Wednesday, August 3, 2011

reading material

The one thing I buy more than anything else in charity shops is books. Over the last couple of years most of my reading list has been whatever I happened to find most recently in a charity shop combined with the occasional been-meaning-to-read-it-for-years title and the even more occasional brand new book that I just couldn't wait any longer for. Recently the charity shops have been particularly good to me.
The Animal Lover's Book Of Beastly Murders by Patricia Highsmith (she of Talented Mr Ripley fame) was a recent random purchase from the 25p per paperback section. I started reading it the minute I got it home. It was great and kind of reminded me of Tales Of The Unexpected except that every story was about a different species of animal killing the same species of human (the deserving-of-death type of human). It was a bit repetitive, I suppose, but I quite liked that about it and the types of animal and the methods of death were varied enough to keep it entertaining. Some of the stories were rather disturbing in parts. I am normally a big fan of all things creepy and disturbing, but I do hold this book partly responsible for the high proportion of my dreams that now involve squashed kittens. However, maybe this wouldn't have happened if I wasn't pregnant as I am having numerous nightmares every single night at the moment. Just another one of the many symptoms of pregnancy I was not expecting... But if you are not pregnant or susceptible to nightmares for any other reason, you should read it for sure. If you have recently given birth, you should definitely avoid the story about the rat and don't say I didn't warn you!
Behind The Scenes At The Museum by Kate Atkinson is one of those books that you are almost guaranteed to see in every single charity shop. I can see how that might look like a bad sign, but I do believe that any book you see on every single charity shop shelf (that has not been on the Richard and Judy Book Club or other similar prominent promotion) is there because people have enjoyed/recommended it rather than because they have wanted to get rid of it as soon as they finished reading. Just look at the immense Alexander McCall Smith sections for evidence. After years of all sorts of people telling me how great Behind The Scenes At The Museum was, I finally bought it in Shelter for the grand sum of 80p and finished reading it yesterday. I would have finished it sooner, but had to refrain from reading it at work because it kept making me cry. Again, I think I would have been OK if not pregnant (I cried at the pyrotechnics in the Eurovision Song Contest) so don't let that put you off. I was very proud of myself for working out what was really going on (I won't say more for fear of spoiling it) halfway through the book during one of many recent sleepless nights. It was so satisfying to realise how many little clues had been laid out that all suddenly went click, click, click into place. I was surprised to discover the book was not about a museum either :)
I picked up this very dark and mysterious book ages ago but only got round to reading it recently. I was delighted to find a little surprise hiding between the pages.
This pretty card looked a little bit out of place between pages all about "Lust, Betrayal, Secrets and Murder."
Here's what it said inside. It looks like Auntie Peggy went to a lot of effort to sign her own name at the bottom of this card. It makes me a bit teary eyed to look at. A few years back I did a whole blog post about the forgotten and misplaced things I had found inside books from charity shops. You can find the post here and I think it is well worth a look, even if I do say so myself!
I found this book the same day as The Animal Lover's Book Of Beastly Murders and am so excited about it. Chapter One is entitled The Hulder and Huldrefolk. Eep! You remember The Hulder, right?
Still available from my etsy shop here!

Anyway, enough self-promotion. There was a bookmark left between these pages too, but a proper bookmark this time, with the name and address of a bookshop in Bergen on it, so I think someone must have bought it as a souvenir while they were on holiday. (I went to Bergen once and loved it. I would so like to go back to Norway one day.) This book is so up my street I can hardly believe it, from the subject matter to the woodcut illustrations. I can't wait to read it, but somehow keep getting distracted by novels. I think I'll save this book until I have some uninterrupted time to devote to it rather than read it in bits on underground journeys, plus yesterday I picked up a copy of Tipping The Velvet. It is the only Sarah Waters book I haven't read yet and I am torn between saving it a little bit longer and getting stuck in straightaway. I think the temptation will be too much to resist, so I'll probably start reading it tonight. I love Sarah Waters. She doesn't seem like she'd be my type of author, but once I read Fingersmith (on my sister's recommendation) I knew I would have to read everything else she ever wrote.

Also found (by eagle-eyed friend Bernadette) in the charity shops yesterday - a pair of really nice maternity jeans for £1.99. Hooray! I saw the very same pair in H&M today for £30. Double hooray! I am expanding quite rapidly now so they will come in very handy, I'm sure. Some days I don't seem to grow much and other days I feel like I double in size and my whole torso creaks under the strain. I was actually scared that my bellybutton was going burst the other day. It didn't, but there is plenty of time for that yet... I think I might have felt the baby moving a few times over the last week or so, but I'm not 100% sure yet. If it has been the baby I could feel then it certainly seemed to enjoy (or possibly dislike - it's hard to tell the difference) the new sensation of going swimming this morning! I enjoyed swimming too, but it has left me so tired that I can't actually get out of this chair. Thanks for humouring this overlong blog post, which has kept me both seated and entertained :)


  1. I was too cheap to buy much maternity stuff. You can extend the life of your regular jeans by looping a bobble or elastic of some kind through the buttonhole and hooking onto the button. I can also highly recommend belly bands. I still wear mine so I don't get pants/bum showing in low cut jeans. Like those modesty panels you see in Bettaware but for your bum :-)

  2. Hipsters and belly bands much greatness!! Belly bands great for breastfeeding too as you don't get a giraffe up your back ;)

  3. I can't bring myself to buy maternity stuff either, certainly not yet anyway. So excited about my jeans though! I haven't had a pair of jeans for years because I couldn't find the elusive right pair (i.e. a pair that fitted) and as soon as I got pregnant I started looking forward to being able to get a pair of maternity jeans. The ones I got have the giant stretchy panel that goes all the way round and right over your bump. I'm looking forward to having an occasional alternative to black leggings, my daily uniform! I just had to buy a new swimming suit too (got the fear my bum will pop through the perished fabric of my current one) and had a brief look at the maternity ones before opting to just go up a size. Hopefully that will work out for most of the pregnancy at least... It's a veritable minefield, but I do like the sound of belly bands :)

  4. Daisie, you had me panicked there with the breast-feeding giraffes, but I get you now! Thought it was yet another pregnancy hazard I'd never heard of... :)

  5. Oh the first kicks are great :) I remember exactly where I was when I first felt Anya kicking. I was lying on the sofa in my sisters student house watching tv. Like little flutterings :)

  6. I'm not totally sure it has been the baby I've felt. It is fluttery, but it's the kind of feeling that when I try to concentrate on it it just disappears and leaves you not very sure you felt it in the first place. Either way, I should start feeling it for definite soon and I'm really excited about it :) Also looking forward to when Graham will be able to feel it, though I think that is a while off yet. I think the cats might have felt it even before me because a couple of times they've been all cosy on my lap when they've suddenly turned round and given my belly a filthy glare. I hope this baby comes out tough enough to defend itself!

  7. Oh yes, the cats are going to be really shocked when they can't get comfortable on your lap anymore!

  8. At the moment they seem to like lying on my bump and purring. It may not be healthy(?!) but I do think that must sound very nice to the baby. I'm sure it will grow up to be a cat-lover.


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