Wednesday, 27 October 2010

From Simon to Simon

My friend and colleague, also called Simon, was clearing out his parents' house the other day and - knowing that I have a passing fondness for books - said he would keep an eye out for anything I might like... and very kindly gave me a couple of very lovely books.

This picture isn't very illuminating, I realise - it's a very beautiful 1922 edition of Love and Freindship [sic!] by Jane Austen. I already have a copy, of course, but not one this lovely. It had uncut pages, and... ooo, I just want to stroke it.

And the other was The Stolen White Elephant by Mark Twain. Amongst the many and various lackings of my literary knowledge, Twain looms large. He is one of my aunt's favourite authors (the aunt who set me off on all sorts of literary adventures, and whose taste overlaps with mine precisely because she helped form mine) but I've yet to read anything by him. Does anyone know this one? A lovely touch - it was presented to A.W. Bentley (my friend's Dad) in 1927 for Proficiency in English. So, the book is over 80 years old, and has had one careful owner! Now two...


  1. What lovely gifts! I've read lots of Twain, but haven't come across this one.

  2. Beautiful! Just beautiful! I wanna touch the cover, too! It's tempting!

    Book reviews

  3. Your blog is lovely. Twain is one of my favourites but I haven't come across this one. You should try his Life on the Mississippi.

  4. These really ARE beautiful. You know, I was just thinking the other day about the differences between the books that American and British children read growing up. Isn't Mark Twain one of those? I don't think we ever get round to him in school (too busy on a diet of enforced Keats) and then you've sort of missed the boat.

  5. How beautiful! I'm in awe, especially of Love and Freindship (I have read Twain but not that one).

  6. Oooh how lucky you are! I saw that exact edition of Love and Freindship in a charity shop once and didn't buy it because it was 10 pounds and I didn't have 10 pounds to spend on books at the time. How I regret not buying it anyway! I hope you enjoy them. I'll be interested to hear about the Mark Twain - I want to make a good start on his books this year.

  7. What a nice friend. Twain is one of those authors that Americans read in school and, at least in my case, never read again. I am not anti-Twain, his work is brilliant, I am just ambivalent. Of course Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn are his biggest hits.

  8. What lovely books. Inherited books are always special I think.


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