Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, November 04, 2013

A rundown of my recent rummage sale reads( on my TBR pile,that is)

As some of you may know, I attend a local church rummage sale twice a year for supplements to my ever growing piles of books(not quite hoarder level,due to diligence in weeding out the old to make way for the new) and this past weekend, there was a biblio bumper crop to be had.

It can be either feast or famine when it comes to sales like this but the tables were over flowing with books,particularly a hardy number of British mysteries. Authors such as Josephine Tey,M. C. Beaton and Ngaio Marsh were strongly represented in various states of paperback viability.

 With so many choices on display, I decided to take up a pair of Dorothy Sayers titles: Gaudy Night(which I attempted to read once before) and Have his Carcase. These two particular books are from Sayers' well known series of Lord Peter Whimsey mysteries,which have been turned into TV adaptations.

 In both stories, Whimsey comes to the aid of Harriet Vane, a crime writer who stumbles into very real murders and whom he has a serious love interest in. Part of the appeal of this series is the reluctant romance between the leads that does eventually pay off.

Having heard so much about Sayers over the years and my previous attempt at Gaudy Night wasn't so bad(I just happened to get distracted from finishing it),so this seemed like the prime opportunity to investigate the mysteries of this pair of sleuth crossed lovers:

Not all of the British writers represented were in the mystery category. There were some American authors as well but I'll get to them in a moment.

I've had an on-again/off-again interest in R.F. Delderfield's Adam Swann saga for awhile now and since there were two great looking copies of the first two titles,God is an Englishman and Theirs was the Kingdom, available, my TBR pile greets them once again.

 The trilogy covers the rise and fall of the Swann family,starting with Adam,a veteran of the Crimean war,along with his tough as nails wife Henrietta and their five children right up to WWI. Since I am a pretty big fan of  Downton Abbey/Upstairs,Downstairs material,plus a sucker for sprawling family stories, it is high time that I read this.

Delderfield is best known to many for his stand alone novel,To Serve Them All My Days, which was adapted for British TV during the 1980s. That story involved a private school,with a vet of WWI being hired on to teach history after being wounded in more ways than one in battle. I sense a certain pattern,don't you?

I might check out To Serve Them All My Days,if I can manage to make some serious headway through these two books first. After all, Downton Abbey is airing it's final season next year and there will be a gap to fill there in my English Entertainment section(or as my sister loves to call it "British coma"). I am glad that reprints are still around and hopefully, Netflix might have TSAMD as well:

As for American writers, a shiny fresh copy of Mary McCarthy's The Group was just begging for me to snap it up(or so I tell myself). The Group is considered to be a ground breaker for women's fiction as the story follows a set of Vassar graduates from the class of 1933 and their various trials and tribulations in post collegiate life.

It paved the way for other like minded yet not as celebrated books such as Rona Jaffe's Class Reunion and is said to be the inspiration for Candice Bushnell's Sex and the City(a dubious honor,in my opinion). The Group also became a major motion picture back in 1966,where Candice Bergen made her acting debut. Given all that, it will be nice to see what all the fuss is about:

For a complete change of pace, I also grabbed a hardcover edition of Dean Koontz's Relentless which has a popular author named Cubby Greenwich is targeted by vindictive literary critic Shearman Waxx.

 Against the advice of his family and his better judgement, Cubby has a face to face meeting with Waxx,who then decides to up the ante with some old fashioned violence and an all out manhunt. Cubby quickly realizes that he and his loved ones are in over their heads and soon discover a deeper agenda at hand.

 A tad over the top sounding,to be sure, but it's been awhile since I dug into a Koontz novel and I could use a nifty page turning diversion as we get closer to the holidays and winter starts to settle in.

Speaking of the holidays, I probably will be getting and giving a few books which makes my shopping spree this weekend a piece of the vicious circle that is my literary life. In my defense,it can be hard to resist the allure of books for sale in any format,especially in these tight economic times. Whether it's a yard,church or sidewalk sale,a stack of books waiting to be bought are the equivalent of  kittens in a basket with a "Please Take Me Home" sign for biblio freaks like me and perhaps maybe you as well:

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