I did say that the book haul discussed the other day was but half of the recent arrivals – and here are some more. Our Vicar, Our Vicar’s Wife, and myself went on a trip to Witney to find Church Green Books. Truth be told, it leaned towards the select and expensive, and there were remarkably few novels to choose from. Lots of topography, though, and I have learnt since that they are the country’s best bookshop for works on bells and bellringing, but… I came away with just two books. One (not pictured) was William the Gangster – as part of my plan to gather up Richmal Crompton’s William books when I stumble across them. The other was Self by Beverley Nichols.
But all was not lost – we popped into the Oxfam bookshop. I had been there a week earlier, actually, and bought Good Evening, Mrs. Craven – one of the Persephones which I somehow didn’t previously own. They must have restocked their shelves, because I came out laden with some gems. Here goes…
Memento Mori – Muriel Spark
Every time I do one of these lists, I seem to come out with a Spark novel, don’t I? This one is lined up for my book group later in the year, and is also the first Spark cover I’ve seen that I actually really like, simple as it is.
The Misses Mallett – E.H. Young
This was a rather lovely find – I’ve got plenty of Young novels lined up now, and this is one I’ve heard good things about. A rather lovely edition too.
The Return of the Solider – Rebecca West
Ok, I do already have this, but it’s a different Virago Modern Classics edition – one with a really hideous cover. This one has a Vanessa Bell painting, and she’s one of my favourite painters. Next time I’m in Somerset, I’ll be giving away the other copy… to anyone who can cope with the cover. It really is a brilliant novel, by the by.
The Land of Green Ginger – Winifred Holtby
Don’t know anything about this, but I’m not the sort of guy who can leave behind an attractive Virago, now, am I?
The Perfect Pest – Adrian Porter
This is the sort of fun, unusual little book I don’t expect to find in a charity shop – from 1936, it’s little comic poems accompanied by Joyce Dennys-esque sketches. I’ve read it already, and will post more about it soon…
And now for the other books – most of which came from the £2 bookshop in Oxford – except the first two.
The Slaves of Solitude – Patrick Hamilton
An e-friend Rhona recommended this book, and this is how she did it: “I often think it is like a dark, gothic version of The Priory, or a Panter Downs short story, a Persphone novel seen through a dark distorting glass. Maybe a bit like Barbara Comyns, Simon?” I don’t think she could possibly have described this in any way more certain to make me order a copy. And when I found that a NYRB Classics edition existed, I refused to have any other copy.
Look Back in Hunger – Jo Brand
Now that I’ve met her (still recovering from how amazing that was) I feel I should read her autobiography – I suspect it’ll be a fun read.
Instances of the Number 3 – Salley Vickers
Are there any authors you’re sure you’ll love, to the extent that you buy up all their work before you’ve read a single word of their novels? Vickers is one of several authors in that category for me…
So I Have Thought of You – Penelope Fitzgerald
You probably know that I’m a sucker for published letters of authors, and for a couple of pounds I couldn’t resist this one. Now I need to read more of her novels too.
People I Wanted To Be – Gina Ochsner
I bought this short story collection entirely because of its cover.
The Easter Parade – Richard Yates
I thought Revolutionary Road was simply stunning, so next time I feel like a bit of American sombreness, I’ll turn to Yates. To be honest, that mood doesn’t overtake me very often – but it’s good to have one on reserve.
Hanging On: Diaries vol.3 – Frances Partridge
Erik commented on my post about Henrietta Garnett that Partridge’s diaries had interesting details about the family, so I thought I’d add this to my pile of Bloomsbury books.