Just like last month I read nine and a half books – during February, which I think isn’t too bad for a slightly shorter month (that one or two days can make all the difference). As well as a roundup of my reading month – I am using this as a place to confess/celebrate my dreadful/delightful book buying of the last month.
February began with me half way through Cider with Rosie – a classic memoir of great nostalgia – which was very different to what came next. My first full read of February – The Cleft by Doris Lessing was a book group read. A book I will probably not forget in a hurry – mainly because it is rather odd – though it certainly led to an interesting discussion. The Woman Novelist & other stories – a slim Persephone volume was the perfect antidote as was The Winter City – Mary Hocking’s first published novel, set in an unnamed country behind the Iron curtain – which I loved. Following a lovely evening at Waterstone’s in Birmingham, a book launch and author event for Birmingham writer Clare Morrall – I enjoyed reading When the Floods Came – a dystopian novel set in a future Birmingham. Crossriggs, a lovely old Virago green came highly recommended by Liz – and I’m so glad I read it because it was one of my booksish highlights of the month. My second book group (which I haven’t even attended since about September) were reading Wide Sargasso Sea – oh joy! It’s a book I had read twice already – though about fifteen years ago – and I was delighted to read it again. Re-reading is always such a joy – I got more from it this time around – things I had forgotten leapt off the page at me – such a beautiful novel. Don’t Look Now – is one of the books (see below) that I have bought this month – When the Floods Came fits into that category too; a beautiful edition of a superb collection of short stories by Daphne Du Maurier that I couldn’t help but gobble down. Winegarden; a novella my second Birmingham set read of the month, was a small unexpected delight, I have a couple of friends who I think might like it too – so my copy will end up well read. We Have always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson was a Christmas gift by a good friend and a book I have been meaning to read for ages. I will get around to reviewing it in due course – but as everyone said I would – I loved it. I am now a little more than 200 pages into Night and Day – for phase two of Woolfalong – very different from To the Lighthouse and Mrs Dalloway – but I am very much enjoying it.
March is the start of #Woolfalong phase two – and read Ireland month – which I am definitely planning on joining in. I haven’t decided which books to read yet – but I have several to choose from. One of my books groups will be reading Harriet Said by Beryl Bainbridge – very much looking forward to that, but as I can’t attend book group number 2 – again – I think I will swerve that book (I can’t remember the title anyway).
As I hinted above I have been buying books – rather a lot of books. Some of the books I have bought are not even to read right away – they form part of a growing collection. I had a little bit of extra money come my way at the beginning of February – and so my thoughts turned to Persephone.
I ordered; A Writer’s Diary and Flush – for #Woolfalong later in the year – Greengates by R C Sherriff and The Victorian Chaise Lounge by Marganhita Laski.
When the Floods Came as mentioned above was bought at the author event I attended, I bought copies of the same book for my sister and her friend too. The Daylight Gate by Jeanette Winterson is for a book group read in a couple of months’ time, it looks really good, I haven’t read nearly enough of Winterson’s work. Good Behaviour, a book by Molly Keane – which I will probably read this month for read Ireland month – is a book I have wanted to read for ages – I couldn’t resist this VMC designer edition so pretty.
Then I decided to treat myself to a few more of what I call pretty books (I know I’m shallow). I love the VMC designer editions and the Penguin clothbound editions – and have a few shelved together. I don’t really intend to buy them all – but there’s nothing wrong with a well-chosen shelf-full is there? I bought Don’t Look Now by Daphne Du Maurier and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall with the last of my Christmas vouchers – thank you Liz. The Tennent of Wildfell Hall I re-read a couple of years ago –and it is one of my all-time favourite classics. Then last week I succumbed to more of the pretty books – all old favourites I have read before; The Enchanted April, Rebecca and The tortoise and the Hare – all in beautiful VMC designer editions. I will probably want to re-read them all now.
Venturing into a rather good Oxfam bookshop during half term – I was very pleased with myself when I only came out with three books. There were a good number of green viragos, although I did already have most of them – I felt restrained indeed only coming out with three. Brown girl Brownstones by Paule Marshall, Love by Elizabeth Von Arnim and Union Street by Pat Barker which I later found I already had a copy of – a rather better copy as it turned out.
Oh and I bought some mugs too – which I am a bit nervous of using. So I’m staying out of certain kinds of shops this month – oh wait – another author event at Waterstone’s on Wednesday – I’m doomed!