Monday, October 2, 2017

Back home with Books

Back home, and back to work. Work looked like I must have been gone a month rather than a week, which I suppose at least makes it abundantly clear how much I actually do do there. I can hope that's been noticed (though due to being both busy, and chronically short staffed, it's unlikely) because one day in I'm feeling in need of another break.

Inverness was fun and quite busy so we took our time coming home, stopping in the Borders on Saturday before the last stretch down the M1. I love the Borders, and have a particular fondness for St Boswells (pretty village, excellent bookshop - The Main Street Trading Company with a decent Café) so staying there was a proper treat.

Packing for this trip, I made the mistake of taking 2 books I really felt I ought to finish but just haven't been in the mood for, so ended up doing very little reading. It was only on Saturday afternoon that I saw sense and decided to actually read one of the handful of new books I'd bought.

The unread books (I will finish them soon) are Zola's 'The Sin of Abbé Moret' which I started months ago. The problem is the middle section, it's almost unbearably dull - a long list of plant names, interspersed with an equally tedious sexual awakening. I'll grit my teeth and get on with it at the weekend, but Zola on the countryside is not a treat. The other book is L. M. Montgomery's 'Anne of the Island'. I love Montgomery, I loved the Anne books as a child (all of them) and have been looking forward to reading the Virago reprints. Montgomery is far better on nature than Zola, but the combination was not a happy one, so Anne needs to wait a little longer.

My book buying was fairly restrained, partly held back by the tottering piles of unread books currently infesting every part of my flat. They're becoming overwhelming again and I need to do something about it, but I still couldn't resist 'The Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff' ( begun age 12, ends with her death at 25, she was born in the Ukraine in 1859, but mostly grew up in France. She wanted to be a singer, but TB stopped that so she turned to painting. She founds remarkable, the book is a doorstop, but it'll keep) or 'Cork on the Water' by MacDonald Hastings (fishing, shooting, and murder, with ballerinas - it sounded worth a punt) both from Leakey's. E. F. Benson's 'Secret Lives' was a charity shop find, as Benson has never yet disappointed I'm pleased to have found this.

Mindful of the just one book principle of supporting both bookshops and publishers I found 'The Nebuly Coat' (Apollo it sounds intriguing, full of melodrama and architecture, which are both things I like) and Alistair Moffat's 'The Reivers' in the Main Street bookshop. I also found an excellent toasted coconut cake there that I'd very much like the recipe for. I'm reading The Reivers at the moment and thoroughly enjoying it.


  1. I really enjoyed Secret Lives, I am surprised it is not better known.

    1. It sounds great, and Benson is generally reliable, so I was very pleased to find it. Now all I need to do is find the time to read it...

  2. Oddly, of all the authors you have mentioned, Zola is the only one I have heard of( but have no intention of reading).

    I like the sound of that cake though.

    1. The cake was delicious! I'm very slowly working my way through Zola's Rougon - Macquart cycle, so far anything set in a town has been excellent, the country not so much, and I've badly stalled in this one. I need to be disciplined about it and finish the dratted thing, but I've been side tracked by a history of the Border Reivers which I'm really enjoying.