Just finished reading Jane Austen’s England by Roy and Lesley Adkins (2013) yesterday. A very enjoyable read. I actually finished the book thinking: ‘Is that it? Is that all there is? Isn’t there any more?’ I wanted the book to be twice as long as it was! But, I guess they had to decide what was an appropriate length for the subject matter. It was interesting to get some of the context and environment in which Austen was writing. Also refreshing, and in keeping with Austen’s novels, to read something that focused on more of the social context rather than historical/political. I would certainly recommend this to Austen fans. The only part I found a bit unsettling was the details of Jane’s passing, which her sister outlined in a letter. Then again, who wouldn’t be moved by those words? And they are but a few in a very pleasant read.
We are 17 minutes into a two day book sale at our library today and the place is mobbed. Books, LPs, scores and ephemera are all up for grabs. I have worked in libraries for many years now, and in an independent bookstore (Bank Square Books), years ago, and I still love the excitement that accompanies such events. There are students, staff and faculty all over the place. It is really crowded. Everyone is pouring over the pickings, piles are accumulating at the edges, friends are declaring jealousy over coveted finds. It is invigorating to see the hunger and excitement on everyone’s face, the longing in the eyes of those who have to run off to class, the delight in those who ‘stumble’ upon the sale, the gratitude of the buyers being able to acquire their finds so cheaply, the anxious inquires over the location of the nearest ATM, the tense moments when another shopper mistakenly starts browsing someone else’s pile. Book sales are great!
And yet . . . I sit here at the Reference Desk, as the book sale plays out in front of me, literally about three feet (the depth of the desk) away from me (because it is raining outside). I’m in the middle of it and yet strangely removed from it. I’m just doing my regular Reference Desk shift. As a result, I can’t browse the sale myself. So, while I love all the excitement over the book sale, I am intensely jealous. I cheer for everyone finding such great things and secretly my heart is saying, like an immature toddler: ‘But I want those!’ So here I sit, loving the excitement and suffering from a serious case of the book sale blues. Anyone have a reference question?
Last night, I finished reading Pete Brown’s Shakespeare’s Pub: a Barstool History of London as Seen Through the Windows of Its Oldest Pub-The George Inn, which just came out from St. Martin’s Press last year (2012). A thoroughly enjoyable read! It has history, literature and humor all mixed into one very accessible volume. And, seeing as all these elements appeal to me, it is partly what enticed me to read it in the first place. I think the review I read of it also helped, wish I could remember which one it was. So, if you enjoy books about London history with a nice infusion of the social and architectural elements surrounding that history, you will enjoy Brown’s book. I read it for fun and am very glad I did. Thanks to Pete Brown for writing Shakespeare’s Pub.