The Quest for the Perfect Birthday Books…

So this is meant to be a very fast post (I hope!), just to occasionally dip my oar into the wonderfully stimulating world of book blogging.  I’ve been working for three weeks as a medical transcriptionist in the pathology department in a hospital (I’ve now typed up autopsies! which are intriguing and also sad) and am starting to settle in there a bit.  I’m going to be learning things there for years about medical terminology and all the quirky things doctors do, trying to decipher their written scrawls and their verbal mumbles!  It’s not exactly my dream job, but it’s also very far from the worst job I’ve ever had and I definitely like having a desk of my very own and the ability to put on my headphones and just type without having to smile or be friendly or do any customer service at all.  For an introvert, it’s a very refreshing change.

Anyways, on to the book discussion!  I’ve found that when I’m at home, since I’ve been staring at a computer screen all day at work I don’t really want to go online in the evenings, I’d rather read.  This is all for the good for my book-loving soul, but my tumblr has now joined this blog in a state of general neglect.  But since I am reading more in the evenings or at least thinking about books more, maybe I’ll try to occasionally blog here on the weekends, as I am now.

I’ve been trying to think of a few very special books to get for my birthday later this month and going over to my favourite cosy book blogger The Captive Reader to get ideas.  She got me lusting for the new Georgette Heyer editions that are coming out later this year (featured here) – I finally read The Grand Sophy earlier this year and found it absolutely wonderful, so I need my own copy of that soon, plus more of hers.  But then I found out those new Heyer editions wouldn’t come out in Canada until September, so then I began considering getting some more Persephone Books.

I just reread Miss Buncle Married (by D.E. Stevenson, one of my favourite British interwar Persephone Books authors) last weekend and oh how much I enjoyed it.  (Here‘s my review of it the first time I read it.)  It’s so utterly adorable and cosy and safe and sweet.  I know not everyone, especially in the grand and progressive era of the 21st century, wants safe and sweet anything, but I love those qualities.  It’s why Emma is my favourite Jane Austen novel too.  I long for books that give me a feeling of home and security (since I lost my childhood home in the countryside when I was young and had some childhood traumas as well) and safety, a feeling that all will be well, to overcome, even for a little while, my endless fears that all will go wrong.  I don’t need to read a book to get worked up, I have an overactive imagination to do that for me, all the time!  I don’t quite understand the desire to read sad books either – if I want to have a good cry I can just think about some of the things that have happened to me and how difficult it is to get over them.  I want to read to feel better, not to feel worse!  To use books as anti-depressants in my own form of bibliotherapy.  All that to say, Miss Buncle and D.E. Stevenson and cosy British books that are gentle and calm featuring lovely peace and quiet and ‘real friendly love’ are exactly my cup of chamomile tea.

I want more Persephone books so I can keep endlessly caressing their lovely smooth grey covers and getting lost in their cosy adorable worlds, but they’re also rather expensive to order all the way from England, so I began hunting about for a few cosy books closer to home.  I’ve also been craving a slightly gothic story or two set in Cornwall, in the tone of Daphne du Maurier or Susanna Kearsley and then my thoughts turned towards Mary Stewart, who wrote a lot of romantic suspense novels in the 1950s.  Many of her books have recently been re-released in adorable editions and oooh I just want an atmospheric (and yet still slightly cosy and reassuring) story set in England or Scotland!  So I may indulge in a book or two of hers for my birthday… (I keep an eye out for her whenever I’m in used bookstores, so I now have two in old editions, but the new covers are so adorably retro!)  I also recently finished reading the Miss Marple collection of short stories, which do feature a few slightly gothic little mysteries set around Cornwall and the moors, but they’re too short to really satisfy my craving!  For a while I thought I was really getting smart because I was figuring out every mystery ahead of the solution, until it occurred to me that I’d probably just read them years before.  Sigh.

And then of course there are so many other beautiful and entertaining books that I’d just love to collect (although living in an apartment does limit one’s ability to store all of the books one wishes to acquire, especially when one is married to a fellow book lover who has an even bigger book collection than one’s self…) that it makes the task of finding the perfect birthday books a rather difficult challenge.  Perhaps I’ll go for one Mary Stewart and one Persephone and one something else that is yet to be determined…

As a sidenote: I’ve currently been reading Inkheart by Cornelia Funke and while I love the book lover’s atmosphere it conveys and how clever it is about books, featuring larger-than-life characters with wonderful names like Dustfinger (an ambiguous fire-eater) and Capricorn (despite this being a kids book he is legitimately scary to me and I really don’t like his run-down village run by thugs in southern Italy!) that have come to life thanks to the magical reading abilities of one man called Silvertongue (who works as a bookbinder by day) and also featuring a stand-off between an author and the characters he’s created and his fear when he realizes he can’t control his own creations… but it is also so suspenseful and even sad and dark at times.  (And yes, that was one long crazy run-on sentence.  I am quite good at them.)  It’s not as safe and cosy as my adored Miss Buncle books, that’s for sure, but oh I’m just pulled in by the atmosphere of it and have to find out how it ends!  The opening sentence enticed me:  “Rain fell that night, a fine, whispering rain.”  And since then I just can’t leave it, I have to see the story through!  So here I am, reading a book that isn’t entirely sweet or safe, but definitely enticing, perhaps strangely bewitching?  Oh how I love all the worlds I can visit through my endlessly delightful books!  Sometimes I get exhausted thinking of all the books I ‘should’ read and how I’m never reading fast enough to read all the books I want to and how I’m always buying more books than I can keep up with (which is why I gave book blogging a break), but then it’s books like Inkheart that remind me of the heady delights and the endless magic that books offer.

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