Frankfurt Book Fair was last week, pinnacle of the publishing year and, so I’m told, a fantastic networking opportunity… if you don’t happen to regard networking as a baffling chthonic rite into which you haven’t been initiated. (If anyone wants a business card, let me know and I’ll happily pop it in the post, with a hand-written note.) So I confined myself to doing the necessary work, catching up with friends and browsing the stands to see what’s going to be hitting my TBR list next season.
Of course, all the huge trade names were there, but it was good to be reminded of the smaller places too. I can’t believe Hesperus Press have been kicking around for 10 years, but it’s bloody good news that they are still going and long may they continue. My shelves will always have space for their slight and beautiful books, alongside the Persephones and the Slightly Foxed editions: the question is, replace those that got away or buy new ones? Either way, I think I need Zola’s For a Night of Love.
I wandered by the Nosy Crow stand to see what’s going on, because I hear a lot about their apps, and discovered that they also have the Olivia print series that I would have loved when I was the right age for it. Oh, let’s face it, I’ll probably buy it anyway. Looks to me as though it would sit happily alongside Noel Streatfeild in the ‘comforting children’s books’ section of the bookshelves. On that note, I should probably get a copy of White Boots, too, which I’ve not read for years. And while we’re in children’s, I was out for dinner with someone from Bloomsbury who had just treated herself to the Malory Towers box-set I’ve been ogling. Now that could be the perfect Christmas Day morning read, tucked up in bed with a pot of tea and a packet of biscuits. I think I see a plan coming together.
I’ve been thinking since it launched that Faber’s Shakespeare’s Sonnets app is the best inducement I’ve yet seen to buy an iPad, which just goes to show that I can be tempted by anything involving David Tennant. My resistance is weakening, but alas, the next few months look expensive so there are no new gadgets on the cards. On the affordable hand, Faberfinds are promising Zoo by Louis MaNeice for spring 2013. I’ve never even heard of it before but will obviously buy it. (It’s MacNeice, innit?) And now I’ve been reminded of Faberfinds in general, and there’s a ton of other stuff on their website as well:
The Private Sector, by Joseph Hone, which is the first in four spy novels featuring Peter Marlow and sounds splendidly bleak and gripping:
Credible and dramatic, this is a story of callous political and human intrigue and of a mission which can only succeed if none of the men return.
Dear Laura, by Jean Stubbs, written in the 70s but set in Victorian England and clearly right up my dark, dimly-lit and fog-bound street:
Inspector John Joseph Lintott of Scotland Yard … Quiet of dress and manner, his respectability could not be doubted, but he was no gentleman … He had risen from the ranks slowly, and knew the dark side of London … One might kill Lintott, but one would never deter him.’
They have a cornucopia of Sylvia Townsend Warner and I wouldn’t say no to any of them. I’ve loved everything I’ve read but, unusually for me, I prefer her short stories. A Stranger with a Bag sounds particularly tempting for the story ‘A Love Match’:
hailed by the Los Angeles Times as ‘a supreme example of her technique.’ It is the tale of Celia and Justin Tizard, sister and war-scarred brother, whose uncommon closeness becomes the talk of a small English village.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that there are too many books, too little time.