Thursday, June 22, 2017

Treasure Hunting in Second Hand Bookstores.

After coming down from Margie Taylor's remarkable and mesmerizing historical novel, Harrow Road, this book addict found herself with (oh no!!) nothing to read.

A quick trip to Victoriaville and the Public Library's used bookshop ensued.  The well-filled shelves contain mystery, romance, classics, fiction and non, all for a buck a book. For me, the following treasures.

1. Most useful. The Harrowsmtih Perennial Garden. Since I started writing the gardening column for the Thunder Bay Seniors' newsletter, I have been collecting reference books.

2. Best find. Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot.  I saw the musical but never read the lighthearted cat poems which T. S. wrote for his godchildren. The slim but happy volume describes several cats, including
Macavity: The Mystery Cat.
Macavity's  a Mystery Cat; he's called the Hidden Paw
For he's the master criminal who can defy the Law.
He's the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad's despair:
For when they reach the scene of the crime - Macavity's not there!

I have now read the fifteen poems in the book at least ten times. So now I'll  give the book to a cat-loving granddaugher.

3 and 4. Best novels. The Romantic by Canadian Barbara Gowdy, author of The White Bone. All of Gowdy's books are a little strange, slight off kilter. Here the theme is love in all its variations, real and unreal.  Crusoe's Daughter by British writer, Jane Gardam, is a haunting story of a lonely girl who grows up in an isolated house with only her old aunts for company. Slowly she discovers  the strange secrets of her family. I have read a lot of Gardam whose bestselling novel, Old Filth, has always been a favourite. 

5. The Oldest Book. Flowering Wilderness by John Galsworthy. In the 1920's,  The Forsyth Chronicles enthralled readers and Galsworthy kept churning out more tales of the Forsyths, the wealthy British merchant family. He detailed the scandals, the loves, the double dealing, the tragedies, the drama until, after nine volumes, he completed the saga in the dirty thirties. Over the years I have read quite a few. I also watched the BBC dramatization of the first three books. A lot of "will she, won't she?" and 'Did they, didn't they," keeps the various plots weaving along. Will I enjoy it? Probably.

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