The snow proved passable, and despite a couple of delayed trains and extreme cold I made it to London ok in time for a fantastic day of bookshopping and bookchatting! The primary purpose of the day was to visit the Persephone bookshop, to celebrate the Persephone Reading Week that Paperback Reader (who writes about the trip here)and I held on our blogs at the end of August last year. However, Claire and I managed to squeeze in a visit to a very cheap second hand bookshop in Notting Hill that I could have spent all day in, in order to seek out Virago Modern Classics for my Virago Venture, and we also had a quick trip to the V and A for tea and cake with BookSnob Rachel and BloomsburyBell Naomi; it was lovely to meet the girls, particularly as Rachel had managed to get hold of the Penguin postcards for me - hurrah!
It was great to visit the Persephone shop again and have the chance to chat to Nicola, Lydia and Fiona. Conversation covered all sorts of things, from exclusion diets, to current reading material, and the typesetting of Persephone books. At the end, Claire and I were invited to look at the damaged books shelf in the basement to see if there was anything that we wanted - Claire and I tried not to fight over the ones that we both wanted. I was excited to get among other things, a copy of The Hopkins Manuscript (Sherriff), the Julian Grenfell biography, and some Dorothy Whipples (which I have read but would love to reread as didn't have my own copies), along with The country housewife's book. Very many thanks to Nicola for her kindness and hospitality.
As you can see, I came home with rather a lot of books...and in fact had to take a taxi from the shop to Paddington Station as I wasn't sure I could manage them all on the underground! At least if I had been delayed I wouldn't have suffered a shortage of reading material! As it was, I started The closed door and other stories by Dorothy Whipple. I thought I didn't like short stories but this is the collection that has changed my mind - each story is complete in itself, and they tend to keep you gripped right up until the last pages.
Now that I have 55 of the 86 Persephone titles I am determined to complete my collection, and will be treating myself to some more from the shop in due course, asking for some for my birthday and looking out for others on Amazon marketplace.
I accidentally picked up two copies of Katherine Mansfield's Journal, and so I am holding a giveaway to celebrate the trip. The copy lacks a dust wrapper, but is otherwise a fine reading copy. If you would like to enter this competition, please comment on this post, and tell me which Persephone book you would most like to read and why. (There is a complete list of the books here)
So - a good day out - books, friends, tea, and now a giveaway - what more could one want?!
PS: For those of you who have asked, the next Persephone Reading Week will probably be the first week of May this year - watch this space!
Mavis Gallant’s “Madeline’s Bithday” (1951)
6 hours ago