Friday 30 July 2010

Moving with the times

I did promise you a multi-coloured Weekend Miscellany, but I'm afraid packing all day and carrying everything down the stairs has rather worn me out...

So, instead, I would like to know your reading suggestions on the topic of moving house! Can you think of any?

Only one comes to my mind - Persephone book and Virago Modern Classic The New House by Lettice Cooper. That dual honour for this 1930s novel is warranted - it's a fascinating novel for many reasons, but especially in terms of contemporary class shifts, including those between masters and servants...
Rhoda came into the kitchen and stood just inside the doorway, looking shy. She always felt shy when she penetrated to that downstairs world. The life lived so near to them and so far apart from them was a dark continent, full of unexplored mystery.
And, of course, they move house! So, over to you... books about moving house, please. And I'll see you on the other side...


  1. Oh, moving house. Such a joy! (Heavy sarcasm). I can't think of any books other than The New House but I wanted to come by to wish you luck in the move and a speedy unpacking!

    ps. this is Rachel from Book Snob...blogger still isn't alowing me to use my wordpress id!

  2. Well, my choice would be Moving House by Polish writer Pauel Huelle

    I'm sure Anne Tyler has covered it lots of times too - The Amateur Marriage perhaps?

  3. Oh! my favourites are from children's books. The Railway Children, which you've only just mentioned. The description of the family's arrival at the new cottage, in the dark, with nothing prepared for them - it's so atmospheric, the best bit in the book. There's a slightly similar scene in Mary Wesley's Haphazard House, where a family moves to a house in the country, and there's one by Mary Stewart that I'm very fond of - Thornyhold. And Royal Harry by William Mayne, which I've just bought a copy of - funny, there's a distinct "moving to the country" theme to my favourites.

    Good luck with the move!

  4. Cottage for Sale*Must Be Moved (A Woman Moves a House to Make a Home) by Kate Whouley. You will love this story!

  5. Oh, how funny -- I immediately thought of Anne Tyler too. Only the one that came to mind, Ladder of Years, is less about moving house than about running away from home!

    There's always The Berenstain Bears' Moving Day, which offers comfort and amusement to those who worry about the move.

    And finally, in my list of not-very-helpful-but-still-worth-reading books, I offer Marilynne Robinson's Home, which is about the opposite journey, the return home rather than the move away.

    Good luck with that move.


  6. I also thought of The Railway Children - it really sums up that dank unloved feeling of an empty and, as yet, un-lived-in house.
    My first thought though was The Wizard of Oz - now that IS moving house!
    Sense and Sensibility also springs to mind - all those plans for improvements (none of which were ever made!)
    And now I begin to feel weary, just thinking about it!

  7. Another children's book: The Little House (by Virginia Lee Burton). A wonderful story, written 60 years ago and still in print! Not to suggest that moving house is child's play! Good Luck

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  9. Another great book about moving is 'Still Life with Chickens:Starting Over in a House by the Sea' A memoir by Catherine Goldhammer. I think the reason I have read so many moving books because I've lived in 7 states in 30 years!

  10. Nothing to recommend re the moving house bit! but I do hope its done successfully.

  11. Oh yes, Linda. We loved The Little House!

  12. One of my favourite books when I was little was 'Moving Molly' by Shirley Hughes

  13. Surely the almost saga-like Moominpapa at sea is the one that should be top of your list! It's the most strange, elegaic, haunting and sad book about moving house I've ever read. It won't cheer you up but if you haven't read it then I urge you to do so someday.

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  15. Not really about moving, but definitely related to the "upstairs/downstairs" topic re: servants: reading "The Rise and Fall of the Victorian Servant" by Pamela Horn... Some people had as many as a couple of hundred servants. I would rather like one, but I would be really nice to him/her. And if you had one, s/he could help you move...

    Good luck with moving. Lift with your legs, not your back. :-)

  16. I've been rereading the entire Little House series, and I can think of anyone who moved more times or more vividly than Laura Ingalls Wilder.

    On a recent move of my own, we read the books aloud during the (twelve hour!) drive, and it was a comfort knowing that we already had a house waiting for us at the end of the journey.

  17. Rachel - thanks! I do hate unpacking, but all done now (almost - to the undiscerning eye, there is still stuff everywhere. But it's out of its boxes, and that's the important thing.)

    Tom - interesting choice, thanks - I don't think I've read anything Polish...

    Jodie - of course, The Railway Children, how did I not think of that!

    Dee - never heard of it, but thanks for the recommendation, and Still Life with Chickens is a fab title!

    Lily - I have a few Anne Tylers but haven't read any - ditto Marilynne Robinson!

    Mum - I must find The Railway Children.... under the stairs?!

    Linda - another one I've not heard of, sounds lovely.

    Mystica - thanks! Almost unpacked now... all the boxes have gone. Just a lot of 'stuff'...

    Barbara C - another recommendation, I must seek it out!

    Naomi - oh yes, I loved Shirley Hughes!

    Peter - oh that is a captivating description. Do you know, I've not read any of the Moomintroll series...

    Liz - I've had lifting training from the library, I was all set!

    Megan - what a nice idea - thankfully our drive was only about ten minutes. But I love reading aloud and with other people, so might try and persuade my housemates to give it a go... I am doubtful about my success. Wouldn't it be fun if all the bloggers could live together?!


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