Books, life the universe

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Money saving and Donna Leon

I was recently incensed to discover that if you order new books way in advance of publication date from Amazon you may well end up paying more than if you order close to or after publication. I am prone to order books by favourite authors as soon as they are listed. Now I shall just add them to my wish list and review that regularly so that I pay the lowest price possible. I have recently reviewed all my pre-publication orders and cancelled them where the price shown on the site is now less. Grhh!! But glad I spotted it.

For most books I will look on Amazon second hand listings and on EBay before I commit to buying new in any case. I keep a fairly tight rein on my book collection these days and only retain what I know I will want to read again. Anything else gets read and sold on Amazon or Ebay.

I'm very much into second hand stuff at the moment and I can't remember the last time I bought new clothes from a conventional shop. Even cheap prices strike me as expensive. I was conducting an interview this week and needed to look smart so I wore a black jacket I bought last year and had not worn. £10 on Ebay - if bought in a shop would have cost probably about £90 - and it was new!! It was an Elvi jacket and those of my readers who are familiar with clothes for 'traditionally built ladies' in Alexander McCall Smith's immortal phrase, will know how good their quality is and how expensive they are. In fact my whole outfit on that day cost less than my shoulder bag - which was expensive and was a Christmas present!

Donna Leon - I have just read her latest Brunetti novel - 'Suffer the little children'. Excellent as always though not perhaps up to the standard of 'Through a Glass Darkly'. A convoluted story offering several ethical dilemmas for Brunetti. This time, topically, illegal adoptions. If you have not read Donna Leon then I would thoroughly recommend her for complex characters and motives and the never less than honourable Brunetti himself and his firebrand wife Paola who we don't see enough of. Satisfying well written crime novels with violence only where it is necessary to the story. Love them.

Have just got hold of 'Dark hearts of Chicago' by William Horwood - I saw it reviewed on Dove Grey reader's blog - link above - and it seems like 'a good thing'. I will report when I have read it. Currently reading the never less than trenchant Theodore Dalrymple's 'Romancing Opiates' a polemic against the medicalisation of drug addiction. He's demolished for ever my lurid ideas of withrdawal symptoms - they only last about 3 days and are nothing like we're led to believe. I was fascinated by his quotes from Thomas De Quincy's 'Confessions of an English Opium Eater'. De Quincy apparently used Opium on a very occasional basis for 20 years before becoming an addict. More anon when I've digested it - if that's the right word to use?


Rosy T said...

Donna Leon is fab! What I love is the way her books have muddy endings - more like real life than most 'tidy' crime fiction. Brunetti always seems to solve the puzzle, only to have the baddy get off because he knows the right people, or bureaucracy won't allow a prosecution.... And the meals Paola cooks him up at home are, all by themselves, worth reading the books for!

Jilly said...

Yes exactly!