Sunday, August 12, 2012

A trove of Trollope

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.


  1. But does that mean that you didn't buy the Palliser novels? I don't think I could live without those. I first read them one winter waiting at the four bus stops that I inhabited every day on my way to and from work. That wonderful story telling kept me warm through the coldest of waits.

  2. Only because I already have copies of them all! but in paperback, which is why I've been eyeing the hardback editions.

  3. In my twenties, I read one Trollope a year for several years, but stopped half way through Can You Forgive Her? I really should start up that habit again.

    The TBR Double Dog Dare is coming up ....

  4. I figured it would be a double-dog dare this time - I plan to be first in line to sign up!

    I can understand losing steam with Can You Forgive Her? It isn't my favorite even of the Palliser books, much as I love Glencora and Plantagenet.

  5. For goodness sake what is a double dog dare and do you have to have a dog to take part? My Bears object to dogs which is a great source of distress to me.

  6. A double-dog dare is the 3rd level of escalating dares: there's the dare, the double dare, and then the double-dog dare. It's very hard to refuse a double-dog dare! But no dog required for C.B.'s version, just a TBR stack, which most bloggers seem to have.

  7. Some people invest in art, some in stocks and bonds, and others choose to put their money in cars and homes. I invest in books.

  8. We have that in common. Like Erasmus, when I have a little money, I buy books, and if I have any left over, I buy food and clothes.

  9. SO. LUCKY!!!!

    I've found occasional OWC Trollopes at my HPB as well. Maybe a former Trollopian is cleaning off the shelves in your neighborhood?

    And by last count, I have fourteen books by Trollope on the TBR shelves. It's a sickness. There is no treatment, I'm afraid.

  10. I never seem to find anything good at my HPB - maybe I just don't have your luck!
    I've been buying more books than I should lately so I like your idea of reading them fairly soon after I buy them. And I will definitely check out the TBR Double-Dog Dare!

  11. Not to brag, Karen, but I'm now up to 17 - more than any other author on the TBR stacks. Maybe we need a support group? I'm thinking of joining the Trollope Society, I've enjoyed JASNA so much.

    Anbolyn, I should have said "trying (and failing) to read them fairly soon." At least here the HPBs really vary - there are a couple that never have anything I want, and others that always have something, but they tend to be the ones furthest away from me. All aboard for the Double-Dog Dare!!


Thank you for taking the time to read, and to comment. I always enjoy hearing different points of view about the books I am reading, even if we disagree!