Sunday 20 April 2008

Books - What Books?

I've just come back from visiting The Carbon Copy in Bristol, which was great fun. What is more, I went with the firm resolve to buy nothing. Well, as little as possible. Certainly not 2 DVDS, a CD and 7 books...


But, in my defence, Colin did take me to Fopp (an amazing discounted entertainment shop) and
Amnesty Books, a bookshop with the sublime combination of cheap and good and charitable. So I didn't spend much. But indisputably more than nothing. The films were An Affair To Remember (with Cary Grant & Deborah Kerr) and Brief Encounter, as someone borrowed my copy then moved to Japan, chortle.

And the books?

The Brontes Went to Woolworths - Rachel Ferguson : I've been keeping an eye out for this one for a few years, actually, and especially since Karen wrote about it, though I can't find her exact post now. Surreal, amusing, domestic = my kinda thing

The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly - Jean-Dominique Bauby : read the book for Book Group a while ago, saw the film the other day - liked both, and wanted a copy of my own.

Yellow - Janni Visman : this one actually came through the post. I barcoded a copy of it in the Bodleian the other day, was struck by the stark cover, and enticed by the blurb. "Yellow is the colour of gas, of fear, of jealousy". Domesticity and paranoia...

Private Papers - Margaret Forster : at 20p, this is an author I can afford to explore

The Night Watch - Sarah Waters : enjoyed Affinity when I read it some years ago, and £3 for a new hardback.... it would have been rude to say no.

Bobbin Up - Dorothy Hewitt : all this Virago anniversary hullabaloo has made me look more closely at the old bottle green ones. Anybody heard of this one?

he Dark is Bright Enough - Christopher Fry : a playwright I've been meaning to read. At 20p...

Discipline - Mary Brunton : a contemporary of Jane Austen, I read Brunton's novel a couple of years ago, from the library. Loved it, and been keeping an eye out for a cheap copy.

All in all, a successful splurge!


  1. 'the diving bell and the butterfly' is such a strong story. nice choice, fella.

  2. I really love Sarah Waters' books. The Night Watch is really good, excellent choice :) You should definitely read Fingersmith which is my favourite book by her.
    I've also been curious about The Brontes Went to Woolworths but the only copies I can find on the Internet are really expensive :( I must go to Shakespeare & Co just in case they have one.
    I realize now that I've been mixing up Margaret Forster, Margaret Drabble and Margaret Atwood. Shame on me, I know. I'm trying not to, though. Same goes for Penelope Fitzgerald and Penelope Lively. Oh dear.
    I'm sure it would help if I read them *blushes*

  3. The Night Watch is a FANTASTIC book Simon, one of my Top 5 reads of 2006 if memory serves. But then, I adore everything Sarah Waters breathes vaguely near.

    I also managed to get hold of a copy of The Brontes Went to Woolworths in a second hand splurge this weekend. I went into a Mind shop that I go past everyday without venturing into and came out £26 poorer but 17 books richer.

  4. Justing adding to the applause for Night Watch. I think it is amazing how Waters keeps the narrtive drive going forwards whilst the narrative itself goes backwards (if you see what I mean). Great read!

  5. If it'll help assuage the feelings of guilt, I can tell you that at 20p if would have been criminal not to buy 'Private Papers'. It was the book that turned me into a real Forster fan.

  6. Looks like a great selection of books there.

    I just found a copy of The Brontes Went to Woolworths last weekend for $5 at a secondhand bookshop. I finished it yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it - truly whimsical writing. I hope to post
    on it soon


  7. Dorothy Hewett was an Australian author & poet who lead a famously Bohemian life during the 20s. I haven't read Bobbin' Up but her autobiography was fantastic.

  8. The Lonely Planet used to publishe these travel anthologies by women and along with each country they had the best bibliography of books (wonderful anthologies by the way--I must have three or four and wish they put them out still!). Anyway, in the Australia section they had Bobbin Up and I could never for the life of me find it--it sounded so good. In my most recent Virago splurge I found a copy and just received it in the mail last week. I hope the book lives up to my anticipation--I can't remember now how many years ago I first read about it! Great finds by the way!


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