I am currently between two personal libraries and find that it is quite irritating to find myself longing to read books that are sitting on a shelf on another continent! Sadly, South African libraries are not as well stocked as British ones and they certainly do not have any Persephones or quirky reads that I may have an interest in.
Fortunately, I have a very good friend who obliges my bookish hankerings by posting a few packages of my books from the UK. The two Persephones above are from such a parcel - sent in anticipation of Persephone Reading Weekend (25 -27 Feb). Otherwise, I have access to the handy free worldwide postage provided by the Book Depository (highly recommended to all those outside of the UK) and occassional forays into well-stocked new/second-hand book shops in Melville and Rosebank, Johannesburg called Bookdealers. They stock economically-priced new books and several second-hand books in fiction and non-fiction. I found quite a few Viragos there one day!
Anyway... onto the books! The two Persephones are what I hope to read for the Persephone Reading Weekend coming up. I've been meaning to read High Wages by Dorothy Whipple ever since it was republished and I aim to at least make a start on it then. I intend to start the weekend though with a quick read of Cheerful Weather for the Wedding.
Bones in the Belfry by Suzette A. Hill is a current read and book two in the Francis Oughterard mystery series - quite hilarious and well-written and I shall be writing a review on the first two books once I've completed this one.
I also hope to make a start on my first Dickens in years, Pickwick Papers. I was absolutely charmed by the 1985 television adaptation starring a twinkling Nigel Stock as Pickwick and a fabulous Patrick Malahide as Jingle. I am eager to reacquaint myself with the members of the Pickwick Club with such cheery names as Winkle, Snodgrass and Tupman. At 800 pages, I think that I will be with the Pickwick Club for a few weeks but I'm sure that it will be quite enjoyable.
A Better Quality of Murder is the third book in the Lizzie Martin/Ben Ross series which I have enjoyed very much so far. It is a mystery set in Victorian England that is written by the excellent Ann Granger. This is the second series of hers that I have attempted and I haven't been disappointed. Her period details are spot on and the writing is pitched perfectly. Highly recommended!
Blameless by the effervescent Gail Carriger was kindly sent to me a little while ago by Orbit and is the third instalment in the hilarious and oh-so-cultured Parasol Protectorate series. This series is billed as steampunk fiction with fantasy elements (such as werewolves and vampires) and is set in an alternate Victorian London. But it's really not just a vampire/werewolf series... it is difficult to classify but it is a fun, suspenseful, intelligent read and it's one that I'm looking forward to.
And finally, The Unexpected Mrs Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman is the odd one out in this pile as it is set in the US. It was published in 1966 and is the first in a series of novels following the exploits and adventures of Mrs Pollifax, a retired lady who unexpectedly finds herself employed by the CIA. I must have come across this series a year ago on the excellent Cozy Mystery List when I was searching for my next read. Although I'm not really a reader of spy fiction, reviews have been positive and it has been billed as humourous and delighful. I believe a couple of film adaptations were made which I sadly am unable to get my hands on... they seem to be cheerful viewing.
Reviews of these books will be forthcoming and I hope that they won't disappoint.