Sorry I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogosphere this week (although perhaps it won’t have felt like that to you!) – I seem to have been utterly exhausted all week, hitting the hay as soon as I get in through the door.
Of course, that hasn’t been oh-so-early every night. On Thursday I got home at about 9.30pm after a day packed with fun in London. Well, actually, my morning was spent having a lovely conversation with my friend Clare, who used to work at the Bodleian with me, and now lives in my third favourite city in Britain (I think), Edinburgh – it comes after Oxford and Bath, in case you were wondering, although I do have a soft spot for Wells, for being not remotely like a city.
First things first in London, I headed off to Notting Hill Book and Comic Exchange. I don’t know the geography of London at all well, and basically I navigate by the bookshops I know and love. There must be lots that are waiting for me, which I’ve somehow never found – but I buy more than enough from this one, trust me. This is the first time I’ve taken books in to sell/exchange – a hefty pile, for which (he barked at me) “£6 sale, £12 exchange”. Well, what do you think I did? And with my £12 vouchers in hand, I headed off to browse.
If you’re thinking that £12 for about 15 books was a little mean of them, then fear not – very few of their books are more than £2 or £3, and there are three big (unsorted) basement rooms where books are 50p each. But I didn’t have the time to head down there – nor, since they put in lots more bookcases, do I find it a particularly enjoyable place to browse – but the cream of the crop is upstairs. In the past I’ve found a signed novel by Rose Macaulay (£1), a signed novel by A.P. Herbert (£1) and countless other gems. On Thursday I certainly came away with a sizeable pile… and today’s post I’m going to tell you about them. In tomorrow’s post, I’ll write about the reason I was in London – which was to attend a wonderful party put on the deliciously delightful folk at Bloomsbury.
So… onto the books. These, by the way, include my 2000th book, according to my LibraryThing account. I wonder which one it was… anyway, here they all are. As per usual – comments, please, especially if you’ve read them!
A Dedicated Man – Elizabeth Taylor
Appropriate during her centenary year. There always seems to be an ET on their shelves, oddly enough.
Identity – Milan Kundera
I read this a while ago (thoughts here) but wanted a copy for myself – and it’s in the same quirky edition.
The Magic Toyshop – Angela Carter
This was pretty appropriate on the way to an Angela Carter event! I adore these Virago patterned editions, but this is the first one I’ve actually got – and it’s beautiful!
Travel Light – Naomi Mitchison
Well, a cheap VMC… why not? And one with a nice cover, too.
The Unmade Bed – Francoise Sagan
A lovely Hesperus edition of an author I’ve been doing my usual: collecting, and not getting around to buying.
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne – Brian Moore
Quite a few of you recommended this when I listed the books published in 1985 – and what can I do but obey?
The Man Who Planted Trees – Jean Giono
Ok, I already have this – but it’s the illustrations which make little books like this, and this edition has different illustrations. Harry Brockway, since you ask.
Loving and Giving – Molly Keane
Absolutely hideous edition, but needs must. Well, not needs, perhaps. But I was (wait for it) Keane to read more Keane.
Mansfield – C.K. Stead
I have read some of Stead’s criticism of Katherine Mansfield, but I hadn’t realised that she (or perhaps he… hmm…) had written a novelisation of Mansfield’s life.
They also had six old copies of the Slightly Foxed Quarterly – and I grabbed all of ’em.