Books I've Bought This Week

I've bought three books in the past week.

First was Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity, by Andrew Solomon. I mentioned a while ago that I was craving some non-fiction and this book (recommended by my friend Kirsty) is fulfilling that need perfectly. Solomon examines the stories of parents and children who are very different from one another, where the children partake of what he calls a 'horizontal identity' -- one that, unlike ethnicity or religion, is not inherited from family. He examines ten of these horizontal identities, some innate, others acquired. So far I've read the chapters about deafness, dwarfism and Down Syndrome. It's fascinating, moving and very readable stuff.

It seems to be becoming a pattern that I'll purchase these sorts of chunky non-fiction titles on e-book -- easier to handle, physically, and much cheaper. I bought Far From the Tree for a third of the price I would have paid for the paperback version, a sixth of the price of the hardback. I do still wish I could have the physical copy on my shelf, to lend out, or to flick through; but I fear those days are gone.
Up to page -- who knows?? But about THAT much through...
 My second purchase was made on-line - via Readings, my favourite local new-books bookshop. I ordered it on Thursday, and it just arrived at my door a few minutes ago. It's a book I found out about at book group (the second, informal book group I discussed in my last post) and I'm reluctant to mention exactly what it is, because it's a birthday present for a forthcoming birthday and there's just a chance that the recipient will see it here. So mum's the word for now…

My third purchase for the week was very much an impulse buy. I'd popped into Brown and Bunting, my favourite local second-hand bookshop, on High St in Northcote, just because I was in the area and I hadn't been in for a while, and even though I didn't really have time to browse properly (or at all, actually…), I just can't walk past without doing a pop-in, however brief and token. I was in a hurry, and not looking properly, but this book did catch my eye: The Incredible Journey, by Sheila Burnford. It's the story of two dogs and a cat who make their way home through three hundred miles of Canadian wilderness, written in 1960 and apparently made into a Disney movie a few years later (though I've never seen the film version). I remember reading this at primary school, and it wasn't really my cup of tea -- I was easily bored with animal stories -- but I thought it might be to the taste of my younger daughter, who won't read anything BUT animal stories (and Harry Potter). At $5, I thought it was worth a punt.
1964 edition -- older than me!
 It wasn't until today that I realised that none of these books was bought -- technically -- at a new-book bookshop. Once upon a time, that was the only place I would ever buy books -- from Readings in Carlton, or the Brunswick St Bookstore. But I just don't have the leisure, or the funds, any more, for hours of browsing. I have to be quickly in and out; or else I don't want to risk wads of cash on an unknown title. The way I buy books have drastically shifted in the last fifteen years.

Me, and everybody else in the world, I guess.

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