Week 2 of the great bookshelf project. Yacker & Yacker 2 are books of interviews with Australian writers by Candida Baker. Published in the 1980s, she interviewed Helen Garner, Thomas Keneally, David Williamson & David Malouf as well as a previous generation of authors now gone – Ray Lawler, Sumner Locke Elliott, Marjorie Barnard & Christina Stead. Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker is there thanks to Simon from Stuck In A Book. No book has every had a champion as passionate as Simon so I had to buy a copy.
I loved the L-shaped Room trilogy by Lynne Reid Banks, as well as her two novels about the Brontës. I remember getting the phone call from the bookshop when Juliet Barker’s monumental biography, The Brontës, was published. This was the early 1990s & pre-internet for me so I had ordered a copy from the local bookshop in the shopping centre near my library & I could hardly wait to rush over & pick up the book. Thank goodness it was a Thursday & I could whip out in my meal break (I worked the 1-9pm shift on Thursday in those days). I’m not sure how much work I did that evening, I may have been dipping in to the Introduction & looking at the plates…
Unique to Australia by Beatty (about flora & fauna) was a school prize I won for a spelling bee in Grade 5 in 1973. There’s also my original Virago copy of Nicola Beauman’s A Very Great Profession, the book that began the Persephone phenomenon. Also Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People. I read this before I went to the UK in 1999 & it sparked my interest in the Anglo-Saxons. I recently discovered a beautiful blog by A Clerk of Oxford, about the Anglo-Saxons. It’s a fascinating mix of poetry, history & stories of the Anglo-Saxons & Scandinavians illustrated with manuscripts of the period. The blog won the History Today award for digital history this year.
I picked up the ancient copy of The Search for Bridey Murphy by Morey Bernstein in a second-hand shop. I’d been fascinated by the Bridey Murphy story ever since I read about it in a Reader’s Digest collection. It’s a classic reincarnation story (made into a film starring Teresa Wright) about an American woman who regresses under hypnosis to another life in 19th century Ireland. It’s been pretty well debunked now, I think, but I love reincarnation stories.
Next week, BI-BR.