Literary Ramblings

suemysteries

I’ve started a ridiculous number of books in the last few days. Usually I have two or maybe three books on the go at once – a hardback at home, a paperback or e-Book for my lunchtime walk & coffee & an audio book. I’m about to begin The Mysteries of Paris by Eugene Sue with my 19th Century Bookgroup. This is a massive tome (almost 1400 pages in the new Penguin translation) that is going to take us two months to read.

stewartmoonspinners

Then, my new-found interest in ancient history led me to a reprint of Dilys Powell’s book, The Villa Ariadne, about Crete, the discovery by Arthur Evans of the site of Knossos & the WWII history of the island. Thinking about Crete reminded me of The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart, which I haven’t read for years.

poulsonmurder

I enjoyed Christine Poulson’s new book, Deep Water, so much that I’ve downloaded the eBook of her first Cassandra James novel, Murder is Academic which I read when it was first published. I’ve only read the first chapter but already I’m surprised by the differences between life then & now. Cassandra discovers the body of colleague Margaret Joplin in her swimming pool with the papers she was marking strewn around the garden & in the water. I was surprised that the college is so horrified by the destruction of the papers as they seem to be the only copies & the students won’t get their degrees if they’re destroyed. Nowadays everything’s on a USB if not in the Cloud. The book was only published in 2002 so hardly decades ago but how life has changed.

harrisconclave

I also read a sample of Conclave by Robert Harris, after reading an enthusiastic review by Mrs Miniver’s Daughter. I haven’t read any Robert Harris for years – Enigma was probably the last one – & I was drawn in immediately so I downloaded the eBook as I couldn’t wait to borrow a copy from work.

peckbewildering

I’m also reading & enjoying Winifred Peck’s Bewildering Cares, one of the Furrowed Middlebrow titles from Dean Street Press.

stevensonweir

I’m between audio books at the moment, having just finished listening to An Autobiography by Agatha Christie, a book I read over 30 years ago & enjoyed again. I was a little unsure about Judith Boyd’s decision to narrate the book in the voice of an old lady. Christie was in her 70s when she wrote the book but I found the choice a little off-putting. However, I got used to it & enjoyed all 28-odd hours of it. Since then, I’ve been listening to podcasts (mostly political ones after the events of last week) but one of the non-political ones was this Book Club program on Kidnapped that inspired me to pick up a Stevenson novel, Weir of Hermiston. I read The Master of Ballantrae a few years ago but I’ve never read this final novel.

rappaportcaught

Speaking of podcasts, here is a fascinating discussion with Helen Rappaport & Catherine Merridale on their new books about the Russian Revolution.

I was also very excited to discover that the Dorothy L Sayers Society have allowed access to The Lord Peter Wimsey Companion. I’ve just reread the four Harriet Vane novels & it was wonderful to be able to look up all those quotes & obscure references that Sayers took such delight in. The Companion has been out of print for some time so it’s very kind of the Society to make it available to everyone. You do need to register but it’s free. The details are on the Society’s homepage.

A few other bits & pieces I’ve come across in the last couple of weeks. For fans of L M Montgomery, are you an Anne Shirley or an Emily Starr?

phoebexmas14

An article on cats in bookstores.

A new T-shirt from Out of Print which I just had to have.

Mimi Matthews – a blog I’ve just discovered with the most beautiful images, mostly Victorian fashion & painting.

Finally, Open Road Media are making Rumer Godden’s novels available as eBooks. She’s one of my favourite authors so it’s good to have her books available.

16 thoughts on “Literary Ramblings

  1. The Mysteries of Paris is definitely not a book for me to read in bed. Could get a broken nose from falling asleep and dropping that tome on my face, lol.

    Hadn’t though of Rumer Godden in years, but enjoyed a number of her books in the past. Thanks for the tip.

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  2. Mysteries was outstanding, in the sense that i remember parts of it very well, especially the episode in the cellar with the schoolmaster… my copy of Wandering Jew is lurking just out of sight on my table, daring and taunting me to open the cover; so far i’ve resisted, but i feel my resolve weakening…

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    • I’ve nearly finished reading the first week’s instalment of Mysteries & it’s very good. Not great literature but a real page turner. I’m longing to get back to Conclave & Academic Mystery next.

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  3. I love the Moonspinners. It is one of my comfort books. I didn’t know about The Lord Peter Wimsey Companion. That is dangerous knowledge. I have a feeling I can lose too many hours to it but that is not going to stop me from checking it out.

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  4. I recently began reading The Mysteries of Paris and I love it! What a treat to find something like this that I had not even heard of before – or it hadn’t registered as something I would want to read before. Now I’m finding I can dip into it every few days and since I’ve taken notes as I go along I don’t have too much trouble keeping track of who is using which nom de guerre. Much fun.

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    • Thanks, Kat. I’m about to start Part III of the Mysteries & am enjoying it very much so far. Not great literature but definitely plot-driven & I can see how addictive it would have been to newspaper serial readers.

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