Recent Book Purchases

IMG_4258Hello! How’s your July been? I’ve read a lot this month, but it’s been all galleys so nothing that I can write about here (yet). I finished two books last weekend and will finish two by this weekend’s end as well. I’m well on my way to having read 10 galleys that I can talk about at my “Fabulous Fall Reads” presentation in September. If all goes to plan I won’t be scrambling to read anything in the week leading up to the event and can focus all my efforts on preparing my booktalks and the Powerpoint. Whew!

I’m going to Colorado again mid-August and want to take books with me that I have no obligation to read. Books that I can read just because I want to. So, I’ve been buying books online and at Half-Price books, hoarding them for the trip. I ordered 3 Poirot novels after loving The Murder of Roger Ackroyd a few months ago. Then I found a copy of Night and Day by Virginia Woolf at Half-Price Books (HPB) — not the most attractive copy but I couldn’t pass it up. On the same visit to HPB I decided to buy Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner. I read it many years ago when I think I was probably too young to “get” it so I’m curious to see what I’ll think of it now.

A few weeks later I found To Love and Be Wise by Josephine Tey. I know nothing about it, but I do like Tey’s mysteries so I tossed it in my basket. Also in my basket went My American by Stella Gibbons. My local HPB has carried lots of Gibbons’s novels through the years and I always buy them yet haven’t read any of them yet. I want to remedy that this year.  On top of the Tey and the Gibson went The Painted Bridge by Wendy Wallace which I remembered Jane liking years ago when she was at her previous blog.

Lastly, the mailman recently delivered Queen Victoria in her Letters and Journals where it sat in my baking metal mailbox until I rescued it into the air conditioned comfort of my home.

I probably won’t take all of these to Colorado but a few of them will make the trip. I also want to take a few Viragos and Persephones to read since August is All August/All Viirago (with Persephones included). I’ve already started The Fortnight in September for this event and LOVE it. I also want to read a Holtby, Comyns and Laski during the month. I’m giddy just thinking about it!

But I forgot — I do have one book I’m obligated to read in August and that is Silas Marner for book club. I should probably start on that one soon.

What are your August reading plans? Have you bought any books lately that you are super excited about?

New Arrivals

I haven’t bought very many books lately, mostly because I’ve bought these – and they are not cheap. The shipping alone from Persephone is a pretty penny, but one that I feel is completely justified – and the same goes for the Slightly Foxed editions. Quality over quantity for me these days!

I’d always planned to order London War Notes by Mollie Panter-Downes from Persephone when it was released last month. When I was placing the order online I decided to also get the latest novel published by them, Vain Shadow by Jane Hervey, and I also ordered Few Eggs and No Oranges by Vere Hodgson. I’ve already read a big chunk of London War Notes and am so glad I have it and the others to look forward to over the summer.

I have a subscription to the Slightly Foxed Quarterly, which I just love, but I’d never bought any of their books. When I saw a post on Facebook about Silver Ley by Adrian Bell I was really intrigued. It’s Bell’s story of learning to be a farmer in Suffolk just after WWI. I adore stories about people ‘going back to the land’ so I ordered this right away. Reading more about the book on the SF website I realized that Silver Ley is a sequel to Corduroy – so I ordered that too!

Have you bought any exciting books lately?

Recent Arrivals

Love's Shadow

I’ve found that nothing quite beats the winter blues as well as bringing new, gorgeous books into my life. Last weekend I went with a friend on a jaunt to Half Price Books and was fortunate to discover a few books that really appealed to me. I usually only find contemporary fiction at HPB, but I’ve recently learned the secret to where to look for my kind of books at this particular store – the discount shelves. Apparently, my fellow readers in the East Valley of the Phoenix suburbs are not interested in the books that I am drawn to and that is okay with me. I got all four books in the photos above and below for around $2 a piece. When I saw the two Winifred Holtbys sitting side by side I nearly jumped up and down and clapped my hands with joy. I’ve never read Holtby before and now I am looking forward to exploring her writing. I’ve already started The Land of Green Ginger with much enjoyment.

poor caroline

The two books below were both mentioned by Emily recently and I couldn’t resist ordering Reunion after reading her thoughts on this powerful novella. The Millstone was the book up for discussion at the January meeting of the Walking Book Club. I have an idea that I’ll try to read all of the books the WBC reads this year, but of course I won’t put any pressure on myself to do so.


I’m very glad to welcome these new friends into my home and I look forward to making their acquaintance very soon. Have you read any of these titles?

New Arrivals

I’ve had a very relaxing weekend with a stroll through a large and mesmerizing antique store and dinner with a friend on Saturday and doing absolutely nothing but try to read and lounge around the house today.

Despite being in a massive reading slump I have still bought books, maybe in the hope that I would be inspired to actually read one of them. Here are my recent arrivals:

Ladies of Lyndon


The Ladies of Lyndon by Margaret Kennedy – I bought this shortly after learning about the Margaret Kennedy Reading Week coming in October. I’ve never read Margaret Kennedy and I am looking forward to experiencing her work for the first time.

Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust – I’ve never thought I wanted to read this before, but Mimi Thorisson, a woman I highly admire, wrote about it on her blog a while ago and she made it sound enchanting and something I now must read.

Here Be Dragons


The Collected Stories of Elizabeth Bowen – Another addition to my Elizabeth Bowen collection.

Here Be Dragons by Stella Gibbons – I’m still reading and liking Westwood and I know I will want to read another of her novels at some point so I snatched this one up. Don’t you love the cover?

Mrs. Bridge


Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge by Evan S. Connell – I’ve always heard wonderful things about these two novels so I couldn’t pass them up when I saw them in my library’s used book sale.

What have you purchased lately?

Mary Stewart Reading Week starts just three weeks from today!

New Arrivals

New Arrivals June 2014

I’ve been feeling a bit down lately – I’m blaming it on the heat – and nothing cheers me up more than buying new books. Here are a few I’ve acquired over the past month:

Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger – I bought this at my local Barnes & Noble after finishing My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff.  I tried reading The Catcher in the Rye earlier this year and didn’t connect with it so I think starting with some of Salinger’s short stories might work better for me.

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh – I’ve checked a copy of this out of the library a few times and couldn’t bring myself to read it because it was grubby and smelly. Sometimes you just have to buy your own copy.

Rose Cottage by Mary Stewart – I bought this in anticipation of Mary Stewart Reading Week ( Sept. 14-22), but I might read it before then as I am looking for escape these days.

God on the Rocks by Jane Gardam – I read Claire’s post about Jane Gardam with curiosity and made a mental note to read her some day. While foraging at Half Price Books just a few weeks later I came across this novel and knew it was meant to be.

Mrs. Ames by E.F. Benson – I found this book on the same Half Price Books trip and, though I know nothing about it, it’s from Bloomsbury Group and by the Mapp & Lucia author. In my basket it went.

Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser – Our last book sale at the library was for half-off all paperbacks and this was included. Originally $1 I was able to buy it for only .50 during the sale. I couldn’t pass it up! I might read it for Paris in July.

What have you bought lately? Does buying books cheer you up?

New Arrivals


I haven’t bought many books lately because I was saving all my pennies for Italy, but since I’m now not going until October I decided to buy the recent Angela Thirkell reprints. I blame Claire for this splurge as she recently featured these lovely books on her blog and I decided I had to have them.



Aren’t they pretty? I absolutely loved High Rising and also own Wild Strawberries which I hope to read soon.

What have you bought lately?

Also, I’ve decided to host a second annual Mary Stewart Reading Week in September! I think it will be wonderful to celebrate her legacy during the month of her birth.  Mark your calendars for September 14-21.

New Arrivals

the group

I haven’t bought very many books lately, but I had the urge a few weeks ago for a little book splurge and these are the result.

The Group by Mary McCarthy – I’ve read this book before as a teenager, but can’t really remember it now. I love books about women’s lives and this book that scandalized readers in 1963 ticks all of my boxes for a potential great read.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien – Can you believe that I’ve never read Tolkien? I’m not much for fantasy novels, but I’ve enjoyed the movie adaptations of his works. I recently watched the first Hobbit film and decided that I want to read the book for a chance to stay in the world a little longer.

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe – I just finished The Moonstone and one of the narrators, Gabriel Betteredge, constantly quotes from Robinson Crusoe and really sees it as his bible. It made me curious to read it for myself.

Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell – I’m not really sure why I bought this one! Sometimes a book pops up on the Book Depository site that excites me at the moment so I put it in my cart, buy it and then can’t remember why. But it’s Elizabeth Gaskell and it’s gothic so I’m sure I’ll enjoy it!

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers – I also read this book when I was a teen (sometimes I think I did my best reading during those years). I have a goal to read more American classics so this will be added to that growing collection.

The Collected Stories by Jean Stafford – I liked The Mountain Lion so much that I want to read more of Stafford’s work and she was known for her short stories. This collection won the Pulitzer Prize in 1970.

Other things:

I will be reading Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf for the Classics Club spin.

September 15 is less than a month away! Have you chosen your Mary Stewart book yet? I’ve narrowed down my choice, but I’m not quite sure which one I’ll be reading. I’m leaning toward Airs Above the Ground. I’ve decided there will be a giveaway during the week and a possible Twitter chat, too.

Have a gorgeous Sunday!

New Arrivals

new arrivals June

Hello friends! I’m so sorry to have disappeared there for a few weeks. It certainly wasn’t planned – it just happened. I’ve been so busy at work with our summer reading program and coordinating the summer programs for children and teens that I just collapse when I get home from work and needed to take a break from the Internet. I also stopped looking at or posting on social media as much as I usually do in order to give my brain a rest from chaos. It has really helped and I feel refreshed and revived. As our summer programming is now at the midway point I feel that I have a handle on things and I am now ready to return to the online world.

Though I wasn’t blogging, I was reading – and buying books, too. Here are my recent purchases:

A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr – I’ve bought a few NYRB titles in the past few months because they are so attractive and sound so intriguing. I know this particular book has been highly recommended by several bloggers including My Porch and Cornflower.

The Mountain Lion by Jean Stafford – Another NYRB title that has received rave reviews from bloggers. I like that it is set in the American West.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt – One of my co-workers recently read this and really liked it. It didn’t appeal to me at first, but he is very enthusiastic about it so I’ll give it a try.

The Easter Parade by Richard Yates – I read Revolutionary Road for the Classics Club and loved it (I’ll post about it soon). I can’t wait to read more Yates.

Orlando by Virginia Woolf – I’ve been slowly reading A Writer’s Diary by Woolf and realized that Jacob’s Room is her only novel I’ve read. I’d like to read more of her work and so have added Orlando to the collection.

Sleepless Nights by Elizabeth Hardwick – I know next to nothing about this title or author, but I liked the sound of the vignette style of writing and the mid-century setting.

 The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter – I’ve heard so much about Angela Carter and have finally decided to give her a go.

Have you read any of these? Have you purchased anything exciting lately?

I hope you have a wonderful weekend – it is supposed to be 118 degrees here so I will be staying inside and drinking lots of water!

New Arrivals

May New Arrivals

I’m finally getting around to showing you some of the books I bought myself for my birthday back in April. They’ve trickled in a few at a time because I buy most of them from England and it takes anywhere from 2-4 weeks for them to land at my humble abode in Arizona. Here’s what I’ve received lately:

Fortunes of War/The Balkan Trilogy by Olivia Manning – I’ve seen many, many bloggers rave about the writing of Olivia Manning so when I saw this volume pop up on my Amazon recommendations I decided to take a chance.

Civil to Strangers by Barbara Pym – The latest addition to my Pym collection. Don’t forget that Barbara Pym Reading Week starts tomorrow.

Mr. Skeffington by Elizabeth von Arnim – I saw this mentioned somewhere by someone (I just can’t remember where!) and thought it sounded really wonderful. I should finish The Enchanted April first, though.

The Loving Spirit by Daphne du Maurier – I own lots of du Maurier novels and have had a desire to read her lately because I am in the middle of Daphne by Justine Picardie.

In a Summer Season by Elizabeth Taylor – I’m determined to read all of ET’s novels so am slowly acquiring them.

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier – Another du Maurier to add to my collection of her books.

Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart – I now own all of Mary Stewart’s suspense novels!

The Death of Lyndon Wilder and the Consequences Thereof by E.A. Dinely – Jane and Florence convinced me.

What have you purchased lately?

So, Barbara Pym Reading Week begins tomorrow and I am going to honor her by finishing Quartet in Autumn and making a cauliflower cheese (sans caterpillar) sometime during the week. I hope to participate in the BP tea party on Sunday unless I have to work. I am not scheduled that day, but my co-worker who is scheduled has been very ill this week and I might have to step in and work if she is unable to be there. If she does work then I get to stay home and have tea and eat a slice of cake that I’ll bake from a recipe in the Jane Brocket vintage cakes book. Are you going to celebrate Barbara Pym?

Have a great weekend!

New Arrivals

New Arrivals

Hello, friends! I hope you’ve had a lovely week despite the scary and tough events we’ve faced in the world. These are the books that have come to me in the mail to cheer me up and I’m proud to say that every single purchase was inspired by reading a blog post or on a recommendation from a blogger. Here they are:

Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayres & Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey –  Inspired by Vicki.

Mariana by Monica Dickens – Inspired by Teresa.

Loving and Giving by Molly Keane – Inspired by Ali.

Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden – Inspired by Nicola.

High Rising by Angela Thirkell – Inspired by Katrina, and Lisa, who is a great Thirkell fan.

Thanks for leading me to some exciting books!


Here are a couple of interesting links that I came across this week:

Wondering what Mary Stewart book to read first or to read next? Here is a quiz that will help you decide!

Can you believe there is a Barbara Pym doll??

What are the characteristics of a good historical novel?

I should have a pretty hefty New Arrivals report for you next time because it was my birthday on Wednesday and oh did I treat myself! Books will be arriving by the armload!

Have a beautiful weekend.

**If you haven’t heard – Mary Stewart Reading Week will be September 15-22, 2013**