Bonjour Tristesse – Françoise Sagan

Bonjour TristesseI first heard of Bonjour Tristesse through a review at Literary Relish (which I highly suggest you read!) and after that, reviews started popping up on other blogs all over the Internet. The plot sounded intriguing and so when I saw it on the shelf at Oxfam, I took it as a sign.

It’s a very small book and reminds me a bit of another skinny, French novel by Colette. Written ten years after Gigi, Bonjour Tristesse also revolves around a rebellious girl, living an odd – and in those times shocking – lifestyle. In Cécile’s case however, the lifestyle is a luxury of endless lazy days and late night parties. Since her mother’s death a couple of years earlier, she’s been living with her libertine father, Raymond. Together they are happy taking life as it comes and enjoying every moment. Continue reading

The Story of Art – E.H. Gombrich

There are many different editions of The Story of Art, but I’m happy with my slightly scruffy twelfth-edition, which my mum received for Christmas in 1975. She passed it on to me about eight years ago, when I expressed an interest in art history. It’s taken awhile, but I’ve finally managed to read the whole book.

I can’t say that I’m now an expert, but this book has given me a well-rounded introduction to the history of art, starting with the cave paintings of the prehistoric and primitive peoples. From there we learn about Ancient Egyptian art, then travel to more adventurous art in Greece. We learn about how art was born, how it changed, when it was stifled and when it thrived. Gombrich takes the reader on an unforgettable journey through the different ages, explaining how art adapted for different purposes, how artists experimented and how other nations and generations influenced the next stage in the history of art. Continue reading

Blackberry Wine – Joanne Harris

Now this is truly a scrumptious treat of a book. I picked it off the shelf when we were having a long awaited summer heat-wave in July. It’s just the right sort of book for a lazy summer’s day. It’s not too deep, not too troubling and has whiffs of magic. I do like a bit of magic in my books sometimes.

The story and it’s main characters are introduced by a bottle of wine – a Fleurie 1962, to be exact. I do like wine, but am not particularly knowledgeable when it comes to grape varieties. Luckily, this book isn’t all about wine, although there is something magical about the ‘Specials, 1975’.

The ‘Specials’ are six dusty bottles in Jay Mackintosh’s basement. They contain a strong, home-brewed wine made by a long lost friend, and are filled with memories and magic. Continue reading

Antiquariaat POLK – Amsterdam

I’ve already spoken about the amazing Singel Canal in Amsterdam that has THREE bookshops in a row. The first one my boyfriend and I visited had wooden floors, high ceilings and a peaceful, airy atmosphere. The second bookshop we came to was quite the opposite. But no windows and cold, artificial lighting can’t put me off, especially when there are brightly coloured bargain boxes outside to lure me in!
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Top 5 Favourites from the Classics Section

Summer is a busy time for the classics section at Oxfam. We receive piles and piles of donations at the end of July from GCSE, A Level and university students who have finally come to the end of the year. They struggle in with heavy bags, eager to rid themselves of any course material that will remind them of long evenings spent at the library, scrutinising old texts. It’s a time of year when we get a huge increase in Shakespeare study guides, poetry and tattered old penguin classics.

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