Saturday, October 10, 2009

Shopping Spree

For the last six months or more my book buying has been confined to lucky finds second hand, and although confined only describes where I’ve shopped and how much I’ve spent, it has sometimes been frustrating, especially because of a self imposed ban on amazon. I cracked a few weeks ago with the Sarah Caudwell books to the extent of buying the 3 I could get for 1p (+ postage and packing of course). I still have to track down ‘Thus was Adonis Murdered’; other people are clearly swayed by Slightly Foxed too and the price of UK copies has sneaked up to a princely sum, although I notice today that copies from the US are looking very reasonable...

The thing is that although market place prices compare well with actual high street prices money disappearing from my account without me touching it is not a happy thought – even if a book materialises a few days later I’m no longer really comfortable with shopping on plastic. A year of handing over cash and being sure I have the money to spare has had a profound effect on my buying habits, something I’m actually really happy about, but this week I’ve celebrated good job news with a mini spree. The excitement of waiting for the post to bring books I know I want, of anticipating their arrival by making space on the bookshelves, even of planning when I will read them has been a real pleasure. All the more so because it’s been a while, which just goes to show what a wonderful thing self restraint can be!

All my lovely books have now arrived, the last turning up today, which has made it a top week for post as my father very kindly sent me an adjustable spanner. He very correctly pointed out that no woman should be without one, and immediately set about rectifying this sad deficiency in my domestic arrangements once he discovered it. Dads are great.

I’ve actually managed to acquire a dozen books this week all of which I’m excited by, but the chosen ones (as opposed to the ones that chose me) are:

• Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ (sorry; so long anticipated and so intoxicating with its fresh inky smell that I can’t help mentioning it again).

• ‘Mrs Darcy’s Dilemma’ by Diana Birchall, Diana and I are in an online reading group together and she very kindly made me a present of this book after hearing my (generally very low) opinion of sequels. She’s proving an exception to the rule and I can’t wait to finish this one, although Hill House is also clamouring for attention; strange bed fellows.

• Barbara Comyns’ ‘The House of Dolls’, I have mostly loved Comyns in the past, with the possible exception of ‘Sisters by a River’ and I’ve coveted this story of middle aged prostitutes for a while. (Heavens, what Do my bookshelves say about me?)

• Joanna Cannan’s ‘High Table’, I loved ‘Princes in the Land’ and have been on the lookout for another of her books ever since I read it. As I live on the edge of campus a university novel seems very appropriate for the end of fresher’s week.

• Violet Trefusis – two of her books; ‘Broderie Anglaise’ and ‘Hunt the Slipper’, both of these have been on my wish list for ages. I have a fascination for Vita Sackville –West, and these two titles will join a small collection of books connected to her.

• Ah and finally ‘Molly Keane’s Book of Nursery Cooking’. This book has been at the back of my mind for years, Verity's review reminded me, and I am so happy to have it. Already it’s given me an entirely new light on her novels, so another £2.76 well spent.

I will now be ignoring the many temptations of Amazon for some time to come, really I will – even the Caudwell can wait for now...


  1. You and I do have similar buying tastes! I've still not read my Violet Trefusis books, though I have these two - I await your opinion!

    I read The House of Dolls earlier this year (reviewed here: and found it fun, though not as good as her best.

  2. A dozen books this week?!
    Eh, eh you didn't tell me that.............;-)

  3. I find the idea of reading Violet pretty challanging, the last time I tried it was a struggle, but the people involved are fascinating enough to really make me want to get to grips with it, so another proper effort is on the way.