Firstly, better fess up to this little 'senior moment' and get it out of the way.
In London on Wednesday and a fine day with a little browse at the London Review Bookshop squeezed in and how can I possibly go all that way and not buy a book?
I know it's the current fashion around the book blogs to declare that you won't buy any books for a whole year, or you'll only buy a few, which is indeed virtuous but I haven't yet persuaded any of the abstainers to declare how many freebies are coming through the post which may help make that book-buying unnecessary. No such admirable restraint ever likely to happen here, and I see no point, when to pass money over a counter and be handed a book chosen by myself as a treat happily tops up the joy levels to the brim.
I think I'm worth it and no I can't afford them either if I'm honest, and I actually need one more book like I need another ball of wool really, but that's never stopped me in the past and nor does the arrival of free books stop me now.
I had to dig deep to remember the author's name but it came to me eventually and there it was, a copy of Stoner by John Williams in the coveted NYRB edition alongside Butcher's Crossing.
Both would have been nice but at £11.50 one would have to do because I'd already gone into meltdown at the V&A shop, so I left Butcher's Crossing behind for another day.
When we got home past midnight, and having left very early in the morning, there was the day's post waiting. Now I don't know about you but I often order a book from Amazon on a bit of a whim and forget I've ordered it so I was thrilled to see a little Amazon package in amongst the pile.
I know... it was the new book on Ted Hughes that I'd ordered, great.
No it wasn't actually...it was the copy of Stoner by John Williams in the Vintage edition that I'd ordered last week when KevinfromCanada mentioned it here in comments in the same breath as William Maxwell.
Now if just one other person could tell me they've done this too I'd feel a whole lot better very quickly. It's too much bother to send it back so someone somewhere will be getting a copy of Stoner for their birthday/Christmas or as a meeting gift (I always pass over a book when I meet any of you) one day soon.
Other books that have really caught my eye this week...
Always the Children - A Nurse's Story of Home and War by Devon-based author Anne Watts and it was an odds-on certainty that I'd be head first into this one, not least because of a connection I mentioned back in 2007 here. Anne worked as a nurse for the Save The Children Fund during the Vietnam war and subsequently among the victims of Pol Pot's regime in Cambodia, in Lebanon during the Israeli occupation and in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm. I've started it and I'll finish it, I'm gripped and having discovered that Anne lives just a few miles up the road from us I'm really hoping to be able to meet her eventually...and does that look like a vintage London Hospital nurse's uniform on the cover?
Next a book that feels so sensible I wonder a publisher somewhere hasn't thought of it before, or perhaps they have and I've missed it, Stories to Get You Through the Night published by Vintage. An eclectic mix of short stories from a wide and varied range of authors under headings various... stories to make you glad to be alive...to send a shiver down your spine...to help you rejoice in the beauty of nature...to read when it's all going wrong...to celebrate the joys of getting old. Authors include Kate Chopin, Haruki Murakami, Somerset Maugham, Elizabeth Gaskell, Helen Simpson, Arthur Conan Doyle, Alice Munro and many others and I really like the look and the sentiment of this book.
I know that many people who read this blog are unwilling night owls for one reason or another, and I suspect that this might be a handy book to keep on the bedside table for those darkest and often most difficult hours, when the ebb of the mood can sink to its lowest as the rest of the world seems to be fast asleep and you are not.
Now just how long have I been meaning to read a book by Iain Pears?
An Instance of the Fingerpost has been on the shelf since forever but the arrival of Stone's Fall in paperback tempts me with the allure of a death in mysterious circumstances, an unusual bequest and story that moves backwards in time from London in 1909 to Vienna in 1867 via Paris in 1890.
Finally, the Kohinoor diamond in this week's glistening reading crown, a beautiful finished copy of Theodora, Stella Duffy's new novel now graces my book table. I started a proof copy and new I'd love this but set it aside to read nearer to publication date which is any day now and I really can't wait a minute longer.
That's me with some good reads lined up, how about you ?