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Which Virago Are you Reading? Part XVIII

This is a continuation of the topic Which Virago Are you Reading? Part XVII.

Virago Modern Classics

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Jul 8, 2015, 7:15pm Top

Continuing from Part XVII, which was getting to be an awfully slow load.

Jul 12, 2015, 5:14pm Top

Now reading The Rising Tide only 65pages in but very much enjoying it so far.

Edited: Jul 12, 2015, 8:02pm Top

I have just finished E. M. Delafield's "Provincial Lady" series, via the Virago omnibus (which should have been titled "The Diaries Of A Provincial Lady", surely?) - delightful!

Jul 13, 2015, 6:41pm Top

I am now rereading Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell. It is a bit melo-dramatic but I like Gaskell's books about

working class people in Brittain. It is rare that someone of her time and social class would delve into the area of the

suffering of poor people. It is a good antidote to Jane Austen and her portrayal of upper class people whose worst worry

is having to live with only one servant. Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion etc.

Jul 18, 2015, 1:27pm Top

My review of The Rising Tide is on my blog, and someone commented that their grandfather knew Molly Keane!


Jul 18, 2015, 2:58pm Top

I'm continuing to read Mary Barton but I think that I spoke too soon in terms of its appeal. The melodrama is heightening

and the plot has become too far-fetched. However I intend to finish it as I hate to begin a book without completing it

unless it is one that I hate. I haven't read any of Gaskell's more popular and well-known works but I have the videos

and really like them and intend to read the books.

Jul 21, 2015, 11:22am Top

I've just started The matriarch, although it's not a Virago edition.

Jul 21, 2015, 12:59pm Top

I've just started The Swan In The Evening ahead of AV/AA, which goes well with the book I just finished, The Perfect Stranger by P.J. Kavanagh, who was married to Rosamond Lehmann's daughter.

Aug 1, 2015, 3:00pm Top

I just finished Love by Elizabeth von Arnim. It is another of my rereads. As with some of my other rereads, I liked this one better the second time. Its topic is interesting. A love affair between an older woman and a young man. The age difference is an important part of the book's theme as it shows the uneven attitudes that society has in more easily accepting the situation if the man is the older party.

Aug 16, 2015, 10:19pm Top

Since I know most of you are Persephone and Bloomsbury readers too I thought someone here might be able to answer this question;

I have one of the editions of D. E. Stevenson's "Mrs Tim" books that merges Mrs Tim Of The Regiment and Golden Days. There's no indication of where these works originally began and ended. My best guess is that the part of the journal covering January to May was Mrs Tim Of The Regiment, while the single long June section was Golden Days - does anyone know for certain?

Aug 18, 2015, 2:29am Top

>10 lyzard: I have the recent Bloomsbury ebook of Mrs Tim of the Regiment which contains the following author's note (I think dating from the 1970s):

'The four books about Mrs. Tim and her family were republished during 1973 and early 1974, and the author was asked to write a forward.

The books consist of:

1. Mrs Tim of the Regiment
2. Mrs Tim Carries On
3. Mrs Tim Gets a Job
4. Mrs Tim Flies Home'

Then she goes on to describe the process of writing the first book and says:

'The result was Mrs Tim of the Regiment. By this time I had got into the swing of the story and had become so interested in Hester that I gave her a holiday in the Scottish Highlands with her friend Mrs. Loudon and called it Golden Days.

The two books were accepted by a publisher and published in one omnibus volume.'

My edition of Mrs Tim of the Regiment contains the Scottish holiday as well as the earlier sections although there's no mention anywhere in the book that this was previously published as Golden Days. I expect a lot of the books listed as Mrs Tim of the Regiment on LT do contain both books. I expect it's probably not going to be possible to separate the correct editions out.

This has reminded me that a Mrs Tim book might be just the thing at the moment so I've reserved Mrs Tim Carries On from the library.

Aug 18, 2015, 3:02am Top

Well, that contradicts the acknowledgement in the front of my library edition, which states that, "Some years ago D. E. Stevenson wrote two stories about the same delightful character---Mrs Tim. These were published under the titles Mrs Tim Of The Regiment and Golden Days by Jonathan Cape and Herbert Jenkins respectively, whose kindness in releasing their rights we now gladly acknowledge."

And then there is a note indicating the melding of the two first happened in 1941.

The point about the two different publishers is interesting - perhaps the publishing pattern was different in different countries / territories, and that's why we're getting different accounts of it?

There is a clear break in the narrative, and what you report about Stevenson giving Hester a holiday supports my first impression of where the two works were joined.

Anyhoo---that's probably enough out of my OCD. Thanks! :)

Aug 28, 2015, 9:03pm Top

I've just read a new novel published by Virago. Circling the Sun is, like The Paris Wife, a biographical novel, told as a first person narrative. This one is about Beryl Markham as a child and as a fairly young woman, as at the end of the story told in the book, she's only in her late 20s. Her book West With the Night was also published by Virago, and it makes me all the more interested to read it.

Edited: Aug 28, 2015, 11:35pm Top

I loved West With the Night, Splendid Outcast: Beryl Markham's African Stories by Markham and also really liked The Paris Wife. I hope you love this one too, elkie.

I just finished the wonderful Their Eyes Were Watching God, a reread by Zora Neale Hurston. It was just as marvelous the second time round.

Sep 26, 2015, 5:15pm Top

I am re-reading Miles Franklin's My Career goes Bung and enjoying it enormously. Off to bed in a while to finish it.

Sep 27, 2015, 4:07pm Top

Thanks to CDVicarage, I'm reading The Fountain Overflows and loving it. It is just the right book at just the right time.

Sep 27, 2015, 10:53pm Top

I do believe it's going to be Zoe in October!

Sep 28, 2015, 2:58pm Top

>17 LizzieD:
I love that cover art, Peggy.

I've begun Peyton Place for banned books week.

Sep 28, 2015, 3:08pm Top

I just finished the wonderful Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. I can't believe I never read it before.

Sep 28, 2015, 8:02pm Top

My most recent Virago was High Rising by Angela Thirkell, which I adored. For some reason I arbitrarily decided not to read more than one book by any author this year, but I can't wait to read more of her come January!

Sep 28, 2015, 10:29pm Top

Oh, Katie! That's a hard, strict rule. I do think that you could relax is a little for Angela Thirkell, but you have to do what you have to do.
Colleen, what a treat to read Rebecca for the first time as an adult! Lucky you!
Yeah, Belva, that cover is a beauty! Peyton Place????? Oh my goodness!

Sep 29, 2015, 5:20am Top

Katie, lovely to see you posting again.

Sep 29, 2015, 9:05am Top

I'm in the middle of a review book but I'm thinking I must read The Return of the Soldier soon...

Sep 29, 2015, 9:01pm Top

It is difficult, but it's making me pick up some of the books which have been languishing on my shelves for a while. Sometimes it's good to read differently for a change!

Sep 30, 2015, 6:46am Top

>18 rainpebble: Belva, you've inspired me to pick up my own copy of Peyton Place this week! I've only read the first few chapters but Metalious certainly knows how to set the scene.

Sep 30, 2015, 1:28pm Top

Clair, I read this for the first time when I was in Jr. High. I felt very naughty and hid the book when I wasn't reading. There was a television series of Peyton Place on at the same time and my Pops was a faithful viewer while at the same time calling it drivel and forbidding my reading of the book.
Were you aware that Metalious was only 39 when she died of cirrhosis of the liver? So young.
And I quite agree with you that she did know how to set the scene. I'm glad we are enjoying it together.

Oct 1, 2015, 4:23am Top

>26 rainpebble: I read part of the introduction in my copy which told about Metalious' life and her tragically early death. I really appreciated that the author of the introduction then warned us that she was about to discuss the plot and to stop reading if we didn't want spoilers. I did, so it is all new to me. So far I am more disgusted by the men's behaviour than the women's although it seems that original readers reacted in reverse. It is definitely a book that grabs you, draws you in and won't let go.

Edited: Oct 3, 2015, 3:42pm Top

>27 Sakerfalcon:
Yes Claire! Very high class engaging trash. I love it, no matter how many times I read it. Valley of the Dolls has always struck me the same way.

Oct 5, 2015, 11:31pm Top

There's Something About a Convent Girl. Someone mentioned it (I think here on VMC). Not bad so far, but the problem is that each essay is too short, which leads to superficiality despite the "big name" quality of the contributors.

Oct 7, 2015, 12:38pm Top

>29 CurrerBell: I don't know who else has read it, but in my experience Belva read it first, and then I did, Mike. I enjoyed it for what it is, and you're right - that's pretty superficial.

Oct 7, 2015, 12:39pm Top

I'm reading The Perpetual Curate, fourth in The Chronicles of Carlingford. I'm not very far along, but I am enjoying it immensely. Her writing reminds me of Trollope, especially in this volume where she is at the moment poking a bit of fun at the local clergy.

Oct 7, 2015, 1:40pm Top

I've just started The Other Woman by Colette as part of The 1924 Club - such a wonderful writer!

Oct 7, 2015, 2:48pm Top

Oct 7, 2015, 2:51pm Top

Ditto that!

Edited: Oct 7, 2015, 3:54pm Top

:) It *is* amazing! Colette was just amazing!

Oct 8, 2015, 5:26pm Top

Hi, all - just to let you know that Heather, Laura and I will be tackling Fanny Burney's Cecilia next month for our "Virago Chronological Read Project" - anyone who would care to join us would be very welcome! :)

Oct 17, 2015, 4:38am Top

I'm reading The Rector's Daughter by F M Mayor for the 1924 club that Karen and Simon are hosting.

Oct 17, 2015, 11:19am Top

Still looking forward to getting into Zoe: The History of Two Lives (Way to make the Touchstone work!) for the last half of the month!

Oct 19, 2015, 2:29pm Top

I'm thoroughly enjoying Aurora Floyd by Mary Elizabeth Braddon and looking forward to discovering her dark secret, whatever it may be.

Oct 19, 2015, 3:08pm Top

Over the weekend, I finished The Perpetual Curate and loved it. There are two more books in this series and I am now at the point of savoring them, because I will be sad when there are no more to read.

Oct 19, 2015, 7:08pm Top

Cross-posting ...

Secret Santa registration is still underway -- you have until October 25 to sign up!
Visit the Virago Secret Santa thread for details.

Oct 20, 2015, 1:36pm Top

I don't even remember when I started it, but I've finally read and loved Emily Hahn's China to Me, Virago Traveller (my copy doesn't include "Beacon") #8 for me. This is one of the good ones! Hahn is in China from 1935 through the Japanese occupation until she is repatriated in 1944. I know that Katherine read and loved it too because she wrote a very good review on the book page.

Oct 22, 2015, 4:41pm Top

Needing something light I've started Angela Thirkell's Summer Half. I think it's going to do the trick.

Oct 22, 2015, 7:15pm Top

I've started to read a few books lately which have not lived up to my expectations. The latest was The Complete Claudine by Colette. I felt that the writing seemed childish and rather boring. I read a bit of biographical material about Colette and her life was certainly unorthox. Has anyone else had a different experience with her work? Her books are highly thought of and so I wonder if I'm missing something.

Oct 23, 2015, 2:03am Top

To be honest, I wouldn't say that the Claudine books are typical of Colette. They were written at the instigation of, and then titillated up by, her then husband Willy for a specific market. Although they have a certain charm, her later work is for me much stronger. I've just revisited some of her short stories and they're superb. The first book of hers I read was a later one, Break of Day, and it's got even better with re-readings. So I would say don't necessarily judge her on these works alone.... 😀

Oct 23, 2015, 3:52pm Top

I also much prefer the later stuff. I loved Cheri and its sequel. Loved Gigi and The Other Woman.

Oct 26, 2015, 5:55am Top

I too adore Colette's writing, especially her short stories. Of her novels I love Gigi and The cat, The vagabond and the two Cheri books. Also her more autobiographical writing, such as My mother's house and The blue lantern.

Currently I'm reading The crowded street.

Oct 26, 2015, 6:15am Top

>47 Sakerfalcon: The autobiographical works are wonderful, aren't they? And her short stories are fab!

Oct 28, 2015, 2:00pm Top

I am still reading Zoe: The History of Two Lives and still liking it, but not as much as I did at first. I do find it interesting on several levels, so it's not like it's drudgery at all!

Oct 29, 2015, 5:56am Top

I just finished The crowded street which was an excellent, if painful, read. Muriel's experiences feel all too realistic, as her youthful hopes are crushed by a society that regards marriage as the only appropriate goal for a woman. I could relate to her timidity and fear of failure that leads her to use the excuse of "helping her mother" to pass up the very few opportunities that do come her way. But this just made the ending all the more satisfying. I liked Delia almost from the first time we saw her, and was mentally urging Muriel to respond to her advances of friendship. The only other Holtby I've read is South Riding, but I will certainly be reading more of her work in future.

Oct 29, 2015, 6:37am Top

>50 Sakerfalcon: I felt the same about The Crowded Street, anguishing to read at times but wonderful! Delia is believed by many to be modelled on Vera Brittain.

Oct 29, 2015, 7:30am Top

>50 Sakerfalcon: Winifred Holtby is amazing. I read South Riding first, and then devoured everything else she has written. Except for Mandoa, Mandoa which I still have on my shelves. The idea of having no more Holtby to read makes me a bit sad.

Oct 29, 2015, 2:45pm Top

>50 Sakerfalcon: I started The Crowded Street some time ago and thought it was excellent but had to put it to one side because it was a bit too painful. I do want to try it again at some point - perhaps November will be the month!

Oct 30, 2015, 7:11pm Top

The thread is up for the group read of Fanny Burney's Cecilia - here - all welcome!

Oct 31, 2015, 9:29am Top

I've started The Vicar's Daughter, which our own dear Kaggsy sent me earlier this year - squirming with embarrassment and highly enjoying it so far!

Nov 2, 2015, 7:44am Top

I'm reading Her by H.D. which is reminding me of Virginia Woolf's more experimental writing, such as The waves. It's beautiful but not always clear what exactly is happening.

I shall also be starting Cecilia very soon, although not in the Virago edition.

Nov 15, 2015, 12:31pm Top

Last night in bed I finished Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner. Loved it!! Why I waited to read it until after I had read 3 other books by her I don't know.

Nov 22, 2015, 1:11pm Top

The Edwardians by Vita Sackville-West

The lush, extravagant lifestyle enjoyed by the upper echelons of society in the Edwardian era was portrayed perfectly in Sackville-West's novel. Hardly surprising that in 1930 it became an overnight success. The setting is Chevron, a parallel for Knole, her family estate presented to Thomas Sackville by Elizabeth I. Sebastian is the character Vita would like to have been: the son who would inherit. Viola, his intelligent, independent sister, more accurately represents Sackville-West, who was desperately disappointed that as a daughter she would not inherit Knole. The Edwardians illustrates the complicated restraints inhibiting choice for Sebastian. His love affairs are thwarted by his status: Sylvia, fun as long as they play by the rules; Mrs Spedding, hampered by middle-class values; and Phil, "the little model he picked up in Chelsea", who was unimpressed by his assets and title. The story ends appropriately at the end of the era, with the intimate details of the pomp and ceremony of King George V's coronation. The story paints a fabulous portrait of the elite society at the beginning of the 20th century, before the Great War, before everything changed forever.

This is an absorbing, entertaining story that provides much insight into the lifestyle restrictions of what seems like a time without limitations. Wonderful, from the opening paragraph to the last, I enjoyed every minute.

Nov 28, 2015, 3:05pm Top

Nov 28, 2015, 3:06pm Top

Now reading The King of a rainy country wondering where the title comes from/refers to.

Edited: Nov 30, 2015, 1:55pm Top

Still enjoying The King of a rainy country very much in fact, and this morning posed my question from above on Twitter. I got a reply from Brigid Brophy's daughter - the title is from Baudelaire she has no idea about what the odd cover art is all about though. Sometimes social media is so good.

Nov 30, 2015, 2:08am Top

How wonderful, Ali, and how fascinating! I was just dipping into some Baudelaire but not the source of this one!

Dec 15, 2015, 7:25am Top

I've just finished reading Liana, which Julie was kind enough to send me. This book has moments of great beauty, especially in the depiction of the lush Caribbean island on which the story is set, but overall it is a sad book. The story is Pygmalion-like, in that Liana is taken from her original social and racial caste, refined and educated to be a fit wife for wealthy white Marc. She falls in love with Pierre, the teacher Marc has found for her, but it cannot end well. Both men are dimly aware that their interference has left Liana an outcast from both black and white society, belonging nowhere and unable to find happiness or a role in life, but her plight is some ways down their list of priorities. Gellhorn writes sensitively of the different races and classes within the small island community, giving the reader a nuanced view of life in this seeming paradise. The novel also gives a unique perspective on World War II, seen from afar yet impacting this distant place. It is a very good read, although not a cheering one.

Dec 16, 2015, 7:00pm Top

I've been on hiatus but am glad I returned. Your suggestions and comments about books by Colette are very
helpful. I like to discover authors whose works are new to me. I look forward to reading the ones you suggested. I am still continuing to reread Viragos from the past. I am alternating the rereads with new ones. The latest reread was another Elizabeth Taylor books Up At Mrs Lippincotes and once again she has not disappointed me.The new to me Virago that I'm currently reading is The Daisy Chain by Charlotte Mary Yonge. It's fun to read books written by women in the 1800's. They give some insight into the life of women during that era. Almost all of the novels of that period that have survived the test of time are written by men.

Dec 27, 2015, 5:59pm Top

I'm currently about two thirds of the way through The Curate's Wife E H Young is so good. 😀😊

Dec 28, 2015, 3:44am Top

My Middle Child has just read and loved The Camomile by Catherine Carswell and has reviewed it for me here:


Edited: Dec 28, 2015, 4:12am Top

>66 kaggsy: I loved middle child's review and also the wonderful description of the experience, familiar to some of my family members too, of shopping for Viragos for mum in a charity shop in "a cold town in England."

Dec 28, 2015, 5:32am Top

>67 Soupdragon: :) I'm getting quite used to phone calls from offspring about books (usually at an awkward moment at work!) It's nice that their radar are so attuned to Viragos!

Dec 28, 2015, 8:31am Top

I've started Pointed Roofs and it's not nearly as hard as I'd remembered!

Dec 28, 2015, 9:19am Top

Dec 28, 2015, 11:25am Top

>69 LyzzyBee: That's exactly what I thought. It's just a book that needs the right moment.

Dec 28, 2015, 3:10pm Top

I've started reading The Willow Cabin, a secret Santa gift from Lisa this year.

It's been very engaging and enjoyable so far.

Dec 28, 2015, 3:50pm Top

I've just picked up This Real Night and I have to say that the writing is gorgeous.

How I wish Rebecca West had been given just a little more time to complete this series of books ...

Edited: Jan 6, 2016, 1:49am Top

I finished The Willow Cabin and whilst I didn't love it as much as Alison or Belva did, there was something quite beguiling about it and it was an enjoyable read. Thank you, Lisa!

I'm considering starting A Jest of God by Margaret Laurence next.

Edited: Jan 1, 2016, 4:59am Top

I finished A Jest of God yesterday and can see why there's so much said around here about Laurence's writing. I was so absorbed in the protag's world that I woke up this morning vaguely wondering how she was getting on in her new life!

Jan 1, 2016, 10:04am Top

I also love Laurence, Soup!

Jan 1, 2016, 10:25am Top

>75 Soupdragon: Absolutely one of her best, if not the best. Have you read The Stone Angel, another strong contender?

Jan 1, 2016, 12:15pm Top

>77 SassyLassy: That was my first Laurence but I plan to read more. I have a couple more from the Manaukwa series but not The Stone Angel.

Jan 2, 2016, 8:42am Top

>66 kaggsy: I loved The camomile when I read it a few years ago. Middle Child's review is excellent and I'm so glad she enjoyed it.

Jan 2, 2016, 11:08am Top

>79 Sakerfalcon: I read it pre-blog and loved it too, which is why I nagged her to get it for herself when she was in that bookshop! I knew it would appeal to her, but she doesn't like the pressure of book recommendations! :)

Edited: Jan 2, 2016, 4:16pm Top

80 - She doesn't like the pressure of book recommendations!

OMG! That is just the worst isn't it? You're standing there thinking - But I have a pile a mile high already. And - What makes her think I would enjoy that!? Sometimes the book is wildly popular (The Help which had me bawling at the end) and I resist it for that reason, or by an author I have no interest in like Michael Connelly. (I am currently on my 5th Harry Bosch after hearing that Belva loved them). Or it's in the Sci-Fi section (Connie Willis and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale).

But sometimes you wind up with this dreadful book boring a hole in your conscience and some eager beaver asking you daily - Did you read it yet? One such a book - for me at least - was Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil which a wonderful friend badgered me to read and which I just couldn't get into no matter how hard I tried. In the end I did a George Costanza and just watched the movie so I could say I read it :)

Jan 2, 2016, 5:53pm Top

>81 romain: :)))) That's exactly it! I must admit I'm sometimes probably a bit of a pain with my book recommendations, and I'm trying to pull back a little nowadays because I know how annoying it is when someone tries to keep pushing a book on me that I really don't want to read! I do it out of enthusiasm, but you can't force a person to like a book they don't!

Jan 2, 2016, 7:17pm Top

Ah Kaggsy - but what about the times you are right and they SHOULD read it? Like all the examples above where I actually loved them...

Jan 3, 2016, 3:36am Top

Yeah, good point - I'll keep on trying to force books on people! 😁

Jan 3, 2016, 12:00pm Top

> I read Glitter of Mica over Christmas from my VSS. It was a excellent description of a particular time and place. I can hear those voices in my head, which is always a wonderful treat when reading. Kesson's book was a stark contrast to A Childhood in Scotland. Both are set on farms in the same general area, but oh the differences class engenders.

Jan 3, 2016, 8:22pm Top

I'm currently reading Miss Marjoribanks, part of The Chronicles of Carlingford. I have really enjoyed these novels and have one more to read after this.

Jan 5, 2016, 6:01pm Top

Happy New Year, all!

Just a note to let you know that Heather and I will be reading Susan Ferrier's Marriage in February, for our Chronological Virago project - anyone who cares to join us is very welcome!

Jan 6, 2016, 5:39am Top

>87 lyzard: That's been on Mount Tbr for ages, so I will read along with you!

Jan 6, 2016, 4:57pm Top

That's great, Claire!

Jan 6, 2016, 5:23pm Top

Halfway in A Saturday Life by Radclyffe Hall - VSS gift from mrspenny. Quite amusing.

Jan 7, 2016, 11:14am Top

>72 Soupdragon: and >74 Soupdragon: Glad you found something beguiling about it Dee! I have it also and I will move it up the list and match it up sometime this year with the 2016 category challenge.

I just read something by Rebecca West, a VMC author, which is not a VMC that I'll go post about in the What Else Are You Reading thread.

Edited: Jan 7, 2016, 4:55pm Top

>91 LisaMorr: The Willow Cabin has genuine charm and I enjoyed reading it over the Christmas break. An issue I did have with it was the love absolutely everyone had for the protag including, I think, the author!

Jan 8, 2016, 10:56am Top

Hall's early novel, A Saturday Life is amusing, but wildly uneven. While it seems to be set in the Edwardian and Georgian periods (near the end of the novel there are automobiles that can reach the breakneck speed of 60 mph), there is no sense of any of the social or political upheaval in Britain and Europe at the time. Only Frances, with her mannish costumes and monocled eye hints at the sexual tension underlying the period (and Hall's own life). There is gentle satire of the privileged, wealthy lives that the characters lead, but it is satire with no acid.

In sum, a short, pleasant read, but rather perplexing as to the author's purpose, even as the dedication reads "To Myself."
One warning -- if you pick this up, read the novel before the introduction which is full of spoilers.

Jan 9, 2016, 5:43pm Top

I'm currently reading The Land of Green Ginger by Winifred Holtby - the last of her books I have to read Andi have saved for ages. It's good but not great. Maybe I expected too much.

Jan 9, 2016, 5:53pm Top

>94 Heaven-Ali: I haven't read The Land of Green Ginger but the academics at the Holtby day that I went to last year, seemed to regard it as "flawed but interesting".

Jan 11, 2016, 2:02pm Top

>95 Soupdragon: yes I think that sums it up pretty well. I am just about to start writing a review for the blog. I did like it - but not as much as some of the others.

Jan 11, 2016, 7:05pm Top

>74 Soupdragon: I seem to have taken Margaret Laurence as my aunt or something, so pleased am I when somebody new discovers her. I recently read The Fire-Dwellers about Rachel's sister Stacey and loved it as much, I think, as I did A Jest of God. I haven't checked to see if it's a VMC; my copy is not. Even so, it's well worth reading.

Jan 12, 2016, 2:33am Top

>96 Heaven-Ali: I'll get to it eventually and will look out for your review.

>97 LizzieD: That's good to know. I have The Fire Dwellers and almost picked it up immediately after A Jest of God but thought that might be a mistake. I'd have probably kept wanting Stacey to tell me how her sister was doing!

Laughed at Laurence being your new adoptive aunt but know exactly what you mean!

Jan 12, 2016, 5:21am Top

I've just finished This Real Night, and, though Rebecca West's writing is lovely and I want to keep following the Aubrey family, I have to say that the book is horribly uneven. It almost felt that she decided she had to parade all the different strands and plot she introduced in The Fountain Overflows - and the throw in the war at the end.

I know she hadn't finished the editing process when she died, and wonder why when the first book was published in 1957 and the second and third after her death in 1982. Someone must know a little more about her life that I do ....

It's disappointing that my copy - an original green - is sadly lacking any sort of introduction or afterword, and has just a bald statement of those facts.

Jan 20, 2016, 7:37pm Top

The 4 Manawaka novels have been published in VMC editions, the collection of linked short stories A Bird in the House hasn't - I don't think it's ever been published in the UK, sadly. I have a Canadian paperback copy.

Jan 21, 2016, 2:20am Top

>100 elkiedee: Thanks Luci. It sounds like I'll have to actively seek out A Bird in the House rather than vaguely wait for it to come to me through Oxfam!

Jan 21, 2016, 6:29am Top

I'm reading Backwater at the moment and loving it!

Jan 21, 2016, 11:51am Top

>100 elkiedee: If it is a small paperback published by New Canadian Library, I would hold on to it. They are becoming collectors' items.

Jan 21, 2016, 1:28pm Top

My copy is a University of Chicago Press, 1993 edition.

Jan 22, 2016, 11:19am Top

I'll be starting The Transit of Venus shortly.

Jan 22, 2016, 3:04pm Top

Just a reminder that the group read of Susan Ferrier's Marriage will be starting next weekend, for anyone who cares to join in. I will post details here when the thread is up.

Jan 22, 2016, 5:29pm Top

Eek! That's soon, I was thinking February was still a long way off.

Jan 22, 2016, 5:33pm Top

Next weekend is still January, yes...but only just! :D

Jan 25, 2016, 3:56am Top

I've read Backwater and reviewed it here, and am starting Crossriggs although also reading a Chalet School trilogy (not Virago) ...

Edited: Jan 25, 2016, 4:45am Top

>103 SassyLassy: My copy is New Canadian Library but it's in not in very nice condition, a bit old and brown. I think I had a nicer copy in my late teens/early 20s when I first read the others and wanted that for completion, don't know how (maybe I somehow got someone to order a copy from abroad), but it was damaged in a flood. Are all Lawrence books in those editions collectors' items? (if in reasonable condition) - I also have 2 of the novels in good condition.

>104 rainpebble: I have the University of Chicago copy of The Diviners - I really shouldn't have so many (3) copies of the same book (U of C very good condition copy, VMC good, CNL tatty) but they have different introductions. I also have NCL and VMC copies of Stone Angel and Fire-Dwellers. I found a lovely secondhand bookshop near Montreal where I bought these and a VMC of Barbara Comyns' The Skin Chairs in 2004.

Jan 25, 2016, 9:46am Top

>110 elkiedee: The New Canadian Library has several series. From 1958-1978 the books were numbered on the spines, and these are the ones I like. They had introductory essays, but after the sale of the publisher McClelland and Stewart this stopped and afterwords were introduced. Over the years, the covers have changed, depending on the series. As an example, here is The Stone Angel over the years. http://nclcollecting.ca/?page_id=1816

It is series 1 and series 2 that people seem to be beginning to acquire. I particularly like the Series 2 books, with their distinctive frames on the cover. Here is a link to a blogger who collects them all: http://nclcollecting.ca/

I don't think there is a better repository of Canadian writing than this series.

Do you remember where the bookshop near Montreal was?

Jan 31, 2016, 4:40pm Top

The thread is up for the group read of Susan Ferrier's Marriage - here - all welcome!

Feb 1, 2016, 12:19pm Top

I just finished The Corner That Held Them (5*****) by Sylvia Townsend Warner. It brings to mind Rumer Godden's In This House of Brede except that The Corner That Held Them has a lot of comic humor to it, unlike Godden's general seriousness.

Feb 5, 2016, 7:36am Top

Gone to.earth my mary webb. The back description intrigued me, and I must say it feels darkly enchanting so far. I can just picture the film in my head. Maybe I'm wrong, but I very much see it taking place in winter or fall, with bare trees and Hazels cottage. I'm imagining a very fantastic old english ballad type of tale, with shadows and Hazel playing her lute by the fireside.

Feb 5, 2016, 7:52am Top

I'm currently enjoying Marriage as part of Lyzard's group read. I had put off reading this because I expected a dry slog, but so far it's highly entertaining.

Feb 5, 2016, 8:16am Top

>115 Sakerfalcon: I'm glad to hear that Claire. I haven't started it yet; I might get to it today and certainly will do so over the weekend.

Feb 5, 2016, 9:37am Top

I'm very much enjoying Crossriggs and contemplating Marriage (so to speak!).

Feb 6, 2016, 6:22pm Top

>111 SassyLassy: Not exactly, but you might have an idea if I say we were staying with a friend in Westmount, and we walked (for some reason) along the road where we could also get buses in to the city centre, in the opposite direction. Apparently the next town out was predominantly Korean, and that's where we found several secondhand bookshops, one with an impressive literary fiction stock. I should also say it was 2004.

Feb 7, 2016, 4:33pm Top

>119 LyzzyBee: I have Crossriggs and have been eyeing it up as a possible read for later this month. :)

Feb 8, 2016, 4:40am Top

>120 Heaven-Ali: do it do it do it!

Feb 8, 2016, 4:51am Top

I have forgotten again - what's the Virago set in the early days of socialism that I couldn't bear to read? I keep mixing it up with Red Pottage. Someone will remember! Cheers!

Feb 8, 2016, 10:46am Top

>122 LyzzyBee: Cotter's England! It keeps moving down my tbr pile every time you mention it!

Finished Marriage and very much enjoyed it. Now I'm looking forward to some good discussion when everyone else catches up.

Feb 9, 2016, 3:15am Top

Yes, thank you!!! It's the "otta" sound in the title!

Feb 11, 2016, 1:57pm Top

Reading Barbara Pym Less Than Angels and really enjoying it.

Edited: Feb 13, 2016, 11:57am Top

Feb 14, 2016, 4:53pm Top

I'm starting Crossriggs tonight.

Feb 20, 2016, 6:16pm Top

Now reading one of those lovely VMC designer editions Don't Look Now a collection of short stories by Daphne Du Maurier. There are only five stories in the collection but each one is between 50 and 70 pages long, so lovely long meaty stories. Just about to start the third in the collection - so far they're brilliant.

Mar 6, 2016, 6:40am Top

I'm reading very few Virago books at the moment but I just reread the wonderful Jane Eyre for the first time in several years. Such an amazing book. This may well kick-off a general Bronte reread.

Mar 6, 2016, 3:45pm Top

Now reading Good Behavior another lovely VMC designer edition.

Mar 6, 2016, 3:46pm Top

>130 souloftherose: I never get tired of Jane Eyre enjoy!

Mar 7, 2016, 2:35am Top

I just reviewed The Fly on the Wheel by Katherine Cecil Thurston, sent to me last year by our very own Kaggsy! https://librofulltime.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/book-reviews-to-the-lighthouse-and-the-fly-on-the-wheel-virago/

Mar 8, 2016, 6:58pm Top

I have just finished reading The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton. It was a reread and disappointing.

Mar 22, 2016, 5:29pm Top

I reviewed Good Behaviour last week.


Wasn't Molly Keane a really brilliant writer. So glad I have several more of her books waiting.

Mar 22, 2016, 5:31pm Top

>134 kayclifton: why was it disappointing? I really enjoyed that - not as much as The House of Mirth or Summer my two favourite Whartons.

Mar 22, 2016, 7:28pm Top

>135 Heaven-Ali: yes she was, although she definitely improved over time. Some of her really early books have been panned by members of this group, like I think Simon.

Mar 25, 2016, 8:32am Top

I just read My Mortal enemy by Willa Cather. A very slight novella it didn't take me long at all. I really liked it.

Mar 25, 2016, 8:32am Top

>137 lauralkeet: - Ah well of course I still have several of her books to read :)

Mar 25, 2016, 11:09am Top

I'm reading Phoebe Junior, the last book in the Chronicles of Carlingford. It's mildly enjoyable, but not as good as my favorite from this series, The Perpetual Curate. I do enjoy Margaret Oliphant's writing -- she's like a female Anthony Trollope.

Mar 25, 2016, 12:04pm Top

The Virago Book of Victorian Ghost Stories. I started it quite some while back and put it down, but I've started in again from the beginning because some of them aren't all that familiar to me after this while.

Apr 1, 2016, 4:56am Top

Apr 1, 2016, 10:07am Top

>143 LyzzyBee: Amen to that! And for what it's worth, I started out reading it "immersively" and it made me very grumpy. I switched to reading a bit at a time and got through it.

Apr 1, 2016, 11:30am Top

>144 lauralkeet: Laura - that makes me feel a lot better! I did the last 100 pages in one go ....

Apr 1, 2016, 5:23pm Top

I am currently reading Lucy Carmichael by Margaret Kennedy. I have read a few other works by her. Most recently The Feast which has an unusual and unpredictable plot. I have also read The Forgotten Smile. I have liked both of the latter books and am not sure if they are VMC's. Most of the books that I read are from public libraries and have usually been printed by other publishers. . The edition of Lucy Carmichael that I am now reading was the original in a cloth cover. It's nice to discover books that are rather rare and yet still in circulation.

Apr 1, 2016, 6:08pm Top

I'm planning on reading Millennium Hall this month.

Apr 1, 2016, 7:31pm Top

>147 LisaMorr: Lisa, the Virago Chronological Read project read Millennium Hall about a year ago, with excellent tutoring from lyzard. Here's the thread, you might find it useful:

Apr 2, 2016, 3:21am Top

>146 kayclifton: I read The Feast fairly recently and I loved it - very unusual as you say!

Apr 2, 2016, 4:24am Top

>147 LisaMorr:, >148 lauralkeet: I was part of the group read and found lyzard's guidance to be a great help.

Edited: Apr 2, 2016, 4:32pm Top

>148 lauralkeet:, >150 Sakerfalcon: Thanks, I'll check it out!

Apr 7, 2016, 7:21pm Top

Now reading The Squire for >149 kaggsy: and Simon's 1938 club.

Apr 16, 2016, 5:03pm Top

I just read (couldn't finish) a book by Mary Lavin titled Mary O'Grady. I had discovered that she was born in a

town near my home in Massachusetts but had been brought to Ireland as a child. I was disappointed by the book and felt

that it didn't deserve to be on the Virago list. I haven't seen any discussion of her work so wonder if anyone is familiar

with it.

Apr 17, 2016, 8:13am Top

Hey Kay - I have not read either of the Mary Lavin's I have on my shelf but there are other VMC authors that I have also found very disappointing. However, every time I moan about a book someone turns up who LOVED it :) I am not sure if we have ever had consensus on any one book that everyone hated.

And I am not consistent in my hatred. For instance I loathed my first Enid Bagnold and adored the next two I read. There have been a couple of VMC authors I have loudly condemned however. I have no idea why VMC published Peyton Place (felt like throwing it against the wall), or the Mae West novels, and I thought the Jessie Kesson books pleasant but undeserving of a place on the list.

Apr 17, 2016, 8:58am Top

>154 romain: Barbara I would add Lisa Alther's Original Sin to questionable inclusions in the VMC list.

Apr 17, 2016, 4:43pm Top

>154 romain: romain
>155 mrspenny: mrspenny

Thanks for the information. I get almost all of my VMC books from public libraries so if I don't like a book back it goes.

I had had Original Sin on my TBR list so am glad for some opinion of it as it is on a shelf in the library that I patronize.

I have just returned a copy of Elizabeth Bowen's To The North to the library and it is its first American edition.

It's great handling books with such a long history. It makes me feel a real connection with the authors.

Edited: Apr 18, 2016, 12:46pm Top

Having completed my Kate Morton marathon, I am just now beginning Kinflicks by Lisa Alther. It doesn't look to be my 'thing' but I am willing to give it a try.

Apr 18, 2016, 5:13pm Top

I read Kinflicks when it first came out and thought it okay. It was very 'in' at the time but I have never had any desire to re-read it, nor any desire to read more by the same author. I don't own Original Sin so I probably will never read it. Too many other books in line...

Apr 23, 2016, 12:14pm Top

Besides Millennium Hall, which I just started today, I'm planning on reading Orchid House as well this month.

Edited: Apr 23, 2016, 1:12pm Top

>159 LisaMorr:
Lisa, I really loved The Orchid House. I hope you enjoy it as well.

I have begun Margaret Oliphant's The Doctor's Family and Other Stories and I must say that I am very much appreciating the writing. Recently I have been reading more contemporary works and going back in time I realize once again why I tend to read much older pieces. I can certainly enjoy a current writer but for the beauty of words I will take the age old books any day.

Apr 29, 2016, 8:36pm Top

The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner;

A 5* reread for me. Wonderful!

Apr 30, 2016, 9:26am Top

A book of cosmic significance, Belva. Every now and then you get a perfect 10 of a book and this was one of those for me. I'm almost afraid to re-read it in case it doesn't work a second time.

Apr 30, 2016, 3:35pm Top

>162 romain:
This was a reread for me, Barbara and it worked as wonderfully as when I read it the first time. But I do know that fear. This was almost a 'holy' read for me.

May 3, 2016, 5:31pm Top

Am coming to the end of Liza's England which I am really enjoying, anyone else read it?

May 3, 2016, 6:03pm Top

Yep. I read it several years ago as part of AV/AA. I liked it very much.

Edited: May 3, 2016, 8:01pm Top

>160 rainpebble: I really enjoyed The Orchid House; I set down Millennium Hall and blazed through it instead. I'm not quite sure when I'll pick up MH again. I have a couple of ideas for VMCs this month - One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes and O Pioneers by Willa Cather and/or re-start MH.

May 4, 2016, 2:03am Top

>166 LisaMorr: I thought One Fine Day was excellent.

May 4, 2016, 8:42am Top

>166 LisaMorr: Both are very good books, though obviously quite dissimilar in setting! I too loved The orchid house; the descriptions of the lush Caribbean background were wonderful.

Edited: May 4, 2016, 2:00pm Top

>164 Heaven-Ali:
I read & reviewed Liza's England, Ali. My first Pat Barker experience. My review is posted here:


I am so happy that you, Barbara & Claire all enjoyed it. :-)

May 5, 2016, 3:30pm Top

I was just thinking about starting book or A pin to see the Peepshow

Edited: May 5, 2016, 7:48pm Top

170: pastel29: Welcome to the VMC board. I hope you enjoy the Virago Modern Classics as much as all of us who visit here do.
I found A Pin to see the Peepshow an excellent read. The story is loosely based on an English legal case circa 1929-30 (I think it was about that time). It was a memorable case for some of the legal aspects as well as the social aspects and attitudes of the time. It is a gripping story and I hope you enjoy it.

May 6, 2016, 4:48am Top

Welcone indeed pastel29! I loved Pin too - it's definitely one of my favourite Viragos. Hope you enjoy it! :)

May 6, 2016, 2:58pm Top

Yep - great book! And welcome!

May 7, 2016, 4:23am Top

Reading a Virago (though not a VMC) - a collection of essays by the late Jenny Diski called A View from the Bed. So far I'm carried along by the quality of the writing more than the content.

May 8, 2016, 3:35pm Top

>170 pastel29: - hello :) and welcome Pin to see a Peepshow is a brilliant book, really hope you like it.

Edited: May 8, 2016, 3:48pm Top

I reviewed Liza's England - and have now pasted it from my blog over here.

May 10, 2016, 2:53pm Top

I'm reading Blaming by Elizabeth Taylor. It's so good and reminds me I want to read more of her books.

May 11, 2016, 10:23am Top

>177 Nickelini: She really is so good, isn't she? I read Blaming twice and when I read it the second time (for a guest post on Laura's blog) I got so much more from it. Still not my favourite Taylor though, which is maybe why I *only* gave it 4 stars.

May 11, 2016, 12:57pm Top

>178 Soupdragon: Finished Blaming and I loved it. 4.5 stars for me. This is the second of her books that I've read and loved (the other being Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont). I just have one question: are all of Elizabeth Taylor's books so depressing?

May 11, 2016, 1:10pm Top

>179 Nickelini:
Joyce, I have found none of Elizabeth Taylor's books depressing. In fact quite the opposite. I find them to be uplifting. Her Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont is my very favorite & I've read them all multiple times. And even though you find them depressing, I am so happy that you like/love them. She is such a special author.

>170 pastel29:
Welcome & I hope you like A Pin to See the Peepshow. I loved it!

I am just beginning Willa Cather's Lucy Gayheart. It is very good thus far.

May 11, 2016, 1:43pm Top

>180 rainpebble: - Wow, what a difference of opinion. Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont just slayed me -- next to A Fine Balance it was definitely the most depressing book I've ever read. I loved it though and gave it 5 stars. I loaned it to my sister-in-law who battles depression, and I warned her save it for one of her sunnier periods -- when she returned it she thanked me for the warning.

May 11, 2016, 3:30pm Top

My fave Taylors are At Mrs. Lippincote and The Soul of Kindness. I don't remember Mrs. Palfrey being depressing but I do remember finding it disappointing next to some of her others. So how's that for a further difference of opinion? :) But then my least favorite is Angel which is considered by the critics to be her masterpiece.

Edited: May 11, 2016, 3:43pm Top

Curiouser and curiouser. I read Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont first because I had been told that it was her masterpiece, and then I read Blaming because it was the only Taylor on the 1001 list, and now I see Angel is on the Guardian 1000 list. It seems that people have trouble pinning Elizabeth Taylor down!

I think I might have to just read them all.

May 11, 2016, 8:39pm Top

>183 Nickelini: I think I might have to just read them all.
Oh yes, indeed you should! This group read all of her novels in order of publication in 2012, her centenary year. It was a wonderful experience. You can find the discussion threads for each book by visiting the Virago Group Wiki Page

And then there are her short stories ...

May 11, 2016, 8:57pm Top

>184 lauralkeet: I'm sure I participated in the Mrs Palfrey month. Those threads will be such a great resource as I read through them. I stumbled into the Blaming thread this morning.

Edited: May 12, 2016, 3:13am Top

>179 Nickelini: I think Blaming (written shortly before her death) is the darkest and yes, probably most depressing of her books though they all have a certain poignancy to them. And Mrs Palfrey is very sad!

I have read all but one of Taylor's novels and a collection of her short stories, and am not sure any of them could be labelled her definitive book. My favourite novel of hers is A View of the Harbour but many would disagree with me. It's also rather sad in places, thinking about it! I wasn't so keen on Angel and don't think it's a great introduction to Taylor. Taylor clearly despised her protag and doesn't show her the empathy and care that other characters receive in her books. Though maybe the protag being a more exaggerated character makes the novel more entertaining to those who would find the other books a bit indistinct?

I think Taylor was a bit of an acquired taste for me and the more I read of her writing, the more I loved her! Which is probably why I appreciated Blaming so much more when I reread it.

If you're a short story reader I would recommend trying those next. The Blush and Other Stories is just wonderful.

Edited: May 12, 2016, 3:49am Top

Taylor and Pym fans might be interested to see these excerpts of letters from Taylor to Pym:


Edited: May 12, 2016, 7:05am Top

Those are fascinating, Dee. What a loss for us, that Taylor ordered all her letters be destroyed.

May 12, 2016, 11:35am Top

What a lovely find, Dee. Thank you for sharing them with us. Like Laura, I was fascinated & definitely was left wanting for more.

May 19, 2016, 4:08am Top

I'm reading a Virago almost by accident - what's turning out to be a very lively and interesting biography of Edith Sitwell, and there's the apple on the spine!

May 19, 2016, 10:45am Top

I'm reading Dancing Girls by Margaret Atwood. I've been a big fan of her for years, but this collection of short stories is absolutely substandard. Will finish, but I will be very happy to toss this one in the donation bin.

May 19, 2016, 12:48pm Top

I'm reading Lucy Gayheart I love Cather.

May 19, 2016, 5:58pm Top

I tend to really like Atwood's novels but have not had much luck with her short stories or her earlier novels. My first book of hers was The Handmaid's Tale which I consider a perfect 10. I'm just glad I did not start on something written pre-85 because I might never have continued with her.

May 19, 2016, 6:25pm Top

>193 romain: Yes, I agree that her early works are not nearly as good as the stuff after the mid-80s.

May 20, 2016, 12:52pm Top

>191 Nickelini: >193 romain: >194 Nickelini:
I own a lot of Atwood but have only read her Penelopiad (twice) & really loved it. However when I pick up one of her books to read, something inside me says: no, no, no. IDK

>192 Heaven-Ali:
Ali, I just read Lucy Gayheart two days ago & found perfection in it. I loved it so much. I think that Willa Cather was somehow an instinctively great writer. One would expect this little book to be light reading but I did not find it so. There is just so very much within Cather's words. Beautiful. I hope you are loving it.

May 20, 2016, 2:33pm Top

>195 rainpebble: I've loved all her novels. They are very easy to read and even though some of them are quite long, they go quickly. Alias Grace and Robber Bride are my two favourites, and they are very different from each other.

May 22, 2016, 11:24am Top

>195 rainpebble: I finished Lucy Gayheart yesterday and it is sort of perfect I did absolutely love it - especially the second section.

Edited: May 27, 2016, 12:47pm Top


Currently rereading Eight Cousins & Rose in Bloom before adding them to the 'purge pile'. Loving them all over again. Such sweet little books.

Edited: May 30, 2016, 5:17pm Top

I have finally got round to A Game of Hide and Seek, the only Elizabeth Taylor novel I still had left to read. I'm reading in preparation for a conference at Hull University on British Women Writers between 1930- 1960 - someone's doing a paper on it as a reworking of Brief Encounter.

Exquisitely written as always. I think this may possibly be my favourite of hers yet.

I also recently read Who was Changed and Who was Dead by Babara Comyns, also for conference related reasons. I'm generally an admirer of Comyns but the timing was wrong for me here - an incident involving someone close with serious mental health issues occurred whilst reading, and all that psychosis in the book was just too uncomfortable to read about just then.

May 30, 2016, 6:40pm Top

>199 Soupdragon:. Interesting about the Elizabeth Taylor conference. Lucky you. I've only read Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont and Blaming, so I have lots of ETs to look forward to. . . lucky me.

Jun 1, 2016, 3:36am Top

Mixing my Viragoes in with other books, I've read a volume of Dorothy Richardson (classic green) https://librofulltime.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/book-reivews-deadlock-and-night-and-day/ and a biography of Edith Sitwell which is modern but carries the spine apple https://librofulltime.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/book-reviews-an-astronauts-guide-to-life-on-earth-and-edith-sitwell/

Jun 2, 2016, 3:02am Top

I'm just about to start Nancy Spain's Poison for Teacher. I don't know how or when or where or why I got it (didn't even know I had it and never even heard of Nancy Spain), but I just stumbled across it in one of many book piles a few days ago and it fits in nicely with the RTT group's June theme, School Days School Days. (Considering that I'm the group member who chose this theme, I'm going to be doing a lot of "school days" reading this month.) And of course it gives me a ROOT too.

Jun 2, 2016, 4:19am Top

I own a couple of Spain's books and have read one - it's weird but fun! If you look her up, she was a fascinating woman!

Jun 2, 2016, 6:21pm Top

Nancy Spain was on What's My Line a lot when I was a kid. I think. One of those shows. She was fabulous. I think she died in a plane crash.

Jun 3, 2016, 5:00am Top

Yes, I think she was quite a presence in the 1950s/early 1960s.

Jun 9, 2016, 3:01am Top

Finished Poison for Teacher and only rated it 3*** but that may be more a limitation on my part than anything else. I think there were mid-20th century Briticisms that I just didn't catch which limited my appreciation of the humor. Also, I have the impression (not sure) that Poison for Teacher was part of a series, maybe the third or fourth book in a series, and I could be missing some backstory as to the character of Natasha.

Still on my School Days School Days theme, I've started The Getting of Wisdom and I'm liking it very much so far. It seems like a lighthearted(?) version of Frost in May or The Chinese Garden. I may try to get around to the movie too one of these days.

Jun 9, 2016, 9:11am Top

I've finally started reading Deadlock, in the green edition Pilgrimage 3.

Jun 9, 2016, 9:17am Top

>167 kaggsy: I didn't manage to get to One Fine Day in May, but I'll keep it near the top of my list.

>206 CurrerBell: I'm reading The Getting of Wisdom right now also - I think I agree with your 'lighthearted(?)' comment - Laura keeps getting into trouble, doesn't she?

Jun 9, 2016, 10:35am Top

>207 Sakerfalcon: - It's good! :)

>208 LisaMorr: - Hope you get to it soon - I really loved it!

Jun 10, 2016, 10:06am Top

I've just finished Revolving Lights however my reading splurge is about to be undone by a work splurge!

Jun 10, 2016, 1:12pm Top

>210 LyzzyBee: I'm reading an Angela Thirkell at the moment, but Revolving Lights is up next.

Jun 25, 2016, 11:22pm Top

I'm so behind. I'll quickly agree with Dee that A View of the Harbour is my favorite E. Tayler. I'm currently sneak-reading E. Hardwick's Sleepless Nights. It's so short that I should be able to finish it in June, but that's not implying that it's not good. I really, really like her writing, and I can also identify with a lot of her narrator's thinking.

Jun 26, 2016, 9:26am Top

I liked the Hardwick a lot too.

Jun 28, 2016, 7:31am Top

Up the Country by the amazing Emily Eden

Jun 28, 2016, 2:16pm Top

I've finished Pilgrimage 3, the whole volume, so shall head over to the group read thread and post my thoughts there.

Jun 28, 2016, 3:03pm Top

Goodness! Well done Claire - I'm lagging behind a little!

Edited: Jun 28, 2016, 5:29pm Top

>214 africanviolet: Oh, Ms. Violet! I did enjoy Up the Country!! That EE was such a personality!!! I love to see other people reading the Virago/Beacon offerings even if I've stalled on this year's Travels in West Africa.

Jul 3, 2016, 11:00am Top

I recently read Troy Chimneys and Elizabeth Taylor short stories A Dedicated Man both were excellent.

Jul 3, 2016, 12:12pm Top

I just finished my first Elizabeth Taylor with The Wedding Group. Interesting story of a sheltered young woman escaping her cloistered home environment to work in an antiques shop in her town and meeting a young man who lives with his mother.

This is one of those books where I'm sorry I read the introduction first. Sometimes it helps to read the introduction and other times I think too much is given away about the story - I'm just realizing that this also happened with The Getting of Wisdom. I think I'll start reading this section after reading the rest of the book.

Jul 3, 2016, 1:52pm Top

I'm reading "The Trap", installment 8 of Dorothy Richardson's "Pilgrimage" sequence.

Oh, and >219 LisaMorr: I never read the introduction first now!

Jul 3, 2016, 4:37pm Top

>219 LisaMorr: oh dear - never read the introduction before the novel. It does seem ridiculous that they often give away so much, they really should come at the end of the book.

Jul 3, 2016, 5:06pm Top

>220 LyzzyBee:, >221 Heaven-Ali: In some books, the introduction has been helpful - providing some historical context and something about the author - and in other books, there's an afterword. It would be good if there were rules, like if much is said about the plot, it has to be an afterword!

Jul 3, 2016, 5:27pm Top

I also have given up reading the Introductions until the end.

Jul 7, 2016, 2:57am Top

I excited to announce that I just got a notice from my library that my interlibrary loan came in! Soon I'll be reading....

Illyrian Spring by Ann Bridge

what did you guys think of this one?

Jul 7, 2016, 6:30am Top

Loved it Hannah!

Jul 7, 2016, 7:25am Top

>224 ShyPageSniffer: One of my favourites!

Jul 7, 2016, 8:29am Top

Ooh it's lovely!

Jul 13, 2016, 6:49pm Top

Hannah, you are in for such a treat!

Edited: Jul 14, 2016, 7:24pm Top

I just finished Delafield's The Way Things Are and really enjoyed it. It has that wonderful British humor but I did find myself laughing out loud a couple of times.

I'm glad to see there are many others who read the Introduction last.

Jul 18, 2016, 11:15pm Top

Yay, Jan!!!!!

Jul 24, 2016, 7:40am Top

Well I have finally worked out how to access my Library Thing, and I am blogging again (very slowly, after the hugest gap), and life at home has settled down after a somewhat chaotic period... so I thought I'd join in some 'conversations' again, if I may! Am reading Joanna, by Lisa St Aubin de Teran, which is excellent so far ( remember being knocked out by Keepers of the House, years and years ago, so hopefully I'll feel the same way about this). And I'm reading it in tandem with George Gissing's The Odd Women, which is taking me a little longer to get into.

Jul 24, 2016, 8:03am Top

Hey Christine - have not read the de Teran, but loved the Gissing!

Jul 24, 2016, 8:39am Top

>231 TheBookTrunk: >232 romain: If you like The Odd Women, I suggest you try Miss Miles (4½**** review) by Mary Taylor. That's THE Mary Taylor, Charlotte Bronte's BFF (along with Ellen Nussey) from boarding school at Roe Head. It's an Oxford University Press, not a Virago.

Jul 24, 2016, 9:11am Top

>231 TheBookTrunk: Nice to see you here Christine. This is a lovely group and it looks like a great fit with your reading interests.

Jul 24, 2016, 1:49pm Top

>231 TheBookTrunk: Welcome, Christine! It's good to see you here.

Aug 30, 2016, 7:46pm Top

Hi, everyone.

This is just to let you know that a tutored read of Jane Austen's Emma will be commencing next weekend---it would be great if some of you cared to join us!

I will post a link here when the thread is up.

Aug 31, 2016, 2:33pm Top

I would love to join you. I'll watch for the link.

Aug 31, 2016, 5:38pm Top


Sep 1, 2016, 2:40am Top

I've started Hudson River Bracketed; it's a biggie but has an intriguing start, with a hero who wants MORE, who wants to find more ways of thinking and more words to think with.

Edited: Sep 1, 2016, 3:06am Top

I rather enjoyed that (although as always with Wharton, it's not exactly a barrel-load of laughs), but I found The Gods Arrive exasperating.

Sep 1, 2016, 4:14am Top

I've just started Oberland, though as I didn't get a seat on the train this morning I haven't got very far.

Sep 1, 2016, 3:41pm Top

Yesterday I completed High Rising and I Capture the Castle to round out my AV/AA. The first was a reread but I loved it just as much this time around and the second simply blew me away!

Sep 1, 2016, 3:55pm Top

For AV/AA, I read The Caravaners, The Return of the Soldier, Life and Death of Harriett Frean, Memento Mori and started on Summer Will Show. A very successful AV/AA!

Sep 2, 2016, 5:16pm Top

>236 lyzard: I might give that a go...I have a lovely copy of Emma that has been calling to me lately.

Sep 2, 2016, 5:36pm Top

>236 lyzard:
Please count me in Lyzard. It sounds lovely.

Sep 3, 2016, 5:34pm Top

>244 laytonwoman3rd:, >245 rainpebble:

That's great!

I should be setting up the thread later today.

Sep 4, 2016, 2:17am Top

And the thread is now up for the tutored read of Emma:


Please drop in and let us know if you'll be participating or lurking!

Sep 5, 2016, 7:00am Top

Although it's no longer AV/AA, I find myself reading two Viragoes - Oberland and Careless people. The latter is excellent, and makes me want to track down the novels by F Scott Fitzgerald that I haven't yet read.

Sep 5, 2016, 11:41am Top

I'm reading The World My Wilderness by Rose Macaulay. What wonderful writing.

Sep 5, 2016, 3:22pm Top

Currently reading The rising tide M.J.Farrell really enjoying as I also enjoyed Good Behaviour. Thinking of reading Invitation to the waltz Rosamond Lehman next. I just love VMC books and buy them whenever I can. So many fantastic authors I probably would not have never come across.

Sep 6, 2016, 4:32am Top

>249 Oregonreader: That is a gorgeous book. Glad you're enjoying it.

>250 mrsshe: I loved Invitation to the waltz. Lehmann perfectly conveys the awkwardness and insecurity of adolescence.

Sep 10, 2016, 1:32pm Top

Why Emma, of course.

Sep 13, 2016, 11:54am Top

I just finished Golden Miles by Katherine Susannah Prichard. I didn't realize it was the second book in a trilogy until I was starting it but it easily stands alone. Prichard does an amazing job of creating characters with great depth but she also spends a lot of time describing the gold mining process in Australia in the 1920's. That was hard to follow but I did really enjoy the book.

Sep 14, 2016, 2:55am Top

>240 lyzard: Aha - at last I've tracked down where I saw someone say that! Yes, The Gods Arrive is pretty frustrating at the moment and it's certainly not calling read me, read me, read me like Hudson River did ...

Sep 14, 2016, 7:15am Top

>240 lyzard:, >254 LyzzyBee: noted. I very much want to read Hudson River Bracketed after Karen/kaggsy's positive review, but will not rush into the sequel.

Sep 14, 2016, 9:43am Top

>255 lauralkeet: I was pretty positive about it in mine, too. I've just sent an accidental duplicate I acquired of The Gods Arrive to Karen so we can all be lacklustre about it together!

Sep 14, 2016, 10:59am Top

Oh, why lacklustre? What a shame...

Sep 19, 2016, 4:14am Top

I've just finished the sequel to Hudson River Bracketed, The Gods Arrive which was good, but just really sad and frustrating, and this month's Dorothy Richardson (arghhhhhh).

Sep 24, 2016, 4:10am Top

>259 LyzzyBee: Another perceptive review of Richardson's work. I find I get more out of the Pilgrimage novels if I can read your reviews before the book! You unravel so much more than I do.

Edited: Sep 24, 2016, 3:17pm Top

>260 Sakerfalcon: Claire. I read Liz and Karen's reviews after reading the book myself and agree with you that they invariably highlight things that completely passed me by. "Unravel" is a good word to describe it!

I'm about 20 pages from the end -- ready to start the last chapter. This one has held my interest more than others!

Edited: Sep 25, 2016, 10:49am Top

>260 Sakerfalcon: and >261 lauralkeet: thank you so much! I always get a lot out of Karen's reviews and also Jane's!

Sep 25, 2016, 11:52am Top

Same from me! It's always illuminating and enjoyable to see what others have to say! 😁

Oct 12, 2016, 1:44am Top

I'm reading Chatterton Square for the 1947 Club co-hosted by our own Kaggsy, and very readable and enjoyable it is, too!

Oct 12, 2016, 1:56am Top

I'm reading One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes. Very good indeed.

Oct 12, 2016, 4:35am Top

>264 LyzzyBee: >265 Heaven-Ali: Both lovely sounding titles! I've read One Fine Day and I loved it!

Oct 12, 2016, 8:03am Top

>265 Heaven-Ali: I looooved that book, Ali!

Oct 12, 2016, 8:47am Top

Me three on One Fine Day

Oct 12, 2016, 4:37pm Top

Me four!

Oct 12, 2016, 5:12pm Top

I'm reading High Rising by Angela Thirkell and loving the characters and the humor. I've had two of her books in my TBR pile for a long time and don't know why it took me so long to read one.

Oct 12, 2016, 6:23pm Top

I just received Fly on the Wheel as a gift and am truly enjoying it.

Oct 15, 2016, 5:15pm Top

I read The Bull Calves by Naomi Mitchison last week and, though it wasn't the easiest read, I was very impressed with the author's depth of understanding of Scottish history and 18th century life, and with the story she had to tell.

Oct 16, 2016, 9:00am Top

I hated what I read by her Jane. Not my cup of tea. I remember them as short though :)

Oct 20, 2016, 3:58am Top

I haven't read The Bull Calves but was interested in what Gill Plain says about it in Women's Fiction of the Second World War which looks at how women authors' fiction from that time can be seen as a response to the war.

Plain devotes a whole chapter to The Bull Calves which is entitled "Constructing the Future through the Past". She writes, "At a time when almost all writing can in some sense be seen as a strategy for survival, The Bull Calves represents a reinscription of the feminine in a world consumed by cataclysmic masculinity".

Oct 20, 2016, 6:06am Top

I managed to read E.H. Young's Chatterton Square for 1947 club, a bit late - my review is here https://librofulltime.wordpress.com/2016/10/19/book-review-chatterton-square/

Oct 22, 2016, 9:52pm Top

I just finished my second Angela Thirkill, Wild Strawberries. Her stories are such a wonderful escape, especially in these stressful times.

Oct 24, 2016, 8:03am Top

>273 romain: This is a big book, so probably a different one. It's a fairly serious family historical that I liked the look of, but I'm not sure I'll read certain other of her books.

>274 Soupdragon: That look so interesting, and I couldn't argue with the statement you quoted. Though I would say that Bryher did a similar thing - albeit with less emphasis on the feminine - in shorter and less demanding stories.

Oct 27, 2016, 6:07pm Top

I am now reading The Simple Truth by Elizabeth Hardwick and liking it. It's an unusual plot focusing on a murder trial

from the perspective of people who are not involved in the case but spectators at the trial. I also read her Sleepless

Nights and liked it. Recently I read Vein of Iron by Ellen Glasgow and it was very enjoyable. I like Glasgow's work

and plan to read Vein of Iron. Neither of the books are VMCs but she is a VMC author.

Nov 1, 2016, 5:42pm Top

I finished reading Summer Half by Angela Thirkell good cosy reading over the weekend.
Now reading The Magic Toyshop

Nov 1, 2016, 5:47pm Top

>279 Heaven-Ali:
I despised the writings of Angela Carter until I read The Magic Toyshop and I found that novel to be absolutely brilliant! I do so hope you enjoy it, Ali.

Nov 2, 2016, 7:45am Top

I have just started, with some trepidation, Clear horizon.

Nov 2, 2016, 9:59am Top

>281 Sakerfalcon: :) And I have set out on Dawn's Left Hand!

Nov 20, 2016, 3:55pm Top

Today I finished Death comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather - which I thought I had seen described as her masterpiece - but now can't find that - maybe whatever it was said most famous novel like in the blurb of my edition does. I always thought My Antonia her most famous novel -but it doesn't matter.

I absolutely loved it. A Lost Lady is still my very favourite and the one I think is her masterpiece, but this one isn't far behind it.

Nov 20, 2016, 6:11pm Top

>283 Heaven-Ali: I've read pretty much all of Cather up through One of Ours (her Pulitzer), which basically comprises the first volume of the Library of America, and I've read a good number of her stories as well. Of the later work, all I've read is Death Comes for the Archbishop, which is my favorite of her novels. My particular liking for it comes from its series of vignettes, so that it's almost like a short story collection but proceeding in chronological sequence, and then with the great but very quiet deathbed scene of a man looking over his past life. Interestingly, I won a copy of Death Comes for the Archbishop as some kind of prize back in eighth grade but I've only gotten around to reading it in the past half-dozen years or so

But I've only read My Ántonia once and I think it's a book that probably requires multiple readings to catch nuances of its slightly dimwitted male narrator (somewhat like Wuthering Heights). I not too long ago got the Norton Critical (edited by Cather scholar Sharon O'Brien) and I do want to get around to it one of these lifetimes for a reread as well as a reading of Norton's supplementary materials. On a reread, I could wind up placing it above Death Comes for the Archbishop.

Nov 21, 2016, 8:38am Top

I am one of the people who think Death Comes for the Archbishop is a masterpiece. I have not loved some of her others so this was a revelation for me. 5 stars and then some.

Edited: Nov 21, 2016, 6:34pm Top

>284 CurrerBell: >285 romain: Interesting. I did love Death Comes for the Archbishop it is perfect in so many ways. I think A Lost Lady just stole my heart. I can see why people call Death comes.. as a masterpiece. I have loved everything of hers I have read. I just have The Professor's House to read - I think I did read it years ago but I can't remember it so counting as the one I have left to read. Have only read one volume of her short stories though. I believe there were more than that.

Nov 21, 2016, 7:34pm Top

Did anyone else absolutely love her Lucy Gayheart? I thought it superb!

Nov 21, 2016, 7:35pm Top

>286 Heaven-Ali: Having only "discovered" Willa Cather recently, I have only read The Professor's House, which I loved, and Shadows on the Rock which failed to impress. However, you and CurrerBell are definitely encouraging me to read more. Coincidentally, shortly after reading The Professor's House, I read Stoner, which makes an interesting pairing.


Touchstones definitely not cooperating; not recognizing authors and wanting to make Willa's book into Jane Eyre.

Nov 21, 2016, 10:13pm Top

>288 SassyLassy: Well, it sounds like you're encouraging me to read The Professor's House....

>287 rainpebble: ... you're encouraging me to read Lucy Gayheart

I hope I didn't come off like some Cather expert! As I noted, aside from Death, the only novels I've read have been the earlier ones, the ones in the first Library of America volume (out of three volumes, and I've got all three).

Maybe next year I'll go on at least to the second volume (the later novels). Maybe as part of the Big Fat Book challenge and Read Our Own Tomes.

And maybe I could also get around to a couple of biographies I've got of her in TBR piles, by Sharon O'Brien and Hermione Lee. Ahhhh, should be a good year next year for ROOTing.

Nov 22, 2016, 10:08am Top

>287 rainpebble: Lucy Gayheart is wonderful I loved it.

Nov 27, 2016, 2:52pm Top

Yesterday I started reading The Adventures of Elizabeth in Rugen which is absolutely brilliant, a complete joy of a book, EvA's wonderful voice, and sublime descriptions of a place I had never heard of.

Edited: Dec 1, 2016, 12:40pm Top

>291 Heaven-Ali:
I am in total agreement with you, Ali. The Adventures of Elizabeth in Rugen was a solid five star read for me. I have loved most of the von Armins that I have read. She 'colors' her works. Glad that you enjoyed it so much.

Dec 1, 2016, 1:07pm Top

I've started the last volume of Pilgrimage!!!!

Dec 2, 2016, 4:33am Top

>293 LyzzyBee: Congratulations! I'm about halfway through Dimple Hill, so not too far behind.

Edited: Dec 3, 2016, 3:18pm Top

>292 rainpebble: I loved it all.

Now re-reading A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor for a book group.

Dec 17, 2016, 7:49am Top

Now reading my second VMC of December: The True Heart by Sylvia Townsend Warner.

Dec 18, 2016, 4:15pm Top

I am now reading Pride and Prejudice and loving it. I have the video and have watched it many

times and the story is even better in print. I had recently read Mansfield Park and found it

tedious and overrated but P&P lives up to its reputation.

Dec 22, 2016, 10:05am Top

Just about to start Willa Cather's Shadows on the Rock. I recently read Winifred Holtby's The Crowded Street; not my favourite Holtby (South Riding) but still great

Dec 27, 2016, 10:49pm Top

My 75th of the year (to meet the challenge) will be One Fine Day - at last! I've had it out on the READ NOW table since June. I'm looking forward to it.

Dec 28, 2016, 7:02am Top

I'm reading The Wind Changes which was part of my fabulous VSS parcel. Enjoying it very much.

Dec 28, 2016, 7:13am Top

>299 LizzieD: Oooh! One Fine Day is such a good book, Peggy! Beautiful writing. Enjoy.

Dec 28, 2016, 9:18am Top

I've got One Fine Day to read AND it ticks off another year in my Century of Reading but have to finish some others first ...

Dec 28, 2016, 6:03pm Top

I'm re-reading The Eye of Love by Margery Sharp, and it's every bit as good as I remembered.

Jan 1, 5:01pm Top

The thread is now up for the group read of Harriet Martineau's Deerbrook; all welcome!


Jan 1, 8:01pm Top

>304 lyzard: I've already read it and don't plan on rereading, but I've starred the thread to see what everyone else thinks. As the read proceeds, I'll opine further on Harriet Martineau – who is presumed to have been satirized by Dickens in the Bleak House character of Mrs Jellyby and who definitely had a tempestuous relationship with Currer Bell, who is currently "channeling" me to make some commentary on Miss Martineau's infamously unfavorable review of Villette.

Edited: Jan 4, 11:43pm Top

One Fine Day was a super way to finish a year of reading! 5 stars from me!
>304 lyzard: >305 CurrerBell: I've read it too but will enjoy following the thread at some point. I confess that I was surprised at how easy it was to pick up and get into until I finished it.
I didn't know that HM was the original for Mrs. Jellyby. Thanks, Mike!

Jan 5, 4:59am Top

I'm enjoying Deerbrook very much so far.

Jan 5, 7:23am Top

>307 Sakerfalcon: me too -- I've only read the first 4 chapters but it's shaping up nicely.

Jan 5, 9:09am Top

Deerbrook is my first Virago for ages and I'm enjoying it.

Jan 5, 10:57am Top

>309 CDVicarage: well that's a good point, Kerry. It's not my "first Virago for ages," but last year pretty much the only Viragos I read were Dorothy Richardson's Pilgrimage. It's really nice to be reading something else!

Jan 5, 10:47pm Top

I've started Wild Strawberries by Angela Thirkell. She's become one of my favorites.

Edited: Jan 6, 12:34pm Top

Naturally I'm reading Deerbrook! However, I only started it last night, so have a bit of reading to do before I tackle the evergrowing thread.

edited to say I'm looking forward to Currer Bell's channelled comments.

Jan 6, 7:20pm Top

>311 Oregonreader: me too -- her books are wonderful comfort reads for me.

Jan 10, 1:46pm Top

I have a series focus for 2017 and I'll be starting with Frost in May. As the first VMC, it seems like I should've probably read this long ago, but anyway, better late than never!

Jan 19, 4:22pm Top

I read The Return of the Soldier last night as it's the second "novel" in the Virago Omnibus I'm reading. It's quite short so it's more like a novella than a novel. I enjoyed in particular the very evocative descriptions of landscape and the narrator's character development. It's my first Rebecca West and I will now have to tackle some others for next month - am currently looking at Harriet Hume as that was mentioned in the introduction to Vita's All Passion Spent.

Jan 20, 8:36am Top

That was my first West as well Grant. From there I went to Sunflower which I also liked. Have not read Harriet Hume though.

Jan 30, 11:59am Top

I have started reading In my own time: almost an autobiography by Nina Bawden which I believe Kaggsy got me for VSS three years ago - I am always grateful for the lovely books I receive but my tbr is out of all control.

>315 europhile: I am trying to decide between Harriet Hume and The Fountain Overflows for next month.

Feb 1, 7:18pm Top

>316 romain: Thank you for mentioning Sunflower, I hadn't heard of it before. My library has a copy and also several other West's I don't own so I may pick some of them up next time I go to town. Then it will just be a question of deciding which to tackle (for some reason I find it easier to read library books than the ones I've owned for a while). I'm not sure I want to start the trilogy beginning with the Fountain Overflows, even though I already have all the books here.

Feb 6, 3:38am Top

I have started dipping into the Sylvia Townsend Warner volume of stories which was gifted by my lovely VSS Trish - absolutely excellent so far, and I've done a little post here:


Feb 6, 11:22am Top

I've just started Cousin Rosamund.

Edited: Feb 12, 2:05pm Top

Feb 12, 3:47pm Top

I'm reading The Birds on the trees by Nina Bawden, it's excellent.

Mar 26, 3:07pm Top

Last night I began The Doll: The Lost Short Stories by Daphne du Maurier. (VMC #555) I just got well into the first short & got too sleepy to finish but am enjoying her writing as is always the case.

Mar 30, 4:01pm Top

Now reading A Wreath for the Enemy by Pamela Frankau.

Mar 31, 4:53am Top

>325 Heaven-Ali: Ooh, I loved that one!

Apr 3, 6:29pm Top

Just a reminder that there is a group read of Geraldine Jewsbury's Zoe: The History Of Two Lives planned for May.

I am mentioning it now because Zoe seems to be one of the less accessible Viragos, and people wanting to participate may need time to hunt down a copy or get an interlibrary loan placed.

I will post any information I find about online access on The Virago Chronological Read Project thread. However, I am not yet aware of a downloadable version.

Apr 4, 6:00am Top

>327 lyzard: Thanks for the reminder. I do have a copy but it's good to have advance notice so I leave time to read it in May.

Apr 11, 5:01pm Top

Am now reading Willa Cather's Shadows on the Rock, after just finishing a reread of

A Lost Lady. I haven't visited the thread for a while. My Virago rereading has been an

interesting experience. Elizabeth Taylor's books have been my rereading favorites while

Rebecca West has turned out to be a disappointment which is surprising because I liked her

works so much in my initial reading.

Apr 25, 3:28pm Top

I just last night completed a reread of Rumer Godden's In This House of Brede. If she ever wrote a better novel, I have yet to read it. I think I love every sentence this woman puts together.

Apr 25, 4:09pm Top

One of my top ten of all time Belva. I've read it at least 5 times.

Apr 28, 12:44pm Top

Me too! Me too, Belva and Barbara!

Apr 30, 7:46pm Top

The thread is up for the group read of Geraldine Jewsbury's Zoe: The History Of Two Lives---hope to see you there!


May 12, 5:30pm Top

I am now rereading Nightingale Wood. I enjoyed it the first time and so far am enjoying it again.

I just visited Stella Gibbons page on Wiki-pedia. She had an interesting life.

May 12, 5:52pm Top

I keep forgetting I'm reading a Virago because my copy is from a different publisher. But I am enjoying The Behaviour of Moths (aka The Sister) by Poppy Adams very much when I get to it.

Funny how The Behaviour of Moths comes up with the touchstone for The Sister but when I type in The Sister I get Twilight.

May 12, 5:57pm Top

I just completed Anne of Green Gables, am in the midst of reading Zoe: The History of Two Lives, and am getting ready to begin Daphne du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel for the VCM Book Club's May read. It feels really good to be back in my Virago library.

May 17, 12:57pm Top

Currently reading A little love, a little learning by Nina Bawden. She does write a very good story.

May 19, 2:19pm Top

>337 Heaven-Ali:
Bawden is an excellent writer, Ali. I was just looking at my books by her & can't believe I have yet to read Carrie's War. :-(

May 27, 2:23pm Top

Just finished Nightingale Wood with a smile on my face. I hadn't remembered how comical it was.

I loved some of the characters. Every time they appeared in the plot line I began smiling. It was

also so refreshing to read a book with a happy ending for all of its main characters however

unrealistic. It's going to the top of the list of my favorites along with the works of Margery

Sharp. I loved The Eye of Love and Cluny Brown and I am now reading Something Light by

her. I enjoy her quirky plots and characters. She has a long list of other works and I am looking

forward to reading them.

May 27, 2:48pm Top

I just visited the Margery Sharp Virago page to add The Eye of Love to my list and was

shocked at the cover illustration. It was a complete distortion of the characteristics of the

protagonist and wonder if it was off putting for potential readers. The edition that I read was not

a VMC but the original cloth edition by Little Brown Publishers with no cover illustration. If I'm not

mistaken about the Virago edition then I am very disappointed with them.

Jun 6, 7:30pm Top

I have raised the question of possible Bronte group reads at the Virago Chronological Read Project thread. I'm trying to gauge how much interest there might be, so if anyone would like to voice an opinion over there, I would appreciate it!

Jun 7, 10:40pm Top

I just finished Sapphira and the Slave Girl (3½***), which I think could have been a much better novel if Cather had written it in a first-person voice, although doing so would have forced her to focus more on a selected story line and just a few characters. The book actually works quite well in the Epilogue, when it shifts momentarily to the first-person voice of the then-five-year-old child who witnesses the return of Nancy; but when writing in a third-person omniscient, Cather tends too much to "telling" and not "showing" even to the extent of occasionally sounding on the point of breaking the fourth wall.

This wraps up my Cather read from May and I've now finished all of Cather's novels with the exception of My Mortal Enemy. I'd already read Alexander's Bridge, the Prairie trilogy, One of Ours, Death Comes for the Archbishop, and some of the stories; and for May, I read A Lost Lady, The Professor's House, Shadows on the Rock, Lucy Gayheart, and Sapphira and the Slave Girl. I read them in the Library of America's Willa Cather: Later Novels in a stab at ROOTing some of my large LoA collection. I've still got the third LoA Cather volume to read – it includes My Mortal Enemy, stories, poems, and nonfiction – but it's not an immediate priority at the moment.

My favorite Cather is still Death Comes for the Archbishop, but I do want to give My Ántonia a reread in My Ántonia (Norton Critical Edition) – and I think I have O Pioneers! (Norton Critical Edition) as well. It's possible that a reread of My Ántonia might change my mind into placing it first overtop Archbishop because I think My Ántonia is one of those books that requires multiple readings for its narrative voice. Jim Burden as a sometimes dimwitted male narrator reminds me of Lockwood in Wuthering Heights, and as a result I don't think you can "get" My Ántonia on just a single reading.

I've also got (I think) Hermione Lee's Willa Cather: Double Lives around somewhere and I'd like to get to it, though I've got some other biographies that take a higher priority. I've also got a couple biographies by Cather scholar Sharon O'Brien to get to.

It's kind of odd. I'd never read anything by Cather until five or six years ago, but I remember getting a copy of Archbishop as some kind of a prize from the nuns back in eighth grade.

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