Monday 27 December 2010

Project 24: The Books

My New Blogging Resolution certainly won't happen before the New Year, as we're off out of internet connection for the next few days. I'm setting up posts to appear over the next few days, but I won't be able to respond to comments just yet.

Well, I shan't be doing a Project 25 - Project 24 has been fun, and very challenging, but I'm going to be back to splurging in the New Year. I'm not sure how many more of my own books I've read because of this exercise, but I do know it's more than the number I've bought for myself, for the first time in at least ten years.

It doesn't feel quite concluded until I've given you a final run-down of the 24 books which found their way into my home this year. Being honest, a fair few came from publishers or as gifts, especially on my birthday, but they weren't under the Project 24 banner. As Rachel mentioned the other day, perhaps they are a little eccentric. They're certainly not 24 of the latest books to hit bookshops. In fact, only four of them were new (rather than secondhand) and none of those were originally published this year.

I've grouped them vaguely according to the reason I got them - here's what I got:

The Ones I Already Owned

I didn't think I'd be buying duplicates in Project 24, but I was wrong - I couldn't resist these beautiful, unusual or old editions of much-loved books.

The Love Child - Edith Olivier
The Provincial Lady Goes Further - E.M. Delafield
As It Was - Helen Thomas
World Without End - Helen Thomas

The Ones Too Good To Leave

These were either so rare, unusually cheap, or special that I couldn't ignore them, once I'd stumbled across them - either in real life or through abebooks alerts.

Roofs Off! - Richmal Crompton
No One Now Will Know - E.M. Delafield
Susan and Joanna - Elizabeth Cambridge
Mrs. Christopher - Elizabeth Myers
Letters vol. I and II - Katherine Mansfield

The Ones I've Wanted For Ages

These are books I've had my eye on for years, but could never justify the expense. With my limited buying, suddenly they became affordable.

The Heirs of Jane Austen - Rachel Mathers
Miss Elizabeth Bennet - A.A. Milne

The Souvenir

I couldn't go to Shakespeare & Co. Bookshop in Paris and not come back with a good book in my hand, now, could I?

Summer Will Show - Sylvia Townsend Warner

The One I Accidentally Damaged

After I borrowed and accidentally tore a book borrowed from a fool, I bought a replacement - and kept the damaged one myself. Luckily it's a novel I (mostly) loved and wanted to keep.

The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters

The One I'd Been Waiting to be Published

Only one Project 24 book was published this year, and that was actually a translation of an earlier story collection.

Travelling Light - Tove Jansson

The Ones For My Studies

Although these are all quite fun reads, they did come into Project 24 because of their potential usefulness for my DPhil.

A Brief Experiment With Time - J.W. Dunne
Strange Glory - L.H. Myers
The Music at Long Verney - Sylvia Townsend Warner

The Ones About Authors

I didn't expect this, but it seems that when the buying is restricted, my eyes wander to the non-fiction shelves. I bought quite a few books about authors. None of them are literary biography, but rather literary non-fiction of the reader's-companion variety.

More Talk of Jane Austen - Sheila Kaye-Smith and G.B. Stern
Are They The Same At Home? - Beverley Nichols
Jane Austen - Sylvia Townsend Warner
Personal Pleasures - Rose Macaulay
A Compton-Burnett Compendium - Violet Powell
I. Compton-Burnett - Pamela Hansford Johnson


  1. Have you read any of the 24 yet, Simon? Apart from the duplicates, of course.
    Happy New Year!

  2. I think the 24 you bought were very carefully selected - what a beautiful lot of books. Enjoy your New Year book binge!

  3. I'm wilting at the thought of all that Sylvia Townsend Warner, having just finished Summer Will Show ... one of my aaarggh awards of the year!
    But you do have some other great finds, though. Hope you enjoy them all.

  4. That's really inspiring, Simon. Are you going to do it again this year?

  5. Lyn - not that many! I've read More Talk on Jane Austen; Strange Glory; The Heirs of Jane Austen; Miss Elizabeth Bennet and half of Personal Pleasures. Lots of lovely things in store...

    Polly - they are beautiful, aren't they? But I'm loving having not much restraint now!

    Mary - oh dear, really? I've only read two novels by STW, and a few non-fic bits and pieces, and love her writing - but haven't read Summer Will Show. (Unless you were saying you liked her? I couldn't quite work out if wilting/aarggh was a good or bad thing!) By the way, I've been re-discovering your blog, and love it. I also think your Books Read in 2010 is about as close to my own reading taste as anyone I know.

    Claire - no, no, a thousand times no! I might at some point in the future, but not for a few years at least...


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