Literary London with Patricia Duncker

This year, London Book & Screen Week will be taking place from 13th – 19th April, uniting readers, writers, gamers and film fans, with hundreds of events taking place across the capital that celebrate stories and the written word in all its forms. 

You’ll find lots of events are listed at:  http://www.londonbookandscreenweek.co.uk/

It’s at time like this that I wish that Cornwall wasn’t quite so far from London; but I’m lucky that books, films and art can transport me back there, without having to worry about practicalities, and without having to stay at his particular point in history ….

I mention this because last week I was invited to take part in a blog tour.

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To celebrate this year’s London Book and Screen Week, five top authors will be revealing their favourite books about London on seven top blogs over seven days, as part of the first ever ‘London Book & Screen Week Blog Tour’ .

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And so I am pleased to present Patricia Duncker, the author of six wonderfully diverse novels, two volumes of short stories, and many literary essays and scholarly articles.

I’m reading her most recent novel Sophie and the Sibyl, published by Bloomsbury this week. It’s inspired by a chapter in the life of George Eliot, it’s intriguing, and it makes me very interested to know what she has to say.

To celebrate London Book & Screen Week, Patricia will be interviewed by John Mullan as part of a Bloomsbury Book Club event on Wednesday 15th April. Tickets are available here.

And today we have her thoughts about books and London:

My top 3 books about/set in London

 1. Charles Dickens Bleak House (1853)

The very first word of this grandiose polemic on the condition of England is London. The scene opens in the court of Chancery and the action concentrates on the machinations of the lawyers in Lincoln’s Inn. Mr. Tulkinghorn is the evil, prying spider, uncovering family secrets.  My sister-in-law is a barrister. She tells me all the lawyers love this book.

2. Bram Stoker Dracula  (1897)

The fabulous Count starts buying up real estate in Purfleet even before he comes to London. Van Helsing arrives at Liverpool Street and dramatic vampire action takes place on Hampstead Heath. London is the prize and the night streets are unsafe when the Count leaves his coffin.

 3. Michèle Roberts Paper Houses (2007)

This memoir of the 1970s and beyond is a portrait of the artist as a witty, radical young woman. Roberts has written many of her novels in and about London. Here she tells her story of art and life through the locations where she lived and wrote. No one else captures in such sensual prose the smells, sounds and textures of the London streets where she walks.

 

My top place to read in London

The café nearest to the Primrose Hill bookshop in Regent’s Park Road. I buy a heap of books at the shop and then retire to the café to gloat over my purchases!

 My favourite on screen/video game book adaptation

My fave book to screen adaptation is Francis Ford Coppola’s 1990s version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula with Gary Oldman as the Count. It has the immortal line ‘ I have crossed oceans of time to be with you’,  and catches the theatrical qualities of the Gothic.

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And now I’m thinking about that …..  Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill ….. conjured up by Dickens at the start of Bleak House again.

So please distract me – tell me which book, which film, which anything at all, transports you to London!

What do I have on the shelves for Reading Ireland Month?

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My first thought when I read about Reading Ireland Month was that it would would beautifully with the TBR Dare, because I know that there are Irish books to be read on the Virago bookcase and at various other places around the house.

There are more than I’ll read in March, but I do like to make a list and to have choices.

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The first name that came to mind was Molly Keane. I love her writing but there’s something about her books – a sharpness, a distinctiveness, I don’t know quite what to call it – that makes me inclined to space them out. I haven’t read one for a while though and I think it’s time. Maybe ‘Mad Puppetstown’:

In the early 1900s Easter lives with her Aunt Brenda, her cousins Evelyn and Basil, and their Great-Aunt Dicksie in an imposing country house, Puppetstown, which casts a spell over their childhood. Here they spend carefree days taunting the peacocks in Aunt Dicksie’s garden, shooting snipe and woodcock, hunting, and playing with Patsy, the boot boy. But the house and its inhabitants are not immune to the “little, bitter, forgotten war in Ireland” and when it finally touches their lives all flee to England. All except Aunt Dicksie who refuses to surrender Puppetstown’s magic. She stays on with Patsy, living in a corner of the deserted house while in England the cousins are groomed for Society. But for two of them those wild, lost Puppetstown years cannot be forgotten ….

* * * * * * *

 Mary Lavin is best known for her short stories, but she also wrote novels and I have two in my Virago Collection. I most like the look of ‘The House on Clewe Street’

Theodore Coniffe, austere property owner in Castlerampart, looks forward to the birth of an heir when his third and youngest daughter, Lily marries. A son is born, but the father, Cornelius Galloway, is a spendthrift who dies young, leaving the child to the care of Lily and her sisters, Theresa and Sara. Their love for Gabriel is limited by religious propriety and his youth is both protected and restrained. At the age of twenty-one Gabriel runs away to Dublin with Onny, the kitchen maid. Here they tumble into bohemian life. But Gabriel is ill-suited to this makeshift freedom and finds the values of Clewe Street impossible to evade.

* * * * * * *

I absolutely love Kate O’Brien‘s writing and I have read all of her books that were published by Virago, but I have one other sitting on a shelf on the next bookcase along. ‘Of Music and Silence’ looks lovely, I’ve been saving it, but I think its moment might have come.

It is the story of two penniless Irish girls who are sent to the Continent to become opera singers. Lovely, vulnerable, unaware, they are first flung into a regime of rigorous training and then released into the fantastic, exacting world of Italian opera in the 1880’s, with its dedicated striving, love, jealousy and passionate friendships.To Clare and Rose, student life and their fellow-students at the pension are as great a revelation after the green quiet of Ireland as the sun-drenched atmosphere of Rome, the picnics on the Campagna, moonlit suppers in trattorie above the sea.Thepension is followed by some of the world’s great opera stages as the girls sing their way upwards towards prima donna roles and fame. And alongside their development as singers the author traces compassionately their development as women, loving and desired, in this forcing house of emotions, where all are obsessed by song, and love is heightened by the spendour of music.

* * * * * * *

I found Tana French on the same bookcase, on the next shelf down. I’ve read her first three novels, and I’ve been meaning to read her fourth – ‘Broken Harbour’ – for quite some time.

In the aftermath of a brutal attack that left a woman in intensive care and her husband and young children dead, brash cop Scorcher Kennedy and his rookie partner, Richie, struggle with perplexing clues and Scorcher’s haunting memories of a shattering incident from his childhood …

* * * * * * *.

The Collegians by Gerard Griffin is on the same shelf, and it’s on my Classics Club list.

A romantic melodrama set in rural Ireland in the early 19th century, this complex story of love, rivalry, secrecy, and betrayal, based on a real case of 1829, was one of the most successful thrillers of its day

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I’m a little wary of ‘There Were No Windows’ by Norah Hoult, which I know is waiting on the Persephone bookshelf, because it deals with ageing and dementia and the stage of life where my mother is now. But there’s a voice in my head saying that maybe that’s why I should read in now.

Set in London during the blackouts of the Blitz, this 1944 novel describes the last months of Claire Temple, a once-glamorous woman who is now losing her memory. Divided into three ‘acts’, beginning with Claire’s own experience of her dementia, the rest of the book is told through the characters who work for or visit her. As Claire struggles with her memory, the reader must reconstruct not only her life but her identity.

* * * * * * *

‘The Wild Geese’ by Bridget Boland is another book I could pluck from the Virago shelves. It’s an epistolary novel – which is always a good thing – and it touches on an aspect of Irish history that I don’t know much about.

In eighteenth-century Ireland, Catholics are forced to practice their religion in secret, they cannot buy or improve their land, nor enter any profession or trade. In this climate a lively underground traffic develops between Ireland and Europe–young boys are smuggled to Catholic schools abroad and many eventually join the armies of foreign princes. If they return to their native land, these “Wild Geese” are in danger of their lives. Through the story of the Kinross family and their letters to one another, we learn of these desperate times: of Brendan’s struggle to maintain the Kinross estate; of the dangers Maurice faces as an outlaw in his own country, and of their sister Catherine and her love for Roderick O’Byrne, a soldier recruiting for Irish regiments in France.

* * * * * * *

Maura Laverty is another author I discovered through Virago. I’ve read the two of her novels that Virago published, but I have another novel that hasn’t been reprinted that I found in a second-hand bookshop a year or two ago. ‘Alone We Embark’ is another book I’ve been saving. It’s a plain little hardback, I haven’t been able to find out much about it, but I loved the two books I’ve read more than enough to take this one on trust.

* * * * * * *

I’ve been reading to read Somerville & Ross for ages, and I have just one of their books in the house, somewhere upstairs – ‘In The Vine Country.’

The Irish pair tour Medoc country at the time of the vine harvest. During their stay they dance with the harvesters, drink freshly trodden wine, stay in a barn with dubious bedlinen and visit a grand chateau.

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Also upstairs is a proof copy of ‘Black Lake’ by Johanna Lane. I started reading last year, but when the story went in a quite different direction to the one I expected I put it down again. I meant to pick it up again, and I really don’t know why I haven’t.

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The last book I bought in December, before the TBR Dare began, was a newly reissued Victorian novel – ‘The Quest for Fame’ by Charlotte Riddell  – it’s waiting on my bedside table.

After the death of her mother and the loss of her family’s fortune, it falls to young Glen Westley to do what she can for herself and her ailing father. Determined to make her own way in the world, she moves from the West of Ireland to London and works tirelessly to succeed as a novelist, despite the limitations her sex and nationality represent. Having struggled so long for fame, it is at last thrust upon her – but fame always comes at a price.
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There’s just one more book that I can think of, and it’s in the virtual TBR. I read Niall Williams’ early novels and I liked them, but I haven’t read anything of his for years. When I save ‘The History of Rain’ on the Man Booker long-list I thought it was time to try his work again.

Bedbound in her attic room beneath the falling rain, in the margin between this world and the next, Plain Ruth Swain is in search of her father. To find him, enfolded in the mystery of ancestors, Ruthie must first trace the jutting jaw lines, narrow faces and gleamy skin of the Swains from the restless Reverend Swain, her great-grandfather, to grandfather Abraham, to her father, Virgil – via pole-vaulting, leaping salmon, poetry and the three thousand, nine hundred and fifty eight books piled high beneath the two skylights in her room, beneath the rain.

* * * * * * *

That’s pretty much all I can find, and that’s probably the right number of books form me to have a choice and not waste good reading time dithering.

Are there any you would recommend – or any that you’re particularly curious about?

And who are your favourite Irish authors? What are your favourite Irish books?

Reading England

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o at Behold the Stars always has such lovely ideas and this was one I just couldn’t resist

The Goal:

To travel England by reading, and read at least one book per however many counties of England you decide to read.

The Rules:

  • This challenge begins on the 1st January 2015 and ends on 31st December 2015, but of course if you really get into it then keep it going 🙂
  • You can sign up any time between now and the end of 2015. Only books read after 1st January 2015 count, though.
  • Choose a level (below), but do not feel obliged to pick your books or even your counties beforehand.
  • Because this is a classics blog, I’d encourage people to read classic novels, but how you define classics is up to you.
  • You are not limited to English authors. Henry James, for example, is American but his novel The Turn of the Screw is set in Essex, and so he counts for the challenge.
  • It would be grand if you blogged about the books you read for each county but you don’t have to. If you do, you don’t have to feel obliged to give any information about the county in general other than, maybe, “This is my review of x which is set in the county of x“. You could also include a description of the landscape in your posts, but again you don’t have to.
  • You do not have to read the books in their original language, translations are accepted (I only read in English so I would never dream of making other people read in their second language!)
  • Audio books, Kindles, and whatnot are accepted too.
  • Poetry, plays, biographies, and autobiographies count as well as novels.
 The Levels:
  • Level one: 1 – 3 counties
  • Level two: 4 – 6 counties
  • Level three: 7 – 12 counties
  • Level four: 12 + counties

I thought that making a list would be easy, but it was actually quite tricky. I knew that I’d added a few more books in translation to my Classics Club list, but I discovered that I had more books than I realised set in the wider world, books from Scotland Wales and Ireland, books set in fictional places, books where I couldn’t quite determine the setting with reading too much …..

But I did find enough books to create an itinerary:

Buckinghamshire
Dusty Answer by Rosamund Lehman

Cumbria
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

Devon
Rachel Ray by Anthony Trollope

Dorset
Return I Dare Not! by Margaret Kennedy

Lancashire
Crusoe’s Daughter by Jane Gardem

Leicestershire
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

Oxfordshire
Crampton Hodnet by Barbara Pym

Norfolk
Armadale by Wilkie Collins

Shropshire
Gone to Earth by Mary Webb

Somerset
Lise Lillywhite by Margaret Kennedy

Staffordshire
Mr and Mrs Pennington by Francis Brett-Young

Suffolk
The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

Worcestershire
The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall

Yorkshire
The Beth Book by Sarah Grand

My real route may be a little different, but I like to have a list of possibilities.

There’s just one more thing I must mention.

If you’re looking for a book for my county – Cornwall – do take a look at Wilkie Collins’ wonderful travelogue ‘Rambles Beyond Railways.’ It’s as readable as anything he wrote, and I could happily read it over and over again …..

A New Design for a Reading Life

I have read many wonderful books this year, but something has gone wrong.

tumblr_lwvmyjdxHY1qz71rio1_400I’m aware that I’ve read less then I used to, and less than I might, and that I’ve been spending far too much time working on plans and lists, and hunting down books.

I will always love a project, I will always follow the links from book to book, but I need to do things differently so that my plans and projects are working for me, making sure I continue to read the authors I love, guiding me towards new possibilities, and making sure that my reading time really is reading time.

I’ve been through a lot of ideas over the last few weeks and now I think I have a plan.

* * * * * * *

I’ve ditched my 100 Years of Books project.

Reading the 20th Century was lovely – and I don’t rule out doing it again one day – but the 1850  to 1949 century wasn’t working.  Huge numbers of books congregated in some years and other years offered nothing at all. And suddenly every book that called me was either too late or too early.

So out it goes.

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My Non Fiction Adventure stays, a list of books that I want to read and I’m allowed to alter.

I’ve read almost entirely fiction – and knitting books – this year , and the non fiction is piling up.

* * * * * * *

I’ve rebuilt my Classics Club list, around the books I’ve read since the club began. The books that were there just because I ought to read them and the books that I’ve lost interest in have gone; and the books I forgot and the books that I’ve discovered since I made my first list have arrived.

It’s still one book for author so that The Classics Club can introduce – and re-introduce – me to as many authors as possible.

I’ll follow up the ones I love; I’ve been doing that since the start.

I think – I hope – that these are the right classics for me:

  1. The Female Quixote by Charlotte Lennox (1752)
  2. Emmeline by Charlotte Turner Smith (1788)
  3. A Sicilian Romance by Ann Radcliffe (1790)
  4. A Simple Story by Elizabeth Inchbold (1791)
  5. The Coquette by Hannah W Foster (1797)
  6. The Antiquary by Sir Walter Scott (1816)
  7. The Collegians by Gerard Griffin (1829)
  8. Helen by Maria Edgworth (1834)
  9. Old Goriot by Honore Balzac (1835)
  10. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (1844)
  11. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte (1848)
  12. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery (1848)
  13. The Morgesons by Elizabeth Stoddard (1852)
  14. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (1852)
  15. Bleak House by Charles Dickens (1853)
  16. Villette by Charlotte Bronte (1853)
  17. The Daisy Chain by Charlotte M Yonge (1856)
  18. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (1857)
  19. Scenes of Clerical Life by George Eliot (1857)
  20. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (1859)
  21.  Cloister and the Hearth by Charles Reade (1861)
  22. Henry Dunbar by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1864)
  23. Uncle Silas by Sheridan Le Fanu (1864)
  24. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (1865)
  25. The Fortunes of the Rougons by Emile Zola (1871)
  26. Hester by Margaret Oliphant (1873)
  27. The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope (1875)
  28. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877)
  29. The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katherine Green (1878)
  30. Moths by Ouida (1880)
  31. Belinda by Rhoda Broughton (1883)
  32. Bel-ami by Guy Maupassant (1885)
  33. La Regenta by Leopoldo Atlas (1885)
  34. Thyrza by George Gissing (1887)
  35. Eline Vere by Louis Couperus (1889)
  36. The Real Charlotte by Somerville & Ross(1889)
  37. Esther Waters by George Moore (1894)
  38. Effi Briest by Theodor Fontane (1896)
  39. The Beth Book by Sarah Grand (1897)
  40. Elizabeth and her German Garden by Elizabeth Von Arnim (1898)
  41. Red Pottage by Mary Cholmondeley (1899)
  42. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (1905)
  43. Fidelity by Susan Glaspell (1915)
  44. Cullum by E Arnot Robinson (1920)
  45. Kristin Lavransdattir by Sigrid Undset (1922)
  46. Anderby Wold by Winifred Holtby (1923)
  47. The Home-maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1924)
  48. The Constant Nymph by Margaret Kennedy (1924)
  49. The Painted Veil by W Somerset Maugham (1925)
  50. The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall (1928)
  51. Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sea by Patrick Hamilton (1935)
  52. The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann (1936)
  53. Mariana by Monica Dickens (1940)
  54. Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden (1947)
  55. One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes (1947)
  56. The Far Cry by Emma Smith (1949)
  57. The World My Wilderness by Rose Macaulay (1950)
  58. A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Tayor (1951)
  59. Fenny by Lettice Cooper (1953)
  60. The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West (1957)

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I ‘m working out the details of  a brand new project too.

There is no list – this time the project builds the list.

It’s called The Remember This Book List and I want it to be a home for the lesser-known older books that I love and that I don’t want to be forgotten.

I think I know how it will work, but I want to make sure before I explain.

* * * * * * *

Suggestions would be very welcome. And please do tell me about your own plans, and how you organise your reading life.

10% Report: 100 Years of Books

100 Years of Books

It’s taken me a very long time to get to this second report for my 100 Years of Books project.

That’s partly because I’ve read a couple of big books that were published before 1850 – The Count of Monte Cristo and Vanity Fair – and partly because I ‘ve been going back to authors – Margaret Kennedy, Anthony Trollope, Angela Thirkell – and I want 100 authors for my 100 years so each author only gets one appearance.

And it’s also because I began to have doubts about whether this was the right project. Because I feel differently about the two centuries I’ve brought together. The twentieth century is home and the nineteenth century is somewhere I love to visit, so I thought that maybe I should have two projects, one short term and one long term.

That thinking distracted me for a while, but in the end I decided I would stick to the original plan; to read the books I picked up naturally and to read the books that I didn’t pick up quite as naturally but really appreciated when I did.

I may struggle to fill some of the earlier years but …. I think I have to try.

So, my first report is here, and this is the second:

1866 – Griffith Gaunt by Charles Reade

“Charles Reade was once a very popular author; and, though his historical novel ‘The Cloister and the Hearth’ was his most acclaimed work, ‘Griffith Gaunt’ was his personal favourite. You might call it a sensation novel, and it is a sensation novel, but its much more than that. This is a book that grows from a melodrama, into a psychological novel, into a courtroom drama ….”

1878 – Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

“Listening highlighted the quality of the storytelling, the characters, the prose, and the wonderful, wonderful rhythm of the words. That was something I would never have picked up if I’d read from a book. It didn’t take long at all for me to be smitten ….”

1911 – Mr Perrin and Mr Traill by Hugh Walpole

“Mr Traill is a new master, in his first teaching post. He knows that it is first step on the ladder. He is young, handsome, athletic, charming, and the boys love him. But he is oblivious to the tension in the air, and he is incredulous when one of his colleagues warns him to get out as soon as he can ….”

1923 – None-Go-By by Mrs Alfred Sidgwick

“I found myself listening  to Mary Clarendon, as she spoke about what happened  when she and her husband moved from London to a Cornish cottage they named ‘None-Go-By’, and it’s lovely because her voice is so real, open and honest; and because she catches people and their relationships so beautifully.”

1925 – The Mother’s Recompense by Edith Wharton

“It was not easy to feel sympathy for a woman who had abandoned her daughter, but I did. Because Kate Clephane was a real, complex, human being, and she was as interesting as any woman I have met in the pages of an Edith Wharton novel. “

1932 – Three Fevers by Leo Walmsley

“I learned recently that Leo Walmsley’s father, Ulric, studied art in Newlyn under Stanhope Forbes. and that pointed me to the best way that I could explain why this book is so readable: Leo Walmsley captured his fishing community in words every bit as well as Stanhope Forbes and his contemporaries captured the fishing community in Newlyn.”

1934 – Wild Strawberries by Angela Thirkell

“‘Wild Strawberries’ is the story of one aristocratic English family and one glorious summer in between the wars. And it is set in Angela Thirkell’s Barchestershire, a place where every single person, however high or low their situation, is happy and accepting of their situation and the role they are to play. You need to be able to accept that – and I can understand that some might not be able to – but I can, and if you can too, you will find much to enjoy in this light, bright and sparkling social comedy ….”

1939 – Nine Pounds of Luggage by Maud Parrish

“When I read the extract from her book I fell in love with her voice; it was the voice of a woman talking openly and honestly to a friend, a woman with lots and lots of great stories to tell. I so wanted to read everything that she had written, but there was not a copy of her book to be had. Until I found that I could borrow a copy from Open Library ….”

 1940 – The English Air by D E Stevenson

“The story played out beautifully, moving between Franz and his English family. It grew naturally from the characters I had come to like and to care about; it caught the times, the early days of the war, perfectly; and though it wasn’t entirely predictable it was entirely right. Even better – maybe because ‘The English Air’ was written and published while was still raging – the ending was uncontrived and natural. And that’s not always the case with D E Stevenson’s novel ….”

 1941 – The Castle on the Hill by Elizabeth Goudge

“This is a story of the darkest days of World War II, when only England stood against the Nazi forces advancing across Europe, and when the fear of invasion was very, very real. Elizabeth Goudge lived on the south coast of England then, close to the eye of the storm, it was during the war that she wrote this book, and it was clear as I read that she knew and she that understood ….”

And that’s it! It shouldn’t be such a wait for the next report ….

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books of the Year

I never seen to manage to catch themes and pull together lists for ‘Top Ten Tuesday’s at The Broke and the Bookish) at the right time, but this week I’ve finally done it!

Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

I had to eliminate re-reads to have a hope of getting down to just ten books, and even after that I had to make some hard decisions, but I think I’ve done it

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The Visitors by Rebecca Mascull

A lovely and unusual coming of age story, set in Victorian England.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

I was captivated by the wonderfully wrought story, of an England that had been rebuilt with have the history and presence of magic quite beautifully woven in.

The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E M Delafield

I was nervous about meeting the Provincial Lady, but when I did I found her such wonderful company that I quite forgot my shyness.

The English Air by D E Stevenson

This story of English and German cousins, set as World War II begins, shows D E Stevenson’s strengths and has almost none of her weaknesses.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Storytelling so rich, so profound, that it held me from start to finish of a ridiculously long book.

The Castle on the Hill by Elizabeth Goudge

A slow and thoughtful story of lives reshaped by war, and of the importance of having a place in the world, told with love and understanding.

Griffith Gaunt by Charles Reade

A Victorian novel that really should be better known: it grows from a melodrama, into a psychological novel, into a courtroom drama ….

An Appetite for Violets by Martine Bailey

A lovely mix of history, mystery, food and travel

Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart

I love Mary Stewart and I love governess stories, so this was heaven.

The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters by Michelle Lovric

My book of the year to date. It took my breath away ….

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Which books would you pick out as your favourites this year?

Spinnng With the Classics Club

The Classics Club Spin is beginning again.

      • Pick twenty unread books from your list.
      • Number them from one to twenty.
      • On Monday a number will be drawn.
      • That’s your book, to read in February and March.

Should I do it?

whirlingdervishesegypt

I wasn’t sure – I’ve had mixed luck and mixed success with past spins – but I think it’s time to try again.

There’s not a book on my Classics Club list I don’t want to read, though I have veered away from just a few that I know aren’t the right books for right now.

So here are my twenty books for the spin:

Five books from five countries:

1. The Coquette by Hannah W Foster (1797)
2. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (1814)
3. The Collegians by Gerard Griffin (1829)
4. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (1857)
5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877)

*****

Five books from the Virago Modern Classics List:

6. The Beth Book by Sarah Grand (1897)
7. Red Pottage by Mary Cholmondeley (1899)
8. A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Tayor (1951)
9. Fenny by Lettice Cooper (1953)
10. The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West (1957)

*****

Five from my ‘Filling in the Gaps’ list:

11. Bleak House by Charles Dickens (1851)
12. The Odd Women by George Gissing (1893)
13. The Shutter of Snow by Emily Holmes Colman (1930)
14. One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes (1947)
15 . The Far Cry by Emma Smith (1949)

*****

Five that I haven’t managed to fit into a category:

16. Old Goriot by Honore Balzac (1835)
17. The Count of Monte Christo by Alexandre Dumas (1844)
18. Esther Waters by George Moore (1894)
19. Fidelity by Susan Glaspell (1915)
20. Black Narcissus by Rumer Godden (1947)

*****

And now I must wait and see which number comes up on Monday …