I must share my little gloat. Lovely book-luck day today!
I was in town fulfilling some rather ho-hum errands, namely picking up plumbing supplies and visiting the dentist, and, with a half hour to kill, I wandered into a little antique store just down from the building supply store. As is my usual habit, I automatically perused the “antique” books used for set dressing in such emporiums, and bingo! -an unexpected bookish jackpot.
Two Rafael Sabatini novels, The Lion’s Skin (1911) and Bardelys the Magnificent (1906). One of Noel Streatfeild’s “adult” novels, Grass in Piccadilly (1947). And – so unexpected and so very perfectly timed, because I’ve just finished reading Helene Hanff’s memoir Q’s Legacy – a handsome 1921 copy of On the Art of Writing, by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch.
And a fantastic little book from Herbert Jenkins Ltd, published in 1952, The Crossword Companion, by “M.R.W.” This being a book of word lists useful to the crossword aficionado – what a helpful concept. Love it already.
I’ve dipped into the Streatfeild, though I must stiffen my resolve and set it aside in order to finish my current book, Edna Ferber’s okayish-so-far-though-not-stunningly-wonderful Showboat.
Mulling over the possibility of undertaking another Century of Books project – the Sabatini oldies in particular would be perfect candidates for some of those elusive early years.
I’ll keep you posted on that, and I’ll report back on the Piccadilly thing as soon as I finish it. Two chapters in, and the tone is very slightly sordid and more than a little cynical – if you’ve read The Whicharts, you’ll be familiar with the style.
That’s it for now – over and out.