The theme for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday is “Ten Books You’d Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed You A Fully Loaded Gift Card”. In my mind, fully loaded equals a never-ending amount of money (kinda like a never-ending packet of Tim Tams) (in news relating to that link, I plan on eating Tim Tams in my jim jams this weekend), in which case I would buy ALL of the books. But there is no chance of me ever being that lucky, so I’ve sadly just stuck to ten books. In no particular order:
Signed first edition of The Night Manager by John le Carré.
I want this because my
obsession with admiration for this author knows no bounds and I’d really like to have a book that he’s touched sitting on my bookshelf. It doesn’t even have to be The Night Manger – it can be any of his books. But I know that I can get this one on the interwebs, so it’s a logical place to start. But I would also take signed first editions of: Call for the Dead (le Carré’s first novel); The Secret Pilgrim (my favourite of all the ‘George Smiley’ novels); or his forthcoming autobiography, The Pigeon Tunnel.
Reconstructing Faces: The Art and Wartime Surgery of Gillies, Pickerill, McIndoe and Mowlen by Murray Clyde Meikle.
This one is really random and I know that no one will have ever heard of it, nor will they be likely to ever include it on any kind of list. I spotted this at the Hunterian Museum when I was in London last year and I would have loved to bring it back with me, but it’s huge and I had no room in my suitcase. Here’s a bit of the blurb: “The book describes how these surgeons revolutionized plastic surgery and the treatment of facial trauma, working on soldiers, fighter pilots, and civilians who were disfigured by bombs, shrapnel, and burns.” Kind of morbid, but also really interesting and says a lot about how we’ve changed as a society – plastic surgery was a necessity back in the day; now it’s an unnecessary choice for many (obviously excluding that done for medical purposes) and, in many ways, a status symbol.
Notes on a Scandal by Zoë Heller.
To be honest I don’t really know what this book is about, and I’ve never seen the film. I’m sure it’s great – I’ve heard many good things. I’d never really considered reading this until I laid eyes upon this particular edition (that’s a picture of it on the left). So I want to buy this book right now, but only if I can get this exact edition because LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL IT IS.
Feathers: Displays of Brilliant Plumage by Robert Clark.
Robert Clark is one of my favourite people on Instagram. He’s a photographer for National Geographic, so naturally he always has the most beautiful photos filling up his feed (a series he did about dogs a while back was particularly delightful). Having four of my own little feathered friends at home, I’m kind of into birds (sorry, Kate, if you’re reading this – maybe skip ahead?). So a book filled with pictures of bird feathers is totally my thing; but it also looks at the science of feathers, specifically in terms of evolution. The ideal book for bird nerds.
Nunslinger by Stark Holborn.
Again, I haven’t really done a lot of investigating into what this book is actually about. I read the blurb ages ago and I remember it interesting me, but it’s really the cover and the title that caught my eye. Look how cool the cover is (it could almost have been drawn by the same person who did the cover for Notes on a Scandal); and a nun who is a gunslinger? It sounds like the most perfect thing ever. But in reality I probably won’t buy this because I know they have it at my library, so I’ll just borrow it.
This Sweet Sickness by Patricia Highsmith.
This is the book that first brought Patricia Highsmith to my attention. I’d never heard of her, despite being a fairly well-known author, and now I just want to read everything by her. This is a book about obsession and how our obsessions can take over us. If you’ve ever read Highsmith’s The Talented Mr Ripley, you’d know that she is skilled at bringing out the worst in her characters, but somehow making them endearing. I expect a similar experience with this book. And speaking of Mr Ripley…
The rest of the Ripley books by Patricia Highsmith.
I’m 100% cheating with this one, because there’s four books in this series I don’t have/haven’t read. I loved everything about The Talented Mr Ripley (you can see how much I loved it here) and I really want to read the rest of the series, but haven’t laid hands on them yet. Maybe a goal for next year.
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler.
Vinegar Girl is the third book in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, (basically a bunch of excellent authors giving some of Shakespeare’s plays a freshen up in honour of his 400th birthday) and is a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew; it also has a pretty cover, which means I need to have it. I plan on reading the entire series (as yet I’ve only read one, but I don’t think they’re all out yet anyway) so this is less a want and more a need.
Call the Midwife boxed set by Jennifer Worth.
Cheating again, but they’re in a boxed set so they count as one, right? Call the Midwife has got to be one of my favourite tv shows (I’m especially fond of Chummy and Trixie) and it makes me cry in just about every episode. I’d really like to read the memoirs by Jennifer Worth that the tv show is based on, and obviously I would read them with Vanessa Redgrave narrating in my head because that’s just the right way to do it.
Island Going by Robert Atkinson.
In the first edition of Slightly Foxed that I received last month, there was a piece about a book called Island Going. Here’s the blurb: “This text tells how in 1935, John Ainslie and Robert Atkinson set out on an ornithological search for the Leach’s fork-tailed petrel. Their search was to last for 12 years and took them to many remote and often deserted Scottish islands.” Yes, more birds. But what really piqued my interest in this was the way the essay writer talked about how beautiful Atkinson’s writing was. I feel like I need to experience it for myself.