reading. lots. of. books.


we’ve had quite a few notifications from the Los Angeles County Library’s Requested Materials Division recently – and so we duly pop along to the Library and gather up our materials to “check-out” from the long set of shelves just in front and to the right of the electric doors (this one is a new Modern Library you see).

however, once we scan the covers and find our name in RL, we are sometimes mystified at our choices.

when did we request That?

and Why?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsince we moved back to Los Angeles (gosh, can you believe it’s been Five Months Now?) we’ve been much better about Not buying from Mr. Amazon and actually borrowing library books.

and to be (almost totally) honest, we were sometimes surprised when Mr. Amazon’s brown paper parcels arrived back in Manhattan – when did we Buy This? we would say.

the amusing thing is a couple of times we had Not bought it – it had been a lovely gift from William in England (as in the splendid Celia Imrie).

we often request materials on a saturday while reading the Financial Times Newspaper (the weekend one is jolly good – we’ve actually stopped reading a newspaper at any other time – *sighs* which is awful to admit when one Started one’s Writing Career on a Newspaper) – because they have a very thorough book section with excellent exposition.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAno doubt this was why the Tim Parks book about Trains in Italia arrived.

we *would* link to the review in the Financial Times if we could find it but they have some silly pay wall (like that’s going to work…..) and so-we-cannot *sighs*

but once we’ve finished the book, you can read Our Review anyway.



when we Opened the Tim Parks we saw this inscription and had to take off our glasses with emotion and look into the middle distance.

how lovely.

we ADORE reading on Trains.


now here’s the funny thing – because Mr. Parks (shall we just call him Tim? He seems nice and English-man-abroad who might Insist we do) is a chap, the book is Actually About Trains.

not about Life in the way that our friend Frances bought a house in Italy and used it as a metaphor (but not in the same way as Susan used Illness as one to talk about Society or Madame deB took America and Travels and turned it into a philosophical Tome).


this is Actually about Trains.

which is lovely.

we adore Trains.

and we’re Very much enjoying Mr. Tim Parks talk about them.

more here when we’ve Finished. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

here’s another book that we had no Earthly clue why we Requested from the Library.

or how we came across the title considering the (lady) Author was not well-known (not even an Obituary to be found which is rather sad as she went to all that trouble to write such an excellent book).


the word Proper and Improper may have caught our eye.

and this book has not been Requested for decades.

we guessed it came from the Hawthorne Branch (according to notes inside) which means it must have come in a Library Van (what do they look like? – a bit like the Visiting Library Fan that used to come to Primary School when we were 7 in England?) all the way up the I-405 (we bet it got cross with the traffic – that freeway is a Nightmare) and just imagine its surprise arriving in West Hollywood.

the 1938 book had probably not left this area for a very long time.

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 7.23.34 AM

and now it’s being all placed on a (pale wood – something definitely Nordic and Sustainable) shelf next to Queer Politics, radical art, Vast Romantic Tomes and some children’s books in Mandarin (a lot of two-daddy-families are trying to give their gaybys a head-start in the world it seems – or perhaps these children are actually from CHINA – either adopted before the walls closed or with their high-tech parents who are infiltrating Mr. Google and the like – the books are cute – we almost thought about Requesting a few too).


back to Margaret Gilbert Mackey’s book 

it was a strange text.

lots of stuff about viaducts and native americans (she didn’t call our original brethren that though – it was definitely of that Time *sighs*) and citrus groves and the like.

but this was great.

Hollywood was at its Peak of glamorousness that year and it seems that Scandal Still Reigned in tinseltown.


you can almost hear Margaret’s combined awe and disapproval in this section.

actually a terribly Modern Attitude, one might say.

so – back to Tim and his Trains.

but only for a quick thirty minute reading session while slipping into the dark embrace of caffeine because we have a date with Helmut Newton at 10AM.

and we ADORE a Press Preview, darlings.

it feels like our career of *coughs* many years ago is coming back to give us a tiny kiss on the cheek and we’re tentatively and ever-so-gingerly feeling excited again……….

more later.

you can count on it.

14 thoughts on “reading. lots. of. books.

  1. I am surprised the County library doesn’t have a special little library van to deliver your book requests to your door; you are such a good patron.

    1. but then we wouldn’t get to have a nice little interaction with the Librarians (who are still mostly in batik prints and beards so little changes there….thank goodness)

      what’s your local library like?

  2. Hurray for libraries, library vans and impulse ordering! Anything with proper and improper in the title is clearly a must. I read Colette’s Pure and Impure for similar reasons and it’s still one of my all time favourite, strange and yet glorious, books. I think I’ve read Tim Parks, but it was many years ago now and my memory is dim. The weight of other books falling on top of him in my memory has crushed the poor man. Quite inadvertently, of course. Hope you are continuing to have lovely bookish adventures, to add to all your other adventures.

    1. so happy that came to visit!



      we stopped outside her apartment when we were in Paris on business……felt the words tumbling over the balcony into Le Grand Colbert.

  3. Dearest G
    Borrowing library books simply is the bees’ knees.
    The Dandy lives on the borders of four boroughs (well two boroughs and two Cities for those who know London) and so am members of all four lending division and the BL (who of course don’t let you take them home) and several university libraries and… oh gosh I could go on. I am a bibliotheque addicte and proud.
    And as to the Weekend FT, yest we get it too, for the serious stuff and for “How to spend it… ” too, which is immoral better ever such a lot of fun. Who knew that the the price of so many things was £POA!?!
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    1. price on application usually means they only have one in the stock room and it got a bit mussed up from the supermodel who wore it for a cover shoot ;-)

      i.e. they’re only to make another one if one is so ridiculously rich as to apply for the Price.

      how EXCITING that you study at the BL.

      we adore the George III collection (is it still there in the perspex hanging shelves feature?)

      1. Ah yes Dearest G
        The King’s Library is still in its three storey high bronze and plate glass box… I once got to go in there.. there is a stairwell behind the shelves to afford librarians access.
        All very exciting.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  4. Margaret Gilbert Mackey… What a find!
    Love Tim Parks, have you read: Four Seasons in Rome: On Twins, Insomnia, and the Biggest Funeral in the History of the World by Anthony Doerr?
    I think you might like it.

    1. gosh!

      just went to “look up” the description of the book and got faint reading this line:

      “He reads Pliny, Dante, and Keats — the chroniclers of Rome who came before him — and visits the piazzas, temples, and ancient cisterns they describe.”


      finding out which LA Library Branch has it Right Now!

      thank you dear.

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