Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times – 26th, September

Here we go again, how quickly the time comes around, it’s Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times, and this week it’s another guest bedroom bookshelf. This meme was of course started by Judith, Reader in the Wilderness, but I’m gathering the posts at the moment.

Jane Austen and E F BensonBooks

I had to photograph this shelf in two separate photos as the bed got in the way! The shelf contains a hardback set of Jane Austen books, they’re not the best quality and haven’t worn well over the years as the paper has yellowed, but they’re better than reading the paperbacks. The Folio books are lovely, it’s the Mapp and Lucia series by E.F. Benson which I find really entertaining.

Barbara Pym and Anthony Trollope Books

The Barbara Pym books are the second incarnation as in a house move I decided to get rid of my originals – and then of course regretted doing it. This shelf is home to books that I will happily re-read, and that’s not something that I do a lot of. In fact they’re mainly the kind of books that are ideal for dipping into at random if you can’t get to sleep. I really like Anthony Trollope’s books, but of the ones that I’ve read they’ve mostly been on my Kindle, free from Project Gutenberg. There are a few actual Trollopes on this shelf though, but they don’t come under the category of great bedtime reading although I definitely have done so in the past.

Other Bookshelf Travellers this week are:

A Son of the Rock

Bitter Tea and Mystery

Staircase Wit

Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times – 20th September

Yet More Books

It’s that time again, Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times, a meme which was started by Judith at Reader in the Wilderness, but I’m collecting the posts for the moment. Again the shelf is from a bookcase in our guest bedroom and it’s a mixture of authors that I really admire such as Sarah Dunant, Hans Fallada and Zola and some not so great. I haven’t read all of these books, I was given Donna Tartt’s The Secret History by my brother who enjoyed it, but it says the original bestseller on the front and I rarely want to read what everyone else has been reading. It’s 629 pages long and I wonder, should I read it?

I enjoyed Ethel Lina White’s Some Must Watch which was published in 1933 and made into a film titled The Spiral Staircase in 1946. It’s a bit of a puzzle as to why it’s in this bookcase and not with my vintage crime books, maybe I thought when I shelved it that putting it beside T.H. White’s Arthurian books was sensible.

For a bit of armchair travelling the Chinese author Chiang Yee’s Silent Traveller books are entertaining. The one on this shelf is The Silent Traveller in London (1946), and although it has some illustrations they are very sparse, mundane and insipid compared with the Edinburgh version. Presumably he didn’t find much of beauty in London to draw! I haven’t read this one yet.

I could not stand Joyce’s The Dubliners. I loved Laurie Lee’s books about his early life, then I read that they were mainly fiction and that to say the least he was economical with the truth – and that annoyed me.

To the far right of the shelf there are several books in Dutch and a Dutch dictionary. They represent an epic FAIL. The books are Enid Blyton’s Famous Five in Dutch. I thought they would be a good starting point in my endeavours with the language, there’s also a copy of Rumer Godden’s The Greengage Summer in Dutch, but I haven’t touched them for ages. I did think that the lockdown would be a good time to get on with things that I had been putting off for ages – such as Dutch – but I’ve done hardly any of the things that I ‘hadn’t had enough time to do before’ and the time seems to have shrunk with the end of yet another week arriving before I had really realised that it had begun.

Anyway, that’s another of my bookshelves. Have you read any of them?

Other Bookshelf Travellers this week are:
A Son of the Rock

Staircase Wit

Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times – September the 4th

How quickly Bookshelf Travelling in Insame Times comes around. This meme was originally hosted by Judith at Reader in the Wilderness, but I’ve taken it over for the moment.

Topshelf Books

This week’s bookshelf is in a glass doored bookcase, another one from Jack’s parents and it’s situated in our living room. Click on it to enlarge the picture. It has a variety of books in it, some really old library discards from a library I used to work in, those are the natural history books, ancient but nicely illustrated so still useful. All of the books are worth reading. The World War 1 poet Siegfried Sassoon’s Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man and Memoirs of an Infantry Officer are great reads and my copies are published by Folio Books, as is Crime Stories from the Strand. This is a compilation of short stories featuring Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy L. Sayers, Edgar Wallace, Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, Carter Dickson and several more crime writers.

The small read volume to the far right of the bookshelf is a Bradshaw’s Continental Railaway Guide, illustrated and complete with several maps. It cost all of 3/6 or 17 and a half pence in ‘new money’. It dates from the early 1900s and apart from the continental railway guides it also gives lots of information on the towns and villages in Europe – including Russia – that are worth visiting, what you can see and recommendations on where to stay. It also has lots of adverts for hotels, many of which are called The Grand Hotel. There are lots of adverts for shipping lines too. It might interest you to know that if you sailed from Liverpool to Boston first class it would cost you £12. Second class was £8 and 10 shillings. I found this lovely book when I was having a rake around in an antique/junk shop which just had a few books. When I asked the owner how much the book was she said – Just give me a couple of quid (pounds). She explained to me that so many copies of the book had been published it wasn’t worth any more than that. It felt like theft but I gave her the £2 and departed with my treasure. Michael Portillo’s TV series Great Continental Railway Journeys was already very popular at the time and as he uses these guides during his travels they’re become highly desirable, but I’m holding on to mine.

If you don’t know about the TV series you might want to have a look at the You Tube video below, you also might want to wear sunglasses as Portillo is known for his bright and clashing colours.

Will you be Bookshelf Travelling this week?

Other Bookshelf Travellers this week are :

A Son of the Rock

Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times

I’ll be gathering all the Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times blogposts here for the moment. Judith at Reader in the Wilderness has had too much going on in her life recently to be able to keep up with it, so I’m stepping in to help.

More Books

The bookshelf I’m featuring this week is home to some favourite authors. I loved The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy, it’s about a large and wealthy London based family, starting from Victorian times and following their lives and family feuds beyond World War 1. These books are available free from Project Gutenberg here.

I think I’ve read all of the books on this shelf apart from Veranilda by George Gissing. This book dates from 1904 and originally belonged to Jack’s Granny and has her name in it. M. Besford. I used to write my name in books but stopped doing that decades ago. I’m now wondering if I should at least write it in pencil, as I really like to see a name and date inside a book. What do you do – inscribe or leave blank and pristine? Have you read Veranilda or anything else by George Gissing.

I remember that I really enjoyed reading The Mulberry Empire by Philip Hensher – before I started blogging, but I’ve never read anything else by him. Have you?

A few of my Rumer Godden books are on this shelf, some are in a bookcase upstairs, possibly they wouldn’t fit on this shelf. Elizabeth Jane Howard and Penelope Lively are favourites too, then of course there’s Mrs Gaskell. I’ve been meaning to visit Elizabeth Gaskell’s house for years. I see that it has opened up again but I might leave it until next year.

If you’re taking part in Bookshelf Travelling this week I’ll add a link to you, if I miss your post please send me a link.

A Son of the Rock (Jack)

Staircase Wit

Stainless Steel Droppings

Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times

Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times is a meme which was started by Judith at Reader in the Wilderness.

Bookshelf

It must be at least twenty – maybe even thirty years since I stumbled across Elizabeth von Arnim, not that I knew the name but I found a small copy of Elizabeth and Her German Garden which didn’t even have an author’s name on it. I loved it so much that when I did discover who wrote the book I started to collect everything else that she had written.

Some of Elizabeth von Arnim’s books are available free from Project Gutenberg here.

The other books on this shelf are by Lawrence Durrell, I think I read some of his books back in the 1970s, gave them away and then bought these ones again but so far I haven’t got around to reading these ones, now I’m not even sure that I read any of them although I definitely did read books by his brother Gerald.

The Edna Ferber books I read some years ago. I enjoyed them both but particularly Show Boat and that edition is particularly stylish I think as it’s a facsimile of the original 1926 book. Some of her books are available on Project Gutenberg too. I remember I enjoyed reading Roast Beef, Medium it’s a collection of short stories. You can download them here.

Show Boat cover

Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times

Old Bookcase

This week Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times which is a meme which was started by Judith at Reader in the Wilderness, features a photo that Jack took of what was his father’s bookcase, I suppose it was his mother’s too but she ‘popped off’ first so it’s known as Dad’s bookcase. Quite a few of the books, mainly the smaller ones in the top shelves came with the bookcase. I’ve read most of those ones. If you click on the photo and click again it will enlarge so you should be able to read most of the titles.

I bought the small leather bound Collins copies of Shirley and Wuthering Heights on the top left shelf, for all of 75p each, admittedly decades ago though. Elizabeth and Her German Garden was a more expensive £1.50. I bought this one just because it looks lovely but it turned out to be a real treasure internally. It doesn’t even have Elizabeth von Arnim‘s name in it. I bought this pre-Google and it was ages before I discovered who had written it.

Around the middle of the top shelf A Child’s Garden of Verses by RLS has an inscription in it – Margery from Jack Dec. 1916. They were my Jack’s grandparents. I think this must have been a pre-wedding gift or maybe even an engagement gift. Another RLS book is Edinburgh, which I’ve just realised I bought again a few years ago, but this one is inscribed to Margery from S – something illegible – Auld Reekie (that is a nickname for Edinburgh) 14th Sept. 1911. Lest Ye Forget. That’s a mystery that’s never going to be cleared up!

On lower shelves there are lots of classics, Thomas Hardy, John Galsworthy, George Eliot, Kipling, Turgenev to name just a few, and there are quite a few volumes of poetry.

The lowest shelves house some of our history books, most of which are Jack’s and reference books which I still use. We have a lot of bookcases, but this one is definitely my favourite.

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?