Here’s the confession I promised the other day. I’ve had a bit of a splurge on books this month & this is the result. Penguin have been publishing their $9.95 Popular Penguins for a few years now. This is the latest idea, 50 crime classics in the distinctive green covers. I think these are only available in Australia. Hopefully I’m wrong but if anyone overseas is interested, you may want to look at the whole list here & maybe consider buying them from Readings, one of our best independent bookshops.
As you can see, Lucky decided to have a look at my new acquisitions as well so here’s another picture showing the titles more clearly. It’s a great list of old & new authors. I’d read about half of the list so these are the ones I chose, all vintage authors which won’t surprise anyone, I’m sure. Julian Symons, C P Snow (I didn’t know he’d written any crime fiction), Michael Gilbert, Dorothy Dunnett & Dornford Yates who was recently recommended on my online book group.
Apart from classic crime, I’ve also bought this little lot. Again, Lucky was right there when I was taking the photo.
So, here’s a close-up of the books. The Matriarch by G B Stern. First published in 1955 but set in Edwardian London. The story of a Jewish family & the domineering Anastasia, the matriarch of the title.
Mrs Miles’s Diary, edited by S V Partington, the diary of a Surrey housewife during WWII.
The Morgesons by Elizabeth Stoddard. A forgotten American classic, first published in the 1860s. Agricola & Germany by Tacitus. I’ve been reading about Roman Britain & the Anglo-Saxons lately & feel it’s about time I started reading some of the sources. Tacitus is one of the main sources for Boudicca’s rebellion in AD60.
Rumer Godden by Anne Chisholm. I’m sure I read this biography when it was first published but I want to read it again now that Virago have started reprinting her novels.
Two more novels by Nevil Shute, Most Secret & No Highway (coincidentally just reviewed by Thomas at My Porch). I’ve enjoyed the Shute novels I’ve read & now that Vintage have republished more titles with their lovely covers, I couldn’t resist a couple more. I love Thomas’s description of Shute as “D E Stevenson for boys (or engineers)” in the sense that he’s a great comfort read & you know exactly what’s in store.
The nineteenth century sensation novel by Lyn Pykett. This is an updated edition of Pykett’s 1994 book, The sensation novel from The Woman in White to The Moonstone. I’ve just read Henry Dunbar by M E Braddon so I was pleased to find this as I’m a fan of mid-Victorian sensation.
The Heart of the Family by Elizabeth Goudge. I’m still collecting Goudge rather than reading her. This is the third novel in the Damerosehay Trilogy.
Crown of Thistles : the fatal inheritance of Mary, Queen of Scots by Linda Porter. This is more than a biography of Mary, Queen of Scots, it’s an exploration of the rivalry between the Stewarts & the Tudors from 1485 to 1568. With the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Flodden this year, I’m keen to learn more about Anglo-Scottish relations before Elizabeth & Mary.
I also have quite a few books on pre-order & I’ve been tempted to pre-order even more by the news that Virago are continuing their Angela Thirkell list with three more books to be published next May. I’ve already pre-ordered Pomfret Towers & Christmas at High Rising (uncollected short stories) & now I’m tempted by The Brandons, Summer Half & August Folly as well. I haven’t read the Thirkells I already own but that won’t stop me buying more.
Virago are also reprinting the Emily books by L M Montgomery. I’ve only read Anne of Green Gables but I like the sound of these, Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs & Emily’s Quest.
Where will it end? My friends in my online bookgroup laughed when I said that I counted my pre-orders instead of sheep when I couldn’t get to sleep at night but it’s a very soothing way to drop off. I don’t think I’ve ever got to the end of the list before falling asleep. Maybe I’ll post a list of all my pre-orders for any insomniacs who need some help?