Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Books and a Bit of Luck

Not that I'm a loser or anything like that, but I'm not usually the person at the company Christmas party taking home the raffle prizes.  Recently the planets aligned and I became stupendously lucky all of a sudden, winning a photo contest and two draws through blogging and a sweatshirt from the library.  Wouldn't you know it though, getting cocky I bought a lottery ticket and my luck ended right then and there. C'est la vie and really, would I want to run the risk that all that money could possibly affect who I am anyway?
My smile could not have been any brighter at finding a copy of, Mapp and Lucia, by E.F. Benson, courtesy of Rochester Reader, in my mailbox.  A few days later, South Riding, by Winifred Holtby arrived, ever so cheekily sweetly, accompanied by a copy of O Pioneers! by Willa Cather.  Book Snob is convinced that she can illuminate me to the joys of American literature and will not rest until I experience this book for myself.  Shy away from nothing lest you face a force to be reckoned with named, Rachel!

Dropping The Heiress off after an overnight visit this past Sunday, R and I browsed a few second-hand shops in the blustery downtown area of Kitchener.  I should know better than to wear flats without socks there, it's always so much colder!  The only thing my search was yielding was a stiff neck from tilting my head to read the spines.  Then what do I spy but R walking towards me holding a copy of, A Wreath of Roses, by Elizabeth Taylor, I think he was saying something like 'do you have this one?'  Honestly, the only thing I saw was a fabulous book surrounded by a halo of light.  Then, back he goes and quickly spots, Miss Mole, by the wonderful E.H. Young, only the very book I've most wanted to read since being completely enamoured by, William!  Spotting green spines has made these bookish outings a great source of fun for my husband as he takes great pleasure in being way more successful at it than I am.    

Somewhere between here and Paperback Reader's house there is a copy of, The Winds of Heaven, by Monica Dickens.  Lady Luck struck again during Persephone Reading Weekend leaving me almost embarrassed to claim another prize, almost.  I think that saying the Brits have of 'all your Christmases and birthdays coming at once' applies here because if you are a book lover it is the best gift there is and that is exactly how I am feeling at the moment.


  1. Listen to Book Snob, Willa Cather is wonderful ... and if I remember rightly, that was the first one I read, too.
    What a run of luck you've been having. Shame about the lottery ticket though. You could have set yourself up in business in a second hand bookshop.

  2. Oh you lucky lady! And I've never even heard of that Elizabeth Taylor--very intrigued... K x

  3. Such lovely books! I look forward to reading your thoughts about them. I also hadn't heard of that particular Taylor. How sweet that your husband keeps a lookout for Virago gems for you :-)

  4. Hehehehehe! Darlene you have been so lucky! Even if one of the books you received was totally unwanted! Between me and Mary, you've got no choice but to read Willa and love her! Mwa ha ha!

  5. Good for you with the run of luck. Enjoy the reading.

  6. Congratulations on your wins! I have most of the Mapp and Lucia books and now you have mentioned them I must start a re-read. I've read A Wreath of Roses too, and must find it again (I love Elizabeth Taylor) - AND William has just arrived this morning! Worth the wait for the cover alone! They sent it airmail from the UK to Australia and it has taken four or more weeks to get here.

  7. I just had to stop in and say how delightful your book-buying spree was. I have visions of a haloed gent carrying books upon books to his fair lady. Have fun with your reads.

  8. How lucky to have a husband who can spot a green spine at 100 paces! And to find Miss Mole too. I am jealous, I would love to read it. South Riding is wonderful, I hope you enjoy it. I have the DVD of the series on the way to me at the moment. Who needs lottery tickets when you can have a book haul like that?

  9. Ooh, you have won the lottery with those books!

  10. I loved South Riding (even though I think it needs some editing for today's reading public; parts are over-written) and all of the Mapp & Lucia series are great fun (and the dramatizations from the 1980s). Have tried Elizabeth Taylor without success, but will try her again! Don't have this particular book, but five others. Not tried W. Cather, either. But have fun with your latest books and well done on winning so many goodies!
    Margaret P

  11. Listen to Rachel. You're going to love Willa Cather, Darlene! O Pioneers! is my favorite so far, but there are several still waiting on my shelf.
    So jealous about South Riding...

  12. Great stash of books!

    I picked up couple of Persephone's at the library today

    Few Eggs and No Oranges and The Homemaker


  13. mary, My bookmark doesn't get out of England much these days but apparently push has come to shove! And oh, the thought of owning a second-hand bookshop...brief interlude there for teensy fantasy.

    Kristina, TBD has the reissue on preorder. It's supposed to be her darkest novel with one heck of an ending...who can resist that?!

    Cristina, I won't be visiting my shelves for awhile as my winnings will keep me very happy and very busy! What do you think...a huge floppy sunhat for when I read Mapp and Lucia?

    Bookssnob, All joking aside, this little exercise will kick me out of my comfort zone and I will be all the better for it. But don't be surprised if you receive large white Granny pants in the mail for Christmas!

    Mystica, Oh thank you, I will!

    Elizabeth, Oh you poor thing, such a long wait for William! Well, when you get to it, please send me an email and let me know how you liked it. And isn't ET absolutely divine...once I have read a few more of her books I desperately want to read Nicola Beauman's, The Other Elizabeth Taylor.

    lifeonthecutoff, My husband is lovely and very supportive but he also likes the reward as I gave him a big kiss for finding such treasure! Enjoy your day!

    lyn, I dove right into South Riding! Hopefully the series will appear here in a couple months time so I wanted to be ready. My husband is such a good sport, even if he does pronounce my Persephones, 'Persnickity Books'.

    verity, A fortunate reader indeed.

    Margaret, So far I'm still getting to know the characters in South Riding but I'm really enjoying it...wonder what will become of Midge? And please don't give up on Elizabeth Taylor! I hate sounding like everyone should love the books that I do but oh, her writing is wonderful.

    JoAnn, South Riding was a prize for that photo of Deacon in my pinny that you enjoyed so much, what a hilarious memory! And as for O Pioneers!, who could possibly disagree with you, Rachel or Mary...I'll keep you posted.

    Dizzy C, Few Eggs and No Oranges is such a fabulous read and despite its size, I didn't want it to end! You're in for a real treat!

  14. Well done you, Darlene! I did have a chuckle at "Honestly, the only thing I saw was a fabulous book surrounded by a halo of light" - wonderful! I love serendipitous book finds - so to stumble across Miss Mole (or for R to do so) - what a delight!
    I've got A Wreath of Roses on my shelves, and I think it's the next Elizabeth Taylor I'm going to read.

  15. I love Persnickity Books ... admit it, he does have a point! That's what I feel about them when I've over-indulged.
    Maybe we should start a lottery syndicate for you over here - Friends of Darlene - and if we win, we'll set you up in business on Charing X Road.

  16. StuckInABook, You chuckled because you recognized the feeling don't you! I'll be watching to see what you think of A Wreath of Roses should you get to it before me.

    mary, Oh he will love that you're agreeing with him! And wouldn't that be something...a shop on Charing Cross Rd, nevermind the tube, I would float to work every single day!

  17. What a great skill, to be able to hone in on coveted books like that! I loved Miss Mole. I hope you enjoy it.

  18. Miss Mole is imho much better than William - one of my all time favourites! Fabulous haul of books. I love the Taylor. Do you think as I've had no really exciting finds in secondhand bookshops this week I should buy a ticket for the Euro millions :) I wish! Keep finding those hidden treasures so much fun for the rest of us too!

  19. Chuffed for you!! Soak up the joy that such good luck brings. And you will love Miss Mole. My copy was borrowed from the library stack on Stuck In A Book's recommendation and it was a great read, I did relish my reading of William too, and have to thank you for the impetus of the read along.

  20. motheretc, With so many enthusiastic recommendations I am even more excited to read it, thank you!

    Cozy in Texas, Lovely of you to stop by and say so, enjoy your day!

    ramblingfancy, Miss Mole certainly has no shortage of fans and I'm even happier to have her now. Oh wouldn't a lottery win just be the cherry on top...but you're right, wishing is probably as far as it will go, sadly.

    Martina, So you did go on to read more Young, fabulous! William has definitely lingered in my thoughts, the read-along definitely made it an extra special experience. Thank goodness for people like you to share these books with as I have yet to meet a soul here who reads anything like them!

  21. Oh absolutely! And if you're anything like me, you'll suddenly find that the words 'tarsome' and 'au reservoir' have permanently entered your vocabulary :-)

  22. I'm looking forward to the pants :)

    And you should look forward to The Willa Cather Omnibus :)

  23. A lot of money would only ruin you, but think how much these lovely books will improve your mind! Definitely the better win (well, it sounds good anyway :) ). You have quite the windfall of good books there (and must ditto Rachel about O Pioneers--I bet you will like it!). And that R is a keeper--anyone who Brings Viragos to you is someone you need to take to the bookstore often! I hope to read South Riding soon, too

  24. Wonderful! I love that your husband looks out for the green spines for you! I have one like that, too!

    I think you'll like Miss Mole. Perfect weekend-by-the-fire reading! I've just finished South Riding which I thoroughly enjoyed.

    I haven't read that one of Elizabeth Taylor's and I must dig out Mapp and Lucia. I started it a LONG time ago, but was side-tracked...

    Don't give up on the Lottery!

  25. Haven't read any of the books, but congratulations on the "lottery" - green spines in second hand bookstores are always a pleasure; even more so if you're feeling like you're out of luck. =)

    Enjoy the reads!