Yet More Books

No sooner do I think I have plenty of books to read and that I’ll concentrate on reading the books I already own than I go out looking for more. Nan over at Letters From a Hill Farm has far more resolve  – she has decided not to buy any more books for a whole year and also not to borrow books either. Well I thought that was a good idea and maybe I should take it one month at a time and not buy any books, although I knew I would borrow books from the library. That thought soon deserted me; but at least I can comfort myself because I’d already identified the book I’ve now bought as one I’d planned to read this year.

It’s Eden’s Outcasts: the story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father by John Matteson and now of course I want to start reading it at once. The little I know of Louisa May is that she wrote some of my favourite childhood books – Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men and Jo’s Boys.  I know even less about Bronson, her father, beyond the fact that he was a close friend of Emerson and Thoreau.

The only things that are holding me back from jumping straight into this book is that I’m already reading a few books – The Language of God: a Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief by Francis Collins, a book I started to read last year and stopped because I was finding it hard to follow. Collins is the head of the Human Genome Project and has “an unshakable faith in God”, but when he came to describing the Project, DNA and genomes he lost me. I do want to finish this book though and have started it again this year. In complete contrast I’m also reading The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason by Sam Harris about the irrationality of all religious faiths.


But the book that has really grabbed my attention is The Road to Nab End: an Extraordinary Northern Childhood by William Woodruff. My friend, Margaret lent me this book saying that it’s a wonderful book and she is right. In some ways it reminds me of Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee, but this is about a Lancashire childhood, a life of poverty in Blackburn. I know it’s a cliché but I really am finding hard to put this book down. It’s beautifully written, rich in description of both people and places and of the period. Woodruffe, an historian, was born in 1916 and lived in Blackburn until 1933.

So why when I went to the library yesterday did I pick up three more books? I returned a couple of books and then browsed the shelves to see if anything caught my eye. Of course there were many, but I restricted myself to three – An Imaginative Experience by Mary Wesley, even though her biography Wild Mary didn’t make me want to rush out and read her books this one was just sitting there as though it was waiting for me. The other two are Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen by P G Wodehouse because I enjoyed Something Fresh and fancied a bit of humour and The Mirror Crack’d From Side To Side by Agatha Christie, a great title taken from Tennyson’s The Lady of Shalott, and promising to be a satisfying murder mystery solved by Miss Marple.

11 thoughts on “Yet More Books

  1. It’s all about the hunt. That’s what I think. I’ve finished even pretending I’ll stop overbuying. I’m a book junkie, and proud of it! Like we all say, there are much worse things we could spend our money on! 🙂 Nice choices, by the way!



  2. Margaret, I know I mentioned that I have Eden’s Outcasts on the shelf, waiting for me. Glad I bought it before my self-imposed ban! At the risk of making more money fly out of your wallet, I read American Bloomsbury by Susan Cheever a while ago, and found it really, really excellent. It is more an introduction to everyone in that area at that particular time. It is actually what intrigued me enough about the Alcotts to buy Eden’s Outcasts. There’s a book report here if you want to know more:


  3. Lezlie, that’s right – I’m a bookaholic!
    Nan, I don’t know if I dare look at your link with the risk of wanting yet another book! Seriously though thank you – it does sound interesting.


  4. I’d love to not buy any more books for a while, but always succumb to temptation and buy some new release or new obsession!

    My granddad emigrated from Northern England, so I’d be interested to read The Road to Nab End: an Extraordinary Northern Childhood, especially as you’ve described it as beautifully written.

    I’ve read An Imaginative Experience, and so far it is one of my favourite Wesley novels. I should warn you it’s quite a tear jerker though.

    Miss Marple is always reliable, I must re-read some Christie this year as it’s been ages.


  5. Eden’s Outcasts sounds very good — I grew up reading Alcott too, but don’t know as much about he as I would like. I hope to read Geraldine Brooks’s novel about her and her family sometime soon.


  6. I like the idea of not buying books for a while, but I know better than even trying it–I won’t be able to stop myself. I would like to ration my shopping out a bit, though. Library books I feel far less guilty about, though I should feel guilty considering how many I return unread! Eden’s Outcasts sounds really good–may have to look that one up. And I love Mary Wesley’s books–I went through a big phase and read a whole slew of them.


  7. Margaret think of it this way. By buying books from my local independent bookseller, I’m helping him stay in business and doing my part to pump up the sagging U. S. economy. I can always find a way to justify buying books. 🙂


  8. I had a plan to buy one book a week from a bookstore to help the publishing industry get through the recession. I have a nasty feeling I may have supported them already this year through to about May! But there seems to have been a lot of good stuff about. I love the sound of the Louisa May Alcott book and the William Woodruff. Oh dear – I sense more trouble ahead! 🙂


    1. Litlove, I’ve not been good then only buying one (well two actually, but the other is for my husband). The publishing industry wouldn’t do very well if we all read our tbr piles! I’m determined to keep the libraries going too by borrowing lots of books – there are threats here to close eight branch libraries this year.


  9. I’ll have to look for the Alcott book. That seems quite attractive. I was just thinking last night about Little Women and how it influenced me growing up.
    Nice blog. I’ll have to keep coming back.


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