Some of us, you will know, are not hugely endowed.  At least not with that particular gene; the one that allows me both to read and to write, at the same time.  These are tasks, some may call them chores, but I prefer pleasures, for both, which I have to keep apart, to carry out separately.

And I’ve been neglecting the reading side, so it seems.  For The Bedside Table is groaning somewhat.  Having visited the BLF a week or two ago, in the aftermath of a birthday, and Wigtown, I was beginning to face up to some quality reading ahead, with purchases from those trips, as well as new arrivals from some frivolous mouse-clicking – retail therapy I think they call it, weakness, perhaps.


Then Girl Urchin came out with one at the weekend.  Can we go to the bookshop?  Now who am I to argue with the female of the species?  And I knew my wallet contained a loyalty token, an almost complete stamp card, and my Card had points gathered up to the price of a good book.  Besides we had little else on the agenda…..  So off we went, to the nearest branch of the remaining high street chain

It turned out that said retailer had introduced new tills; they couldn’t allocate more points – would a discount do?; and couldn’t utilise the existing points.  This of course was after arriving at said new till with selections.  So they weren’t all free and I was forced into dusting off another card.  Still, the points will be there for me next time.  And there will be a next time, one day.

I thought it best to give you a preview of what might be coming up in the weeks and months ahead:

There’s some crackers in there.  And slowly they’ll select themselves, in the right order at the right time.  I’m looking forward to more from Anna BadkhenStrands looks very interesting.  Marsden can always be relied upon; whilst Charles Rangeley-Wilson is a new one on me, intriguing.  Stephen Donaldson is a very old friend, and Twain is, well Twain.  Tolstoy’s in there too, did you notice?  Another new author on this particular table.

Currently I’m hugely enjoying a little walk on the Inca Trail, with John Harrison’s Wales Book of the Year, Cloud Road.  On another forum someone was bemoaning the demise of quality travel writing this past 15 years or so; the lack of a real journey.  Well John Harrison’s the anti-dote to that one, with five gruelling months.  I’d read his previous trip to Patagonia – where good words in the right order are always part of the deal – and he’s proving brilliant company in the Andes as he walks from Quito to Cuzco, at times where no gringo has been seen before.  Very dry wit, superbly delivered.  He has an eye for it, and the timing.

There’s more from Simon Barnes too, as I continue my learning.  And the second hand search engines have been burning.  Just arrived is a first of Hebridean Sharker, for the Maxwell shelf, having read Tex Geddes’ account of those days in the recently re-published paperback.  The original commands a hefty price, but I’m thrilled with one the one that arrived this week, and more so with the price paid.

I’ve an eye on a few more.  One may have to come from Oz, a volume from the 20s that tempted me from one of Richard Halliburton’s bibliographies.  And the same source has had me trawling the net for some time for another rare item.  One has surfaced, but it’s ex-libris, yet still commanding a significant three figure sum.  But it’s the only one I’ve found, so far.  Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps…..

On top of all that there’s the festive wish list, and a few volumes due to be published in the coming weeks.  It’s one of those lists that if no one else does, then I’ll buy them anyway, as some will know.  Much better than socks and hankies, someone else’s taste in ties or whatever.  Horwood’s in there, Rob Lilwall too, and another gem from Eland.  Ooh, and Hanns & Rudolph caught my eye the other day.

And finally, check this one out.  Magnificent.


A Mighty Tome in more ways than one.  Hot off the press.  Words, photographs.  No drooling up the back.




Filed under On the Bedside Table

3 responses to “Multi-tasking

  1. Birds and people – a true work of record I think. I bought tow – one for me and one as a Christmas present. Island Years is supposed to be excellent too – from Little Toller books I think?

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