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It’s the first of April and Easter Sunday – a very Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it – but oh my it hasn’t felt very spring like at all. Still, a long Easter weekend is the perfect excuse to curl up with a good book, and I’m sure many of you will be doing just that.

March has given me some fabulous reading – quite a variety – some Virago Modern Classics, not one but two works of translation, short stories and a couple of modern novels. I went rogue a week or two ago – reviewing books out of the order in which I read them, so that my E H Young review would come out on E H Young day. I have made good progress on my ACOB – I accidentally read two books from 2011 in March – but as I’m doing quite well I don’t think it will slow me down too much. (I can’t believe how obsessed I have become with year published dates).

I began March with The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark definitely my favourite of the four I have read so far this year, on a par I think with A Far Cry from Kensington which I enjoyed so much last year. It is 1945 where all the nice people are poor, and the girls of slender means reside at The May of Teck club where they share a Schiaparelli dress. It’s a fantastic novel.

March was also Read Ireland month – I read two novels for the event – and the first of them Mad Puppetstown by Molly Keane. In this novel Molly Keane portrays an early twentieth century Irish childhood – compulsively evocative. It is almost certainly my favourite Molly Keane novel to date.

The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright was my second read for Read Ireland month. It is extremely well written, and yet something left me completely cold, and ultimately disappointed.

The Juniper Tree by Comyns was so, so good, it saw me ordering a couple more Comyns novels on the strength of it. It is one of her later novels, with a deceptively dark heart – as Comyns, having lulled us into a false sense of security, pulls the rug out from under us.

My latest book from the Asymptote book club was Love by Hanne Ørstavik, a heart-breaking story of a mother and son in Norway. Brutal and bleak it is another unforgettable little book.

Celia by E H Young – reviewed out of order for E H Young day – is novel which has marriage at its heart. In this 1937 novel E H Young examines the marriages of three related couples. It was my fattest book of a month – which generally saw me reading quite slight novels (I didn’t choose them for that reason honest). Young’s characterisation is always superb, and I very much enjoyed the eponymous character – who hides her sharp intelligence behind a domestic vagueness.

I love a novel set in World War two – and admittedly I would usually prefer them written during World War Two too, however Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans (which I had had on my kindle for well over a year) ticked off 2014 in my ACOB. It was an excellent read, and I am very much looking forward to reading more by Lissa Evans.

Persephone do publish some fabulous short story collections – Midsummer Night in the Workhouse by Diana Athill is yet another. I am already a fan of her writing through her memoirs, and these stories were every bit as good. I shall be reviewing them in a day or two.

Some of you may remember me pledging to read more books in translation during 2018 – in a bid to widen my horizons. That is what led me to sign up for The Asymptote book club subscription. I recently had a twitter conversation with a couple of people about women in translation. I asked for recommendations for mid-twentieth century women writers in translation – and got a long list to explore. One name which I was recommended first was Clarice Lispector, a Brazilian writer I have seen likened to Virginia Woolf, James Joyce and others, certainly Near to the Wild Heart did put me in mind of Virginia Woolf at times. It was a dense little read, quite challenging yet still very enjoyable. I needed something very different afterwards.

I had Pre-ordered The Trick to Time weeks ago – and it arrived on the day I finished Clarice Lispector. I loved My Name is Leon, and with Kit de Waal being a Birmingham writer – who writes about Birmingham I had to read it straight away. I’m not going to say too much about it now – but yes, it is certainly another good novel. Review to come.

April is upon us, and #ReadingMuriel2018 will see me reading The Bachelors and I hope to read The Ballad of Peckham Rye as well. I am still enjoying my Muriel Spark reading very much. The week after next my very small book group will be reading Men without Women by Haruki Murakami – a book of short stories, I have bought it for my kindle despite slight reservations. I’ll be honest – I have never considered Murakami to be my kind of writer – but we will see. The 1977 club starts on April 16th – and I have several books to choose from including Dancing Girls by Margaret Atwood (short stories) and The Danger Tree by Olivia Manning (book one in the Levant trilogy) I also have Agatha Christie’s autobiography and somewhere buried in the tbr is a book called A marriage of True Minds about Virginia and Leonard Woolf which I had originally meant to read for #Woolfalong two years ago!

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As ever, please tell what you are reading, and what books you loved most during March.
Happy reading.

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I’m a little behind myself this week for one reason and another – so a few hours later with my monthly roundup than usual. Back to reviews soon I promise, I’m a bit behind there too – with four of my February reads still to write about. I read ten books during February three of them on my kindle, which therefore makes its appearance in the books read photograph above.

Aranyak by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay was the last book to arrive from the Asymptote book club, a classic of Bengali literature. Beautifully descriptive, the story was written out of the diary entries the author himself kept during the years he spent in the Bihar region, between 1937 and 1939.

The Journey Home and other stories by Malachi Whitaker I read for the Persephone readathon – a delightful collection, by a wonderful Yorkshire writer. Her canvas is the ordinary, the domestic, but she perfectly captures the ordinary – making them appear less than ordinary – even the absurd in a way that not every writer manages. Here we have a boy starting work with his father, a couple getting drunk for the first time, honeymooners, children left to their own devices, young women ‘in trouble’.

Uncle Paul by Celia Fremlin an excellent suspense novel of fear and paranoia set in an English seaside resort. Fremlin’s story is suspenseful but subtly done, her characterisation superb. This engaging novel was my first by Celia Fremlin, and I’m hugely impressed.

The Wife by Meg Wolitzer was my February book group read – it proved a superb choice for us and introduced me to another author I will want to read more of. At the age of sixty-four Joan Castleman decides to leave her husband Joe who she has been married to since the 1950s. Thought provoking and well written, Meg Wolitzer’s is a strong feminist voice, who I may never have read if not for my book group.

Memento Mori by Muriel Spark was my third read for #ReadingMuriel2018 and I loved it. It all begins with something of a mystery. A group of elderly, upper class people receive anonymous phone calls. The caller says – ‘remember you must die’ – unsettling – especially when one has reached a certain age. Not all these characters are that likeable, but they are so compellingly written about that, that doesn’t matter.

Rhapsody by Dorothy Edwards is a little short story collection, by the Welsh writer who published only this collection and one novel, during her short, sad life.

Thirteen Guests by J. Jefferson Farjeon the first of those books I still have to review. A really good dose of Golden Age crime from the British Library Crime Classics. Lord Aveling hosts a hunting party at his country house. Among the guests are an actress, a journalist, an artist, and a mystery novelist. The unlucky thirteenth is John Foss, injured at the local train station and brought to the house to recuperate.

The Doves of Venus by Olivia Manning – definitely my stand out book of the month – the kind of book I loved so much I was sorry to finish. Eighteen-year-old Ellie has come to London in search of adventure. She gets a room, a poorly paid job in a studio and has an affair with an older, married man. All to escape the dull, suffocation of home with her mother.

The Bright Day by Mary Hocking a story of 1970s small seaside town politics and corruption. As ever her sense of place is excellent, as is her depiction of petty, small mindedness.

Down the Garden Path by Beverley Nichols, I now own four books by Beverley Nichols, Simon and Karen have waxed very lyrical about his writing (and I can see why) and their recent pod cast for Simon’s Tea or books was the push I needed to get one of the shelf. Down the Garden Path is an absolute delight – I love Nichol’s ironic voice and his unwavering enthusiasm for his garden. It is joyful.

My A Century of Books list is doing ok too – I have nineteen years ticked off now. I realise, how much harder it will get in the coming months. I’m fairly obsessed though, and the other day found myself ‘buying 1926’ – aka Crewe Train by Rose Macaulay.

readirelan2018March is under way – the first day of Spring – ha! No one told the weather – it’s simply unspeakable, good time to hunker down with a good book or two. I’m about to start my next Muriel Spark read – The Girls of Slender Means, I’ll be reading my three 1960s novels slightly out of chronological order – because The Girls of Slender Means is my book group read. I am then planning to join in with Read Ireland month. I haven’t settled finally on what to read, but I have three or four Molly Keane novels a Colm Tóibín and an Anne Enright in the running.

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So, keep warm, stay safe and let me know what you’re reading – you know I like to know these things.

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January has been a good bookish month for me – I struggle a little with the post-Christmas grumps and the dark featureless days. I don’t mind cold days or cosy evenings, but I hate the grey skies and the feeling that all the things I have to look forward to are a long way off. Still it was a good month for books – and the start of a couple of reading challenges.

#ReadingMuriel2018 got underway, and so beginning the year as I mean to go on I started with The Comforters; Muriel Spark’s first novel. While it won’t be my favourite Spark, it was an excellent debut. I have seen it described as a comedy of errors, and it is certainly quirky and engaging. A fabulous start, which I have seen lots of others reading.

A History of Britain in 21 Women by Jenni Murray was the book chosen for January by my very small book group. A very personal selection by the author it was an interesting read, which I enjoyed overall, I did have a couple of issues with it – but they didn’t ruin the book for me. It gave us some great discussion points too.

I seem to have had several Stella Gibbons novels for ages, and before I swept all my tbr books to the floor and began going through them, I had got myself very confused about which I had read, and which I hadn’t. The Bachelor, first published in 1944 really is a rollicking good read. A large house in the country – not far from London, gradually fills up with a variety of people seeking shelter. A refugee, an old flame and the disreputable old father of the middle-aged siblings that own the house – it is surprising sometimes, where and when some people find love.

Winter Garden by Beryl Bainbridge turned out to be a bit of an odd novel – though interesting in its way. A middle-aged man travels to Moscow as the official companion to an artist with whom he has been having an affair. Several peculiar incidents lead to paranoia as his lover Nina seems to disappear from the hotel.

Pink Sugar by O Douglas was an absolute joy of a book, a reminder that I had been wanting to read more by O Douglas for ages. Our heroine is Kirsty, thirty and returned home to Scotland, free for the first time in her life. She wants only to do good and decides to take on three children for the summer who have recently lost their mother. Poor clergymen, grumpy landlords, a pretty governess all need to be paired up – but this is a novel far less frothy than the title might suggest.

Robinson by Muriel Spark, my second read for #ReadingMuriel2018 – back in December I went mad and bought four of the new Polygon centenary editions – well I couldn’t resist. Robinson is an extraordinary novel – some themes already familiar from The Comforters, yet again however Spark surprises.

Having decided I wanted to read a little more fiction in translation, I chose Katalin Street by Magda Szabo who I have read twice before. It’s a novel with a more complex structure than those other two – but beautifully written. It tells the story of three families uprooted by the regime following the end of the Second World War.

The other reading challenge I started this month is ACOB – (more of that later) Mary Olivier: a life by May Sinclair ticked off the first year. It is a novel which charts a woman’s life from infancy to middle-age – it is a deeply personal novel, one of the best novels examining a complex mother daughter relationship I have read.

N or M? by Agatha Christie – I have always been a big Poirot fan – but I also have a very soft spot for Tommy and Tuppence – and so wish there had been more of them written. N or M? is set towards the beginning of the second world war and T&T are involved in fighting fifth columnists in a south coast boarding house. Thoroughly enjoyable -full review in a few days.

Three things about Elsie is Joanna Cannon’s second novel – following on from the great success of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep. I pre-ordered it about three months before it came out – and despite its four hundred and fifty odd pages flew through it in two days. Despite the fact it presents a rather depressing view of some aspects of old age – it is a quite unputdownable read.

So, with ten books read in January – each of them published in a different year – I have managed to tick off ten years on my ACOB – which I am pretty pleased with. You can see my progress here – though there isn’t too much to see yet.

Yesterday I started what will be my first read of February – a book in translation from the Asymptote book club for which I took out a three-month subscription. It’s my second read with the club, it’s a book called Aranyak by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay translated from Bengali by Rimli Bhattacharya.

February will see me reading Memento Mori for #ReadingMuriel2018 and The Wife by Meg Wolitzer for my very small book club the week after next. I haven’t planned more than that as yet – as I like to suit my mood where possible. The Librarything Virago group are reading Dorothy Canfield Fisher during February and so I may try to get to The Brimming Cup – although it won’t tick off an ACOB year for me as it was published the same year as Mary Olivier *sigh*.

So, how was your January for books?

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December is such a busy time, with Christmas to prepare for and evenings out to enjoy – culminating however in some time off work for Christmas. Still I managed some good reading time in the midst of all of that.

Librarything finished the year reading the work of Sylvia Townsend Warner, with which I happily joined in and of course I always like to find some Christmas themed books to read.

I started the month reading Love’s Shadow by Ada Leverson, who in my review I said I hadn’t read before – later I discovered I had read The Limit – and hadn’t loved it. It is hard to keep track!

My very small book group had chosen to read- Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner giving me the perfect excuse to re-read it. It is just as good the second time.

Another Little Christmas Mystery by Lorna Nicholl Morgan, was a very enjoyable little winter mystery but it’s not really set at Christmas. The novel has been retitled to appeal to readers like me, it’s worth reading. Plenty of snow but not a sprig of mistletoe or strand of tinsel in sight.

The selected stories of Sylvia Townsend Warner is a fantastic collection – spanning forty years of her writing life, it shows perfectly, what a consummate short story writer she was.

Alive, Alive Oh! By Diana Athill is another of her wonderful collections of memoirs, I love her spirit and attitude to life and ageing. I happened to read this just a few days before the author’s 100th birthday.

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote was a slim little book I bought last Christmas and didn’t get around to. It contains three little stories for the festive season.

Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith was recently re-issued by the British Library Crime Classics as their fiftieth title. It is a clever, intelligent mystery, which was marred a little by the anti-Semitic treatment of one character.

Winter by Ali Smith – also set at Christmas – was the perfect read for the Christmas weekend, I flew through it, finishing it on Christmas Eve. It made my twelve books of the year list at the last moment.

Long Live Great Bardfield the autobiography of Tirzah Garwood is a brilliant account of the lives of artists Tirzah and her husband Eric Ravilious along with the many people they knew. It is one of three books I still have to review.

The Lime Tree by César Aira was my first book to arrive from the Asymptote book group, a novella from a prolific Argentinian writer whom I have to confess to not having heard of.

Chedsy Place by Richmal Crompton really was my last book of the month and the year – I finished it late on New Year’s Eve – it’s always nice to finish the year tidily.

So, in looking ahead to January, I must begin by looking ahead to my reading challenges this year. I want to try and read a bit more fiction in translation, but that will be only one book a month at the very most.

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Of course, #ReadingMuriel2018 starts today – and I am very excited about that – so many people joining in or planning to join in. I began in earnest, started to read The Comforters in bed this morning. For those who want to keep track of the schedule or share thoughts, links etc I have created a dedicated page for the read-along which you can find here.

a-century-of-booksIf all that wasn’t enough – I have also decided to do A Century of Books. Simon from Stuckinabook and Clare from the Captive Reader are doing it too as I think are several others. This is my first time of ACOB – and I have chosen 1919-2018 as my century. I’m not working to any prescribed list – the idea is I fill in each year as I read a book first published in that year. I understand it gets harder as years get checked off. If you want to follow my progress – and I have said it will probably take me two years – I have created another page here, where you can. Not very much to see yet. I am hoping I can do the majority of the reading from my existing tbr – and I am not going to use any re-reads.

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It’s the first day of December but I’m really not sure where the month went, I don’t feel as if I have had quite enough November yet.

In bookish terms it’s been quite a slow reading month – though I have read an interesting variety of books including two books by the Librarything Virago Group author of the month Margaret Atwood.

Oryx & Crake was the first of those Atwood’s – an incredible work of speculative fiction, which imagines the world as it could be if we don’t watch our step. I’m not sure I had expected to love it as much as I did, now I can’t wait to read the next two books in the MaddAddam series. What a writer Margaret Atwood is!

A bookish Facebook group I’m a member of was having an Angela Thirkell reading week towards the beginning of the month. I chose to read The Headmistress as I had found a fragile old copy of it several months ago while browsing in a second-hand bookshop. My experience of it was a bit mixed – Thirkell is loved by many for her cosy nostalgia – others find her class consciousness – and in this novel attitude to refugees – hard to stomach.

I have managed to dust off a couple of books this month that I have had ages! The first of these Who was Changed and who was Dead by Barbara Comyns is a superbly crafted little novel. A dark, quirky little novel which could also been seen as an allegory, it tells the story of a strange, unhappy family and the peculiar plague which comes to the village just before the First World War.

The second Margaret Atwood book I chose to read was a collection of stories, Wilderness Tips – which tell stories of women and the men in their lives exploring some of the extraordinary choices people make. It really was an excellent collection.

The British Library Crime Classics have produced an incredible array of vintage mysteries for those of us who like to relax with a bit of murder. Somebody at the Door by Raymond Postgate was a good World War Two mystery, and although I felt it sagged a bit in the middle – it is still very readable – and the solution was particularly ingenious.

Over the Mountains by Pamela Frankau is the third novel in the Clothes of a King’s Son trilogy. Taking us from London to Hollywood, from France to Spain and Portugal it completes the story of the Weston family who we first met in 1926.

I seem to have developed a fondness for trilogies, and having finished Over the Mountains, I was reminded of another trilogy I was overdue in catching up with.An Avenue of Stone is the second book in Pamela Hansford Johnson’s Helena trilogy. I read it on my kindle – which I really don’t use often enough – especially when I consider how many books I have squirrelled away on it. I raced through An Avenue of Stone – such a brilliant book – it’s hard to sum up in just a few worlds. PHJ’s characterisation is simply superb – and in this novel Helena is in her late sixties – a woman altered by time and experience from the one we met in Too Dear for my Possessing the first book in the trilogy. It’s an extraordinary portrait – and makes for surprisingly compelling reading.

Another book I have had for an age The Third Miss Symons by F M Mayor. I read The Rector’s Daughter by Mayor – a couple of years ago. That one is in my opinion a far superior work; this much earlier novella is altogether bleaker.

I have finished the month reading Love’s Shadow by Ada Leverson which was loaned to me by Liz. I’ve not had chance to get very far with it yet – but I’m certainly enjoying it so far. I was amazed to see how long ago it was first published. I think I had assumed it to be from the 1930s or 40s – but a quick check revealed it to have been published in 1908. I very quickly had to reassess my idea of the costumes worn by the characters. This is my first experience of Ada Leverson who I had obviously placed in completely the wrong period. Anyway, I’ve read so little of it, it can go on next month’s pile.

December is upon us – and the bed news is that barring miracles or at least being seriously snowed in for four weeks I will (again) not make my Goodreads reading challenge. The only reason I care about numbers is because of the ridiculous numbers of books I have waiting. Oh well – maybe next year?

Sylvia Townsend Warner is the Librarything Virago group author of the month – and I am looking forward to re-reading Lolly Willowes with my very small book group. I may even manage some short stories too.

Other thoughts turn to Christmassy books. I have a couple of tiny little Christmassy books to read that I bought last year and didn’t get around to. Stories by Gogol and Capote, which look charming. I also have a BLCC Christmas mystery Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith which looks excellent and I am considering Winter by Ali Smith too.

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As ever please share what you read during November – anything I should know about?

I particularly want to hear about your December reading plans – especially if they are Christmassy themed.

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October in review

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Two months of the old year left – goodness – how the years fly by these days.

I began October reading The Ghostly Lover – a book which really deserves a better title – it was the first novel by Elizabeth Hardwick, a coming of age novel set in depression era Kentucky.

Strong Poison – by Dorothy L Sayers was a re-read, the October choice of my very small book group, which provided us with an enormous amount to talk about, perhaps surprisingly so.

The Librarything Virago group had selected Margaret Kennedy as the author of the month – and I found myself engrossed in The Oracles, a fairly unusual novel in some respects, but one in which I could see echoes of other Margaret Kennedy novels. It tells the story of a community wrangle over a piece of modern art, and a group of abandoned children who get caught in the cross fire.

Narcissa by Richmal Crompton was a fabulously compelling novel, with one of the most monstrous characters, I have read in a while, at the centre of it. A darker story than the other books by Crompton I have read, but quite unforgettable.

Reader, I married him – a collection of short stories edited by Tracy Chevalier – had been a gift I was really looking forward to reading. The stories, all inspired by that famous final line in Jane Eyre – were something of a mixed bag, but overall, I was a bit disappointed in the collection.

I have fallen out of love a little with the Booker prize the last two or three years, but I still keep my eye on it. This year I happened to read two of the longlisted books, and now two of those that were shortlisted. I can’t say I fancy the winner much – but I am open to persuasion. Elmet was the first of those shortlisted books, and I enjoyed it enormously. Not sure I understand why it was shortlisted and Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie wasn’t – but then what do I know?

Eva Trout by Elizabeth Bowen was the first of two books I read for the #1968club hosted by Simon and Karen. Bowen’s last novel – it has a simply unforgettable ending.

My second read for the #1968club was By the Pricking of my Thumbs, a Tommy and Tuppence novel – the couple are described as (a little tongue in cheek I suspect) ‘quite elderly’ by that I suppose about sixty. It might not be Agatha Christie’s best – but I enjoyed it enormously, finding very hard to put down.

I finished the month reading Autumn by Ali Smith – the second of those Booker Prize shortlisted novels. I haven’t read Ali Smith before – at least I haven’t finished one of her books before – having given up on The Accidental several years ago. This one -chosen by my very small book group as our November read, I enjoyed.

Those final two books of course will be reviewed soon.

I spent a week in my favourite seaside location during half term – and it really helped to re-charge the batteries, and while I was there I had a mooch in a little bookshop I like to pop in to each time I am there. I only came away with two books – a Persephone book The Gardeners Nightcap by Muriel Stuart (complete with matching bookmark) – not sure it’s a book I would have bought new – but I am happy to add it to my collection, and Wet Magic by E Nesbit, which looks perfect comfort reading. I admit, that one is already calling me.cof

November is a month that is perfect for curling up with a book and large pot of tea, but this year has been a very slow reading year so far – so I expect that will continue. However, I have one or two things set aside for the month. This month the Librarything author of the month is the wonderful Margaret Atwood – as well as several potential re-reads, I have three of her books tbr – Wilderness Tips, short stories from the early 1990s and more recent novels, Oryx and Crake and The Hagseed. I feel like the short stories are particularly calling to me – but I shall probably only decide which to read as I pick it up. A Facebook group I am a member of is having an Angela Thirkell reading week next week – beginning November 6th – so as I have a battered old copy of The Headmistress I shall be reading that.

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With December and the end of the year on the horizon, my thoughts have turned to possible reading challenges. I sort of had a year off in 2017, though I paricipated in a few as I knew I would end up doing.

 I am considering two for 2018. 

1. A century of books, I know Simon and others are doing it again. I have never done it before. I will attempt to do it over two years, however, and I won’t make a list before hand. I assume that’s how everyone else has done it?

2. Read the 16 books of the Jalna series by Canadian writer Mazo de la Roche. I will read in narrative order, not year of publication. I have very few expectations really, are these even books I will like? I have purchased the first one.  

Anyone have any thoughts, advice etc. Anyone like to join me? 

So how was your October for books? Any exciting plans for November?

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September is a funny month for me, back to work after the summer holidays and a new school year make it feel a very long and a very short month all at once. Added to which I never manage to read as much as I would like in September. Eight books this month – and some of them were comfort type reads – the final two very short books.

September began with me immersed in Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter I devoured it in the four days before starting back at work. It is a work of extraordinary imagination – introducing us to the colourful world of Fevvers – music hall aerialiste a part woman, part swan phenomenon, or is she?

I had deliberately set aside some escapist/cosy reads for September, and as I headed back to school after the holidays I chose Quick Curtain by Alan Melville as the first of those to read. I do love these BLCC books, though naturally as with big collection there can be some variety in quality. I enjoyed Quick Curtain, though it won’t be a favourite – I hadn’t expected the tongue in cheek, satirical tone, but once I got used to that, I was thoroughly entertained.

The Librarything Virago group had chosen to read Nina Bawden during September, and I chose to start with Family Money. It tells the story of Fanny Pye, and her adult children. Fanny owns a large, valuable property in London that her children think she should sell. When Fanny is involved in a violent altercation between two men one night, they increase their persuasive efforts.

It seemed far too long since I read anything by Mary Hocking, The Sparrow one of her earlier novels is possibly now one of my favourites. Ralph Kimberley is a London vicar whose dedication to the campaign for nuclear disarmament brings conflict into his relationship with his wife, and his parishioners. When ex offender Keith Wilson comes to stay with the couple and their orphaned ten-year-old niece he brings more conflict and tension with him.

The Brandons by Angela Thirkell was an absolutely delicious cosy read, witty, 1930s middlebrow novel. My favourite Thirkell to date, and the one which has really convinced me to go on reading her – I just have to be in the right mood.

My final three reads of September I have still to review. When copies of The Fourteenth Letter by Claire Evans were being offered on Twitter I snapped up a copy – aware that it would be great September reading. Probably not my usual kind of thing – as I generally don’t like heavily plot driven novels, but this is very readable, superbly plotted, and set in Victorian London it has a wonderful setting too.

The Prince’s Boy by Paul Bailey was one of the books I bought in Paris at Shakespeare and Company – so reading it during a tiring, wet working week, brought back lovely memories of my little trip. The novel itself I found to be a bit of a slow burn – the story of the great love between two Romanian men who first meet in Paris in 1927. Overall, I really enjoyed it, my first Paul Bailey novel. though I do have another tbr.

I tried to finish Familiar Passions last night, – well I do like to finish the month tidily – by completing my final book of the month on the final day of the month – but haven’t quite managed that. My second Nina Bawden novel of the month. It tells the story of Bridie whose much older husband tells her he wants to end their marriage on their thirteenth anniversary, Bridie must find a new life amidst the ruins of the old one – what was a most unsatisfactory marriage. I shall save the rest for my review.

Don’t have many plans for October, but my book group is reading Strong Poison by Dorothy L Sayers – I read it about five years ago – and I can’t decide whether I have time to re-read it. I do remember some of it – so I will see what other distractions come along. Sayers never disappoints. The LT Virago group will be reading Margaret Kennedy novels, and I have ordered an old copy of The Oracles from ebay to read, which I am looking forward to. Towards the end of October Simon and Karen will be celebrating the #1968club – I have Eva Trout by Elizabeth Bowen and By the Pricking of my Thumbs by Agatha Christie – and may find more when I investigate further.

cofOh, and has anyone seen this – the new hardback edition of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – a thing of beauty, I couldn’t help myself. handmaidstaleendpaper

I also bought a second copy as a gift. You will see I also bought Oryx and Crake – which I always said I didn’t want to read – but I seem to have changed my mind.

autumn#A copy of Autumn by Ali Smith arrived yesterday morning from The Big Green Bookshop (if you don’t follow them on Twitter do so) – I haven’t read any Ali Smith properly before. I tried The Accidental years ago and didn’t finish it – but can’t remember why. Autumn has been chosen by my very small book group for our November read – so time to give her another try.

There it is, autumn is here and the nights are drawing in. So, what are you reading in October and what was wonderful in September?

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