Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Last Friday I went book-shopping......

Last Friday I went book-shopping, specifically for a couple of books for RIP 6, and because it was one of the last days of my holidays and it doesn't feel like a holiday until I've bought some books - buying one in Montreal doesn't count as fulfilling my holiday book shopping! I did find what I was looking for, and whole lot more.  Pure pleasure.  I also discovered a bookstore that I have walked past for the past oh, 3 years at least, and never gone in.  I don't really know why, except I thought it was tied to the Canadian National Gallery across the road, since the book store featured a lot of Canadian art books in the windows.  When I decided to explore some of Ottawa's few bookstores I haven't been in, last week, I thought I would try Nicholas Hoare.  I was absolutely delighted and thrilled and felt right at home within minutes of walking in.  I only had 15 minutes and found 5 books in that time, though I had cheated and gone to their new online site, here and had a list of titles I was looking for already in hand.  Which is a good thing since I only had 15 minutes, and once I started browsing, I got immersed and had to keep reminding myself that I wanted to look at this and that, too.  Stuff dreams are made of, a book store where I could happily spend many hours discovering books only available in England, or featuring English and Canadian authors.  I intend to go back as soon as possible.  Unfortunately they close at 5:30, which is 1/2 hour before I get to their store from work, which is the top reason really that I've never gone in.  It's always closed when I go by!

So this is what I found last week:
-The Lore of Scotland - Westwood and Kingshill.  I've had my eye on this one for a couple of months, and finally I just couldn't resist it any longer!  It's a thick book, and looks well-researched, and covers so much myth, folklore, tales from Scotland.
-The Morville Hours - Katherine Swift - I bought it because Nigel Slater (my favourite English cook) couldn't resist reading it twice.  Ok, I'm only partly kidding!  I also bought it because it's the story of the house she comes to love, and the history she uncovers while she is gardening, of the people who lived there before.  Time and gardening, past and present, the hours of living - perfect for winter reading, I think.
-South Riding - Winifred Holtby - I hadn't even heard about it until finding it on Nicolas Hoare site.  Now I find it's been in print in England ever since it was published in 1936!  It's set in South Yorkshire, and is the story of a teacher who promotes modern ideas in the school she comes to teach in, and runs into the lord of the manor across the way, and of course they disagree on everything.  It's also one of the first novels to try to show how putting responsibility onto the local councils changed politics especially at the local economic level, in Britain.  Plus, it's set in Yorkshire, where I lived when I was there.  Since we have our own maddening city council here in Ottawa (guaranteed to put your blood pressure up every time they make an announcement these days it seems), I can also relate. It's sounds boring and political, and it's not.  The heroine is a woman fiercely determined to improve the lot of her students, and this is what gets her into the business of the local council and eventually to the landowner who owns everything. 
-The Dirty Life - A Memoir of Farming, Food and Love - Kristin Kimball - I love her sweater on the cover!  Really, I bought it because I love the idea of how the author meets her husband and leaves everything behind in order to start up an organic farm, selling locally.  They've made it work, and this is the story of how they did it, and what they learned.  In my wildest fantasies I run away to the countryside too and become self-sufficient on the land as well, and of course we've already been organic for over 20 years, so this book is like my alternate life if I had a husband with the least inclination to farm.  I don't, and he never will, whereas Kristin's husband is the one who was completely into farming which is how they met (she came to interview him for a magazine article) 
- and a Christmas present for my husband, which I can't list here in case he sees (but very British and appropriate for him!)

I still have a list of books I wanted to look at there, so the question is not if, but how soon I shall return......

I also made it to one of my regular and favourite independent bookstores on Friday, Collected Works.  They are in the midst of renovating, and are waiting for their Christmas stock to come in, so stock is a little bit low at this time, and I still managed to find two books! 
Anya's Ghost - Vera Brosgol  - thanks to Chris at Stuff Dreams Are Made Of, for his review here. For RIP VI
Woods Wolf Girl - Cornelia Hoogland - This is a book of poems, just out this year, by a Canadian poet.  It is a collection about - you guessed it, Red Riding Hood, The Wolf, and the Woodsman.  The poems are about all the ways Red Riding Hood walks into the woods, and what (who, the Wolf of course) she finds there.  It is also about how we are Red Riding Hood in our lives, and the places we might find the wolf lurking, and where the woods might be in our lives.  It looks fascinating, and I had to have it.  I'm on a fairy tale themed poetry reading kick right now, and this looks perfect. For RIP VI

Then, because this was what I set out for (and resigned to never finding a copy of the first book anywhere else in the city) I headed out to Smithbooks, a subsidiary of Chapters (our version of Barnes and Nobles here in Canada), to finally, finally, get my hands on a copy of:
Feed - Mira Grant.  For RIP VI.  Yes!  I was victorious! A  zombie book that I've been hearing about on and off for a year now.  Deadline is the sequel, out now, so if I like this one, I can see the sequel under my Christmas tree, possibly.....
As they had a buy 3-get 1 one free event on that weekend, I had to fulfull that promise and bought two more for me, and 5 books for the kids (not named here, all learning readers for them):
Magic Bites - Ilona Andrews - I keep seeing this written up in places, and it looks like an interesting and fun urban fantasy
Midnight Fugue - Reginald Hill.  I saw a review of this lately, considered one of his best ones in the Dalziel and Pascoe series, so when I saw it was out in softcover, I grabbed it.

Now I feel like I've been on holidays!


Kerry said...

Great shopping!

I loved Feed and I am NOT a zombie person at all.

Magic Bites is on my list of "I'd really like to try that, but other things keep coming along" books, as is Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire (who is the author of Feed).

Chris said...

What a great list of books!! Hope you enjoy Anya's Ghost as much as I did :) And you've now made ME put Woods Wolf Girl and The Dirty Life on my wishlist :p See…we're bad for each other, lol. And don't you just love discovering new bookstores around you? I don't do that often enough!

Cath said...

Gorgeous bookish post. :-D I would so love to have been with you.

Huge Nigel Slater fan here, and that's recommendation enough for me so have made a note of The Morville Hours and will check it out in a minute.

South Riding I have not read but will get to one day. There's just been a new dramatisation of it (BBC I think, but am not positive) which I didn't watch as I always prefer to read the book first.

Enjoy your new books. Keen to know if I should get Anya's Ghost...

GeraniumCat said...

I just love that bookshop! If I ever get back to Ottawa I will be straight in there (as soon as I've finished in the National Gallery, which I *always* have to visit for a Group of Seven fix).

I really liked the dramatisation of South Riding - it moves at a faster pace than the book so I'm not sure that it matters so much if you watch rather than read first. But I knew it of old, so I may be wrong on that.

Kailana said...

Lots of good looking books there. Enjoy!

steve said...

Really great blog site and now i am looking forward to upcoming posts. Thanks and keep sharing like this.

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Susan said...

Kerry: Oh good, you've read Feed! I'll link to your post when I'm read it :-) I'm glad to hear you loved it too.

I have Rosemary and Rue, too, to read! lol I think the third book in this series is coming out or is out. So much to read, isn't there??

Chris: Yaaaay! I'm so glad to repay the favour :-D

What are some of your favourite stores in Louisiana? that would be a nice post for me to drool over (not a hint, no, not a hint at all.....)

Cath: it would have been fun to have you along! I think you would have loved Nicholas Hoare as well. You have Nigel Slater's Fruit cookbook now too, didn't I read on your blog? How are you finding it? I'm about to starting going through the vegetable one, it will keep me busy this winter.

And yes, Anya's Ghost is worth getting. I'll be posting on it this weekend. It's a lot of fun. Chris was right!

I'll let you know how South Riding is, I'm expecting November unless I get enough horror before the end of RIP.

Geraniumcat: Never mind the National art gallery and the bookstore, you'd better let me know when you are in town next and I'll meet up with you! then we can go to the art gallery and bookstore together! lol Like Cath, I expect you will have as many problems leaving the bookstore as I did (not wanting to, I mean.) It really is a lovely one. I can't hope you'll be along before Christmas, can I?

Again, like with Cath, I'll let you know when I'm reading South Riding, which I hope is in November.

Kailana: thanks! You didn't say if any you'd read, or wanted to read. I can see you reading Feed to, by the way :-)

Steve: thanks! It's a bit hit or miss right now as there are personal things to work out in my private life. My blog is my labour of love for books. Glad you enjoy it! Do you have a blog?

Cath said...

Yes, Susan, I have the Nigel's fruit cooking book, and the veggie one too. I haven't started on them yet but am planning to have a good long delve during the winter. I'm hoping the BBC will have made a new series with him this winter.

Cath said...

Thought you might like to know that my copy of The Morville Hours just got here. I have zero resistence it seems. ;-)

Susan said...

Cath: LOL!!! to The Morville Hours arriving and having zero resistance. I am wondering how soon I can return to Nicholas Hoare to pick up a book they might have because says it's not available any more, and Hoare specializes in books in print in England :-) Neither of us has any resistance! Maybe we could someone to make us a button that says, 'resistance is futile'????

I know, I was thinking Nigel's books would be fun to go through over the winter. I think his fruit one is going to go on my Christmas wish-list. :-) Nicholas HOare also raves about his Real Cooking, which is one of the few I don't have. I have Real Food, which I drool over all the photos and recipes. He can make me hungry just by talking about those 8 words he built the cookbook around: chicken, chocolate, garlic, potatoes, sausage.....mmmmmmm.......

I was thinking of reading The Morville Hours before Christmas! lol let me know if you want to read it together?

Cath said...

Susan, I love the idea of reading The Morville Hours together! The only thing is, it's hard for me to commit to anything at the moment with my daughter's medical condition. We're hoping that her op will be well before Christmas but we don't really know. I'll keep in touch and we can arrange a time perhaps?

Nigel Slater's new TV series started last night. I had no idea until a week ago that there was to be one. I think I have both Real Food and Real Cooking but am not certain.

LOL. I love the idea of a button that says, 'Resistance is futile'. Oh, how true that is...

Susan said...

Cath: Don't worry about time constraints, we'll email and figure something out. It's not like I have buckets of free time either, so we'll fit it in :-) I hope your daughter does get her operation, and soon.

I've never seen any shows of Nigel's! We have all his books over here, and see plenty of Nigella Lawson (who I also love), but have not to my knowledge had any of his cooking shows on tv. I would love to see one!

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