meredith's time at Midlerhurst, including the disappearance of a young soldier who was engaged to one of the daughters of the household. This story promises to be out and out Gothic, in the best sense of the term, and should be a wicked blast to read:

The Secret Keeper promises to be just as enthralling, with it's leading lady Laurel having witnessed a shocking crime in her youth that still haunts her to this day. Upon returning home fifty years later for a family celebration, Laurel is determined to discover the real truth behind what she saw back then and to learn more about the people from her mother's past who were part of it all.

I also have Morton's The Forgotten Garden(which I picked up elsewhere) and should be rather sated with her works until her newest one, The Lake House, arrives in paperback. In the meanwhile, I will be happily completing The House at Rivington in order to dive into another one of Ms. Morton's page turning delights:

Starting a new year with new books(even if they're old) is great but as they say, waiting was the hardest part. As convenient as it is to buy books online, keeping an eye out for the mail to drop off your literary goodies is something that all the advanced technology can't erase.

Not even drone deliveries will ease that special book lover's tension, it will probably add some new ones to the mix! Regardless, I am happy to have my books arrive safe and sound to snuggle on a shelf until their time comes to be read. Some things are definitely worth a little bit of wait worry:

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