Saturday 31 May 2008

Spa Towns and Spending

On a whim, I took myself off to Malvern today. For those not in the know, it's a spa town in Worcestershire, not a million miles away from where I grew up. The Malvern Hills surround it, and are favourites for hill-climbers, but Malvern also posts some pretty parks, amazing views, and creditable secondhand bookshops. Thus, I read books, ate ice creams (well, just the one), bought books and fell asleep on a lawn. Beautiful weather, and a great day out - very much enjoyed myself.

AND I bought some books, as I mentioned. One of my favourite bookshops in the world is The Malvern Bookshop - two floors of an old house turned into a bookshop, so that all the rooms retain the feel of homeliness. Not bad prices, and they had AA Milne's autobiography on the counter. I als
o had the pleasure, perhaps unkindly, of listening to a lady trying to flog her valueless books to the friendly, but honest, shopowner.

Anyway - here's my haul.

A Talent To Annoy: Essays, Journalism and Reviews by Nancy Mitford ed. Charlotte Mosley - I saw this mentioned in the Mitford letters, and had a nice response from Mrs. Mosley today to an appreciative letter I sent her, so thought I'd add to my Mitfordmania.

Letters from Menabilly - Daphne du Maurier (ed. Oriel Malet) - letters between du M and Malet, can't wait.

Jennie - Paul Gallico - a few people have recommended this here. Peter the Flautist, Cornflower? I love cats, I love animorphism... what's not to love?

Flowers for Mrs. Harris - Paul Gallico - more Gallico for good measure. Anyone read?

The Sense of Humour - Stephen Potter - an anthology of British humour, with intriguing linking sections by Potter, such as 'Humour of Release'; 'Criticism by Parody'; 'Humour of Situation' etc. etc. - sounds invaluable, and probably very... humorous.


  1. Paul Gallico? Did he write The Silent Miaow? That book was adorable!

  2. What a wonderful day you had... sigh.


  3. I have an earler edition of A Talent to Annoy, but I'm sure you'll love the newer one. Flowers for Mrs. Harris is delightful. I haven't read Jennie, but I know Peter rates it highly, and both the Potter and the Daphne letters should be great. What a haul!

  4. I've read Flowers for Mrs. Harris and have been looking, without success, for the other three books about. I think it is a lovely book - just as I think Jennie is. According to Wikipedia he has written quite a few books about cats.

    I'm not charmed by all his books though, I've started to read "Love, Let Me Not Hunger" a couple of times but never made it beyond the first chapter.

    Yes, I know where Malvern is situated - a result of reading children's books. Phyllis Matthewman let her children visit Malvern and Symonds Yat and since I'm a map freak I had to check it out! She also let us know that Edna Lyall (Ada Ellen Bayly) lived there. Haven't read any of her books though but Gutenberg have three of them so I think I'll start there.

  5. Sounds like a perfect day you had!

    It's sad that here in America many of the small book shops are giving way to the larger booksellers like Borders and Barnes & Noble.

    About ten years ago I worked part time in Wonderland Book Store in Gorham, NH and just loved being there. I still visit it and it's like going home. The owner always comes over to speak to me and some of the small signs I made for different sections are still there.

  6. PG
    Also look out for two stories in one volume by Penguin "Ludmilla and The Lonely"

  7. Oh my sainted aunt! Those first two, wow! I am VERY jealous! I must find a copy of 'Letters from Menabilly' soon!

  8. Yes Peter the Flautist does rate Jennie highly. In general I'm not very fond of books that athropomorphise animals (I speak as an ageing adult), but in Jennie I think Gallico not only writes a great story but comes pretty close to capturing what being a real cat might be like.

    Now I must go off and feed my old friend Dark Puss and ask his opinion ...

  9. Ok, my jealousy is less, as I've just bought a copy of 'Letters from Menabilly' off amazon. I decided £1.99 was too great an offer to pass up! Hope it gets here before Thursday!

  10. The Mitfords were an interesting lot !!


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