I am truly delighted to be doing this post and when I say delighted I mean the skippy smiley kind and not the kind that I have to pretend to be when I open a present from my Auntie Joyce.
I love the idea of showcasing my books, but little things seem to keep me from inviting people in to have a look. There’s my writing schedule, the untidiness of the house, the fact that no one wants to visit since that misunderstanding at Halloween – how was I supposed to know that when it comes to fake corpses you can go too realistic?
Despite the fact that there is matter reproducing in my kitchen sink, you’ll notice that my bookshelves are pretty tidy. This is because I think arranging books into height order is much more important than scrubbing stuff.
I reckon there are enough YA and MG books in my house to build a temple to Philip Pullman (but I’ve totally never woken the children up in the middle of the night to help me prove that theory) however, because I don’t want anyone’s eyes to bleed (despite what last year’s trick-or-treaters might say) I have decided to offer up an edited selection of my bookshelves.
This is one of two Adult shelves. Margaret Atwood, Angela Carter, lots of Dickens and a separate Fantasy section.
UK and US editions of The Princess Bride. When I worked at Waterstones, The Princess Bride was only published in America. I was desperate for a copy so I rang an American wholesaler to order one. The only problem was that they had a minimum order of 100 books. Well . . . I did really want that book, so I ordered them. (I should mention at this point that I was not the fiction buyer; I was the Saturday girl.) When they arrived I was a bit worried that someone important might notice 100 books they weren’t expecting, but fortunately they sold quickly. Or I should say: I sold them quickly. Nothing like fear of discovery to motivate a seller. Every time someone bought a different book I said, ‘Do you want a Princess Bride with that?’
Amazingly, once the first lot sold out someone ordered more. And more. It became one of our bestsellers. Shortly after that Bloomsbury brought out a UK edition of The Princess Bride and in my head I’m completely responsible for that. (Bear in mind that in my head I’m also the obvious choice to replace Darcy Bussell on Strictly and a future roller disco champion. I’m not the most reliable of sources.)
And if you think that sounds unlikely you should hear the story of how I introduced America to Harry Potter.
I love books and I love vintage things. If you want to make me melt into a puddle; show me a vintage book.
Our Vintage Puffins mantelpiece is in the bedroom. Where’s yours?
These are my favourites.
This collection is mostly school stories. They’ve got really topping titles like ‘The Queer New Girl.’
Vintage Ladybird books.
I know that there were some disappointing parts of the 70s: the fashion, the sexism in the workplace, the fact that I wasn’t born, but they did produce these beauties. I love the painted illustrations.
These are from the 50s.
Being a gay ice-cream van in the 1950s wasn’t as difficult as you might imagine.
This is my recent YA and MG shelf.
Some proof copies. My favourites are Stardust and The White Darkness.
So that’s the beginning. I’ll save the 80s kids’ books, the picture books, the comics, the Christmas shelf (yep, really) and further stories of international book relations for another time. You’ll love the one about how I got the Hunger Games film off the ground.