Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Time for Something Bookish!

Thanks to the many tempting reviews by people with a fondness for books my bookcase is overflowing.  It would be quite easy for me to read strictly from my shelves for the next couple of years but there will always be a title or two which cry out to be added.

Frost in May by Antonia White was a surprise in my mailbox, kindly sent by Verity.  The story of a young girl in a convent with what I've read is a sad ending is sure to be a book which I won't soon forget.  Add in the introduction by Elizabeth Bowen and this Virago is a real treasure!

The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan had several positive reviews last winter.  I'm not usually one for books which have dialogue springing forth from people in the past (especially Jane Austen!) but curiosity got the better of me here.  A fictionalized story about the Bronte sisters should definitely be interesting so I'm hoping this one doesn't disappoint. 

The New House by Lettice Cooper on the surface is the story of a family moving house.  We lovers of Persephone titles know that the women involved are going to offer up the emotion and conflict which is inevitable when packing up house and home.  On a shallow note...I spied the word 'gas-ring' whilst flipping through this one and was consumed by cosy domestic bliss.

London Belongs to Me by Norman Collins first caught my eye last year when dovegreyreader wrote about it.  Set in 1938, this Penguin Classic is filled with a variety of characters.  Sarah Waters writes 'One of the great city novels: a sprawling celebration of the comedy, the savagery, the eccentricity and the quiet heroism at the heart of ordinary London life.'  This makes me want to shut myself away for a weekend, imagining myself sitting on the steps at the lodging house on Dulcimer Street to watch things unfold.

Paperboy by Christopher Fowler is the author's memoir of growing up in the sixties.  Full of humour and the slant on life which comes from looking back on childhood perceptions, I thought that R would enjoy this.  He grew up as a first generation Canadian with a very Ukrainian home life and as a late surprise baby to boot!  Hearing stories of him as a small boy, sitting under the dining room table amidst the stockings of older ladies gathered for gossip, has me thinking he could write a book of his own!

With the inclination to spend more time out and about during the warmer weather I find that reading is taking place in short spurts here and there and I'm falling into bed exhausted.  What are your warm weather reading habits like compared to the cooler months?


  1. Ooh, it's nice to see the book I sent having arrived safely :)

    I'm intrigued by London belongs to me - I think I'd find that interesting.

    I'm not reading much at the moment, not because of the weather (I love to lie in the sun with a book, not that that's very easy since we don't have a garden), but more because I can't concentrate on it.

  2. Verity is so lovely isn't she?!

    You've got a great stack there. I've had a copy of The New House for yonks and still haven't read it. Must get around to that.

    Personally I struggle to read much in the summer - there's too much to do! I have no evenings free for the foreseeable future and I'm not getting to bed until midnight of late so reading is just on the train to work, which has slowed me down somewhat. If I'm lucky I might get a Sunday afternoon in the garden to read, but when there's nephews to play with and people to chat to and sunny pub gardens to sit in with friends and a glass of Pimms, it just seems a bit antisocial to sit and read!
    Winter evenings by the fire are far more conducive to a good read I find.

  3. What a lovely stack of books! I have several of the same titles on my stacks that I plan on reading as well. I'm also iffy on using actual people as charcters in a book--sometimes it works well and sometimes not so much. The warm weather means yeard work. I've got a knack for growing beautiful weeds so it is always a struggle trying to bring them under submission. I won't say who usually wins! :) Enjoy your new books.

  4. What a wonderful selection - really hope that you like Frost in May - I think that it is very good - but I haven't yet read the other two (I think it is two!) books that lead on from it...
    Happy reading
    PS I do love those peonies - I think that every time I see your blog and never think to comment on it.

  5. I had to smile at your mention of the word 'gas-ring' as I came across it this morning while reading Pym's An Unsuitable Attachment...and although there was also mention of eiderdown, it was a depressing scene in a bedsitter and far from cozy (which is fine because Pym more than makes up for this lack of coziness in the rest of the book:) What a great stack of books and I will have to check out the Collins. My level of reading usually stays consistent throughout the seasons but I have to admit it has been more varied this year. Yesterday I think I read a total of ten pages as I spent any free time attempting to master a crocheted granny square...the square won in the end and I went to bed defeated:(

  6. I always THINK I'm going to have more reading time in the summer, but it never seems to work out that way. Add that to a budding blogging slump and it's not a pretty picture around here at the moment...

  7. I love your new books. I have wanted to read the Norman Collins one for ages.

  8. My reading seems to slow down in the summer--the lighter evenings (till 9 pm here) mean we spend so much more time outside, mainly in the allotment, then fall into bed exhausted!

    Perhaps we need to organize a read-along of The New House one of these days? I have a copy at the ready, too!

    K x

  9. Hi Darlene, I am very excited that you have London Belongs to Me and look forward to your review. I found a very early edition for a few dollars recently and enjoyed it. It is a sympathetic commentary on the gritty reality of working class life in London in the 30s. Not a cosy read, but certainly a domestic one. It's a 'Persephone' sort of book with lots of social history whilst being a gripping story.

  10. verity, I can well imagine that your new pursuits are cutting into your reading time as well!

    booksnob, She really is!

    Summer pub gardens with a glass of Pimms...yes please! I can't quite get them to taste as good here at home.

    Danielle, You made me laugh with your knack for growing weeds! They usually are the first things to pop up aren't they.

    Hannah, Thank you for the comment on the peonies...they're one of my all-time faves!

    Book Psmith, Crochet as well...look at you go, Stacy! Have you ever stopped by a blog called Posy? She loves crochet and has the quaintest home, full of rose print, fairy lights and crochet.

    JoAnn, Add a new dog into the mix and there's so little time! A magic wand would come in very, very handy wouldn't it.

    Vivienne, I couldn't resist as it's been on my mind for awhile too. I'm afraid of it going out of print again so I plunked down my money.

    Kristina, Definitely a read-along! We'll plan for it once you're back from Virginia.

    Merenia, Oh thank you for letting me know how much you enjoyed the book! Browsing through it I found so many key words which make my heart beat faster and such characters...I can't wait!

  11. I love you pile of books - I am particularly intrigued by The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan after finally reading my first Bronte this year and reading the wnderful Daphne by Justine Picardie.

  12. Thank you for the link to Posie. I spent the better part of a delightful evening reading through her posts and now I am following:)

  13. Hannah - hopefully you will see this comment - there are actually THREE sequels to Frost in May.

  14. A Bookish Space, It's a rewarding experience to fill a gap in your reading! I felt that way after reading my first Wilkie Collins last year.

    Book Psmith, Oh you found her...her 'bling' always brightens my day! Enjoy

  15. Frost in May is an incredible book. There are three more in the series, but I still think the first is the best. Possibly one of the best books about school ever written.

    And I'm looking forward to hearing more about London Belongs to me...that sounds fantastic!

  16. makedoandread, Another great recommendation for Frost in May! There's definitely a gap in my reading from not having read be rectified soon.

    London Belongs to Me isn't going to be on my bookcase shelf for long. Definitely a summer read!

  17. I read The New House years ago, when it was a Virago reprint. I love your descriptions!