Some would say that I don't absolutely, definitely, incontrovertibly *need* any more books, especially after my recent haul in Edinburgh, but going through two of the cheapest bookshops in London left me with quite a few, then a trip to Charing Cross Road revealed a couple of gems which it would have been foolish to leave behind... I'm going to start with them, in fact.
Like a lot of us, I loved Henrietta's War by Joyce Dennys, recently republished in the much-beloved Bloomsbury Group series. When in Henry Pordes Books, on Charing Cross Road, I spotted the name 'Joyce Dennys'... only true book-lovers will recognise that leap in your stomach you get, when you spot a book you never expected to find. And there were two of 'em... Repeated Doses (a sequel to a book I don't have, Mrs. Dose the Doctor's Wife) and the sublimely titled Economy Must Be Our Watchword. They were both *quite* pricey, but - in an unprecedented act of technological capability - I crept into a corner of the bookshop and used my mobile 'phone to check whether or not Amazon and Abebooks had cheaper copies. They didn't - in fact Economy Must Be Our Watchword doesn't seem even to be available anywhere - and these beautiful 1930s books, complete with Dennys' quirky illustrations, were quickly mine.
Less exciting, but still great, were my other finds:
In the Springtime of the Year - Susan Hill
A Bit of Singing and Dancing - Susan Hill
- I will write about Howards End is on the Landing soon, promise, but it's already sent me away to find more of her work. The first of these is one I really want to read.
Saraband - Eliot Bliss
Cousin Rosamund - Rebecca West
Beyond the Glass - Antonia White
- Three Virago Modern Classics which I couldn't leave behind. Never heard of the Eliot Bliss or her/his book, but it charts the emotional life of a girl in the 1930s, so the blurb says. The other two are sequels to books I haven't read, so might be on the back burner for a while... but were found in the wonderful Book & Comic Exchange in Notting Hill Gate, which has a large three-room basement of books for 50p each.
The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
- a friend recommended this to me, but now several others have told me not to bother... what do you think?
The Lottery and other stories - Shirley Jackson
- this beautiful new edition, already secondhand! You'll have realised by now that I think Jackson is great - looking forward to delving into these. I have read 'The Lottery' online, and it is beyond chilling... you can do the same, here.
The House in Paris - Elizabeth Bowen
- I struggled with The Last September a while ago, and took great encouragement from your similar tales of woe. But Susan Hill says this is her best, and at 40p for a rather nice paperback, I thought I could give Lizzie another shot...
Family and Friends - Anita Brookner
- Susan Hill has a lot to answer for. HEioTL has sent me off in Anita B's direction...
And I also came away with three lovely gifts, celebrating our fifth birthday:
Hostages to Fortune - Elizabeth Cambridge
- my second favourite Persephone book, after Richmal Crompton's, but somehow I didn't own a copy... thank you Nichola!
Virginia Woolf: An Illustrated Anthology
- everything Woolf is good in my book - thanks Barbara!
The Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac - Eugene Field
- a late-19th Century book with a rather apt title - many thanks Sherry!
As always, any comments and thoughts on my new arrivals? Thanks everyone!