Sunday, 8 March 2009

a hot-water bottle novel

Today, despite the gloomy weather, I felt an urge for a nice solitary walk; not in the mood for a run, not in the mood for company. I had a bit of money to spend, a receipt from a book I bought a couple of weeks ago but hadn't redeemed on my Waterstones card and a World Book Day voucher stolen from my little sister. I wanted some pale pink nail polish. I really fancied one of those delicious stuffed peppers a nearby cafe sells.

So I passed the morning in the nearest Waterstones branch, where I found a 10 feet tall pile of books I wanted to buy. Of course I soon remember that I have a 20 feet tall reading list at home, so I was restrained enough to only make one purchase: John Steinbeck's East of Eden. It was the only copy and a little damaged, so on top of my WBD voucher and card, I got another £1 off. Doesn't book shopping sometimes seem more fun than the actual act of reading?

Anyway, after perusing several shops and concluding that I don't actually want pale pink nail polish at all, I braved the cold for a walk back home. After a lovely stuffed pepper lunch on the way, I hadn't expected the weather to have got any worse, but now it was pouring with rain. I spent the rest of the journey back half-running, trying to keep my hood up, my fingers covered my bags from getting wet on the inside.

When I got home I decided to search online for the other book I had almost bought, by the great grand-daughter of Charles Dickens. Without remembering the book title or her first name, it was almost impossible to search for a novel by a person called Dickens who isn't Charles. In addition, this book has been out of print for around 80 years and only recently re-published so it was even harder to find. Eventually I found the novel: Mariana by Monica Dickens. It was published by a company called Persephone Books which ' reprints forgotten classics by twentieth-century (mostly women) writers'. In the bookshop, I was intrigued by this premise and the charming description of Mariana's life, but East of Eden worked out a little cheaper so I decided that this could wait.

Now I have read the description written by Persephone Books (you can buy it from them too, here) I am all the more fascinated. It sounds just right after the heavy string of writing I have recently been reading, and what's more, it is described as 'a 'hot-water bottle' novel, one to curl up with on the sofa on a wet Sunday afternoon'.

This is definitely now on my 'to-buy' list, and i'm not too worried about missing out on it today, since I'm sure London has plenty more wet Sunday afternoons in store.


  1. Something about that cover makes me feel that something menacing happens in that book. But they say it is best not to judge a book by its cover.

  2. Hi,
    You really have a great post here..And i think you really need to buy it,coz it looks great..;D
    I hope that when you already bought it,make sure that you will make a post about it..=)
    I will surely wait for that friend.;D
    Have a nice day.

  3. I am Dickens lover but never knew about his author great gran-daughter?! Amazing, definitely worth a read.
    I agree there is something so wonderful about buying books. I saw a woman on the tube with an electronic book (technolgy shock!) and couldn't help thinking it would change the entire experience of reading, buying books included

    PS got rid of the pesky link thanks!

  4. La Belette, perhaps you are right.. it didn't strike me as that kind of book though. Oh and tosh, I *always* judge a book by its cover ;)

    Thanks Solo :)

    Oooh sarah if you read it let me know how it was, will you? xx