Saturday 25 July 2009

Stuck-in-a-Book's Weekend Miscellany

Something new I thought I'd kick off here - at the weekend I'll pick three or four things I've noticed in the week beforehand, and point you in their direction. It'll usually be other bloggers or blog posts which I've enjoyed, but will also include books I've spotted or snippets of information I've been emailed.

1) First off, Libby Cone's novel War on the Margins was published on Thursday by Duckworth. She sent me a copy ages ago, but sadly I've not got to it - but it's definitely the right territory for Stuck-in-a-Book, based as it is in wartime Guernsey. All of us loved Mary Ann Shaffer's The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, didn't we? Lynne at dovegreyreader wrote about War on the Margins here, in its self-published incarnation. Isn't it great when a self-publisher manages to get published in the conventional way as well? Libby sent me a very sweet email asking me to mention that the book was now out, suggesting I say the following: "She's barmy! She's driving me nuts! I haven't been able to read it; read it for yourselves, for goodness' sake, so she'll leave me alone!" But I will read it one day, Libby, I will... see if you can beat me to it.

2) There are quite a few things that readers of Siab agree on, more or less - two of them are that reading is great, and that Virago Modern Classics are wonderful, when they appear in their dark-green covers. Witness the Virago collage I made a while ago:

Well, Verity (of The B Files, see left-hand column) has set up a subsidiary blog, Verity's Virago Venture, documenting her attempt to read as many of the VMCs as possible. I can't remember how many there are, but it's A LOT. Go along and see her progress - authors/books already covered include Barbara Comyn's Sisters By A River (which I wrote about in April) and the works of Antonia White.

3) I'm a little in love with Lisa's blog A Bloomsbury Life, which has (I quote) "sporadic posts about style, travel, food, literature, gardens, eccentrics and their foibles." It's a quirky riot of colour, very stylishly so, and is a simply beautiful place to be. Most adored post recently is this one, in which Lisa compares the photographs taken on her travels with objects and designs around her home - how the one has influenced the other. For example, below - she has drawn connections between the beautiful saris she saw, and the way she shelves her books... beautiful. Do go and read the whole post, with lots of great photographs.


  1. Simon, I think there are approximately 550 VMCs so I will be following Verity's Virago Venture with interest. It has only just started and already it hasn't been good for my bank balance nor the teetering, toppling TBR pile! Speaking of which, I picked up a copy of Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead, knowing it is your favourite Comyns.

    I need to post my own (updated) collage of Viragoes soon.

    Now following A Bloomsbury Life as it looks like another blog I'll love.

  2. Loved Guernsey--can't wait to read War on the Margins. Thanks for the recommendation!

  3. Thank you Simon, for the absolutely lovely mention. I am honored! Your devoted reader...xx

  4. Dash it all, Simon. I already have too many Daily Fixes in my bookmarks, that keep me from all my morning chores. Sigh. I've been forced to add Lisa's to the folder of "Candidates for Daily Fixes".

  5. Thanks for mentioning the Libby Cone novel. I saw it a while back (perhaps via DGR?), but I didn't write down the title. I'll keep an eye out for it now that it's published, as it sounds like it's right up my alley, too. Thanks for both links--I've bookmarked them and am especially interested in Verity's blog. I'd love to undertake a project like that myself--I just pick them up wherever I can fit them into my reading!

  6. What a gorgeous photo of all those women in the colorful saris.

  7. Simon, thanks so much for the post. There are currently 542 VMCs, although they are publishing more Pym this month.

    I love your collage and hope I'll have enough books to do my own soon!

  8. Your collage is just gorgeous! You have some titles in there that I am now going to be looking for, just because the covers are so delicious!

  9. I absolutely adore Grace Paley and was thrilled to see a couple on your collage. I've read Enormous Changes and have Little Disturbance on my tbr, but both aren't Virago though. Those covers are lovely.

  10. 542 VMCs, wow, good luck Verity!

    I've not read the Grace Paleys yet, but the covers won me over.

    Glad everyone enjoyed my first weekend miscellany - will try to keep it going...

  11. Thank you for all the links. So many things of interest here.


I've now moved to, and all my old posts are over there too - do come and say hello :)

I probably won't see your comment here, I'm afraid, but all my archive posts can also be found at