I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

I am what and why I buy

Effortlessly Successful Blogger 1 (Male): What's he up to now?

Effortlessly Successful Blogger 2 (Female): More of the same. Just tick off the likely subjects.

ESB1: Self-aggrandisement?

ESB2: Glad you didn't say boasting; not enough syllables. Specious intellectualism?

ESB1: Ye-e-es. But the titles aren't very demanding. He won't dazzle anyone with Scoop.

ESB2: You don't think he's going the humble route, do you? His paunch alone would disqualify him. It's not a humble paunch.

Voice offstage: On a count of three I'm releasing ursa major.

ESB1 and ESB2 saunter off unconcernedly.

Enter RR, head recently shorn. Looks like Wozzeck after the medical experiments. Faces audience nastily but is overtaken by coughing fit lasting thirteen seconds.

This is an autobiographical diorama. Self-explanatory, really; check out the stuff in brackets. Last week I walked past the Oxfam shop. (No reason charity shouldn't apply to me.) Their window display consisted of fifty or sixty Penguins, artfully piled and scattered (You have a past, I have a history.) Oh, those orange covers! (I can wax sentimental if it's in my interest.) I rushed in and bought fourteen. (Comfortably off but impulsive.) Most of which I'd read. (I enjoy being seen buying books.) Some of which I own, in Penguin form. (My mind's going but it's like a warm bath.). Several by E. Waugh. (A man less lovable than me.) The Jean Rhys was recommended by VR. (Keeping the rift away from the lute.) The Elizabeth Taylor by Plutarch/Joe. (Who has just received the completed MS of Blest Redeemer.) I was welcomed at the till. (Popularity can be bought.)

The name's Robinson. Got that?  


  1. honey. spoons upon spoons of honey. hum the Schubert.

  2. I too love the orange covers, especially the classic banded ones, the 1970s orange spines less so, though they look nicer here amongst the others. I knitted my sister a scarf once which was supposed to be burnt orange but to me was old Penguin book orange.

    Do you like Henry Williamson? I think I do, though my attempts to read Chronicles of Ancient Sunlight when I was about 18, in a single treasured volume lent me by my English teacher, rather foundered. Then I got a bit bothered by his being in love with Hitler. I still like the animal ones though, though of course they're all very sad.

    I suppose ordering most books on-line these days rather denies one the pleasure of being seen buying books. On the very rare occasions when I buy a French one in a shop - a ruinously expensive venture apart from anything else - I do get a rather posy thrill of self-aggrandisement, I must say.

  3. There are three stores I love to visit, and could spend hours upon hours browsing through them: the old fashioned hardware stores (pre-plastic blister packs of goods), well stocked fabric stores (pre-everything-made-in-China days) and, finally, used book stores. I love the smell of them, their covers with worn gilding and crunched corners and their pages with scribbled notes.

    I think you've collected a nice assortment of paperbacks, most of which I've not read. I'll look for them in your bathroom bookshelf when I come for a visit. (That's not a slur against your collection - it's where I keep a stack of paperbacks for passing time while otherwise engaged. No offense intended, honest.)

  4. RW (zS): Even humming puts my bronchia at risk. Better to think of Peter Schreier doing the Schubert.

    Lucy: They've just introduced new UK citizenship tests which are remarkably hard: I would fail. I like to think of this post as an advanced citizenship test; you will be pleased to know you have passed which is just as well given that you were the model in my mind for ESB2 (above). Anyway you're now emntitled to free use of the toilets at Paddington, a saving of 30 p pe rpop.

    Henry Williamson's Dandelion Days became part of the Robinson family's go-for quote sources in my early teens. We were constantly accusing each other of being "pauper spirits" and of "lying on the ground waiting for bananas to drop into our mouths". I think it became a sequence called The Flax Of Dreams. I only learned about his bad behaviour when I'd read everything (other than Tarka, etc) so his literary output remained untarnished.

    Since most of my books these days come from Abe I'd forgotten what it was like to convert an electronic act into a physical act and (in this case) walk away with fourteen books in a shopping bag. Smugness, yes. But also a sense of communication with other readers as you have shown.

    The Crow: I don't think Penguin books are available in the USA because of some copyright clause or other. Almost anyone over the age of forty, who reads for pleasure, has a soft spot for them since the company's list (which began pre-war) is so magnificent. Virtually every author you've ever heard of. This selection is very biased towards the UK but that wasn't ionevitable.

    In our downstairs loo you can, if you wish, read a sequence of paperbacks summarising WW2 and published by The Guardian. Plus 100 Uses For A Dead Cat (don't for God's sake tell Lucy - it came as a Christmas table present, intended as a joke).

  5. Sometimes I am tempted to buy books even though I have them at home and know where they are, because I like the particular edition. That goes especially for Penguins. I treasure my old ones even if they are falling apart. The orange one of course and the green crime novels and the buff and green bordered poetry series. Even the blue and white Pelicans, Penguin cousins.

  6. I enjoy reading your posts but if it were not for the comments, I often would not know what you are talking about. And, I know that you know.

  7. Joe: A windowful of Penguins was irresistible. I found myself part of the window display as I sorted through the piles and swathes. Even now I wonder what I left behind. Strange how reassuring the orange covers are: when you see one on a secondhand shelf there's a sense of coming home even before you read the title.

    Ellena: I must confess this particular post was intended to be both obscure and English. But then the facts were bare and simple: I'd bought some secondhand books. I needed to dress things up a bit.

    At least I've provided you with a theme for your next post: "There's a blog I go to from to time. I enjoy reading the posts but have no idea what the blogger is talking about. Can anyone out there explain why this happens? Politely, that is."

  8. Your suggestion comes too late.I already thought of saying something to this effect but as response to your comment on my blog.