Friday, 31 January 2014

January Ends

January feels like a month to be endured, despite having a birthday in its middle I still feel less than enthusiastic about it.  The fairy lights and sparkles are packed away and once more life is earnest, life is real.  Life is also wet, windy and dark.  So I cannot say that I am sorry to see the back of January.

Meanwhile there has been knitting activity in the background, I have finished the knitting on Dad's jumper, started the making up and in between times, in the interests of my own sanity, knocked up a quick baby jumper and a warm cabled hat.  Pictures anon I hope.

One of the little bright spots, like a missive from a brighter, happier land, has been the arrival of the first catalogue of books published by Daunt's Books, an excellent independent chain of London bookshops.  If you feel gloomy about the survival of the High Street, or wish for inspiration for how to revive the High Street, go to one of their shops forthwith.  Preferably their Marylebone High Street shop branch, which is where I found them, fortuitously, on the way to a medical appointment nearby.  Going to one of their shops is a joyous experience, the Marylebone shop is an original late nineteenth century bookshop, with a wonderful galleried room of books on every country or region of the world, arranged by region, then country, covering more traditional guide books, dictionaries and maps as well as books on their literature, history, art and cookery.

The bookshops are well curated and always have something new to catch your eye and the publishing list is similarly good.  It is like a well thought out and selected delicatessen rather than a pile 'em high behemoth and full of such tantalising titles.  Like Persephone Books they are mostly titles that have undeservedly gone out of print and I look forward to spending some of the book tokens my kind friends and family have given me for Christmas and my birthday.  But don't take my word for it - go and feast your eyes.

As a last note I am pleased to note that Persephone are currently selling Diary of a Provincial Lady by E. M. Delafield, a funny little book that deserves to be better known.  My copy is one that had belonged to my mother's cousin, 'Aunt' Daisy and although she died when I was 12, it is lovely to make that connection and read a book that I know she enjoyed - we inherited two copies, one an omnibus edition which is falling apart.  Albeit she did not managed to obtain a copy with the original illustrations; I suppose you cannot have everything?

Anyhow onwards into February, searching for signs of the beginnings of spring as we go.


  1. Another fan of Persephone books here... and I also have an old copy of Diary of a Provincial Lady, a 1942 edition, leather-bound, the pages brown around the edges, and with that peculiar smell only old leathery books seem to have.

  2. There is something about an old book isn't there? And that connection with the other people who have read and loved it. I miss having an Oxfam bookshop nearby for that reason.