An afternoon in Oxford with Rebecca
I had a lovely lightly bookish afternoon in Oxford yesterday with Rebecca (aka Bookish Beck). We met at Blackwell’s – where better in Oxford, and both being on a budget headed upstairs to the sale/second hand section on the top floor of the main shop – where we spent just £2 each on sale books reduced to £1. I got John Lahr’s biography of the life and death of Joe Orton, Prick Up Your Ears, and a book of poetry by Denis Johnson (of the wonderful Train Dreams), called The Man Among the Seals & Inner Weather, collecting Johnson’s first and second books of verse into one volume. £1 each – amazing! Although the selection of books up there requires careful scrutiny.
We wandered around the Bodelian bits that were open – seeing the ‘Talking Maps’ exhibition in the Weston Library – which featured two by Grayson Perry’s – his reaction to Brexit in 2017’s Red Carpet and Map of Nowhere from ten years or so earlier. Red Carpet was stunning (see a picture here) but there wasn’t a postcard of it in the shop, only an expensive silk scarf. Oh well. We had tea and cake in the Vaults garden cafe looking out at the Radcliffe Camera, luckily not being attacked by the increasing number of wasps attracted by the jam on others’ scones. (By the way I read an interesting piece recently on why wasps are at their most annoying in August – essentially the workers are made redundant). Then we wandered up to the Oxfam bookshop where I splashed out £2.50 on Carol Ann Duffy’s The World’s Wife – yet more poetry! We popped into the Ashmolean where we looked at a free exhibition of woodcuts by Japanese artist, Naoko Matsubara, too before going off in separate directions home.
A huge thank you to Rebecca, who not only brought me a David Shrigley tote from the Wellcome Book Prize ceremony which I couldn’t go to back in the spring, but passed on four books for me to read too.
Meanwhile at Shiny…
I’ve reviewed two very different thrillers at Shiny New Books recently.
Firstly, JP Delaney’s latest, The Perfect Wife. Although not as good plotwise as his first, The Girl Before, the new one was just as page-turning, but needs a suspension of belief to accept the central premise. I won’t say more here, but click through to read my full review.
The Perfect Wife – my Shiny review.
Secondly, The Lady in the Car with Glasses and a Gun by Sébastien Japrisot. What a title! This French suspense thriller from 1966, translated in 1967 is super! Gallic Books have brought it back into print, and it’s very clever – Hitchcock-style. Loved it.
The Lady in the Car… – my Shiny review.