Monday 24 January 2011

More books...

As usual, I have a small stack of books waiting to be reviewied, including the only book I've actually managed to finish so far this year. It has been a rather lean January, for some reason - something of a reading slump. But not a buying slump, as this post will attest - I've been buying with abandon again.

The books fall broadly into old-and-characterful, and newish-and-colourful. Here goes:

Not very revealing, are they? I'll illuminate you - we have:

- Going Abroad by Rose Macaulay : which I found in a charity shop. I'm building up a nice stock of Macaulay novels to enjoy.

- Uneasy Money by P.G. Wodehouse : a cheap Wodehouse never hurts, does it?

- The Houses In Between by Howard Spring : an e-friend, Carol, is a big Spring fan, so I thought I'd give him a go. Any Spring readers out there?

- To Tell My Story by Irene Vanbrugh : I mentioned the other day that this theatrical autobiography was in the post to me. In my reading slump I find myself hankering after non-fiction rather more than fiction, so this might leap-frog all the novels waiting patiently by my bed.

And the more colourful books.

- Romantic Moderns by Alexandra Harris : was a 2010 title I wanted and waited for - I anticipate dipping in and out quite a bit.

- Tarr by Wyndham Lewis : is the next read for my book group, and kindly provided by the good people at Oxford University Press. Fantastic cover image.

- The Gingerbread Woman by Jennifer Johnston : is probably coming up soon for my other book group, depending on how the online vote goes, but this archive review of Kim's has made me want to read it.

- Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson : I still haven't read Gilead, but I thought I'd get this one in readiness, in case it launches me on an immediate Robinson rampage.

- The World I Live In by Helen Keller : a reader had requested this at the Bodleian, and it so intrigued me that I went and got a copy myself.


  1. I loved Housekeeping, though I still haven't read Gilead, Home was also good, so I would definitely recommend Marilynne Robinson. :) Wrote some glowing reviews to that effect.

  2. My goodness, you do seem to have shopping mania -- but then, you have some amazing charity shops near you. I LOVED Gilead. Housekeeping didn't move me in the same way, but I think I'm in the minority. I didn't dislike it, just wasn't as moved by it. Home is coming soon... :)
    Happy reading to you!

  3. I am making a note of your older list because this is the one I may have some luck with! Now that I know what to look for I should go look amongst the dusty lot stuck in a corner of my second hand store. Thanks for the list.

  4. Oh, Simon. I think you might need to talk to someone about this problem of yours!! You have gone book buying crazy!! But after your abstinence for so long, who can blame you?!

    You will love Marilynne Robinson, I promise. If you don't, well, then I'm flying back to England to come and speak to you in person. I mean it!

  5. It sounds like you have some amazing charity shops around you. I don't wonder at your book buying binge.

    I definitely recommend Marilynne Robinson. I hugely enjoyed Gilead and Home, and they've both made their way on to my list of favourite books. I haven't read Housekeeping yet, but it's on my TBR list. I'm looking forward to your thoughts once you get to it.

  6. My mum used to love Howard Spring, so I read lots in my teens - and that was one of my favourites.

  7. Hello, just discovered your lovely blog! am very impressed you managed to find a wodehouse in your charity shop. Did you see the December re-issue? Ok so I know you should never judge a book by its cover but how pretty..!*66%7CFiction&in_merch=1&in_merch_title=Best_Sellers&in_merch_name=Weekend+Wodehouse

  8. Cat - HOW have I not read Gilead yet?! I must drag it from my shelf forthwith... once I've read... and...

    Susan - oh, this is normal behaviour! I'm enjoying it so much. But I'd forgotten how quickly my floor would get covered in pils of books...

    Mystica - haha, good luck!

    Rachel - I'm tempted to say I hate Gilead, because it would be nice to see you, but... no, I'll be honest when I read it! I'm struggling to engage with fiction at the moment, and instead reading piles of non-fic, but the moment my fiction-eyes are back in place, I'll grab Gilead from the shelf!

    Virginia - ah, only the Rose Macaulay was from a charity shop; the rest were from a secondhand bookshop or bought online.

    Mary - oh good, thanks for the recommendation! To be honest, it will probably be years before I get to it... but at least I'll know it's there.

    Jess - welcome, lovely to have you stop by! That is a nice edition... I'm also partial to the battered old ones. And those Everyman editions were beautiful. How come some authors get so many nice editions, and people like Muriel Spark have only had unattractive ones!?

  9. Just to give you a little nudge toward's fiction that feels like nonfiction since the main character is writing letters/a journal to his son of all that he wants his son to know/remember about him and the family once he is gone. Gotcha yet? :)

  10. Re your mention of Romantic Moderns by Alexandra Harris - I've just collected that from the library because it sounded interesting when you mentioned it before. It's not quite what I expected (don't know what that was, really) - but it's very interesting, & like you, I look forward to dipping in & out of it. After reading p. 14 in the Prologue, I was reminded of another book that I really love & have set a number of others onto - Joan Bodger's "How the Heather Looks; a joyous journey to the British sources of children's books." It's just what it says (visiting the home locales of authors & illustrators, picking out scenes, sights, etc. recognized from the books this family loved). I think you would love it too.

  11. Good to see youy back on book buying form Simon!


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