Cats, cake, Pym, Kipling & bookish decisions

My Barbara Pym mug has arrived & much tea has already been sipped from it. In honour of the occasion, naturally I have to reread Excellent Women (the Folio Society edition even has a silver teapot on the cover).

But, I also want to reread Cold Comfort Farm after reading an article or a link that I now can’t find. I can find this article in the Guardian about the joys of reading Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers. Interestingly, the author of the article read Gaudy Night first & wasn’t a fan of detective novels, although she went on to read the other Wimsey novels. I can see why someone who didn’t like detective novels but did enjoy novels about academic life, writers & Oxford would enjoy Gaudy Night. Luckily I reread Gaudy Night just last week so I don’t need to reread it again just yet. I would like to find some time to watch the TV adaptation again though.

Then, thanks to a link on Facebook, I discovered this terrific radio program, part of the celebration of the 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s birth. Jessica Mann talks to Janet Morgan, Julian Symons & others about Christie. It was first broadcast in 1982 as part of the Queens of Crime series. I wish I could hear the other episodes but I do have Mann’s book, Deadlier than the Male, about the Queens of Crime, which was rereleased as an eBook last year. If only I can squeeze it in somewhere.

I was reading an article in History Today (last March’s issue, there’s no way I’m up to date with History Today) on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (they’d won a History Today award) & came across a mention of Kipling’s short story The Gardener. I have the story in this collection so pulled it off the tbr shelves. It’s now sitting with two Tolstoy stories that were recommended somewhere & The Executor by Margaret Oliphant, which is the story that begins her Carlingford Chronicles. As the first sentence of The Executor is “The woman was certainly mad” said John Brown – I need to read on as soon as possible.

These are the books I’ve pulled off the tbr shelves in just the last month or so that were definitely going to be next. Nearly all these books were chosen in response to an article, a review, a movie (Suffragette), a longing to read a Scottish book (Return to the West), reading another book (Gaskell’s life of Charlotte Brontë by reading Claire Harman’s life of Charlotte Brontë). Angela Thirkell is there because I keep preordering the Virago reprints of her books but not actually reading any of them. The book on Evelyn Dunbar is there because I read the Persephone posts about her late last year when they had an exhibition of her work in the shop. I love Alison Weir’s biographies & always drop everything to read them but at the rate I’m going, the paperback of The Last Tudor Princess will be out before I get around to it.

Then, this arrived, the latest British Library Crime Classic, Murder of a Lady, by Anthony Wynne. It was a preorder so I didn’t break my book buying ban. And it’s set in Scotland and I love the cover. The castle looks like Glenbogle from Monarch of the Glen, doesn’t it?

Then, I read a post on Sue Hepworth’s blog about enjoying life & going with the flow, not worrying about achievements but doing what you want to do. So, I decided to just let the next book decision take care of itself. Maybe I’ll even get back to that March issue of History Today… 
Here’s a picture of a cake I made on Monday with more of the zucchinis that are going mad in the garden at the moment. I also used some of the yoghurt I bought by mistake at the weekend. I finally found a brand of Greek yoghurt without cream (why put cream in yoghurt in the first place?) But, instead of buying the Natural, I bought the Classic which has sucrose in it. Much too sweet for me. So, I searched online for a zucchini & yoghurt cake & found this one at Chelsea’s Messy Apron.

No rambling post would be complete without a cat photo. So, here’s Phoebe looking angelic & fast asleep on my bed last weekend.

16 thoughts on “Cats, cake, Pym, Kipling & bookish decisions

  1. Aha! You have the same problem that a lot of us do: we can't read fast enough. I think I'd like to be like a spider, with each arm holding a book and with all those eyes, I'm sure I could read eight books at a time!
    Phoebe looks sweet and comfy on your bed.
    Your cake looks delicious (and I like the plate it's on). It reminds me that I have an opened box of almond milk that I should use in a cake or some cookies before it expires.

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  2. It would be lovely to be able to read 8 books at a time. I might have a hope of getting through my tbr at that rate! I love making porridge with almond milk. I make my own which works out quite a bit cheaper. Phoebe is always comfy, she knows how to organize her life so she's always in the cosiest spot.

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  3. I am not into merchandising, but I am impressed that there is a Barbara Pym mug. She seems to be too much of a niche market for merchandising. I thought it was more a JK Rowling/Harry Potter thing.

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  4. I was just looking at the four Kipling books that I have on the TBR shelves, and thinking that I need to read more of him soon. I have two volumes of short stories, but neither has The Gardener. (I will not make that an excuse to buy more…)

    Your cake does look delicious! And I love pictures of comfy cats. I am having to fight my two for the warm covers, now that it has turned cold. They get quite disgusted when I have to turn them out, to make room for me.

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  5. The Kipling story is probably available online for free but I had this volume so it's a good excuse to get it off the shelf. The cake went down very well for morning tea at work so I'm sure I'll be making it again before summer is over. It's a lovely day today after a cool change but yesterday was a horrible 42C. I can't wait for autumn & winter.

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  6. I love the cover of Murder of a Lady, I must add that one to my collection. Mind you that is a typical Scottish baronial style castle, they're very common around here. I love beetroot cake but have never tried courgette/zucchini cake.

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  7. Yes, there are lots of very similar castles & this one's probably generic as it was from a tourism poster but it still looks gorgeous. Zucchini cake is very good & there are so many different recipes. A good way to use up the glut.

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  8. I love these general update posts. It's always so nice to see what you're up to and I always come away with good recommendations for both books and other reading – really looking forward to the Guardian article on Gaudy Night. And I adore and am deeply tempted by the cover of Murder of a Lady, though I have absolutely no interest in crime/mystery novels. But my weakness for books set in Scotland might overwhelm that disinterest…

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  9. Funnily enough, rambly posts like this usually get a lot more hits than review posts! Of course, cat posts are more popular than book reviews too. Maybe I should rename the blog I Prefer Cats & Rambling? The way I'm dithering & rereading lately, I'm more likely to write a ramble than a proper review anyway. I seem to be more prone to rereading in summer when it's often too hot to do anything else. I have a weakness for books set in Scotland too & MOAL looks very tempting.

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  10. Lovely post! I reread Barbara Pym regularly, but I'll try to resist the teacup. I remember suffering through Gaudy Night–it was just too long and slow-paced for me, probably due to some character flaw. But I loved Sayers' Murder Must Advertise. I am constantly pestering my public library here in Florida to order British mysteries, and sometimes they buy a few of my suggestions, including Simon Brett, G.M. Malliet, Suzanne A. Hill and Ian Rankin. I also read British history. A friend said that he is surprised that I own a sedan since I am into Tudors.

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  11. Thank you. Gaudy Night is a bit of an acquired taste. I've always loved it but I know lots of people who love Sayers who can't stand it. There are so many great British mystery novelists, I have no hope of keeping up with them all. Probably why I find myself rereading old favourites – too many choices.

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  12. I'm late to this, but thank you for posting the links to the Agatha Christie program! I enjoyed it more than I can say. If you come across any other good radio programs, let me know–they disappear so quickly on the BBC that I almost never notice in time. You've also introduced me to so many great narrators for audio books.

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  13. You're welcome, Erika, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I wish the rest of the series was available but it seems the Christie was just pulled from the archive for the anniversary.

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