Ahem. #books


What was that phrase about the best laid plans? Oh yes – I think that came from a book, too….!

So there was I, feeling all smug about not buying much in the way of books lately, and with piles of them in the hall waiting to be donated. But today, I happened to wander into a couple of charity shops, not really looking for anything in particular and not wanted anything in particular. But Bookish Things Happened….

The first charity shop had a little clutch of Companion Book Club editions – always recognisable because of their distinctive jacket design, if they still have one. These two particular titles did, and although they’re a little battered, they were 50p each, so…. “Sailing to Freedom” is a real life story of an Estonian family sailing from Sweden to America during WW2 to escape repatriation and the consequences by the Soviet Union – sounds absolutely fascinating. As for the Maigret, it’s a title I don’t have (I think!) but was essential because of this:

I’m rather intrigued by the inclusion of an interview with Simenon, and I’m hoping to get onto this one soon – the Maigret stories are *so* readable!

I popped into the Samaritans Book Cave also, as I’m donating to them this week, and I happened upon this in their poetry section (which I always check out to see if there are any volumes of the Penguin Modern Poets I need):

Intrigued? You bet I was! I know (or can remember) very little about Dickinson’s life, and Gordon is a respected biographer, so I’m hoping for a torrid tale of family fallings-out and vicious vendettas!

And finally, a library book:

I thought I would borrow “The Stone Angel” and see if I felt like reading it and joining in with the Virago author of the month for June. Much better than buying it, especially as Mount TBR is still tremblingly high.

Well, it could have been worse – last week the library had a book sale where the volumes were 5 for £1 and I exercised great restraint and only came home with a BIG catalogue book from a Royal Academy Russian show from ten years ago. I think I did pretty well, considering… 🙂

A reading update – and forthcoming plans!


I can’t believe that it’s actually June already – where the time goes, I don’t know, but to suddenly find myself halfway through the year is a bit of a shock!

May was a reasonable reading month, although I didn’t make it through as many books as I intended; things started well but then I found myself involved in a very looooong review book which took up the back-end of the month! Now I’m through that and trying to decide what to read next…

This month’s Virago author is Margaret Laurence and the choice of which I could read is going to difficult:

These are the only two Laurences I own, and I believe they’re both part of a sequence and not the first part! I’m trying not to buy books at the moment, but I may have to make an exception here if I want to read something by this intriguing-sounding author in June…

Speaking of buying books, I have purchased just one volume recently, thanks to a hint from a certain sci-fi blogger who’s aware I have an interest in Soviet sci-fi written by women (You Know Who You Are….)

This one took a little bit of tracking down, and I eventually had to procure an ex-library copy from the USA – but it’s in really good condition, and I don’t mind it being ex-library. I get a little sentimental about old-school library cards and trappings in this kind of book and I like to give books like this a good home. Pleasingly, as well as the story by Olga Larionova, whose work I rate highly, there is also one by Kirill Bulychev who I also rave about regularly. So a good find!

And there was a good bookish find of another kind recently! Youngest Child and Middle Child paid a flying visit at the end of May, which was absolutely lovely, and while they were here did a bit of room clearing (as we still have so much of their junk stuff in the house). Whilst rooting about in her room, Youngest Child found she had two of my books hidden away on her shelves, one of which in particular I was very pleased to have back:

I’ve had the Emily Dickinson book since I was a teenager and was most aggrieved that I couldn’t find it. So at least it is now back on my shelves with my other poetry books – result!

Continuing with my plan to have no plans, I don’t have any idea what I’m going to read in June and as I’m feeling a bit undirected reading-wise at the moment, I may well be lurching into more classic crime – well, you can’t go wrong there, can you? 🙂

A weekend of restraint – and Proust!


Yes, that’s right – Proust. I have taken the plunge into “In Search of Lost Time” or “Remembrance of Things Past” – whichever title you prefer – and am determined that this will be the year I read it! I’ve had a couple of attempts in the past and never got very far into the first section – the main enemy of reading Proust rather ironically always being time itself! However, I intend to finish the first book “Swann’s Way” (as it’s translated in my edition) and then take a little break – dealing with the series a book at a time will be the best way I feel.


I’ve been prompted to do this by Laura on the LibraryThing Virago Group who is also reading Proust, and whose progress is inspiring. She also pointed me in the direction of a very helpful blog, The Cork-Lined Room, which assisted a previous read-along by splitting the books into daily chunks and providing commentary. While I certainly haven’t stuck to the suggested chunks, the commentary has been excellent – I’d recommend it to anyone embarking on this kind of read!

The edition I’m reading is the Penguin 3 volume set from 1983, which I’ve been carrying around probably since the 1980s! It’s the C.K. Scott Moncrieff/Terence Kilmartin version and seems to be well-regarded – certainly I’m getting on quite well so far. More as I progress through the work…..!

The restraint this weekend was in only purchasing two new books for the groaning shelves:


The Virago Group has been full of high praise for Margaret Laurence’s work, so I was pleased to find one of her titles in the Oxfam – and with a very striking cover!


As for “The Secret Garden”, I have of course read this, and possibly even have a copy somewhere. But this is a grown-up pale blue Penguin Modern Classic edition and only 95p – so not to be resisted!

So – off for a little more of Proust’s sinuous prose before work….

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