I really must learn to not use the word 'bad' in a sentence with the word 'books'. There's no such thing, right? Last Friday I spent the afternoon with a friend who was visiting from out of town. Not only did I get to see an old friend who I don't get to spend much time with these days, but as we were strolling about downtown we wandered into my favorite used bookstore. I miss having friends who live close enough to hang with, so it was a doubly good day to not only be able to chat, but also to do a little book browsing shopping as well.
As you can see I had a little splurge (she had far more self control than I did as she left with only two books). Normally I wouldn't say bookstore badness, but my binge comes right before my vacation when I am supposed to be saving money for my trip not spending it. I found such great deals, and such great books, however, that I couldn't resist and leave them for someone else to snap up!
So, top to bottom, let me share my goodies:
The Campaign for Domestic Happiness by Isabella Beeton -- I love this Penguin Great Food series and would love to have them all. Of course Mrs. Beeton is the famous Victorian woman who loaned her name to the cookery book that was probably in every British household at the time.
I think I already own both of these Viragos but as I rarely see any locally I couldn't pass them by. The Way Things Are by E.M. Delafield (of The Provincial Lady fame). This is a story about a woman questioning her marriage. And I must jump start my poor Molly Keane reading project. Full House is several books down the road and sounds like a good family drama.
I admit it is in part the attraction of the lovely cover art that made me pick up Margaret Drabble's A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman: Complete Short Stories. Of course the fact that this is a collection of short stories helped. Drabble is A.S. Byatt's sister and I've also been very curious to read her work and compare the sisters' styles.
I really enjoyed reading Elspeth Huxley's Love Among the Daughters last year and have wanted to read her other memoirs. How handy to have two volumes of them in my possession now! The Flame Trees of Thika is about her life in Kenya as a child and The Mottled Lizard is a sequel about Kenya after the war. Love Among the Daughters comes sometime after that when Huxley was in England and America in the 1920s.
Anne-Marie MacDonald's The Way the Crow Flies set in Cold War Canada will be part of my Canadian Literature reading project. I read MacDonald's Fall on Your Knees several years ago and remember liking it very much.
I checked out Elena Mauli Shapiro's 13 rue Therese from the library when it first came out, but never got around to reading it. I'm happy to have this pristine copy since it's essentially an illustrated novel about a box of relics found in a Parisian apartment building dating back to the years after WWI. I love the premise.
And the best find of the day--a brand spanking new copy of Kate Summerscale's Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace. I'd been holding off buying it since it is only in hardcover. I don't think this book had even been cracked open and I got it for less than a third of the price. I've heard good things about it and can't wait to read it. I'll be saving it (well all of them really) until after my vacation. For some reason Victorian Literature seems perfect for fall/winter reading. Not sure why, but I like the idea of getting cozy with a book about (or from) the Victorian world when the leaves are turning and falling and the thermometer begins to dip a bit at night.
Happily we have finally gotten a little relief from the heat. It's still in the mid-80s (28C), but a huge improvement over what it was like just a few days ago (literally a twenty degree difference!). I've turned off the air conditioning and have opened windows and feel so much better--not much fun peeling yourself out of your chair. I'm hoping this weekend will be equally as pleasant. I plan on spending time with my San Francisco guidebooks and hopefully finishing a book or two (or at least making some serious progress in them).
Have a great bookish weekend everyone.