Thursday Bookshelf – PL-SH

This week begins with a Tudor biographer & ends with a Tudor playwright. Alison Plowden’s series about Elizabeth I, mostly in old Book Club editions, books about Richard III, Mary Tudor & the beginning of the Barbara Pym collection. The red & gold volume of Pushkin was part of a mail order series of the Russian novelists that I bought when I was a teenager. I thought they were so posh at the time but I did read a lot of Russian fiction thanks to that set.

The rest of the Pyms, Helen Rappaport & Miss Read. I bought the Kathleen Raine books on impulse &, although I’ve dipped into them both, I haven’t read them from cover to cover.

More Miss Reads & Readers Digest condensed books. My Dad subscribed to these for years & I read a lot of my favourite books for the first time in these abridged versions. I especially liked the interviews with the writers at the beginning of each volume. I kept these ones when we cleared out Dad’s house because they were favourites as you can tell by how rubbed the spines are. From left to right, the favoured books were Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt (that volume also has To Kill A Mockingbird – the interview with Harper Lee has her living in New York & writing another book about the South, saying “There’s so much material in the South and not enough time to use it all”, I wonder what happened to that work?  & Goodbye, Mr Chips), Kirkland Revels by Victoria Holt (also The Shoes of the Fisherman by Morris West), The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart (also Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell & The Agony and the Ecstacy by Irving Stone) & A Christmas Carol by Dickens.

Jasper Ridley, his book on Thomas More was the first one I read that didn’t portray him as a saint. Unsuitable for Ladies by Jane Robinson is a great anthology of intrepid women travellers. Phyllis Rose’s Parallel Lives is a wonderful biography of five Victorian marriages & Christina Rossetti is one of my favourite poets, although none of my copies are bound in limp green suede like Winifred Malory’s.

I read a lot of May Sarton about 20 years ago – maybe one day I’ll get back to her. I was disappointed to learn from a biography that she wasn’t really the solitary person she portrayed her self to be in her memoirs &, however unreasonable it might be, I haven’t been able to read her since. I’ve kept the books though. I love Siegfried Sassoon’s Sherston trilogy & his poetry.Then there’s the beginning of  Dorothy L Sayers …

 and the rest of the Sayers. Mostly two authors on this shelf – Sayers & Paul Scott’s Raj Quartet. I’m sure I’m not the only one with the TV tie-in editions on her shelves.

Sir Walter Scott on this shelf along with Sellars & Yeatman’s 1066 and all that, Desmond Seward, another historical biographer. I remember reading his Wars of the Roses, which is, I think, his best book, on the bus on the way to work one winter when my car was being repaired. It’s a group biography of five people from the Wars, including Margaret Beaufort & the Earl of Oxford. Then, the beginnings of the Shakespeare collection. I’ve shelved Shakespeare criticism here because I don’t think I would ever remember the authors.

Don’t forget to click on the photos to see the whole shelf. 

Next week, Shakespeare to Sutherland.

2 thoughts on “Thursday Bookshelf – PL-SH

  1. Your Alabama reader again, Harper Lee's “go set a watchman” just came out last week (supposedly lost in a drawer for 40 years). 'sequel' to mockingbird.


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