… in which I really *do* exercise restraint and consider the state of the shelves!


The shelves, it has to be said, are bulging and straining at the weight of books on them – so much so that I think I shall have to spend some time over the summer rearranging and pruning a bit. And this is never a happy experience, as I was reminded this weekend by the Persephone letter, which carried the news that they’re republishing the book “Madame Solario”. I know I had this – it was on my shelves in the 1980s – but it isn’t there now, so it obviously went in a cull. Cue much annoyance, gnashing of teeth and gazing at various online sites…

However, bearing in mind the amount of books I have to read, I’ve been having one of my periodic “mustn’t buy any books” phases. And there have been temptations – last weekend I popped into Claude Cox books for the first time in ages. Well, I could have brought home half a dozen Ann Bridge books (and believe me, the temptation was hard to resist) – but in the end I settled for one little old Penguin I liked the sound of for £1:

The others were enormously tempting but I was honest with myself – since it’s unlikely I would read them all in the immediate future, I simply haven’t got the room for casual purchases. *Sigh* – I wish I had, though!

This weekend there were other temptations, particularly in the Sue Ryder charity shop, in the form of about a dozen Wilkie Collins books – obviously someone had had a clear-out! But again, I reminded myself that I was unlikely to read them soon and so passed on. It’s doubly hard for me, because I love finding a bargain!

However, I did find a couple of treats to compensate:

I’ve wanted to read “Manon Lescaut” since coming across Alex in Leeds’ wonderful review here – so a reasonably priced copy in the Samaritans Book Cave with a wonderfully tacky and inappropriate cover was a must! It’s an American Signet edition and the cover is luridly hilarious!

The “Mapp and Lucia” was a find at the Bookcrossing station in our local Nero’s which was a great delight. I read all 6 Lucia books about 30 years ago or so, and have often thought about revisiting them. As I recall, things really took off in the series at this particular book, so I shall feel no guilt about starting the sequence halfway through! In fact, it was so enticing I started reading it while I was waiting for the bus – which has played havoc with my Proust!!

But at least the shelves will survive for a little longer…. 😉

Lucky Finds: #1 – Illyrian Spring by Ann Bridge


I’ve recently been gathering in more green Virago Modern Classics than my bookshelves can really take – a tendency encouraged by joining the LibraryThing Virago Modern Classics group! I started reading them from the very beginning, my first purchase being their first book, Antonia White’s Frost in May. They do publish some amazing books and I’ve read through some wonderful volumes recently, courtesy of Virago.

However, this volume:


had so far managed to escape me. I believe it is quite hard to come by in Virago form, so much so that Daunt Books have recently republished it. A quick look on eBay, Amazon and Abebooks confirmed this – the prices were £20, £30, £40 upwards for only acceptable copies. So I settled for an orange Penguin version, although I still rather coveted the Virago.

Imagine my delight the other day, then, whilst doing a regular book browse online to come across a copy listed for 65p plus postage on Abebooks. To say I did a double-take is an understatement. Although there was nothing listed about the condition, I snapped it up and waited for the book’s arrival.

It came today and has to be in the best nick of all the Viragos I’ve bought recently – absolutely amazing! I’m more chuffed than I’d like to admit – I know it’s silly, but I am a bit particular about the editions I read.

Yay the Internet!

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