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Time for some bookish confessions…

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Yes. Good intentions. Not to buy more books, to read from the stacks and to try to downsize the amount of volumes in the house. Unfortunately, as OH observed a little fretfully recently, even more seem to be arriving on a regular basis (and he hasn’t actually seen all of those that have made their way in…) I seem to be destined to acquire books, however hard I try, so I though I would share the latest fruits of my addiction with you… 🙂

First up, some titles have arrived courtesy of Very Kind Fellow Bloggers:

The very lovely Liz at Adventures in reading, writing and working at home kindly passed on to me the Alexei Sayle autobiographies when she’d read them. I’m looking forward to them very much, as he’s so funny and of course staunchly left-wing, so they should be a fab read.

“Rupture” arrived from Sarah at Hard Book Habit, and I’m also really looking forward to that one, as I haven’t read any Icelandic crime for a while and this one comes highly recommended. So kind!

So I can’t take the blame, can I, when lovely people send me books? Or, indeed, when lovely publishers send me books like these!

The top two titles are ones I’m covering for Shiny New Books and probably should be read next. Then there are a couple of lovely titles from the British Library, which are very exciting – particularly the collection of translated crime shorts. Below them are two titles from the excellent Michael Walmer that sound marvellous; and finally at the bottom an intriguing book from OUP on scent in Victorian literature…

And then – ahem – there are the books I’ve been buying, and here they are:

I should say that this has been over a period of several weeks but even so, it’s not good for the rafters… To be specific:

I bought these two online – “The Cornish Trilogy” because of Kat’s excellent review and because I felt I really should read Robertson Davies; and “Grand Hotel Abyss” because it sounded marvellous and Verso sent one of those rotten emails with substantial discounts (they do this regularly and it’s Very Bad for the TBR!!)

These three are from charity shops. The two on the outside were £1 each so there was no question about picking them up. Patrick Leigh Fermor is a must, and Saramago is an author I want to read. The Orwell was more expensive (thanks, Oxfam) but, hey – it’s Orwell so no contest.

This, of course, was inevitable… Although I picked up a copy of Stevenson’s poems in Edinburgh I wanted more. I’ve been rummaging through bookshelves all week to try to find my copy of “Jekyll” and having failed, I picked up a copy for £1 in a charity shop last weekend. The other two came from an online source, and in particular I was keen to get “New Arabian Nights” after Himadri at The Argumentative Old Git waxed so lyrical about it recently.

And finally – with all my reading around the French Revolution and (shhhh!) iconoclasm recently, I came across recommendations for these two books. Well, they were cheap – although to be honest, it’s not the cost that is ever the issue with book buying, as I tend to go for the bargains. It’s whether I can shoe-horn any more into the house… Ah well – carpe librum, as they say!!

In mitigation, I should direct your attention to the heap waiting to be removed from the house in one way or another (not the Dickens books, I hasten to add – they’re on my Dickens shelf and they’re staying there….):

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Mulling over my options with Trollope – and fighting off the collecting urge!

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Anthony Trollope has popped up on my reading radar so many times recently that I’m beginning to think that someone, somewhere is trying to tell me something! He’s an author I’ve intended to read for years but have never got round to for some reason – I’ve had these two on my shelves for decades for example, but never got past the first few pages:

peng troll

Mulling things over recently, and digging out the books in question, I realised that it was possibly the physical books that were the problem; they’re inexpensive Penguin Popular Classics from ages ago, with small type, and tightly bound so they’re actually hard to hold and read. So I decided perhaps a different edition might be the solution, and after putting off the amassing of more books for ages, I finally settled on this at the charity shop recently:

warden

It’s a nice-looking Oxford Classics that flops open nicely in a way that’s easier to manage so I figured this would help me get started on the Barchester books. I’ve also picked up a couple of non-Barchester titles over the past months in the form of these two:

live forgive

They sound wonderfully appealing, though they *are* chunksters so I’ll have to pick a good time to start them. But again, they’re physically manageable volumes so I guess they’ll be ok.

Things got complicated in the Samaritans Book Cave yesterday, however – I stumbled across these lovelies with the most wonderful retro covers from the 1960s and couldn’t resist, even though they’re later in the Barchester sequence:

pans

Aren’t those covers just wonderful! Obviously Pan were trying to push classics as bestsellers with cover art that was very much in line with the Victoria Holt and Jean Plaidy titles my mum was reading at the time.

Then in the Oxfam I came across this nice Everyman edition of Barchester Towers:

barchester

The cover art is of the same vintage as the Pans, so the Penguins are off to be donated and I’m ready to get going on Trollope when time permits!

As for the collecting urge… It’s those Pan Bestsellers of Literature! You see, I was gifted another one recently, in the form of a pristine copy of Pride and Prejudice that turned up at a family member’s house after a clearout – and here it is:

P & P

I am fighting the temptation very hard, but it’s difficult not to dash off and try to find as many of these as I can – wouldn’t a shelf-full look great?  *I will not buy any more books* (not much, I wont!)

Let There Be Books!!!!

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So there I was, talking about avoiding amassing more titles and scratching the book itch – and of course, it’s all gone pear-shaped and out of the window! I have to say that I won’t entirely take the blame and here is a little run-down of what’s been arriving recently…

First up, a number of new items which have crept onto the shelves by various means (sandwiched between my two editions of Priestley’s “English Journey”):

shelf
Two of these were unexpected review books from the lovely MacLehose/Quercus Press (“News from Berlin” and “Island Where I Flee”). Both sound intriguing and so I’m looking forward to them, particularly as I don’t read that many new books.

Two of the Canongate titles were a moment of weakness when I saw their wonderful offer on Twitter – 60% off plus a free book. Let’s face it, that’s just too good to resist…. So I chose the Willa Muir and received the very interesting-looking Kate Riophe book – I like bookish surprises!

odile snow

And there were a couple of small volumes I *may* have just ordered a while ago – the last C.P. Snow I need to complete the set of “Strangers and Brothers” (I may even read these next year…); plus a slightly uncharacteristic Raymond Queneau book, “Odile”, which is apparently based on his time with the surrealists.

Then there was London… At the weekend, I had a lovely day out in the Big Smoke, meeting up with my old friend J. for some pre-Christmas shopping and mooching about. We met at Foyles (always a good place to rendezvous, I find!) and I was persuaded to pick up the Modiano and the Machado de Assis. I’d wanted to read Modiano since hearing about him when he won the Nobel, and his works were initially difficult to track down – so I feel no guilt about buying this! Machado de Assis is my current read and this story is highly recommended! The Lermontov came from the Bloomsbury Oxfam and is translated by the Nabokovs, father and son, so I couldn’t resist.

Allan Ramsay Self Portrait : NPG

Allan Ramsay Self Portrait : NPG

After a little visit to the NPG for the Grayson Perry exhibition (and to see my current favourite portrait, Allan Ramsay’s self-portrait, which wasn’t out when I last visited), we took a scenic bus ride in the sun to Chelsea, to have a look at the Anthropologie shop and a little exhibition there. The shop is *gorgeous* and *not cheap* but we enjoyed window shopping! And just off the King’s Road there was another Oxfam wherein lurked “Twilight of the Eastern Gods” – which has been on my wish list for a while, so it would have been rude not to take it home!

ju

Whew! To add to the book count, J. had very kindly brought me birthday gifts, and a Beverley Nichols! In fact, it ended up being two Beverleys, as one was a lovely hardback of “A Case of Human Bondage”, and the birthday Beverley turned out to be a beautiful old hardback of “A Thatched Roof – which J. made me open in the Foyles cafe as she wanted to see my reaction when I saw that it was signed! (Reaction = very, very happy!). The other gift, which I opened yesterday, was a lovely Persephone I don’t have (but am very keen to read) – “The Children Who Lived in a Barn” by Eleanor Graham, complete with bookmark! The contents are a lovely facsimile of the original Puffin edition. So thanks go to J. for the lovely gifts (and we had a fun day out, too!)

sig

The final incoming heap were as a result of my birthday – my friends and family know me well and so there are always bookish gifts!

First up, Eldest Child chose two titles from my wish list:

tea aerodrome

The don’t have much in common except that they piqued my interest!

spectres

“Red Spectres” came from mother-in-law via the wish list – yet another title I’ve been after for a while!

bulg

The Bulgakov title likewise – from my brother, who is happy to simply buy me whatever I ask for! 🙂

tea architecture

Tea and Architecture – not obvious bedfellows, but both interests of mine, so OH (who knows me well) did good here by choosing these two lovelies!

vintage

I have a weakness for vintage crafty stuff too, so this book was an ideal choice by a work colleague:

chox

And last, but definitely not least, OH got his priorities right with a non-bookish gift!

So I have been very blessed and spoiled with books lately – and with Christmas coming too, I think I really will have to have a bit of a January cull…… :s

Midweek arrivals!

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Yes, as if it wasn’t bad enough that the lure of the charity shops keeps increasing the amount of volumes making their way onto Mount TBR, this week has seen the arrival of a few extras in the form of a couple of books I’ve ordered and one lovely gift!

These are the culprits:

durrell

The George Konrad book is one of the Writers from the Other Europe series which I’ve been gradually collecting – it sounds like strong stuff, so I shall have to be in the right frame of mind to read it.

The Lawrence Durrell was an online impulse purchase following a lovely article about it in the “Slightly Foxed” magazine – and after a quick look at the first pages I can see that the prose is gorgeous so I hope this one will be a winner.

And finally, a lovely gift from my lovely long-time friend J in the form of Iris Murdoch’s “The Bell” – I have a couple of Murdochs on Mount TBR and this can join them, as it’s title I’ve often considered reading. J, who shared a wonderful visit to the Persephone Shop with me, spotted this in a charity shop and very kindly picked it up for me – what a lovely friend!

I’ve started keeping a little spreadsheet to track new arrivals, and it’s actually proving a little scary – when I see how many books have snuck into the house in the last few weeks I realise I really *will* have to take drastic action…… :s

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