If only I could lay hands on all these in a shop it would be so much easier and yes, I could probably order them but then there's the general kerfuffle about the twelve mile round trip to collect, and the remembering, so it's time to review and trim my literary magazine subscriptions.
It can all get a bit ridiculous.
I've shed a few that I feel I may have outgrown or need a rest from and picked up a couple of lapsed subscriptions to ones that I miss too much to ignore any longer.
I like Mslexia but it's not quite the right fit for me so I'm resting that for a while, newbooks likewise I stopped about a year ago.
However six months without The Literary Review was more than enough, I was feeling bereft of a regular fix having taken that one since 1996 so in the end I surrendered, rang up and ordered all the ones I'd missed and set that up again.
The Reader comes anyway because I write a little piece (very little just 75 words on a Classic) for them and I don't think I'd ever let that one lapse.
But now I am also very grateful to Canadian John Honderich who recently offered several hundred one-year gift subscriptions to The Literary Review of Canada (thanks for the recommend Kevin) and I was lucky enough to be offered one. My research reveals (I think) that John Honderich was the editor of the Toronto Star for many years and this incredibly generous gesture is about sustaining the magazine and widening the Canadian conversation; fostering an informed debate can only be a good thing for Canada and for the LRC.
My love of CanLit well-known here and with the arrival of my first edition I'm already informed on a subject I had touched on through my reading of Joseph Boyden, the question of the Canadian Aborigine, not easy to make an accurate assessment of that from several thousand miles away here in Devon. I then dived headlong into more Canada, grisly Maritime mysteries about legless castaways, Arcadia in peril, a novel Reading by Lightning by Joan Thomas, all about prairie survival in Canada and small-town life in Lancashire (our Lancashire I presume) and the promise that this book will snatch me away and deposit me in a different place and leave me profoundly changed by the experience, so that had better appear in the UK or else.
But as I was going for total immersion in Canadian literature and culture I realised that this was going to end up being expensive in more ways than just wanting all the books yesterday. I would need to redress the balance with some equivalent UK 'compare and contrast' and there was nothing for it but a return to The London Review Of Books.
I love the London Review Bookshop and if I'm in London it's all a must. I can't bear to miss a glimpse of the British Museum courtyard roof just opposite the top of Bury Street.
I usually nip and say hello to Ernest Hecht in Souvenir Press right opposite the museum because amongst other things Ernest publishes all the books that inform my other life, the working one, and he regularly saves my bacon with a book that tells me just what I need to know. In fact when I asked him to recommend a book on Grief & Loss very recently, twenty-six arrived. For anyone who might be needing to know I can't recommend Beyond Grief and A Time to Grieve by Carol Staudacher too highly, two of the most practical, informative and helpful books that I've read on the subject.
Then for old time's sake we have to go to the pizzeria in Coptic Street.
Now a Pizza Express so nothing like it used to be, no string quartet playing in the corner, and no more lashings of mozarella that seemed a mile long when you tried to cut a slice, happy days, but don't miss the LRB bookshop if you are ever Bloomsbury way.
They will send regular e mail updates which will have you gnashing your teeth over all the events you're missing, but it's five years since I last regularly subscribed and I've needed that long to read them all. Handsomely housed in the binder they do make a stately and very useful addition to the shelves and in the end I'd talked myself into a special offer year's subscription within about five minutes of enquiring about the cost.
It'll all be inspiring I just know it and almost essential for those of us out on a limb from the London hub, but please just don't tell me about any more I might like.