Saturday 26 September 2009

Stuck-in-a-Book's Weekend Miscellany

I'm back from my travels, pleased to see that my posts all appeared when they were supposed to, and delighted to find so many willing Ivy Compton-Burnett readers! Hayley asks whether she's likely to enjoy Manservant and Maidservant after having given up A Heritage and Its History - the answer, probably, is no. In for a penny, in for a pound, with Miss C-B - her novels are all very similar and it's unlikely that you'll hate one and love another. Verity asked whether we could choose a Virago ICB, but having looked on Amazon the four that Virago Modern Classics reprinted are in quite short supply, and quite pricey too, so it will probably be best to stick with Manservant and Maidservant since it's in print in the US. Is that ok? I recommend you go and get copies now, if you fancy joining in, and we'll aim to read it during October/November? Let me know what you think about the plan...
(by the way, it was also published in the US as Bullivant and the Lambs)

More about my trip to Grasmere and Edinburgh, very soon, and apologies if I haven't responded to an email yet - I have 300 waiting in my inbox.

1) The book, for this weekend's miscellany, was waiting for me when I got back from
Edinburgh. I must confess that I hadn't heard of J.B. Priestley's Delight (1949) - also reprinted, and hopefully on its way to me - in which he wrote dozens of little essays (two pages or so each) about things which caused him delight. It sounds an, indeed, delightful book - probably more difficult to write than a Grumpy Old Man collection, but much nicer to read. Well, an anthology has been created in aid of Dyslexia Action and the London Library, called Modern Delight. All sorts of folk have been invited to share things which cause them delight, and it looks like a surprising and happy book. Who knew that Jeremy Paxman liked frogspawn, or Joan Bakewell motorway service stations? John Carey on 'beekeeping' and Lynne Truss on 'perfectly captioned cartoons'; Nick Hornby extolling Bexhill-on-Sea; Erica Wagner proclaiming the delights of peeling chickpeas - how appropriate to choose such a miscellany for my miscellany! Might appeal more to UK readers than non-UK, for the famed people might not be famed beyond these shores. But how nice to see proper, credible names - and many writers - rather than reading that Katie Price likes horses or Wayne Rooney has a fondness for potatoes. Can't wait.

2) The blog post - I haven't been able to read blogs this week, so shall link to something not very bookish, but very yummy: the recipe for the cake Karen aka Cornflower made for my visit to her this week. And it was delicious!

3) The link - Simon B at the Bodleian sent me a link to an article on the BBC's website: What does your bookcase say about you? I can't agree with the included sentence 'books aren't essential' (is this woman MAD?) but there's some fun stuff in there too. I'm very fond of my Argos bookcase, which slopes from five units at the right to two at the left, but the rest of my bookcases were mostly nabbed from my parents...


  1. I love a good bookshelf feature, so thanks for that link. I am really tempted by the ICB idea since I don't know a single thing about her except that she exists and isn't necessarily easy to get on with. The only thing holding me back in that: A)I am trying to make a dent in my TBR pile and B)I am limiting my book purchases over the next few months to getting the remaining 8 volumes I am missing of the Penguin English Journey's series, but much more importantly to place my first order for a few Persephones. But who knows, if I see the ICB around this weekend, it probably will end up coming home with me...

  2. You might be lucky and find it in the library! I forgot, it was also published in the US as Bullivant and the Lambs.

  3. Can you access the DC Public Library? They have a copy of it under the title Bullivant and the Lambs!

  4. I have a book here (but haven't read) that is similar to the description of Priestly's _Delight_, called _Personal Pleasures_, by Rose Macaulay. 60 remembrances (several with sub-categories) - each from one to several pages long - arranged alphabetically, yet.

  5. Nancy, wow, there was obviously quite a vogue for these sorts of books. I may have to buy that one... I've not read any of RM's novels, but have read some of her letters, and grew very fond of her.

  6. Hope you enjoyed your travels! I am going to hunt a copy of ICB down.

    I read that article on bookshelves and books yesterday and nodded enthusiastically along with it...though I did shudder at the thought of people buying books indiscriminately by the metre just to furnish a room...sacrilege!!!

  7. I've just seen that article too!

  8. I was dithering over the two Delight books at Waterstones the other day. I think you've swayed me (once again)!

    Now wondering where can I find some of those lovely Bloomsbury Group bookmarks I saw on Cornflower's site (following your cake link)?

    K x

  9. Simon

    Tell me more about your bookshelves, please. I'm looking for something on those lines - extendable (for obvious reasons) and more importantly deep enough to accommodate double rows.

    Argos - you said. Which model?

  10. Sadly those shelves have long since stopped being made... I tried to get another one in 2005, and couldn't find them or anything like them at Argos. Mine are from 2002 or thereabouts.

  11. I have just ordered my copy of ICB - you are a bad influence Simon! Without this blog I would never even have thought of reading her, let alone buying one of her books!

    Thanks for the link to the bookshelf feature. I know what my bookshelves say about me - I have way too many books! Currently all my bookshelves (2 in the living room, 2 in the bedroom, 4 in the scarey room) are full to bursting and the staircase has been pressed into service. I need a bigger house!

  12. I've requested my copy of Manservant and Maidservant from the library :).

  13. Hello, stuck in a book! I'm Peter, and I was one of those interviewed for that BBC article! LOL at your remark on that particular sentence.


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