Does anybody want to know what books I bought at Hay? No? Tough. Look! In no particular order:
Donald Barthelme's Great Days. I've got his Sixty Stories already - studied it as an undergrad waaaay back when - and 50p for a book of Barthelme? Bargain. This seemed to have been left out in the rain since publication day, mind, so it's rather fragile.
Martin Malone's Us. I hadn't heard of this before, but he's Irish, and we've got to stick together. Solidarity, yo.
Sam Lipsyte's The Subject Steve. I've been wanting to read Lipsyte for a while, having heard all about him online, so this is where I'll start. The first few pages are definitely good, anyway.
Etgar Keret's The Nimrod Flipout. Nik Perring's been going on about Keret, so I homed in on this one with high expectations!
Nicholson Baker's Checkpoint. Another dude I've been wanting to check out, after reading all the internet snippets and recommendations.
Laura Hird's Born Free. Who doesn't love gritty Scottish fiction about dysfunctional families??
Gordon Lish's Peru. I know everybody goes on about Lish as an editor, but I love his fiction and you never see it anywhere - not over here in the UK, anyway - so I saw this and thought SCORE!
Aimee Bender's The Girl in the Flammable Skirt. Another Perring-influenced purchase. Nik, you might have a lot to answer for - or I may start hounding you for more recommendations. Let's wait and see...
Paul Auster's In The Country of Last Things. I've only read a few of Auster's books - one I really didn't like (Mr Vertigo), the rest I loved, so the odds are good for this one.
Robert Coover's Pricksongs and Descants. This is one of those titles that I feel like I should have read years ago and I think I'll admire more than actually enjoy, so wish me luck.
Geoff Ryman's The Warrior Who Carried Life. Okay, this is by one of my MA tutors who's an SF writer, and it looks like one for the hard-core fantasy geeks, but I've gotta show brand loyalty, so I'll give it a whirl.
Finally, Jean Ure's Plague 99. This freaked the absolute shit out of me when I was nine years old. I got it out of the library just after it came out - the local library didn't get many new books so this was a treat - and then I had nightmares for months about everybody I knew dying of some horrific and gruesome plague. So clearly the opportunity to relive the pleasure was irresistible. I read it on the camp-site while we were still in Hay, and it was less scary than last time (thank GOD) but still very good. Top-notch scary YA stuff. Great cover, too.