Bookshelfie: Girls Gone By

Two shelves today… but there’s a reason, I promise! This is what started as the Chalet School shelf, but then grew into the Chalet school shelf and a half and Other Girls Gone by shelf. And no it’s not very tidy. And no, I’m not stacking any books on top of the Chalet School ones. They are my preciouses. No it’s not logical. But you shouldn’t expect logic from me by now.

I should also probably fill you in on who Girls Gone By are – they’re a small publisher who are republishing Girls Own Titles, most of which were written between 1920 and 1960. They came to my attention in the early 2000s because of their reprints of the hardback versions of the Chalet School – at a point when I was on a student budget and buying a hardback copy of any of them was going to cost you at least £50. And so I started collecting them in their editions. At this point there are only a few they haven’t published so I have as complete a set as I can get.

Anyway, along with the actual Chalet School books, there is the encyclopaedia of the series and a selection of fill-in titles. On the bottom shelf there is also stack of Mabel Esther Allens – both writing as herself and writing as Jean Estoril – some Gwendolyn Courtney, Antonia Forest, Phylis Matthewman and Patricia Caldwell. The non Girls Gone By books are a stack of really quite battered paperbacks – mostly puffins – by authors like Lucy M Boston, Enid Blyton and Anne Digby. Right on the end there are a couple of annuals.

I am running out of space on these two shelves (and on this bookshelf as a whole) but that’s mostly because I have stuff here that I don’t really want to keep forever, but that I’ve been holding onto to take to the non-dealer sale at the Bristol Conference – which should have happened in 2020 but has been postponed (twice) by the pandemic. So if it all goes ahead as planned this year, hopefully by the autumn these shelves will have been weeded and look a bit neater. Or at least that’s the plan. But last time I went to Bristol I came home with a lot of books…

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