Arcane Publishing is doing a special Spring/Summer sale on both my novels published by Arcane.
Go to the ARCANE PUBLISHING BLOG for more details!
They will also be selling a small selection of their pre-loved, vintage and rare books over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out!
I am currently reading Wildwood by Roger Deakin, a writer I discovered through the work of his friend, the nature writer and academic Robert Macfarlane (and the only non-fiction writer I actually enjoyed reading before encountering Deakin's work!). I especially loved Macfarlane's account of their stay in a Dorset Holloway whilst trying to recreate the adventures of the character in one of their favourite books, Geoffrey Household's Rogue Male (which I loved as well, by the way).
I started with Notes from Walnut Tree Farm, a gorgeous account of his life at the Suffolk house he rebuilt himself.
I am not even half-way through Wildwood yet and it's already full of colourful sticky notes. You need to read it with a map so you can follow Roger Deakin's journeys (and then you'll need to research all the fantastic things he has mentioned) - I don't think I have ever learnt so much in such a small amount of time.
One of the exciting thing about the book is that you never know what you will encounter in each chapter, you can never guess in which direction the author is going to take you next - but one thing is sure: you will be surprised!
The other important aspect of the book is that it is incredibly beautifully written - it has a rich vocabulary and flowing sentences, a real delight for all lovers of the English language. It can be delicate and poetic, energetic and bursting with enthusiasm.
Something I had already noticed whilst reading Notes From Walnut Tree Farm is the beautiful and sensitive way Deakin writes about animals - from cats to insects.
Below is a short extract about a tiny mouse which really touched me when I read it a few days ago and has stayed with me since (He mentions the mouse again later on in the book, so this episode had an impact on him too!)
I have been a fan of P.G. Wodehouse's work for many years, with the Jeeves series being my particular favourite!
I adore the language, the all-out silliness of it all. Reading the adventures of Jeeves and Wooster basically makes me happy. One cannot be serious all the time, can one?
This lovely little book is a biography of the author, first edition, 1979.
I need to find a way of checking whether I have now read all the Jeeves stories...
Unfortunately, I do not own any of the first editions - check out the prices of THESE from Adrian Harrington Rare Books... It would have been quite helpful for me to sell them as I do not earn any income at the moment due to the virus!
And this first month of lockdown was spent watching the whole fabulous series of Jeeves and Wooster with the brilliant Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry who just ARE the two characters from the books!
I just can't get enough of it.
I have two tomes featuring the marmot Max created by Swiss artist Pericle Luigi Giovannetti.
My copy is a second printing, 1954.
In this 1956 first printing of Max Presents... is introducing us to more characters in his universe...
I enjoyed reading Roger Deakin's Notes from Walnut Tree Farm immensely. I had also bought Wildwood... A Journey Through Trees at the same time and only now have I decided it is the best time to read it...
Even though I am based in Dorset, I live on the isle of Portland and there are not that many trees around...
I miss the rolling hills of mainland Dorset and all the trees and I miss my walks in the beautiful Dorset countryside...
In these days of lockdown, I am convinced that the most happy creatures on Earth are dogs.
Here in Dorset, on our daily walk, we encounter lots of crazily happy dogs who have their owners' attention all day long... And they LOVE it.
So here's one of the books in my collection paying tribute to dogs (Alas! I have never had one...).
This is incredibly sweet and reading it makes you feel all warm inside.
Originally published in 1960, How to Live with a Neurotic Dog was written by the animal behaviourist Stephen Baker and the book was illustrated by Eric Gurney.
My copy is the 1966 reprint of the 1963 Four Square edition.
For cat lovers, apparently, there is a How to Live with a Neurotic Cat but I do not own any copy of it...
I have had an obsession with the early years of cinema and classic Hollywood movies since the age of 5.
My shelves are full of gorgeous tomes narrating the lives of all the Hollywood cinema pioneers, the directors and the stars, as well as books about the fabulous movies they all made together.
Recently, The Guardian published a list of The top 25 most compelling Hollywood autobiographies.
I have one of them (number 8 on the list): Lulu in Hollywood by the enthralling Louise Brooks (one of my favourites!). Ms Brooks ended up living as a recluse in a New York flat for about 25 years before she started writing about movies.
My copy is the Arena 1987 edition, so unfortunately, it is not the 1982 first edition!
Below: Brooks in her most famous film, the disturbingly alluring Pandora's Box.
Classic Hollywood movies and stars make up a large chunk of Arcane Publishing stock of pre-loved/rare and vintage books, including some SIGNED autobiographies... More about those very soon on the Arcane website!
A few years ago, there was a lovely little exhibition about Alice's Adventures at the British Library in London. It really showed how iconic Lewis Carroll's book had been across the decades and how inspiring it had been to so many illustrators, who have kept putting their very own stamp on the little girl's fantastic adventures in Wonderland.
Unfortunately, this is not a copy of the first edition (look online, the prices are eye-wateringly high!) - it is possible that I would have sold it!
Still, this is a very nice 1907 volume published by John Lane - The Bodley Head and it seems to be pretty rare too!
The wonderful illustrations are by the American artist William Henry Walker.
My copy of this truly gorgeous little volume is a fourth impression of the 1941 collection of poems, Bells and Grass - a book of rhymes by Walter de la Mare, published by Faber and Faber.
It is full of lovely poems and exquisite black and white illustrations by Frederick Rowland Emett, an illustrator and "builder of whimsical, mechanical things".
I do have my own confession to make: I did not buy this book because of the text, but because of the beautiful wood engravings featured inside its pages.
Confessions of an English Opium Eater by Thomas De Quincey is an iconic book first published in 1821.
The text for this 1948 copy is the 1856 edition of the book, and is the first impression of this version published by the Folio Society.
The illustrations are wood engravings by Suffolk artist Blair Hughes-Stanton.
I think therefore I write.
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