I’m aiming to have all of Margaret Drabble’s books on my shelves s-o-m-e-d-a-y.
And I can tell myself that’s do-able because I actually quite like the old Penguin paperbacks of her work.
And, when you find those at booksales, they often only cost $1.
Yes, they’re usually a bit yellowed. (Okay, more than a bit.)
And sometimes the spines are pretty well-worn. (But not in that cracked-way, but in an easy-way.)
But I will choose them every time. (Even when there is a “nicer”, “newer” copy of the same work there, right beside it.)
And not always because they’re only $1 (and what else can you do for $1 these days).
And not only because I’ve noticed that the shelves which hold pocketbooks in the house are the only ones with room.
(Okay, that might play a bigger role in the decision than I’m prepared to admit, given the number of books that don’t appear in this snapshot).
But because they’re very much of their time, and it’s a time that makes me feel cozy. So I can imagine having them all one day, just like this.
Do specific editions of books bring back other reading times for you?
So imagine how excited I was to find three (the middle one, which adds sunbleached to yellowed and compact and worn, is 1967’s Jerusalem the Golden).
In a few days, I’ll be chatting about her second novel, The Garrick Year, which only reminded me how much I really do want to have all of her books here at hand, just to be able to reach out and pet them sometimes.
And, also on that pile, you will spot another of my MRE authors, Elizabeth von Arnim.
Oh, how I adore finding one of her books. If you share my enthusiasm for her (and you don’t live in England, and perhaps even if you do, depending where you bookshop), you will understand the thrill of this, because her works are hard to find. I know nothing about Father, but whoever owned this previously has read it many, many times.
I’ve been lucky enough to find a couple other of von Arnim’s works in other booksales, copies of similar vintage (Fraulein Schmidt and Mr Anstruther and The Caravaners) whereas most of my copies of her works are in the Virago Modern Classics series.
It seemed as though those two older Arnim novels had been read a few times. Their bindings are loose and FS&MrA was slightly slanted. But Father seems as though it has been read nearly-to-tatters. (Which works for me on two counts: it rouses my reader’s curiosity, and it brings it into my price range.)
D.E. Stevenson is a contender for my MRE lists; I’ve only read one of her novels, the delightful Miss Buncle’s Book, and this is the first time that I’ve even seen another of her books.
Do fill me in if you know something about them, and if you think this is going to nudge her onto my Must Read Everything list.
This stack of new additions seems, in some ways, decidedly out-of-place next to my stack of recent and current reads.
About the Underground Railroad in Canada. The Giller list with Russians emigrating to Canada in 1978. The Writer’s Trust list with brutal crimes in Czechoslovakia in 1939. The Governor General’s list with three sisters on the vaudeville circuit. A re-read of The Handmaid’s Tale. Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Colson Whitehead’s Zone One.
But this stack of cozy British reads nestles in nicely nonetheless.
Do you like? And what treasures have you added to your shelves recently?