Tuesday 17 April 2012

A Brief Hiatus, a Word About Commenting, and More Beautiful British Book Jackets

Well I hope we all enjoyed my exclusive Q&A with spy novelist Jeremy Duns – and indeed the preceding posts on his Paul Dark thrillers and on one of his favourite spy novels, Adam Hall's The Ninth Directive. After that flurry of Duns-shaped blogging, however, I'm afraid that Existential Ennui will be going on a short hiatus, because I'm moving house – an undertaking that can be difficult and time-consuming for most people at the best of times, but one that, given the number of bloody books (and records, and CDs... and let's not even mention the comics) I own, is even more of a pain in the arse for me. So I hope you'll understand why things will be going kind of quiet round here (that and the fact that I'll probably have no internet for a bit).

But the move should be done and dusted by the end of this week, which means, all being well, I'll be back, bright-eyed and bushy tailed, with more blogging next week. Ahead of that, though, a quick word about commenting: as anyone who's read this irritable post will know, I've been having problems for a while now with spam comments – problems which I thought had been resolved by the introduction of an additional word recognition (captcha) step in the commenting process, but which, apparently, have not: spam comments still seem to be making it through onto Existential Ennui itself. Therefore, I've also now enabled comment moderation. Thus far it doesn't appear to have put anyone off commenting, but if you haven't left a comment since I enabled moderation, please don't let that deter you: I welcome any and all (genuine) comments, and I'll be receiving notification of new comments by email, so I'll publish them as soon as I possibly can.

But of course, I couldn't very well leave you in the lurch with nothing to look at while I'm otherwise occupied, and so I'm pleased to announce that I've updated my Beautiful British Book Jacket Design of the 1950s and 1960s gallery – which, by the way, has now sailed past the 3,000 hits mark – with ten new covers. Two of those new additions – both of them by Peter Rudland, whose spectacular jacket for Anne Chamberlain's The Tall Dark Man you can see up top – are very recent acquisitions, one of them bought from Jamie Sturgeon, who brought a fine selection of wares along to Sunday's Midhurst Book, Postcard & Ephemera Fair (and who also gave me permission to reproduce these Richard Stark Gold Lion hardback covers last year); as a little taster of things to come, here's the pile of books I took off Jamie's hands:

Of the other wrappers, four were provided by crime writer and critic Mike Ripley, who, having seen my gallery, decided to dig out some suitable examples from his own collection and scan them for me (many thanks to Mike for that); two, both by illustrator Charles Mozley, come from the collection of my other half, Rachel (one being the cover to an early Iris Murdoch first edition; thank you also to Rachel); and two are from my own collection, and are both by Val Biro (the full-front-and-back wrapper for Nevil Shute's Requiem for a Wren is especially lovely). That brings the total number of dustjackets up to forty, which should give you plenty to gaze at while I'm gone. Oh, and a huge thank you to Margaret Atwood, who, as before, once again kindly retweeted my link to the gallery.

See you shortly.


  1. I don't envy you moving. I might just have to die where I am. I can't imagine moving all these books, which have tripled since the last move.

  2. Luckily, we had some great removal guys who did all the heavy lifting, Kelly. We're all moved now, and I'm in the process of unpacking and sorting out books, which is actually kind of fun. Should have a post up on it all this week.

  3. With great age, I realise my eyesight is not what it was, but I have been unable to spot - in the recent relocation of your book empire - even the frayed corner of a title by the Talented Mike Ripley.... I presume those first editions are in a secure vault somewhere for surely they are very valuable - especially if they rare unsigned ones...

  4. Ah, well if I could draw your attention to the mention of the unseen bookcase in the next post, Mike, I can exclusively reveal that a couple of the books on that bookcase waiting to be blogged about are indeed by your good self – both first editions, one quite special indeed... And when I get round to writing about them (soon, I hope), I'm going to need your assistance on that particular book...