Thursday, September 1, 2011

Maiden Sighs and Screaming

It is truly a wonderful thing to have a peaceful mind, a couple of hours of spare time and a good book.  The good book part is easy but the other two haven't been attainable for weeks now and my reading has suffered.  Life gets like that every now and then, that's just the way it is. 

Now it may be total madness to join a group to read Persuasion when I'll be flitting about London but I'm going to give it a try.  After all, one has to have a book to whip out of one's bag while waiting for the tube to arrive at the station platform.  Or better still, while enjoying something sweet with a cup of tea on a park bench while pretending I'm a local.

Rachel's offer to anyone interested in joining her read this wonderful book was also the inspiration I needed to finally make the pilgrimage to the Jane Austen museum in Chawton (I will not spend a fortune in the gift shop, I will not spend a fortune in the gift shop).  How did Jane manage to write exquisite novels in that house with everyone bustling about?  I've been interrupted at least ten times from everyone in my family, including the dog, during the past hour!

Another place of interest on my itinerary has me really excited about this year's R.I.P. challenge hosted by Carl.  Ever since reading Her Fearful Symmetry in 2009, I've been desperate to visit Highgate Cemetery.  The book did a pretty good job of navigating my imagination through the pathways and tombstones but I want to know what it feels like to be there.  And not that I'm a scaredy cat or anything but the fact I'll be surrounded by others in a tour group does hold some appeal.

Earlier this year I picked up a copy of Turn of the Screw with this challenge in mind but perhaps a reread of Niffenegger's book will win out.  Another option is The Woman in Black which I may end up taking The Heiress to see if we need something to do on a rainy evening.

Sometimes a trip can be the inspiration needed to pull a certain book from a shelf but in this case it's the other way around.  No doubt there will be at least one night spent having a nightmare about ghosts and Captain Wentworth.  I can't wait!


  1. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a reader in possession of the good fortune to visit Chawton should spend a fortune in the gift shop. {I have a Jane bookmark from my visit to the National Portrait Gallery...)
    I just read Persuasion (for the first time!) last December, but I think Rachel's's a perfect autumn book. And I joined in RIP last year and read some wonderful and surprising things, so I'm looking forward to it again. I loved Her Fearful Symmetry...I hope you'll share some pictures of Highgate!
    Have fun!

  2. I've started Persuasion early and it is a perfect read whilst waiting for the tube... Happy travelling.

  3. You'll love the cemetery. And I'm so jealous of your visit to Jane Austen's house because I've never been. I really need a week's holiday here to focus my mind!

  4. Oh Darlene you are in for such a treat at Highgate! Can't wait to hear your thoughts once you've been. And I'm excited for you reading Persuasion while you're in England - plenty of park benches under autumnal trees and quiet hours in little tea shops are coming your way! Not to mention train can read it on the way to Chawton! The gift shop isn't spectacular if you ask me - but they do have some very nice postcards and stationery. So you shouldn't need to spend too much to take a little something to remember it by home!

  5. Audrey, You are totally an enabler! And don't you worry, a full report will follow once I get back home. If you want to see what I got up to in London during my last trip check out archives for May '09!

    Joan, Oh yes, something civilized when everyone is rushing about. And it beats those little gossip rags lying about on the train!

    mary, That would be a lovely day trip once the leaves start to turn. The train ride out would give you some time to daydream a bit, it's not a week but it would be nice!

    bookssnob, I'm even hoping for grey weather to add to the atmosphere at the cemetery. I wonder how many people have pulled into the station at Alton clutching a copy of something by Austen...probably a fair few and I'll be another! Thanks again for the inspiration, Rachel.

  6. Persuasion is my favorite Austen read. I love Anne Elliott and Captain Wentworth--seems like perfect reading for when you go to England (you lucky duck!). Too bad you can't swing by Bath for a turn around the Pump Room! :) Turn of the Screw is sort of freaky--one I think I will reread someday. And The Woman in Black is one of the most atmospheric ghost stories I've ever read--am envious you might see the play! And I see Rumer Godden in your sidebar--you've got all kinds of great reads spread out before you!

  7. Danielle, Did you know that The Woman in Black is coming out on film!? Daniel Radcliffe plays the the trailer this very minute!

  8. First of all, so jealous of your trip to Chawton! I sometimes despair that I'll ever get there. But I agree, one always needs books on a trip, even if it's just a few pages while waiting for the tea or the train to arrive, or for a few minutes before bedtime. And what could be more perfect than Jane Austen? Persuasion vies with P&P as my favorite Austen novel, so I heartily approve.

  9. Karen, Well I really hope you get to visit Chawton yourself one day. I'll take you along in spirit, how about that?

  10. I'm joining Rachel's Persuasion re-read, too. Hope you have a lovely time at Chawton. Don't forget to have your afternoon tea in Cassandra's Cup teashop!

  11. Nicola, Great...the more the merrier! And you are very welcome to join a few of us meeting up at the National Gallery on Sunday if you're available! Just send me an email for details if you're interested. Now off to check out Cassandra's...