Saturday 3 March 2012

There Will be No More Books...!

For various reasons I haven’t been online much for the last week, but here I am again, not exactly firing on cylinders, but reasonably bright and raring to go. I am sitting here considering the To Be Read Pile and have resolved not to buy, borrow or download any more books until I have completed all volumes which are waiting to be read – or have at least whittled them down a bit. How long my good intentions will last is another matter, because I seem to be constitutionally incapable of going to town without popping into the library, and if I’m volunteering in the Oxfam bookshop in Lichfield I have to support them by buying books, and it would be wrong to ignore a bargain I may never see again. As for the Kindle, the books I download aren’t taking up any space and, since they’ve mostly come from Project Gutenberg, they haven’t cost anything... As you can see, I’m wavering already...

Anyway, the charity shop finds include:

Troy Chimneys, by Margaret Kennedy: I was actually looking for The Constant Nymph, which I still haven’t found (but I daresay it will turn up sooner or later) but I spotted this and thought it looked interesting, plus it’s a Virago Modern Classic, with a lovely detail from Joshua Reynolds’ Captain Robert Orme on the front, so how could I resist?

The Magic Toy Shop, by Angela Carter, is another VMC, but with a vile cover from the TV production – I am sure there are better looking editions available, but never mind. I read this when it was first published, and it’s not one of my favourites (I much prefer Nights and the Circus and Wise Children), but thought I would give it another go.

Wilful Behaviour, by Donna Leon: this was an absolute must, because I’m a great fan of Commissario Brunnetti who appears to be a well adjusted policeman with a happy home life. It’s nice to find a detective who is not dysfunctional, and I love the Venetian settings, and Leon is a very intelligent writer.

Farewell Victoria, by TH White: blame Karyn at A Penguin a Week for the fact that when old Penguins come into the Oxfam shop I now pounce on them. Her review of this novel made me want to read it, as I only really know White as the author of The Once and Future King – but in any case, I couldn’t ignore the lure of the dancing Penguin on the front.

Man Meets Dog, by Konrad Loenz: this is another Penguin, published in 1964, so it’s not that old, but the margins are illustrated with the most delightful line drawings by Annie Eisenmenger and the author, and having picked the book up I just couldn’t put it down again.

In Search of England, by HV Morton: this is an account of the author’s travels around England in the 1920s, which was republished by Penguin in 1960, with an introduction by Morton hiself, who resisted the temptation to revisit any of his destinations and wisely left his account as it was originally written, offering a glimpse into what now seems a bygone world. I’m looking forward to reading this – I may be the worst traveller in the world, but I adore travel books.

The House in Paris, and The Last September, by Elizabeth Bowen: I’ve not read any of her work, and have no idea what to expect, but since I am currently trying to fill the gap in my reading by acquainting myself with authors from the first half of the 20th century (more or less), I thought I would read these.

The Good Earth, by Pearl S Buck: This is in a really bad state, and I bought it for  a few pence (not from the Oxfam shop, I hasten to add – their books are always in excellent condition) out of curiosity because she was enormously popular in her day, but now seems to be virtually forgotten.

Katherine, by Anya Seton: Again, Seton was very popular, but now seems to be dismissed by many. This is her version of the story of Katherine Swynford, the long-time mistress of John of Gaunt – they were eventually married. It’s a fascinating period of history, and I’ve read other novels covering the same events and characters, and wanted to see how this compares.
Some of the books that are waiting to be read... there are others,
and there are more on the Kindle!


  1. Famous last words! I doubt, if I should ever come across such a wonderful selection of books, I'd be able to resist. Happy reading!

  2. No more books, we've been saying that for years but still we keep on bringing them into our house. Enjoy your reading.

    Your blog is well laid out.

  3. I need to live a couple extra lifetimes to read all the books I have!

  4. Cat, Michelle and Nan - I'm glad other people can't resist acquiring more books! I have my eye on my elder daughter's room... it would make a wonderful little bookroom when she leaves home in the summer... with a desk for my computer and sewing machine and space for my needlework stuff...The Man of the House has similar ideas involving books, his computer and his musical instruments...

  5. I suspect I already own more books than I can read in my remaining lifetime, but the urge to buy more simply never abates. There seems to be nothing I enjoy more than searching through bookshops, and especially English charity shops (how I envy you working in one!) The first thing I said to my husband when I left the airport recently with a suitcase so heavy I could barely manage it was: I have to do that again.

    And I agree that the dancing Penguin is enticing, and you had me intrigued as to when he first started appearing on books. The earliest I could find was 1941, and so I guess you have a very early copy of Farewell Victoria. I hope you enjoy it.

  6. Karyn, I had no idea it could be such an early copy - I must try and find out more about the penguins.

  7. At the beginning of the year I too vowed not to buy any more books until I'd made a dent in the TBR bookcase. So far I've only broken that resolution 9 times... (in my defence I have to say only one was new and I had to get another for the book group).
    I am reading faster than I buy but my husband and daughter keep on adding books they've read to the bookcase so it seems that I can't win.