Friday, April 15, 2011

Oh, I love a book sale!

I've been to a book sale! Used books, I must admit--no author royalties paid unfortunately--the only down-side to an otherwise sublime experience. What is better than three or four hours spent trawling among shelves and shelves of books? And if the money didn't go to the authors, at least it went to a good charity--our local symphony society.

I started the afternoon by finding a biography of George IV--our own Prinny--by Joanna Richardson. I had not come across this bio before; it is titled 'George the Magnificent' with a copyright of 1966. It should prove interesting in relation to the other biographies of the Prince Regent in my collection.

I moved on to discover a Penguin book--'The Diary of a Napoleonic Foot Soldier'. This is a memoir by a German conscript Jakob Walter, and looks very interesting. So little first person information is available about the common soldier of the era; it was satisfying find.

Then I found several nice little hardcovers of Jane Austen's work which will probably end up as prizes in my website contest. Likewise a good fresh used copy of the 1995 out of print book 'Landscapes of Britain'.

A real treat was a lovely hardcover titled 'Beningfield's English Villages'. Gordon Beningfield's luminous paintings are an inspiration and a joy.

"Great British Families' by Debrett's has some excellent illustrations, and with chapter titles like 'New Men' and 'Whig Magnates' promises good reading. 'Victorian and Edwardian London'  by A. R. Hope Moncrieff, although not Regency-related, looks packed with information. I paid $3 for it; I think that was a good deal! Nearly everything was only $1-$2, only a little more for extra special finds.

Loosely related to the Regency were my purchases of "Disraeli" by Stanley Weintraub; a massive tome of some 700 pages that looks terrific, and a 1953 edition of Washington Irving's 'The Sketch Book'. To round out my historical reading, I found--illustrative of the other periods of history that interest me--'A Medieval Family: The Pastons of 15th century England' by Frances and Joseph Gies and, 'In a Gilded Cage: From Heiress to Duchess' by Marian Fowler about the American heiresses who married British aristocrats in the late 19th century.

I've only recently discovered Canadian author Marian Fowler. I highly recommend her biographies, all written in the 1980's and 90's. I don't know if she is still writing, but her work is delightful--impeccably researched and sparkling prose. I just finished 'Below the Peacock Fan' about the ladies of the British Raj, and discovered that I have her biography of 'Blenheim'--yes, the house--on my shelves.

My purchasing was rounded off with a couple of novels by some favourite contemporary authors of mine, Erica James and Katie Fforde. I bought a book called "Cross-Stitch Florals" though I don't have time to undertake another project. If I do though, these ones are great! I got a book of Edward Thomas' poetry and discovered a series called the 'Small Oxford Books' which is delightful. I bought their 'Hotels and Inns', 'The Country House', and 'The Pleasures of the Table'. Each book is a compilation of quotes, from all eras of history, about the title topic. Great bed-time reading!

'The Faber Book of Epigrams and Epitaphs' from 1977 completed my purchases. This is a very funny book and does relate to the Regency or at least the Georgian era with this offering from Walter Savage Landor:

The Georges
George the First was always reckoned
Vile, but viler George the Second;
And what mortal ever heard
Any good of George the Third?
When from earth the Fourth descended
(God be praised!) the Georges ended.

It was a great day at the book sale. My purse is empty and my book shelves are full so it's fortunate that it comes only once a year. But I have reading material now until it comes around again. Oh, wait, there is the University Women's Book Sale in the autumn...hmmmmm.....

'Til next time,



Kristine said...

Great haul! Nothing will ever replace trawling the shelves of used bookshop/sale.

Lesley-Anne McLeod said...

It really was fun. I firmly believe technology will never replace printed books--it's just another tool for readers. Ah, the smell of books...

Anne Gallagher said...

Color me absolutely jealous. Our next book sale isn't until March. I missed the one last fall, so I'm hoping to catch some great stuff this time. I've written down some of your titles and authors. Who knows, maybe I'll find one.

Lesley-Anne McLeod said...

I'm glad some of my finds are of interest to you. I hoped they would be. Book sales are such a treasure hunt. I always look for costume books at the book sales and never see them. I guess people keep them indefinitely.