Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times

It’s Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times again, it comes around so quickly. This meme is hosted by Judith at Reader in the Wilderness.

Folio Society Books

Jack took this photo and as this shelf is home to a lot of my books too I thought I would just use it this week. The shelves contain mainly Folio books, yonks ago we were in the Folio Book Club, the books are so beautifully produced – a real pleasure to handle. I’m just going to mention a few of them. Quite a lot of these books have been bought secondhand over the years though – such as the two by Dorothy L. Sayers – Murder Must Advertise and Have His Carcase. I see from the price pencilled inside that they cost me all of £3 each – bargain!

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is one of those books that I have collected a few copies of. This Folio edition is illustrated by Dodie Masterman, there aren’t a lot of drawings and they’re not coloured but I really like them. I’m presuming that she also designed the cover.

The Secret Garden cover
Murder Must Advertise cover

Have his Carcase cover

The collection of short stories by Katherine Mansfield is illustrated by Susan Wilson but I can’t find any images of her work on the internet. The design of the book cover is very jazzy I think.

Lastly Perrault’s Fairy Tales illustrated by Edmund Dulac is a beauty inside and outside, you can see some of the illustrations here.

Short Stories cover
Perrault's Fairy Tales cover

Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times

It’s Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times again which is hosted by Judith at Reader in the Wilderness. I must say that I’m really enjoying this meme, getting a keek at other readers’ bookshelves and at the same time it’s pushing me to read books that I had forgotten I had, mind you the lack of visits to libraries during this Covid lockdown is helping too. Last week I read Merlin Dreams which featured in my ‘Insane’ post.

Songs with Music from a Child's Garden of Verses cover
The Barefoot Book of Ballet Stories cover

So this week I’m sticking to the same bookshelf – Songs with Music from a Child’s Garden of Verses by R.L. Stevenson is illustrated by Margaret W. Tarrant. It’s an old book dating from either 1918 or the 1930s depending on who you believe. I think I bought my copy at a specialist book fair, possibly the Christian Aid one in Edinburgh which of course didn’t take place this year. Anyway the illustrations are charming and you can see some of them here.

The Barefoot Book of Ballet Stories by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple is illustrated by Rebecca Guay and is obviously aimed at older children – girls I suppose. It features Coppelia, Swan Lake, Cinderella, The Nutcracker, Shim Chung: The Blind Man’s Daughter, The Sleeping Beauty and Daphnis and Chloe. You can see some of the illustrations here.

Mother Goose cover

I love Michael Foreman’s illustrations and his Mother Goose book has a foreword by Iona Opie, the collector of children’s rhymes and folklore. Opie says: ‘The nursery rhyme repertoire stays remarkably constant. What need for new nursery rhymes when there are always new children?’ But this book contains quite a lot of rhymes that I had never heard of. This is quite a thick book with 152 pages jam packed with rhymes and hundreds of illustrations and it even has an index of first lines. You can see some of Foreman’s illustrations here.

Fairy Tales from Hans Andersen Cover

Lastly, Fairy Tales from Hans Andersen is a classic illustrated edition and the illustrations are by multiple artists, including Mabel Lucie Attwell, Edmund Dulac, Kay Nielsen, Arthur Rackham, W. Heath Robinson and many more. The back cover features the image below.

Attwell

Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times

This week in Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times which is hosted by Judith at Reader in the Wilderness I’m focusing on books for children (of all ages).

Children's Bookshelf

This shelf is in the smallest spare bedroom of our home and when we moved here after Jack retired I grabbed it as a sort of hobby room of my own for my stuff, which includes books and sewing/crafting materials. It is not at all tidy in fact sometimes the whole place resembles a burst cushion, but if you are a crafter you’ll probably understand how that comes about!

Anyway the shelf is home to a lot of classic children’s illustrated books – Winnie the Pooh, The Secret Garden, Peter Pan, The Wind in the Willows, European fairy tales and others.

I love Kate Greenaway’s illustrations although some people complain that her figures aren’t well proportioned. I sort of agree but they are very charming and the copy of The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Robert Browning is lovely. Apparently the book was first published in 1888 with wood block designs engraved by Edward Evans. You can see some of the Kate Greenaway illustrations here.

I also love Arthur Rackham’s illustrations. My copy of his version of Rip van Winkle which is written by Washington Irving is a delight, the colours are muted as you would expect of Rackham, but that adds to their attraction to me. You can see some of the images here.

Melisande cover

I had to buy E.Nesbit’s Melisande when I saw that it was illustrated by P.J. Lynch. I wanted it as soon as I saw the cover. I love those medieval European buildings as well as Melisande and her gorgeous flowing locks. You can see some of the illustrations here.

The Nutcracker retold by Anthea Bell has lovely illustrations, although more modern than some of the books on this shelf. The illustrations are by Lisbeth Zwerger, you can see some of her work here.

Lastly – for the moment – Merlin Dreams is a book that I haven’t read yet. It’s written by Peter Dickinson and illustrated by Alan Lee who is apparently a highly regarded fantasy illustrator. This one doesn’t have so many illustrations, it’s obviously meant for older children. Alan Lee’s work is very ethereal looking to me, perfect for this book of Celtic fantasy. You can see some of his work here

Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times

It’s time for some more Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times which is hosted by Judith at Reader in the Wilderness.

Crime Bookshelves

The first shelf is in a small bookcase which is situated at the top of the stairs, it’s a tight space and I was really happy when we managed to get a wee bookcase to fit in. This shelf is where most of my British Library Crime Classic books reside. I’ve discovered quite a few authors that I hadn’t experienced before through these books and I tend to read them as soon as I get them so these books have all been read. I like this series, they feature covers appropriate to the time they were originally published, often from British Rail posters advertising holiday destinations in the UK. I love those posters too and have quite a few wee repro ones framed and hanging on the staircase walls.

Vintage Crime Bookshelves

More vintage crime, I rarely come across any original Penguin crime paperbacks, but when I do manage to find them I almost always read them straight away, so these ones have all been read too. The books by Jean Potts and Holly Roth were bought when I hadn’t even heard of those authors but I really enjoyed the books. If you are a fan of Georgette Heyer’s Regency romances then you will almost certainly like her crime/mystery books. They feature the same witty dialogue that make her historical books such fun.

Book Trough

The last shelf isn’t a shelf at all, it’s a book trough, although at the last antiques fair I went to (remember those heady days when we had the luxury of doing things like that and we took it all completely for granted?!) anyway, I bought another book trough but was amused to see that the label on it described it as being a book troff. The one below is on the floor in the hall at the moment as I have nowhere else to put it. There’s some more vintage crime in it, it’s a mixture of books that are waiting to be read and some I have read already. The big thick book is called The Herries Chronicle and it’s by Hugh Walpole. I think this trilogy was wildly popular when they were first published in the 1930s but I’ve never known anyone who has read them. The books are set in the Lake District, which seems like a plus to me. This volume contains four books – Rogue Herries, Judith Paris, The Fortress and Vanessa. Have any of you read any of Walpole’s books?

Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times

It’s that time again – Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times – how quickly it comes around! It’s a meme hosted by Judith at Reader in the Wilderness.

This week Jack and I are sharing shelves as some of the books are mine and I haven’t got around to taking photos of shelves this week, do not ask me what I have been doing as I can’t tell you, so much time at home and I’m not doing much except reading.

I’m the Gore Vidal fan. I went through a phase of reading everything of his that I could get a hold of some ten or fifteen years ago. I love his American historical novels, they may not be so well-beloved in the US, his view of the history won’t match up with many peoples’ thoughts – but I suspect that he knew what he was writing about. His Burr is a favourite of mine and I really should re-read it some time.

Translated Fiction Bookshelves 1

Another American writer I binge read I think in the early 1980s was John Updike, particularly his Rabbit books. I seem to remember that Judith mentioned a while back in a blogpost that she really couldn’t stand his books, I think because she lived through those times and attitudes, but it was all new to me.

Back in the early 1970s the Russian author and dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn was in the news a lot. He had been in prison and was eventually exiled within the Soviet Union. A KGB attempt on his life failed so eventually they allowed him to move to the west – if any country was willing to have him. The USA stepped forward. However he wasn’t there long when he began to complain about life in the west. He was looking for perfection I suppose! I wanted to know what his writing was like so I read Cancer Ward which was about his experiences of having cancer and his treatment in Tashkent in the 1950s, my copy was published in 1975 and I read it that year. Looking back it seems like a strange choice of book for a 15 or 16 year old to read, but I read it and was impressed. My gran had recently died of cancer so that might have been my reason for reading it. I was just amazed that he had survived. So I went on to read The Gulag Archipelago about his experiences in Soviet labour camps. That book seems to have gone missing, maybe it’s in the garage.

Large Books Shelf

I’ve read all of the Irene Nemirovsky books, and others from the library, she was a talented Jewish writer who didn’t manage to escape from the Nazis and died in a camp, despite the fact that her own mother was partying in Paris with the high status Nazis there. She didn’t lift a finger to help her daughter.

I’m really enjoying this meme Judith.

Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times

Shelves of Scottish Books

It’s Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times again which is hosted by Judith at Reading in the Wilderness. Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Again I’m travelling along some shelves of my books by Scottish authors.

Dorothy Dunnett‘s Spring of the Ram is the second book in her Niccolo series and I should be reading that one soonish although it doesn’t appear in my 20 Books of Summer list – silly me. Dunnett’s books are dense and maybe not the best for bedtime reading, for one thing they are quite hefty, they’re definitely not for bath time reading, that’s just something that I can never do anyway. Just think – if Archimedes hadn’t been having a nice thoughtful laze in his bath and had been reading instead then he would never have had his EUREKA moment.

I’m always in a bit of a quandary as to where I should shelve books, would Michael Innes be happier living among a shelf full of crime fiction, or is he more comfortable with fellow Scots? Anyway, it’s quite a while since I read any of his books and although I enjoy his writing I prefer the books that he wrote under the name J.I.M. Stewart which usually feature life in an Oxford college and were obviously inspired by his life as a lecturer. I decided to put his Gollancz books here and his paperback crime Penguins are together with the rest of the green Penguins.

I have quite a few books by Compton Mackenzie who was actually English but at some point he did some research into his family tree and discovering that he had Scots blood in his background he seized on that with relish and became more Scots than the actual Scots, buying an island, wearing a kilt and immersing himself in the culture as much as he could. I particularly love his wartime books set on fictional islands which had been transformed from their usual quiet abodes to places that were heaving with soldiers, sailors and airmen – much to the delight of the local female population. Keep the Home Guard Turning is hilarious, very much in the style of Dad’s Army, but years before that long running TV series was thought of.

Are you a fan of any of the authors on these shelves?

Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times

Despite still being in lockdown, or maybe because of it, the time is going so fast and already it’s time for another Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times which is hosted by Judith Reader in the Wilderness.

Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Top Bookshelf

When we moved house and I grabbed a spare bedroom as a room for some of my books I really thought that I would be able to have them all in alphabetical order but that hasn’t happened. I now realise that I only have some of my Rumer Godden books on these shelves, others are downstairs.

The Talisman Ringcover
The Scent of Water cover

Kingmaker Divided Souls cover

I think I’ve read most of the Georgette Heyer books, but I haven’t read The Talisman Ring yet. I might read that one next as I’ve just finished a Virago book. I have all of Heyer’s crime/mystery books, but they are all in a crime fiction bookcase elsewhere.

Kingmaker Divided Souls by Toby Clements was a gift from a friend who loved reading it, but didn’t want to hold on to it. It’s another Wars of the Roses book.

I totally forgot that I had this copy of The Scent of the Water by Elizabeth Goudge, another possibilty for my next read. I love the rather twee cover.

I’ve been using this meme to find forgotten books on my shelves, I used to keep unread books in piles on floors, but that got too untidy as inevitably they collapsed from time to time causing even more mess. But it did mean that I could see at a glance what was still in my TBR book queues. Have you read any of these books?

Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times

It’s the fourth week of Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times which is hosted by Judith at Reader in the Wilderness, you can read about it here.

This week I’m looking at the bookcase which stands on the upstairs hall outside the room that Jack has as a study/office. It’s a tall IKEA one and when we first moved to this modern house we thought we were going to have to get a saw out and chop some of its height off as it wouldn’t fit downstairs. Then I decided to measure the ceiling heights and would you believe it – upstairs ceilings are three inches higher than downstairs – how weird is that?! So we just managed to fit it in sans sawing.

Scottish Books 1

Scottish Books 2

Anyway, this bookcase is home to the many books by modernish Scottish authors. Jack has read all of these but I have such a lot of catching up to do. I’ve really only read the Christopher Brookmyres, a couple by Margaret Elphinstone and the William McIlvanneys. Click the photos to see them enlarged.

Voyageurs by Margaret Elphinstone appeals to me, the blurb says: In the early 1800s, Rachel Greenhow, a young Quaker goes missing in the Canadian Wilderness. Unable to accept the disappearance, her brother Mark leaves his farm in England, determined to bring his sister home. It sounds like a bit of an adventure.

Hame by Annalena McAfee is about a woman who leaves New York after the breakdown of a relationship and moves with her 9 year old daughter to a remote Scottish island. She has been commisioned to write the biography of a cantankerous old Scottish poet who has an international reputation. It’s described as a dazzling kaleidoscpe of a novel.

This Is Memorial Device by David Keenan. The blurb on the back says: It’s not easy being Iggy Pop in Airdrie. The Year is 1983 and Memorial Device are the greatest band that ever existed. It’s described as being intoxicating and brilliant, compelling, funny and often profound. It might be a bit niche but I intend to give it ago soonish. Jack thinks it is brilliant, you can read his thoughts on it here.

 This Is Memorial Device cover
 Voyageurs  cover

 Hame cover