*(Nichols, of course – who else?!)

I have resigned myself to bookmania – it’s no good denying that I love to hunt for book treats and as many people have told me, I could have much worse habits! This week has not seen too much shelf space disappearing at the Ramblings, but I did discover a couple of treasures at the weekend!

The first was the Unexpected Beverley in the form of a paperback copy of “A Case of Human Bondage” (£1). There is a story behind the acquisition – a hardback copy was in Claude Cox books for some months and I resisted buying it because I really wasn’t sure whether I would enjoy the subject matter (the marriage of the Maughams). However, since that time I’ve read some Maugham and more Beverley and so I decided to go back and get it, by which time it had been sold (grrr). So I snapped this copy up when I found it. I’m not sure if I *will* enjoy the subject matter, but it’s a Beverley so I shall give it a try.

The second find is this nice Heron hardback of Colette, containing “Gigi” and “Cheri” (which you probably can’t see well because of the rubbish photo). Heron did a whole set of Colette books and although I only have a few (and don’t particularly intend to collect them), one of my volumes contains “The Last of Cheri” so I felt I should have the matching volume. Plus it was only 50p…..

The Heron volumes are very nice, apart from the fact that the binding is prone to split as it gets hard and brittle with age – which is most annoying. However, I have a couple of Russian Heron volumes and they *are* surprisingly eclectic in their choice of author, so worth watching out for.

And finally a vintage Penguin (which I sent away for – you don’t get that many in the local shops!) There’s a motivation behind this too, as I was browsing the Penguin catalogue this week, looking at forthcoming releases, and noticed that “Conversations with Stalin” was being reissued. The appeal of a shiny new Penguin was great, until I noticed that the foreword was by Anne Applebaum….

All I knew of Applebaum until recently was that she was the author of “Gulag” (which lurks on Mount TBR) – then I saw she’d brought another book out, on the Iron Curtain. I thought that might be interesting until I had a look at the reviews online, where some very erudite commentators had pointed out a mass of factual errors, stating the she is a very biased right-wing historian. Frankly, I had enough of that with the Robert Service biographies of Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky, so I have decided to steer well clear of anything Applebaum. I do wonder, also, why Penguin have chosen a right-winger to write the foreword to this? Anyway, I decided instead to pick up a pretty old Penguin and so I have done so! What to read next, as I have finished Perec’s “Life”? I suspect it may be Beverley…

(Then there are the library books – let’s not go there……..)