Sunday 11 January 2009

Red Books

It's a shame that I haven't got my camera working on this laptop yet, as the two books I'm writing about today look rather fetching together. Alternatively, they clash. Who's to say - what's certain is that they're both red. One was a present for Christmas, non-subtly asked for by myself and given by OV and OVW; the other was a present to myself.

Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford was urged on my by those who rose to Decca's defence while I read The Mitfords (my review here, and it subsequently came top of my books of 2008). Jessica was easily my least favourite of the Mitfords, not because of her politics but because of the extent to which she cut herself off from her family and was entirely hostile to Diana, especially. To my, probably idealistic, mind politics should never get in the way of family. But, prepared to be proved wrong, I have started Decca... and, yes, she is starting to win me over, mostly because she confesses that her most vitriolic moments re:Diana were 'stuffy and self-righteous' and 'not very sisterly'. I've been moved by her husband's death in a way which almost passed me by in The Mitfords, mostly because she exchanged relatively few letters with her sisters in this period. And perhaps Decca will be most useful for those who consider the Mitford sisters all hardened snobs - whatever ones opinion of Communism, Jessica's work for the Civil Rights Movement is wholly admirable.

The second red book is... The Paris Review Interviews vol.3 - the third in the series after those mentioned here - though I am still working my way through these, I couldn't pass on the opportunity to add this to my collection. The interviews I've read so far are insightful, in depth and really deliciously writerly. Volume 3 includes interviews with Harold Pinter, Evelyn Waugh, Ted Hughes, Martin Amis, Jean Rhys, Salman Rushde, Joyce Carol Oats, William Carlos Williams, Jan Morris, Chinua Achebe... every home should have one.


  1. You have been tagged! (again. Sorry. But it's only a little tag, a tat-ette, if you will, and entirely appropriate to celebrate your new computer and encourage you to get the camera connected!)
    And I was fairly horrified about the Winnie the Pooh book, btw. But I will read it, obviously. Damn those marketing wizards...

  2. On my list to buy in March. I was so shocked to see what I spent in 08 on books I've written a schedule and shall screw myself to the sticking post not to deviate.Loved the carbon copy's post. You are obviously both gifted writers.

  3. Great books! Thank you for sharing.


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