A month or so ago I went to a secondhand book sale at my local British store, where they have a huge variety of books and every year I find something to interest me - this time was no exception.
I am Rembrant's Daughter by Lynn Cullen
I picked this up because I was (and still am) having a very much historical fiction oriented phase - I'm loving anything set in the 16th and 17th centuries at the moment, and I was intrigued by the Dutch setting. I was also struck by the similarity of the title with the book Nelson's Daughter by Miranda Hearn, which coincidentally I bought at the same sale last year. This definitely lived up to my expectations, as I finished it the other day and enjoyed it a lot, but there was a predictable element to it which meant I guessed the ending early on in the story.
Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
I've wanted to read this for a long time, so I was thrilled when I stumbled upon it. It goes hand in hand with the above book, Rembrant and Vermeer of course being contemporaries, and I read one after the other - sometimes you're just in the mood for Holland in the 1600s, if you know what I mean. I'd thought I Am Rembrant's Daughter was good, but this just blew me away: I loved everything from the the little details of life as a maid to the beautifully paced story, and the end was a lot more difficult to see coming.
Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams by Sylvia Plath
The name Sylvia Plath drew my eyes like a magnet, and there was no way I wasn't going to buy this, as it contains short stories, pieces of journalism and fragments from her journal, all of which make me infinitely excited as a huge fan of Plath. For my advanced English class next year we have to write an extended essay of about 6000 words on a literary topic of our choice, and I'm planning to write about her works, so hopefully this book will be greatly useful!
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
I haven't read a great deal by Neil Gaiman, so it was solely because I'd seen my cousin reading this at Easter that I decided to get this. I started it yesterday and so far have been thrown into a whirlwind of confusion as to what exactly is happening, but in the best possible way. I'm not sure it's entirely my thing, but I will reserve judgement until I've read more than a few chapters.
Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Ever since I was cast as Virginia Woolf in my friend's 1920s mystery-themed birthday party about four years ago, I've had a mild sort of interest in her as an author, so when I saw this slim volume I picked it up straight away. It's joined the rest of my 'classics' on the appropriate shelf, but I've yet to read it...
Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
The photo doesn't do this hefty tome justice - it's at least 6cm thick! I can't exactly pinpoint why I picked this up, but something about it appealed a great deal. I've since looked it up on Amazon, and found out that it's had very mixed reviews, with - interestingly - more one-star reviews than five-star ones. Nevertheless, I'm determined to wait until I've read a decent amount before siding one way or the other, and I hope I won't be disappointed...
Hallowe'en Party by Agatha Christie
Every time I go to a secondhand book sale, I'm on the lookout for Agatha Christies, as I'm trying to complete my collection of all her novels. I didn't have all that much luck this time (although I usually find 4 or 5) as I only found this, which is luckily in fairly good condition and the edition matches the majority of the ones I already have. All I can say about it is that it lives up to both Christie and Poirot's usual standards - a cracking story and a murder investigation conducted - as ever - with order and method.