Oops, over the past week I seem to have acquired 14 books - how embarrassing. First I went to the Shelter shop on Forest Road during my Edinburgh trip. Because it's beside the University, you get a good class of second-hand book in there, and they have what they call their "vintage" shelf: not very large, but I've picked up some good things there over the years. This week I found:

The shop assistant, when I handed it over, said "Oh, I love this book!" - isn't it lovely when that happens? So much of the pleasure of reading is in sharing books. And then my mother said that she used to share a flat with one of the Frankaus (sister, I think) so she wants to read it after me - as the title suggests, the theatre figures largely.

 E. Arnot Robertson wrote Ordinary Families, which is a lovely coming-of-age novel, although rather more "knowing" than some. I think this sounds more melodramatic, about a young woman who falls obsessively in love with a bad lot (never trust an author...).

I recently reviewed The Constant Nymph, and I've read another excellent book by Kennedy, The Ladies of Lyndon, so I picked this up without even stopping to see what it's about. It seems to be a sort of Jekyll-and-Hyde novel about a Regency MP: intriguing!

LibraryThing very helpfully recommend this to me; pretty sure I read it as a child, the title seems very familiar. The four Gareth children are sent to Ireland for a holiday with their eccentric great-aunt. Can't go wrong really, and Streatfeild is such a sympathetic observer of children.

William Marshall wrote 16 Yellowthread Street mysteries. I reviewed The Hatchet Man recently. I've read maybe 7 or 8, and I have to have them all.

I went to hear the author, Jane Urquhart, talk about her new book, Sanctuary Line, with its beautiful cover, and of course I immediately wanted to read it.

I love Charles Williams - Narnia for grown-ups! And very much an acquired taste. It, and the remaining books, came from the Oxfam Bookshop in Bloomsbury - not quite the range of choice I'd hoped for (I wanted more old hardbacks, whereas its strength lies more in recent paperbacks, but I didn't have time to go further afield).

Whereas Dornford Yates is a giggle, Buchan without the seriousness, if you can imagine such a thing - which gives you some idea, perhaps, just what a bit of froth this is. There are lots of cars, and chases round an English countryside populated by yokels who touch their caps and answer respectfully when spoken to.

Anyone who's read A Dog So Small or Tom's Midnight Garden will know that Philippa Pearce writes magically for children. I expect this to be enchanting.

Robert Westall is a different kind of children's writer, and one who can be very frightening indeed - The Wind Eye was utterly chilling. I'd never heard of this, and have high hopes.

 I don't know how many times I've read A Candle for St Jude, but I've never owned a copy.

 This and the next are books I know nothing about - just that they are by authors I like.

Finally, I read this while I was still in London and, along with lots of other bloggers I know, loved it. What a glorious little book! I'll write about it during the week.

Several of this haul are immediately destined for the Century of Books, and I'm already finding myself checking the publication date to see if it's a year I need, and agonising if not. At which point I decided that, if I want to talk about more than one book in any year, I shall just go ahead and do so! The only requirement will be that every year must eventually be covered. I'm afraid the Century has become the latest obsession (I've read ten and a half books for it already), closely followed by Hurlyburlybuss, for which I can see a new list developing, of cross-over books like The Brontes Went to Woolworths, which I would have adored when I was 14 or so.


  1. Carol in Maryland28 January 2012 at 17:29

    I read BLITZCAT and loved it!

  2. This must be true confession time from us bookbloggers about the books we have picked up! I;m just about to do my post about the books I picked up last Friday, my first day out after my operation. They were on sale! I love how this is our justification - so far you, me, Cath, and Chris at Stuff as Dreams have used this excuse on our latest posts!!!

    I have to say, The Brontes went to Woolworths sounds interesting (just the title does! lol), I want to get The Wind Eye now, and The Growing Summer.

    So I hope to repay the favour with my new books on my post! LOL!!! I have to go see your review for The Hatchet Man too, most likely another mystery series for me to look for :-)

  3. An impressive collection you got there! Sadly, the cover pictures are so tiny that I can not work out what those books are where you have not given the author and/or title in your description.

  4. That's a stack of very interesting sounding books! I have The Brontes Went to Woolworths but have not read it yet. Likewise, Ordinary Families. I've not heard of that Philippa Pearce but she wrote one of my all-time favourite children's books, Minnow on the Say. One of these days I must read Tom's Midnight Garden. Enjoy them all and look forward to your thoughts on them at some stage.

  5. Goody to buying A Candle for St. Jude! It's one of my favorites. And I always love it when a bookshop clerk expresses affection for a book I'm buying.

  6. Carol, oh good! It looks very appealing.

    Susan, we need so few excuses to buy books, really.

    Librarian, I'm so sorry. They are, top to bottom: Pamela Frankau, The Willow Cabin; E. Arnot Robertson, Cullum; Margaret Kennedy, Troy Chimneys; Noel Streatfeild, The Growing Summer; William Marshall, To The End; Jane Urquhart, Sanctuary Line; Charles Williams, The Place of the Lion; Dornford Yates, Perishable Goods; Philippa Pearce, What the Nieghbours Did; Robert Westall, Blitzcat; Rumer Godden, A Candle for St Jude; Carol Shields, Happenstance; Penelope Fitzgerald, Innocence; and Rachel Ferguson, The Brontes Went to Woolworths. I wasn't thinking!

    Cath, I love Minnow on the Saye, it's such a wonderful book. Have you read L.M. Boston's The River at Green Knowe - if you like Minnow you'd love that too, I think.

    Jenny, you and me both. It's years since I last read it, so it will be a joy.

  7. Oh, Happenstance is a good book! I love Carol Shields.

  8. A few years back I read The Inklings and was enchanted, even though I've not read the works of the men. Last year I bought my own copy as well as a photographic book about them, and hope to read them together soon. Other than the CW, I've not heard of most of these authors.

  9. Oh, those GR and LT recommendations are deadly, aren't they? As if our reading lists weren't constantly expanding on their own when our backs are turned. As if that kind of thing should be encouraged.

  10. Oh what a co-incidence - I'm still looking for The Constant Nymph, but came across Troy Chimneys this week while I was doing my stint in the Oxfam bookshop. Now it's on the TR pile.


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