Library Loot

I’m still being restrained – though I did break my ordering ban briefly to order two books from the shortlist for the Orange Award for New Writers – and my library pile is shrinking.

I have room on my ticket and I have time to read my own books!

But that doesn’t mean books didn’t come home. Of course they did!

So here’s this week’s loot:

The Wilding by Maria McCann

“17th Century England. Life is struggling to return to normal after the horrific tumult of the Civil War. In the village of Spadboro Jonathan Dymond, a 26-year old cider-maker who lives with his parents, has until now enjoyed a quiet, harmonious existence. As the novel opens, a letter arrives from his uncle with a desperate request to speak with his father. When his father returns from the visit the next day, all he can say is that Jonathan’s uncle has died. Then Jonathan finds a fragment of the letter in the family orchard, with talk of inheritance and vengeance. He resolves to unravel the mystery at the heart of his family – a mystery which will eventually threaten the lives and happiness of Jonathan and all those he holds dear.”

Maria McCann’s first book was extraordinary and so I ordered this, her second, as soon as I knew about it.

A Pound of Paper by John Baxter

“By the 1960s a copy of Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock without its dust jacket was worth about #500. But with its dust jacket more like #2,000 – if you could find one. The last copy with a perfect jacket to come on the market changed hands at #50,000. Brighton Rock was a high-point, but first editions of other early Greene books weren’t much less valuable. And then there were signed copies, foreign printings, limited editions, numbered and signed…John Baxter caught the collecting bug in the winter of 1978 when he found a rare copy of Greene’s children’s book The Little Horse Bus while browsing in a second-hand market in Swiss Cottage. It was going for 5p. It would also, fortuitously, be the day that he first encountered one of the legends of the bookselling world: Martin Stone. At various times cokehead, pothead, alchoholic, international fugitive from justice and professional rock musician (said to knock Eric Clapton into a cocked hat), he would become John’s mentor and friend, and a central figure in this book. nIn this brilliantly readable, stylish and funny book John Baxter introduces us to his world, the world of the fanatical book collector: not only the kind who buys from catalogues or at auction and takes away the booty in bubble wrap to store in metal filing cabinets – but also the sleuth, the one who uses bluff and guile to hunt down his quarry. “

I’ve picked this one up and put it down a few times since I first spotted it. Points for: it’s a book about books, lovely lists at the back. Points against: book collecting isn’t the same as book reading, the author’s taste isn’t mine. In the end I read the first few pages and the love of books was so transparent that I just had to bring it home.

I Coriander by Sally Gardner

” Coriander is the daughter of a silk merchant in 1650s London. Her idyllic childhood ends when her mother dies and her father goes away, leaving Coriander with her stepmother, a widow who is in cahoots with a fundamentalist Puritan preacher. She is shut away in a chest and left to die, but emerges into the fairy world from which her mother came, and where time has no meaning. When she returns, charged with a task that will transform her life, she is seventeen.”

This looks wonderful and it’s been on the “one day I’ll bring it home” list for ages. This week that day came!

The Dressmaker by Elizabeth Birkelund Oberbeck

“Monsieur Claude Reynaud is known throughout France for his talent for making fabulous clothes. The most elegant women in Paris regularly make the pilgrimage to the cobbled village of Senlis to be charmed by the tailor in the cluttered studio by the century-old apple tree. Claude can take a measurement at a glance, stores everything in his head, and fashions each dress by hand. And, despite his ex-wife’s protests, he refuses to be lured by the promise of the Parisian fashion industry. He is too old change and certainly too old to fall in love: his only passion is his studio. Then one afternoon, in a cloud of spring blossom, Mademoiselle Valentine de Verlay arrives on Claude’s doorstep. She commissions him to create her wedding dress. But before the first stitch has even been made, Claude realises that for the first time in his life he has fallen passionately in love and, very quickly, the seams of both their lives begin to unravel…”

 I needed a gentle book and this one caught my eye. The back has a recommendation from Beth Gutcheon, very soon to be a Persephone author, and so it definitely had to come home.


Have you read any of these? What did you think? Which book should I go for next? And which are you curious to know more about?

And what did you find in the library this week?

See more Library Loot here.

8 responses

  1. Can you just send your Library Loot over to me?

    I listened to the audio version of I, Coriander a few years ago, and I really loved it. 🙂

    I covet The Wildling!

  2. I haven’t read any of them..but I’m sure after your reviews I will want to!! I’ve been remiss on posting my library loot…it is frighteningly out of control!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Read over on Stuck in a Book that you were a click away from deleting your blog. So glad you didn’t – I really enjoy your writings.

    Our big Lifeline booksale is on in Canberra for three days. I went yesterday and bought several books including Esmond by W M Thackeray, They were sisters by Dorothy Whipple, Miss Bun the baker’s daughter by D E Stevenson and some copies of old favourites like Daughter of Time (Josephine Tey)and The False Inspector Dew (Peter Lovesey).

    I like your review of the book by John Baxter and will look out for it.

  4. The Dressmaker intrigues me most, I like a quiet story, and anything set in France is always fun. I’ve just checked and my library has it! I’m looking forward to your thoughts on a pound of paper. My English brother-in-law is a book collector and always has fascinating things to talk about. It’s available at my library but I’ll wait to see what you think of it.
    I don’t know the issues involved but I noticed that your last commenter talked about your almost decision to delete your blog. My vote is please don’t. You offer a such a nice variety of books, not just the latest or most popular like so many book blogs. And your comments and tidbits of information on them always make them sound so interesting. Just my two cents worth.

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