Bookish bits and bobs

A whole host of bookish bits and pieces for you today. Thank you for all your great suggestions for my book quiz – much appreciated. do keep them coming.

First though, the winners of copies of Marcus Chown’s new book What a Wonderful World were: Col and Kaggsy. I’ll pass your addresses (which I have from previous giveaways) onto the publicist who will arrange copies to be sent to you. Well done.

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autobiographymorrissey_lrgIs anyone planning to read Autobiography by Morrissey? I’ve got a copy, and am admitting to feeling daunted by it. The opening lines go like this:

My childhood is streets upon streets upon streets upon streets. Streets to define you and streets to confine you, with no sign of motorway, freeway or highway. Somewhere beyond hides the treat of the countryside, for hour-less days when rains and reins life, permitting us to be amongst people who live surrounded by space and are irked by our faces. Until then we live in forgotten Victorian knife-plunging Manchester, where everything lies wherever it was left over one hundred years ago.

I don’t know if I can survive a whole book (without many paragraphs either) of this poetic and long-winded way of saying ‘My childhood was lived amongst the rows of terraced houses that are the remnants of Victorian Manchester’ or words to that effect. OK – my paraphrase is not a great opening sentence like his, but I’m not sure at this stage whether I’ll take to it or not. I should nail my colours to the mast, and say although I appreciate some of the great singles, I’m not a fan or The Smiths or Morrissey, whom I’ve always regarded as a ‘pretentious – moi?’ kind of person. I will admit to some curiosity though …

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I’m lucky in that Abingdon is a bookish town, even though it’s only ten miles from Oxford centre. We have independent bookshops, plus plenty of second-hand book sales. Just got back from one at Shippon Church Hall (Barrow Rd, close to Dalton Barracks – on until 4pm today).


I think I got a good haul for a fiver. A handful of modern classic fare, Vol 3 of the Cazalets series by Elizabeth Jane Howard – to complete my set, plus two SF titles to re-read from my late teens – I’m dying to see if they hold up to re-reading decades later. Christopher Priest has gone on to become a bit of a cult author (The Prestige etc.)

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Had another little bookish pleasing yesterday. Inspired by something I read which I can’t tell you about yet, I got my copy of Nina Bawden’s The Birds on the Trees off the shelf, opened it up and found this.

Looking forward to reading it even more now.

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And finally, I haven’t talked about our kittens for a while. Well – they’ve grown. They are now the same size as our previous super-petite Burmese cats were.  At just about six months, they are booked into the vets to be ‘done’ next week (and microchipped too).

They are fascinated by outdoors, but are scared stiff by all car type noises. We’ve been taking them out on leads, down our cul de sac towards the park (away from car noises), Harry is scared stiff – it’s tail between his legs and trembling most of the time from him. Ginny is definitely braver.  She has also killed played with until its legs fell off and chewed and spat out her first big house spider.

Here they are contemplating escape but not being brave enough, especially Harry with his tail between his legs. Aren’t they long …

Cats 001

Have a lovely weekend.

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To explore further on Amazon UK, please click below (affiliate links):
What a Wonderful World by Marcus Chown, Faber hardback, October 2013
Autobiography by Morrissey, Penguin Classics, October 2013, 457 pages
The Birds On The Trees (VMC) by Nina Bawden (1970)


10 thoughts on “Bookish bits and bobs

  1. Great post. I am a fan of the Smiths but have to admit I’m not sure I could handle a whole book’s worth of Morrissey’s indulgent musings without the jangly, too damn catchy guitar lines to complement them. However I’m sure there are some really insightful and interesting nuggets buried in the autobiography so I’ll be looking forward to reading lots of other people’s reviews to hopefully see them ferreted out!

  2. I’m a Smiths fan and even like Morrissey’s solo stuff but I’ve no interest in reading his book I’m afraid. Thinking about I don’t think I’ve ever read and enjoyed a musician’s biography, what works on the stage just doesn’t translate to the page for me. Good luck with it though!

  3. I expect one of my family will get me the Morrissey book for Crimble but I’m not sure how I will find it – the one review I’ve seen so far points out a number of inaccuracies (which I’d kind of expect really). We shall see!

    Some lovely finds there from the book sale – and as you say real bargains at that price! And your cats look adorable!

  4. I’m suffering serious jealousy pangs here over your book haul, which is ridiculous because I really don’t have the time to read anything else at the moment. But when was that ever a consideration when the opportunity to buy cheap books presents itself?

  5. Sounds like it should be set to music.

    Did you know that there’s a fifth cazelet novel coming out next month or do you already have it on order?

  6. I love your cats’ photo! They’re beautiful and I’m sure their curiosity will soon overcome their timidity.

    Your book haul is a real bargain – I’ve read some of them so I know they’re good. And I’m looking forward to the new Cazelet book too,

    I like the opening of Morrissey’s book, but maybe I’ll borrow a copy and flick through it rather than buy it.

  7. I have to confess that I am not a Smiths fan….mainly because I thought Morrisey was a pretentious prat who couldn’t sing! However I am fan of Johnny Marr – I loved it when he played with one of my favourite current bands “The Cribs”. Anyway…at work I sometimes listen to BBC Radio 6. Last week they reviewed Morrisey’s book and I have to admit it wasn’t the dull fodder I thought it might be – it was hilarious! But not necessarily in a good way! I am ashamed to admit that, as every passage they read out was exactly like the one you quoted above, I was certainly laughing – but AT the sheer turgid awfulness of it! And I reckon that Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie (it was their show) were also laughing AT Morrisey. Mind you the Telegraph review says it’s the best written music biog since sliced bread – personally I’ll stick to the white bread!
    Your Nina Bawden signed copy reminds me of a book I once bought my Dad – a biog of Gordon Banks the goalkeeper. I queued for hours to get it signed. He phoned to thank me for it but said it would need to be exchanged as “some eejit has scribbled all over one of the pages with a pen!!!!”

  8. I think everyone’s a bit curious about the Morrissey book! I liked the Smiths but not so much Morrissey himself, although I think I might give this a go. However, I’m not sure how easy it would be to read if he’s trying to forge a modern day Ulysses. I’ll keep an eye on any updates you write about it!

    Lucy at Therapy Through Tolstoy

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