A Century of Reading Possibilities

I was going to write about a particular book – my 1960 entry for Reading the 20th Century – but other books and authors are floating around my head.

Lots of lovely possibilities for other years, and so I am going to write a little about some of them instead.

I have meant to read Elizabeth Goodge for ages and ages. This will be the year, and I have a copy of The Bird in the Tree, from 1940, on hand. It looks lovely.

I must confess that though I have read many of Nancy Mitford‘s lesser known works I have never read The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate. So that should take care of 1945 and 1949.

I spotted a lovely copy of The Wings of the Dove by Henry James. I picked it up for a look and now I am so tempted to read it all over again. I love his writing. And it would cover 1902

I discovered Mary Stewart last year and I have a lovely selection of her books on hand. Possibilities from the 1950s right through to the 1990s.

I love Margery Sharp, and I have a lovely hardback edition of The Gipsy in the Parlour waiting for me. It dates from 1954. And a few other possibilities for other years …

I began The Lighthearted Quest by Ann Bridge last year. I loved it, but it was the wrong moment and so I put it to one side. So now it’s ready to fill the 1956 slot.

Something similar happened with It’s Only The Sister by Angela Du Maurier. her style is very chatty and there’s a wealth of wonderful detail, so again I need to find the right moment. And when that moment comes I have a book for 1951.

And I’m still working my way through the books of Leo Walmsley – next up is The Happy Ending from 1967.

I’ve collected a number of books by Beverley Nichols, and I plan to start reading with the first of his books about homes and gardens – Down The Garden Path from 1932.

I remember watching a wonderful television of Fame is the Spur by Howard Spring years ago. I loved the book too, but then maybe he fell out of fashion because I didn’t spot any more of his books. Last year though I discovered that he had Cornish connections, and I found a copy of I Met a Lady on ReadItSwapIt. So that’s a possibility for 1961.

And then there’s Michael Innes. I read his first Inspector Appleby novel – Death at the President’s Lodging – last year, and this year I plan to read the second. I can’t resist the title – Hamlet Revenge! It was published for the first time in 1937.

I have a few more possibilities for the 1950s and 1960s in my collection of green Penguins. Authors like Jean Potts, Helen McCloy, Mary Fitt, Holly Roth

I have never read anything by W Somerset Maugham, but I plan to change that this year. I’m drawn to The Painted Veil, from 1925.

A couple of years ago I fell in love with Joanna Godden by Sheila Kaye-Smith. Since then I’ve picked up a few of her out of print titles, and that gives me possibilities for the 1910s and 1920s.

I have a lovely copy of The Book of Months by E F Benson waiting for me. It dates back to 1903.

And when I was perusing the library catalogue a while back I spotted a couple of out of print titles by Dodie Smith. The New Moon With The Old, from 1963, is now on my bedside table.

Potterism by Rose Macaulay has been sitting there too, for quite some time. I must read it, and it will cover 1920.

I want to read Muriel Spark and Barbara Pym too, but I haven’t decided which books. I may have to check which years need to be filled …

The early part of the century shouldn’t be too difficult, but I’m less sure about the last couple of decades.

But I still have shelves to scan and lists to peruse.

And suggestions would be very welcome!

5 responses

  1. Lots of wonderful ideas and so many wonderful authors! How exciting that you still have the delights of The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate to discover. I love the idea of this project but the daunting challenge of finding things to read from the 1970s onwards is what has been stopping me from joining in (so far). But some of my favourite comfort read authors (RF Delderfield, Eva Ibbotson, Elizabeth Peters, Laurie R King) published during those challenging decades so maybe I wouldn’t find it quite as tough as I’d thought…

  2. Not inspired to read Pym’s most famous and very good Excellent Women? I don’t have a Sparks to recommend but I’m sure I have read something.
    This post reminds me that I signed up for a challenge in 2011 to read a book published in the year of my birth. I had forgotten.

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