Friday, December 12, 2008

My Love Affair With Miss Buncle

It's not what you think, honest.

Miss Buncle is a character in a book.

D. E. Stevenson was a UK author who published 40+ books starting around 1923 up until the late 60s. She died in early 1970. Our library has many of her novels, and I think I have read them all. They are on the bottom shelf of the library, and I would have taken a picture of the whole lot of them except I didn't feel like laying down on the floor to do it. Getting up off the floor is an adventure.

My very favorite D. E. Stevenson novel is Miss Buncle's Book, which was compiled in an omnibus volume called Miss Buncle with a sequel, Miss Buncle Married.


Every few years I check the book out and read it again. I have told the library clerk that if the library ever decides to discard the book, to please call me. I'll buy it.

A few days ago I could feel the urge to read her again. I was almost done with Anita Shreve's book Testimony.

The dust jacket says "Gripping emotional drama with the impact of the a thriller." No kidding. It was definitely that, it certainly did grip me, but it also depressed the heck out of me.

The last we went to the City, I used some birthday money to buy...

the new book by Alexander McCall Smith book The World According to Bertie.

I needed something else that I know would be light and airy and fun, but not Bertie. Not yet.

Miss Buncle to the rescue. So I took Anita back to the library and found Miss Buncle gathering dust on the shelf.

The date due slip in the back of the book does not tell the whole story.

I am library patron 180. Do you see any other numbers on the slip? No, you don't. The only person who has checked this book out since 1998 is me. ME.

But I have read it many more times than this. When I first began checking the book out, the library used the old fashioned system of a pocket that held a card where the patron wrote their number and their initials and the clerk stamped the date next to it. I was 2944 back then. Once upon a time I worked in a library and I had to file the library cards away and put them back in the books when they were returned. I know all about this system.

At any rate, the library changed how it checked out books about 6 years ago. Now the books have bar codes and they scan it in and the computer prints out a slip. No more card pocket or card.

So, I imagine I am probably the only person to have checked the book out since maybe 1990.

D. E. Stevenson got the idea for writing the book, which was published in 1937, when she overheard a conversation on a bus:

The idea for Miss Buncle's Book came to me while I was sitting in a bus. The woman next to me said to her friend, "Everyone knows all about everyone in our village. If I had time, I'd write a book about them..."

Suddenly at that moment, Miss Buncle was born.

A story about a woman who knew all about everyone in her village and wrote a book: Yes, it was a good idea - but one could carry it further. A story about a woman who wrote a book about a woman who wrote a book about a woman who....

Let the fun begin....


Miss Paula said...

Now I am intrigued and have to find this book!! I like those kinds of books. I do know your sis read the McCall books!! The Lady Detective ones are good too!

Tami said...

I have not read any of those books...I will have to see what I can find about Miss Buncle....I'll give her your regards.

Tami said...

PS...loved the shot of your library card.

Leilani Lee said...

It is unfortunate that I did not get a photo of the original library card and the date-due card pocket. It was filled and they had written dates along the sides. Oh well...

Mrs. Rabe said...

I too am intrigued now. The kids have been clamoring for a trip to the library - I will check online first to see if they have it in the interlibrary loan.