Mid-book cull – pause for a giggle or three…

As you may have surmised, I’m in the throes of having a major book cull. I gave seven bags full to my daughter’s school fête back in June, and have been working my way through the other piles, double-stacked shelves and bags over the past weeks.  I’ve sorted out some worth selling via various routes (including the tab above), loads to car boot or try other methods, and some will go to the charity shop. There are over 200 to go now, lots still to come – I may make a list.

Apart from my own book mountains – there were a couple of unsorted bags-full from my late Mum’s still to deal with, and I’m having fun going through them…

Firstly, I’ve allowed myself to be distracted from the heavyweight pleasures of John Saturnall’s Feast by a short Edna O’Brien novel – the first of hers I’ve read, but it seemed appropriate for the time of year… August is a Wicked Month is a 1965 novel in which a twenty-something divorcée looks for love while her young son is on holiday with his father. A couple of chapters in and it’s very racy, and I’m sure that 50 shades author E L James would never describe a certain something as like a ‘foxglove‘ – ‘high and purple‘! (*blushes*). Fun though so far, ahem!

My late Mum often stuck a Post-it note with comments on book covers, or cut out a review and stuck it inside after reading a book. Delving in a bag I came to a book called Pushkin’s Button by Serena Vitale.  Inside was a clipping from the Literary Review of another book about Pushkin, with her note on top – this sounds better-written than this book.  Further down the bag was the book in question – Pushkin by T J Binyon – with a Post-It on the cover saying ‘Better than Pushkin’s Button’. Don’t think I’ll read them though.

Lastly – a nice coincidence…  Today Simon T posted about a book he abandoned after just 1.5 pages. That was Gone to Earth by Mary Webb. Funnily enough, I found a very tatty ex-library copy of it amongst my Mum’s books – and I binned it.  Seems I had the right instinct about it!

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To explore further on Amazon UK, please click below:
John Saturnall’s Feast by Lawrence Norfolk
August is a Wicked Month by Edna O’Brien
Pushkin’s Button by Serena Vitale
Pushkin by T J Binyon
Gone To Earth (Virago Modern Classics) by Mary Webb

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11 thoughts on “Mid-book cull – pause for a giggle or three…

  1. I have actually read Gone to Earth all the way through and after that 1.5 pages it picks up no end! I remember those pages vividly because they were laughably bad. Having said that it is a bit Thomas Hardyesque all the way through and that is not my thing, so I have never reread it.

    • It’s definitely not a book for me though, so I’m not going to retrieve it from the dustbin!

  2. I love it that you mother left comments on post-its inside books she read. I’m always excited to find the opinion of another reader inside an old book. I know where supposed to oppose writing in books, but I love it when I find notes inside a book, which I rarely do anymore. For me it’s like having a conversation about the book with another reader as I read along. Nice to have one with your mom.

    • My Mum and I swapped books all the time, and she always left a note or two and clipped the reviews for me when giving the books back. She’s been gone two years now, but every time I come across one of her notes, it makes me smile with remembrance.

    • I don’t oppose writing in books unless they are very precious editions; they are tools to be used I think, though I don’t do it at all myself, but I hate coming across other peoples comments within books I read. Similarly with comments on sheet music, which of couse I do make, and since any half-serious player will make quite a lot of markings it does sometimes what I can buy second-hand.

      • I don’t write in books either, but I do (like my Mum) use copious post-it tags to mark things instead. In the days when I did a lot of music, we had to use a 4B pencil on all orchestral scores, and before they went back to the hire shop, we had to rub all the marks out.

  3. You’ve pinpointed precisely the problem I’m having with my own book cull. I start off with the best of intentions only to pick up a book to put it in one of the piles and find that half an hour later I’m a couple of chapters into it and there’s no question of it going anywhere but onto my book stand. Culling take character.

    • I agree – there are so many books, that get picked as potential cull victims, but get put back. However, I’ve sort of set myself a goal to get a bed into our 4th bedroom for when my daughter’s friends come to stay, and that means a clear floor and moving a couple of bookcases, so that is giving me the willpower to carry on! Good luck with your cull.

    • Your post really made me laugh Simon. I love coming across the notes – keeps me in touch with my late Mum.

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