Books! Ba-ba-loo-ba-la, BOOKS!

In case you guys were wondering about my disappearing act—it’s been a busy past month at our household, what with cousins coming over from half-way across the world from Singapore, and then our own two week trip to London which was VERY productive because. . .

I GOT ME SOME BOOKS!

Behold all the books I brought back with me:

Persephone Books

Because, of course, I had to visit Persephone Books.

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And also the venerable Hatchard’s!

Hatchard's

Books

I bought the one at the top of this pile as a joke for husband. It’s called Harris’s List Of Covent Garden Ladies, and is ahem, as you can imagine, a list of the covent garden ladies in whose company the gents could find some, ahem, pleasure. Here’s my current favorite lady:

Miss Godf-y, No. 22, Upper Newman-street

If parts can conquer great and small,
Sure—and Godf-y—must needs do all.

This lady is a kind of boatswain in her way, and when she speaks, every word is uttered with a thundering and vociferous tone. She is a fine lively little girl, about 22, very fond of dancing, has dark eyes, and hair, well shaped, and an exceeding good bed-fellow, will take brandy with any one, or drink and swear, and though but little, will fight a good battle. We apprehend this lady would be an extraordinary companion for an officer in the army, as she might save him the trouble of giving the word of command.

She resides in the first floor.

I know, I know. I should be horrified. And outraged. But right now, I’m only capable of gurgles of laughter!

I was also very pleased to find an omnibus of R.K. Narayan’s Malgudi Days, a collection of stories set in the small village of Malgudi, some of which I remember reading and enjoying hugely as a kid!

And alas, my library does not carry The Ruby In The Smoke, so I knew I was going to buy that at some point.

Dog Ears is a children’s book that I searched for high and low in the U.S. but couldn’t find! The wonderful nobodyjones characterized it as Blytonian so of course I had to try it out! Also, can I just say how RELIEVED I was to find Enid Blytons stacked up and down all over London’s bookstores? Their absolute absence in the U.S. had me start questioning if they were a figment of my imagination!

Then there’s Elizabeth Goudge whom I remembered being a children’s author though I have no recollection which book of hers I read. This one though, The Dean’s Watch, seems like a grown-up book with an interesting enough story. Oh, and it was gifted to someone in 1960!

Reader, I have discovered the pleasure of second-hand bookstores! And London simply BRIMS with them. The whole of Charing Cross Street is lined with one second hand bookshop after the next. It has made me want to seek out some here in my own city too!

Rose Macaulay, and Angela Thirkell, I recall wanting to try out, but never succeeding in finding any of their work.

Homestead is the only one amongst this lot that I have absolutely no idea about except that it has a blurb, and a setting (Switzerland) that sounded intriguing.

Middlemarch

And then there’s Middlemarch. I have been meaning to get around to reading it and I just could not resist this gorgeous edition.

Have you guys read any of these books? I’d love to know what you thought!

Shakespeare’s Secret or A Scene That Came To Me

“Hard at work, Master Will?”

The careful dot that Will was placing over ‘i’ turned into a glop of ink.

“Master Kit.” Squaring his shoulders, he turned around. “And how are you this fine day?”

“Gloriously well. It has been a few weeks and my apartments have not been disturbed.”

“Congratulations.”

“What are you up to Will?”

“Why what do you mean, Master Kit?”

The puckered brows and the two steps that Kit took towards Will were enough for Will’s hands to shoot forward out in a plea to stop.

“I know things have not been well between the two of us in the past but is it not possible to set aside our differences?”

A glare was all the response that Will received before Kit stormed out.

Heaving a sigh at Kit’s departure Will focused on getting his racing heart under control. An unholy gleam came into his eyes. Oh he would stay well away from Master Kit’s apartments. He no longer needed a nudge of help or inspiration as he had liked to call it. Not now.

He read the words he had put to paper just a moment ago. The curve of the letters on the paper was more pronounced than the curve on the worn-out surface. He was still awed at his stroke of good fortune. He was a dramatist, not a scrivener but he thanked his stars for not refusing the last minute engagement that had come his way four weeks ago.

Whistling the tune that he and his friends had been singing the night before, Will dipped his quill into the ink, straightened the sheet of paper, and settled down to transcribe. As usual, the words broke through the skin of the wood and arranged themselves in a pattern of unstressed and stressed syllables, a pattern that Will had come to recognize only that morning.

A desk, even a moody one, that believed its purpose was to compose verses and tell stories was indeed a handy object to come by.