Happy World Book Day everyone! The University of East Anglia hosted a book fair in honour of this special day, and of course I couldn’t miss out on it! I wanted to just browse really quickly and then leave for a different event I had planned to go to, but … well … we all know what book browsing is like. So I ended up staying for almost two hours and I bought way too much! It was all fairly cheap, but still. I’m a student, when am I gonna have the time to read all of this?
The fair had a few different stalls selling different types of literature. Some sold actual books, but there were also stalls by independent publishers, selling zines and poetry collections. I picked up a bit of everything, so let’s get right into it!
I got a total of five books from the Oxfam stall, and I’m super pumped about all of them!
The Journey Out by Rachel Pollack and Cheryl Schwartz
When I see something with rainbow colours on it, my brain just goes BUY BUY BUY BUY. Not only is this an LGBT+ book, but it’s non-fiction, and I’m always a sucker for non-fiction. It’s a guide for teens discovering their sexuality, and while I’m not the intended age group, I think this will be a very interesting read, especially considering it was first published in 1995. I will definitely report back when I’ve read it! (£3.99)
Modern African Stories edited by Charles R. Larson
Ever since I fell in love with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s writing, I’ve been wanting to explore more works from Africa. I mainly want to read more stories set in Nigeria, but I think this collection will be a good way to discover writing from different countries instead of just focusing on one. It’s quite a short book as well, which is always good for busy students with the energy levels of a koala. It was first published in 1970, so I’m curious to see how the writing compares to Chimamanda’s. The collection includes writing by Sylvain Bemba from Congo Brazzaville, Ama Ata Aidoo from Ghana, James Ngugi from Kenya, Amos Tutuola from Nigeria, Abioseh Nicol from Sierra Leone, Alex La Guma, James Matthews and Ezekiel Mphahlele from South Africa, and Nuwa Sentongo and Barbara Kimenye from Uganda. (£2.99)
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter
This is one of those books that you just keep hearing about, and you actually have no idea what it’s about, but you know it’s probably amazing. I only know that it’s a short-story collection, and that it has some feminist themes (hopefully?). (£2.99)
Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
More non-fiction! I really love fun, accessible books that are also very informative and that you can learn a lot from. This book is really popular and I think pretty much everyone has heard of it, so when I saw how cheap it was I had to buy it. Really looking forward to seeing what all the fuss is about! (£2.99)
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
I know I’m like a million years late, but I saw this at the stall and thought, damn, maybe I can finally read it! To be honest it will probably take me 10 years to get around to it, but in the meantime I have it! From what I’ve heard, this is supposed to be a really good thriller, and it became a best-seller a while ago. I don’t read thrillers a lot; the only one that comes to mind that I’ve read is Gone Girl, but I really liked it, so maybe I should venture into the genre more! (£2.99)
Now onto the weirder and less well-known stuff!
And God Created Zombies by Andrew Hook
This might make me sound like a quirky Tumblr girl, but I really love zombies. Ever since I read Warm Bodies I’ve been attracted to books of that genre, especially if they’re funny. And this seemed right up my alley! It was sold at one of the independent publishers‘ stalls, this one being by NewCon Press. Apparently it’s a novella about a guy who loses his job and his girlfriend and then has to deal with zombies. It sounds hilarious and I look forward to reading something published by an indie press. (I also just discovered that it’s a signed copy, which is extra cool!) (£4)
Octarine (issue #3)
Kind of a weird title, but that’s what it is. It’s the third issue of the independent Octarine magazine, and this issue in particular is focused on horror. It has everything from poetry to prose to really stunning art. I mean, just look at that cover! It’s so pretty! What I also think is really cool is that they focus on publishing writers from my university, so supporting it feels even nicer. They are bringing out an LGBT+ themed issue in a few weeks in honour of LGBT+ history month, so I will try to get a copy of that when it launches! (£3)
Spring Sleepers by Kyoko Yoshida
This is a sort of zine (I think?) that was published by my university’s newest project: Strangers Press. They launched a whole series of short collections by different authors, all working in Japan but with some kind of connection to Norwich, the city my university is based in. This one stood out to me in particular because it’s about a man who has insomnia and first enjoys it because apparently people with insomnia belong to some kind of elite of businessmen, but then he realises that his memory is deteriorating because of it. The writing style is supposed to reflect this loss of memory, which I think might be really interesting. (£5)
Kumkum Malhotra by Preti Taneja
This is a short novella that deals with a woman from India who has a very carefully planned day but then gets in some kind of accident, and this unravels her sense of self. The journalist Maureen Freely blurbed it, saying that the writing resembles that of Katherine Mansfield and even surpasses it, which is what made me go from ‘I want it’ to ‘I need this in my life’. I read some of Katherine Mansfield’s short stories for my course and I absolutely love her writing. It was supposed to cost £6 and I didn’t want to spend that much on such a tiny book, but I kept going back to look at it because I absolutely love the cover, and in the end the woman offered it for a pound cheaper, which I thought was really sweet. I have very high hopes for this! (£5)
like a Grrrl (issue #2)
Another publication without a proper title. These little pamphlets were being given away for free at the book fair, which I think is pretty cool and also very fair, as the production quality is not very high. They include writing by lots of UEA students, and as they were created by the Feminist Society (a very awesome society, by the way), all the pieces are centred around feminism. I’ve only had a brief look at what’s in it, but it looks like there’s a good mix of prose and poetry, which is always nice. Two of my flatmates are actually featured in this, so that’s pretty cool as well.
And that’s my fairly unexpected book haul! I must say, I’m really happy with how all over the place these books are – I feel like I got a bit of everything, and it’s quite a diverse collection as well. Very pleased! I’m curious to know if you guys picked up any interesting books for World Book Day, so tell me about them in the comments below. And of course, if you’ve read any of the books I got (or are planning to), feel free to let me know as well.
‘Till next time and happy reading!