The other day I went to do my grocery shopping with my partner and walked away with more than food. As we walked into the shop we could see the set up for a secondhand book sale for a fundraiser, books on tables with cloths pulled over them. I’m thinking 9 o’clock and those cloths will be removed. Finished shopping, grabbed something to eat for breakfast, walk back over to the books and the cloths are still covering them. We sit down and wait a while, clearly someone is running late here, but there is a young girl with the money box – surely it wouldn’t hurt to ask her if we can start looking. We do and voila, before you know it six new babies are on their way home.
So the latest bookcase inhabitants are, and in no particular order:
Weep No More, My Lady – Mary Higgins Clark
Elizabeth Lange has arrived at Cypress Point Spa in Pebble Beach, California, weary of heart and soul. Still grieving for her beloved sister, a famous actress who plunged to her death from her Manhattan penthouse, Elizabeth is determined to unearth the truth about how Leila died. Dashing multimillionaire Ted Winters stands accused of her murder, but Elizabeth has doubts.
Along the windswept cliffs of the Monterey coast, in luxurious bungalows, between gourmet meals and beachfront walks, uneasiness stalks Elizabeth while she begins opening doors to the past. As glimpses of the dark truth about Leila’s life and death — and about Elizabeth herself — start to crash against her mind, an ominous wave from an unexpected source threatens to engulf her entirely.
Infidelity – Paul Ferris
Based on a true story, the cause celebre of its day, Paul Ferris’s atmospheric novel tells the coruscating story of sexual obsession, bigamy, amorality, and the sinister disappearance of a woman. It is 1917. George Shotton, a marine surveyor, has escaped active service in the war but is trapped in a loveless (for him), sexless (for her) marriage to churchy, frigid May. No wonder his eye wanders — it has before. But this time, his lust will have terrible consequences. Mamie Stuart, the object of his affections, is a girl of her time: Sunderland-born, living a louche life in London’s Notting Hill Gate, she has been ‘on the stage’ as one of a dancing troupe, showing off her legs at music-halls. George expects much more than that, but, then, so does Mamie. Why, she wonders, won’t George marry her? (She knows nothing of May.) Why, May wonders, is George away so much? Why has he stopped pestering her in bed? (She knows nothing of Mamie.) The violent outcome which is inevitable causes waves which reach the 1960s, when a detective (with much in common with George) begins to delve into an old and ghastly crime.
Man and Boy – Tony Parsons
HE HAD TO FACE THE TOUGHEST JOB OF HIS LIFE. AND HE NEVER ONCE THOUGHT HE’D BE ON HIS OWN.
Harry had it all: a beautiful wife, an adorable four-year-old son, and a high-paying media job. But on the eve of his thirtieth birthday, with one irresponsible act, he threw it all away. Suddenly he finds himself an unemployed single father trying to figure out how to wash his son’s hair the way Mommy did and whether green spaghetti is proper breakfast food. This brilliantly engaging novel will tug at your heart as Harry learns to become a father to his son and a son to his aging father, takes stabs at finding new love, and makes the hardest decision of his life.
Felony – Emma Tennant
“Felony” is the story of the literary treachery that took place at No. 43 via Romana, Florence, where Claire Clairmont, once lover of Lord Byron and mother of his daughter Allegra, lived until her death in 1879. It is also the story on Henry Jame’s brilliant novella “The Aspern Papers”, which is based on that household and the nefarious doings of the lodger there, Edward Augustus Silsbee, thief and Shelleyite. “Felony” is about the misdemeanours inherent in writing – theft, false memory, plagiarism and greed for celebrity – and it demonstrates too the embarrassment and shame suffered in their quest.
Selected Poems – William Wordsworth
Wordsworth’s place as one of the greatest English poets is assured. His Cumbrian childhood bred in him the double responses of love and awe in the face of Nature, and a deep respect for the primary emotions by which man lives his life. His own moral authority as observer was not simply assumed, but strenuously looked for in the conditions which had shaped his own life. He sought to safeguard the central human feelings against the sophisticated, the worldly, the cynical, and the merely ‘literary’. His concerns involved a revolution in taste and expression which influenced the language of poetry for over a century.
This selection is representative of the wide range of Wordsworth’s poetic achievement. As well as the best of the shorter poems, from the revolutionary Lyrical Ballads and from Poems 1807, it includes Peter Bell in full, The White Doe of Rylstone, and the major story of The Ruined Cottage from The Excursion Book I. Crucial passages from The Prelude are accompanied by the important lines ‘On Man, on Nature, and on Human Life’ from The Recluse.
Johnno, short stories, poems, essays and interview – David Malouf
David Malouf is one of the finest writers in contemporary literature. This volume offers a well-balanced, compact selection of his intricately connected work. Short stories, poems, essays, interviews and the classic novel Johnno, reproduced in full, show the range of his remarkable achievement.
Johnno, his first and most popular work of fiction, has entered the public imagination with its moving evocation of the 1940s and 50s. The novel is here counterbalanced by the wider contexts of David Malouf’s poems and short stories.
The uncollected essays highlight his brilliance as a literary commentator, and his deep interest in a variety of contemporary issues.
James Tulip’s introduction provides an indispensable overview of the work of this outstanding author.
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