Friday, May 08, 2009

One World Classics

Just now this book fell through the door from OneWorldClassics: JEALOUSY by Alain Robbe-Grillet. I am excited to see it.

A few days ago I got an email asking me if I'd like to sample one of One World's books - which meant I spent a rather happy half hour looking through their catalogue. Such enticing titles! So many names I'd heard of but hadn't read! It was rather like the first days of my summer holidays with my grandmother. I'd be given some money and told I could buy anything I liked in Woolworths. Usually I came away with pens and paper, sad little geek that I was, and would spend the rest of the time writing and drawing on my own in my grandfather's old workshop.

However, I digress (as usual) - back to OneWorldClassics' catalogue. The aim of OneWorldClassics is a noble one, I think. They aim to 'to expand the literary canon in the English-speaking world through a series of mainstream and lesser-known classics, often by commissioning new translations.' By clicking through I could also sample the writing - which didn't make the choice much easier, to be frank, because it was all so good. I paused over Emile Zola's LADIES' DELIGHT, and then, since I by then found myself on the French translations, I came across several of Robbe-Grillet's books. I'd not heard of this author before, but each of his books appealed to me. In the end I chose JEALOUSY because it is 'his most famous and perhaps most typical work, and in it he explores his principle preoccupation: the meaning of reality.' Which makes it sound so fascinating I can't wait to start.

One World and Alma books have a blog here. Which takes me neatly to what I'm reading at the moment - GOOD TO BE GOD by Tibor Fischer - which is published by Alma. This is a book I am finding difficult to read in bed late at night mainly because it has the embarrassing side-effect of making me snort with laughter. It is one of the funniest books I've read for some time. So far it is reminding me a little of Martin Amis's MONEY.


Anonymous Mary said...

Glad to see you're back after dealing with the potential pandemic.

You mentioned in this post that you used to go to Woolworth's as a kid. My dad used to work at Woolworth's when I was very young. It's what brought him to the town I grew up in. This makes me wonder if your Woolworth's and our Woolworth's was part of the same company. If so, I had no idea it was international. Did your Woolworth's sell a little bit of everything?

Mon May 11, 07:42:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Yes, was pretty much out of it that week, Mary! Recovering now:-) Seriously worried though!

It is the same Woolworths, Mary! It came to this country at the beginning of the 20th century but had to close down the beginning of this year here. The fact that it sold a little of everything part of its undoing I feel - that, and the recession.

My grandmother used to work there too. She was on the pick'n'mix (very suitable since she had a sweet tooth) and she met my grandfather there. I think they must have met over the Clarnico Mints. It was her first job. She was a good looking woman - dark, tall and slim - and I often imagine her on that sweetcounter. She loved it, and was proud of having a job. Times were tough then, and Woolworths was a good employer.

Mon May 11, 08:05:00 pm  
Anonymous Mary said...

Woolworth's moved my dad around a lot. When the company wanted him to work in a tough area of Chicago, he decided it was time to quit and settle down. He was thinking of us four children when he made the decision.

I think Woolworth's lasted over there longer than it did here. The stores I knew of disappeared long ago.

What a great story about your grandmother's experience with Woolworth's. I'm going to guess she was as sweet as the candy!

Wed May 13, 11:53:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

I'm really surprised that Woollies closed over in the US before it did over here. I don't know why, but I'd assumed it was alive and well in its home country. Amazing the things you find out on the internet! Glad to have come across you, Mary!

Fri May 15, 07:28:00 am  
Anonymous Mary said...

Here's a nice little article about the history of Woolworth's (not sure if our version had the apostrophe!):

I see from the article that the last 400 of the U.S. stores closed in c. 1997.

Sun May 17, 04:08:00 pm  
Blogger Clare Dudman said...

Thanks Mary - interesting article. There was a fuss when Woolworths closed over here. It didn't go without a whimper - and in one palce the people who worked there have reopened it selling the same sort of stuff, I think.

Sun May 17, 10:58:00 pm  

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