I stopped at my childhood library the other night to pick up a reserve, and as I was leaving I saw a room full of discarded books and a sign that said “$1/per book, $5/per bag.” Reader, I had to poke my head in, although I only had a few minutes to spare.A quick glance perceived no treasure and nothing worth lingering for but then I saw the very copy of Jack and Jill by Louisa May Alcott that I had borrowed as a child. I am tempted to criticize a library half an hour from Concord for discarding one of LMA's books but it was never one of her most popular so circulation is probably very low. Still, it deserved rescue! And once I had one book, it seemed only sensible to fill a bag, even if the pickings were slim . . .
Pushing Up Daisies by M.C. Beaton – Agatha Raisin is a private detective who has just moved to the Cotswolds. When I saw that, I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to be on holiday in a thatched cottage right now? With one of those local characters who filled the kitchen with scones and groceries before our arrival and without any inconvenient dead bodies (or would that be part of the fun?). This is #27 in a series I have never read.
Gunpowder Plot by Carola Dunn – I reviewed the first in the Daisy Dalrymple series in December and this one is #15! Despite my usual rule about reading series in order, I suspect it won’t make a lot of difference in this perky cozy and the title caught my eye because of my long-standing interest in Guy Fawkes.
Middlemarch by George Eliot – I shouldn’t have given away my Penguin edition unread as I know there will be a time in the future when I am ready to read this classic.
Quest for a Kelpie by Frances Hendry – this is a children’s book set in 18th century Scotland. I remember reading and liking her better-known book, Quest for a Maid many years ago.
The Mage’s Daughter by Lynn Kurland – I picked this up without looking at it closely because I know my mother has enjoyed some books by this author. However, it’s part of a fantasy series which I wasn’t expecting. It got good reviews so she may well enjoy it.
Tennison by Lynda La Plante – this may turn out to be the pick of the day. It appears to be a novelization of the TV show, Prime Suspect, which my father used to watch. He was a big fan of Helen Mirren who played Jane Tennison. I can’t tell if it is really autographed or if the publisher designed the title page with a facsimile signature. Have you read this series or watched the show?
The Best of Rosemary Sutcliff – my mother loves Sutcliff so much she wrote her a fan letter, but I still have some unread. I enjoyed Simon in 2020, and this volume includes three of her most famous books, Warrior Scarlet, The Mark of the Horse Lord, and Knight’s Fee.
What Did It Mean by Angela Thirkell – I knew I already owned this but it is such a nice paperback, I figured another Thirkell fan would need it.
Last but not least -
Jack and Jill by Louisa May Alcott - Jack and Jill are best friends who have a sledding accident and have a long recovery together, although Jill is just a poor neighbor.
When I said that I was late because I had found my own copy of Jack and Jill at the library, my mother responded, “I don’t remember your owning Jack and Jill,” and I explained that once I have checked a book out of the library I have a proprietary interest in it (a more sarcastic person than my mother might have asked if that was why my library books were often overdue). It is true that the only Alcott I owned were Little Women (her copy) and Eight Cousins, Rose in Bloom, and Under the Lilacs in beautiful editions that must have belonged to my father’s Aunt Lillian. Eight Cousins is certainly my favorite. My sister pointed out that if Jack and Jill wasn't a favorite, there was no need to add it to my shelves. Technically, I suppose that is true. When you put it that way, a stronger person might have walked right past that room!The book I initially went in to check out was The Norths Meet Murder by Frances and Richard Lockridge, the beginning of a well-known mystery series about a sophisticated New York couple, first published in 1940. I recently came across a review of the final book in the series and decided I should try it. Checking these books out of the library also helps their circulation so they remain on the shelves and accessible, rather than turning up in someone’s $5 bag!
Would you have walked by without taking a look?