Saturday 14 January 2012

Stuck-in-a-Book's Weekend Miscellany

I started a new part-time job this week (still as a librarian, but this time in a Special Collections reading room, so the materials are suddenly much more fragile and valuable!) and I'm pretty tired.  Back to work today (Saturday) but with the not-very-valuable books instead... and mostly reshelving.  Such is the ignominy of being a library dogsbody!  Still, I made a chocolate cake this evening, so at least I'll have something delicious in my lunch, though I says it as shouldn't.

I seem to have wandered away from the book/blog post/link format of my Weekend Miscellanies of late, but that's because each week seems to be bursting at the seams with goodies.  But I'll try to remember to keep all three in somewhere...

1.) For those of you who can't get enough of me here (ahem) you can read some of my writing somewhere else this week!  My review of Leonard and Virginia Woolf, The Hogarth Press, and the Networks of Modernism (phew) ed. Helen Southworth is in the CILIP Rare Books Newsletter.  Have a gander here (it's in Issue 91) if you fancy it.  In summary, it's a good book!  And my review starts by quoting E.M. Delafield.

2.) Linda Gillard's A Lifetime Burning is a very good, strange, wonderful book.  I said that, in a few more words, back in a rather speedy review here.  It's now available on Kindle here at the ridiculously cheap price of 88p.  It's not the most comfortable read ever, but it is Linda's masterpiece. Twenty-six reviews on Amazon; all five-star - that's got to mean something.

3.) Peirene's Short Story Month competition (PeiShoStoMo), which I mentioned here, is done and dusted.  Lots of congrats to Rose Rankin-Gee and her great story 'London', which you can read here.

4.) Some other lovely bloggers are joining in A Century of Books: see what Fleur Fisher, Read the Book, Geranium Cat and Harriet Devine have planned, and let me know if you post your own plans on your blog.  (Sorry if you've already told me and I forgot!)

5.) I keep linking to Claire's reviews, but she keeps reviewing wonderful books wonderfully well!  I can't believe another blogger has read Miss Elizabeth Bennet by A.A. Milne - read Claire's lovely review here.  My plan for people to read and love AAM's obscure adult plays/sketches/novels/essays is finally coming to fruition!  He wrote so, so much, I could fill up a third of A Century of Books with Milne alone...

6.) Finally, I was delighted with Slightly Foxed sent me the latest of their Slightly Foxed Editions: it's Dodie Smith's autobiography Look Back With Love.  One of her autobiographies, I should say, since I think she penned a fair few.  I've been wanting to read this for a while, since I love I Capture the Castle, and this beautiful edition is perfect.  I hope to get onto it soon, but for now - more info is here.


  1. I think it would be great to be a librarian! I'm jealous!

    Megan @ Storybook Love Affair

  2. Congratulations on your new job!

    I never knew Miss Elizabeth Bennet even existed, what a pleasant surprise!

    Now I want to eat chocolate cake ;-)

  3. Chocolate cake sounds like the perfect accompaniment to a working Saturday (and also the perfect reminder that it's been far too long since I baked a cake of any there's a task for this weekend!).

    I'm now desperate to hear more about Look Back with Love, Grove's description of it as "one of the happiest and funniest accounts of an Edwardian upbringing" making me almost certain that I'd love it. I love childhood memoirs, I love Edwardians, and I particularly love things that are both happy and funny so of course it appeals!

    The more people I see join A Century of Books, the more tempted I am to do the same. But it's those pesky final decades, from the seventies onwards, that make me pause. For now, I shall just observe you all in admiration from the sidelines.

    Thanks for the mention and, again, thanks for having pointed me towards Milne in the first place!

  4. Well I'm doing it and have just posted an updateon here:
    I like the sound of the new job -- I love those old rare books.

  5. Made a comment and it has vanished! So merely to say Claire and SImon that you will LOVE the Dodie Smith.

  6. Megan - I only do it part-time at the moment, but it is lovely when I'm around the beautiful rare books!

    stockdove - thank you! I should have mentioned that it's only for a couple of months, two days a week, but I'm hoping it might become more... And isn't it lovely when two great authors collide in the way they did with Miss EB?

    Claire - tragedy struck! We had no icing sugar, and I was going to ice it this morning... so no cake for me.
    I will get onto Look Back With Love soon, I'm sure (covering a tricky 1970s year!) - I really can't imagine *not* loving it.
    I would love you to join in ACOB! Even if not in one year. I think you'd find it easier than you thought...

    Harriet - of course you are, sorry - have updated. Everyone else seems to be doing better than me so far...

    Elaine - hurrah! I'm now even more certain that I will :)

  7. It's been a dream of mine since I was a tot to work in a library! Just the smell of it makes me happy, and all the strange cases you must encounter everyday. Great material for a book!

  8. Simon

    My review of Look Back with Love

    I simply LOVED it

  9. Daniel - I must say, I prefer Rare Books departments to Reader Services, mostly because of the beautiful books. I don't like New Book smell...

    Elaine - thanks! I'm now even more keen to read this.

  10. Thanks for the Century in Books links - I have a particiular interest in that one of my challenges for the year is to read 19 British novels first published in 1972. Will watch this slot with interest!

  11. Hi Simon -
    I have actually written another book review! It's of I Capture the Castle, so thought you might like it, as I was inspired to get it from reading your blog. Am going to get Miss Hargreaves next.



I've now moved to, and all my old posts are over there too - do come and say hello :)

I probably won't see your comment here, I'm afraid, but all my archive posts can also be found at