Tuesday, 24 March 2009


It's odd, this being a relatively new blog (and blogger), to be quite unsure of how many people are reading these words. I suppose it could be seen as the digital equivalent of launching a message in a bottle. Anyway, to those of you kind souls who have uncorked this particular communication, my apologies for the blog hiatus. Since returning from holiday in Toulouse - where I failed to read any of my targetted holiday books - things have been a tad hectic, but I hope to be back to more frequent posting now.

I've been visiting quite a few bookshops recently, fixing innocent staff with my glittering eye and espousing the virtues of the Capuchin Classics but not, I fear with the style or eloquence of Coleridge. The most pleasant of these calls was to Robert Topping's bookshop in Ely. This emporium, which has a counterpart in Bath, exemplifies all the good qualities of bookselling, especially in its careful and passionate book selection and not least in the wonderful coffee which is offered to its customers as they browse the thousands of books in all the major genres, including many authors and publishers of which the chains will be entirely innocent. Robert and his staff also offer up a rich diet of literary events with some of the best names in writing. I've known Robert since his days at the late Pan Bookshop, and it is always a pleasure to catch up with him and enjoy his insights into the book world.

Of the new Capuchins to emerge recently, I am most looking forward to reading South Wind, as it is set in Capri, a trip to which island formed one of the best parts of a holiday undertaken by my wife and I a few years ago. We had both been reading the eccentric and partly fictitious 'autobiography' by Axel Munthe at the time, called The Story of San Michele, and found this greatly enhanced the pleasure of our visit, being able as we were to visit the eponymous dwelling and re-enact the book jacket. Munthe's story has become notorious for its fabrications and omissions, but is still a powerful and magical piece of writing that transcends all genres. Go read it now, and then visit Capri. Via Ely, of course.

Quotation of the day:
""It's snowing still," said Eeyore gloomily.
"So it is."
And freezing."
"It is?"
"Yes," said Eeyore. "However," he said, brightening up a little, "We haven't had an earthquake latel
y."  AA Milne, author of Two People, recently published by Capuchin Classics.


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