Its been difficult to concentrate on reading, so I've just concentrated on necessary textbooks recently, but after all those Sharpe books and all those Aubrey-Maturin books I'm very excited about my newest one: 'The Napoleonic Phenomenon', and it's set book: Stendhal's 'Life of Napoleon'.
In the summer I read a few more Sharpe books, I've read 'Sharpe's Sword' and 'Sharpe's Enemy', and I'm now up to 'Sharpe's Honour'. They have begun to reissue the books with new covers, so I must get the last few to complete my collection as soon as possible.
What else? I've also left my job as a children's bookseller, after four years working for a large bookshop in Bath. Before I left I got Herve Tullet's 'Press Here'. Its a very imaginative book, as all of his are, I love it.
A few weeks ago I was in Paris, and sought out several children's bookshops. The differences between French and English bookshops are fascinating, for me the biggest difference is the picture books. In England we have lots of full size, paperback picture books, and only a few hardbacks as these tend not to sell, being more expensive. In France they have strict laws governing book prices, so they have lots of full size hardback picture books, and very few paperback ones. However they do have quite a good range of A5 size picture books, which are unheard of in England. These are very cheap, though well produced. I bought 'The Hungry Caterpillar' in french as a present for two friends who still work in that children's department in Bath, and to my utter delight stumbled upon a childhood favourite of mine in french, Peter Spier's brilliant 'People'.
Two books that I haven't started yet, well, I'm only a few chapters in, are Ford Madox Ford's 'Parade's End' - I loved the recent television adaptation with Benedict Cumberbatch and make no apology for buying this edition - and Elisabeth Kehoe's 'Fortune's Daughters' which I bought in the giftshop of Blenheim Palace. Blenheim was a beautiful day trip, and especially fascinating as the former home of Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan, who's autobiography 'The Glitter and the Gold' I read earlier in the year.