Saturday, 28 February 2009


Just a quick note to say that I've added a link to Bookrabbit on the side - I'm still a little confused by this whole affiliates thing, but apparently if you click on it and buy a book from them, I'll get a few pence every now and then! I might be adding something more personalised to certain books, with Amazon. Anyone else used these schemes and got useful feedback?

Friday, 27 February 2009

A little quiz

Firstly, for those looking out for daily updates on Miss Hargreaves and the rest of the Bloomsbury Group from Bloomsbury - click here to see the Miss H page with added cover image and review section (and see who is in the review section!) Searching for 'Bloomsbury Group' will get you the rest of the novels.

And the little quiz was one Ruth posted on her blog - click here - which tests how well you recognise Biblical quotations used in literature. I thought, since books and The Book are the topics I know most about, I'd d
o pretty well... turns out, no. Just six out of ten. Go on, do better than me.

I emailed this to Our Vicar and Our Vicar's Wife, who've yet to respond. Don't know whom my money's on. OV might know more about the Bible, but I suspect OVW has read more of the books in question...

Thursday, 26 February 2009

The rest of the Bloomsbury Group

Nothing quite equals the joy of Miss Hargreaves, but the rest of 'The Bloomsbury Group' - the four others listed on the Bloomsbury website - are also pleasures to await.

The Brontes Went To Woolworths - Rachel Ferguson
This one has proved quite popular across the blogs over the last year, but secondhand copies were getting scarce - how wonderful to be able to recommend it knowing that people can actually buy it! I wrote about it here, a p
ost which also has links to several other people's reviews. Rachel Ferguson is also represented by Persephone Books, who reprinted Alas, Poor Lady - a book I own but haven't yet read.

Henrietta's War: News From The Home Front 1939-1942 - Joyce Dennys
Hadn't heard of this one before, but I'm definitely looking forward to reading it, sounds right up my street. 'Told through letters and charmingly illustrated by the author, Henrietta's War is a hilarious, wry, but often very moving, epistolary novel of life in rural wartime Britain'. As with all the other titles, more on the website.
(Once you're there, and have searched for 'Bloomsbury Group', just click on the titles)

A Kid For Two Farthings - Wolf Mankowitz
Another new one for me - the combination of the East End of London and unicorns isn't to be missed! From the 1950s, so edging out of my comfort zone. I look forward to trying it.

Mrs. Tim of the Regiment - DE Stevenson
I know DES has fans as fervent as Jane Austen's and Barbara Pym's, and my one dalliance with her (see this post) was, with a few small reservations, a very happy one. Mrs. Tim sounds a little Provincial Ladyesque - diaries with self-deprecating humour, trying - and failing - to keep up with those around her. D
ifference is, she's an army wife. Also looks like it contains a sprinkling of romance.

To finish with an utterly irrelevant aside - I've been painting again. I did three of my housemates, to go on the living room wall, and finally did my self-portrait (much harder)

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Extra! Extra!

I warn you now, this post is going to come in breathless enthusiam, rather than the carefully worded eloquence one might hope from a magazine or newspaper (incidentally: I've noticed a few bloggers also write for magazines as a result of a blog... I would so love to do this, how would one go about offering oneself?)

My exciting news is something I've known for a little while but had to keep secret. The good people at Bloomsbury emailed around the bloggers a while ago - in the wake of the success of Mary Ann Shaffer's The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Emma Smith's The Great Western Beach, they thought the early 20th century could be a good area for potential reprints. Not a view likely to meet with disapproval here at Stuck-in-a-Book, of course. And Bloomsbury obviously recognised that bloggers were also obsessive readers, and might be able to put a title or two in their direction. They were looking, mostly, for things which hadn't been reprinted by othe
r reprint publishers.

Those of you who know me well will know that one name came straight to mind.

Miss Hargreaves.

And, guess what, they're going to republish Miss
Hargreaves (by Frank Baker - see my ravings about it here). It's on my list of 50 Books You Must Read But May Not Have Heard About and, although that list isn't in any order, I'd probably put Miss Hargreaves at the top. I don't think I could be more excited if my own (hypothetical) novel were being published.

Miss Hargreaves is going to be one of six novels called The Bloomsbury Group - I think they're intending to bring a set out every year. More on the other novels tomorrow.

Now the not so good news: it's not until August, according to their website. We'll have to be patient. Don't worry, I'll be reminding people. A lot. For those who don't know the novel - I can do no better than quote the brilliant blurb on the Bloomsbury website:

An endlessly surprising fairy tale from the 1930s, introducing an unforgettable heroine and a story that shows that anything is possible with a little imagination

Part of The Bloomsbury Group: A new library of books from the early twentieth-century chosen by readers for readers

When, on the spur of a moment, Norman Huntley and his friend Henry invent an eighty-three year-old woman called Miss Hargreaves, they are inspired to post a letter to their new fictional friend. It is only meant to be a silly, harmless game – until Miss Hargreaves arrives on their doorstep, complete with her cockatoo, her harp and – last but not least – her bath. She is, to Norman's utter disbelief, exactly as he had imagined her: enchanting, eccentric and endlessly astounding. He hadn't imagined, however, how much havoc an imaginary octogenarian could wreak in his sleepy Buckinghamshire home town, Cornford.
Norman has some explaining to do, but how will he begin to explain to his friends, family and girlfriend where Miss Hargreaves came from when he hasn't the faintest clue himself? Will his once-ordinary, once-peaceful life ever be the same again? And, what’s more, does he want it to?

Monday, 23 February 2009

Miss Pettigrew Goes To...

Patch has given me a helping paw, as usual, in doing a book draw - we're drawing for the winner of Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, an irresistible Persephone Book, and far and away their bestseller.

And the winner is...


Congratulations - could you email your postal address to and I'll get the book off to you as soon as possible. As always with these book draws, it would be lovely if you have time to report back on the novel when you've finished it - be that next week or next year!

Sunday, 22 February 2009


One of my favourite things about bookish blogs - their raison d'etre, I guess - is that you can pick up recommendations for books across different periods, countries, styles and prices. If I flick through the Sunday newspaper's book selection, it'll be a couple worthy biographies, a novel by a very well known writer, and some popular science. All of them will be published in the last month, and all of them will cost a fortune. Blogs tell us about books from the last three centuries, and can be either rare or available for pennies, about my hometown or about Sweden or Japan or South Africa - an astonishing variety of possible books.

So what I'm asking today, and I definitely want it to be interactive, is for you to tell us about a book you've read based on a blog recommendation. I often find that my reading life is one big network of books leading into other books - and the odd mention in the comments on someone's blog will lead me into another direction.

It would be lovely if it was a book I'd recommended, but I
'd also love to hear about books reviewed on other blogs - if you have a link, so much the better. Or, better still, post this idea on your blog, and put a link in the comments.

I'm going to kick off with a few examples from my past couple of years, all books I've really enjoyed. (The links are to the blogger's review of the book in question)

Elaine's blog introduced me to the first Jane Austen sequel, Old Friends and New Fancies by Sybil Brinton.

Lynne's blog was where I first heard of Jerome K. Jerome's The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow.

Margaret at BooksPlease first gave me the heads-up on Crow Lake by Mary Lawson.

Karen made me pick up my copy of All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West

and more or less every blog under the sun pointed me in the direction of Rachel Ferguson's The Brontes Went To Woolworths

That was fun. Comment here if you like, but otherwise do go and try this on your blog - it's nice to look back and see how much of our reading experience is influenced by our blogging, and good to bring them together.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

James Tait Black Memorial Prize

Elaine wrote a post about Capuchin Classics a week or so ago (if you follow that link, you'll discover one back to me and the interview Emma Howard, the head of Capuchin, did for Stuck-in-a-Book a while back) - in that post she happened to mention that Charles Morgan's The Voyage, which Capuchin reprint, won the James Tait Memorial Prize in 1940. The only Charles Morgan book I've read is A Breeze of Morning, which I remember enjoying quite a lot - and reading in the beautiful grounds of Wilderhope Manor Youth Hostel in Shropshire - but it reminded me that I wanted to blog about the James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Perhaps it was just a blind spot in my literary knowledge, but the prize is still being awarded, and doesn't seem to get anything like the press and public attention that the Booker Prize does every year. But, for my money, looking through their respective
awards over the years, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize has been rather wiser than the Booker Prize. Certainly a more interesting selection, to my mind. And it's older than the Booker Prize too - by 50 years, since it started in 1919. (Just realised I mean Man Booker for all the times I've written Booker...) What's more, they have separate prizes for novel and for biography - I've focused on the novels, but there's lots there for those with more non-fiction-orientated minds.

As usual, Wikipedia offers valuable information - follow this link for a list of JTBMP winners since 1919. Too many to talk about them all, but Stuck-in-a-Book favourites Lady Into Fox (David Garnett) and Mother and Son (Ivy Compton-Burnett) both crop up, not to mention EH Young's Miss Mole, in my tbr pile, alongside
LP Hartley, Emma Smith, DH Lawrence, Rose Macaulay, Muriel Spark, Walter de la Mare, Kate O'Brien, EM Forster, Winifred Holtby, Evelyn Waugh, Margaret Kennedy, Elizabeth Bowen, Iris Murdoch... well, go and have a look yourself.

So why has it been given less attention? Perhaps because it has no official sponsor - the winner is decided by the Professor of English at Edinburgh University, assisted by his/her PhD students (how they have time to read so many modern novels, I have no idea). But while the Booker has produced many creditable winners, JTBMP's historical and intellectual credentials put it head of the field for me, and I'll be keeping an eye on it in the future.

The Imperial Visitor...

Just a quick note - Jennifer Dee reminded me that a few people were interested in reading my essay from last term on 'the Imperial visitor' in Katherine Mansfield and Olive Schreiner - and you're very welcome to! If you'd like a copy, please email me at and I'll email you back one.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Apologies, Acceptances, and Adorable books

Sorry to take a break without warning you all! I've spent a few days in lovely Ludlow with the rest of the Thomas clan. Ludlow, in Shropshire, is my favourite town - feels like stepping back in time. The buildings are all beautiful and old, the streets windy and the atmosphere calming. A delightful antidote to the bustle of Oxford, and some fun times with my family.

I came back to the news that I have a place at Warwick Univer
sity to do my PhD! The next step is asking for funding, which is, of course, the deal-breaker - and I'm still waiting to hear from Oxford, so nothing has been sorted yet, but it is still very pleasing to have the offer on the table. Even if I have next to no time to sort out my funding application... has to be there by March 2nd. Could be tight. Fingers crossed!

Something remotely bookish should be in this post, really, shouldn't it... well, why not return with a giveaway? I've managed to get two copies of Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson - Persephone's highes
t selling book - and so I'm going to give one away. It's in the grey cover, rather than the Persephone Classics cover, and for those who don't know it, it's a charming Cinderella-esque story about a governess who gets caught up in a world of sassy young things, nightclubs and romance. Written in 1938, Miss P is perhaps a little light and frothy, but at the very top of its field - a novel which it is more or less impossible to dislike. If you'd like a copy, pop your name in the comments.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Ernie and Mickey - the results

Thanks everyone for your entries in the Ernest Hemingway / Mickey Spillane experiment! It's the only time you're likely to see some of those words on Stuck-in-a-Book... these Nobel Prize winners need to wash their mouth out with soap, sometimes.

e results. OV was so confident that he asked for his doughnut in advance this afternoon - I wonder whether that was justified confidence... let's see.

1. 'She was builty with curves like the hull of a racing yacht, and you missed none of it with that wool jersey.'

2. ' "You bitch," he said. "You rich bitch. That's poetry." '


3. 'In there was my best friend lying on the floor dead. The body. Now I could call it that. Yesterday it was Jack Williams, the guy that shared the same mud bed with me through two years of warfare in the stinking slime of the jungle.'

4. ' "Love is a dung
hill," said Harry. "And I'm the cock that gets on it to crow." '

5. 'The majoy did not marry her in the spring, or any other time. Luz never got an answer to the letter to Chicago about it. A short time after he contract gonorrhea from a sales girl in a Loop department store while riding in a
taxicab through Lincoln Park.'

6. '"They're a funny fish,' I told him. 'They aren't here until they come."'

7. 'He started to walk down the dock looking longer than a day without breakfast.'

8. ' "How c-could
you?" she gasped. 'I only had a moment before talking to a corpse, but I got it in. ' "It was easy," I said.'

9. 'I got him forward onto his knees and had both thumbs well in behind his talk-box, and I bent the whole thing back until she cracked. Don't think you can't hear it crack either.'


10. 'My hand smashed into bone and flesh and with the meaty impact I could smell the blood and hear the gagging intake of his breath. He grabbed, his arms like great claws. He just held on and I knew if I couldn't break him loose he could kill me.'


And now for the rankings...

3/10 - Lizzy Siddal
4/10 - Me
5/10 - Harriet (interestingly, with one exception, you made the same choices as me!)
5/10 - Our Vicar
5/10 - CallMeMadam
5/10 - _lethe_
7/10 - Beatrice Starr
7/10 - rz
7/10 - Anonymous

Apparently those who score under 5 and those above 5 are usually equal. I'm going to say 'normal distribution' and pretend that I remember what it means.

Beatrice, rz and Anonymous - expect a third of a doughnut in the post soon. Maybe.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Sylvia Townsend Warner

One of the books I mentioned the other day was Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner, which I'm using for my domestic-space-and-fantasy dissertation. STW is one of those writers whose been in my peripheral vision, as it were - ever since I bought British Women Writers 1900-1950 ed. Harold Bloom - but I hadn't made the move to buying or reading any of her work until Lolly Willowes. Which Hermione Lee mentioned in her introduction to The Love Child by Edith Olivier (and now, to go full circle, she is my supervisor for these two books and more).

Enough background. Lolly Willowes is the story of a woman who se
lls her soul to the devil. Like Lethe, who commented on the post about these books, I approached this rather warily - but it actually only comes into the narrative quite late, and doesn't seem to me to be the central focus of the novel. The central character, Laura Willowes (the narrative never actually refers to her as Lolly, that's just the name others give to her) moves in with her married brother when her father dies - she is one of those spinsters of the period who were shunted from pillar to post because they had the audacity not to marry. She puts off her suitors, one by indulging in the imaginative and positing one as a were-wolf. She decides, spontaneously, to move to a village called Great Mop (well, you would, wouldn't you?) and set up a life for herself there. This does later involve selling her soul to the devil, unfortunately, but before it gets to that point I found Lolly Willowes a really interesting and sympathetic novel about the entrapment of families and houses and the freedom of Nature... that sounds very hippie, whereas I actually love family houses, but for Laura it is an escape from being trammeled down. And celebrates open spaces, beautiful villages and Nature.

As usual, the quality I appreciated most was the writing - and that's impossible to define. STW writes beautifully, but not in the way of Virginia Woolf and those for whom the writing is central and the focus - more like an experienced story-teller, who knows the best patterns of words to evoke character and pathos.

I've been on a Sylvia Townsend Warner library spree, with The True Heart, Summer Will Show and Mr. Fortune's Maggot (which must be one of the least attractive title of which I've ever heard - apparently a maggot is 'a whimsical or perverse fancy') - anyone read these? Or any others by STW? I'm going to try and get through at least one of these next week - those in the know have told me that none match up to Lolly Willowes, but that was so very good that a second best could be enjoyable too.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Lost in Austen on the Big Screen

Do keep trying the Ernie/Mickey challenge from yesterday's post - I'll reveal the results on Monday, and the winner - there might even be a prize. Maybe.

I *may* have mentioned, once or twice or fifty times, the excellent
Lost in Austen TV series from last year, starring the sublime Jemima Rooper as a 21st century girl who accidentally swaps places with Lizzie Bennet. This post babbles on about why I love the series, if you need reminding. Well, there is more news - my friend Lucy emailed me the news that there is to be a film version of Lost in Austen! Here's the news.

No word on casting as of yet. I'm torn. I think the cast of the ITV series were exceptionally good, especially Jemima, but if we have the same cast in the movie (and they already have the same brilliant scriptwriter, Guy Andrews) then what's the point? The DVD is out there, the film could just be an abridgement. Obviously I'll see it, and count down the days, but it does seem superfluous.

And I'm a bit worried about an American studio getting their hands on it. I'm always annoyed when American TV people remake our TV series (The Office, Dad's Army... I'm sure there are other examples, I just can't think of them) which would never happen when US programmes come to the US. I'm anxious, lest the deep affection for Jane Austen which the TV series has is ironed out, or the clever references removed for the sake of a wider audience... anything could go wrong. I always felt Lost in Austen triumphed despite the influence of various studio bosses and so forth - if it was a cynical meeting of Pride and Prejudice with Life on Mars the scriptwriter and actors and Jane Austen managed to override that - but will this triumph transfer itself to the big screen?

So I'm excited. With reservations.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Ernie or Mickey?

We had a fun little 'parlour game' in our Bibliography class the other day (yes, parlour game, not doing much to disabuse people of the Oxford-students-are-upper-class myth, is it...) - we were discussing, amongst other things, the idea of intrinsic literary merit. Were certain books valued above others because they were, simply, better - and did this superiority reveal itself throughout every sentence of the work?

And so we were set a little test. We had 10 quotations - some are from Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway, some are from Mickey Spillane. If, like me, you've never heard of Mr. Spillane, he is a fairly critically savaged American crime writer - 'sex and slaughter for a quarter'. I.e. a great writer and a poor writer - supposedly. Can you identify (WITHOUT doing a Google search or similar) which of the following are by EH and which by MS? More to the point, dare you put your answers in the comments? If it's a comfort, I only g
ot 4 out of 10. Having never read a word of either.

It's not half-half (I made that mistake) but I won't tell you which way it leans. Go! Have a go, it'll be fun. I'll post a doughnut to anybody who gets all 10 without cheating.

1. 'She was builty with curves like the hull of a racing yacht, and you missed none of it with that wool jersey.'

2. ' "You bitch," he said. "You rich bitch. That's poetry." '

3. 'In there was my best friend lying on the floor dead. The body. Now I could call it that. Yesterday it was Jack Williams, the guy that shared the same mud bed with me through two years of warfare in the stinking slime of the jungle.'

4. ' "Love is a dunghill," said Harry. "And I'm the cock that gets on it to crow." '

5. 'The majoy did not marry her in the spring, or any other time. Luz never got an answer to the letter to Chicago about it. A short time after he contract gonorrhea from a sales girl in a Loop department store while riding in a taxicab through Lincoln Park.'

6. '"They're a funny fish,' I told him. 'They aren't here until they come."'

7. 'He started to walk down the dock looking longer than a day without breakfast.'

8. ' "How c-could you?" she gasped.
'I only had a moment before talking to a corpse, but I got it in.
' "It was easy," I said.'

9. 'I got him forward onto his knees and had both thumbs well in behind his talk-box, and I bent the whole thing back until she cracked. Don't think you can't hear it crack either.'

10. 'My hand smashed into bone and flesh and with the meaty impact I could smell the blood and hear the gagging intake of his breath. He grabbed, his arms like great claws. He just held on and I knew if I couldn't break him loose he could kill me.'

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

E revealed

Well done everyone, lots of good guesses, and mostly right.

Starting in the top left...

Epiphany (though Egypt was a good guess... OV and OVW have an Epiphany party every year)

Envelopes - not the most exciting things in the world, perhaps, but the restriction of Es made me think outside the box, and I realised how much I like tissue-lined envelopes. Well, I do have a catalogue from the gloriously named World of Envelopes somewhere.

Enid Blyton - I read little else for years

Eeyore - Shepard's drawings just enhance this wonderful character. The meeting of Milne and Shepard make him the finest gloomy character in all of fiction.

Emperor Penguin - and ain't this baby one adorable?

E.M. Delafield - looking remarkably like a pilot

Easter - Hallelujah!

Escalier - yes, French, but I love staircases too much to miss them out.

Eckington - this photograph is from - the village I grew up in, and a very beautiful place, as well as one which will always be dear to me

Elizabeth II - I managed to offend my housemate the other day by saying I'd save the Queen's life over hers. I am her subject...

That was quite difficult. Hopefully those I hand over to will have an easier task! Do ask for a letter if you haven't already - here are letters picked from my Scrabble bag for those who've asked already. Do put a link to your blog in the comments when you've accepted the challenge!

Evie - you have T

Bookishnyc - D for you

OhSoVintage - joining me in the realm of vowels, with A

Overdue - so are you, as you get O

Rosie - have fun with G


Monday, 9 February 2009


I spotted a fun-looking task on Harriet's blog; come up with 10 favourite things beginning with a certain randomly selected letter. She got the quiz from Cornflower, who got it from someone else etc. etc., I don't know where it all started. But the idea is you ask for a letter in the blog comments, and then go and do it on your blog - and I got E. Which is quite tricky! But it gave me the chance to play with Picasa 3 again (I've just discovered the Sepia function; be warned)

But I think I've managed it. I had to delve into French once. With that knowledge in hand, points for whoever can work out my 10 things beginning with E... You might have to click on the image to make it bigger, and one of them will be very tricky for non-Thomas family members. Have fun!

If you'd like to join in, ask for a letter in the comments - I'll get my Scrabble tiles and let you know...

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Too Much Information

I've spent one of those days thinking about working and not really doing anything... other than demonstrate how slowly a man can walk along a road. I was much laughed at by sympathetic housemate Mel.

I haven't been to Booking Through Thursday for a while, not for any particular reason, so I was surprised and pleased to see that this week's question was suggested by me! I put it in the suggestion area of their website last April, and rather thought that it had been passed over - however, they must keep these things boiling under for many months, as this week's question is:

Have you ever been put off an author’s books after reading a biography of them? Or the reverse - a biography has made you love an author more?

I never know whether an author's life and personality *should* influence a reading of their work or not, but I know for a fact that it does. Not wholly, but I can't quite keep it out of my mind.

Having said that - Katherine Mansfield (Claire Tomalin) and
Virginia Woolf (Hermione Lee) remain two of my favourite authors, despite coming across as less than pleasant in their respective biographies. I've forced myself to ignore their meanness (see anything KM wrote to Ida Baker) or selfishness or whatever, because their writing is amongst the best I've ever read. Daphne du Maurier has rather suffered after I read her Letters from Menabilly, which made her seem arrogant and callous, but I'm pre-determined to love anything I might ever read by Oriel Malet, who came across so much nicer in that book. Whatever my objective reasoning tells me, it always helps when an author turns out to be a lovely or courageous or notable person - I admire Beatrix Potter after discovering more about her; Richmal Crompton and AA Milne seem increasingly good people to invite to dinner.

So I'm all confused, basically. All Round Good Eggs benefit in my eyes - but I'll blind myself to the nasty traits in authors I already love. It's a case of warming to them or feeling quiet (and usually irrational) disappointment... do any of you have anything more sensible to contribute? Or, of course, any response, sensible or not...

There's SNOW business like...

It is a truth universally acknowledged (in the UK at least) that a single day in position of a snow fall must be in want of a photographer.

I have very mixed feelings about snow - I still have the child-like delight and desire to caper in the snow, but this motivation is combined with awful balance (I fall over most days putting on my socks. This is true.) No 90 year old could creep along the pavements as slowly as I - pensioners were comfortably outstripping me. But, still, pretty photographs...

In the hope of dragging this back to literature - portrayals of snow in books? The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penney is brilliant at this. Someone here or elsewhere, possibly my friend Barbara-from-Ludlow, suggested a Jack London story for being similarly good at putting across the feeling of snow. Any other suggestions?

We built a snowman called Bernard. In the dark. Mel named him Bernard, but I like to think of him as named after the character in The Waves.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Heirs and Graces

My little spread of book titles from the other day will give me the opportunity to spend the next while talking my way through them... first up is Vita Sackville-West's The Heir, which was first published in 1922 and was reprinted by the wonderful Hesperus. I can't find it on Amazon, nor is the Hesperus website working at the moment, but do look out for their copy (I found mine in Blackwells) as it's beautiful even by the standard of Hesperus' beautiful covers.

The Heir is only 90 pages long - which, as we discussed a while ago, is greatly in its favour as far as I am concerned - and originally came with the subtitle 'A Love Story'. The love story in question is between the heir (Chase) and the house he inherits. Flicking through, I can't find the name of the house, so perhaps it doesn't have one - but Vita's son believed the novel to be written as an act of catharsis at not being able to inherit Knole, the house she loved and is incorporated into Orlando.

I've now read three books by Vita Sackville-West - No Signposts in the Sea, which wasn't exceptionally good; All Passion Spent which was great, and now The Heir. VSW's writing, especially when on a topic she clearly cares about, is beautiful - and the gradual realisation on Chase's part that he loves the house and the villagers... why do my descriptions of books always seem to become schmaltzy? The Heir isn't at all - it's honest and witty and touching and good.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Blues and Greens

Sorry I've been absent for a while - don't say I didn't warn you!

I had a weekend away with my church, Oxford Community Church, which was a great time of getting to know God better and being bowled over once more
by His love and grace. This was coupled with sleeping on a very hard, very cold floor... still, can't have everything.

Thought I'd keep you in the loop - have been re-reading primary texts for my dissertation, and noticed that they were all rather co-ordin
ated, not to say beautiful in their own right. I daresay I'll be writing more eloquently about their contents in time to come (those which haven't already appeared on Stuck-in-a-Book, anyway) but here is more playing with Picasa 3 to give you a glimpse of what's going on!

Do comment away on the books in the picture, if you have eyesight that good...