August has been a wonderful reading time for me. A month with no work, and plenty of reading time – it’s maybe surprising I didn’t read more than I have – but what do the numbers matter? I have worked my way through a lovely bunch of book this month. For a lot of members of the Librarything Virago group, August is all about All Virago/all August. It doesn’t matter if you read the book in a Virago edition – just as long as it has been published by Virago at some point in its history – it was hard choosing which ones to read I have so many TBR. There has also been the #GreeneforGran reading tribute going on during August too – and I read two Graham Greene novels. Here then is the full list. Thirteen books read; one non-fiction, nine for AV/AA and 2 for #GreeneforGran.
81 The Odd Women (1893) George Gissing (F)
82 Good Daughters (1984) Mary Hocking (F)
83 Emma (1815) Jane Austen (F)
84 Breakfast with the Nikolides (1942) Rumer Godden (F)
85 Stamboul Train (1932) Graham Greene (F)
86 The Secret Adversary (1922) Agatha Christie (F)
87 The Judge (1922) Rebecca West (F)
88 The Glimpses of the Moon (1922) Edith Wharton (F)
89 Careless People (2013) Sarah Churchwell (NF)
90 A Few Green Leaves (1980) Barbara Pym (F)
91 Indifferent Heroes (1985) Mary Hocking (F)
92 The Ministry of Fear (1943) Graham Greene (F)
93 The Lost Traveller (1950) Antonia White (F)
The first two books of Mary Hocking’s Fairley family trilogy were a joy, and I know a lot of fellow Viragoites were reading them too – Mary Hocking has turned out to be a wonderful discovery for many of us. Careless People by Sarah Churchwell, was a fascinating and compelling read, a non-fiction book I will keep it has inspired me to re-read/read more by and about F Scott Fitzgerald. Emma was a re-read – and I absolutely loved it – liking the character of Emma herself far more this time than I did when I first read the novel in my late teens or early twenties. The Ministry of Fear was that wonderful thing; an atmospheric bit of escapism. Unfortunately, for me Edith Wharton’s The Glimpses of the Moon was disappointing only a three star read, while The Judge, The Odd Women and The Lost Traveller (review to come) were all fabulous Virago reads.
So on to September. I go back to work on Monday after the summer school holidays. My first read of the month will be Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy for my on-going Hardy reading challenge – now I think Tess was my least favourite Hardy back in the day – but I really think I am more ready for it this time. There are no unpleasant surprises now – I know it all – and can just revel in Hardy’s world and Hardy’s words. I have it in two editions – well three if you count the emergency Hardy collection I have on my kindle (yes I know!) – so I will be reading it in a Wordsworth classics edition when out and about – and in my beautiful hardback Folio edition at home.
I am also planning on re-reading A Room with a view for the classic club spin, and Crampton Hodnet for the Barbara Pym read-a-long. I have also set aside the third novel in the Mary Hocking trilogy and the next book in the Antonia White quartet. I have also set aside a Persephone novel – Housebound, and The Pre-war House by Alison Moore – sent to me by Alex in Leeds. I also have a desire to read Uncle Silas by Sheridan Le Fanu and The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen. I have left a couple of fairly huge books off my September pile that I have been wanting to read, because I know I always read a little more slowly when I first get back to school after the holidays, it’s as if I have to re-adjust to my normal routine, the much shorter reading time comes as a shock – and there is so much good telly on in the autumn. Still this pile is one to contemplate with pleasure.