Simon’s Bookish Bits #17

I find myself saying this every week, but thank goodness it’s the weekend again! Last week was deadline week (how do months go so quickly) and so after a good few days of ridiculously late nights and the madness of updating my entire computer at the same time I am really rather shattered which is why I am so thrilled that this weekend has not a single commitment in it, not even Highgate. In fact really this weekend is all about me and books as I am planning my own little hidden away book binge retreat.

As you read this I will be holed up in my room with cups of tea, or out in the park in a secret sunny spot reading away until my hearts content with a picnic to hand. What’s doubly exciting about that is that I have no idea what I am going to choose although I suspect that one of these could be somewhere in the mix…

It’s the entire ‘Mapp and Lucia’ series by E. F Benson which the lovely Novel Insights got me for my birthday (along with a Wizard of Oz tea towel, so I have been really spoilt) which she hadn’t managed to get to me until we had an emergency ‘we must see each other right now’ coffee at the start of the week. I am beyond thrilled with this set as I have been coveting it and its delightful covers for ages. And this print run has the most wonderful covers, here’s the first two of the series to illustrate…

I am fairly inclined to think that what lies in the pages inside is just as delightful as the cover and ‘Queen Lucia’ will be put to the test very soon.  I must try not to over hype it all in my head before I read it though, I am very good at that on occasion and then any disappointment is all my own doing.

I am also going to be doing some plotting and planning this weekend. I am not leaving the blogosphere, but I do need to look more at why and what I am blogging. I mentioned this in my Contemporary vs. Classic post, I feel I have lost my original direction and intentions for the blog so maybe a revamp and a new direction are called for, all good food for thought (if anything goes missing or a bit awry over the next few days do bear with it).  I don’t know why but something in the air tells me that something needs to give or change a bit.

It’s also in part to just how muc more busy I have suddenly got. What with all my work commitments (I just got another small promotion and a new freelance contract), setting up a second home and second life in Brazil (6 months here, 6 months there and no more winters is the plan) an big writing project and trying to have some sort of social life I have been finding it harder both to blog and to pop to everyone’s blog. I spent about three hours trying to catch up on four days of other peoples posts last night and most of it was reading and lurking rather than commenting so much. Its all about time management and having fun, fun, fun – not that fun should be managed. So the thinking cap on and one of (the far too many that I bought in Paperchase this week) my notebooks will be by my side at all reading points this weekend for brainwaves should they appear. Any constructive suggestions and thoughts welcomed of course.

Right, time for the main reason I love this Bookish Bits posts, no not the fact I get to waffle about little bits on the bookish brain etc, the bit where I hand over to you all for tales of what you have all been reading, coveting, not loving so much and recommending from your bookish week, and what you are all doing over the weekend. So I will hand over to you and yours and all you’re latest without further ado.

36 Comments

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36 responses to “Simon’s Bookish Bits #17

  1. Oh, I don’t want to overhype… but , as you might know, I love Mapp & Lucia! And the best thing with the series is that it just gets better with every book. I also love the Black Swan editions (I have them AND the so-beautiful-I-want-to-cry Folio edition) – very kind of Polly!

    I shan’t overload with links, but searching for Mapp and Lucia on my blog brings up a realm of enthusiastic posts….

    Oh, and how exciting about Brazil! Although I would time it so that I never had to have a summer anywhere…

    • I have to say a recommendation from you does add to the hype but I am being giving myself a little time before I pick one up (though I might start Queen Lucia this weekend)as a few days on I am still rather excited. Until i have read one I am avoiding all reviews (I do this with any book I am planning on reading soon) but as soon as I have read one I will pop and have a gander.

  2. I’ve had Mapp & Lucia on my list for ages! Oh, to be able to stretch out on a blanky in the shade and read those! I did not know you were planning on living part-time in Brazil…must have missed that post! How cool is that? I assume you know or are learning Portuguese? Or is the converted one going to help you buy your groceries? I’ve always told my husband I would live part time in Poland, but the language is a stickler for me!

    • Brazil is something that I have been hinting at on and off for the last few weeks on and off but it wasn’t quite so definite until last month, now we are looking a properties and off to have a good long break there from November to the end of Jan so I will be ‘Book Blogging from Brazil’ hee hee. I might do a post on it soon but if I showed you all the pictures of where we might live you might not speak to me again hee hee.

      I have never been to Poland though I have a few Polish friends, I will have to ask them to take me lol.

  3. Oh living in Brazil, wow I did not know you were planning on partially moving, how exciting!

    I would like to recommend ‘A Savage Land’ by Clare Clark which I just finished. I honestly think you’ll love it, as it’s meaty historical fiction and a little bit different (follows French settlers to Louisianna, which makes for a totally different book than if it had followed English settlers).

    • Well its still not a 100% done deal but it definitley the plan so its all rather exciting and also rather daunting too.

      Savidge reading a book with a Savage, sounds too good to be true and I do actually have ‘Savage Lands’ on the TBR.

  4. Wow, Brazil! As Sandy said, how cool is that! You’ll have to share more details sometime. Just think of a whole new country of literature you can explore! And I have been meaning to read Mapp & Lucia and I expect I would like them very much (must fit them in….you know how that goes). Unfortunately the books I have are a mishmash as they are not all in print over here–mine are all different sizes and cover designs, but oh well, the content is the same. Hope you’re having a lovely weekend.

    • I might do a post on the move soon but I would be worried you might all not come back, the houses are awesome.

      I sometimes like a mish mash of books by an author, you should see my Daphne Du Maurier collection! It adds character, I just really, really wanted this series.

  5. I love those book covers those set have. I find myself looking more and more at lovely book covers and wanting them for that reason.

    I will finish Stephen Kings The Stand tonight. A book I’d wanted to read for ages but was always put off by the size. All my other books look quick reads in comparison.

    • I think if I want a book now and The Converted One is treating me (as I am on a book buying ban) I have to check all the options of different covers first. I always think its ironic as on the shelves you only see the spines. Hee hee.

  6. It sounds like this is your first time with Lucia and Mapp. I am going to go way out on a limb and suggest that you will appreciate these books.

    And then when you are done with them, you must find the television series from the late 1980s with Geraldine McEwan (I may have that wrong) as Lucia, Prunella Scales as Miss Mapp, and Nigel Hawthorne as Georgie. Absolutely wonderful!

  7. Think your garden views will be a bit exciting Simon, look forward to those:-)
    New directions with blog and reading are always good, I’ve taken some time out to plan mine this week and it’s been incredibly exciting to do, and notebooks to write them in even better, buy more I say.
    I’ve carved out some space and time in the weeks to come and hunkered down today with Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Bookshop…it’s reading a great book that somehow grounds me in the place I most love to be…well next to the bosom of my family that is;-)

    • I think the front view, if we get one of the ones in the area we want, will be of a mini jungle and from the back window will be the sea via the pool. It all seems rather unreal really!

      I’ve been wanting to read The Bookshop for ages Lynne, looking forward to your thoughts on that one.

  8. Apart from the books, the best bit was the Brazil part.

  9. The covers on those books are delicious. I haven’t heard of them but might have to check them out. I am very glad to hear that you are going to keep blogging, you review some great books here, most of which I have never heard of but that definitely interest me. Have a great weekend 🙂

  10. Mae

    Those books look so beautiful! I have never heard of them so I’m on the look out for them now.

    I’ll just throw in my two cents and tell you that blogging should never be a chore. When you start to feel pressured blogging and visiting other people’s blogs then the fun’s gone out. I do enjoy your blog though. 🙂

    And I just wanted to say that I read my first Agatha Raisin last week after reading your glowing reviews on them and I wasn’t disappointed!

    • They are rather delightful and I have heard that whats inside is as good as, if not better, than whats on the outside.

      Am so pleased you enjoyed Agatha, I always get nervous when I recommend books and people then read them, so to hear people have loved something means lots to me.

  11. The Mapp and Lucia books have been on my TBR list for ages and are still there, unfortunately. I am really looking forward to reading them eventually, especially if I’m able to track down editions as lovely as yours!

    Exciting news about Brazil and good luck with the plotting and planning!

  12. Bet

    I read The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery this week– what a delight! Interesting characters, lots of philosophizing, and clever writing; a great combination. I am most of the way through Don’t Look Back by Karin Fossum. It’s the first mystery I’ve been able enjoy in a while– the first chapter reminded me of what Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine did in her earlier (non-Wexford) novels: create a terrible sense of suspense from the first sentence, such that you just HAD to keep going…

  13. I am pretty sure I’ve never heard of Mapp & Lucia before or E F Benson and I don’t know what the books are about (though the pretty covers give me a bit of a clue) but your excitement is catching! Are these old classics or contemporary (like, historical fiction)? I’ve “discovered” (like the Europeans “discovering” rivers etc in Africa) so many good books through fellow bloggers!

    I finally finished The Yiddish Policeman’s Union last night and I’m nearly done with Beatrice and Virgil. Have to confess, it’s not as jaw-dropping awesome as Life of Pi but I still give him kudos for being a great writer. Have just started Half of a Yellow Sun and so far I’m really liking it.

    • These were originally out in the 1920’s – 30’s, this imprint of the series came out in the 1980’s though. I will be discussing it all in more detail when I have read the first and digested it a little.

      I have heard TYPU is very good. Beatrice and Virgil I am looking forward to, I think anything that follows the excellent Life of Pi will have a fairly hard time following it.

      Half a Yellow Sun is superb!

  14. Love the Mapp and Lucia books so much, look forward to hearing your thoughts on them

  15. I’ve just started Wild Romance by Chloe Schama which is a fictionalized account of a marital court case that inspired Wilkie Collins’ Man and Wife (which I will then have to find and read!).

    I too need to find a sunnier home for the winter. My mood and energy really suffered this year and I almost feel like I missed out on life for a bit.

  16. Sorry, I am just sitting here with mouth agape at the prospect of living six months of the year in Brazil with ne’er a winter to be seen! You lucky lucky man! I’d love to be able to work freelance and then have the freedom to live wherever I wanted…you are living the dream, Simon! How wonderful for you!

    A day in the sun reading would be divine but I never get a chance to do such indulgent things..had a busy day in London today, tomorrow will be church and friends and nephew cuddling and then oh..the working week will start again. But at the moment it’s still Saturday and I still have another day of freedom ahead so all is well! Hope you are enjoying your Mapp and Lucia!

    • I am not living the dream quite yet but its in the pipeline maybe, mind you I am finding the heat today bothersome so goodness knows how I will deal with over 40 every day lol.

      I loved your post on your weekend, I need more tourist days.

  17. Linda

    All the best with your plans for Brazil and the prospect of different experiences.
    I hope you had a restful, reflective weekend with your books and notepad.
    I’m fortunate to have a lifestyle of contrasts with a retreat home in the countryside in Italy and a home on the edge of the Peak District, England (where I lead a busy life with my family). I have to have books to hand everywhere I go and they have to be physical objects.
    I’m glad that you’re going to carry on blogging. I’ve only recently found and had time for the blogging community as well as belonging to a book group.
    Reading my favourite blogs has helped update me on the new as well as reminding me of great reads from past decades.
    Our book group read a Mapp and Lucia last year, but I don’t think I did it justice as I probably wasn’t in the mood at the time. However, I hope you are enjoying your gift of several. The covers certainly look beautiful.
    I enjoy Euro Crime novels, but thank you for reminding me recently about authors such as Brookner. I’ve been hunting for her older novels in charity shops, but in the end bought a new copy of ‘Strangers’ as well as Vickers ‘Dancing Backwards’ and Chevalier ‘Remarkable Creatures’ and may save for my ‘retreat’ reading in the Summer!

    • I am originally from the Peak District Linda! You will have to email me and let me know where you are (rather than on here as its private info lol), Granny Savidge Reads is still there!

      I want ‘Strangers’, ‘Dancing Backwards’and ‘Remarkable Creatures’ so I am most jealous of you having these as I think all three are authors that will slowly but surely become favourites.

  18. novelinsights

    Oh, I’m a little bit late at stopping by, sorry! (Some things never change). So glad you liked them. Now I’ve got my own gifted M&L I will be able to share the joy 🙂

    • No worries Pol, I am very, very late in responding to people (a whole four days tsk, tsk). I hope you will gives yours a whirl soon too. Thanks again for a wonderful, wonderful present!

  19. Pingback: Queen Lucia – E.F. Benson « Savidge Reads

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