Literary Ramblings

I have three terrific books to review but, at the moment, I don’t have the will or the energy to get my thoughts together. In the last two weeks, I’ve been in 19th century Yorkshire, revolutionary Russia & outback Australia in the days of the pioneers. However, I’m starting three weeks holiday on Friday &, right now, I have that “just let me get to the end of the week” feeling which means that coherent thought is beyond me. So, instead of a considered review of any of the books I’ve been reading, here are a few links, photos & reminders instead.

The freesias are from my garden, the first freesias I’ve ever successfully grown so I’m thrilled. Freesias are one of my favourite flowers, I love the scent. I know the jug they’re in has a Christmas theme & I hope this won’t mean that I’m condemned as one of those people (usually managers of supermarkets) who put the Christmas decorations & mince pies out in August. It was just the best sized jug for the purpose. The freesias only lasted a day at home as I had to save them from the Phantom Freesia Fancier, aka Lucky. I knew she loved eating roses but I thought the strong scent & the texture of the freesias would put her off.  It didn’t so, to save her from an upset stomach, or worse, I shut the flowers in the bathroom on Sunday & then took them to work. It’s been a very wet Spring here & I had to squelch across the lawn to pick them but it was worth it.

The 1947 Club is only a couple of weeks away & I have some very exciting books to choose from. Simon & Kaggsy are hosting a week of reading, blogging & discussing books published in 1947.

Here are the books I’ve plucked from the tbr shelves & I’m having a hard time deciding which ones to read. Any recommendations? In case the titles are a bit hard to read, they are Close Quarters by Michael Gilbert,  Full Moon by P G Wodehouse, A Crowd Is Not Company by Robert Kee, Poppies for England by Susan Scarlett (Noel Streatfeild) & The Serendipity Shop by Dorita Fairlie Bruce.

I feel that I should have read a Mary Stewart novel in celebration of her centenary this month but I’m running out of time & probably won’t get there. However, I’m looking forward to reading the reprint of her novella, The Wind off the Small Isles, which has been unavailable for some time.

Also looking forward to Artemis Cooper’s biography of Elizabeth Jane Howard. There’s an article here by Cooper on the biography & she was also a guest on BBC Radio’s Open Book last week. I’m between audio books at the moment so maybe All Change, the final Cazalet novel, read by Penelope Wilton, should be next?

I bought a copy of Zola’s Thérèse Raquin the other day & I was reminded of the excellent TV adaptation from the late 70s with Kate Nelligan & Brian Cox. Alan Rickman is also in this production, which I’d forgotten although I probably didn’t know who he was back then! It’s on YouTube here if you haven’t seen it & the quality of the picture looks very good.

I’m not a big fan of those publishing projects where writers “update” the work of Jane Austen or Shakespeare. However, I’m intrigued by Margaret Atwood’s take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Hag-Seed will be published next month & here Atwood explains her ideas on the play & her version of it.

I love photos of bookshops & here are some gorgeous photos of the Paris bookshop Shakespeare and Company along with Jeanette Winterson’s Preface for a new book about the shop.

Finally, Scott from Furrowed Middlebrow has heroically made all of our bookish shopping sprees look positively anaemic compared to this majestic haul of 96 books from the Friends of the San Francisco Library book sale. The publication date for his new imprint, Furrowed Middlebrow Books, is fast approaching & I’ve already started reading A Chelsea Concerto by Frances Faviell.

16 thoughts on “Literary Ramblings

  1. Don't you just go green looking at Scotts haul! And all those DE Stevensons they are like gold dust here.

    If I had to choose from your tbr 5 I would pick the Susan Scarlett as it's probably a quick easy enjoyable read read if it's anything like Summer Pudding.


  2. I love your TBR and recommend the Michael Gilbert book. I envy your Noel Streatfeild/Susan Scarlet and am happy to say that I have a copy of Mary Stewart's novella (in transit: I mailed home a bunch of books on my recent vacation). You deserve your holiday and I hope every day will be wonderful!


  3. Poppies for England is perfect undemanding holiday reading, but then so is the Wodehouse. Whichever ones you chose to read, enjoy! I'm still trying to figure out my picks for the 1947 club. I might revisit a D.E. Stevenson.

    Have a wonderful holiday! Three weeks off sounds fantastic.


  4. Happy holidays! I've just listened to EJH on Desert Island Discs from back in the 1990s which was very interesting. Looking forward to the biography as well as the 1947 books.


  5. I have only just discovered this wonderful blog. Thank you! Reading down your list of favourite authors I see that almost every single one of mine is included … and I love all the comments from followers too. It's very happy-making to know there are lots of kindred spirits out there! (a phrase borrowed from L M Montgomery – one of the few much-loved authors not on your list, is she too whimsical perhaps?) I was especially pleased to see Dorothy Whipple's name. It's fifty years this month since she died and I never stop being grateful to Persephone Books for rescuing her from oblivion. I've just posted a piece about Someone at a Distance on Tanya van Hasselt


  6. Thank you Tanya. I've been lucky to find a lot of kindred spirits through the blog which has been lovely. LMM should probably be in my Favourite Authors list although I haven't read a lot of her fiction. I loved her diaries though. I seem to have lost my Favourite Blogs list (Blogger seems to have deleted it) so I'll be spending the weekend reconstructing it, I think. I'm looking forward to having a look at your blog, especially the Dorothy Whipple post. We have a lot to thank Nicola & Persephone Books for. I've discovered so many new authors & PB's success has led to the reprinting of so many other unjustly forgotten authors. Of course all that rediscovery leads to overflowing tbr shelves but I'm not complaining!


  7. A belated thanks, Lyn, for sharing my book sale post with all your readers! Now everyone knows my utter lack of self control… Re your reading needs, if you're feeling a little worn down, Serendipity Shop is an excellent choice. I read it while jetlagged on our last trip and it was perfect for that–light, effortless, but very enjoyable and entertaining.


  8. You're welcome, Scott. We all need to feel better about our constant book buying! Serendipity Shop does sound light & relaxing & I may need that when I finish Chelsea Concerto which is compelling but could never be described as relaxing reading.


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