Although I haven’t done much reading these past four weeks I have, of course, found the time to buy some books! Near the place where I did my CertTESOL course there was a lovely little second-hand bookshop I was able to peruse in my lunch breaks. It is called Halcyon Books in Greenwich and was exactly how I imagined an old-fashioned bookshop to be like. The bookshelves extended all the way to the ceiling, there were piles and piles of books on the floor and it was such a tiny place crammed full of books – it had so much character. Also, every single book was £1! I couldn’t believe it! I also couldn’t believe that this shop has been sitting, pretty much, on my doorstep.
Here are my wonderful finds:
- De Profundis by Oscar Wilde – I have only ever read A Picture of Dorian Grey by Wilde but he is such an influential and interesting figure in literary history that it is a shame I haven’t read any more of his work. Written from his prison cell at Reading Goal, De Profundis is an epistle written to Lord Alfred Douglas, of whom their previous relationship landed Wilde in prison.
- The Yellow Wall-paper and Other Writings by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – I have read The Yellow Wall-paper (and own another version of it) a couple of times but I was interested to see what else the author had written so couldn’t resist picking up this collection of her work.
- Mrs Miniver by Jan Struther – initially a series of columns in The Times newspaper during the Second World War, Mrs Miniver was released in book form in 1939. The blurb states that Churchill exclaimed that ‘it had done more for the Allied cause than a flotilla of battleships’. I am definitely excited to read this classic.
- The Outsider by Albert Camus – apparently a classic existentialist novel, Camus’ The Outsider (or L’Étranger in French) was first published in 1948 and ‘explores the predicament of the individual who is prepared to face the indifference of the universe courageously and alone’ (so the blurb says).
- Olivia by Olivia – originally published anonymously, it is now known that Olivia, published in 1949 by Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s publishing house – Hogarth Press, was written by Dorothy Bussy (the sister of Lytton Strachey). It tells the story of a young girl who has a crush on her female teacher at a French finishing school.
- Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner – this novel won the Man Booker Prize in 1984. It explores the life of Edith Hope, who writes romance novels under a pseudonym. However, when her life starts to resemble her fictional stories, she flees to the peace and sanctuary of Hotel du Lac in Switzerland.
- The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall – published in 1928, this novel caused a sensation; it was banned for being obscene, as it chronicles the love of two women, by the British courts. But fellow artists, such as E. M. Forster, Leonard and Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, to name a few, all came to its defence and it is now a classic twentieth-century novel.
I look forward to hibernating in the next few months – the weather has definitely taken a turn for the worse and the days are already getting drastically shorter – and devouring the mountain of books I have on my TBR pile!
I also have a couple of lovely pictures of Greenwich to share with you. I think I take for granted its beautifully historic value as I have lived here for the majority of my life.