I’ve been very restrained in my book buying lately. I do still have a few preorders from the Book Depository trickling in. Betty Miller’s On the Side of the Angels arrived this week. I’ve been looking forward to this as I enjoyed her novel, Farewell Leicester Square, which is a Persephone. This is the story of the psychological facts of war on two families.
I have bought a few e-books though. They’re invisible so they don’t really count. I bought Rosy Thornton’s More than Love Letters, her first novel & the only one I haven’t read. Also a new book about Jane Austen, Jane Austen’s Cults & Cultures by Claudia Johnson, which was reviewed here along with John Mullan’s book, What Matters in Jane Austen? I’ve just finished the Mullan book & will be reviewing it soon.
I was dismayed but not altogether surprised to discover that the Book Depository are no longer selling e-books. I couldn’t find the e-books link on the website a few weeks ago & emailed them. I received a polite corporate speak reply saying that they didn’t feel they were offering a good enough e-book service to their customers & preferred to concentrate on the physical books. Now I’ve received emails telling me that all the e-books I’ve bought from TBD & have in my order history (because you can have 3 downloads per title) will be disappearing on July 1st. This is just one of many changes that will probably happen at TBD now that they’ve been bought by Amazon. Amazon obviously don’t want anyone buying e-books for any device except the Kindle. I don’t have a Kindle (although I do have the Kindle app on my iPad. I prefer my e-reader though because it’s so much lighter to hold) & TBD’s prices were very reasonable. I bought all my Bloomsbury Reader e-books there for around $6AU each. I can’t believe any bookseller is willingly ignoring e-books, it seems ridiculous to me.
I’ve also brought home a lovely stack of new books from work, all of which I’m desperate to read immediately. There’s A Question of Identity, the new Rona Parish mystery from Anthea Fraser; Sidney Chambers & the Shadow of Death by James Runcie which has had some excellent reviews; a stand-alone romance from Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, Country Plot; Charles Dickens & the Great Theatre of the World by Simon Callow, one of the Dickens books I’m most looking forward to this year; Our Man in Rome by Catherine Fletcher which is about Henry VIII’s ambassador to Rome during the period of his divorce negotiations; The Other Dickens by Lillian Nayder, a biography of Catherine & The Manor Reborn, the book of the TV series (which I haven’t seen) about the restoration of Avebury Manor. The book is sumptuous & I would love the series to pop up on TV here one day – or even on BBC iPlayer Global (hint, hint!).
However, I’m not reading any of those at the moment. I’ve just finished A Modern Instance by William Dean Howells, which I was reading with my 19th century bookgroup. It’s the story of a young couple in 1880s Boston & their marriage. Bartley Hubbard is an unscrupulous journalist & his wife Marcia is a very jealous woman. The ending of the novel was quite scandalous for the time. I couldn’t sympathise with either Bartley or Marcia but I loved the book, it was a fascinating read.
Last night, I began Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, the sequel to Wolf Hall. Thomas Cromwell, Jane Seymour & the fall of Anne Boleyn. There’s a long reservation queue for it so I must read it this week. I’m 30pp in & I love it. Can’t wait to get back to it.
I’m a third of the way through Queen Anne : the Politics of Passion by Anne Somerset, a biography of an often overlooked monarch. Anne Somerset’s books are always readable & based on excellent research & I’m enjoying this when I’m not reading
A Means of Escape by Joanna Price. I’m halfway through this mystery set in Glastonbury after reading about it on Eurocrime.
I’m also about a tenth of the way through Love in the Sun by Leo Walmsley. I tried to order a physical copy from TBD but it was never available so I downloaded it to my iPad. It’s set in Cornwall & was warmly reviewed by Fleur Fisher. It’s now back in print but not that easy to get hold of.
Finally, some exciting news from Persephone. Emma Bridgewater has been commissioned to produce a jug & bowl to celebrate Persephone’s 100th book to be published later this year. This was on Facebook this morning & I can’t wait to see the design. The colours won’t be a surprise though. I just hope they’re available worldwide. I have all the books & I must have the commemorative crockery as well!