It's a long time since I posted anything in my occasional series Found in Books. Today AbeBooks has some booksellers' stories on the subject. No bacon!

AbeBooks: Things Found in Books
There are some nice pictures on the AbeBooks site today.

AbeBooks: Beautiful Vintage Annuals for Children

I have quite a few annuals like this one:


I doubt very much if I could sell it for the sort of price the Abe dealers ask.
I also have Girl, Girls' Crystal and School Friend annuals, plus a selection by Blackie, Oxford, Warne, Selfridge and other quite old ones. Any favourites? I like some of the Collins' annuals, which have book-length stories from their author stable. Collins were great recyclers. You'll often find annual covers reproduced from colour plates in books. TBH I have too many annuals as I can't resist buying them for a pound. One of my best buys was a lovely copy of The Rose Book for Girls. The 'colour' series was really pretty.

AbeBooks: The Best Authors of Crime Fiction

A list from AbeBooks today of the best crime fiction authors. Allegedly. I can't believe such a list could include Gillian Flynn but not Ngaio Marsh, Margery Allingham or Patricia Wentworth. Or Hazel Holt. I recommend Malice Aforethought, BTW. It's worth following the link to see the book covers. I do love some of the old paperback covers, like this one.


Which of your favourite crime fiction authors has been left out? First Edition Books

Fascinating to see these dustwrappers on AbeBooks today. I've read twenty one of the books and don't own any of them in a first edition. When it comes to books I collect, though, I always prefer to have a first. In some cases I have two copies of a book; a first without a dustwrapper and a reprint with.

Do you think there's anything special about a first edition? Or will any tatty old paperback do you?

Why Read?

Oct. 29th, 2012 04:11 pm
Here are some reasons suggested in an email I've just received from AbeBooks.

Fact: Reading can make you a better conversationalist.
Fact: Neighbors will never complain that your book is too loud.
Fact: Knowledge by osmosis has not yet been perfected. You'd better read.
Fact: Books have stopped bullets - reading might save your life.
Fact: Dinosaurs didn't read. Look what happened to them.

The first one sounds like something from The Reader's Digest. Any more?
‘Georgette who?’ indeed! I imagine most people who look at my journal have heard of the lady. Abe books devotes a page to her here. It’s worth looking at if only to see all the lovely covers.

Some of my Heyers:

Click to see more. This photo was taken before I moved; they're slightly better arranged now. I have them in printing order: how do you organise yours?

Round Up

Jun. 6th, 2011 09:01 am

Too good looking?

Just a little round up as I haven’t been posting. Sorry there’s been no May books yet; I’ll get round to it sometime. There’s a Test Match on.

What did people think of Case Histories on TV last night? I’ve read and loved all the books yet even I was a little confused by what was going on. I felt it lost the atmosphere Kate Atkinson creates so brilliantly but OTOH I had to give up my tricky knitting for my easy sock so I could watch properly and an hour whizzed by.

I’m reading and not wanting to finish Caddy’s World by Hilary McKay. This is billed as a prequel to Saffy’s Angel and is about Casson family life around the time of Rose’s birth. Gripe 1: why couldn’t the publishers make this book uniform with the rest of the series? Gripe 2: I pre-ordered it, so I should have got it as soon as it was available, but it isn’t even a first edition. Huh?

Garden news is good because it’s raining now, rained yesterday afternoon and rained the night before. For a garden which has only had a day’s drizzle in about three months this is refreshing. Plus, smug chops here had done some planting and hoeing at what turned out to be just the right time. Why do people talk of a ‘June gap’? The garden’s full of flowers.

An email from AbeBooks today about Feel Good reads. We could all do with some of those but what do you think of their choices? By what possible standard could you call A Town Like Alice feel-good? It’s so sad! If Bridget Jones’ Diary weren’t already a favourite read of mine, I would have been put off forever by the horrible cover shown on that page.

My ears pricked up when I heard the Radio 2 trailer for Laurel Canyon, because it’s rare to hear Frank Zappa’s name mentioned on the radio. Of course the programme was on when I wanted to watch Rev so I caught it on Listen Again. It’s about various musicians and bands who have lived in Laurel Canyon: the Byrds, the Doors, Joni Mitchell and of course, Frank Zappa. The programme is introduced by Micky Dolenz and the best thing about it is the music. Just saying, in case anyone else wants to catch up before the second episode.

For those who wish I’d say something about books rather than witter on about Peter O’Toole or Frank Zappa, look here for the ten most expensive books sold on AbeBooks in July.

It’s wonderful to find a book you want to get back to all the time, when you resent every minute you can’t spend reading it. Here’s some recommendations from readers at Abe books. I get a lot of mail from Abe. I’d prefer it if they’d use the energy to update their clunky website.

I notice that someone picks a novel by Somerset Maugham, recently discussed on Cornflower. Last year, I couldn’t put down The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, the first Flavia de Luce book by Alan Bradley. Three years ago it was The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney, which I read during one sleepless night.
A gripping story seems to be the secret. Do you have any 'couldn't put it down' recommendations?
Another emailed list from AbeBooks, this time of reasons for not reading a book. I'm always surprised when one of the reasons given is, 'it's long' but then, I personally love Dickens and reading him is no hardship. Have a look at the list of twenty five books people have in the TBR pile but don't actually read. I've read five of them, started and failed to finish a sixth and feel no guilt at all about not having read the rest. Never even heard of some of them and so wot?

A striking illustration of a good example: another book purge. More to go, especially as a person might be stuck indoors for a fortnight with time to tidy up.

That fiendish normblog quiz: update. The answers are here. I got 40/50 and I'm absolutely kicking myself except over a couple of authors I'd never heard of. Anyone else going to own up?
Find out if your dog is gay, make your own coffin, discover pantyhose craft. All this and more and worse in Abe Books’ Weird Book Room.

Those stray shopping carts of Eastern North America: are they like crop circles?
And what on earth is weird about The Book of Marmalade? Sounds quite sensible.
Nominations for weird books accepted here!
I always feel sorry for people who say they ‘can’t read’ anything by Jane Austen, Dickens, To Kill a Mockingbird or whatever because the books were ruined for them by exam study. I’m very lucky in that respect. I don’t dislike anything I read at school and I’m eternally grateful for the good teaching I had at A-Level, which consisted of very little teaching and a great deal of making us do all the work.

Today, my indefatigable correspondents at Abe Books have pointed me at Required Reading Worldwide, lists of commonly studied books. The author, Beth Carswell, writes: Until my coworkers and I started talking, I didn't realize how many of the books I've loved best were originally assigned to me as a high school student. I wondered - are the same books assigned to high school students worldwide? So you can have a look at set books from the USA to the Philippines, to Germany and Russia. Intriguing. Very few books there I’ve never heard of and one of them is from the UK!

This is what I’m most pleased to have been introduced to at school; Hopkins is a contender for Top Poet for me. How about you? Love those set texts or hate them?

I think ABE Books should start giving me a discount for the number of times I'm directing people to their site. Today, it's to a list of 20 Timeless Tales of Adventure, described by Richard Davies. Lovely covers to look at, as usual.

I was quite surprised to find that I've read nearly all of these books. I would never read Lorna Doone again; one of those drear books that makes a better film. On the other hand, I can't imagine not re-reading The Thirty-Nine Steps at some time. Why does Mr Davies call John Buchan, that son of the manse, 'a stuffy old aristocrat', I wonder?

I'd add one of Dornford Yates's Chandos novels to the list. How about you?

Last month I posted about ABE Books’ feature on Redheads in fiction
This month, they’ve come up with Retro Summer Reading or Books from the Past. Do have a look; some of those old dustwrappers are lovely.

I suspect that most people who look at my journal read more old books than new ones: am I right?

[Poll #1400255]

I love red hair and ginger cats, so I was intrigued by this list of 10 Redheads in Literature. As is pointed out there, red-headed characters are very often sidekicks and are usually assumed to have hot tempers. My mind is blanking on red hair except in children's books: Tim’s friend Ginger in Edward Ardizzone’s Little Tim books; Penny Warrender in the Lone Pine series. Josephine Elder devoted a whole book to the subject:

Does Orlando the Marmalade Cat count? In Real Life, actor Damian Lewis springs to mind. So, any favourite heroes/heroines with red hair?

Grrr! This was supposed to be a poll but although the code looks fine it's not working. So it will have to be comments.
Abe Books have sent me a mailshot about an auction for some of the modern books Penguin are bringing out in retro covers, as described recently by [personal profile] white_hart.



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