Saturday, December 15, 2012

Big Books, Short Books, Old Books and New

The sales figures for eReaders continue to rise but bookshops are overflowing with customers at the moment.  A sight which makes my heart sing!  Four employees were steadily ringing up sales at my local Indigo shop yesterday as the line-up was constantly added to.  My family likes to arrive at the threshold and then wave each other off as we head to the area we each like best.  Our latest trip was to pick up a stash of magazines for indulgent slothing about during the Christmas break.  You know the days - pajamas until noon and the coffee table is littered with clementine peels and Quality Street wrappers. 

A few new books have arrived on my shelves either through the mail, bookshop or found at a second-hand shop so let's see if you can be tempted...

Friends & Relations by Elizabeth Bowen - If you haven't discovered this magnificent author yet then you are missing out, I am telling you!  From the back...

During a soft summer in the 1920s, the Studdart sisters marry and set up house, one in London and one on a country estate.  However, things are not as they seem.  Using careful, elliptical prose interspersed with comic quips and populated by memorable characters, Elizabeth Bowen reveals how these seemingly placid lives are anchored in lies.'  And...'For admirers of the Bloomsbury circle and watchers of Downton Abbey, Friends and Relations offers an unforgettable comedy of manners tinged with romance and regret.'

Treasure Hunt by Molly Keane - I bought this one because Danielle from A Work in Progress piqued my interest about this author in one of her posts and secondly because while flipping through the pages I spotted the words 'tea tray'.  Call me shallow but there you have it - one ever so slight mention of the partaking of tea and I instantly become fond of a story.  First published in 1952 this Virago reissue has been languishing on the shelves at BMV Books in Toronto for ages, I've passed it over numerous times, so it was time to just give it a home.

'To the outrage of their elders and the servants, Phillip and Veronica decide to do the unspeakable and take in paying guests.  A battle of wills commences, with Consuelo and Hercules doing their utmost to thwart the new regime.  In the midst of it all is old and dotty Aunt Anna Rose, who insists that she has some rubies.  If only she could remember where she hid them...'

The Brickfield by L. P. Hartley - By the look of things John Murray Publishers is in the midst of reissuing several of Hartley's novels.  The timing couldn't be better for me as I absolutely loved The Hireling and The Go-Between earlier this year.  Head off to The Book Depository for details...

'A lonely boy living on his uncle's farm in the Lincolnshire Fens, Richard Mardick's solitary existence is interrupted by a chance meeting, and the idyllic love affair, with Lucy.  A disused brickfield is the scene of their clandestine meetings, and it is there that Richard finds her drowned in a muddy pool' 
A sequel called The Betrayal will be printed later in 2013 and the wait will be unbearable!

Upstairs & Downstairs by Sarah Warwick - This is one of those coffee table books you find on the clearance table at your local bookshop and makes for entertaining browsing.  Full of gorgeous photos and illustrations it covers every aspect of domestic life in country houses as well as articles on the suffragette movement, George Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf, other Bloomsbury Group members...and P G Wodehouse! 

Last week I succumbed to a terrible virus making the rounds and was in bed for two days.  This book was on the pillow next to me for most of the time and was just the thing when I could muster the strength for something light. 

A copy of Loving, Living and Party Going by Henry Green is on its way from The Book Depository because Book Snob makes it so ridiculously hard to refuse.  Three titles for the price of one and I'm really looking forward to discovering this author.

So who is clearing space on their bookshelves in anticipation of bookish gifts from others or yourself? 

19 comments:

  1. What lovely lovely books! I love all these authors but have not read these novels by Bowen, Keane and Hartley -- looking forward very much to your reviews. As for Henry Green, I love him more than I can say. I think Loving is my absolute favourite. What fun you have in store.

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    1. Well I will do my very best not to leave you in suspense too long, Harriet! A stocked pantry and a snowstorm preventing me from going to work would go a long way to helping me get those reviews out in no time *sigh*. Enjoy your day!

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  2. I wish I was...I don't often get books as gifts; I think it can be intimidating to buy books for me. But you don't have to tempt me with 'indulgent slothing about,' a phrase I shall shamelessly steal from you. That has already been scheduled, and some books (one from my bookshelves, and a ridiculously high stack from the lbrary) picked out. :)

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    1. Hahaha, you can help yourself, happy slothing! Good on you for reading from your shelves - something I should be doing but you lot keep tempting me.

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  3. Have you seen this?http://www.yarnstorm.blogs.com/
    I am so tempted, but for the thought of how many times it will topple over ... or what happens if you get desperate to read the one at the bottom ... or the library fines that might pile up because something is out of sight. But still, the thought of making a feature out of The Pile!

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    1. I LOVE that! We should do that at the library with the load of discards we have on the sale table. A couple of weeks wouldn't make any difference!

      There has been two different Christmas seasons when parents have brought in library movies their little cherubs wrapped up so they could share a gift with Mum and Dad. An offence that's way too cute to collect fines for. Thanks for that link, Mary!

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  4. Oh Darlene, I love the idea of you buying a book because it mentioned a tea tray! I must read more Molly Keane, and have this one I think, so will be keeping an eye out to see what you think of it.

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    1. So you don't find me shallow, superficial and emotional then - good! The book was first written as a play so that should make it even more fun to read...with a cup of tea nearby, of course. Stay tuned!

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  5. I am tempted by Friends and Relations by Bowen because she is one of my favorite authors. Upstairs Downstairs also sounds good. I can never get enough of the Bloomsbury group and I love looking at houses in the English countryside. So happy to hear that your local book store was thriving. Such a happy sight at this time of the year.

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    1. Since we don't have the luxury of Charing Cross Road just a tube ride away we have to grab Bowen's titles when they appear. I am so glad this one was reissued as it seems to be a scarce book around here. Oh Sunday, I could look at houses in the English countryside all day long...*sigh*.

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  6. Hello! I've just encountered your blog and have spent several hours over the past few days looking through all of your posts. Thank you for providing such lovely things to read and pictures to look at! I too am a huge Anglophile and hope, in fact, to get to England within the next few years. I've quite enjoyed your blog and will be a new follower of yours! :-)

    Samantha (A Musical Feast)

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    1. Lovely of you to stop by, Samantha! Planning that much-anticipated trip to England is half the fun. I keep a notepad by the computer for jotting down shops, galleries and neighbourhoods that sound intriguing. My first trip over was filled with so much wonder I barely took it in but each trip now feels like arriving at a second home! Everyone talks about how expensive it is but I disagree, there are so many sublime vistas to take in for free and loads of museums and galleries are free as well. I hope you get to England sooner rather than later!

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    2. Hi Darlene, I am just popping in to say thanks for your blog which has been a delight to follow this year. I live in the Antipodes and were it not for caring for an elderly blind mother would already be on my longed-for journey to the UK. My plans have been underway since I was 15 (I am now 58!) and the list grows longer each day. Your recent visit added several "musts" to the said list. Have a very Happy Christmad.

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  7. What a lovely stack of books. I hope you enjoy Molly Keane! When I first read her I knew she was someone whose work I needed to read all of! I need to get back to her books as I was reading them in order they were written. I really like her but must admit the sporting/hunting life is probably not for me (still interesting to read about it). I had no idea there was a sequel to The Go-Between--must check that out so thanks for the heads up. And the Bowen sounds great--I've read a few of her books but that was ages ago--she is already on my list for next year! Enjoy your bookish goodies as well as a leisurely holiday! :)

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    1. Oh Danielle, the sequel is for The Brickfield not The Go-Between so you could be frustrated looking for one! Thanks so much for making me aware of Molly Keane, no doubt it will be a great read and I'm with you on the sporting/hunting thing. I always cheer for the animals to get away!

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  8. You've successfully tempted me to add Friend and Relations to my To Read list. I dropped some strong hints for several Persephone titles as Christmas gifts, so I'm hoping to have some new reading loot of my own by next week.

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    1. If you have never read Bowen then prepare to be blown away! Hahaha, the hinting that goes on at Christmas....priceless. Well, who could resist buying Persephone titles for someone special? It's not as if you're asking for diamonds and pearls...here's hoping your loved ones have placed an order. Enjoy the holidays!

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  9. what splendid choices!

    have never read the Henry book - going to peer into the interweb and read more about it now and then come back to visit you to see what you think...

    splendid blog.

    linking to you right now.

    _teamgloria

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  10. Good stash, Darlene. I happen to KNOW my sister's got me the new India Knight!

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