What we have in the above photo are the books I keep meaning to read when something else pushes forward instead. This is going to be the year for the short story to shine. My Persephone compilation offers a treasure trove of stories to delight in and can there be a better way to try on a new author for size? And I've just spotted the story to read first in my Penguin Book of British Comic Stories, a snippet from Henry Green called The Lull. A bit of book browser regret has washed over me since I left a copy of Green's Back behind at a shop in Toronto a couple of weeks ago but hopefully it will still be on the shelf on my next trip in. My overly practical rationale is that Living and Party Going haven't been dusted off yet so I should just get on with those before adding any more Green to my shelves. Being practical is a curse at times. Loving is a fantastic story, by the way, and has stuck with me since reading it ages ago.
The centenary of the First World War will no doubt bring forward a plethora of stories from that era. Not one to read mysteries I was helping my husband find a book at Christmas when the pretty cover from the Bess Crawford series by Charles Todd caught my eye. It was the third in the series so I'm going back one title to hopefully fill in a detail or two about this nurse during wartime and her sleuthing skills. And by the sounds of things in the blogsphere, I must be the only one who hasn't read A Month in the Country by J. L. Carr.
Listening to my favourite book bloggers on my iPod, The Readers and Adventures With Words, has piqued my interest in reading newer fiction (they really are excellent!) but my heart craves twentieth-century writing most. Norman Collins's London Belongs to Me was oh so wonderful and Bond Street Story sounds just as good judging by the first few pages. When life on the shop floor leaves me ready for a gear shift then Penelope Lively, Winifred Holtby or Stevie Smith should fit the bill nicely. Does anyone remember how much fun it was to join in on those Persephone and Virago Week read-alongs? I digress.
Time for something completely different. Every aspect of the Dandy lifestyle holds a bit of fascination for me (don't ask me why) so why not read about THE Dandy of his time. A biography by Ian Kelly has been sitting on my shelves for years and years, it calls to me at least once a month and yet it languishes. If nothing else I should stop being such a monogamous reader and dip in and out of a non-fiction book every now and then while enjoying a good fiction read. While on the subject of non-fiction and dandies, the memoirs of The Duchess of Windsor in The Heart Has Its Reasons will no doubt blow away anything found in the biography section of a library. Finding this book on a dusty lower shelf at the Reuse Centre made my week last year and yet, has it been read?...no. I can't say that I am overly taken with Wallis Simpson as a person but oh what a wealth of description surrounding those pre-abdication days. Nosiness and scandal aside, let's hope there is plenty of blather about those exquisite jewels and stunning fashions in her closets. No doubt paid for by the British taxpayer...if you are going to be nosy, at least be aware.
Joining any sort of 'dare you not to buy books for awhile' group usually proves to be a dismal failure for me but I am quite confident there is plenty to keep me happily engaged for the time being.