A surprise on the shelf

Do you ever just go and look along your bookshelves, reminding yourself of the exciting and interesting books you’ve been meaning to read?  It generally fills me half with joy that they’re there, and despair that I don’t have time to read them immediately.  But it’s also fun to pull things off the shelf, re-read the blurb, remember where you bought, ponder on how good they might end up being…

Today I did that with an author I’ve intended to read more of for ages – Janet Frame. I read a collection of her short stories four years ago, and have bought a fair few over the years.  One of the most intriguing was The Adaptable Man, with this blurb:

Electricity is coming to Little Burgelstatham, cottages are being modernised and the Overspill from London is starting to encroach on the village.  While some would rather live in the past, Muriel Baldry welcomes the coming of electricity, as she can now hang her Venini Chandelier and organise a dinner party to celebrate it.  But does adapting to the twentieth century demand darker deeds?

This is a vividly portrayed and poetic novel with a beautifully balanced sense of the ridiculous.
That sounds wonderfully up my street – odd and quirky, but still domestic and parochial.  I moved it to my ‘must read soonish’ pile. In fact, I think I’ll read it for Kim’s ANZ Reading Week (extended to include New Zealand this year.)  And then I spotted this…

Well, that was a nice surprise!

10 thoughts on “A surprise on the shelf

  • March 1, 2014 at 6:14 pm
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    How wonderful Simon! What a lovely treat! Exploring your own bookshelves can be such fun (I think I might nip off and do just that!) I haven't yet read any Janet Frame although she's yet another of those authors on the I-really-must-check-this-writer-out list! Look forward to hearing what you think of the book.

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    • March 3, 2014 at 9:02 pm
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      It was a lovely surprise! The best instance of this was when I brought a Dorothy Whipple home and found it was signed :)

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    • March 3, 2014 at 9:02 pm
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      It does make me wonder if there are any signatures lying hidden on my shelves!

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  • March 2, 2014 at 6:08 pm
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    I keep all my unread books in one place, however I am so behind (I'm reading books bought last July at the moment) that I am having some lovely surprises. I have also had very good surprises with the Hardy Project I've been doing (instigated by Heaven-Ali) – I thought I'd read "The Trumpet Major" because I had it on my shelf, but actually hadn't, and I thought I disliked "Jude the Obscure" but really enjoyed my re-read!

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    • March 3, 2014 at 9:03 pm
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      I have way, way too many to keep them in one place! Most of the books I have in Oxford are unread, but I do have over a thousand unread books, so… :/

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    • March 6, 2014 at 9:55 am
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      Oh my goodness! I don't know whether I'm just really strict with myself or it's just that I've always had a TBR shelf and worked through it – having my two months of re-reading a year helps me to keep the balance. Also I haven't done a readingy PhD which must have cut down on your new reading for a few years!

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  • March 3, 2014 at 3:52 pm
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    This definitely struck a chord with me as my tbr pile is teetering dangerously. Life's too short… and getting shorter! We need a broken leg or some gentle malady to keep us from leaving the house for a few months :-) JJ

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    • March 3, 2014 at 9:03 pm
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      Oh yes! Something that leaves the eyes and brain unaffected, but requires bedrest….

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  • March 26, 2014 at 8:14 pm
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    COMPLETELY agree with the "ooh this is nice to have a little stroll along the bookshelf, these are all fun books I had forgotten I was going to read… oh goodness what am I doing with my life I'm never going to have time to read all of this and I really want to…" Adaptable Man sounds wonderful!

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