So the last 24 hours have been both sociable and literary. Well, sort of.
Last night I scrambled home from work to go and listen to Patrick Gale talk about his latest book at The Woodstock Bookshop with my friend Elizabeth. I've enjoyed many of his novels in the past, and the new one, A perfectly good man, sounds like something that I will enjoy too from the extracts that he read from it, not least because it is a sort of sequel apparently to my favourite of his books, Notes on an exhibition. I didn't buy the book last night, partly because I've already treated myself to a couple of new hardbacks recently, but also because I want to reread Notes on an exhibition first which I read 4 years ago now, and because it's set in the Penzance area which I'll be visiting for the first time in September (normally we go to North Cornwall). Hopefully by then it'll be out in paperback!
This beautiful morning today, after some chores at home, and a mini run (oh, how out of condition I am having not tried running for two months now), I donned Spring Clothes and went up to London Town on the bus to have a joint pre-birthday celebration with Claire of Paperback Reader (we have birthdays within 4 days of each other). We met at the Notting Hill Books and Comics exchange where I was able to offload an awful lot of books and get some new ones in return. I was quite restrained actually and only bought as many books as I could comfortably carry, even with some more from Claire. Claire only bought ONE book! Gone are our days of two years ago when the shop would be lucky if they had any stock left. We wandered down the Portabello Road to go to the Oxfam bookshop where I struck lucky again before having our first frappacino/iced lattes in a handy Starbucks. We had appointments for pedicures at the new Coco Nail Bar (recommended by Rachel) and Claire now has electric blue toes while mine are electric pink. Very indulgent!
So what books have I collected?
Mostly Viragos. Novel on yellow paper, Mr Fortune's Maggot and Our spoons came from Woolworths are books that I have already read but did not have my own copy, although I do not seem yet to have blogged about Spoons for my Virago blog. The others aren't hugely appealing - I've struggled through Christina Stead before so I hope that The people with the dogs is interesting. I've read another Eliot Bliss before which I don't remember much about so not sure what my expectations are for This luminous Isle. I didn't realise that Olive Schreiner had another VMC besides Story of an African farm so I had to pick up From man to man.
The only other book I bought was Margaret Powell's London season. My post about Margaret Powell is one of the most popular on this blog actually, I haven't read this book, it seems to be about debutantes, and is in very poor condition (with an annoying sticker on the front that won't come off) but it was only 50p!
The bottom three books are from Claire. She gave me a copy of Island of Wings after reading that I'd enjoyed it a lot but had only had a library copy. I feel like I am the last person to read The hunger games so Claire has kindly lent that to me even if I'm not sure if it's to my taste I think I will give it a go. And I am desperate to read The lifeboat, a new Virago modern book all about Grace Darling. Think I will save that for my holiday by the sea a week today!
Bus trip home and detour via Waitrose for a ready meal. Mr W is doing a 200 mile cycle ride today, he left home at 5.45 and anticipates being home around 11pm. Contemplating putting the clocks forward now and going to bed early but still some more chores to be done...yawn...
Grace and Mary ~ Melvyn Bragg
9 hours ago