Tea or Books? is back!

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Here’s the link to our latest podcast, back after my internet-less hiatus; I hope you’ll enjoy it! This time it’s on rural vs urban novels and Sense and Sensibility vs Pride and Prejudice. You might be surprised by what we choose!

In other news, I now work dangerously close to Charing Cross Road, home of London’s best loved book shops, and I have taken to ‘popping in’ to Foyles quite frequently on my way home, as it is such a pleasure to browse the shelves. I am not really one to buy new books, as I tend to just pick my books up cheaply in charity or second hand book shops, but Foyles has started to make a convert out of me. I find books in there that I would never otherwise hear of or notice, and they have a very clever knack of producing displays of related books so that people with rather niche tastes such as myself can discover new authors in the same vein as their old favourites. I love unwinding after a busy day by wandering through all of the different departments, and I like the fact that when I buy something, I am contributing to the survival of an independent book seller, which obviously completely justifies my expenditure. This week I was delighted to find the British Library Crime Classics series on special offer, so I picked up The Lake District Murder by John Bude, and Thirteen Guests by J Jefferson Farjeon, largely because they had the prettiest covers, but the stories also sound brilliant, I promise! I also came across a William Maxwell novel that I haven’t yet read, The Chateau, which sounds wonderfully atmospheric, and just the sort of thing to curl up with now it’s getting colder and the nights are drawing in.

As any teacher will know, I already can’t wait for half term, and I’m very excited to be going on my first holiday since my trip to Scandinavia over Easter. I’ll be spending a few days in Lisbon, which is a city I’ve wanted to visit for years, so I’m so looking forward to exploring its streets and trying some authentic Portuguese cuisine. If anyone has any Lisbon tips, I’d love to hear them, and any recommendations for books set in Lisbon or in Portugal in general would be much appreciated!

I promise I’ll be back with a book review soon…Armadale is quite the doorstopper, so I am taking a while to wade my through it!


  1. I’d like to recommend you a novel set in Lisbon: The year of the death of Ricardo Reis by José Saramago. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. It has everything: wit, subtleness, rhythm and it’s extremely well written.

  2. Janet (Country Mouse) says:

    We have missed you, but I didn’t know you were away due to computer problems of my own. These books sound interesting and I will be looking forward to your review..

  3. Martina says:

    “Night Train to Lisbon” by Pascal Mercier is an absolute must, in case you shouldn’t have read it already. One of the best books I know. I wrote dozens of quotations in my diary during reading it… Apart from telling a lot about Lisbon’s recent history, it’s also a novel about a teacher who gives his live an unexpected turn, and at the same time a story about a doctor who loves words and lives for his passion. I guess you might enjoy that very much.

  4. whatmeread says:

    What a coincidence! I just reviewed Thirteen Guests a few weeks ago. I just love the covers on those recent Poisoned Press books.

  5. Cathy says:

    I’m rather addicted to the BCL re-prints, they are pretty much a perfect book. Lovely covers, really really nice editions with soft pages and crisp print and writers who don’t deserve to be forgotten. I’m currently reading the Thirteen Guests and it’s brill so far, with a properly good female lead.

    PS. A special offer is dangerous to me. Do not tell me of such things.

  6. mary says:

    Lisbon is lovely. Don’t miss custard tarts at Belém (and lots of port). There’s a 28 tram route that’s great for hopping on and off, trundles so close to some great grocery shops that you can almost reach out and grab! And don’t miss the tile museum. I also remember trekking out of town to a fado club/restaurant; thought I was fitting in with the locals by arriving after 11pm , but it was far later when it got going. It was brilliant, as it’s where all the singers arrived after they’d finished performing elsewhere. I was ready for bed and they were still arriving.
    And if you’re tempted by salt cod – don’t bother!

  7. Elena says:

    Welcome back! I love those covers.

  8. Kim says:

    How about Elizabeth Cadell? loved her charming novels, often set in Portugal. enjoy!

  9. Merrit Read says:

    There is a tiny and exquisite glove shop called Luvaria Ulisses just by the ancient lift Elevador de Santa Justa that takes you up to the Old Town (Alto Barrio).

    The Old Town is great for wandering.

    There is an extraordinary bar called Pavilhao Chines in Rua Dom Pedro IV in Alto Barrio. I won’t attempt to describe it but you will enjoy it.

    Friends recommended this restaurant in Baxia: http://www.golisbon.com/food/restaurants/Sacramento.html

    The Gulbenkian museum is full of good stuff and has a good gift shop. If you have time Sintra in the hills is wierdly wonderful.

    The Museum of Oriental Art down on the river is great.

  10. Aw, girl, living close to Foyle’s sounds properly dangerous. That place. Oh how I miss that place. If I lived close to Foyle’s I can’t even imagine how many books I’d come home with every week. They have such a terrific nonfiction selection too — perilous!

  11. marc362 says:

    Your purchasing of books at full price is entirely justified as you are indeed keeping the independent bookseller thriving and also rewarding the wonderful writers who have crafted these masterpieces for you to enjoy!

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