An update on my mystery bookplate

Just thought I’d share this comment on an old post that I received today. The mystery remains unsolved, but perhaps one day someone will find my post via a search and provide more information about the ladies.

Roger Thomas and his partner Jacquie Aucott are booksellers with a very interesting selection of books available online. I bet their “real world” book and antique shop is a great place to visit too.


More imitation

Copying Jo’s reading list idea this time. This is what I read in January (most recent first):

Fourpence for Four Meals by Grace Noakes Reminiscences of an East End childhood. Clearly an amateur writer, but I love reading the life stories of ordinary people.
Rough Justice by Gilda O’Neill (read by Annie Aldington) This is so dire I almost didn’t admit to it, but honesty prevails! It did however make me think that surely I must be able to write something publishable…
The Smith of Smiths by Hesketh Pearson Biography of the Rev. Sydney Smith – a very interesting character.
Full Tilt by Dervla Murphy (read by Kate Binchy) Absolutely wonderful! My first Dervla Murphy book, but definitely not the last. Sadly the only one available on audio from the library, but plenty of others in print for me to work my way through.
Our Hidden Lives edited by Simon Garfield Fascinating Mass Observation diaries from the years just after WW2.
The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson An interesting easy read, but left me feeling somewhat uneasy about the commoditisation of madness.
Nemesis by Jo Nesbo (read by Sean Barrett) Sean Barrett is one of my favourite narrators. Clever plot, if a bit improbable in places.
Underground London by Stephen Smith (read by Karen Cass) Interesting subject matter, tiresome writing style, not particularly well read.
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham (read by Sir Michael Horden) A lucky CS find for £1. Wonderfully read by Sir Michael.
The Caller by Karin Fossum (read by David Rintoul) Standard Karin Fossum fare, well read.
Rumpole at Christmas by John Mortimer (read by Bill Wallis) Enjoyable background listening whilst sock-knitting.
Spencer’s Mountain by Earl Hamner Made me want to watch every episode of The Waltons all over again.
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder I love the “Little House” stories and this was a lovely winter read.
Snowdrops by A D Miller (read by Kevin Howarth) A tad implausible in places, but enjoyable listening.
Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg (read by Pat Starr) Sentimental twaddle, but pleasant easy listening.

Not sure if I’ll keep the list going all year, but when I feel a bit glum about how little I achieve due to being ill I can at least be pleased that I do get time to read a lot. Thank goodness for West Sussex library service which helps to keep the cost of my book-reading to a minimum. I’d rather read a book than watch TV any day and listening to an audio book when ill is a wonderful way to take your mind off life’s difficulties.


Vintage media

To celebrate the addition Nicky’s interesting and amusing Knit for Victory to my blogroll, here’s an image from my own, much smaller, collection of vintage knitting patterns.

As well as my knitting patterns I have …um… quite a few vintage magazines, mostly from the 1940s, 50s and 60s and a collection of early to mid 20th century household management, gardening, cookery, craft, DIY and self-improvement books.

I find old print media utterly fascinating and although I’m not an obsessive collector by any means, I do love picking through a pile of dusty musty paper in pursuit of treasure.

OK, so a picture of a bloke wearing a fancy-knit pullover and lighting a fag might not be everyone’s idea of treasure, but to me it’s 20 pence worth of interesting social history.

A Thatch Roof – update

When I first wrote about A Thatched Roof by Beverley Nichols I said that it was

“Pure heavenly bliss! With the added pleasure of knowing there are many more books by Beverley Nichols that I haven’t yet read to look forward to. Beverley Nichols is a name familiar from my childhood, but somehow overlooked as someone whose writing may be of any interest to me.”

So I was thoroughly tickled to read the following in a later chapter:

“It was Maeterlinck who forced me to keep bees. Until this third year at the cottage I had never read his Life of the Bee. One goes through life, like that, leaving books unread, music unheard, pictures unseen, and although it is very reprehensible, in some ways it is comforting to think that there are so many lovely things yet to be learned.”

It is indeed most comforting to think of lovely things as yet unlearned. Must add Life of the Bee to my reading list…

A bit of light relief

One of the books I got from the library earlier in the week is A Thatched Roof by Beverley Nichols with illustrations by Rex Whistler. Pure heavenly bliss! With the added pleasure of knowing there are many more books by Beverley Nichols that I haven’t yet read to look forward to. Beverley Nichols is a name familiar from my childhood, but somehow overlooked as someone whose writing may be of any interest to me. Until now…

Have I mentioned before how much I love West Sussex library service? Not only do they have wonderful staff, pleasant buildings and an excellent selection of books on the shelves, but they also have a stored collection of rare and out of print books which are available library members to borrow for the 60p request fee. So the copy of A Thatched Roof which I’m now enjoying dates from the year of publication (1933, fourth impression) and I love the thought that literally generations of library users have borrowed and read this particular volume before me.

The red-bound book still has it’s neat brown pocket inside the front cover with the record card which was used to track borrowings in ye olden days. It’s only been borrowed once or twice a year since the date-stamping system started and perhaps not much before that as it’s in pretty good condition for a book nearly 80 years old, but WSLS continues to store it ready for anyone who cares to read it. I suppose the storage is costly, but thankfully it’s still seen as worthwhile by those who manage the budget and much appreciated by those of us who love old books.

Many of Beverley Nichols books, including A Thatched Roof, are available in modern editions (including Kindle), but for me reading a copy that has been in physical existence since the year of publication enhances the pleasure I get from it. A Thatched Roof is the second book of the Allways trilogy, the others being Down The Garden Path and Village in a Valley. Sadly I’ll have to read the former in a modern edition, but vintage copies of Village in a Valley and several other Nichols’ books are awaiting my pleasure in the library archives.

I had a plan for today

Which was to go down to the seafront to watch the annual Boxing Day Dip when a few hardy souls dash into and out of the sea to raise money for charity. But Mr Migraine visited in the night, so instead I’ve spent most of the day physically in bed and mentally in Sweden.

My current audio book is The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larsson which by happy chance came through from my library reservation request just in time for Christmas. Having put off reading the “Dragon Tattoo” books for ages on the grounds that they were bound to be disappointing after so much hype, I’m glad to say that I’ve enjoyed them all immensely.

I’m not going to make a plan for tomorrow, but hopefully today’s enforced rest will pay off, so I can get on and start ticking a few things off my to-do list…

Thank goodness for audio books

On bad days when I have to pretty much stay in bed all day, listening to an audio book is my favourite low-energy-demand activity. If I fall asleep I can just rewind and start again, if I can’t sleep the story takes my mind off how shite I feel and transports me out of the four walls of my bedroom.

Today has been a bit short of a fully fledged “bad day”, but definitely a “rest as much as possible day” and I have been away in the Shetland Islands solving a mystery with Jimmy Perez, via Red Bones by Anne Cleeves on cassette tapes. It’s not as good as having a real life, but it makes the long hours of convalescence pass quicker.