Collecting but not reading

I have a habit of collecting books by an author but not actually reading any of them. It’s on the rainy day principle. If a long out of print author is suddenly in print again, I rush to buy their books because they may not stay in print very long & I’d hate to miss out on that little window of opportunity when they’re available. Elizabeth Goudge is the latest author that I’m stockpiling against the day when I’m in the mood for one of her books.

I remember reading several of her books when I was much younger. I especially remember The White Witch, set during the English Civil War. Capuchin began by reprinting Green Dolphin Country a few years ago & now Hendrickson in the US have started reprinting her books, including The Scent of Water, of which I read an enticing review here,

and the Eliot Family trilogy, also known as the Damerosehay series. So far they’ve reprinted Volumes 1 & 2 so no 3 can’t be far away.

Then there’s Angela Thirkell who has many devoted fans in the blogosphere. Since Virago reprinted High Rising & Wild Strawberries (with Pomfret Towers to come later this year), there have been many appreciative reviews of her work. I have the Virago reprints as well as an omnibus I bought in a secondhand bookshop years ago which contains The Brandons, Cheerfulness Breaks In & Before Lunch.

I have read some Somerset Maugham – The Razor’s Edge, some of the short stories – but it was many years ago.

I’m afraid I can always be seduced by a beautiful cover & these Vintage editions are gorgeous.

I’ve also just bought these two lovely Vintage US editions of Up At The Villa & The Painted Veil (now I can’t decide which of the Vintage covers I like best…) from my favourite remainders bookshop, Clouston & Hall in Canberra. I’ve been buying books from them by mail order for over 30 years now. I must have bought hundreds of books from them over that time & they have the most wonderful bargains. Most of my collection of Wodehouse came from them when the Arrow reprints were remaindered. The links are to reviews of the Maugham books by Simon at Stuck In A Book & Dani at A Work in Progress.

Maybe one day, when I actually get around to reading their books, I’ll be inspired to join the Elizabeth Goudge Society & the Angela Thirkell Society (there doesn’t seem to be a Maugham Society). If anyone is a passionate advocate of any of these books, let me know in the comments. I just need a gentle shove in the right direction, I’m sure, & I’ll be off!

18 thoughts on “Collecting but not reading

  1. I'm excited to hear that the Elizabeth Goudge books are being reprinted. So many readers and bloggers have recommended her to me over the years but I've had trouble finding copies of her books both in the libraries and used bookstores. Doesn't sound like I'll have that problem any more!

    And as a very passionate advocate of Thirkell, I can't wait to hear what you think of her once you start reading through your stockpile! High Rising is a great place to start, though I prefer Wild Strawberries.

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  2. Angela Thirkel1! I feel like she's been a hidden treasure for a long long time and I'm so glad she's being rediscovered. I have a motley collection of her books (but I have all of them now) but I still want those new editions. I've never read Somerset Maugham but those covers make me want to (or at least to collect him for a rainy day!)

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  3. I have the same habit, and many of the same books. I tell myself that one day I'll just batten the hatches and read! I hadn't noticed that Elizabeth Goudge was back in print and I'm so pleased – thank you for the link!

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  4. I'm really pleased with the Goudge reprints as I've read so many enthusiastic reviews of her work. I have a vague feeling that I read High Rising years ago but if the recollection is that tenuous I obviously need to read it again. I will get there one day.

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  5. I think we should be banned from reading each other's blogs, Audrey! We just seem to enable each other's book addiction. The Vintage Classics are one of my favourite series & I couldn't resist picking up the remaindered editions. I just need to plan for a very long retirement to be able to read them all.

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  6. I think lots of us have a similar habit. I still have a couple of the Winifred Holtby & Stella Gibbons reprints from a couple of years ago sitting unread on the tbr shelves. One day I'll get to them all.

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  7. I love those Vintage Somerset Maugham covers too, and I think they were the reason (at least, initially) I took notice of Maugham's works. And yes, reading blogs are dangerous. I have been collecting books by authors whom I have yet to try but seem to be convinced that I will love them, simply because of the enthusiasm of passionate bloggers!

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  8. Having a chuckle here. Buying up authors and letting them set on the shelves unread but comfort in knowing they are there. I love the Vintage covers and now also love looking at the covers of Text Australian classics in the bookshop everytime I visit. Happy reading.

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  9. Yes, I can always be seduced by a lovely cover or a rave review! Then there are the publishers I collect like Persephone & Greyladies because I know I'll like the books & I know they won't be in print forever. I couldn't bear to miss out!

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  10. It is a comfort, isn't it? It would be awful to have nothing to read. I love the Text Classics too although I don't read much Australian fiction. I love the fact that they've brought all these books back into print at such a reasonable price. Allen & Unwin have recently reprinted the classics they own the rights to like Come In Spinner by Dymphna Cusack & Timeless Land by Eleanor Dark. I can remember several cover changes for these over the years because every time they reprint them, I buy them up again for my library. Happy reading to you too, Pam!

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  11. I recently picked up Elizabeth Goudge's The Cathedral Trilogy, which includes The Dean's Watch, to see what she is like and because Lichfield is a cathedral city. I'll make a start on it if you read one of your's!

    Meanwhile, I can recommend High Rising – I really enjoyed it.

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  12. Oh no, that's too much pressure! I'm leaning towards The Scent of Water as my first Goudge but when I'll actually get to it – or High Rising – is anyone's guess.

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  13. I'm glad I am not the only 'collector'. I tend to buy on the assumption I am going to like an author's work or will read one and really like it then have a desire to buy everything else they have written. Love those Maugham covers–can't get them over here (they show OS on TBD). I must check out Elizabeth Goudge, too, she looks right up my alley.

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  14. Even worse is my habit of buying books I've already read when they're reprinted in lovely new editions & I'm sure I'll reread them “one day”. I also have a collection of 6 books by Rebecca Shaw (I bought them as a set, they were remaindered) just because she seems to be like Miss Read but, of course, I haven't read any of them yet.We'll all have to live a very long time, won't we?

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