Perhaps the reason I am eating an awful lot of baked beans on toast and frowning every time I withdraw money from the cash machine of late is because I may have slightly overdone it on book acquisitions recently. I am reminded of the famous quote by Erasmus –
“When I have a little money, I buy books. If any is left over, I buy food and clothes.”
So very true. Except for there is none left over, and yet I must eat anyway or I would actually starve. Thank goodness for overdrafts.
So, in my hungry and poor state, what better consolation than a pile of lovely new books to cheer my desolate mealtimes and lonely evenings while my friends are out having fun and I am left indoors with my empty purse?
I have got a cracking pile here to get stuck into and as the nights draw in I love nothing better than curling up on the sofa and getting lost in a good book.
The top one on the pile is Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone, something I have been meaning to read for ages and which I will read for Simon’s Sensation Season. I am currently reading Lady Audley’s Secret and am nearly wetting myself with the suspense so I can’t wait for another book in the same vein. What I love about sensation novels from this period is that they were mostly written for publication in periodicals, which means there is a cliffhanger at the end of every paragraph – I don’t know how the original readers coped with the wait for the next instalment! Also, OUP have done themselves proud with their new cover designs and though paperbacks don’t normally appeal to me massively I am greatly enjoying the look of these new imprints on my shelves.
Next up is a gift from my American friend Emily (hi Emily!) – it’s a fascimile of Jane Austen’s A History of England, edited by A S Byatt, of all people. It’s also signed by A S Byatt which I would have been far more excited about had I received this before reading The Children’s Book! It is a lovely edition and is in full colour. I never knew it existed before so I am excited to read some more of her juvenilia.
Underneath this is Molly Keane’s Loving Without Tears, which I bought from the Brompton Road charity shop that receives a hefty proportion of my monthly salary by virtue of being dangerously convenient to visit on a lunchbreak stroll. I adore Molly Keane and have been wanting to read this for a while, so I couldn’t resist picking it up. I look forward to getting lost in her catty world of Anglo Irish aristocracy again – Desperate Reader’s review has whet my appetite immensely!
The gorgeous Bloomsbury reprint of Ada Leverson’s Love’s Shadow was given to me by the lovely Mary, to whom I lent Dorothy Whipple’s Young Anne, and she gave me this as a thank you in return. I am so excited to read this as I have heard such good things!
I snagged The Blue Castle from ebay a couple of weeks ago, a purchase prompted by reading Nicola’s great review and Elaine’s recent slew of posts on L M Montgomery, who I have become increasingly desperate to read. I never read Anne of Green Gables as a child so I thought I’d start with one of her adult novels, of which this is one, before moving on to the Anne series. The Blue Castle is apparently a great favourite of many and sadly out of print so I am very excited to discover the joy I have been promised lies within its pages!
Underneath is another recent ebay purchase – Every Good Deed, an out of print Dorothy Whipple which I have been desperate to get my hands on. It is a much slimmer volume than I had expected, though I think this is something to do with the teeny tiny print and thin war economy standard paper. I can’t wait to read this and it should give me my Dorothy fix until I *hopefully* get the new Persephone reprint of High Wages for Christmas!
Beneath this are two lovely American paperbacks; The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society and The Known World, which the lovely Claire sent me and which I have also heard many fantastic things about – can’t wait to get stuck into these.
Then there is the controversial Howard’s End is on the Landing…the consensus of it being marvellous has just been broken by some interesting reviews from Claire and Verity so I am looking forward to seeing where I will stand on the debate.
And finally there are six books I bought in charity shops while up North…a first edition of Margaret Atwood’s Lady Oracle, which I have wanted for a while and has a great cover of a Russian doll – one of my most favourite objects ever – and which I bought for the sum of 75p…Susan Hill’s In the Springtime of the Year, bought because I wanted to read more of her work after all the Howard’s End is on the Landing hype…Daphne Du Maurier’s The Rendezvous and Other Stories, because Danielle has been posting such tantalising reviews of her stories lately, Young Hearts Crying by Richard Yates, because I loved Revolutionary Road, have got some lovely copies of his other books from Vintage, and will be doing a reading challenge on him soon (keep your eyes peeled – with giveaways too!), Highland Fling by Nancy Mitford, which I later discovered is not Highland Fling at all, but Christmas Pudding (also by her) in the wrong dustjacket…slightly annoying but at least it’s still a Nancy Mitford! and finally, The Angel’s Game, which I desperately wanted after loving The Shadow of the Wind but refused to buy new – my stubborness paid off as it was mine for just £2.50.
So, lots to get on with! Has anyone read any of these? What do you think I should tackle first?