This is the rambling & relishing part of the post (see Part 1 yesterday). The new Persephones arrived late last week & I’m looking forward to reading all three of them. Greengates by R C Sherriff, Gardeners’ Choice by Evelyn Dunbar & Charles Mahoney and Maman, what are we called now? by Jacqueline Mesnil-Amar. The new Biannually should be arriving any day now.
I’ve been a fan of Evelyn Dunbar’s work for a while, especially her WWII pictures. I have this lovely book by Gill Clarke on the tbr shelves & as I can’t get to either the Persephone shop, where they’re displaying some of Dunbar’s drawings, or the Pallant House Gallery in Chichester, the books will do very nicely.
Have I mentioned that Greyladies, another favourite publisher, have given their website an update? It looks terrific, they’ve added author photos & organised their titles by subject – school stories, mysteries, Scottish novels – which makes it easy to find what you’re looking for if you’re in the mood for a particular kind of book. I’m a fan of D E Stevenson & I’ve been really pleased that Greyladies have been reprinting not only the manuscripts found in the attic but also some of the previously out of print Stevensons. They began with Peter West and The English Air & early next year will be reprinting Five Windows, which I haven’t read but was enthusiastically reviewed by The Captive Reader here.
Does anyone else see a nice, round number as a challenge to be achieved? According to Library Thing, I have 2,995 books. Only five books to go to reach 3,000. Now, I have Claire Harman’s biography of Charlotte Brontë on the way & the new biography of Josephine Tey by Jennifer Henderson pre-ordered so that will arrive at the end of the month. There’ll be another Slightly Foxed edition at the beginning of December so that will take me up to 2,998. The dilemma is – do I buy two more books to make it to 3,000 by the end of the year when I’ve stopped buying books & haven’t ordered a single thing for a month? My plan was not to buy any books until at least the New Year & as I’m doing nothing but rereading at the moment, I’ve had no temptation to buy anything until I realised I was so close to the magic 3,000. At the moment, I feel that I won’t buy those two books, I’ll just wait until something (or two somethings) come along that I can’t resist.
Rereading books that I first read in the 1980s led me to go back through my reading lists to see what I was reading in 1985. Does anyone else keep lists of what they’ve read? I’ve done it since 1979. Until 2007, I just wrote my lists on paper, as you can see,
then I decided to use one of the many lovely notebooks I had received as presents over the years.
At this point, just as I was about to look at my 1985 list, Phoebe decided to sit on the lists & have a wash & then thought she’d have a snooze. Doesn’t she realise I’m in the middle of writing a post? Obviously not… When I was able to get to the lists (she’s now asleep on my lap), I find that I read 133 books that year. You won’t be surprised to learn that I read Jane Eyre (twice! & I see that I also read it in late 1984 as well), The Citadel by A J Cronin, Beginning the World by Karen Armstrong, several of M M Kaye’s Death in… series, some of the Brother Cadfael novels by Ellis Peters, Mary Renault’s Alexander trilogy, Lynne Reid Banks’ L-shaped Room trilogy, Victoria Holt, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles & Sarah Harrison’s A Flower that’s Free (sequel to The Flowers of the Field, a big soapy WWI saga that I loved), Love in a Cold Climate, Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson & Siegfried Sassoon. I was also studying English Literature at university so I read Madame Bovary, Women in Love & One Hundred Years of Solitude as well as Australian novels – Coonardoo by Katherine Susannah Prichard & Sugar Heaven by Jean Devanny. I’m more surprised by Frank Herbert’s Dune novels (I’ve never been a science fiction fan) & the books I have no memory of at all. What were these about? – A Splendid Defiance by Stella Riley & Nothing to Spare by Jan Carter (actually, I think this was a history of the Great Depression in Australia).
I’m surprised at how little my tastes have changed. I read fewer historical novels & sagas but I still read lots of narrative history, biography, 19th century classics & mysteries. However now I could add so many authors that I’ve discovered through Persephone, Virago, Greyladies & all the other reprint lists that have added to my tbr shelves over the last 10-15 years. I’d love to know if anyone else keeps lists & how far back your lists go. Have your reading tastes changed?