Sunday, 5 February 2012
You are what you read
Most of my buyers are already keen readers or serious collectors of vintage fiction or Noel Streatfeild fans who have discovered the 'almost forgotten' novel The Whicharts. Some are both. I suspect many also would enjoy a modern novel that reminds you of the pleasure of revisiting childhood favourites. Then it might remind you of the number of books you've got rid of, replaced and purchased again over the years. I've just spent most of the afternoon reading the second half of The Secret of Happy Ever After. I've enjoyed it hugely and recommend it. Lucy Dillon's a new author to me and I'll search out her other books in a browse of Waterstone's next week. No, I'm not omitting the apostrophe from Waterstone's - it doesn't look right. Lucy's book is a lovely gentle read that fitted in well with a week full of train journeys and an afternoon enjoying the white light reflecting off the snow and wondering if the thaw was beginning or whether we'll have another deluge of snowflakes as soon as it gets dark tonight. To return to the book, it's a great page-turner with plenty of references to childhood reading and returning to old book friends for comfort once you're grown-up. The author's obviously a Dodie Smith fan and elements of Elinor M. Brent-Dyer and Judy Blume feature in a story of developing business and families and the occasional incompatibility of the two. It's an interesting take on the step-family that Gwendoline Courtney did so well in Elizabeth of the Garret Theatre, though Lucy Dillon's heroine is understandably frustrated by her selfish step-daughters who don't behave in the way she, rather idealistically, hopes. You do feel so sorry for her and her three step-daughters who don't appreciate the Christmas present of vintage editions (some signed) of children's books that any book-collector would love, but that three teenagers who don't read much for pleasure simply don't understand.