New to me books

Books Febrauary 2019

Nine more books entered my house the other day. I say that as if they did it of their own volition, bursting in the front door like gatecrashers, but I must admit that it’s entirely my fault that my TBR piles continue to multiply. A visit to Edinburgh’s Stockbridge area usually leads to me buying more books although my pre-Christmas visit was disappointing, if I’m remembering correctly. I made up for that this time.

Anyway I bought:

The Cheval Glass by Ursula Bloom (1973)
Send a Fax to the Kasbah by Dorothy Dunnett (1991)
Dolly Dialogues by Anthony Hope (1896)
Excellent Intentions by Richard Hull (1938)
Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian (1970)
Secret Water by Arthur Ransome (!939)
The School at Thrush Green by Miss Read (1987)
Summer at Fairacre by Miss Read (1984)
The Sleeping Army by Francesca Simon (2011)

2019 February Books

It’s quite a mixture. I had thought that Dorothy Dunnett had only written historical fiction but Send a Fax to the Kasbah was contemporary in its day. The blurb on this book says: This highly pertinent look at the world of big business in the last decade of the twentieth century presents Dorothy Dunnett at the very top of her form. Mind you, as it was first published in 1991 and uses the word ‘fax’ in the title it will probably seem quite historical now.

To me Anthony Hope was the author of The Prisoner of Zenda and I had never heard of Dolly Dialogues but it seems that it’s an amusing read – so I could use it to count towards the humorous classic in the Back to the Classics Challenge. I bought this one for £2 but people are asking silly prices for it on the internet.

I always buy British Library Crime Classics when I see them in secondhand bookshops, sometimes the cover is the most impressive thing about the books. So far the mysteries have only been about 50% good and I’m left thinking that there must be better crime classics which are more deserving of being reprinted. I think that Excellent Intentions will be a good one though.

Master and Commander is the first in a series of books by Patrick O’Brian. I believe they feature the ship HMS Surprise, that’s mainly why I want to read the series as one of my ancestors was transported to Australia for sedition (it was a fit up!), and I just recently discovered that he was transported there on The Surprise.

The Sleeping Army is aimed at older children but it is described by Jacqueline Wilson as ‘a wildly original, rollicking twist on Norse mythology.’

The Miss Read books are for when the news is driving me crazy and I can’t settle to read anything that might not be a nice gentle read. The blurb says: ‘She conjures up scenes of thatch, hollyhocks and lovable eccentricities which the world recognises as the epitome of Englishness.’

Have you read any of these ones?

20 thoughts on “New to me books

  1. I have a copy of The Dolly Dialogues that I have had so long that I have no recollection of acquiring it. Maybe it arrived of its own volition, bursting through my front door? I love that image. I am going to insist from here on that all my books arrive in this fashion.

  2. Send A Fax is the last in the series of mysteries. It might help to read Dolly and the Bird of Paradise first, which is also my favorite in the series.

  3. All of these titles are new to me except for Miss Read, and I absolutely love all of her books. I have some of her books and a few others on audio cassette version. I need to find a way to put them on either cd or digital format.
    I could be interested in several of the other ones that found their way into your house without your help:) Interesting tidbit about your ancestor. How did you learn about that?

    • Paula,
      I always knew that a several times great grandfather or uncle had been transported. There’s a massive obelisk in Edinburgh which commemorates him (William Skirving) and a few others, it’s known as The Martyrs Monument. I met someone who happens to work in Register House in Edinburgh and he said they had a lot of documents about him and his trial so I’ve been able to do a bit more research on him.

  4. I love the Miss Read books too and have read both of the ones that have ‘gatecrashed’ your house! As you know I also have a copy of Excellent Intentions and hope it’s as good as The Murder of My Aunt.

    I haven’t read the other books – I thought I had both the O’Brian book and the Ransome ones, but when I checked I do have books by both authors – but different titles, The Yellow Admiral and Coot Club (and haven’t read them). I think I have read Secret Water as the description on Wikipedia is so familiar to me – but I don’t have a copy, so can’t be positive. I think there was a TV programme not so long ago about Arthur Ransome and his Swallows and Amazon books – so maybe that’s why I think I’ve read Secret Water.

    • Margaret,
      O’Brian has written loads of books, but I’ve never read any of them. I’m trying to collect the Ransome ones, especially as we were in Ullswater last year and apparently that area inspired him to write the books. I missed that TV programme, I’ll have to look out for it coming on again.

  5. I bought most of the O’Brian books hoping my ex-sailing husband would read them. He’s not much of a reader and thought they might appeal. So, far, they haven’t. But I’ve read a couple and liked them.

  6. I haven’t read any of the Miss Read books but I recently purchased the first Fairacre book (A Village School) so I can give them a try.

    I want to read the Richard Hull book that you got. I might have bought it recently (or it may still be on my wish list).

  7. I love the Patrick O’Brian books, although I sometimes struggle with all the nautical terminology. That’s an interesting fact about your ancestor and HMS Surprise! I have read a few of Dorothy Dunnett’s contemporary mysteries and I don’t think they compare to her historical fiction, but they’re still quite enjoyable.

    • Helen,
      I doubted that Dunnett’s contemporary books would come up to the standard of her historical books as they are really great. I think I’ll read the O’Brian one soon-ish although I’ve never read any books like those ones before. I wonder if the ship Surprise is described much in the books. I know it was originally a French ship which was captured by the British Navy.

  8. Katrina,
    I just LOVE it when you show a good hoard of books you’ve rescued from the bookshop.
    I’m sure I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I’ve always wanted to try a Miss Read novel. They look like excellent comfort reads. I must try one. They are in the libraries here and fairly inexpensive as e-books. On the list.

    • Judith,
      I’ve just bought two more bookcases! I think comfort read is a good description of the Miss Read books, get them from your library. My mother-in-law enjoyed them and I had to be careful which books I gave to her to read as she was rather strait-laced.

  9. I love all the ‘Miss Read’ books; also have enjoyed all Arthur Ransome’s including Secret Water.
    Hope you enjoy them too.

    • ireadthatinabook,
      Secondhand bookshops seem to be dying out although most cities in the UK have Oxfam or Shelter bookshops and they are usually really good. I love them as you just never know what treasures you might stumble upon. Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment.

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