Monday, 7 July 2008


I've been on a bit of a book buying spree recently. I promised myself I wouldn't do this, because I have so many books at home, which I still haven't read. Some of them I've had for several years. You see, I have a bit of a book buying obsession and I always buy more than I have time to read. I was doing so well only purchasing books when I'd been given book tokens for birthdays or Christmas, then I had a relapse a few months ago.

So what have I bought recently? I guess it's always interesting for magazine subscribers and contributors to find out what the editor enjoys reading for pleasure. I'm ashamed to say I've been sucked into the Richard and Judy Summer Read hype this year and have purchased several books from the list. I have The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton(I enjoyed The House at Riverton so much last year); The Outcast by Sadie Jones (mainly because it was recommended by Lynne Barrett-Lee, a friend of mine on a writers' forum); No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay (liked the sound of it after seeing it reviewed on Richard and Judy); East of the Sun by Julia Gregson (because I was buying books on amazon and wanted to qualify for free delivery and it was only £3.86 and it is another R&J Summer Read with great reviews on amazon); Dieting Makes You Fat by Geoffrey Cannon (because I read an article about it in yesterday's Sunday Times and I'm always looking for ways to lose weight without dieting... suspect it's impossible!); and The Road Home by Rose Tremain (loved The Colour and this one was on prominent display in Smith's and sounded just up my street ie. slightly edgy).

I'm saving most of my new purchases for my holiday in August. I'm just about to start reading Iris Murdoch As I Knew Her by A.N. Wilson. I bought this about 2-3 years ago and it's been sitting on the shelf unopened ever since. I had an Iris Murdoch phase as a student and keep promising myself I'll re-read her novels, but haven't got round to it! I also loved the film about her life starring Kate Winslet. I particularly enjoyed the scenes showing Iris's dirty house with leaves all blown in from the front door and just left in the hall. That's how strange I am!

I've just finished reading The Long Afternoon by Giles Waterfield. Again, this was purchased some time ago and was sitting on the bookshelf for about 2 years. It was recommended by another writer friend. It's about a couple's life on the Riviera in the 1930s and what happens after war breaks out. It isn't exactly a gripping novel, but it definitely has that certain something which makes you just have to read till the end.

I must recommend a book I finished a few days ago. Our Spoons Came From Woolworths by Barbara Comyns. It's about a Bohemian couple living in the 1930s with very little money. The focus is on Sophia, who marries at 21 and lives to regret it. It reads very much like a memoir, but it is, in fact, a novel. A slim volume which could be read in one sitting.

Now I really must finish that typesetting. Crisis in that I can't fit in all the stories I wanted to publish this issue!


Sue said...

I too love Rose Tremain, especially Sacred Country and Music & Silence, and you're right, The Colour was superb. I'm excited to see that The Road Home is now in paperback, so like you I might save it for my holiday in August! If only I could lose some weight by then, too...

claires inner world said...

I have a friend who was a good friend of Iris Murdoch's. He says her house was disgustingly dirty! I draw great comfort from that when the the dust gets a little thick on my shelves...


Sally Zigmond said...

Join the club. I still buy more books faster than I can read them even though I'm trying to curb my habit.

Barbara Comyns is one of my favourite novelists. She's seriously weird. It's interting what you say about 'Sppons' reading like a memoir. Most of her novels are grounded in her own life. I think she must have been vaguely autistic but clearly very clever. Her childhood was even more weird. If you can get hold of Sisters By A River - I may have got the title wrong - (It was published by Virago and now OOP) you'll see what I mean!

I loved the Giles Waterfield. It's very lyrical and dreamy until the end when it becomes shocking and tragic. I've also read East of The Sun. Although it's a good page-turner, it irritated me in several ways. (Steroetypical characters - a predictable narrative - and a couple of plot threads that fizzled into nothing.)It didn't read as if the author had actually been to India but had cobbled it all together from books. I may be wrong but that's how it seemed to me.