Ex Libris
Comments 12

The Book Depository gave me a headache but I’m still happy

Carver, Ishiguro, Pirandello, Shakespeare, and Thorpe

I checked the last time when I made a post about my book purchases, and it looks like this has truly become a monthly thing. One can look at it in at least three ways. First, I am saving money so I avoid book stores (not totally true; yes, I am saving money but I still visit book stores. Second, I don’t see titles that compel me to buy (true). Third, I don’t feel the urge to post so often nowadays (the answer must be obvious).

Do you see other ways? I can’t think of any. Besides, I don’t want to think of a fourth or fifth way because I am itching to talk about my recent book buys.

Half of these books are from The Book Depository and the other half are from local book stores. I don’t know where to begin; perhaps I should just order them according to the date when each book made it to my book shelf, no?

[Where I’m Calling From: Php 640.00, February 15, Fully Booked – Greenbelt 5]

Didn’t I swear that I am going to complete the Vintage Contemporaries editions of Raymond Carver? This is the third in my possession. Where I’m Calling From is a collection of selected stories from four of Carver’s collected stories. The stories also appear in Cathedral (I have it), What We Talk About When We Talk About Love (I already read it), Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? (I just ordered it), and Elephant (not published by Vintage Contemporaries, but all its stories are present here). Don’t you think it would be easier if I just bought The Collected Stories of Raymond Carver? Yes, because everything will be there. I think I’ll just do that when I’m done collecting these lovely editions. And why not?

“[Carver’s stories] can … be counted among the masterpieces of American fiction.” – Irving Howe, The New York Times Book Review

[Ulverton: USD 11.97, March 6, The Book Depository]

I remember I was just reading an article about having two recent translations of Madame Bovary, done by Lydia Davis and Adam Thorpe, when I stumbled upon a review of Ulverton. The review talked of how it made it early to the list of Vintage Classics, and when I read further, I just felt that yes, this is my kind of book. It’s, on the surface, a small town novel. And look what a Booker Prize-winning author had to say about it:

“Sometimes you forget that it is a novel, and believe for a moment that you are really hearing the voice of the dead.” – Hilary Mantel

[Six Characters in Search of an Author: Php 215.00, March 18, National Book Store – Glorietta 1]

I wasn’t really intending to by Six Characters in Search of an Author but I was alarmed when I saw that there were only a handful of copies left. I haven’t read Pirandello yet (plays don’t thrill me yet as much as novels and short stories do) but since this is the masterpiece of the Nobel laureate, I should be in for a good ride, no? In addition, I heard one of our bookish friends rave about it, and we pretty much have similar tastes (he declared Blindness by Jose Saramago to be his favorite book of 2012).

[A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Php 199.00, March 18, National Book Store – Glorietta 1]

Are you surprised? You should be. But maybe not. I have planned to read these No Fear Shakespeare editions. Call me a loser, but I’d rather need help to understand Shakespeare. I won’t pretend to understand the original text on my own, and haven’t I just mentioned that I don’t have the knack for plays yet? It’s perfect that another book club is going to read A Midsummer Night’s Dream next month, but I don’t think I can join their discussion. April is just a damn busy month, and March isn’t over yet.

[The Unconsoled: USD 14.64, March 19, The Book Depository]

A stripey edition! The Unconsoled has got to be the whopper in Ishiguro’s oeuvre, and I think it’s also the one that garnered a lot of mixed reviews. Top critics have dissed it to death, but there are also some who have defended it as if it were Ishiguro’s best piece. I have yet to find out whose side will I be taking, and the blurb isn’t helping.

“A work of great interest and originality …. Ishiguro has mapped out an aesthetic territory that is all his own … frankly fantastic [and] fiercer and funnier than before.” – The New Yorker

[Call If You Need Me: USD 14.25, March 19, The Book Depository]

Another Carver! This time, Call If You Need Me is a set of the writer’s uncollected fiction. It also has some essays, reviews, and gasp, a fragment of an unfinished novel. I think I would look at Carver differently if this novel was actually finished, but what the hell, I would get my hands on it.

“Carver’s prose, for all its simplicity, carries his mark everywhere …. His tact and precision are marvelous.” – The New York Times Book Review

There’s supposed to be a seventh book, and that’s where my headache came from. The Book Depository messed up. They sent me the wrong edition of the book that I ordered. So I sent them an email about it, and I haven’t heard anything from them yet. To be fair, they have a 24-hour turnaround time.

Did this kind of thing happen to you? What did you do? Was it resolved? Do you care about the edition of the books that you are buying? Do you understand where I’m coming from? Tell me.



  1. Monique says

    So far, no problems with my Book Depository purchases except that, well, it takes nearly a month for the books to get to me. But no problems with editions, etc.

    I’m waiting for 3 parcels to arrive before March ends. I hope all’s well with those. :)


    • My friend had a worse problem. They sent him a mass market edition instead of a trade paperback. You must consider yourself lucky!


    • I don’t have any problems with my purchased either. I think your friend must read the description of the book first before purchasing since TBD don’t indicate books if they are MMP. Usually, TBD only categorizes them into paperback and hardback only. So it is important to check the dimension of the book (I prefer books that have height above 198 cm.) Check also the price. Books above ten dollars but don’t exceed to thirteen dollars, well, they are those cheap edition UK paperback. They have this easy to spoil paper but preferably a nice edition if you are not picky. Preorders, it is nice to buy hardbound because they are discounted and same price as the paperback edition.

      An advice from a friend.


    • Yeah, after I met you. ;)

      Nah, what I mean is, I don’t have any problems with edition but lost books bother me these days. I once received a very old order that was lost from Sri Lanka. Weird right? I think I saved that book ballot somewhere.


    • Monique says

      Ah yes, regarding the book sizes. I usually measure the dimensions of the book before placing orders – I have an improvised measuring template for when I check the sizes of the books. Kwesi is right – they don’t classify whether the paperback is trade or mass market. So if the dimensions fit the size of an MMP, that particular paperback isn’t for me. :)


    • I asked my friend about that, and he said that he even got a ruler to make estimates. Somehow, I don’t believe him. :D


  2. I guess it’s about time I make my own purchases at Book Depository. Usually, I just ride along with friends who are also ordering. I think I bought several books already from the site by this method.

    I love your Carver!


    • Oh, that’s what I did. :D This is my first TBD shopping (and I already have a pending second with Better World Books). BWB books are more expensive, but they also offer free shipping.


  3. I wondered why I hadn’t seen your posts popping up as regularly. Now I understand. too busy buying and reading to write….


    • Hahaha, not really. I was busy doing a lot of small things and errands. But yes, I still do read and squeeze some blogging time whenever possible. :)


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