Monday 7 May 2007


I spent a lovely day today, visiting a village I moved away from about two years ago. They have an Open Gardens weekend every year, which my Dad helped to set up, and it's great fun - lots of people open their beautiful gardens to the public, there's Maypole Dancing, old motor cars, Arts & Crafts... everything one could want from a village. See for more, erm, info.

They also have a bookstall
. And, along with a trip to a charity shop earlier in the week, this amounts to a Mini-Haul, I think. So I thought I'd share it with you.

I know very little about some of these authors, so if anyone else does...

She - H. Rider Haggard - a book I knew of beforehand, but haven't read it. Have only properly come across 'She' as performed by Elvis Costello. I imagine this isn't particularly similar.

Testament of Experience - Vera Brittain - I have Testament of Youth on my shelves at home, and have been recommended VB over and over again. Must be something in it... Somehow I never quite feel ready to go 'over the edge' with this author - but perhaps if I amass enough of them, my opinions will change.

Up the Junction - Nell Dunn - a Virago novel (or perhaps collection of short stories; can't quite tell). But this claims to have 'caused much controversy' when dramatised by the BBC, so perhaps not my cup of tea. We shall see. Like the bad librarian that I'm not quite yet, I've thrown away the plastic dustjacket. Hate 'em.

Anybody Can Do Anything - Betty MacDonald - do you ever get that a book stalks you? It's there, in every secondhand bookshop; every charity shop; every... well, you get the picture. Winifred Holtby's South Riding is one; Betty MacDonald's The Egg and I is another. Thus far, I feel too oppressed to pick them up - I'm playing hard to get. But I've tentatively let Betty McD in another route.

Georgie Merton - F. Harrington - an old children's book. I can never resist old children's books - somehow they seem to have memories attached them much more overtly than other older books. Doreen Lamb of Dagenham, Essex once owned this. I hope it brought her pleasure. The frontispiece is of children escaping up a tree, from a bull. How could it be a bad book?


  1. What a wonderful collection to add to your library! I have been thinking of purchasing Testament of Experience - the book itself is not stalking me, but it seems I keep coming across references to it everywhere. I do, however, wish South Riding would stalk ME! I've been trying to find an old Virago copy. Sigh.

  2. I have vague memories of the television version of 'Up the Junction' from which I'd say it's perhaps not Stuck-in-a-book's usual fare, but I could be quite wrong.
    Open Gardens weekends are great fun. There's a wonderful village near us where friends live; seven outstanding gardens open to the public, but only every second year, and this, sadly, is a 'closed' year.

  3. Simon, take the plunge with South Riding one day. Once I got past the first chapter, I loved it. Also, I'd tried to read a dreadful hardback edition with a dull, green cover. Once I bought myself a lovely Virago edition, it just said pick me up and read me. Testament of Youth is one of my favourite books (Vera and Winifred were great friends, did you know?).I've read Experience once, but it just doesn't have the emotional pull of Youth. Still worth reading, though.

  4. Glad you enjoyed your day, suprised you didn't mention the homemade cakes and copious cups of tea! Up the Junction could be a challenge, it was on the lit group B list for the 50's and 60's literature course. I didn't read it but the general opinion was a thumbs down (though not as many as Doris Lessings Golden Notebook). Hope the Rider haggard isn't as offensive to modern sensibilities as "King Solomon's Mines" but hey it was still a ripping good yarn.
    Hope these books are being saved for later and not being used as a displacement activity!! Have fun

  5. Oh yes, the cakes and the tea! Very nice to meet up with friends from across the country, who provided such goodies. And very strange to have the cakes without our kitchen at home having been a blitz for weeks...


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