Happy Canada Day to my Canadian friends. Canada and Canada Day will always have a special place in my heart because once upon a time after returning home to the US from Montreal (during Canada Day weekend) I met my husband. Le sigh.
This year is quickly becoming the year I bought the most books. Let’s start with Mrs Harris Goes to Paris. I won’t lie, I bought it because of the adorable title. Luckily, the plot is just as cute. This edition contains two novellas, Mrs Harris Goes to Paris and Mrs Harris Goes to New York. Mrs. Harris is a Londoner and senior citizen who travels to Paris simply to buy a Dior dress. I’d love to own a vintage Dior dress myself, so I can sympathize with Mrs. Harris. It’ll make for a fun summer read.
I also received in the mail the latest book in my Persephone Books subscription, The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. It was written in 1924 and takes place in a small town in America. The premise of the story is that after the husband and father of the family hurts himself and becomes wheel-chair bound, his wife takes a position at a department store to support the family. The father then becomes the home-maker. It was written in a period where it wasn’t normal for men to stay home and raise children. I also learned that the term “home-maker” is an American term not used in the UK. Persephone Books lists it as a feminist book but is quick to note that Dorothy Canfield Fisher did not consider herself a feminist. I’m grateful that I learned about her through Persephone Books. Even though she was a prolific writer in her day, I had never heard of her, nor did we study her in school and college.
After hearing Miranda Mills of Miranda’s Notebook review The Almanac Journal by Lia Leendertz, I had to buy it. It’s a journal where you record your thoughts and notes on the firsts of every season. Such as when you notice the first rose, the first snow, the first anything. The idea of the journal is to help you enjoy and appreciate nature.
The last book on my list is not a book. It’s a book of stickers, The Antiquarian Sticker Book. It was definitely a splurge (for me) and I could easily live without it, but I really wanted it. The stickers are gorgeous. I plan to use them on letters, cards and in my planner.
The book itself is a beautiful hardback. It contains over 1000 stickers, all themed in the Victorian era style. I’m very happy with it.
My local library is not yet open to the public, but they are letting us borrow books with curbside pick-up. I borrowed one book of essays and two royal history books.
You may have heard of Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik, a writer for the New Yorker. In 1995, he moved to Paris with his wife and young child. This book is a collection of essays inspired by his time living in Paris.
The Grimaldis of Monaco by Anne Edwards was published in 1992. I don’t know anything about Anne Edwards or whether this book was well-received. However, it sounds like an interesting read and a good introduction to the history of the Grimaldis.
Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown is just as the title says. It’s not a traditional biography of Princess Margaret. The front flap reads: “Craig Brown’s Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret is a kaleidoscopic experiment in biography and a witty, moving meditation on fame and art, snobbery and deference, bohemia and high society.” Sounds like a good escape to me.
I’m feeling overwhelmed and don’t know with which book to start. I suppose this is not a bad problem to have.
I bought more books to add to my Penguin Clothbound Classics collection. This should be the last ones I buy because I now own the full-length Jane Austen novels in this collection. My goal wasn’t to own the entire Jane Austen set, but the pandemic forced me to do a little bit of retail therapy to support my small, independent bookshop.
I bought Northanger Abbey from the collection which I’ve read before and enjoyed the movie adaptation. I also bought Mansfield Park, which I haven’t read and is up next. I am a little bit weary of this novel because it’s about cousin love (the hero and heroine are first cousins !!). I’m hoping I can enjoy the book regardless. We’ll see.
Oh, and can you spot my new book-inspired vase?
In other news, I’m currently listening to the Catch and Kill podcast by Ronan Farrow. If you don’t know what it’s about, it’s the podcast where Ronan Farrow and his guests (journalists, victims, private investigators, etc.) talk about the Harvey Weinstein investigation process and everything they endured because of it. If I didn’t already hate predators as much as I do, I would hate them even more now. I’ll probably read Ronan Farrow’s book, Catch and Kill, afterwards. If I don’t explode from anger first. Have you read it?
My trip to London may have been cancelled, but my book shopping need not be. I happily supported my local bookstores and then I happily supported a couple of the bookstores I was going to visit in London.
I decided it would be a nice treat if I subscribed to a six-month book subscription from Persephone Books, something I have been wanting to do for a number of years now. Much to my delight, the first book, Mariana, arrived earlier this week. Mariana is written by Monica Dickens, the great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens. It’s a little bit biographical and the main character, Mariana, is a young Englishwoman, going through all the motions of life. It’s supposed to be humorous and interesting and well-written.
I also bought Square Haunting by Francesca Wade and The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow. I’m looking forward to reading both.
Square Haunting is the story of five women writers living in London (Bloomsbury) during the years between the two world wars. I was planning on buying it in London, so I thought it only right to order the British edition. I was supposed to stay in Bloomsbury and haunt all of these squares myself, but it will have to wait for another time and that’s okay.
The Other Bennet Sister is about Mary Bennet, the overlooked sister from Pride and Prejudice. I recall feeling annoyed by her, so it will be interesting to see how Mary’s life turns out.
Even though I’m in book heaven, I’m not used to purchasing so many books. (I talk about that here.) I honestly don’t know how soon I’ll get through reading this new stack. Regardless, supporting our bookstores is the right thing to do and binge reading will be a good diversion from the current troubles.
I don’t impulse buy books. I generally use my local library for books and, as a special treat, I purchase books during my travels. I was looking forward to my trip to London this week and had several London bookshops on my must-visit list. But it wasn’t to be…
That said, the current crisis is upending the independent bookstores in the USA. I don’t want them to suffer or shutter, so I purchased several books from independent bookstores in my neighborhood.
My recent library haul includes two borrowed books and one purchase. I borrowed Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory and started reading it almost immediately. It’s due back this weekend, so I have the rest of the week to find out how it all works out for our heroine. It’s a really sweet novel, set in England at a royal estate. The main character is in her early 50s and finds love again with the private secretary to Her Majesty, The Queen. Yes, girl!
I also borrowed Sandra Brown’s Send No Flowers because I’m going through a Sandra Brown phase and I’m not ashamed.
I also bought this cute little book for just $1.00, Royal Weddings – A Very Peculiar History. It’s really adorable and lists fun facts and funny anecdotes about royal bridal couples-to-be and royal weddings throughout history.
I hope you’re having a wonderful festive season, full of books and good cheer!
I’m quite pleased with my recent book haul. I had to buy The Other Side of the Coin by Angela Kelly, the Queen’s dresser. It documents the special relationship Angela Kelly has with the Queen. There are some wonderful tidbits to enjoy, lots of history and dress facts. The beautiful pictures are in abundance. I can’t wait to dig in.
I’ve read Megan Hess before and wrote about it here and here. Her books are gorgeously illustrated. I’m beside myself that I own two more. I feel like a child, so excited that I don’t know where to begin reading them. Elegance is Megan Hess’ newest book and focuses on all the great French designers such as Chanel, Dior, Givenchy, Hermes and others. It’s a gorgeous book that I won’t be able to put down.
I know I’ll enjoy The Dress. It’s an illustrated jaunt through fashion history. The sketches are just beautiful. So far though, my favorite part of the book is the author’s dedication: “For Gwyn, All the dresses I’ve drawn, and all the dresses I own, will one day be yours.” So sweet!
I did not need to own another journal, but I could not pass this one up. It’s for journaling about the books we read. I probably won’t use it for every book, but it would be fun for those very special books that stay with me long after I’ve turned the last page.
What have you been reading lately? Any new books in your possession?