Trying to get back to normal now but it is rather difficult after the activity and excitement of the last few weeks. Does not help that I have put my back out and am sitting here doped up with painkillers, hot water bottle on my back and ponging to high heaven of Deep Heat. This the time when I think it is best I live alone. I have put Beethoven's Eroica symphony on the stereo and nothing like Ludwig to soothe the savage breast and calm my mind. The one composer I could never do without.
Anyway, I am wittering as per, so here is a round up of the books awaiting my attention and which I will try to get round to as soon as possible.
Sylvia's Lovers - Mrs Gaskell. Another of the Oxford World Classic which has been reprinted and updated with new cover etc and, as with all of these marvellous books, a joy to hold and to have. I have not read this particular title for some time and this will be one of my winter reads as I tend to go back to Victorian literature when the nights get dark and cold. Don't ask my why. I have given up trying to work it out. I am rather partial to Mrs Gaskell.
Then this sumptuous book The Beau Monde, Power, Fashion and Exclusivity in 18th Century London by Hannah Grieg. Just look at the cover! This is the kind of book which makes me realise once again that though I love my Kindle dearly, real books will always be first in my heart. It is beautifully produced, lovely smooth expensive feeling paper that is a joy to stroke. I have dipped into it already and it is the kind of book I will take slowly, perhaps a chapter a night as it encourages one to linger. Gorgeous.
Dickensian Laughter, Essay on Dickens and Humour by Malcolm Andrews. Another little gem from OUP and again, to be dipped into and to savour.
The Lost Domain (Le Grand Meaulnes) by Alain Fournier, Centenary edition. This is one of those books that is mentioned and cited by many critics and writers and I have never read it. This rather delightful edition may change all that.
All of the above come from Oxford University Press and I am indebted to them for their never ending generosity in sending me lovely books which I always cherish and keep long after I have read them. Sometimes they may stay on my shelves for a while before being read and I love the feeling that they are there waiting for me.
Another of my favourite publishers is Bloomsbury. I would say this of course as they have had the perspicacity to be publishing my daughter's book next year (of which I shall be burbling in due course), but also because they send me lovely books, some of which are up my street, some not but they keep giving me great choices of reading. In the last few years I have read memoirs by Emma Smith of her childhood and growing up years during the war and have loved every word. Now she has published a third volume As Green as Grass which I have just started and it already promises to be as delightful and as interesting as the others. Will post soon.
Elizabeth Gilbert - The Signature of All things. Now this author is well known for her book Eat, Love, Pray which I thought was unutterably naff and boring and self centered and was made into an equally naff film with Julia Roberts. Huge hit all round the world, What I Call an Oprah book and I got half way through it and gave up. I gather the author now wishes to put that behind her (good idea) and her new book is a huge tome which starts in 1800. Tells the story of Alma Whittaker whose father is a botanical explorer and how she becomes involved in this science as well.
Sounds good but reared back a bit when I read in the blurb that the man she loves draws her into the 'realm of the spiritual, the divine and the magical'. Mmmm. We Shall See.
And finally, for today, Seven for a Secret - Lyndsay Faye. I simply adored her earlier book The Gods of Gotham and this is the second about the New York policeman in the 19th century Timothy Wilde and I am really looking forward to getting stuck into this one. My thanks to Headine for sending me this and when I opened it up found to my utter delight that part of my review is quoted on the title page.
I am now going to crawl into the kitchen and try and make myself some tea. I am shuffling around like Quasimodo at the moment. I am not exactly shouting The Bells the Bells but sure it won't be long.....