Andy and I are just back from our post-holiday trip to Seattle and Victoria. We had a great time in Seattle, and some friends showed us around some of the major sights, but Victoria was probably the high point for me. So, before I get back to my book obsessions, I thought I'd share just a little about the trip. I know that a lot of people (myself included) find other people's tourist snapshots a little tedious, so I will only share a few. (And rest assured that below those are some pics about a little book shopping I did in Victoria.)
First and foremost, while in Victoria we splurged a little and stayed at the famous Fairmont Empress hotel:
I was intrigued by the shrubbery out front, which (I think?) is meant to be suggestive of elephants:
But of course, the main attraction of the Empress is the afternoon tea. This was, believe it or not, our first experience of a proper English
Oh, to have a few more (or a few dozen, perhaps) of those lovely scones, in particular, to enjoy today:
We've discovered that there are a couple of places in San Francisco that also serve tea (how traditional it is remains to be seen).
One other lovely spot not far from our hotel was the grounds of the historic St. Ann's Academy:
And then, from there, we ventured to a couple of bookstores. Ground zero for me was a shop recommended by a friend of this blog (thank you, Susan!), Russell's Books:
In particular, there's a downstairs devoted to antiquarian books, and naturally I was sucked right down those stairs for a closer look. I think I actually exercised admirable self control, only leaving with two new additions to my library, but I got Andy to take pictures of a couple of other interesting covers with authors who were new to me.
My first find was a surprisingly inexpensive copy of Pamela Frankau's 1957 novel The Bridge:
This was the novel Frankau wrote immediately after my favorite of her works (and one of my favorite novels period) A Wreath for the Enemy (1954), and it was reportedly her favorite among her works. So I'm excited to possess a copy now and have a chance to read it. For my fellow book fetishists out there, here are the back cover advertisements:
the front flap review:
and the back flap featuring a picture of Frankau:
My other find was sort of an impulse purchase of a book by an author I'd never heard of. Winifred Duke seems to have been a crime writer of sorts, as the back cover (of course I'll show it to you below) lists reviews from other Duke titles which mention mysterious situations and surprise endings. The present title, however, which I finished reading on the flight back last night and will review soon, is more of a psychological drama than a thriller. At any rate, the mention of Duke's frequent use of Scottish settings made me feel it was a safe assumption that she was British, and the book's first paragraph, about four elderly spinster sisters, finished off what little resistance I had to picking up the book:
Here are the reviews of other Duke titles from the back cover:
The front flap description of the novel (complete with a typo in the year, which should read 1889, not 1899):
And the back flap, sadly lacking an author photo, but including references to other writers published by Robert Hale, many of which I've also never heard of:
And there were a couple of other titles that tempted me but which I didn't feel I knew quite enough about to splurge on. That's where Andy jumped in and was able to snap photos for further research later. For example, is anyone familiar with Anne Crone?:
Clearly, judging from his blurb, Lord Dunsany was impressed by Crone at least. And the back of the book included a nice bio:
And another book also caught my eye:
Tyrrell also turns out to have been a British novelist, so I will be adding her to my list in future updates. But the back flap, advertising other titles, also provides new names:
More research to be done!
So now, back to work tomorrow, and back to more serious blogging. I have several reviews to be writing, and a bunch more updates to post. Hope you all had a lovely holiday season, relaxing and enjoying family, friends, or alone time, according to your inclinations.
On to 2014!