20 January 2015

Old Books, New Books, and I'm Booked

Last Friday I drove to the ReUse Centre in search of anything by Barbara Comyns; Our Spoons Came From Woolworths has turned me into an enamoured fan.  Unfortunately, there was nothing on the shelves but further along the 'C' section I found a very nice consolation prize.


Part one of Diana Cooper's autobiography The Rainbow Comes and Goes was missing but I still consider myself very lucky.  These two books are in near pristine condition with spines so tight I can tell they've never been read.  The cover art on both books is gorgeous but I am over the moon about the painting by Dame Laura Knight on Trumpets From the Steep.  The image continues on the back cover but in all its glory the painting is shown below....



A Balloon Site by Laura Knight, 1943

The Light of Common Day opens in 1923 as Diana and Duff board a ship to cross the Atlantic with provisions from Fortnum & Mason.  Irresistible.  Another interesting find was Flavia Leng's tribute to her mother Daphne du Maurier: A Daughter's Memoir.  I've only read My Cousin Rachel and can hardly call myself a devotee but this sort of commentary on the twentieth century could not be left behind....and it was only $1.  Now, on to new books...


Last Saturday, at Ben McNally Books, I found a book that I'm quite sure the people at Everyman's Library put together just for me.  I already own a copy of Ghost Stories and Christmas Stories (some of these are pretty spooky too, if you ask me) and couldn't be happier to add London Stories to my collection.  Covering works from 1603 up to 1999, I stood in place reciting the list of authors including John Evelyn, George Gissing, Graham Greene, Mollie Panter-Downes, Muriel Spark, and Elizabeth Bowen.  No doubt the pitch of my voice was raised by an octave with the excitement of each passing name as I recited to my husband.  Such a supportive and patient man.  The blue book that's hiding is The Mitford Girls' Guide to Life by Lyndsy Spence and founder of an on-line community dedicated to the sisters.  Full of anecdotal events and their thoughts on all sorts of subjects from shooting parties to fashion, the book's appeal is part curiousity and part tongue-in-cheek laughs.  Perfect for dipping in and out of this is the book to grab if you have an appointment or a wait in a departure lounge.  Speaking of which....

I am thrilled to be heading back to London in May and already have a date to meet Mary (Mrs. Miniver's Daughter) in the Rose Garden of Regent's Park.  Elizabeth Bowen strolled this area with Charles Ritchie, and others, so I'll be drinking it all in while dodging bees and keeping my eye out for adorable English robins.  I'm also planning to take the train out to Cambridge and so excited about the Eric Ravilious exhibit at the Dulwich Picture Gallery!  Also, I've roped my long-suffering colleagues into another read-along; it's The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins come February.  The author is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery so if the need arises for an atmospheric day out during a grey day I just might stop by.  Planning is half the fun...

8 comments:

  1. You certainly did well with your book finds. I am so very envious if your planned trip to London and look forward to a full report. By the way, how are your shoulders?

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    1. They're in excellent working order with full mobility, thank goodness! The only residual issue is a ligament or tendon (not sure what it is) on my left shoulder blade that clicks every once in awhile and I can certainly live with that. Lovely of you to ask, Margaret, and I will do my best to take you on a mini-trip around London with my report once I get back!

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    1. Fingers crossed it will be a blue sky day...or my weatherman voodoo doll will have to come out!

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  3. How wonderful to be going to London (she says jealously) and how even more wonderful to be meeting someone (she says sincerely, knowing from experience).

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    1. I remember..you met JoAnn; lucky you! It's nice to 'hear' their voice in their posts. I met Claire from Captive Reader, a fellow Canadian, in London of all places since we were there at the same time. You never know, Audrey, we just might pull off the same thing one day.

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  4. Those finds look very good. Now awaiting your reviews on them!

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  5. If only my reading was as quick as my ability to add to the bookshelves, Mystica. Lovely to hear from you!

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