feather_ghyll: Tennis ball caught up at mid net's length with text reading 15 - love (Anyone for tennis?)
I’ve been on holiday abroad – my next review will tell you where. I found bookshops everywhere I went (well, in one place, I had the help of a guidebook). Second-hand bookshops smell like second-hand bookshops – a comforting smell – even if their English-language sections are small (and overpriced). There will, hopefully, be reviews of some of the books I read when not sight-seeing or when I was resting my weary feet.

I had access to Eurosport, which meant I saw bits of the US Open, Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Close-up of white flower aganst dark background (Black and white flower)
Collected over months (or longer):

A tribute to Elinor M. Brent-Dyer by nobodyjones

The thrill of the used bookstore hunt

Amanda Diehl talks about book hunting practices involving second-hand bookshops that I can partially sympathise with. I do have strange habits about books, but let’s focus on the euphoria of finding something you’ve long looked for at a reasonable price.

Daniel Dalton recommends 33 Books You Should Read Now, Based On Your Favourite Films. Having read and seen some pairs, I can see where he’s coming from and have found a cuple of recommondations.

There are a few Nancy Drew icons here by misbegotten.

Angela Brazil: dorm feasts and red hot pashes

Kathryn Hughes has been rereading Angela Brazil (spoilers for A Patriotic Schoolgirl).

Here’s a new blog about children’s books that I think will be worth keeping an eye on: homeintimefortea
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Deborah’s Secret Quest: Cecilia Falcon The Thames Publishing Co.

This is a reread – I was uncertain as to whether I already owned this book, but the copy before me was lovely and irresistible. I didn’t really remember the story, anyhow. It has a little of the feel of a serial story brought together within covers of its very own: occasionally chapters start with an unnecessary recap and it stretches a little beyond most book length school stories in terms of genre. Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Illustration of the Chalet against a white background with blue border (Chalet School)
Carola Storms the Chalet School: Elinor M. Brent-Dyer. 1951 (although I suspect this is a reprint) Chambers

A reread, this, because I brought a hardback copy - I had an Armada copy already – partly for sentimental reasons, as the secondhand bookshop I was buying it at was closing.

Anyhow, this is the story where Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Book shop store front, text reading 'wear the old coat, buy the new book.' (Book not coat)
Last week, I visited – I was going to type ‘bookshops’, but one of them was a charitably run book recycling project. Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Book shop store front, text reading 'wear the old coat, buy the new book.' (Book not coat)
I hope to write about a couple of books that I read over last weekend soonish, but for now, here’s a meme via slemslempike. Abridged – I skipped a lot of questions.

Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Book shop store front, text reading 'wear the old coat, buy the new book.' (Book not coat)
I’ve never been one for making resolutions. But, over the past few years, I have made two low key ones, which I haven't been particularly great at keeping. Here are the 2013 versions.

1. I will take my list of the Chalet School books I have yet to own with me whenever I go shopping, because last week I saw a copy of Shocks for the Chalet School, but didn’t remember that I didn’t have it. I couldn’t justify the time or expense to go back to that shop in that city some other time. Sticking to this should help me with my real resolution, which is to get the full set of CS books (and, one day, without breaking the bank, the unabridged set).

2. I will go to the theatre more often to see plays, musicals and/or dance shows. The sum total for last year was dismal, and every time I went, I enjoyed myself and thought ‘I must do this again’. Granted, that was because I went to see things I really, really wanted to see, but I could look at what’s coming up locally a little more assiduously.

This post is looking forward, the next will look back and be an overview of what I read over the Christmas holidays.
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
I have just returned from my first ever trip to Paris, where I was staying at a hotel that did not have Eurosport, sadly, so I couldn't watch the men’s US Open final. I really, really wish I’d been able to see it!

While there, I stumbled upon the famous Shakespeare & Co. That is to say, I meant to go there, but did so accidentally. It’s a cramped shop – too little space between the floor-to-ceiling shelves and too many of us tourists and bibliophiles shuffling through it. I felt obliged to buy something (in English, my French is about good enough to order food I want to eat these days). I popped into several bookshops – some catering for English readers, but quite a few definitely not - just because it's a compulsion of mine.

I visited a lot of touristy places and found quieter formal jardins to recover and in which I could read incongruous books such as the following

The Headland Mystery: Arthur Groom. The Children's Press.

Read more... )

Madensky Square: Eva Ibbotson. Arrow, 1998.

Read more... )

The Goats: Brock Cole. Cornerstone Books, 1989.

Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Book shop store front, text reading 'wear the old coat, buy the new book.' (Book not coat)
Today, I ventured forth to a town I've never visited before and bought 14 books. In preparation, I'd searched for the second-hand book shops, jotted down the street names - but if I'd been really prepared, I'd have printed off a map. Thanks to some helpfully placed town maps, I found all of second-hand book shops and quite a few charity shops. Most of those books are girls own, so I hope there'll be reviews coming down the line - two Mabel Esther Allans, two Nancy Brearys, two Monica Marsdens, a Susan I hadn't got before and a Gwendoline Courtney, among others.

One of the shops was overwhelming - two rows of books on shelves and then piles and piles lying in front of them up to my knees. It made all the other cramped and overstocked shops I've been to over the years seem amateurish. There was a half-price sale there, and no wonder. It's quite likely that there were books that I'd have bought if I'd been able to find them there.

In another shop, I was asked if I was a collector. I answered hesitantly, because I am, up to a point. I'm a reader, first, though. I want the full version or the most authorially revised version of a story in the best condition possible, if I can.
feather_ghyll: Book shop store front, text reading 'wear the old coat, buy the new book.' (Book not coat)
Had quite a good shopping day today - I had to pick up my bag with both arms by the end of the afternoon. It was nice to be outside and not get wet. One of my purchases included 'All That Katy Did' an omnibus edition of the first three Katy books - I've been looking for a hardback edition of 'What Katy Did at School' to replace a paperback, but this will take up less space than the three all together. I also got an Ibbotson and a Cabot that I'll no doubt read and review eventually, and a book by Mrs George de Horne Vaizey in an antiques shop, where I got to name my price. In hindsight, I should have lopped fifty pence off my offer, which was accepted with alacrity. Apparently, the owner hadn't sold any books for many a year - there weren't many there and nothing else took my fancy. I don't always bother to look for books in antique shops.
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
I had a good book shopping expedition yesterday, and after a few wasted expeditions, I needed one. Two girls own books and one annual (with a contribution by Josephine Elder), a few murder mysteries and the next book in a series I'm reading that I'd have been happy to pay full price for, but didn't have to, because charity shops can be wonderful.

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You: Ally Carter Orchard Books 2009

The first in the Gallagher Girls series has definitely left me wanting to read more. Cleverly, the promotional blurb in the opening pages doesn’t quote other writers, but girls from the target audience. And what girl wouldn’t love to read a story about a boarding school for girls who are training to be spies? I would have, and though I’m not a girl any more, I enjoyed this.

Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Book shop store front, text reading 'wear the old coat, buy the new book.' (Book not coat)
My bookshelf project is continuing apace. I had someone come in and build shelves in several alcoves to house more of my books than ordinary bookshelves. Well, I've finally finished varnishing the shelves - an average of three layers, so it took quite a while. I was hoping to do an adequate job, but I wouldn't claim to have managed that. Still, the wood is protected and the books draw your eyes and hide the many times the varnish got on the walls.

I have three-quarters filled them. This has been an opportunity not only to have more books on shelves, but to group books together better, so I've been emptying boxes and finding books I'd forgotten I owned. Some books will end up being put back into other boxes, which I was expecting, but I think the house will be neater and I'll have more motivation to be stricter and get rid of books I probably won't read again. (I say that having bought two books today, but in my defence, I set two 'doublers' aside for the charity shop!)
feather_ghyll: Book shop store front, text reading 'wear the old coat, buy the new book.' (Book not coat)
I’ve just come back from a holiday in a city in northern England. I was asked what I’d do: ‘Visit the historical sites, drink copious amounts of coffee and some shopping,’ I answered vaguely. Then I went and researched where the second-hand bookshops were rather than anything else.

I was mildly hysterical after walking into a shop that had first editions of Elinor M. Brent-Dyer and Dorita Fairlie Bruces for £50, £195 and £300. At least, I was hysterical after I closed my jaw again. Later, I saw an Elsie J. Oxenham for a mere £40. As someone who has kittens while considering spending more than £10 on a book - and you should see the mental gymnastics involved when I decided to justify spending that much - WELL. In the first shop, jostled among these highly-priced mintish-condition rarities was a girls own book going for six pounds. I already owned it.

Anyway, I managed to get several books, all for less than £6, elsewhere, some of which are girls own or Vintage Children as Oxfam would have it. I spent less than £40 all told on them! And I did visit historical sites taking coffee breaks and really enjoyed myself.
feather_ghyll: Book shop store front, text reading 'wear the old coat, buy the new book.' (Book not coat)
I was visiting my university town the day before yesterday and had hoped to go to a bookshop that has redfined how much I am willing to spend on books in the past. (It was a good thing that it opened after I left university). Unfortunately, it was gone. I liked the lay-out and the stock, obviously, but only visited there about once a year, and the visiting hours were far from set in stone.
feather_ghyll: Book shop store front, text reading 'wear the old coat, buy the new book.' (Book not coat)
My next post will be a full review of a book, but over the past week or so I have spent a lot of money on books (really, a lot. I justified it with birthday money, discounts and REALLY, REALLY wanting the books). They will be read and reviewed in due course.

I've also read Mercy by Caroline B. Cooney is worth reading. For some reason, I wasn't expecting much of the author - I don't think I've read anything by her, but associated her with garish covers... The story of perhaps the most pragmatic girl in her settlement, brings out much of the complexity inherent in a situation in the turn of the eighteenth century in which Indians (gradually differentiated into Mohawks and other tribes), currently allied with the French, attack a whole Puritan English settlement and kidnap most of the residents they don't kill, who are mainly children. Over a long, cold and dangerous winter trek to Canada and new lives, some assimilate, some resist, awaiting ransom. Both writing and story-telling were of a high standard.

The Key to Rose Cottage by Margaret Baker features impetuous Margery, madcap Robin and their cousin Nicola. A series of coincidences mean that they have to keep house without any adults if they mean to have their holiday. I will say that the characters were lively.

Doris of Sunshine Ranch by Helen Dickson was obviously a sequel, but I had forgotten that I owned and had read the earlier book - I only discovered after checking an old list of books I own. One day I hope to have all said books in one place and be able to make an up to date list, or certainly all my Girls Own books. Doris and her family live on a Canadian ranch during the second world war. She's the eldest girl of the house and has to take on a lot of responsibilities when her mother goes away to meet her first grandson. The book is an odd mix of sentimentality (though it does manage not to pair everyone off as the opening chapters seem to suggest will happen), the kind of events you come across in a family on holiday story and exposition about the area. Its sentimentality mainly revolves around Doris being soft on all the young ones, except for brother Pat, whom she kicks on the shins a lot to shut him up when he is tactless, without ever explaining that to him. Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Greetings! I've been away, yes on a beach, and here are a couple of the books that I read that I think you'd enjoy too.

Introducing Aunt Dimity, Paranormal Detective: Nancy Atherton. Penguin 2009.

This is an omnibus edition of the first two novels in the 'Aunt Dimity' series, which I think I came across in an Amazon 'if you like this book, why not this' way?. Well, I now have another series to collect. The blurb describes them as 'cosy' mysteries, and they very much are, with a slight paranormal element, romance and growing. self confidence for their heroines. They also fit in with a very American type of Anglophilia.

Aunt Dimity's Death Read more... )

The website for the series Aunt Dimity's world should give you some idea of the flavour of the books.

I also read Bluestockings: Jane Robinson Penguin 2010.

It was an impulse buy - I had underpacked and so visited the airport's WHSmiths in a flustered mood, but was high-minded enough to buy this. I'm glad I did, it was quite a few of the things that the similarly themed Willingly to School wasn't. Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Book shop store front, text reading 'wear the old coat, buy the new book.' (Book not coat)
I got a chance to go into a proper, if tiny, second-hand bookshop over the weekend. I don’t recall whether I’ve written about thi particular shop before here or not. It’s the sort of shop where you have to be willing to devote time to searching and even literally kneel down if you’re a children’s book collector or, er, a bookish child. I had a bit of a misanthropic spell there. I’d like to say it was idiot holiday-makers who clearly only went into bookshops when they came across them unexpectedly out of the daily run, but it was people in general. It was mainly the lack of space, books are essentially in piles, three deep in one small room. I scattered some piles about three times and got stepped upon.

Still, I got all of the books that I’m going to discuss next (and more) there:

The Adventurous Rebel: Eileeen Graham. C&J Temple, 1949?.

This is a historical adventure for older girls. I am getting tired of the way early twentieth century children’s writers automatically side with the Royalists (oh those gay cavaliers!) all the time. Read more... )

I then read (an overpriced copy given the edition and its condition)

Still Glides the Stream: DE Stevenson. Fontana, 1965.Will Hastie returns to the Borders having stayed in the army after the second world war, but, now in his mid thirties, he means to settle and make a go of things at home. He grew up with the family next door, almost counting Rae his brother and Patty his sister, but Rae died in the war, leaving his parents broken and hopeless. Patty now has a fiancée, who should help her, but Will - unaccountably doesn’t like him. A telling picnic gone wrong shows Patty that she doesn’t like him that much either, but Will has gone off to investigate a mystery thrown up by an enigmatic message from Rae that arrived after news of his death. In the south of France, where Rae died, Will discovers that his friend found and married a beautiful Frenchwoman, and she bore him a son, Tom, in many ways Rae to the life again. Will eventually brings them home, where Tom heals his grandparents and Patty feels she should be happier than she is. It's all very gentle, and I liked it more than I did the last Stevenson that I read, although I was in some anxiety that Stevenson would pair off the ‘right' couple (to my mind), something she doesn’t always do.

This book loosely follows up Amberwell and Summerhills with a visit there that reminded me of people visiting Rosamund’s castle in the Abbey series. I read Amberwell when I was too young to grasp it, really. I wanted it to be more of a book about children and their big house than it was, and then it was a long time after when I read Summerhills.

The Treasure of the Trevellyans: Doris Pocock The Commonwealth Library 2 Ward lock 1959

is a perfectly fine family adventure book about the large brood of an impecunious if well regarded artist who inherits the family seat. Given what the weather is like these days, I like that Pocock does not give them a wonderful Cornish summer. It rains. A lot. Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Book shop store front, text reading 'wear the old coat, buy the new book.' (Book not coat)
I'm volunteering at a charity shop for a few days. I started today. The books were on offer because a lot had been donated. The most striking thing for me was that they were displayed according to colour. Part of me was horrified (they aren't clothes!), but at least there was some order. I've been to shops where books of all shapes and all sizes have been lumped together. It's annoying because it looks like a mess and if you're dedicated/obsessed enough to go through them all or if you're deluded by the chaos to think that there's the possibility of finding treasure, you have to go through them all with nothing to guide the eye. Usually, it's a long and frustrating process. I don't love alphabetic systems in shops however, it takes the romance out for me as a book searcher. And it makes for odd companions. I suppose my preferred method - in shops - is themed books: literary, murder mysteries, adventure, westerns, romance, children with books perhaps ordered according to size.

Let's not discuss my personal system, which is a work in process, dictated by shelving space and half my books not being to hand or unpacked. But then, I'm not trying to sell them.


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