Since I'm currently reading just about everything Tolkien-related on which I can get my hands, I borrowed J R R Tolkien's Mr Bliss from the Bodleian Library's bookstacks on Wednesday to read. It is a small book, illustrated with Tolkien's own colour pictures about a man called Mr Bliss who wears very tall hats and who goes out one day to buy himself a bright yellow car for 5 shillings. A series of adventures follow this - initiated by the fact that Mr Bliss is a poor driver, rather as Tolkien was on his first car journey ! In fact, Tolkien and Siegfried Sassoon have this in common - both drove badly (although I'm not sure Sassoon's driving ever really improved !)
This is a lovely little book and would make a wonderful gift - I'm surprised that HarperCollins in the UK and Houghton Mifflin in the US haven't yet seen fit to re-issue it, as they have almost everything else fictional that Tolkien wrote. If you come across a copy of this book, do read it, as it's charming and good fun.
* * * * * *
News on the continuing "war" for bookbuyers comes from the Telegraph, whilst this article from the Independent discusses the consequences of the HMV group taking over Ottakers. I really hope that the buyout gets referred to the Office of Fair Trading. I've nothing against Waterstones per se, it's just that I want Ottakers to stay independent !