Recent Book Purchases

Books are still coming into the house faster than I can possibly read them. Even although I don’t work nowadays I still only manage to read at most two books a week, unless I’m on a vintage crime binge and then I can read more. When you consider that most weeks my book ownership is going up by four or so books, you’ll realise that I’m never going to be in a position of having nothing at all to read.

Latest Books

Last week I bought:

The North Wind of Love by Compton Mackenzie
The Casino by Margaret Bonham
The Ladies of Lyndon by Margaret Kennedy
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin

I was under the impression that The North Wind of Love was the beginning of Mackenzie’s ‘Four Winds of Love’ series – but it isn’t.
I’ve never read anything by Margaret Kennedy but I know lots of bloggers love her books so I’m hopeful.
I’ve also never read anything by Margaret Bonham but it’s a Persephone so I think it’ll probably be good.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm is pure nostalgia. All of my childhood books were given away by my mother when my back was turned, I think my Rebecca book was a cheap paperback, but I couldn’t resist this hardback from 1903. I love its cover and I’ve just realised that it’s a first edition, not that I’m bothered by such things, and it seems to be dirt cheap on the internet anyway.

Have you read any of these books?

Jeeves in the Offing by P.G. Wodehouse and a Cathedral Courtship by Kate Douglas Wiggins

Just a couple of quickies: After the shocking news of David Bowie’s death which was swiftly followed by Alan Rickman’s, I was in need of something a bit cheery to read. Luckily I had got Jeeves in the Offing by Wodehouse from the library a few days before. It was published in 1960 and sometimes it’s titled – How Right You Are, Jeeves.

Bertie Wooster is amazed to read in The Times that he has become engaged to Roberta Wickham. She is a young lady with bright red hair whom he had previously had a dalliance with, but she was too much for him to handle. Jeeves had cautioned him: Miss Wickham lacks seriousness. She is volatile and frivolous. I would always hesitate to recommend as a life partner a young lady with quite such a vivid shade of red hair. (Jack might well agree with him on that!!) Bertie is perplexed, but worse than that – Jeeves is on holiday in Herne Bay, so Bertie is going to have to sort it out himself. This was the usual Wodehouse fare and went some way to lightening my mood, but not much.

When you were wee, did you read the Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm books by Kate Douglas Wiggin? I certainly did, but more recently I’ve read her Penelope’s Experience books.

A Cathedral Courtship

My edition of A Cathedral Courtship is from 1893 and it’s in astonishingly good condition, has very thick pages which are completely pristine, it looks like nobody has ever read it. Katharine Schuyler is a young American girl and she goes on a tour of English cathedral cities with her Aunt Celia. It’s quite entertaining and amusing, my copy also contains Penelope’s Experiences in England, an enjoyable read. You can obtain a lot of Kate Douglas Wiggin’s books from Project Gutenberg here if you’re interested.

Kate Douglas Wiggin

Penelope by Kate Douglas Wiggin

I was having a wander around in the ManyBooks site the other night and I came across Kate Douglas Wiggin. As you can see I have a lovely copy of her book Penelope’s Experiences in Scotland which I think is sometimes known as Penelope’s Progress, if you’re interested in reading it you can download it from here. It begins a bit strangely but it’s not long before they reach Edinburgh and the Scottish experiences and history.

I also have a matching copy of Penelope’s Experiences in England, I read them ages ago but seem to remember enjoying them. At the time I didn’t realise that Wiggin also wrote Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

I have to admit that I bought my books purely because they’re so gorgeous in green binding with rose and thistle gold decoration and gold edged pages, all very art nouveau, I would still have bought them even if I had had a Kindle then. I just can’t say no to lovely books.

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.