Thomas describes himself as "banking" obscure and unloved books, a statement which fills me with warmth and fellow feeling -- I can't describe the pleasure I have when I fall in love with some book that everyone else has overlooked, or when I read about one on someone else's blog and have to scour the internet to find a copy. I don't have much hope of finding the next Persephone - I realise that my taste is idiosyncratic and that anyway my especial favourites already have a loyal readership. However it delights me that recent editions of, for instance, the books of Stella Gibbons, Noel Streatfeild and Angela Thirkell may be finding new readers.
Since this is the traditional time of year for making resolutions, I thought it might be an appropriate moment to mention that this is an excellent time to finally get round to subscribing to those literary societies you've been meaning to join for ages, since many of them have membership years which run from January. If you need a reminder of societies in the UK, there's a useful list of them at the Alliance of Literary Societies. It might also be a good moment to tell you that, rather by accident, I have become the new editor of the journal of the Angela Thirkell Society, so I'm afraid you'll just have to make allowances if I keep banging on about her books. I'm going to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Barbara Pym's birth by joining that society, taking part in the reading week hosted by Thomas and Amanda, and -- I hope -- going to the ALS meeting in Oxford which will be hosted by the Barbara Pym Society in June.
While I'm telling you things, I'd better add that I shall be joining the ranks of the unemployed in May, since the funding for my job has been axed. Despite having known that it was likely to happen sooner or later, it still managed to be something of a blow - at 58, the prospect of job-hunting is rather daunting, and one of the reasons I had stayed for a long time in an interesting but poorly paid job was that it allowed me freedom to work from home in recent years, making it easier to visit elderly parents at the other end of the country, or to be here when my husband goes through one of the bad patches which can leave him pretty much immobilised. So I'm planning to freelance as a copyeditor, proofreader and typesetter (work which I've been doing in my spare time for years), but also to develop a more creative role as well. As a result, time for blogging may become a bit limited over the coming months -- I'd like to do more in the garden, too, after nearly 20 years of being unavailable just when most needs doing. Generally by the time I get out there each year the weeds are waist height and my motivation shrivels!
Finally, since it's the start of the year I think we're due for another gratuitous dog picture. Well, we'd better have two, actually, or else Senior Dog will be miffed, which is outrageous, really, since if you so much as try to take a sneaky pic with a phone she is instantly sitting two feet in front of you with a cheesy grin, so it's impossible to get arty shots, or even, as yesterday, an appealing picture of them lying back to back in front of the fire, maximising warmth. In these two my son was experimenting with a new camera last year and both dogs had got rather bored, although Princess Sniffy (aka The Bolter) knows that cameras only exist so that she can be admired by more people. (Yes, I know she's a plain little whippet-y lurcher, but she thinks it's the face that launched a thousand ships, hence the Garbo-esque expression...). Senior Dog is just lying there thinking, "I'm eighty-two, you know...".
...and The Bolter