Saturday, 25 September 2010

Fiction and History

I seem to see as many readers of history as of fiction glancing and commenting on this blog - I like it, even if I can't seem to get comments emailed to me. I'd never realised just now many Noel Streatfeild readers were blogging regularly. The very kind Vintage Reader mentioned the pushy stage mother (Cora Wintle) in Wintle's Wonders - Noel Streatfeild did get revenge on all silly mothers there.

To those who've emailed me to ask, no, my second title is in development and that's really all I can say.

To escape from the worry of project-management, I've been reading through Juliet Gardiner's books recently and am seriously considering going to her talks this winter. She's doing a series of Blitz-related lectures at the London Transport Museum and I am counting pennies.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

It's been a while since I updated the blog. Not that I've been doing anything out of the ordinary, just enjoying the sunshine and the early chill of autumn. I like travelling at the tail-end of summer, just as the 'back to school' signs are removed to make way for Halloween or Christmas, depending on how organised or desperate your shop is. I'd travelled at the last minute recently and ran out of books just as I arrived at the airport. That was misjudgement. I usually have a second paperback in my bag just in case I finish the first one, but the scramble to travel meant that I just didn't have the wit to pack properly. The selection at the airport was pitiful - I was just grateful that there was a copy of Daisy Goodwin's My Last Duchess on display. I'd been meaning to buy the hardback and had a very good read on my flight. Even if the two copies available were scuffed and creased, it was much the best of a dire selection. Anyway, it turned out to be a very good read for costumed delights and polite romance. My Last Duchess crosses between Eva Ibbotson, Edith Wharton and Frances Hodgson Burnett in a fascinating tale of marriage and country house life.

I don't know how I came across the 2nd Edition Book Sellers based at Raleigh-Durham airport. I've never actually flown there, but the idea of a secondhand and antiquarian bookshop in an airport terminal really appeals to me. We're all doomed to spend rather too much time 'waiting' in the departure lounge before joining another queue at the airport these days, so a browsing opportunity of this kind sounds temptingly blissful. Then again, I hunt down secondhand bookshops wherever I travel, just to see what may be on the shelves. Mostly, I'm disappointed and find the glossy (gilded elevates these titles undeservedly) holiday writing, though sometimes I find delights like Rumer Godden and Elizabeth von Arnim.