I was having dinner with friends last night, and I went early so that I could stop by the Half Price Books near their house, which I rarely get to visit. I was rewarded with more Trollope novels than I have seen anywhere outside the Oxford University Press bookshop (where I ravaged the Trollope shelves on my last visit to England). In the hardcover section at HPB, there were the Palliser novels, in the uniform OUP edition, which I've been tempted to get. But I was distracted by a collection of his Christmas stories, published by the Trollope Society. This I couldn't resist, though I already have them all in two volumes of his short stories (Early & Late). Sometime over Christmas I plan to sit down with a cup of tea and a slice of Christmas cake to read them in their proper season - his somewhat Grinchy attitude toward the holidays might balance out both holiday stress and holiday schmaltz.
It was in the paperback section of the store that I really scored, though. I could hardly believe my eyes: an entire shelf of fat Oxford World's Classics paperbacks, including a title I didn't even recognize. I picked up Castle Richmond, The Macdermots of Ballycloran, An Old Man's Love, and Mr. Scarborough's Family. These include his first and his last novels. I've seen his early Irish novels described as "pedestrian," and I know that many consider his last novels weak, but I am still interested to read them. I left Rachel Ray, Lady Anna and Dr. Whortle's School on the shelves with some reluctance, even though I already have copies.
As if these weren't riches enough, I also found William Makepeace Thackeray's Pendennis, in the exact OWC edition that I've been looking for; Rose Macaulay's The Towers of Trebizond; and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's The Turkish Embassy Letters. I had found the Montagu book at another HPB, but that copy was too badly marked up and I reluctantly put it back on the shelves, so I feel very fortunate to have found such a good copy.
When I staggered up to the counter with my leaning tower of books, the very young clerk asked, "Are you getting all of these?" I told her yes, thinking that a strange question from someone working in a bookstore!
And then to cap all the bookish goodness, in yesterday's mail I received the copy of Noblesse Oblige, edited by Nancy Mitford, which Karyn at A Penguin a week was kind enough to send me.
After the TBR Double-dare, I've been trying to be more mindful about buying books, and to read them as I acquire them, rather than letting them linger on the shelves for years. My dad used to tell us that "The road to hell is paved with good intentions," and at this point, there's probably one of those road-side signs marking my stretch of that particular highway ("Sponsored by Lisa's book resolutions"). I know I won't get through all those Trollopes this year, let alone the ones I already had, but I am so pleased to have found them.