Friday, January 15, 2016

4.12.69 - sending books from New Zealand

4.12.69 [handwritten]
Dear Mum, thanks for the Peanuts. [The cartoon, I think, rather than nuts.] Thanks also for the list ˗ see below. 
...About things musical; as I said in the very end of the last letter, I’m not greatly concerned if it takes a year to sort out the things I don’t know, and get to know them. I’m living quite well, and am as happy as I’m ever likely to be anywhere. In fact I have fewer problems than I might have if I was working! What I’m trying to do at the moment is eliminate the problems that would otherwise arise if I was to present myself to prospective employers now. There are too many things I could get away with at home that I just can’t here, so I don’t think the time will be at all wasted. 
Now, before I run out of space. Books: actually, from the list I realise just how few really useful books I’ve got!! Anyway as most of the music books are ones I don’t really want, here we go: Please send:
1. Harmony: Walter Piston
2. Poems: Herrick
3. Poems: Robert Frost
4. Faber Book of Modern Verse
5. Penguin Poets
6. D H Lawrence
That’s all I would really want from that list. The only Gerald Moore I could do with I’ve never had! And the other orchestration books aren’t much use. The films books, except those cinema 51, 2, 3, weren’t really worth their money.
Secondary List:
Pan Book of Opera
3 (4?) Books on Shakespeare by H Granville Barker
Hilaire Belloc Poems and these Dickens:
(1) Dombey and Son (2) Bleak House (3) Little Dorrit (4) Pickwick Papers (5) Hard Times.

So, therefore would you, if they don’t weigh it up by too much send the books on the secondary list as well. If you can’t find some of them, probably Marilyn has them, so don’t worry too much! There are other Dickens I’d like, but that depends on weight. Davie has copies of both the Gerard Manley Hopkins and the 20th Century Music, but will you put them aside and I may yet take them. Let’s call that our 3rd List ˗ it also includes then: (3) Verse and Worse (4) Ogden Nash (5) David Copperfield (M. Has this possibly still) (6) Oliver Twist (7) Nicholas Nickleby (8) Great Expectations (9) Martin Chuzzlewit.
Incidentally, the Bach books ˗ there are two: the 48 Preludes and Fugues ˗ they should have been amongst the heavier music.
This is awfully complicated and is a darn nuisance to you, I expect. I will send you a postal order for the cost ˗ that’s a statement, not a suggestion.[Perhaps it should have been a promise!] in fact, I should again start paying my insurance ˗ it’s been on your plate long enough, hasn’t it. Will you let me know how much it is and I’ll send you money ˗ we can send up to £40 in Postal Orders here (I think!) That’s an order. Okay?

Anyway, thanks for all your trouble ˗ it’s very good of you to bother, really. Love Mike.  
[I doubt that these books were ever sent: I still have most of them, apart from the Dorothy Sayers mentioned in an earlier letter, so I suspect we either canned the idea, or my mother only sent ones that wouldn't weigh too heavily. And why didn't I think I could get them in England? I spent plenty of money on books and music there. As it was, when my wife and I left England in 1974, the bottom of the trunk containing many of my/our books collapsed with the weight, and they were left with my mother-in-law...and subsequently vanished.]