…in which the Birthday Fairy and Santa deliver – big time…


Well, I did promise book pictures, didn’t I? And so here they come… I happen to be blessed (or cursed) with having a birthday quite close to Christmas so the gifts double up at this time of year, and despite everyone’s best intentions, there are always books!

First off, some modest arrivals for my birthday:

These lovelies came from OH and my BFF J. (amazingly, the Offspring managed to avoid books altogether for the birthday!)

The Peirene title is from J. and she very cleverly managed to pick the one I probably most want to read from their list! OH was also very clever in that he managed to find a BLCC I haven’t got or read, and also a book (the Godwin) which ties in with my current interest in things with a sort of link to the French Revolution (plus it has a *wonderful* David self-portrait on the cover). The crossword book? I love a crossword – I kid myself it keeps my brain alert…

As for Christmas… well, here are the bookish arrivals…!

First up, I always take part in the LibraryThing Virago Group Secret Santa and this year my books came courtesy of the lovely Simon at Stuck in a Book and these are they:

Simon knows that we share a love of a certain kind of writing and so picked some wonderful books I don’t have by A.A. Milne, Stephen Leacock and Saki – I’ve already been dipping and giggling… And it wouldn’t be a gift from Simon if there wasn’t a title in there by his beloved Ivy Compton-Burnett! I confess to owning several titles but not having plucked up the courage to read one yet – and fortunately I didn’t have this one, which is a beautiful edition, so maybe this should be where I start with Ivy… 😉

Next up a few treats from J. She reminded me when we met up recently that it was actually 35 years since we first met (gulp!) and she knows me and my obsessions and my reading habits well. These were wonderful bookish choices – an Edmund Crispin classic crime novel (can’t go wrong with Gervase Fen), a Sacheverell Sitwell set in Russia, and a marvellous sounding book of pastiches which has already had me giggling – these humorous books are obviously putting the merry in Christmas this year!

The Offspring decided Christmas was the time for books for me (as well as some other lovely gifts) and the above was the result – “The Futurist Cookbook” was from Youngest, the Plath letters (squeeeee!) from Middle and “The Story of Art” plus the Mieville from Eldest. Very excited about these and wanting to read them all at once…. 🙂

Finally, not to be left out, OH produced these treats! Yes, *another* BLCC I don’t have, a fascinating sounding book on Chekhov and a really lovely book on Surrealist art. The latter is particularly striking and has a plate of the most marvellous Magritte painting which I hadn’t seen before and I can’t stop looking at:

It’s called “The Empire of Lights” and it’s stunning and this doesn’t do it justice…

So, I have been very blessed this Christmas – thank you all my lovely gift-giving friends and family! And once I shake off this head cold I’ve also been blessed with, I really need to get reading… 🙂

A Short Trip Away!


The slight gap in posts here is due to the fact that I’ve been off, with Youngest Child, to visit Middle Child in Leicester for a couple of days. We managed also to fit in a short call at the Aged Parents’ residence, which was lovely, as we haven’t seen them for a while. Middle Child has just completed her degree and is about to start fearsomely hard work on teacher training, so we figured it would be best to make our trip before the start of the new term.

Leicester is a rather nice city – very multicultural and very, very friendly. Everyone you seem to encounter, from people on buses to people in shops and cafes is just really nice. Maybe this is a by-product of a place being a University town, but I like it a lot. What I also like about Leicester is its book-shopping facilities (of course!) As well as a number of second-hand bookshops, there is also a good collection of charity shops. Needless to say, I had a good browse and came back with a few irresistible treasures. One of my favourite shops is the Loros Charity Bookshop:

Most books are priced at £2 and there is an excellent selection – I had to reject quite a few and spent just as much time prioritising and decided what I could manage to carry back home as I did browsing. So here are some pictures of my finds, and not all came from Loros.

First up, the Viragos. There were some very hard decisions to be made as I came across a lot of Viragos and couldn’t possible have them all:

The first four are rather lovely though – a beautiful hardback of “Diary of a Provincial Lady” (which many LibraryThing members seem to think you can never have too many of – and I’m starting to agree) – this was only £1 and so a bargain; a Margaret Atwood I don’t have (which is a novelty in itself as I thought I had everything); “The Tortoise and the Hare” by Elizabeth Jenkins; and “The Young Rebecca”, which sounded very interesting.

Then we have a couple of Christa Wolfs – my buying in Leicester was slightly dictated by whether the titles were ones I often saw second-hand, and these I certainly haven’t seen about in my usual haunts.

Next up, “I Will Not Serve” – a slim little Virago I’d not heard of, and it sounded intriguing.

That was all on the Virago front. However, I did come across some lovely old crime Penguins:

The Maigrets are particularly irresistible – I find I can’t put them down and usually read them in one sitting.

This is a miscellaneous selection – “The Moon and Sixpence” because it’s not in the set of Somerset Maugham I recently got; “Eating People is Wrong” because it looks nice and sounded funny; and the Ivy Compton-Burnett because I like that style of Penguin and I liked the first few pages!

Finally, “Berlin Noir” – this is highly rated and I like a good crime thriller. Since it was very, very cheap I thought I would give it a try.

So all in all, Leicester was a good book-buying city! It was lovely to see Middle Child and inspect the new house she’s moved into for her last year studying. I think she was a little shocked at the amount of books I picked up, but as I pointed out I read several just in the short time I stayed with her!

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