Another way I’ve found to deal with my reading funk, in addition to listening to P.D. James novels on audio, is visiting my local used bookstore. Inspired by Kate’s group reading of Anne of Green Gables, I went out to find a copy this afternoon (and, inspired by Emily’s Eco-justice Challenge, I walked!). I had a complete set of the Anne books when I was a kid, but I left them behind when I grew up and have been deprived ever since. Now, though, I’m the proud owner of Anne of Green Gables once again. I realized after I got home that I’ll probably have to go back to find the rest of the Anne books, because will I want to stop after just one book? Probably not.
While I was at the store I couldn’t resist picking up another couple books, including E.M. Delafield’s Diary of a Provincial Lady, which looks like tremendous fun, and Barbara Comyns’s Our Spoons Came from Woolworths. It’s a Virago Modern Classic, which interests me automatically, but the back cover description was especially intriguing:
Sophia is twenty-one years old, naive, unworldly, and irresistible — most particularly to Charles, a young painter whom she married in haste and with whom she plunges into a life of dire poverty. Desperate, Sophia takes up with the dismal, aging art critic Peregrine, and learns to repent both marriage and affair at leisure. How Sophia survives to find true love is delightfully told in this engaging and eccentric novel, which also gives a wonderful portrait of bohemian life in London in the 1940s.
It’s the bohemian life in the 1940s part in particular that got my attention. My used bookstore had a number of interesting-looking Viragos, but I decided I couldn’t carry them all home, so I may have to go back to get more later. And I just mooched Rosamund Lehmann’s Invitation to the Waltz, so I’m thrilled to have yet another Virago on the way.
8 responses to “Book therapy”
I always keep an eye out for the Virago editions. I wish I owned more of them! And the Comyn book sounds especially appealing. What is it about that 40s bohemian (or any artistic/bohemian) setting that draws one in so? My you are lucky to be within walking distance of a bookstore! But perhaps it’s best I’m not…for the old pocketbook, I mean. How goes the funk?
Oh, I just loved Diary of a Provincial Lady. She made me wish I could write my blog like that, with understated showing instead of telling. It’s a great read.
Diary of a Provincial Lady is a hoot! One of the original slummy mummies, you’ll find. And I’m so glad you have the Comyns. I have it too and have sort of gone off looking at it. If you like it I will regain my enthusiasm again, I’m sure!
Lucky you to have Viragos to choose from at your used bookstore. I always scour the shelves and lately find nothing at all! I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Delafield and hope to read it this year, too. I’ve also heard good things about eh Comyns and am keeping my eye out for it. These all sound enjoyable!
I like your book therapy. Our Spoons Came from Woolworths sounds like fun. I remember shopping at Woolworths with my mom when I was a kid. I think you definitely need to go back for more Viragos 🙂
Toujoursjacques — actually I’m within walking distance of four bookstores — all of them small used bookstores (two of them good, two of them so-so). I do love my town! Yeah, it’s not so good for the pocketbook, but it does lift my spirits when I need it! The reading funk is slowly going away — I enjoyed the Allingham mystery and am getting into Dreaming in Cuban.
Diana — oh, good! I’m really looking forward to it; I’m guessing I’ll eat it up and love it.
Litlove — interesting — I’ll certainly let you know how it goes with the Comyn when I get there. So many new authors I’m discovering through Virago!
Danielle — don’t they sound fun? I’m glad you’ll be reading Delafield too — I’ll look forward to your thoughts.
Stefanie — oh I’m glad you think that! I’ll remember your advice when I’m tempted to head out to the bookstores again.
The Delafield is wonderful. It’s one of those glorious books where you can read a bit, put it down and then come back and read a bit more. In fact, I think I’l go and get it down off the shelf now. It’s far too long since I last read it.
I have a copy of Anne of Green Gables, I haven’t started it yet…now I’ll bump it up.