Annabel's House of Books

Noli domo egredi, nisi librum habes – Never leave home without a book.

Bookish and not so bookish distractions…

Usually I’m a serial monogamist where reading books are concerned. I have no more than one novel at a time on the go, with just occasionally a non-fiction book on the side.  Stupidly, I started three novels and have got a little stuck with all of them at the moment. The first was because I didn’t want to carry a larger book filling my bag, so I picked up a physically smaller volume, then I wanted a lighter read that I could read in smaller doses and picked up book number three. Now I’m a bit stuck on all of them, although perversely, I am enjoying all three, but can’t decide which to finish first! (Choose, Annabel, choose! – Ed)

I am also taking a serious look at my bookshelves (again), and playing with my books finding the odd volume or three for the charity shop piles (I’ve taken in three bags this week, nearly filled a fourth). I’d like to reduce the number of bookshelves in my spare bedroom which I used to use as a study, so I can redecorate and ultimately put a bed back in. It’s got four Billy bookcases, which all used to be double stacked – now down to two doubled, two not  – so I’ve a way to go, but am definitely making progress.

Then I realised I missed World Cat Day on August 8th – so I have to make amends! Here is Ginny, asleep in the beanbag in the conservatory. All snug and warm now the sun is out after the torrential rain this morning. Her fur is still dyed pink around her neck where she chewed her collar so much one of the pigments from that or the permanent marker we wrote her details on the inside of the collar with ran into her fur. (Chromatography in action folks – cat spit is obviously a good solvent).

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I’ve also been catching up with recorded TV series rather than reading … the hard disk is full so was time to get watching.

FargoFargo with Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton was absolutely fab – very funny, very dark indeed. I didn’t think they could stretch the Coen brothers’ film concept to a ten episode season – but they did, and it worked. Allison Tolman as the deputy Molly Solverson was also great.

Tom HollanderYesterday I watched A Poet in New York, which was a BBC4 film drama from months ago starring Tom Hollander as Dylan Thomas on his last weeks in the city where he died aged just 39. Made to celebrate the centenary of Thomas’ birth in 1914, Hollander, whom I adore in Rev, put on two stone to play the part. Sad, but I enjoyed it a lot – and I guffawed at the filthy limericks he came up with in one scene.

I still have two more whole series recorded to watch – Broadchurch and The Honorable Woman, plus the DVD of the first season of Kevin Spacey’s House of Cards.

Those are my excuses for not getting much reading done – what are yours?


  1. What’s the opposite of a serial monogamist? I think it must be something rather dodgy involving promiscuity — however that is what I am — hardly ever have less than two books on the go. Perhaps you should write their names on little bits of paper and do a draw for the order you read them in. Never too late for a cat pic. And as someone who doesn’t watch TV, or only very occasionally, you’ve made me long for Fargo — must see if can catch up somewhere.

    • It would have to involve polygamy wouldn’t it. If you were male, you could call it your book harem!

      Fargo was great – you’d definitely like it. They’re doing a second series too but a generational prequel based on Molly’s father I hear.

  2. I always have several books on the go too. It is actually a good way of deciding which books you really want to read and which you can forget about. But I recommend putting all reading on hold and watching Broadchurch – it’s the best thing I watched last year :-)

  3. I’ve been clearing out books a bit as you might know (ahem) and it does actually distract from the reading itself. But I’m being brutal – I *don’t* need three copies of Anna Karenina, now do I? (Although I am keeping all five copies of “The Master and Margarita”!)

    • There’s a new AK translation by Rosamund Bartlett coming out from the OUP imminently! You may go back up to 2. Even I have 2 copies of TM&M, W&P and AK – one Folio lux edition, one paperback for each – I ought to ditch the pbks.

      On a diff tack – are you going to the Hesperus Scandicrime do next week? I am.

      • Alas no – I was invited but can’t get away. Most annoying.

        I suppose 2 copies of a special book is reasonable – Rosamund Bartlett’s translations seem to be highly thought of, I think she’s done a lot of Chekhov. And it’s probably worth keeping your paperbacks for reading copies so you can keep the Folios nice!

  4. But I don’t know what the three are – or have I missed something?? Is the list on the top of the side bar?

    • The three are the Elena Ferrante pictured which is fab, Linda Grant’s latest, and Nina Stibbe’s first novel. All three are brilliant, but I’ve bogged myself down a little.

      • Aha, now I know. Intrigued by these especially the Nina Stibbe having been more than pleasantly surprised by the memoir. Off to investigate..

  5. PS And I’ve missed all the TV series and films you mention here, what can I do now? You’ve made my mouth water, metaphorically speaking.

  6. I used to be a monogamist too, but back trouble now means that I have one print book on the go at home and a second on my e-reader which is so very much lighter to carry round with me. Ideally, it would be the same book but I am far too parsimonious to buy a book twice!

    • That’s doable if needs must – I’m sure you get used to having two books on the go, but it’s people who have a handful, even more in progress that I wonder at – how do they cope?

  7. Good TV takes up so much time! Someone told me about The Honourable woman on Friday and I catch up watched all weekend – so there’s my excuse! That and spending Saturday at Lee Miller’s house in Sussex looking at paintings and eating homity pie and swiss roll.

    • I shall look forward to watching it! I looked up Lee Miller and Farley Farm – and see that she and Roger Penrose are artists I need to get to know… thanks for bringing them to my attention.

  8. Heavens, I didn’t realize Dylan Thomas died so young! I had him down in my head as someone who lived to a great old age and said curmudgeonly things in commencement addresses in the 1970s.

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