A Handbag?!

Handbag books Feb 2016

Good evening, fellow Bookworms!

Welcome to another entry in the life of this book blog! As per recent blogs, I seem to have invented the concept of the “Handbag Book” and the photo illustrates what I mean… Slim books which can fit into a decent sized handbag along with your other essentials. These ones are particularly slim, therefore they are especially suitable Handbag Books, but I would say anything which isn’t too chunky would probably fit. Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie, which arrived on Wednesday, would be fine in my handbag, should I see fit to carry it around with me when I get around to reading it.

I now find myself looking at the chunkiness of books and thinking either “Handbag book” or “definitely NOT a handbag book” if the book is quite a door-stopper!

Most of the ones in my bag are Penguin editions, other than The Guest Cat, which is a Picador book, I think. Anyway, these are all slim enough to be Handbag Books, thus proving my point. Plus, I had finished reading An Abundance of Katherines the other night, so that has now come out of my handbag to make way for others! Bonjour Tristesse has established itself in my handbag while I read it, and The Guest Cat has crept back in there, as cats tend to do anyway, lol!

The new inductees to the handbag are..

The Book of Tea, by Kakuzo Okakura, a VERY slim volume and thus probably the ultimate Handbag Book if ever there was one!

Breakfast At Tiffany’s, by Truman Capote. Another pretty slim book, indeed there are three other short stories in it even after the main one, so that shows how short each one must be!

The Wall Jumper, by Peter Schneider. Fiction set in Berlin and based on real life tales of Berliners who crossed between West and East in the days of the Cold War before the Wall came down in 1989.

The Periodic Table, by Primo Levi.The author assesses his life in terms of the chemical elements he associates with his past.

So, those are my current Handbag Books at time of blogging! There will probably be plenty of others as time goes on. It may be more interesting, now, to look at some of the chunky books which will NOT be making the list at any time!

All big hardback books are out of the question to start with. They are usually too large for a handbag anyway, as well as often being chunky. For instance, my copy of Anger Is An Energy, by John Lydon, is not coming round with me on my day to day travels any time soon, as it is too big to fit in my handbag! Even amongst paperbacks, some are just too chunky. War And Peace is a definite no-no, as is Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell! The Name of The Rose is pushing it a bit… that one is a bit on the chunky side, and there are a few works of historical fiction by Edward Rutherfurd lurking under Computer Corner, all of which are far too chunky for consideration on the handbag front! One of them is The Forest, which I read some years ago now for the book club I belong to. I enjoyed that and bought a few others by that author at the time, but I have yet to get round to them.

A lot of historical fiction is chunky, isn’t it?! It’s a very chunky genre! The Book Thief is a chunky book, and then there are the works of Ken Follett, C J Sansom and the aforementioned Edward Rutherfurd… Most certainly NOT Handbag Books by any stretch of the imagination! One of the few exceptions to the “historical fiction is chunky” rule would be Girl With A Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier. That one, if I hadn’t already read it, would be a good Handbag Book!

Historical fiction is hardly the only chunky genre, though. There are quite a lot of crime and horror novels which are sizeable, and don’t start me on fantasy! Even as separate books, the three parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy are not slim! Part 2, The Two Towers is about the slimmest volume of that series! Don’t even start me on a certain series by George R. R. Martin… If I mentioned it, I would be obliged to name each individual book in the series, as I have done for other series, and there are loads. And they are all chunky…

I do actually have the first book of the series, got it for 79p at the PDSA charity shop some time ago, probably when I worked in Chorlton. While the TV adaptation has taken this name, A Game of Thrones, is actually simply Book 1 of A Song of Ice and Fire. Having looked into it, there are currently 5 books, with two more due. Thus, it should end up as a 7 book series like the Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia series. In that case, we shall list the five books already published on my List Challenges list for this blog. It would not be fair to list unpublished books.

And there was me thinking there were loads of books! There are loads in the Discworld series by the late great Sir Terry Pratchett, so I am just going to list the ones I’ve read, which are The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic and Equal Rites, which I am still reading. Those books, though they are many, can be reasonably slim and handbag-sized if you have them in paperback. I have a lot of Discworld books in, and most of those are paperbacks, but I do have about half a dozen hardbacks, so those will not be handbag books at any point! The next one, in order, once I have finished Equal Rites, would be Mort, and that’s a paperback copy, so that’s always a possibility. I stocked up on my Discworld books when I worked in Chorlton – got them from the Oxfam Bookshop on Wilbraham Road. Got plenty of those to get through, lol!

A genre which is often lumped together with fantasy is science fiction, although, to be fair, those books are reasonably slim. You could fit I, Robot, by Isaac Asimov, or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick in your handbag fairly easily! Flowers For Algernon is fairly slim, potential Handbag Book if I knew where on earth I’d put it, as I bought it not that long ago and I doubt I’ve put it in my book chest in the garage, although I am fairly sure I didn’t! I have recently acquired Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, which is sizeable for science fiction, but not unduly chunky.

Anyway, before I bring this to an end, we have a satisfactory outcome on the book club front. My book club usually meets on Tuesdays for our monthly get-together, every 4 or 5 weeks, so usually once a month… However, this next one is on a Thursday, taking place on 10th March. Potential clash with the footy, given that my beloved United are in the Europa League and have Thursday matches. I knew that if we got through against FC Midtjylland (a Danish side which was formed in 1999 when two clubs merged), one of the two legs of the next round would be on the same night as my book group. Thus, last night, at Old Trafford, watching my lads overturn the 1-2 deficit from the first leg over in Denmark by stuffing our opponents 5-1, the book club was not far from my thoughts. The draw, which was made this lunchtime, paired us with arch-rivals, Liverpool, but the important thing for me was that we will be away on 10th March, so I can go to the book club that night, and to Old Trafford the following week!

So, other than to say that if anyone knows where the hell I put Flowers For Algernon could they please let me know, ta very much, that is about it for now! Until next time, take care and Happy Reading!

Joanne x x x

Books mentioned in this blog entry:

  • Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie – Jordan Sonnenblick
  • The Guest Cat – Takashi Hiraide
  • An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
  • Bonjour Tristesse – Francoise Sagan
  • The Book of Tea – Kakuzo Okakura
  • Breakfast At Tiffany’s – Truman Capote
  • The Wall Jumper – Peter Schneider
  • The Periodic Table – Primo Levi
  • Anger Is An Engergy – John Lydon
  • War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  • Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell – Susanna Clarke
  • The Name of The Rose – Umberto Eco
  • The Forest – Edward Rutherfurd
  • The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
  • Girl With a Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier
  • The Lord of The Rings trilogy – J. R. R. Tolkein
  • A Song of Ice and Fire series – George R. R. Martin
  • The Harry Potter series – J. K. Rowling
  • The Chronicles of Narnia – C. S. Lewis
  • The Discworld series – Sir Terry Pratchett
  • I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick
  • Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes
  • Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

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Filed under Autobiography/Biography, Books, Fantasy Fiction, Football, Handbag Books, Historical Fiction, YA Books

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