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.

Katrina’s 2011 Reading List

Amanda at The Zen Leaf has decided to read a classic book each week, which I think is a great idea, and as I decided that I’m not going to do any challenges in 2011 I’m going to be doing something similar.

This is a list of 52 books which I’ve compiled from various book cases and piles in our house, it’s a mixture of books which I’ve bought and inherited and this is just scratching at the surface of the unread books here. They aren’t all classics but most of them are pretty old, some are quite obscure I think. I’m hoping to read and review one a week which I should manage quite easily even although I don’t skim read.

I’m planning to have a sprinkling of seasoning in between in the shape of vintage crime, books recommended to me, any others from my book piles that shout READ ME, and newer books via the library.

Hannie Richards by Hilary Bailey

An Awfully Big Adventure by Beryl Bainbridge
The Overlanders by Dora Birtles
Any Human Heart by William Boyd
The Power House by John Buchan
Heroes by Thomas Carlyle
Selected Stories by Anton Chekhov
Basil by Wilkie Collins
Uther and Igraine by Warwick Deeping
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
Poor Folk by Dostoevsky
The Gambler by Dostoevsky
Uncle Bernac by Arthur Conan Doyle
The King’s General by Daphne Du Maurier
Castle D’Or by Daphne Du Maurier
Hungry Hill by Daphne Du Maurier
Julius by Daphne Du Maurier
Deerslayer by J. Fenimore Cooper
The Lady of the Camellias by Alexandre Dumas
The Popular Girl by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Swan Song by John Galsworthy
End of the Chapter by John Galsworthy
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov
The Quiet American by Graham Greene
The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
The Naulahka by R. Kipling and W. Balestier
Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
The Deer Park by Norman Mailer
Shadows of Empire by Allan Massie
The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford
The Blessing by Nancy Mitford
Coming Home by Rosemary Pilcher
Harriet Dark by Barbara Rees
The Pirate by Sir Walter Scott
The Talisman by Sir Walter Scott
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett
Memento Mori by Muriel Spark
The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark

The Amateur Emigrant by R.L.Stevenson
The Silverado Squatters by R.L.Stevenson

A Dedicated Man by Elizabeth Taylor
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
The Claverings by Anthony Trollope
Virgin Soil by Ivan Turgenev
Men at Arms by Evelyn Waugh
A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh
Nana by Emile Zola
Therese Raquin by Emile Zola

Well, I make that 52.

I’ve just finished reading Anthony Trollope’s The Belton Estate which I’ll be reviewing at The Classics Circuit on December 10. I’m about to start on Rosamunde Pilcher’s September and after that it’s the biggy, yes – War and Peace. I may be some time!

Some bookshelves

I love looking at other peoples’ bookshelves, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, so I thought I would start photographing some of them. This bookcase originally belonged to my in-laws, as did some of the books but I have bought quite a few of them.

The second shelf houses what was a great find in a second-hand/used bookshop, a beautiful copy of Elizabeth’s German Garden by a lady. I just had to buy it, loved it and it led me to Elizabeth von Arnim’s other books.

I love old leather bound books, some people actually buy them by the yard/metre but that’s madness, they’re just crying out to be read. The cream coloured book on the top shelf is the first classic book which I ever bought. I must have been about 9 years old and it is Catriona by R.L.Stevenson. I bought it because the title is my name, Katrina, only with the Gaelic spelling. When I got it home I realised that it is the sequel to Kidnapped so I had to read that one first.

A lot of books like these ones were originally given as school prizes and such is the case with The Adventures of Don Quixote. It was presented to Miss Marjory Besford for gaining certificates in English, Latin, Mathematics, Science, French and Drawing – in 1909. She was my husband’s granny.

I’ve read most of the books now, but not Robinson Crusoe or Walter Scott, and my Thomas Hardy phase was a long time ago, in my teenage days, it might be time to re-visit some of them.

I admit to buying the Penelope’s Experiences books because they are so gorgeous to look at but the writing is lovely too. They’re by Kate Douglas Wiggin who is better known for writing Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin has a nice cover too. It’s another of granny’s school prizes. For me, books turn a house into a home, whether they are leather bound beauties or mass-produced paperbacks. Often the oldies are much cheaper than new ones, nowadays.