Saturday, September 08, 2007

Books I really must keep - part 1

In my last post I mentioned that I would write about some of the items that I felt I could not part with and that I would start with some of my books. The first book is this one:-

I was trying to remember when this was given to me and I'm guessing it was probably in 1965 because this was the year I became hooked on Shakespeare. I'd been staying up late to watch the BBC's adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Wars of the Roses cycle of plays and my passion for Shakespeare developed from there. The book itself was given to me by my Uncle Harold and I guess it had been in his family or perhaps that of my Aunt's for some time. Unfortunately some of the front pages have been taken out so there is no date of publication just the following:-

Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, Tragedies & Sonnets. His Majesty's Printers, Eyre and Spottiswoode (Bible Warehouse) Ltd. London.

The pages are slightly yellowed with age and the paper is very flimsy and delicate - and I did wonder if it was a war time utility publication. 'His Majesty's Printers' must mean it was published in the reign of George V or more probably George VI. Maybe one day I will try to find out.

Book two is one of my very favourite books. A novella rather than a novel it just seems to touch every fibre of my imagination and somehow captures that bittersweet essence of life, love and mortality. That something that most of us feel but very few can express in words.

A Month in the Country by J. L. Carr tells the story of a young artist, suffering with 'shell shock' from his time in the trenches during the first world war and whose marriage is in difficulties. He travels into Yorkshire to restore a mediaeval wall painting in the church at a place called Oxgodby. Told in the first person the characters of the village that he comes across whilst he is working there, including the Reverend Keach, the archaeologist Charles Moon and the wonderful Katie Ellerbeck, are vividly portrayed. I won't say any more; just urge you to read it - it is only just over 100 pages, easily read in an afternoon - go on, treat yourself - you know you want to.


  1. I've seen the film of 'A Month in the Country' but didn't actually realise that it was from a book. Must look for it as the film was excellent.

  2. rowan, I enjoyed the film too. It was very true to the book:)