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Archive for June, 2019

London is the perfect destination for many things.  For visiting extraordinary museums and galleries, seeing fantastic shows (Hamilton!  I saw Hamilton!  And yes, it was amazing), strolling through beautiful neighbourhoods, eating great food, and, for me at least, catching up with old friends.  And I got to do all of those things during my visit a few weeks ago.

But, very close to the heart of my love for London, is my belief that it is especially designed for book buying.

I slacked off this visit.  I didn’t spend my usual hours and hours browsing in used bookshops – in fact I barely visited any – but instead had a laser focus on newer books.

So what did I come home with?

Tory Heaven by Marghanita Laski – no trip to London is complete with a visit to Persephone.  It was pleasantly busy when I stopped in, including a group of three university-age German-speaking girls who each bought a book.  I bow down to their mastery of English; my sad language skills would not hold up if I tried to read a Persephone-level book in French or German.  I had a little thrill looking at the afterword to Guard Your Daughters and myself quoted there and then had a nice chat with Lydia, who showed me the most exciting thing in the entire shop – Mollie Panter-Downes’ kitchen table.  Finally, I left with Tory Heaven, excited to have another book by the always entertaining Laski to read.  Lydia had suggested I go from there to Sir John Sloane’s Museum, which sounds fascinating, but my heart longed for more books so…

The Gentle Art of Tramping by Stephen Graham – From Persephone I strolled over to the London Review Bookshop and, helpfully, this was right there on the display table.  I am addicted to books about walking and have been wanting this since I first heard about it a few months back.

Beyond the Thirty-Nine Steps by Ursula Buchan – Also at the London Review Bookshop, I picked up this signed copy of Ursula Buchan’s biography of her grandfather, John Buchan.  I find Buchan – and his entire family – fascinating and was delighted when Kate, an authority on Buchan, gave this her stamp of approval.

And that’s all I bought during my first four days in town.  Such restraint!  Then, in my final 24 hours in town, I managed to pick up three more books:

Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers – I met up with Simon and Rachel while in London and, after we’d said goodbye to Simon, ended up getting a tour of Rachel’s beautiful flat.  She happened to have some books in a closet waiting to be given away (I have a stack of the same in my own hall closet which makes it clear that this is completely normal behaviour, despite what I have been told in the past) and offered me my pick.  I’d delighted to have this little, light copy of Whose Body? to add to my collection and remind me of her.

Not That Kind of Love by Clare and Greg Wise – I whirled through the Gower Street Waterstones on my final morning to grab this joint diary showing both sides – Claire, the invalid, and her brother Greg, the caregiver – of a terminal illness.  I am confident I first heard about this on a podcast but cannot for the life of me find which one it was.  I read this on the plane home a few hours later and it was wonderful and also heartbreaking.  There were many, many tears over Greenland.

The Crossway by Guy Stagg – My last minute dash to Waterstones was to hunt down Not That Kind of Love but I couldn’t resist grabbing this as well. Again, I really, really love books about walking (this is a memoir of a pilgrimage) and I’ve been eyeing this one from afar since it came out last year.

The good news was that I could still close – and carry! – my bag coming home, so clearly I bought just the right number of books.

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badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.


Old Baggage by Lissa Evans –  I loved Crooked Heart (loved, loved, loved it) and am delighted that Evans has written this prequel.  I can’t wait to learn more about Mattie.  (Book Depository)

Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism by Kristen R. Ghodsee – A highly biased but certainly conversation-starting look at how socialism benefited (and benefits) women compared, very explicitly, to the current reality in capitalist America. (Book Depository)

The Salt Path by Raynor Winn – You know me, if there’s a book out there about walking I will eventually find my way to it.  This has won numerous prizes but I’m a little skeptical – it sounds like it borders too closely on the misery memoir genre (Raynor and her partner start their walk after he is diagnosed with terminal cancer and they lose their home) for my comfort but the praise has been so universal that I have to give it a try. (Book Depository)


The True Queen by Zen Cho – It’s here!  I loved Cho’s first novel, the extraordinarily accomplished A Sorcerer to the Crown, so I am thrilled to have the second in the anticipated trilogy here.  (Book Depository)

Thoughtful Gardening by Robin Lane Fox – The Saturday edition of the Financial Times is one of the highlights of my weekend and I particularly look forward to Robin Lane Fox’s gardening column.  This volume is based on those columns – he’s expanded some of them from their original version and added new pieces – so it’s even more of what I already love.  Ideal! (Book Depository)

A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole – Cole writes great romance novels and brings some necessary diversity (and intelligence) to the genre. (Book Depository)

What did you pick up this week?

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository, an online book retailer with free international shipping.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you).

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Library Lust

Bromley House Library, Nottingham photo credit Martine Hamilton Knight via Financial Times (April 26, 2019)

Bromley House, photo credit Martine Hamilton Knight 

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Library Lust

Carolina Irving’s dining room

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badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

I am back!  And I am frankly exhausted.  Jet lag always hits me hard coming back and this time is no exception so today’s post will be brief.

The best thing about returning (because I never really want to leave Europe) was coming home to library loans.  I’d been disciplined about pausing all my holds before I left but now there’s a delightful flurry of things coming in.  Lovely.

29 Dates by Melissa de la Cruz (Book Depository)

The Second Mountain by David Brooks (Book Depository)

Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl (Book Depository)

Madame Fourcade’s Secret War by Lynne Olson (Book Depository)

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Book Depository)

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang (Book Depository)

What did you pick up this week?

This post contains affiliate links from Book Depository, an online book retailer with free international shipping.  If you buy via these links it means I receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you).

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Library Lust

via Stribling & Associates

via Stribling & Associates

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