14 April 2014
Bits and Bobs
Last week Teresa from Shelf Love tweeted about the big Stone Ridge Book Sale just outside of DC, linking to a story about how this year was to be the last for the annual spring event. Filling three gymnasia over four days, one is hard pressed to resist. Last year I went for the first time with Teresa and Frances (Nonsuch Book) and we had a great time gossiping and browsing and of course buying. This year I am trying not to acquire books since we are in temporary quarters and spending all our spare cash on the house project. But my need to have something to do outweighed those concerns so I grabbed a couple of bags and headed out to the sale.
After packing up my library in January my book buying interests have shifted. I used to cast a pretty wide net at these sales, snapping up hard to find titles or editions just because they were hard to find. It didn't always matter whether or not I had any notion of reading them. But after weeding 20+ bags of books this winter I have a much more narrow focus when it comes to acquiring more.
Even though I did indeed limit myself to things I think I might actually want to read, and even that is within the more limited universe of harder to find titles, I still managed to fill a bag.
I can reasonably say that I am interested and reading all of these. And with an exception or two I tried not to buy anything that I could get easily at the library.
From top left
I enjoyed one Tove Jansson book and abandoned another. At a hundred pages in a pretty NYRB Classics edition, I thought I should give her one more chance with Fair Play.
Recently Simon Thomas got me hooked on an online geography quiz where you have to try and name (type) 196 countries in less than twelve minutes. After two days of practice I was able to name all of them with eight seconds to spare. One that is too small to appear on the map and therefore easily overlooked was Andorra. I've already started reading Andorra by Peter Cameron and will have a few words to say about it in the near future.
I've started watching The Forsyte Saga when I do my ironing and Simon Savidge and I recently talked about it on The Readers as one of those classics we hadn't read but wanted to.
Always interested in finding Virago editions but trying not to buy stuff I won't read, I was on the fence about None Turn Back by Storm Jameson. In the end I decided in favor of it because I wanted to read more about the 1926 general strike.
I read A Girl from Yamhill a memoir by children's author Beverly Cleary years ago and loved it.
I tend to like Doris Lessing when it isn't The Golden Notebook. Plus I always like when a serious author's work has been packaged to look like trash.
For better or worse I am a Tom Wolfe fan. I almost didn't buy this because I could get it at the library and the dust jacket has sun damage, but eh, what can you do.
My recent interest in old fashioned spy novels prompted me to pick up CIA Spy Master by Clarence Ashley.
For my collection of UK related non-fiction I bought London Nights by Stephen Graham a collection of studies and sketches of London at night. The illustrations aren't very good and it seems like it might be a little too chummy, but I like the fact that it is a contemporary look life in London from 1926.
I like Mary McCarthy's work so Birds of America (a young man goes to Paris) was a natural. Plus it is a nice hardback with dust jacket in mint condition.
Tea, 1917, short. Should have been a fun, quick read. Well it was quick, but A Cup of Tea by Amy Ephron was pretty predictable and one-dimensional.
I am drawn to non-Maigret Simenon. Plus I love that the title character in The Widow is named Tati.
I've only ever read one Alexander McCall Smith books and thought The Unbearable Lightness of Scones might be something good to read during a slump. Plus I like the title because it pokes fun of Kundera's uber serious novel and it reminds me of my blog post Zadok the Scone.
Part of me thinks I have already read When the World Was Steady...damn, I just checked my list, I have indeed read this. The cover art messed me up. I should have known better.
Love me some Elizabeth von Arnim and I just saw The Caravaners reviewed by The Indextrious Reader.