Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday miscellany

Just a few miscellaneous book-related thoughts:

We're two weeks out from the end of the TBR Double Dog Dare, and I can feel the lure of the newest books on my shelves.  Here are some of the most tempting:
  • Trollope, An Illustrated Biography, by C.P. Snow
  • Miss Cayley's Adventures, Grant Allen - everyone who has read these has loved them
  • One Pair of Hands, by Monica Dickens
  • The Newcomes, William Makepeace Thackeray  ("At its centre is Thomas Newcome, a retired Colonel in the Indian Army who finds the snobberies and hypocrisies of early Victorian England disconcerting.")
  • The Drowning House, Elizabeth Black - a mystery set in Galveston, involving an historic house, linking the present day and the terrible 1900 Storm
  • Raw Material, Dorothy Canfield Fisher - a 1923 collection of essays, which the author describes as an "unrelated, unorganized bundle of facts" (the edition I came across still has most of its pages uncut - I need to find a paper knife!)

With a Christmas gift card in hand, I was browsing Barnes & Noble's website when I noticed that they have Angela Thirkell's Wild Strawberries listed, one of the few of her Barsetshire series that I don't own.  It has been reprinted by in a lovely Virago edition, which isn't available in North America yet.  This was the older Moyer & Bell edition, but since I had a gift card, I went ahead and ordered it.  Quite a few of the copies I have are M&B editions, and while I've heard complaints about them, I've never noticed anything but minor printing errors.  But this book is something else, I've never seen anything like it.  The final straw for me came at the end of a chapter, when half the concluding sentence was printed on the next page under the new chapter heading.  I can't in good conscience even give this book to the library sale.  A waste of a good gift card!

Unless I've got a reading twin, I think my blog is one of those listed on Jane & Briar's most recent round of That Book Game, over on Fleur Fisher Reads - which is great fun!

We had a lovely meeting of the Greater Houston JASNA chapter yesterday.  In addition to our usual sumptuous tea, we discussed an article from the JASNA journal Persuasions, called  "George and Georgiana: Symmetries and Antitheses in Pride and Prejudice" (which you can read here if you're interested).   The author describes George Wickham as "this snakiest of snakes," and we spent some times discussing if he is in fact the snakiest of Austen's characters.  I'm torn between Mrs Clay, slithering into the heart of the Elliot family, and Henry Crawford, who wreaks such havoc in Mansfield Park (though Mrs Norris is an equally adept slitherer).  We decided that Austen's novels are crawling with snakes.  Who is your favorite?

Thanks to my new Netflix streaming, I finally got around to watching the recent Sherlock.  I was so happy to hear this week that production is starting on the third series.  In the meantime, I may need someone to stage an intervention and pry the DVDs out of my hands.  I'm also looking forward to re-reading both the Conan Doyle stories and the Mary Russell books.


  1. After so many of my blogging friends raved about Angela Thirkell, I decided to purchase High Rising. It's at the top of my post-TBR Double Dog Dare reading pile. I can't wait for April!

  2. I love Sherlock! IIRC, I ended up watching second season finale twice in two days. I'm so excited about the new season.

  3. I wonder if the Moyer Bells are as badly put together as some of the advance galleys in ebook form we get from publishers ... they drive me NUTS. :)

  4. It's impossible to find Angela Thirkell here so like JoAnn I'm going to have to buy. The covers of the new VMC editions of High Rising & Wild Strawberries are constantly tempting me.

    Look forward to seeing what you choose first from that interesting list.

  5. JoAnn, I think you will enjoy Thirkell - though you do know it's a long series, right :)

    Teresa, for me it's the first episode. I keep watching bits of it over again. Someone on a Buffy/Dunnet offshoot of Marzipan mentioned that the stars have signed for a fourth series!

    Audrey, I've never read a galley! But I can't believe a printed book could have these ridiculous errors.

    Cat, I think it's going to be Miss Cayley first. About 15 years or so ago, just when I started reading & collecting Thirkell, most of them were available in paperback, new or used. Now it's rare to come across one. I do hope Virago goes on to publish more of them. I can't imagine why they haven't been filmed.

  6. I can't see you not loving One Pair of Hands...

  7. Simon, I cheated & read the first few pages when my copy arrived - and I can't wait to read more! I was greedy & found a copy of One Pair of Feet as well.

  8. All of the books you list do sound very tempting. The only one I've read is Miss Cayley's Adventures, which I just finished, and I think it's a great choice to read first.

  9. Oh, One Pair of Hands - one of my absolute favourites!

  10. elizabeth, I saw that you were reading Miss Cayley! I'm looking forward to hearing more about it.

    vicki, I can't believe I never came across Monica Dickens before. Blogging really has introduced me to some wonderful new books & authors.

  11. I understand the appeal of such lovely new books, but you just have a little while to hold on. Try to enjoy the anticipation!

    You may have a reading twin out there, but I haven't found her - it was you!

  12. Jane, I think I can hold out :) I keep reminding myself that I was just as eager to read all those older books, at least when I added them to the TBR stacks. And thank you for including me in the game!

  13. Sounds like a great JASNA meeting--I haven't read that paper in Persuasions yet, but I plan to--love Austen's snakes! It's hard to beat Mrs. Norris when it comes to slime, but George Wickham is definitely in the running.

  14. Jane, I'm so far behind on the articles. I do want to at least catch up with the journals I have on hand. Mrs Norris is one my favorite characters, I love watching her make off with everything not nailed down - the cheesecakes always make me smile.

  15. I didn't realize you were in Houston and that you were a JASNA member!!! I'm in the Austin chapter (though I really live in San Antonio). Do you know Jane Almquist? I met her at an AGM a few years ago. How funny!! Are you going to the Minneapolis AGM this year?? If so we should try to meet.

    And I also have that Trollope bio which I bought in a used bookstore in Maryland a few years ago and have not read. I'm supposed to start reading The American Senator with an online group and I've only read about 9 pages. Sigh.

  16. Karen, Jane is our new coordinator! and she's doing a fabulous job of getting our group active again. We were just talking about the AGM on Saturday. I'm hoping to go - I love the Twin Cities. It would be great to meet up there. I can't believe I missed the Fort Worth AGM - people are still raving about it.

    The American Senator isn't my favorite Trollope, but I did enjoy it.


Thank you for taking the time to read, and to comment. I always enjoy hearing different points of view about the books I am reading, even if we disagree!