New books!: a Confessional


“When you steal from the library, you are preventing anyone else from reading that book, and the very notion makes me want to drop you in the Void.”

  • Piers Anthony


Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been, oh, a week since my last confession. The sin’s the same, which should make it easier doling out penance.

I miss my books. Those poor orphan children of mine are sitting, boxed, in a storage unit back in Illinois, keeping the bulk of my furniture and other bits and bobs company. Fortunately, I am living with a man who has a healthy number of books himself and enjoys the used book hunt as much as I. I won’t run out anytime soon, but temptations there are a-plenty.

Sure, you have a nice collection, but you don’t have this book, or that book, which I desperately need before someone else snatches it away.

Yes, NEED!

What I’ll do with the books and other possessions left behind in the move will be decided when it must. Meantime, I’m trying to restrain myself from buying too much – and failing miserably. But something has to fill that void.

I try and schedule Amazon deliveries for when Chris isn’t here. It’s not that he doesn’t get it, but the money’s tight. I’m living off my own savings; it’s not like I’m draining his account. But with mounting bills it’s taking away funds perhaps more rightly earmarked for household expenditures. Compounding the guilt, this morning we found out Chris’s car needs hundreds of pounds worth of repairs. It’s always the unexpected the comes back to bite you in the arse.

I could argue what’s mine is his, but our reading projects don’t match. I’m concentrating on early Scottish female novelists, as well as modern stuff I can count as research, helping inform the fiction I’m writing. I need examples of how other writers use unreliable narrators to create suspense. The best way to learn is by example.

So, yeah. Legit.

I’d rather he didn’t hear the SMACK of books coming through the letter slot and hitting the mat. It just makes me uneasy. Next week he’s on break from classes and I have two more on the way. My palms are already sweaty.

At least he’s fine shopping at bookshops like this one in Glasgow, which we visited together yesterday:




Holy mother of god and all the saints


He’s clearly an enabler.

Did he buy books here? Why, yes. Yes, he did. So the books popping through the letter slot have nothing to do with him. Details.

Anyway, here’s yesterday’s haul:


Penguins and Brunton and Oliphant, oh my!


This may be a bit difficult to read, I realize. Here’s a bit of help:


The Sailors Return & Beany-Eye by David Garnett

Scottish Short Stories

The Valleys of the Assassins by Freya Stark

Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker

Dr Johnson & Company by Robert Wilson Lynd

Lady Hester Stanhope by Joan Haslip

Ten Years Under the Earth by Norbert Casteret

The Southern Gates of Arabia by Freya Stark

England Made Me by Graham Greene

If On a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino (book group read)

Mary Brunton: The Forgotten Scottish Novelist by Mary McKerrow

Autobiography and Letters by Mrs Margaret Oliphant


I consider my penance to be reading these, lest they go to waste. And before the next group arrives. But really. I’m going to slow down.



Would this face lie?



4 thoughts on “New books!: a Confessional

  1. What a sweet copy of Mrs. Hargreaves! I’ve read some Brunton and Oliphant: good stuff. Hope you’re having fun with your unreliable narrators.


    • Lots of fun, yes! I love that premise. I’m reading Oliphant’s autobiography now, to get an idea what she was like and what she enjoyed reading. Curiously, she didn’t need to retreat from the family in order to write. Or maybe it’s just me. It would drive me bats trying to concentrate.


      • Well, I think she’s fairly plotty, isn’t she? I’m not sure she’d fare as well in the modern literary landscape with family (and the ‘net) around to distract so handily.


      • Quite plotty, yes. Very disciplined, though, unlike me. I started working on my Edinburgh blog and wound up watching an episode of Dress to Impress on Youtube. And a few other things…


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