Hello! I am back from my holidays, had a lovely time, made some new friends...
Also, ahem, I amassed a few books. And what is a book blog without a few pictures of books in piles? No book blog worth its name, of course. So here is my stash, over which I am usually to be found these days rubbing my hands and gloating.
First, some books I received from my birthday:
I don’t know anything about New Finnish Grammar by Diego Marani except that my mother gave it to me insisting I would love it. Helena, or the Sea in Summer (Julián Ayesta) is a book I put on my wishlist after reading Violet’s review which totally sold it to me. If you click on the link you will want to get hold of a copy too, don’t say I haven’t warned you. The Listener is the latest volume of Tove Jansson’s stories translated into English, I really love her writing and The Summer Book remains my novel of choice for pressing on the unwary, and I bought Theodora Goss’s poetry collection Songs for Ophelia as a present for myself because I like her short stories very much indeed so will probably like her poetry too (you can read ‘My Garden’ here).
On holiday I spent a few days at my parents’ house and raided the attic. These are obviously all for my daughter, not me, and I won’t be putting her in a cupboard for the next few weeks so that I can lie in the garden reading them. (They are: Elidor by Alan Garner; Carbonel and The Kingdom of Carbonel by Barbara Sleigh; North of Nowhere: Stories and Legends from Many Lands retold by Barbara Sleigh; The Wizard of Oz and The Marvellous Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum; The Gentle Falcon by Hilda Lewis; Miss Bianca and the Bridesmaid and Miss Bianca in the Orient by Margery Sharp; The Seventh Swan by Nicholas Stuart Gray; Crowns by Katherine Hull and Pamela Whitlock; The Fabulous Manticora by Josephine Lee; The Castle of Yew by Lucy M. Boston; The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye; Jorinda and Joringel by the Brothers Grimm and Maggie Scraggle Loves the Beautiful Ice-Cream Man by Jill McDonald.)
Then there is the charity shop haul, because I was in England after all and it would have been rude not to.
The Red Cross shop in Ipswich was selling two books for a pound, which is to my mind synonymous with ‘free’. Barbara Trapido and I have had an on-off relationship which is definitely on at the moment, so Frankie and Stankie. The Diana Wynne Jones, House of Many Ways, is the third in a trilogy and I haven’t read the other two but who cares? I’ve read it already and it was wonderful. Stuck to the inside of the dust jacket was, I was pleased to discover, a sticker of a butterfly saying ‘Great Work!’. This pleased me immeasurably. I like to think the previous reader enjoyed it as much as I did. And The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake is because I like Aimee Bender’s short stories and wanted to see how she handled a novel.
Then I went into the Oxfam shop and be still my beating heart there were three of the old Virago Modern Classics there and I wanted to read all of them about equally but alas my budget for book-buying was £0 of which I had already spent £2 and each VMC was £2.49 and I didn’t want to be (really really) greedy, so I just chose one, the one I believed I was least likely ever to encounter again. Esther Kreitman was the sister of Isaac Bashevis Singer and Deborah was her only novel, originally written in Yiddish but published in English in 1946. It’s about a girl growing up in a Jewish community in Poland just before the First World War.
I won’t tell you what the other two VMCs were lest you all write in the comments ‘What were you THINKING those books are so rare that the only known copies are kept in safes in the Bank of England and are too precious to be read’ and then I shall shake my fists at heaven and rail against the gods. Well I will tell if you really want to know.
And then I nicked Chimamanda Ngozi’s Americanah from my mother. Thanks Ma! I promise to return it soonish!
Have you read any of these? What did you think of them?