Tuesday 4 December 2007


I've been at it again. Another impulse buy today, but one which I might just impulsively read straight away... or at least as soon as I've finished the latest review books. And Book Group books. Oh dear.

Our Vicar and Our Vicar's Wife met me for lunch, and after a rather yummy broccoli and stilton soup (in a cafe, not my handiwork, I'm afraid) we browsed through the QI Bookshop. For any UK readers who also watch the QI television programme with Stephen Fry, yes, this is researched in the rooms above the bookshop. I've not been in before, and it might be my last chance, as apparently it's moving to the top floor, alongside the exclusive QI-members-only restaurant. Shame.

They have a small stock, but an interesting one - a stock which bears the signs of being selected by a discerning buyer. Some successful sellers; others more obscure. They even had a Persephone Book, so I was impressed from the off (The Wise Virgins by Leonard Woolf, since you ask) - my eye was drawn towards Findings by Kathleen Jamie. I haven't heard of her before, but I could tell immediately that this was A Sort Of Book. I don't mean that there was some ambiguity as to whether it was a book or a mantlepiece, nothing like that, Sort Of Books are a publishing house - 'distributed by Penguin Books', so they might be an off-shoot, I don't know. They publish the beautiful, beautiful Tove Jansson translations, and I thought I probably couldn't go wrong with another of their books. And so I bought it...

Findings is non-fiction, Kathleen Jamie (a poet) travels around her native Scotland watching, listening, observing - and these observations are in this book. Not the biggest fan of travel literature, or even books set in other countries, because they have so much extraneous detail. I find an author noticing her/his own surroundings afresh much more involving. Have already heard from e-friends that this was a favourite read, hope others have come across Jamie too. Perhaps I'm the last? Anyway, will let you know when I've read it, but I can't imagine not really liking Findings.


  1. I tagged you for a meme on my blog:

    Please don't feel obligated - just do it if you want to.

  2. I think you will love' Findings' Simon. A friend gave me a copy last year. Wonderfully spare writing, I felt it was about observation, and valuing just what is seen. I may be way off there, but that is what it meant to me. Shame about the Q.I bookshop etc. it seemed like a good idea.


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