Lockdown Book Loot!

Inspired by Ali’s great post yesterday on her lockdown book-buying habits, I decided to take a stock of books I have acquired since lockdown started for me, on 16 March.

Like Ali, I’ve spent A LOT of time in the house. I have a condition which makes me vulnerable, so I can literally count on my fingers the number of times I have been out of the house in the last 4 months.

In terms of shopping –  which I haven’t missed at all – I have been to the supermarket once and No Alibis, my favourite book shop once and that’s it.

I try to buy all my books from independant shops and avoid Amazon as much as possible (apart from Kindle books) so have been delighted that No Alibis brought in an online ordering service while they were closed. All I had to do was email them my order, buy store credit over PayPal and wait for my books to arrive, all the while giving my business to my favourite shop. What’s not to like.

The twins and I outside No Alibis Bookstore in Belfast last week. Note my bulging tote bag!

So, over the last three months, I’ve managed to acquire quite a few new books, alongside a few proofs, more than I would have thought for someone trying their best to stay indoors!

Here’s what has come in to the house since lockdown – purchases are on the left of the picture and ARCs are on the right!



Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi

I’ve never read Oyeyemi and thought this would be a good place to start.

A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa

I have been so excited to get my hands on this one since I mentioned it during Reading Ireland Month

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfield

Lots of people whose opinions I respect have said this is great. And I believe them.

Tongues of Fire by Seán Hewitt

Continuing my commitment to reading more poetry this year, I’m very much looking forward to this debut collection from a very exciting new poet.

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado

I haven’t got round to reading Her Body and Other Parties just yet, but loved the sound of this structurally interesting memoir.

Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent

Liz Nugent’s thrillers never disappoint and I would have bought this anyway, but I ws doubly keen to own it once I found out that I’d been thanked in the Acknowledgements!!

There I am – just hanging out beside the legend that is Frank McGuinness!

Inventory by Darran Anderson

Another memoir, this time about a childhood growing up in Derry, Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

Where Are We Now? by Glenn Patterson

Sure how could you go past a new novel from the brilliant Glenn Patterson and not buy it? This new novel looks at love in middle-age.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

It feels like everyone on bookish Twitter is reading The Vanishing Half, but I get the feeling that this book will live up to the hype.

SIng Backwards and Weep by Mark Lanegan

I do love a music memoir and am halfway through, wondering how Lanegan ever got out of it all alive and able to tell the tale.


The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donohue

A new historical novel from Emma Donohue? What’s not to like?

The Ditch by Herman Koch

I read and loved The Dinner by Herman Koch in my pre-blog days. Hoping this is as interesting.

The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams

The new book from the author of Attrib. is getting rave reviews so I am looking forward to this one!

Strange Flowers by Donal Ryan

Donal Ryan is a wonderful writer and if you haven’t read him yet, then sort that out right away! Strange Flowers explores what happens when a daughter, missing for years, returns home.

Blue in Chicago by Bette Howland

Bette Howland was once called the most exciting writer of her generation by Saul Bellow, but only wrote three books and has been largely ignored. This short story collection aims to bring her work back into the spotlight.

The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually by Helen Cullen

I recieved this just the day after I had posted my 20 Books of Summer choices, otherwise it would have been in that pile! If I have to swap out a book – this will be my forst choice of replacement.

True Story by Kate Read Petty

Literally the only thing I know about this is that it has four covers. To be honest, that’s enough to pique my interest!

Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell

I think most of you know that David Mitchell is my favourite author by now.  I went into No Alibis to pre-order and the lovely staff handed me this instead. I may have done an excited dance. I’ve still pre-ordered the hardback because it looks like the most gorgeous thing, but I have been dying to read this book since I heard David read from it at HomePlace last year.

And here I am with David at HomePlace last year (any excuse!!)

john david
With writer and broadcaster John Kelly and the one and only David Mitchell, trying (and failing) to control my excitement!

So, that’s my acquisitions over lockdown, it’s a lot but it could have been worse I suppose. How was your book buying during lockdown? And do you plan a shopping blitz now that the bookshops are open again?




Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

36 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Good to hear of another David Mitchell for me to read! Slade House is still one of the most memorable ghost stories I’ve read and I don’t usually find ghost stories scary.


  2. You’re famous! I’ve bought far more books than this, although to be fair 8 of them were a book token splurge with Foyles. I have tried to move away from Amazon, buying one from a voucher at a bookshop then from Foyles and Hive. I won’t be going in any bookshops any time soon as I’d have to get a bus or walk 4 miles to the nearest one and I’m not sure how they can quarantine their books …


  3. Some lovely incomings Cathy, and I shouldn’t worry – the amount of books coming into the house over lockdown is ridiculous and I daren’t gather them together to photograph them… Like others, I tell myself I’m supporting authors and bookshops and the book trade – well, that’s my excuse….

    Liked by 2 people

    • The other thing is, I wasn’t spending so much on other things so I didn’t feel so bad about spending on books. I am really noticing a space issue now though so will have to calm down. There are piles of books everywhere!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Although I live on the Isle of Wight, I too, frequent the No Alibis bookshop when I’m in Belfast. It’s a briliant shop with great staff and deserves all our support. I missed not having the Noireland bookfest this year and hope it will take place in 2021. Might even bump into you there.
    I read your Posts diligently but I have a problem. You’re a much faster reader than I am and my list of books to read is growing so fast and so long that I shall never get through them all. I’ve had to stop buying until I read some and can make room!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I made two orders of new books during lockdown, one from my local indie (Hungerford Bookshop) and one from Belgravia Books: five books in total. This felt like a lot for me as I don’t often buy new books, mostly getting review copies, buying secondhand or borrowing from libraries. So I felt very smug when the three I ordered from Hungerford all ended up being 5-star reads. One of the other books was for my husband, and then I’m still reading the final one, Notes from an Apocalypse.

    I’ve been averaging about 4 print ARCs a month and that feels like a comfortable number.


  6. I’m sorry to hear you haven’t been able to go out much, Cathy. What a great set of books, though! I am one of the many who loved American Wife, and I’m super excited about The Pull of the Stars and Utopia Avenue.


  7. What a delicious pile of books! I also thought the lockdown was a good chance to support some local authors and bookstores, but did the same as you and placed online orders for the mail. And since things have started opening up a bit I’ve gotten lots of bookmail (plus a huge stack of library books), so I really have to get reading!
    II love the pictures you shared. And how cool that you’re in the acknowledgements! 🙂


  8. Gorgeous photos, and how nice to get a shoutout in Acknowledgments! I did brilliantly with only books I had in the house for about twelve weeks, though I was getting the occasional proof sent. Then a few weeks ago I caved and bought eleven paperbacks, then four more, then managed to get two proofs that I’d already stashed away in my office (although I’m not allowed back in there to clear out properly just yet…) Unstoppable.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for this list. I’ve ordered Utopia and will wait to see what you think about Liars Dictionary. I’m very curious about it from forecasts. It’s published here in the States in January.

    I’ve been buying from my neighborhood bookshop Prologue, using curbside pickup since March. They’ve been great, and now they’re open a few hours each day. They kindly gave me a 10% discount card for an in-store purchase. (I think I bought a lot of books during lockdown!) I love supporting their small store. Also, love the people photos in this blog post!


  10. What a fabulous bookshop. Where is it?
    I tried Gingerbread earlier this year but couldn’t get into it at all.
    Donal Ryan is on hold at the library and I’m hoping that despite lockdown, they are till going to get new releases coming in. I love his work


  11. I love the picture of you with the twins – the sign in front of the store in perfect. I’ve recently bought The Vanishing Half myself and have heard very good things about it. I have read Oyeyemi before, not that one, but I did enjoy her and would like to get to Gingerbread someday!


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