Well it is Friday and not sure where time goes to these days, I really don't. I look back on my life getting up at the crack of dawn, my rush to the station and my commute, then work then home again and sometimes I think it looks leisurely compared to what I am doing at the moment....ok I am joking but I seem to have so much to do and write and think and cook that time seems too short to fit it all in. But please don't think I am complaining, I am not.
Was in town this morning and popped into Smith's to pick up a newspaper and decided to wander upstairs and look at the book department though it is always a dispiriting experience in this particular store. And, yes, the usual 'sleb' biographies are out in force for Christmas; the usual refugee from Eastenders; Wayne Rooney My Life Volume 3; X listed wannabees telling us all about their recovering from drink/drugs/bulimia/anorexia you name it they are recovering from it and so on and so on. At the moment they are selling 2 for £10 and I guarantee the charity shop shelves will be packed with them come January 2013.
I saw many such books in the NSPCC Book Sale which I attended last weekend. It has been held in Colchester for years now and I used to take the girls when they were smaller and we used to come back with bagloads of stuff. There used to be tables with hardback books which is where I used to head for straight away as it was always full of interesting battered old books and I have found some gems there. Then there was a corner full of the Green Viragos, also a fertile hunting ground. Only after I had gone through this lot did I turn my attention to the rest of the books available. Over the last few years I have noticed how the content has changed. Very few hardbacks now and those that are there are mainly of the Dick Francis, Dean Koontz variety with a large collection of those books I have mentioned in the paragraph above. Probably all Christmas presents for friends and relatives as a last resort and then discarded. Very few of any quality at all.
The paperback section is now packed with pretty run of the mill stuff; more Francis, Danielle Steele, masses of Sagas and chicklit and finding a decent story there is difficult. Purely from my point of view of course and I appreciate that I am sounding a bit snobbish about all this as customers were staggering around totally loaded with bulging bags. Only one or two Viragos now and a few battered 'classics' waved the flag but they were thin on the ground. I came away with a bag of stuff, however, as I was on the look out for the DCI Banks books by Peter Robinson as am having another binge read of these at the moment - found four of those. A couple of Tess Gerritsen that I had not read (her earlier ones before the Rizzoli and Isles series); two, What I Call Sofa Reads by Susan Sallis which look fun; the Yellow Dog by Simenon - have been meaning to try the Maigret books for some time - let's face it there are enough of them to keep me happy for years; Gillespie and I by Jane Harris. I then came across a new copy of Dear Lupin letters to a wayward son which I had read parts of earlier in the year in a newspaper serialisation and thought deligtful so pocketed that. Then a National Trust tea time cookbook; The Art of the Tart (I hasten to add of the baked variety) by Tamasin Day Lewis and a copy of Delia Smith's Summer Cooking which I had managed to lose a year or so ago and glad to be able to replace. I will probably find that this is my copy which I donated by mistake, it has happened to me before....
You may think I did not do too badly and you would be right but I used to come away with about forty or fifty and I really had to hunt for these this year. The good thing about this sale though is that it is packed year after year with people waiting for the doors to open and the children's section is the busiest of the lot. The death of the book has been predicted so often that I am simply delighted to see this sale so well attended.
I also came away with three jigsaw puzzles which I could not resist. I love jigsaw puzzles and particularly those with pictures of country cottages and Victorian paintings. This time I have one of a cottage somewhere in the Cotswolds, a painting of a little girl in a ruffled dress with her faithful hound and one of the Grand Canal by Canaletto. Looking forward to doing these.
My lovely mum used to shake her head when she used to see me come home with bulging bags - 'Haven't you got enough books?' she used to say 'Where are you going to put them all? She was somewhat reassured when I told her that most of them would be recycled and probably end up back in the same sale next year, but she still used to mutter under her breath ...
I was in London this week with my gorgeous darling grandchildren and one of the joys of being in their house is the fact that there are books everywhere, shelves in every room and Florence already owning a large collection. When I visited Kathryn in Australia last year also pleased to see well stacked book cases.
Good to know I have brought up my children properly and that they are keeping book sales going!