Very early in my visit to London we went to two libraries–one a
university library and the other a town library. At these I borrowed
The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie
Forty Years On by Alan Bennett
Cathedral by Raymond Carver
Box of Matches by Nicholson Baker
Dear Papa by Anne Ylvisaker
Dying in the Wool by Frances Brody
I discovered when I got back to the flat that I’ve already read
both Cathedral and Box of Matches, so those didn’t count.
I had brought Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor
with me to read for the fourth time, and I finished that. Then
while I was in London I read the Agatha Christie, Alan Bennett,
Ylvisaker and half of Dying in the Wool.
The very first day I was there, we went to Waterstone’s Book Store, a
chain, and I bought The Wedding Group by Elizabeth Taylor. I read
that right away to compare it with Mrs. Palfrey and I’m afraid I
have some criticism now of Ms. Taylor’s writing. I was shocked,
shocked as I read along in my cozy bedroom in the flat. It just about
ruined the high regard I have of the Mrs. Palfrey book. Oh, well.
(Now that I’m home I’m rereading A Wreath of Roses by Taylor to see
how it ranks with the other two. More on Elizabeth Taylor in a later post.)
One day we went out shopping on Charing Cross Road to the bookstores.
We had watched the old video of “84 Charing Cross Road” with Anne
Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins. I never liked that movie as well as I
liked the book (have read it 2 or 3 times), but still, it was fun and gave
us some background to go to the bookstores in the area.
First we went to Foyle’s. That’s a big grand store with four floors of books.
I went to the Language department and saw these four big shelves of
books of French fiction:
And that’s only authors ending in A-G! Then there were huge sections of Italian, Russian,
Thai, Arabic, Polish, you name it. I’ll bet it’s the largest foreign language bookstore in
the world. I bought two novellas by Proust en francais:
And a tiny little four by four inch edition of four stories by Carson McCullers
to read on the plane coming home. Easy to carry, lovely to read. (And that
first story, Wunderkind, is a haunting little piece.)
You already know that I bought King George and Queen Elizabeth. Another
book I saw of interest–at Portobello–was an interesting copy of Dubliners by
James Joyce that was illustrated. Have to check to see if my own copy is
illustrated . . . OK, that’s all for now–back to A Wreath of Roses.