TalkVirago Modern Classics

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Edited: Jun 8, 2013, 11:58pm

I know it is a bit early but whatever Barbara wants, Barbara gets & little thread little Barbara wants you. (did that in my very best Damn Yankees voice. ;-)

As most of you know there are those of us within the Virago Group who take advantage of the Long Hot Summer days & nights of August to kick back and catch up on our much beloved Virago books. Some of us read 1, some 2, some a dozen. It's just whatever you want. I try to do a drawing at the end of the month of reading & pull a name out of the hat for a wee prize. Sometimes in error I get a bunny and then Oooops, no prize.
Ah well.......
Come one, come all who are interested. Let us know what you are reading and what you think of the Virago when you've completed it.
hugs all round,

Jun 8, 2013, 3:21am

Well I have plenty of things I could read during AV/AA and so am looking forward to joining in. Last year I managed 7 actual greens and a Persephone that also comes in a Virago edition. I hope to read a similar amount this year as I have some very tempting Virago books on my very mountainous TBR shelves.

Jun 8, 2013, 5:06am

I will join in as much as poss - who knows what I will be reading by August?!

Jun 8, 2013, 6:32am

Nice Damn Yankees reference, Belva! You've always reminded me of Lola ... :)

Jun 8, 2013, 7:50am

Fun! I'm in.

Jun 8, 2013, 10:46am

As you know Belva, I have done all the Viragos I wanted to read and am now working my way through those I have been avoiding. I think I will continue to go for Virago-lite and do the Hockings, Bawdens and DuMauriers rather than Pilgrimage 1-4 or the dreaded Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow.

A quick persual of my Virago list shows that I have read 206 or my Viragos and at this rate I will never get to Pilgrimage and Tomorrow. So be it. Every year during AV/AA I get at least one book that rates 5* and without that month of reading I would not have discovered it.

Jun 8, 2013, 10:49am

Has anyone read or can comment on the following Virago authors:

Dawn Powell
A L Barker
Marguerite Yourcenar

I have the books but have never opened them.

Edited: Jun 8, 2013, 1:37pm

7>> I've never read anything by Dawn Powell and didn't realize she was Virago. I've got her in the Library of America, so maybe I'll do that this August.

And maybe I'll also make a special effort to catalog all my Viragos that I haven't yet gotten onto my LT catalog.

Anyway, I'm in.

ETA: Oh, and maybe I'll use AV/AA to catch up on the Barbara Pym read-a-thon, where I'm way behind.

Jun 8, 2013, 2:17pm

I think I might push some Viragoes that I have coming up back slightly if I reach them before the end of this month, so I can add them into AV/AA. Does that make sense? I have some lovely Whartons from my Christmas VSS last year and I think I will reach them by the end of June, then July is A Month of Re-Reading in July for me ...

Jun 8, 2013, 4:07pm

I'm worth at least one.
And I have some Dawn Powell but not in Virago. That would be interesting. Also a couple of M. Yourcenars ditto. Now I'm off to find about about A.L. Barker. Thanks, Barbara!

Jun 9, 2013, 12:27am

My goodness; go away for a day of washing walls & ceilings down at my son's house (in preparation of a paint party), and come home to all of your plans for AV/AA. Wow! Y'all have been busy planning your wants n reads out. I need to get on the stick!

>2 Heaven-Ali:: Ali, I remember you reading ever so many of the greens last year and I think that I also recall that we said we would count the Persephone as well as the Virago, as for the most part, those of us who read the green also read the dove grey. :-)

>3 kaggsy:: Karen, I am sure that whatever you are reading in August will be good and worth hearing about. I love your blog. :-)

>4 lauralkeet:: Didja like that Laura? Me, Lola? Surely you jest but you made me laugh so hard. Thanx. ;-)

>5 Liz1564:: Elaine, I am so happy that you will be able to join us. I am also very thankful for the non-Virago Press Viragos that I have inherited from you either here on the duplicate thread or on PBS. You have saved me a bundle. See you in August. ♥

>6 romain:: Barbara, I am going to join you in the reading of Hockings series: Good Daughters, Indifferent Heroes and Welcome Strangers. The rest I don't know yet. **smooch**

>8 CurrerBell:: Oh aye Mike. You really need to be getting those listed into your library catalog. Otherwise, however will I know what not to get you for Virago Secret Santa? Hmmm?
And using AV/AA for catching up on your Pyms sounds like a good job indeed to me. :-)

>9 LyzzyBee:: Makes perfect sense to me Liz. And I would like to join you in your Month of Re-Reading in July, but July is always an Orange month for me. Do you do this 2 months out of the year? If so, what is the other month? But it does make good sense to save some of the Virago on your TBR listing for August. Smart move.

>10 LizzieD:: My dear Peggy, you are worth way more than one.........oh, you mean to read. lol!~! And please do get back with us on A.L. Barker. Inquiring minds and all that you know. ;-)

I want to thank you all for joining in. It is always so much more fun when there are more than just a couple of us. So thanks and here's to another wonderful AV/AA!

Jun 9, 2013, 2:27am

>11 rainpebble: I do the Month of Re-Reading in January and July every year at the moment. Luckily I do have some re-reads on my TBR (a bunch of Georgette Heyers) plus my Pym and Hardy reads for that month fit into the Re-Reading bracket too. I'm starting to form my list at the moment - hooray! I'm going to go for one of the early Joanna Trollope novels and one of the Dave Gorman books to see if I really do want to keep them i.e. re-reading them is a worthwhile thing to do, and will go for some more travel, too.

Jun 9, 2013, 6:59am

11: Thanks Belva! I shall look forward to joining in! (Just finished Anna Karenina and having a major book hangover!)

Edited: Jun 9, 2013, 10:23am

We've started much too early I'm sure Belva, but what the hell! I intend to stick with Virago-lite, as much to reduce the numbers of unread ones as anything, but I am looking for at least one worthy one and I would like one that was unexpectedly good.

The worthy will probably be Sylvia Townsend Warner who has a track record with me for producing brilliant books but if anyone wants to suggest a Virago that took them by surprise, please do. Two examples from my past would be The Orchid House which I really liked and Cindie which I LOVED LOVED LOVED. Last year my unexpected pleasure was the DuMaurier book about Branwell Bronte.

And no, Belva, not an Angela Carter :)

Jun 9, 2013, 1:06pm

>14 romain::
Barbara, the first Virago that came to mind when you asked for suggestions was The Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner. Then there is Nadine Gordimer's The Lying Days which is very, very good. I checked your library & you have them but haven't rated them so I am assuming you've not yet read them. These both surprised me a great deal. I wasn't expecting so much out of them. I've not yet read the two examples you gave & so need to do that.
Could be a mistake either way though. I know you & I love discussing books but are rarely in agreement so IDK. Have you tried the Virago Travellers? There is a dormant thread for them here:

Kate O'Brien's Farewell Spain is quite good as are many of the others. And have you read Beryl Markham's Splendid Outcast: Beryl Markham's African Stories which is wonderful although not a Virago, but she is a Virago author. I also hear that her West With the Night is brilliant though I've not yet read it.

And yes we are beginning a bit early, but who brought it up? Hmmmm? Just sayin'. hee hee
love you woman!

Jun 9, 2013, 4:30pm

Yes I have read the Schreiner and thought it a perfect 10. I've read other Gordimers during my Anti-Apartheid days and I own West with the Night too. I am going to start a list of suggestions and I'll begin it with the Gordimer who is an author I respect. Thanks!

You know what though Belva - last year I thought I would read several things and in the end I didn't get to most of them. I went off at a complete tangent. I read the Schreiner the first year we had AV/AA and I cannot for the life of me remember why I even opened it. I mean I have zero interest in farm life and I cannot imagine a less enticing title unless it was a documentary I once saw at a film festival - A History of the Workers' Strike in the Gdansk Shipyards. Yet African Farm turned out to be a book of cosmic significance - at least for me.

Jun 9, 2013, 4:57pm

>6 romain: Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow is worth reading, really! I haven't gotten around to posting my comments on it, but if you can get through the beginning, it's pretty good.

I will love the opportunity to read lots of VMCs in August. I have been having such great luck in expanding my VMC collection and it deserves some more dedicated time. I'll have to think about what I want to read that month, but I'm looking forward to it!

Edited: Jun 10, 2013, 4:20am

>17 LisaMorr::
Lisa, I need to shut down the 'Virago collecting' process and get back into the 'Virago reading' mode. I would like to read the ones that I own before I die. Not much chance of it happening afterward. ;-)
Love that you are joining us.

>16 romain::
And Barbara, it seems to me that the first couple of years I read like 12-15 or so but last year I didn't read nearly as many. It's not a race so if there is only one you 'want' to read, read that one and call it good. And hopefully it will be good. Life is too short to not read what calls you.

Jun 10, 2013, 6:46am

18: "Life is too short to not read what calls you" - spot on Belva - that's exactly right!

Jun 10, 2013, 9:10am

I'll be joining in! I haven't even started to think about compiling a reading list yet though. So many unread greens languish on my shelves, all calling to me. It's hard to choose between them. But decisions will be made by August nonetheless.

Jun 10, 2013, 10:39am

>7 romain: : I love Dawn Powell. Although I have not read The Golden Spur, I've read five of her earlier novels and she's wonderful. As for Yourcenar, I've read Le Coup de grâce and Mémoires d'Hadrien and really liked both. I can't vouch for the English translation of Dear Departed, but she's an excellent writer.

Jun 10, 2013, 10:54am

>19 kaggsy::
I do hope that hangover is better by now. ;-)
& thanx

>20 Sakerfalcon::
Glad to hear you will be able to join us Claire. And it is difficult to pick one of some. We hear such good things about all of them, perhaps not from the same readers but all are beloved by one or more. Hopefully by August a couple will be beyond calling out to you & be screaming for you to read it/them.

>21 Leseratte2::
Andrew & Barbara; I've not read any of these authors. Guess I need to check into them. I am hearing & seeing positive things about them though.

Jun 10, 2013, 3:03pm

Don't worry Belva I haven't read them either. They languish on my shelves waiting their turn.

Jun 10, 2013, 3:16pm

22: It's taking a little while to clear, Belva - still thinking about AK - what a book! Distracting myself by reading some early Jack Kerouac for a reading challenge!

Jun 10, 2013, 4:09pm

I haven't read any A. L. Barker yet, but will eventually get around to her. I might try the Hocking trilogy for August. We'll see if that actually happens.

Jun 10, 2013, 5:44pm

>25 Leseratte2::
That would then make three of us reading the Mary Hockings. :-)

Jun 11, 2013, 1:52am

I wonder if I can read the WHOLE Elizabeth Taylor short stories volume in one month. Or will that be too many ET short stories? Can there be such a thing?

Jun 11, 2013, 6:08am

I'm in too! We will probably/hopefully be moving house in August so my Vragoes will be spending at least some of the month in boxes but I have some of the older, out of copyright Viragoes on my kindle so I can at least read some of those...

Jun 11, 2013, 11:08am

>27 LyzzyBee:: that's ambitious! Go for it ...

Jun 11, 2013, 3:15pm

>27 LyzzyBee::
I would go for that too Liz. And no, never was nor will be too much of Elizabeth Taylor. Sounds like you have your reading planned. And if you've not read them before I envy you this read. :-)

>28 souloftherose::
Sounds good soul. I love my Kindle for just such times as that.

>29 lauralkeet::
I am so in agreement Laura. She is very ambitious to go for that. I hope she does.

Jun 11, 2013, 4:04pm

>30 rainpebble: I've read the individual short story collections, in fact I only re-read The Blush last year I think, but I am sure there are more stories in this book than in the collections, and I haven't read some of the ones I HAVE read for years. I'm galloping through Mt TBR at the moment, so I'm glad that I've got this plan and will be able to put them back a little but have a nice chunk to enjoy this August.

Jun 11, 2013, 5:12pm

>31 LyzzyBee::
Sounds an excellent plan to me LyzzyBee.

Jun 12, 2013, 9:59am

August is the month in which I will have to finish sorting and packing up my house contents, put a lot of stuff into storage and move myself and the rest of it down to the Midlands, then take a week's holiday to include attending a festival. So I don't think I will have a great deal of time for reading anything, even Viragos. But while sorting out which books are coming with me and which are being stored, I'll make sure I have some of the many VMCs put by to keep with me, and hope to get to read one or two during the month (in addition to the Pym for the month). Not sure which yet, though - that's one among too many decisions I have to make in the next couple of months!

Jun 15, 2013, 5:09pm

Just one small question - does the reading have to be a Virago press edition, or can it be a title that is published and is on the list maintained by the group - just in another publisher's edition?
I get a significant proportion of my titles from the library, so can't always afford to be fussy about the imprint I read. But I fully intend to make an effort to work my way through the endless list of books I really should have read before now...

Jun 15, 2013, 5:56pm

I'm sure Belva would agree that it does not have to be an actual Virago edition. Any title published by Virago qualifies , doesn't matter if it is Penguin, Harcourt Brace etc. None of my Pyms are Virago editions, but I count them as Virago reads.

Jun 16, 2013, 12:23pm

>34 Helenliz::
Hello Helenliz & welcome. Liz1564 is quite right. As long as it is a Virago title, it works; does not matter the publisher. We also have been including the Persephone titles as many of us who read the Virago read the Persephone also. I hope this helps. So library away!

My but we are gaining a lot of liz I.D.s, aren't we? I very much like them!

Jun 16, 2013, 9:31pm

Just as well. :)

Jun 21, 2013, 10:43am

I'll say!

Jun 21, 2013, 1:08pm


Jun 21, 2013, 4:27pm

I sampled Good Daughters on the train this morning, so I I think I will definitely give the Hocking trilogy a go. I suppose I should read another volume of Pilgrimage as well.

Edited: Jun 21, 2013, 10:52pm

Yea Andrew!~! That makes 3 or 4 of us reading Mary Hocking in AV/AA.
How far along in the Pilgrimage series are you? I am trying to get brave enough to begin them.

Jun 21, 2013, 11:21pm

I read the first two omnibi, which I think is five books. So two volumes/eight books to go.

Edited: Jun 21, 2013, 11:39pm

Oh my goodness! I have Pilgrimage I through Pilgrimage 4 which contain a total of 13 books. So it looks as if you are quite correct. Are they quite daunting? They do look it.

Jun 22, 2013, 5:07am

43: I read them all in my twenties and didn't find them daunting at all (but I was absorbing books at a rate of knots then!) However, Middle Child read the lot last year for her dissertation and loved them too - I feel that once you get into a groove with them and understand the rhythms of her writing you are ok. I found them very rewarding.

Jun 22, 2013, 9:11am

I didn't find them daunting, but the lack of traditional plot could put some people off.

Jun 22, 2013, 12:46pm

This is sounding much better. Perhaps I will read some of her first omnibus in AV/AA this summer as well then.
Thanks kiddos.

Edited: Jun 22, 2013, 8:10pm

Belva, have you read Shutter of Snow or Novel on Yellow Paper? Or The Waves? If you have, and liked them, you will be fine with Ms. Richardson. What I really like is her cinematic eye. To me, reading her novels is rather like watching a surreal silent film. Any given scene she describes you can see; it may not seem to have any relation to what came before or comes after, but somehow, in the end, it adds up.

Jun 22, 2013, 8:29pm

Andrew, I have them all but have only read Shutter of Snow and it was a five star read for me. I know that some didn't care for it but I was in her head throughout the entire book. So very good.
And the way you describe what is is like to read Richardson is exactly how I feel when reading the Old Testament of the Bible. I see what I am reading and it is an amazing experience. I don't know that I have 'seen' a novel when reading it yet. I hope to. Perhaps I will be fortunate to have the same experience you do.

Jun 23, 2013, 6:39am

47: What a lovely way to describe Richardson, Andrew - so true!

Jun 23, 2013, 10:41am

I'm reading an Edith Wharton VMC, The Mother's Recompense, which I had never heard of but am finding quite easy going.

Jun 23, 2013, 4:23pm

Loved that one Laura.

Jun 25, 2013, 10:01pm

For all you ladies planning to read Mary Hocking for AV/AA: Loving the first volume of the Good Daughters trilogy so far.

Jun 26, 2013, 1:24am

Yea!~! Glad to hear it Andrew.

Jun 26, 2013, 1:33pm

I also plan to take part in AV/AA. I'm thinking of starting with a Lettice Cooper or Vita Sackville-West at the moment, as they always sound wonderful and I have Viragos by them but I haven't read anything by either of them.

Jun 26, 2013, 6:16pm

I am so in love with Vita Sackville-West. Everything she writes is glory!

Jun 26, 2013, 6:23pm

I am in love with Vita Sackville-West and find everything of hers I read to be so very special. I hope you enjoy her as much.

I am looking forward to reading Mary Hocking's Good Daughters trilogy. I don't believe I've read her yet so am excited to check out her works. I have some others set aside if I've the time. Will just have to see how August works out for us.

Jun 26, 2013, 8:01pm

Yes, Vita is the best. The occasional duff one but mostly all very good. My fave Lettice of the two Viragos is Fenny.

Andrew - hmmmnnn, you are making me want to start early but we are not even into July yet and I don't want to waste 3 books from AV/AA on the wrong month.

Jun 26, 2013, 8:22pm

Ditto that Barbara!

Jun 26, 2013, 10:09pm

>57 romain: : Interesting. I liked The New House better than Fenny.
>58 rainpebble: : And I'm certainly not trying to tempt anyone.

I should probably go back to The Vicar's Daughter and One of Ours, both of which I started ages ago and never finished. Why, I don't know, as I think both E. H. Young and Willa Cather are great.

Jun 27, 2013, 12:45am

Oh Andrew, I think that 3 of us had already decided that we would be reading Mary Hocking during AV/AA. So no worries there.

Jul 9, 2013, 2:16pm

I know that it is only July 9th but a little bird told me that some are already getting excited..............

Jul 19, 2013, 5:06pm

Giggle ... I was bemoaning the state of my TBR and how it won't go down this month because I'm doing a month of re-reading. Pipes up Mr LB: "can't you move that to next month? Oh no, because that's All Vitriol in August"!!

At least mt. TBR is full of viragoes...

Jul 20, 2013, 1:33am


Jul 20, 2013, 6:53am

"All Vitriol in August" -- tee hee!

Jul 20, 2013, 9:10am

This could change at any time but I think I will be reading

The Mary Hocking trilogy
One or other of my Elaine Dundys
Nightingale Wood.

Jul 20, 2013, 9:14am

I'm almost finished with a reread of Good Daughters. Then will go right to the sequels. I am really enjoying the book, even more the second time around.

Jul 20, 2013, 10:24am

>65 romain::
Several of us are planning to read the Mary Hocking trilogy Barbara. See what you've started? ;-)

>66 Liz1564::
I've seen several say that over the different threads Elaine. I'm looking forward to getting started!

Jul 20, 2013, 11:05am

That sounds good, Elaine. I'll be reading Mary Hocking too although I don't know that I'll try to get to all three books in August. I also need to finish Two Serious Ladies, so put me down for two anyway.

Jul 21, 2013, 2:11am

I can't decide what to read - I will be reading Mary Hocking as well though. I have all three of the trilogy - but may only get the first one or two read. I have a few Virago books on my kindle which I could read when I go away for a week to the sea - I don't usually take real books with me. Basically I have a lot of Viragos on my shelves.

Jul 22, 2013, 8:33am

So far I have made a pile that contains:
A particular place by Mary Hocking
The people with the dogs by Christina Stead
The Misses Mallet by E. H. Young
Mad Puppetstown by M. J. Farell
and two others that I can't remember offhand as I am writing this at work and my books are at home. This will not make very much of a dent in my Tbr piles!

Jul 22, 2013, 10:59am

Eeps - I have made a pile that contains about half of my TBR!

Jul 23, 2013, 7:52am

Found the other two books -
The lying days by Nadine Gordimer and
Trooper to the Southern Cross by Angela Thirkell.

Liz, you must be more restrained than I when it comes to acquiring books! (or perhaps you have made a very big pile!)

Edited: Jul 23, 2013, 6:22pm

> 71, 72
I have about 400 books on my TBR pile / shelves / boxes! - including 32 VMC's

Jul 23, 2013, 8:50am

Ha - I haven't actually MADE the pile as that would be scary. And it's probably not half of my TBR. You're going to make me count now, aren't you ... 15/53 including Persephones (they count, right?) or 18 counting Virago authors. I reckon I can do that in a month, although one is the complete Taylor short stories ...

Jul 23, 2013, 1:57pm

I have 391 VMCs according to my library on this site although this includes some non-Virago editions. Of these I have read 206, which means I have 185 unread. Scary, but I hope to reduce them by at least 5 next month.

Jul 23, 2013, 3:47pm

~72 GO for The Lying Days - such a wonderful Virago.

Jul 23, 2013, 4:33pm

>76 juliette07:: It will be my first Gordimer, and I'm very much looking forward to it!

Jul 24, 2013, 6:42am

Good news Claire - I am sure you will not be disappointed.

Jul 25, 2013, 8:54pm

I totally agree about The Lying Days. It is a brilliant book!

Jul 27, 2013, 1:52pm

I have made a VMC convert at another MB I frequent. Inspired by mini reviews of Hocking in the book thread, she got the whole trilogy.

Edited: Jul 27, 2013, 9:43pm

Way to go Andrew!~! That is exciting. I know that I can hardly wait to begin on the 1st........and if I finish this bit of non-fiction I am reading right now, I may not wait. lol!~!

Edited: Jul 29, 2013, 8:46am


Jul 29, 2013, 9:25am

(whispers) I have *cheated* and stated Rebecca West's The Harsh Voice...

Jul 29, 2013, 10:03am

I'm not really cheating. Thanks to Laura's suggestion, I'm starting The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton. But it is on Kindle.

Jul 29, 2013, 9:02pm

Not cheating at all ladies. I notate my books read when I complete them so (**wink, wink**), just complete them 12:01 A.M. August 1st. :-)

Jul 30, 2013, 3:56am

:) Well, it *will* be August when I finish the West!

Jul 30, 2013, 4:13am

I've started too! Anderby Wold by Winifred Holtby.

Jul 30, 2013, 1:14pm


Jul 30, 2013, 1:40pm

For me it is not so much AVAA - I'm not sure I'll get much reading done in August as the moving process lurches into its final stages - but rather it's been a matter of selecting, from among all my unread VMCs, which ones I will take with me fo the coming year or so, when I will be living without most of my books. The rest will be in storage. So I've selected a few authors to concentrate on - and one of those is Winifred Holtby, so I have put aside Anderby Wold, South Riding and others to take with me. Also more Lehmann's (I've read a couple of hers already) and plenty more - I can't now remember exactly which, but I did include some of authors I've not yet tried as well as trying to complete the authors I've started.

Jul 30, 2013, 2:27pm

Of course, you will be near me and Ali and our collections, all available for loan (I'm sure I can speak for Ali on that too) so you won't run out!

Jul 30, 2013, 2:35pm

#90 That's very kind! I'm sure I won't run out of reading material, even from the books of my own I take with me - but having lots of options is always better!

Jul 30, 2013, 3:42pm

I love this group!
In case any of you participate in TIOLI over on the 75 thread, I've posted challenge 17 (a book with a painting or a detail from a painting on the cover) so that those of us who are going to read original VMCs can have an easy place to list them.

Jul 31, 2013, 10:26am

I have started The Odd Women by George Gissing - it is on kindle but as it also comes in a nice shade of green I can claim it for AV/AA as I am only 20% in to it so it will be August before I finish it.

Edited: Jul 31, 2013, 12:21pm

> Ali: WOOT WOOT!~!~!

Just one more day until ALL VIRAGO/ALL AUGUST begins. Get your specs ready peoples! WE ARE READY TO ROLL!~!

Jul 31, 2013, 1:36pm

I am currently reading Good Daughters and expect to finish it by tomorrow morning.

Jul 31, 2013, 8:53pm

Very timely Barbara. I am really looking forward to reading this series by Mary Hocking. I don't think I have read one negative comment about it/them.

Edited: Aug 1, 2013, 12:36am

Just woke up just after midnight from a nap and to take some medicine, and I picked up The Happy Foreigner (Enid Bagnold) a bit at random from a table to start AV/AA.

ETA: All I know of Bagnold is the movie of The Chalk Garden, one of Deborah Kerr's many Oscar-worthy performances and co-starring Hayley Mills (my very first screen crush of some half-a-century ago).

Aug 1, 2013, 1:13am

Mike, I loved The Chalk Garden when I saw it eons ago. And I don't think that Deborah Kerr ever gave anything but a stellar performance.
I hope you enjoy The Happy Foreigner.

Within a couple of hours I will be taking Good Daughters by Mary Hocking to bed with me. I know from all of the chatter on the VMC threads that this is a good series so I am really looking forward to this first of three.

Aug 1, 2013, 1:20am



Aug 1, 2013, 2:43am

Pics of my TBR with tantalising hints of what I'm going to be reading here:

Aug 1, 2013, 3:54am

I get the impression you're a little bit excited, Belva! ;)

Aug 1, 2013, 5:39am

>97 CurrerBell:: I grew up reading Bagnold's National Velvet, a wonderfully odd horses-and-family story that people seem to either love or loathe. I loved it.

Aug 1, 2013, 7:09am

Thank you for organising this again, Belva.

I have just started All Passion Spent, which is already showing signs of being wonderful.

Aug 1, 2013, 8:04am

Finished Good Daughters last night (12.01 actually:)) and adored it. I've been in a reading desert for several weeks and this was exactly what I was looking for. It hit all my fave reading buttons - British, interwar, domestic - and I loved the family! Can't wait to start the second book which includes WW2 action and given that I have just finished summer school and have a clear month I will be beginning that sometime in the next few days.

Aug 1, 2013, 8:07am

I have to go downstairs right now and choose something. I am already reading Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness and I really am enjoying it.

It is my first 'real' Virago. I have read a few others but they were on my Kindle or my Kobo. Yes, I have two e-readers. My Kobo is not quite 2 years old and the battery doesn't hold the charge any more. Kobo, in their great marketing strategy, designed a device that does not have a replaceable battery so, to make a long story short, I now have a Kindle. It was hard to adjust to the different interface but I am used to it now. I love them both but I also have about 400 'actual' books in my home that I have not read

Edited: Aug 1, 2013, 11:02am

I've just spent a couple of hours in the garden, finishing All Passion Spent. A beautifully written, charming read, as well as a commentary on the repressiveness of life for women of a certain time and class.

Aug 1, 2013, 3:34pm

>106 Soupdragon:, 103:
Dee, I am so glad you enjoyed All Passion Spent. It is one of my favorite Virago. It is also my first Sackville-West and I quite fell in love with her & writing with this one. And you are oh, so welcome. This is my favorite month of reading albeit one of our busiest at home.

>105 ccookie::
Cathy, I also was quite taken with Hall's The Well of Lonliness and what a perfectly apt title I thought as I read it.

>104 romain::
Barbara, I took that one to bed with me last night and while I only got about 35 pages in I am already enjoying it a great deal. Loving the school bits & getting to know the family. I will find out tonight how Alice & her soot filled, milkman, bicycle experience turns out or at least I hope to. And I hope the man who ran in front of the milk wagon didn't expire.

>102 Sakerfalcon::
Claire, love Bagnold & in my younger years National Velvet was a huge hit with me as well so I guess I fall into the 'loved it' set also. I think I need to give it a reread in my older years. :-)

>101 kaggsy::
Karen, I am hugely excited. I only hope that I can steal enough hours away from our 'logging' & grandchild day-caring duties to get in all of the reading I want this month. Love me some AV/AA!~!

>100 LyzzyBee::
Liz, I checked out your blog & what fun picking through your book photos. Thank you for sharing. I need to be checking out my favorite blogs, of which yours us is one, much more frequently than I do.

Well, read on ladies and enjoy. I will be excited to hear what you all have to say about your reads for the month.

Aug 1, 2013, 4:13pm

Yikes! It's August...better stop ploughing through all that other crap and get out the greenies. Anderby Wold is next on the list. Off I go....

Aug 1, 2013, 4:14pm

I am off to carry on with my Rebecca West - The Harsh Voice which is great so far.

Aug 2, 2013, 10:15am

Just finished my first read for AV/AA - on kindle but it still counts doesn't it? The Odd Women by George Gissing - really enjoyed it.

Aug 2, 2013, 10:23am

I'm just about to start my first AV/AA read for 2013 - The lying days. I moved it to the top of the pile as Julie and Belva praised it so :-)

Aug 2, 2013, 11:09am

I'm definitely going to read that Gissing now, as I bought it on my hols last month! I'm going to start the Elizabeth Taylor short stories in bed tonight. Or this afternoon.

Aug 2, 2013, 12:21pm

110> I think any edition or format counts so long as it's also been published by Virago. {Belva?} I hope so, because I've got Lady Audley's Secret coming up on my Kindle, soon as I finish The Happy Foreigner (probably today) in a real green-cover.

Aug 2, 2013, 12:33pm

I'm now starting another for AV/AA although again my edition isn't a Virago. My turn to read Good Daughters by Mary Hocking

Aug 2, 2013, 1:04pm

Exactly right Mike. "Any edition or format counts so long as it has also been published by Virago." Well put. So yes Ali, it counts. :-)

I am enjoying Good Daughters. It's just what I needed right now. It's a pretty comfy read. Alice has just had quite a shock. Having peeped through a window innocently, only to see the male anatomy, now the poor girl comes face to face with the face belonging to that anatomy. How devastating for a young girl. I am thinking that she won't be returning to her friend's house any time soon. But that is just a guess.

Aug 2, 2013, 2:12pm

I've just finished No More Than Human by Maura Laverty, which continues the story of Delia Scully that began in Never No More. I loved Delia in both books, I love Maura Laverty's writing, and I'm only sorry that Delia's story ends here. She's definitely one of my favourite Virago heroines.

Aug 2, 2013, 4:48pm

Jane, it is wonderful to hear these two so highly recommended. I need to move them up on my reading list. Thanx for the rex! I hope I will have time to read them this month for AV/AA...........

Aug 2, 2013, 9:33pm

I went for my mammogram this morning and while there got started on the second Mary Hocking. So far, very good!

I laughed at people on the other thread saying they have to check an app to see if they already own the book they are buying. My dears, I have no idea if I own the Lavertys or not. Hold on...

Nope, it would seem I own neither.

Aug 3, 2013, 3:42am

I'm almost finished with Flush which I know is a Persephone, but still that's counting in my book. Really interesting layers of reference and I think I'll be Woolfing down some of the author's novels in my next Month of Re-Reading! Taylor short stories will be started next, but that was too heavy to hold in my migrainey state last night!

Aug 3, 2013, 4:35am

119: Ha! Woolfing - love it!

I've finished the second of the four short novellas in The Harsh Voice and it was wonderful - West is an incredible writer and I need to read the next two desperately (if I could just persuade the offspring to do all the chores......)

Edited: Aug 8, 2013, 12:41pm

120: I was looking something up in A Very Great Profession last night, and Nicola Beauman says much the same, and that The Harsh Voice is West's most memorable work.

I'm reading Cullum and liking it so far.

Aug 3, 2013, 8:38am

I've started Edith Wharton's Roman Fever which is short stories. The title story is quite intriguing and I'm looking forward to more coming up!

Aug 3, 2013, 10:11am

121: Ah ! I've read Beauman's book but had forgotten that bit! Certainly the second story was very memorable, one of those I had to stay up late to finish reading and which really messed with your perceptions. I loved it!

Aug 3, 2013, 12:26pm

#122 Liz another I might read this month :-)

Aug 3, 2013, 1:13pm


The last line of the title story is sublime, isn't it?

Aug 3, 2013, 1:42pm

>118 romain::
Barbara, good for you....getting that mammogram done & over with. I seem to put mine off a bit later each year. I do hope the second Hocking is as good as the first. I am so enjoying Good Daughters.
And you crack me up woman; laughing at yourself like that. lol!~!

>119 LyzzyBee::
And yes Liz, Persephone do count. I thought Flush quite good. I love Woolf so very much. You are cracking me up to just as you did Karen; Woolfing down! hee hee

>120 kaggsy::
Karen, that is another Rebecca West I need to read. I love her shorts. She is like Dannon yogurt.........."so good"! And crack the whip! Tell those youngsters that Mama needs a day off. ;-)

>121 BeyondEdenRock::
I have the Nicola Beauman but have yet to read it Jane. I am looking forward to the day I do however. I'm glad you are enjoying Cullum. Looking forward to your comments on it.

>122 LyzzyBee::
Liz, aside from Ethan Frome, which I read in 5th grade some 50 years ago, Roman Fever was my first Wharton & I loved every story in it. In fact, were I to join in one of the 'reread' months, that is probably one of the first ones I would choose. I also loved her Old New York which is her book of shorts drawn on the upper class of New York City throughout the 1840s, 50s, 60s & 70s. Love me some Wharton!

You all are choosing some really good Virago & Persephone this month. I wish that I had the time to just read all of the same books you ALL are reading!

Aug 3, 2013, 6:31pm

OK this is a good time for me to tackle at least one of my growing VMCs so I think I'll read Two Days in Aragon by M.J. Farrell:)

Aug 3, 2013, 10:02pm

I've finished Indifferent Heroes, which was very good, and now I'm trying to decide between Love in Winter, The Lost Traveller, and Molly Keane's Conversation Piece.

Aug 3, 2013, 10:06pm

Yesterday, finished The Happy Foreigner (4****) and I've gotten just a little way into Lady Audley's Secret on Kindle. I'm still listing The Happy Foreigner as "currently reading" until I get some kind of review written, though, because I've made the additional resolution to post a review of all my AV/AAs.

Aug 3, 2013, 10:37pm

On my way to bed with Indifferent Heroes which I am about two-thirds of the way through. I am loving these books!

Aug 4, 2013, 1:25am

I just completed Good Daughters and was not disappointed at all. The images of Alice going nose to nose with God in that last sequence will probably be running through my head for a few hours or perhaps longer.
I liked most of the characters and the ones I didn't, I thought needed to be the way they were for the story-line to work out the way it did. I am looking forward to beginning Indifferent Heroes when I head to bed shortly.

Aug 4, 2013, 4:10am

I've just finished Anderby Wold by Winifred Hotlby. I think South Riding is still my favourite of her books but this was an interesting look at a Yorkshire farming community changing due to the unionisation of farm workers.

Not sure what to read next: deciding between Someone at a Distance, The Return of the Soldier, Some Everyday Folk and Dawn and The New House.

Aug 4, 2013, 4:48am

The New House I say!

Just finished Roman Fever and now on to The Custom of the Country. Roman Fever and Flush reviews coming on Tuesday. Thanks Heather for the first three in my AV/AA reads - and Ali for the Elizabeth Taylor short stories soon to be started!

Aug 4, 2013, 5:09am

#132 The New House or someone at a distance both mavellous.

Aug 4, 2013, 5:59am

Finished the 3rd story in the Rebecca West last night, The Salt of the Earth, and it was a cracker! This book is turning out to be a real revelation!

Aug 4, 2013, 6:24am

#133 You're welcome!

#133 & 134 I've started Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple (my first Whipple) but will definitely read The New House this month.

Aug 4, 2013, 7:24am

135: That's another book coming off the Virago bookcase and onto the 'must read soon' pile.

Aug 4, 2013, 7:43am

137: :) - I'm *really* liking it!

Edited: Aug 4, 2013, 8:03am

You are all tempting me towards Rebecca West - I have The Judge on my kindle which I have been wondering about reading?

Aug 4, 2013, 9:11am

Ali - someone on this site HATED The Judge. Can't remember who but just giving you a heads up. I haven't read it.

I sat up till almost 1 last night trying to finish Indifferent Heroes but in the end fell asleep. I will finish that today and possibly start the third. What a joy to find books I can 'live' in after an almost non-reading July.

Aug 4, 2013, 4:09pm

Isn't this Mary Hocking trio marvy? I am loving them and am just now half-way in to Indifferent Heroes.

>135 kaggsy::
Karen, are The Salt of the Earth and The Harsh Voice one and the same?

Aug 4, 2013, 4:15pm

The Harsh Voice is the title of the volume which contains 4 long short stories - these are Life Sentence, There is No Conversation, The Salt of the Earth and The Abiding Vision. I've just started the last one....

Edited: Aug 4, 2013, 7:12pm

I finished Cullum this afternoon, and I found much to admire. The writing, the characterisation, a strong direction and a distinctive heroine kept me turning the pages. But when Esther, that heroine, said it was more important to be respected than to be loved, I realised that I felt the same way about the book.

There were signs of the failings that others have noticed in the same author's Four Frightened People, but I don't think the flaws in Cullum are fatal, and I'd say this it's definitely worthy of its green jacket.

Aug 5, 2013, 4:01am

Finished The Harsh Voice and review to follow.

The Solitary Summer is a bit of a contrast, but ideal for reading at this time of year!

Aug 5, 2013, 5:04am

Really loving The Custom of the Country - hard to put it down after breakfast was finished, and, you know, work for my living and all that ... !!

Aug 5, 2013, 8:04am

Am 70 pages into Welcome Strangers. Loving it so far. Does anyone else think Adrien Brody for Jacov and does anyone else hate Louise as much as I do?

Aug 5, 2013, 10:20am

my review of good daughters in on my blog now - no spoilers

(I had nightmares with the post as no internet for a while meant I was writing in on a 8 inch tablet on a data signal - and the post kept getting messed up - oh the horrors of no wifi broadband - all back online though a tad slow - and post edited accordingly : ) )

oh well - back to my re-reading of Emma which I have been reminded I can claim for AV/AA

Aug 5, 2013, 10:27am

Louise does "have needs."

Aug 5, 2013, 12:00pm

I have found Louise to be a rather one dimensional & flat character but have continued (half-way through Indifferent Heroes) to hope I would find some growth there.

Edited: Aug 5, 2013, 1:40pm

Still reading my Whipple but started Love's Shadow by Ada Leverson today as my train read (it's part of The Little Ottleys). Not quite what I expected but I'm finding it quite funny so far.

Edited: Aug 5, 2013, 2:02pm

Hi everyone! I gave a shout-out on the Virago Modern Classics Readers facebook page about All Virago/All August reading celebration. I also just posted Ali's review of Gissing's The Odd Women. I'll be happy to post any & all of your reviews on the page if you wish. Just send a message (& the link to your review) either here or on FB. Happy August!!

Edited: Aug 5, 2013, 3:09pm


Nope on Louise, I think.

I wish Angus had been hit by a bus in one of those peasoup fogs.

Aug 5, 2013, 4:38pm

I've been weeding and mulching and doing yard stuff because it is not raining here for a change. 6 weeks of torrential rain with the occasional day like today which is bright and dry. However I hope to get back to Welcome Strangers this evening.

I did try to read Nightingale Wood in between the second and third book but abandoned it after one chapter because I couldn't wait to see what happened to the Fairleys.

Edited: Aug 5, 2013, 6:24pm

^ I had the same experience with Love in Winter. I was toying with the idea of making this month an AV/AA/All Trilogies, but that probably won't happen.

Aug 6, 2013, 4:12am

Finished The Solitary Summer last night and loved it - ideal for the summer and full of von Arnim's beautiful writing, but her underlying edge is still there - wonderful!

Aug 6, 2013, 6:09am

I started The Ghostly Lover by Elizabeth Hardwick last week and whilst I initially liked the way its slow, languid style put you right in the moment, it is now proving just too slow moving for my mood right now.

The combination of the death of my cousin on Sunday and yet more changes at work have left me capable of reading crime fiction only. I hope to return to something more literary and possibly Virago before too long!

Aug 6, 2013, 7:05am

So sorry to hear of your loss Dee - crime fiction is often oddly soothing in situations of stress. Sending you love and positive thoughts.

Aug 6, 2013, 7:07am

Sorry you are having such a tough time Dee. sending my condolences to you and your family.

Aug 6, 2013, 8:43am

#156 So sorry to hear that Dee. I'm another person who turns to crime fiction when life gets tough - it's surprising how comforting it is. Thinking of you and your family.

Aug 6, 2013, 8:47am

Sending my condolences and good wishes to you Dee. I hope things start to look up soon.

Aug 6, 2013, 10:07am

Yes Dee. We all go back to our comfort reads in times of stress. And crime fiction always resolves itself with the bad guy paying, which makes it doubly comforting.

Edited: Aug 26, 2013, 11:25pm

>156 Soupdragon::
I am so sorry for your loss Soup. Barbara is right about "our comforts reads in times of stress". They do seem to help remove one from the situation a bit. Please know that you are in my thoughts & prayers.

>148 Liz1564: & 152: :-( I am glad that Louise is returning to London but wondering how wise it is to take the children. But she does need to get away from those 'boys'.

>151 bleuroses::
I saw that Cate and thought "Good on you!" I was inspired. I thought Ali's review quite good. Need to read The Odd Women.

It is lovely to see our month of Virago so well attended & even though there are quite of few of us reading the Hocking trilogy, there is still a diverse group of Virago being read.

>154 Leseratte2::
Sorry that your goal of trilogies may not work out for you Andrew. What a neat idea & goal though. I may steal it later in the winter. :-)

Good reads all!

Edited: Aug 6, 2013, 2:00pm

Well, for diverse Virago reading, Belva, I've just finished Lady Audley's Secret (3*** maybe? but I wasn't really impressed, an awful lot of purple prose, and too much "happily ever after" to wrap it all up, but it was quick and entertaining and Victorian to boot). I do have Aurora Floyd to have a try at a little later in the month.

Next, though, I'm on to A Woman of Independent Means. I was looking for something epistolary for Reading Through Time's August 2013 Theme read and was going to do The Brontes: A Life in Letters but instead I'll be combining Virago with epistolary thanks to Liz1564's suggestion.

Speaking of M.E. Braddon, I was in my favorite used bookstore, The Title Page, last week and saw Sensational Victorian: The Life & Fiction of Mary Elizabeth Braddon (touchstone not working) in the literary biographies (an easy find for me, since it's right before Brontë alphabetically), clean text hardcover with decent dust jacket but a good deal of ex-library marking @ $7.50, so I went home to see if I could get a nicer copy on Abe and look at what I found! Ermm, naturally I scooted back to The Title Page, but I played straight with Beverly and told her to check Abe first. She still insisted on giving it to me for $7.50 (and told me it would be a lesson to her for the future on pricing).

I've mentioned this before, that those of you in the Philadelphia area ought to check out The Title Page, which has everything from $7.50 ex-libraries up to five-digit rare sets. A year or two ago, I came up with a beautiful hardcover set (Kensington Illustrated, 1901-1902) of the complete works of Thackeray, and it wasn't missing a single volume. And that's just one example.

ETA: Oops, forgot to mention. The Thackeray set was just $75.

Aug 6, 2013, 3:33pm

Terribly sorry to hear of the passing of your cousin, Dee. Condolences and blessings to you and your families. xxx

Aug 6, 2013, 4:38pm

Aren't you good Mike and well done Beverly for honoring the deal. It's the way we all should behave in that situation.

I finished Welcome Strangers which I liked enormously although my favorite is Indifferent Heroes. What a joy from start to finish and 5* to all three.

Onto The Old Man and Me by Elaine Dundy which will either be a hoot or really horrible. Can't tell yet. After that I am thinking of The Last of Summer by Kate O'Brien which looks right up my alley, being a love story set in the last days of peace in 1939.

Aug 6, 2013, 4:52pm

Dee - so sorry to hear of your loss and my thoughts are with you and your family.

I've reviewed my first two books. I feel like I've gone on a go-slow now but actually I'm just enjoying The Custom of the Country as well as my non-Virago on-going read (Dance to the Music of Time: Spring.

Aug 7, 2013, 10:28am

I finished and enjoyed The lying days, though perhaps it suffered slightly from being read straight after Nervous conditions, whose narrator had genuine obstacles to overcome as she grew up; Helen by comparison seemed a bit of a whiner with first-world grievances at times. It also dragged a bit in places, and sometimes the prose became bogged down in its own weight. The best scenes were those with Helen's parents at the Mine, and among the university students and the liberal crowd of friends she falls in with. It was compelling when showing the great divides in South Africa at that time, and I can imagine it being quite shocking to the rest of the world when it was published.

Unfortunately I've had to put aside The people with the dogs for a bit. I spent all last night reading it and am half way through, but am finding it to be very boring. The characters are a big family and most of the book is told in their dialogue, which is rather like listening to a group of people who all know each other very well and who are making in-jokes and references to things and people that you don't know, in frequent non-sequiters. Everyone is concerned with trivialities and rambles on and on. Ironically, The lying days could have used more dialogue; this book needed less. Letty Fox, which I read last year, was the same, but Letty herself was such an engaging narrator that it was entertaining and amusing to read - I loved it. Sadly, I can't say the same about this. I will keep the book and try to go back to it when I'm more in the mood for that sort of thing. For now I think I need something with a bit more plot and more interesting characters.

Aug 7, 2013, 11:48am

Well, this year I am finding that vacation in Cape Cod with seven grandchildren has been busier than it has been in the past. We are having too much fun. I am slowly making my way through The Custom of the Country, but I keep falling asleep once I get into bed. I am loving the book though, and hope to finish it by tomorrow night. I have lined up The Rising Tide and Full House by Molly Keane (green covers that I borrowed from my daughter's shelf). I have several others on my kindle, but the way things are going, my hopes of reading everything I had planned are slowly disappearing.

Edited: Aug 7, 2013, 1:02pm

>163 CurrerBell::
I agree Mike. Great diversity there. And great scores on the Braddon and the Thackery as well! I love your story of the Braddon. You really get around those lovely bookshops don't you guy? And shame on me. When I read Lady Audley's Secret I neglected to rate & review it. I remember the storyline & that I did like it but I think I read it before I learned about our Virago group here.

>165 romain::
WOW! Five stars to all three of the Mary Hocking Good Daughters trilogy Barbara. That speaks volumes. I am loving them but I have only completed the first one and am half way through the second. I rated Good Daughters five stars as well (how novel for you & I; **wink**), and am really enjoying Indifferent Heroes also. I just need more reading time.
I don't have The Old Man and Me but I do have The Last of Summer and I've not read an O'Brien that I wasn't crazy about & I love reading this time period.
I am getting so many recks off this thread. Loving it!~!

>166 LyzzyBee::
Really nice reviews Liz. And hearing (seeing) you speak so of A Dance to the Music of Time by Powell has caused me to list all four of these to purchase for my Thingaversary on the 30th. I know I won't have any trouble coming up with two more. :-)

>167 kaggsy::
Not ramblings at all Karen. I certainly enjoy reading your reviews.
Well done. What is up next for you?

>168 Sakerfalcon::
Claire, I went back to when I read The Lying Days and these were my comments:

"Just a couple of comments as juliette07 has reviewed this one so very beautifully and taken many words from my mouth.

The Lying Days is an absolutely wonderful book with great writing, a great story-line.....I loved it. But then with the rex I had, I knew I would. It is about South Africa and I am crazy for books on Africa. I loved the way Gordimer wove her characters with light & dark colors as they should be and I liked the way that she rushed no part of the story, not even the end. I gave this one 4 1/2 stars."

So a little diversity there but that is good. But strangely enough Nervous Conditions should be arriving from Amazon any day now. I am excited to have that one to read. And I hear a lot of talk regarding Stead that agrees with exactly what you shared with us. I have quite a few of hers so I am hoping that I will see her writing differently. One never knows.

>169 NanaCC::
What a perfect vacation Colleen! I can think of nothing I would enjoy more than a summer month on Cape Cod with my grandchildren and like you, I am sure that I would tumble into bed nightly exhausted from playing with the kids all day. What lovely memories you are creating with them. The books will still be there for you when you get to them but those children grow up so very fast.

My reading is going slowly this month as well. I have read a book and a half and here it is the 7th already. But family and R/L does come first and we have been renovating, painting, laying flooring, building outbuildings & moving my son into his new (to him but a fixer upper) house. Then to top it off he woke up Friday morning and his knee was so swollen that he went in and had it X-rayed and he has a broken bone and a bone chip in there. So they referred him to the Orthopedic surgeon. I imagine they will schedule an MRI and go from there. At anyway he is supposed to stay off it, can't work so I have been making the 80 mile round trip daily to try to help him get his house set up as no furnishings were where they were wanted and the beds needed to be set up. The kitchen needs to be set up, his office ...... boxes all over the place... you can imagine. So he is the prince with his leg elevated and telling mom where he wants everything to go. I am just so thankful that I am able to help him and dad goes most of the time as well. It sure takes a long time to get it all done.
I will be thankful if I get 4 - 7 books read this month. But if his knee turns out good, life will be good again. No matter how old your child becomes, he is 47, a mother continues to worry. ♥

I hope you all are enjoying your summer days of August.

Aug 7, 2013, 12:32pm

170: Well, I just finished Elizabeth von Arnim's The Solitary Summer which I loved but have yet to review. Currently reading a Virago author (Olivia Manning) but not a Virago book - The Spoilt City.

Aug 7, 2013, 12:40pm

I finished Emma this afternoon but can't face tring to write a review until at least tomorrow. I really enjoyed it though. I am now going to start Breakfast with the Nikolides by Rumer Godden I enjoy her books but there are a lot I haven't read.

Edited: Aug 7, 2013, 12:54pm

Good morning Karen. I loved The Solitary Summer. So glad you loved it as well. There is something special about von Arnim's writing. She never fails to delight me.
I am going to attempt at least one of the Balkan Trilogy books this winter. So I look forward to your comments on The Spoilt City

Hi Ali. Emma never gets old does she.?. And I am not familiar with Breakfast with the Nikolides and there are no reviews so I will be looking forward to your comments on this one. Rumer Godden was such a prolific writer. I hope you enjoy it.

Edited: Aug 7, 2013, 12:47pm

Am off to the UK this evening so I plan to read Atwood's Dancing Girls on the plane and also listen to Persuasion. Every time I fly I listen to Persuasion, one of the incentives of putting up with the flight.

I would give the Hocking trilogy 5, 5, 4. I subtract one star from Welcome Strangers because I found Angus and his subplot tedious after a while. Why he couldn't just go and not involve his friends...... I was much more interested in all of the other characters than I was in his deluded choices.

Oh, the V's and P's so far for Aug:

Welcome Stranger****
Minnie's Room-**** poignant, it wasn't just the upper classes that had to cope with change after the two wars
High Rising **** a hoot!

Edited: Aug 7, 2013, 12:58pm

Nice going Elaine. Dancing Girls just arrived from PBS yesterday. I do hope you enjoy it.
Please travel safely. I am sure we will all be thinking of you with your shopping in the charity shops & at Oxfam & with your lovely meet-ups. Enjoy your trip & return to us safe & sound.

Edited: Aug 7, 2013, 3:17pm

Yes Elaine - have a great trip and think of us!

I am about halfway through The Old Man and Me which is proving an easy read. Very shocking when it was published and not well received and I can see why. The plot is as follows: Young dolly bird heroine c.1963 loses her inheritance to a relative by marriage who lives in London. He is old and very fat and dolly bird travels to London to murder him but ends up instead having a torrid affair with him. Of course 'fat and old' in 1963 meant aged 40 and 20 pounds overweight but I still find myself thinking of Richard Griffiths and Patsy Kensit in Blame it on the Bellboy :)

So far, even for someone who is herself old and fat, I am finding it very amusing but I'll withhold judgement in case something really horrid happens before the end.

Aug 8, 2013, 1:32am

#172 I had a real struggle reviewing Emma for some reason - what more can one say, I kept thinking. Yet I'll happily review other classics. Hm. Look forward to reading it, anyway.

Me, I've finished The Custom of the Country - oh, what a good read. SUCH a page-turner as well as a clever psychological study. I'm about to review it in my paper journal at least. Then it's finally starting the Elizabeth Taylor short stories and probably William An Englishman as I have a biog of Cicely Hamilton (Women's Press - that counts, right) coming up later in the month. I have a bit of Dance to the Music of Time to do this morning to keep up, though! #170 look forward to you reading them - we are doing one season every couple of months so you'll be able to join in with us later on probably, if you'd like to!

Edited: Aug 8, 2013, 1:51am

Every time I fly I listen to Persuasion, one of the incentives of putting up with the flight.

Every time *I* fly, I re-read Sense And Sensibility! :D

What is it about Austen??

Aug 8, 2013, 5:11am

173: Good morning Belva! So glad you like von Arnim too - I'm really growing to love her work and will be looking out for more on my trip to Leicester to visit Middle Child - they have a wonderful charity bookshop!

I am enjoying The Spoilt City very much so far, surprising myself a little - oddly enough, I am fondest of the dreadful Yakimov and find myself in a state of terror in case something awful happens to him!

Aren't we all doing well with Viragos this month?

Aug 8, 2013, 9:14am

Finished The Old Man and Me last night and it was a good 3* if only because it made me laugh and was entertaining. I am on a staycation at the moment. 31 days off school, and no money so nothing to do but read. I begin The Last of Summer today which I realize is only my third O'Brien despite her being one of my favorite authors.

Lyz - I am so pleased you loved Custom of the Country. Wharton almost never disappoints (except the dreadful bummer Ethan Frome) and this is one of her absolute best.

Karen - The Balkan Trilogy is one of my top ten books of all time. I also was both furious with and in love with Yakimov and I also worried about him. I presume you read the first book in the trilogy? I hated Guy from the first chapter and continued to hate him all through the Levant Trilogy. The Virago Mannings are not very good I'm afraid.

Belva - I am loving AV/AA because I get to work on my TBR pile which is huge. I am not sure why I decided on the O'Brien. I am wandering my bookcases picking things up and putting them down and the back cover attracted me but I had no plans to read it at all. That's the beauty of AV/AA for me.

Aug 8, 2013, 9:31am

180 - I'm glad I'm not the only one worried about poor Yaki, Barbara! Yes, I read the first book and loathed Guy also. I was frustrated by Harriet a bit but she's growing on me in the second book. But Manning's scene setting and descriptions compensate for the short-fall with the main couple, and the rest of the characters are wonderful!

Aug 9, 2013, 4:36am

Finished up A Woman of Independent Means (4****), which also serves as an epistolary novel for another group.

Currently doing The Odd Women on Kindle (I've never read anything by Gissing, not even New Grub Street). So far The Odd Women seems like it could be interesting, but Gissing's writing may be just a little too didactic. ("Show, don't tell.")

After The Odd Women I think I'm going to do either Adam's Breed (only Radclyffe Hall I've ever read is The Well of Loneliness, and I do need to do a re-read sometime) or else Aurora Floyd to follow up on my AV/AA reading of Lady Audley's Secret.

Aug 9, 2013, 6:10am

I'm about to get back on the Virago waggon with A particular place.

Aug 9, 2013, 9:48am

Well my dears - finished The Last of Summer in bed this morning and it was an absolute gem. All the elements I love in a book - romance, Second World War, hot summer weather. Another 5* read especially because it builds and builds to a nail biting ending. Will she, won't she etc. I had no idea when starting this book but it has the second nastiest mother-in-law in the VMC catalogue. The top prize still has to go to the monster in law in Her Son's Wife, but at least she and the daughter in law in that book were evenly matched. This horror is much subtler, but OMG is she lethal.

Can't reveal the end without spoiling the book but I was very satisfied with the way things turned out and would be happy to discuss it privately if anyone else here has read the book.

The problem is that I now have no clue what else to read. In fact I feel somewhat depressed because I have had such a run of good books. I had put aside a Nina Bawden but now am not feeling it.

Aug 9, 2013, 11:38am

> 180, 181: Count me in as another Guy-hater. I've been putting off finishing The Balkan Trilogy because I find him so infuriating.

Welcome Strangers is going a bit slowly. Two characters I don't like have moved to the foreground when I really wish they'd just go away. Or at least shut up.

Aug 9, 2013, 12:04pm

I'm having a sudden spontaneous trip to London tomorrow to see my best friend and attend the book launch of one of my favourite clients, so I've downloaded the Kindle version of the Elizabeth Taylor short stories so I can wallow in them on the coach there and back. Hooray! I'm allowed not to read the ones I recently read in The Blush, though, aren't I ...

Aug 9, 2013, 2:00pm

185: I'm actually reconciled to not liking Guy - I'm now over halfway through book two and liking and understanding Harriet more and fascinated by the shenanigans of Yakimov - the books are turning out to be worth reading just for him. I think Guy will always be insufferable, but I'm happy to accept that and ignore him....!

Aug 9, 2013, 2:03pm

186: Have a lovely trip Liz - enjoy reading Taylor! I can read on trains, not coaches, so I envy you. Luckily I have come to visit Middle Child on a train!!

Aug 9, 2013, 4:11pm

I go away tomorrow to Devon for a week and I'm taking my kindle with me - which is stocked with plenty to read. I have just finished Breakfast with the Nikolides review to come in a few days (I have three blog posts scheduled to post while I am away). I really enjoyed it.

Aug 9, 2013, 5:02pm

Have a lovely break Ali - and make sure you read plenty! ;)

Edited: Aug 10, 2013, 1:53pm

Ali, enjoy your time & your Kindle. Breakfast with the Nikolides has been slapped on my wish list. In fact last night I included it with the others that I ordered as my self-gifts for my Thingaversary on August 30th. I ordered all Virago. :-)

Will check in the the rest of you in the A.M.

Edited: Aug 10, 2013, 2:52pm

>176 romain::
Hey Barbara; enjoyed your comments on The Old Man and Me so much that I ordered it as one of my 'self-gifts' for my 'Thingaversary on August 30th. Thanx for the rex!

>177 LyzzyBee::
I know just what you mean Liz. What has not been said of Emma. That being said, I find something new to me within the pages each time I read her.
Nice to hear your comments on The Custom of the Country. The first time I read it, I read it as "pathological study" and had to do a re-read. lol!~!
Oh, oh, oh; I shocked myself when I clicked on Dance to the Music of Time only to find that I have the First Movement, Spring. Cariola sent it on to me & I had forgotten. I will probably put that one into my September reading. Is there a particular thread on L.T. where discussion is being held on these tomes?

>178 lyzard::
lyzard; (and Elaine as well); I quite like the idea of having one particular book that one reads when traveling. I may adopt that tradition though I don't really fly often.
And what is it about Austen? I think it is simply her writing that draws us to her & which soothes the savage breast.

>179 kaggsy::
Karen; Would that we had 'wonderful charity bookshops' here in the Western portion of the U.S. :-(
And I think that everyone is doing a marvelous job with their Virago this month. Tickles me plumb green. ;-) I am so enjoying all of the comments and the wonderful turnout for the month.

>180 romain::
Barbara, glad to hear that August is helping you to get your TBR pile kicked down a bit. That is always such a good feeling.

>182 CurrerBell::
Hi Mike. I really need to read The Odd Women, Adam's Breed & Aurora Floyd. I know I have read Lady Audley's Secret but I need to go back, refresh my memory or do a re-read so that I can rate & review it, which I neglected to do at the time.

>183 Sakerfalcon::
Claire, I have been meaning to get to A Particular Place and this might be a good month to do it as I am reading the Hocking Good Daughters trilogy.

>184 romain::
You are cracking me up Barbara: 'Monster-in-law' indeed! Growing up, my three called the step-mother their 'step-monster' at ages even of 2 & 5, imagine. I wouldn't have wanted to be her. But then locking them out in the dead of Colorado winter snow at ages 12 & 9 & holding my daughter in the kitchen at knife point when she was 16; perhaps it was an apt title.
So glad you enjoyed The Last of Summer. Can you believe there are no reviews of that one.....hint, hint.......

>185 Leseratte2::
Andrew, so sorry to hear that Welcome Strangers is dragging a bit for you. I am nearly done with Indifferent Heroes and have loved it but am very concerned now for our Guy as he seems to feel rather indifferent as to whether he lives or dies in this war or as to what happens to him. I find myself praying for Ben.

>186 LyzzyBee::
Enjoy your holiday and of course you are allowed not to read the ones you recently read in The Blush. Enjoy your E.T. shorts.

Well, it is our town Jubilee this weekend and I am attempting to lay low. Just call me Brer Rabbit. But somehow I have been given the job of babysitting the youngest grandchild. However I should find some reading time.

Edited: Aug 10, 2013, 2:30pm

Belva - it only drags a bit when these particular characters turn up because I think they're a drag. But if they weren't well-written characters, they wouldn't be annoying me. ; )

Edited: Aug 27, 2013, 4:20am

So true Andrew. I am finding all of the characters in this series to be very well developed.

So I have a new reading plan for the remainder of August:
The Mary Hocking Good Daughters Trilogy
Good Daughters: (5 *)
Indifferent Heroes: (4 1/2*)
Welcome Strangers: (2 1/2 *)

The Other Woman by Colette; (4*)
The Orchid House by Phyllis Shand Allfrey; (4 1/2*)
The Lifted Veil by George Eliot; VMC; (4 1/2*)
High Rising by Angela Thirkell; VMC; (4 1/2*)
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman; VMC; (5*)
The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant; Virago fiction; (2*)
The Very Dead of Winter by Mary Hocking; Virago fiction; (4*)
The Newspaper of Claremont Street by Elizabeth Jolley; VMC; (3*)
The Aloe by Katherine Mansfield; VMC; currently reading
Crampton Hodnet by Barbara Pym; TBR

The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant; also a Virago although I don't believe it is a VMC;

And for The Barbara Pym Centenary:
Crampton Hodnet
(I have swapped August's A Few Green Leaves with September's read so as to keep my Pym within the Virago group)

Aug 10, 2013, 5:10pm

I had a lovely wallow in the E.T. short stories on my coach trips - just the thing for travelling with! Oh ,and I found a print copy of the Virago at 40 book at Any Amount of Books!

Edited: Aug 10, 2013, 10:16pm

I'm envious, Belva. I wish I had that much time to devote to reading. But no, I have to spend most of my time coddling allegedly educated adults (aka "supervisors") who seem to have no more sense than God gave a screw-driver. {insert eye-roll emoticon here}

However, I hope to manage another volume of another trilogy before September. We'll see.

Edited: Aug 10, 2013, 11:00pm

>195 LyzzyBee::
Liz, I am so glad you enjoyed your E.T. shorts. Enjoy your holiday.

>196 Leseratte2::
Andrew, I DON'T have time to devote to reading. I have only been able to read two books this month; the first two of the Mary Hocking series. But I am taking my sleep at about 4 hours a night in order to get any reading time in. It seems that family life has turned my reading world upside down & so I deal with it in the only way I know. I am a bear if I don't get some reading in each day so I read when I go to bed and generally don't get to sleep until the middle of the night. But it works somewhat for me.
I will begin Welcome Strangers when I go to bed tonight as I just finished Indifferent Heroes. A 4 1/2 star read for me.
And here, I have this knife with which to poke you in the eye! Silly supervisors. ;-)

Aug 10, 2013, 11:04pm

Having completed book 1, Good Daughters (5 *), & now book 2, Indifferent Heroes (4 1/2*), of the Mary Hocking war-time trilogy tonight I will begin book 3, Welcome Strangers and hope to love it as much as I have the 1st two.

You are all doing so well with your reads & need to be commended for your devotion to our lovely greens. I only hope that by the time I am done with mine there will be someone waiting for them with open arms to read & love them as much as I do.

Aug 11, 2013, 4:51am

192: Morning Belva! There is a Dance thread here:

This is the main thread and there are separate ones for each of the books linked from there. Well worth following!

Aug 11, 2013, 8:02am

I am a quarter way through The Loved and Envied by Edith Bagnold. No one will remember this but I read The Happy Foreigner for AV/AA either last year or the year before and hated the lead character, who was a vain, shallow, man's woman who basically used her time as an WW1 ambulance driver to get her ego stroked. (Just my opinion of course :)) But I did want to read The Loved and the Envied because I have always been interested in Lady Diana Cooper and had read the Ziegler bio decades ago. Anyway, you will be pleased to know that I am really liking this book - so far.

Aug 11, 2013, 12:55pm

200> I just finished The Happy Foreigner a few days ago as my first AV/AA for this year and I gave it 4****. I can definitely see what you're saying about Fanny as a character, but I thought the conclusion was a more "take charge" attitude on her part toward life.

One reason I may have rated The Happy Foreigner so highly is that I haven't read that much WW1 fiction and the one noteworthy such that I've read in the past few years has been One of Ours -- and although Cather's a far greater writer, I think One of Ours is far less successful because of the switch in setting midway through the novel. By contrast, The Happy Foreigner had a more coherent and unified plot, so I was probably rating it high by contrast with One of Ours.

Incidentally, as far as I can notice, "Fanny" never has a last name. I assume the name is derived from F.A.N.Y. (first aid nursing yeomanry), and when I write my review I'll have to give some thought as to why Bagnold gave her main character a generic name of that sort.

Aug 11, 2013, 1:14pm

I read a Virago and I bought a Virago yesterday on my lovely trip to London - thought you might like to read all about it?

Aug 11, 2013, 3:13pm

A lovely day and a lovely find Liz - well done!

Aug 11, 2013, 4:19pm

Mike - I do not have total recall of the book but I do remember feeling that I had read a book about a woman for whom the war was just a back drop. I remember comparing it unfavorably to Not So Quiet which is another Virago about women drivers in WW1 - a book that everyone seemed to like and which actually addresses the horrors of war. This book - The Loved and Envied is much better and I am told that The Squire is excellent. Maybe next year for that.

Aug 11, 2013, 5:04pm

I'm finally on board for AA/AA (although it won't be - not even the last half)! I've loved reading about Liz's lovely day, and I'm embarking on The Curate's Wife (because Christina is also reading it for a TIOLI challenge) and my non-Virago copy of Good Daughters.
(And I disagreed with Barbara a bit about the protagonist in The Happy Foreigner, but then, I haven't gotten to Not So Quiet yet.

Aug 12, 2013, 8:57am

>202 LyzzyBee:: That sounds like a perfect day, Liz!

I finished A particular place and very much enjoyed it. It had an interesting cast of characters and I enjoyed following their interactions and relationships.

Next up is Mad Puppetstown.

Edited: Aug 12, 2013, 9:52am

I completed Welcome Strangers last night & enjoyed it though not as much as the first two of the trilogy. While all of the bits did need wrapping up I didn't quite like how Hocking did the wrapping up. Some parts of it were very good and some made me just want to get back to the other characters. IDK; could have just been my head at the moment.

On to The Orchid House by Phyllis Shand Allfrey. Plus last night I began Colette's The Other Woman which is a very odd collection of 'short stories' or simply a few pages each of rather bizarre little tales. So far I am finding it to be a strange little book.

Edited: Aug 13, 2013, 12:51pm

I finished The Three Sisters at the weekend and would happily recommend it to those who enjoy Hardy, the Brontes, and the like. It makes some interesting points about the position of women in the early 20th century, though they were somewhat overshadowed by the story, which kept rolling along.

And now I've moved on The Land of Green Ginger - another green book with a Yorkshire setting.

Aug 13, 2013, 11:25am

Hmmm, Jane. I really thought I had read The Three Sisters but when I go to the book page I've not rated it so that is another one to put on my TBR list. The reviews make it sound quite my kind of thing.
And your The Land of Green Ginger brings up the Noel Langley rather than the Winifred Holtby that I think you were aiming for.

I spent my odd moments yesterday reading the very short 'stories' of Colette in The Other Woman, & yes the touchstone is off for this one as well. I don't even know what one calls a 3 page short 'story'. They definitely are stories and they definitely make one think. I've not read Colette before although she was a prolific writer. I hope to change that for her little stories are quite unique, very interesting albeit rather odd. I enjoyed all of them but The Hand. That one rather creeped me out.
I have yet to read the novella at the back of the book. I will probably read that this afternoon if we get home from working on # 1 child's new (to him) house. He has needed way more help than he likes to ask as during the move he jumped out of the truck bed and fractured his knee and foot. Difficult to put a house together while on crutches. But we are enjoying our time with him. At any rate I am hoping to finish the Colette today or tonight.

And I am finding great joy in reading The Orchid House. I am about halfway through & quite loving it. I can't wait to get back to it.

Edited: Aug 13, 2013, 12:32pm

Belva, I do hope you sort things out for your son - sounds not what he needs while moving!

I adore Colette and have for years - I'd recommend Break of Day as one of her best. The Other Woman is not necessarily the best place to begin! And yes - The Hand is *very creepy!

Edited: Aug 13, 2013, 12:43pm

#209 Ooh, I have The Orchid House on the TBR pile - will try and make room for it later this month.

ETA: I also hope your son's new house gets sorted out.

Aug 13, 2013, 4:00pm

>209 rainpebble:: Colette is one of my favourite writers, and her short stories are some of the best I've read. I enjoyed The orchid house when I read it last year; the lush Caribbean setting really came alive to me.

I've just finished Mad Puppetstown, which was wonderful. It has many of the same themes and qualities as Keane's other books - a big house, undercurrents of the Anglo-Irish Troubles, a large family and their servants and of course, larger than life horses and dogs. So far, my favourite Av/AA book this year.

Aug 13, 2013, 5:50pm

I very much liked The Other Woman although I don't remember reading it in a book of short stories. I have to say that Cheri and The Last of Cheri are two of my faves of hers but I also loved Gigi.

I also loved The Orchid House which I think I read during the first ever AV/AA.

I expect to finish The Loved and Envied tonight. 40 pages to go.

Aug 14, 2013, 6:04am

My last AV/AA read was Breakfast with the Nikolides I haven,'t had chance to add review here but it is in my blog I really enjoyed it. Since then I have read 2 non AV/AA books. I have now just started The Judge by Rebecca West. Looking at reviews here on L T I see not everyone loved it, but it does rather appeal to me so I am giving it a go

Aug 14, 2013, 9:02am

I finished The Loved and the Envied last night in bed and it has restored my faith in Edith Bagnold. I really enjoyed it and looked forward to getting back to it, but at the end of the day the characters will not stick with me. The theme of the book - women growing old and losing their looks - was, however, very interesting. The lead character is a famous 'great beauty', still very attractive in her early 50s and surrounded by less appealing women (including her own daughter) who would swap all they have to be as beautiful.

I thought Bagnold did a very good job showing how easy life is for beautiful women but also how hard. The lead character is not only beautiful but kind and caring. The book is (as it says in the introduction) a 'tribute' to her friend Lady Diana Cooper rather than an accurate portrayal but she makes a good case for how difficult it becomes over time to be valued only for your face, especially when that face is getting older by the day.

Aug 14, 2013, 12:58pm

I've taken a short break to read A few green leaves. I don't think it will take me long, and next up is Trooper to the southern cross.

Aug 14, 2013, 8:58pm

Oooooh Claire are you in for a treat! One of my favorite Viragos.

I think I am going to read The Children by Edith Wharton next.

Thanks to Belva for this month. I am having a ball this year. I thought I had exhausted all the Viragos I wanted to read but this year I am finding one gem after another.

Aug 15, 2013, 1:55am

I finished my Elizabeth Taylor short stories last night (in the print version: I only read the Kindle version the day I was out in London) and I'm enjoying the Virago book of women gardeners although it's quite a lot of gardening in one go, so I have to have a break from it now and then (but I know why certain flowers won't grow in my garden now!). I'm also on the second "season" volume of Dance to the Music of Time as Mr LB is so very keen on continuing it in his audio book! But that's a background read in time with him, so I should be able to start another Virago later today!

No time for reviews as we have handymen in so I have to have a big work day today but they will come ...

Aug 15, 2013, 3:48am

Woo hoo. Have I ever been a busy little fellow. Running total of eight so far this month:

Rebecca West, The Return of the Soldier (Kindle) 4****
Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca (Int'l Collectors Library) 4½****
George Eliot, Brother Jacob (Kindle) 4****
George Eliot, The Lifted Veil (Kindle) 3***
George Gissing, The Odd Women (Kindle) 2½**
Elizabeth Forsyth Hailey, A Woman of Independent Means (Virago) 4½****
Enid Bagnold, The Happy Foreigner (Virago) 4****
Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley's Secret (Kindle) 2½** — but I do think I've got a Virago of Lady Audley's Secret somewhere around the house.

In fairness, some of these – The Return of the Soldier, Brother Jacob, and The Lifted Veil – are pretty short, more like novella length, and I'm surprised they even got published as single-volume Viragos.

Next up, I think I'll do The House of Mirth on Kindle (one of these days I'm going to get the complete four volumes of Edith Wharton in the Library of America) – and simultaneously, since we're counting Persephone, I'm going to browse A Very Great Profession in grey-cover. I do want to get to Alas, Poor Lady in Persephone this month, and maybe do a re-read of The Brontës Went to Woolworths. And I definitely want to get to The Infernal World of Branwell Brontë before the month's out, but I've got to find my Virago (which I thought was on one of the shelves of my Brontë bookcase, but I seem to have taken it out, probably to read, and mislaid it for the moment).

A lot of my reading's been on Kindle, even when I have a treeware copy, since I can adjust the font to be easier on my eyes. For easy on the eyes, I've been tending to read two books at once, switching back and forth between a Kindle and a treeware.

Aug 15, 2013, 9:07am

I started The Children last night in bed and that is my 7th Virago this month although I cheated and started several days early because I wanted to read the Hockings so badly. Then I read the Hockings, zip zip zip, lying on the couch during a period of bad weather. I also read 50 pages of a Nina Bawden and then skipped to the final chapter. Does that count? I've picked some good books this year but the real kicker has been the HORRIBLE weather here in the NE. It has rained torrentially every day for 6 weeks and I had planned to spend that time in the garden.

Aug 15, 2013, 9:42am

I really enjoyed The children when I read it some years ago.

I've read the first chapter of Trooper and am really enjoying it so far. The narrative voice is very convincing.

Edited: Aug 15, 2013, 2:06pm

I'm about 34% (kindle) into The Judge and enjoying it so far, though it is wordy and not particularly easy though I really like the character of Ellen.

Aug 17, 2013, 10:25am

I am halfway through The Children by Edith Wharton but reading more slowly because the weather is wonderful and I am weeding all the crap that has reared its ugly head after 6 weeks of rain. This book reads like a grown up Enid Blyton. Definitely Wharton-lite, and probably intended as social satire, but so far I am not very impressed.

Edited: Aug 17, 2013, 11:58pm

And I have finally completed quite lovely The Orchid House, (4 1/2 stars). I enjoy Allfrey's writing. She takes her time building the situations & the characters & I like that. She writes very 'visibly' in that one can easily picture what & who they are reading about. Such a beautiful story about three sisters returning to visit home & family on the island of Dominica & I can certainly see why the constant comparison to Jean Rhys. I am so glad I chose this one to read this month.

Aug 17, 2013, 12:37pm

#223 I really enjoyed The children but I am not such an aficionado of Whrton as some of you - I gave it 5 stars which might have been one too many on reflection - but I did really enjoy it. Funnily enough I am thinking of starting The glimpses of the moon for my next AV/AA read.

Aug 17, 2013, 1:08pm

I finished Welcome Strangers last night and (despite a couple of characters I never could warm to) really, really liked it. I'm keeping the trilogy theme going with The Solitary Summer, which is turning out to be a fine antidote to Britain 1933-50.

Edited: Aug 17, 2013, 3:56pm

Ali - I haven't finished it yet and Claire (above) also enjoyed it a lot, so it may be just me. I've read The Glimpses of the Moon and really like that although it is also in her lighter style. I've read perhaps ten Whartons and the law of averages says there has got to be a couple I don't like. Plus I've had such a run of good luck with Viragos this month it's up against some stiff competition.

Belva - I loved The Orchid House for all the reasons you mentioned.

Edited: Aug 17, 2013, 6:52pm

Well I finished Rebecca West's The Judge earlier today I liked it review to come but it is certainly around a four star read I think. So I have started The Glimpses of the moon now.
So far then for AV/AA I have managed
Good Daughters by Mary Hocking
The Odd Women by George Gissing
Emma by Jane Austen
Breakfast with the Nikolides by Rumer Godden
The Judge by Rebecca West
A couple of non Virago reads too - and still 2 weeks to go! I do have a couple of non AV/AA books to read including A Few Green leaves but should fit a couple more Viragoes in too :-)

Edited: Aug 21, 2013, 1:46am

So far on the month I have read:
Good Daughters: (5 stars)
Indifferent Heroes: (4 1/2*)
Welcome Strangers: (2 1/2 *); all by Mary Hocking

The Other Woman by Colette; (3 1/2*)
The Orchid House by Phyllis Shand Allfrey; (4 1/2*)
The Lifted Veil by George Eliot; (4 1/2*)
High Rising by Angela Thirkell; (4 1/2*)

I am so amazed at the prolific reading that is going on this year for AV/AA!
You are all just kicking it!~!

Aug 18, 2013, 5:48am

226: Hope you enjoy The Solitary Summer - I *loved* it!

Aug 18, 2013, 8:25am

I just finished The Age of Innocence (Kindle). It's a disgrace that I've read so little of Edith Wharton in all these years. 4½****.

It would have been 5***** except for the final chapter. The conclusion to the penultimate chapter was extremely powerful. (In some ways, its understatement tilting into irony reminded me of the final line of Nella Larsen's Quicksand.) Then the final chapter came and it was a bit of a letdown.

I can understand why Wharton may have felt a need for that final chapter — to put a contemporary (1920) spin on her story — but I think that conclusion became too didactic. I'd have ended with the ambiguity of May's triumph, but then, I'm someone who likes Jamesian ambiguity.

I'm going to be continuing, a little at a time, on A Very Great Profession in Persephone gray. For a straight-through read, I think I'm going to start on Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, which I'd never heard of but just stumbled across a few days ago in Virago black at The Last Word, and it looks intriguing. (As a red-alert to Viragoites in the Philadelphia area, The Last Word has quite a nice bin of Viragos immediately to your left as you come in the door. You might want to get down there before I clean them out!)

Aug 18, 2013, 9:56am

I finished The Children in bed this morning and it did not get better for me. I felt it was neither fish nor fowl. The plot seemed engineered and predictable and the characters bordering on (as I already said) something out of Enid Blyton. The only thing about which there was any suspense for me was the ending and that was as it should be.

Aug 18, 2013, 10:36pm

>230 kaggsy:: The Solitary Summer is delightful, and I particularly loved EvA's description of the library at Nassenheide, with its central pillar stocked with her favorite books.

Aug 19, 2013, 2:23am

>233 Leseratte2: & 230:
Isn't that an amazing idea Andrew? Really quite brilliant! But then she was, wasn't she? I loved The Solitary Summer also Karen. In fact I don't believe that I have read a von Arnim that I didn't love. :-)

>232 romain::
That does not bode well for Wharton Barbara. I've not yet read this one but that just makes me saaaaad. And you don't care for Enid Blyton? Not only have I not read her but I do not have a single solitary book of hers. Appalling!~!
And I am so happy that we both loved The Orchid House and had the same take on it. :-) I am so glad that you are enjoying AV/AA this year Barbara. That just puts a big ole smile on my face.

>231 CurrerBell::
Mike, you are really ROCKing it this month! Someone or something lit a fire under your britches! Rock on, I say. ;-)
Loved The Age of Innocence, I've not read Quicksand but I have read her Passing and loved it. I've not read the other two though I do own them and have been wanting to read the Nicola Beauman forever. Must get around to it one day.

>228 Heaven-Ali::
Ali, you are really kicking it this month as well. I can't believe the reading that is going on here. You should all be so proud. Keep it up Ali; you are simply Heavenly!
I have Breakfast with the Nikolides coming on order and cannot wait for it to arrive. It simply sounds too good!

>221 Sakerfalcon::
I really enjoyed Trooper to the Southern Cross Claire but then I am a lover of Thirkell; what can I say? Glad you are enjoying it.

>218 LyzzyBee::
Liz, did I tell you that I have The First Movement of Dance to the Music of Time? And yesterday The Fourth Movement arrived. The other two should be here soon. I am looking forward to beginning although I see no way of catching up to the rest of you but that won't hinder my enjoyment of it if I find it good. And I am behind on my reviews as well so no worries. I am sure there are more of us in that same boat.

Good Reads All. I am so happy that you are enjoying this month of Virago.
And I appreciate all of your comments so much. So many rex coming off this thread!

Aug 19, 2013, 9:14am

Belva - don't forget that it is my 10th Wharton and that I have only disliked two and LOVED 8. And I did love Enid Blyton but only when I was 10. In fact I liked them so much I read the Adventure series out loud to my son when he was small. But this Wharton was just too good to be true when it came to the children. They all behaved like kids on hols from boarding school.

Interestingly Breakfast with the Nikolides is (IMHO which is, of course, totally subjective) just an average Godden so if you like that you will LOVE everything else she wrote.

Edited: Aug 19, 2013, 9:18am

>235 romain:: I like boarding school stories, so perhaps that is why I liked The children!

Just copying over the comments on my latest Virago reads:
I finished Trooper to the southern cross and really enjoyed it. Thirkell was very effective at channelling the voice of the Australian army doctor, and created a very interesting and well-rounded character in him. The introduction to the book was fascinating, talking as it did about the autobiographical inspiration for the novel and how much of it was based on events and people from Thirkell's life. I would not have liked to be on that ship!

Now I'm starting The Misses Mallett, my first by E. H. Young. I've only read the first chapter but I like it already.

Aug 19, 2013, 5:55pm

I am not loving The Glimpses of the Moon as much as I though, am a bit disappointed in it really, it seems a buit.... erm frivolous.

Aug 19, 2013, 8:54pm

I liked it a lot more than The Children Ali but it is, as I said, a bit Wharton-lite.

Aug 20, 2013, 4:00am

So far I've done (but not reviewed, some reviews may come today)

Virginia Woolf - Flush (Persephone)
Edith Wharton - Roman Fever (Virago Green)
Edith Wharton - The Custom of the Country (Virago Green)
Elizabeth Taylor - Complete Short Stories (new Virago / Kindle edition for some parts)
Jane McLoughlin - Up and Running: Women in Business (Virago Green non-fiction)
Willa Cather - Alexander's Bridge (Virago Green)
and I'm currently reading a Women's Press biography of Cicely Hamilton

Not bad!

Edited: Aug 21, 2013, 7:06am

I finished The Land of Green Ginger last week, and then I was distracted by library books and review books for a while.

My next VMC was The Willow Cabin by Pamela Frankau. I loved the writing, the plot and the characters, but the structure of the book seemed too heavy, set against the author's lightness of touch and a relatively simple storyline.

And then I picked up The Vet's Daughter by Barbara Comyns to read for the third time It is just as extraordinary as it ever was, and Barbara Comyns is definitely a star in the Virago galaxy!

That will be a difficult book to follow, but at the moment I'm leaning towards Rose Macaulay and Told by an Idiot.

Aug 20, 2013, 1:59pm

I think this is the most exciting AV/AA we've had! I've been posting reviews on the facebook VMCReaders page as I find them. Please let me know if you've written a review that want to share. VMCR has 238 'likes' and is growing! Come on over and have a look!

Aug 20, 2013, 4:02pm

The Facebook page is lovely Cate and if I was on FB I'd be on there all the time!!

Aug 20, 2013, 5:22pm

I'm not on FB anymore either Cate or I would look. I can't decide what to read next and am having a day off.

Aug 21, 2013, 1:52am

After completing High Rising which is so well written & extremely hilarious, I visited the opposite end of the emotional spectrum with The Yellow Wallpaper. This book is absolute perfection. Spare & to the point, I found it to be a very painful but important novelette. I rated them 4 1/2 & 5 stars respectively. Reviews to follow.

Aug 21, 2013, 3:53am

244> Which cover for The Yellow Wallpaper do you have, Belva? I don't have my own copy immediately available to scan it, and I'm not seeing an exact copy among the LT images, but this is one I'm snagging off Amazon and I think looks a good deal like mine:

With all respect to the old greenies, I really love this image. Positively creepy, the peeled away wallpaper with the face starting to show through.

Aug 21, 2013, 3:58am

245: I have both the one in the picture and the original green - picked up the one above in a library sale for about 30p which was nice. The above is a fatter book with lots of other stuff in it, whereas the original green, if I remember correctly, only has the title story in it. That is a creepy pic, tho!

Aug 21, 2013, 6:25am

Just wanted to comment that I am LOVING The Misses Mallett! Each woman is so interesting and well-drawn, and the supporting characters are lovely too. If all Young's books are this good then I have a lot of happy reading ahead!

Aug 21, 2013, 7:11am

#245 I have that copy - is on my enormous TBR : )

Aug 21, 2013, 8:26am

I have never read a bad E. H. Young, and I've read quite a few. Miss Mole is my favourite but that may be because it was my first.

Aug 21, 2013, 10:07am

I also am reading an E H Young. I was wandering my bookshelves last night and remembered that several people loved William so I started that in bed last night and am 50 pages in. My first by her although I own several. In fact I own 8!

Edited: Aug 22, 2013, 12:17pm

>245 CurrerBell::
Mike, my edition of The Yellow Wallpaper has the cover of a lady with part of her chest bared, the other part appears to be wrapped in fur of some sort & she has rather a Mona Lisa smile & long dark hair. It has a lovely Afterword by Elaine R. Hedges.
And BTW, I love that cover image you have posted. It suits so very well.

Edited: Aug 22, 2013, 4:59am

I'm reading a non-fiction book which is actually published by Virago. I always thought AV/AA was just for VMC's can but was just wondering - will I be able to claim Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the invention of The Great Gatsby by Sarah Churchwell?

Edited: Aug 22, 2013, 9:42am

Finished The Misses Mallett, which now takes the lead in "Best Virago Read this AV/AA" stakes. I was disappointed with Rose's decision at the end of the book, but this didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book overall. Both main and secondary characters were interesting, not least because of their flaws. The depiction of life in a small English town was very well done too. I look forward to reading more by Young - fortunately I have 3 others by her on my shelves.

Now I've gone back to The people with the dogs, because I am determined not to let it beat me! I'm finding the third and fourth sections to be more enjoyable than the first two, maybe because Edward's obnoxious family is less prominent.

Edited: Aug 23, 2013, 3:21pm

>252 Heaven-Ali::
Good morning Ali. Yes, your Virago published reads count. I am getting ready to begin a non-VMC but Virago published edition of Desert Flower by Waris Dirie and I will count is as a Virago read.

Edited: Aug 23, 2013, 3:20pm

Yesterday I read a non-VMC Virago fiction: The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant. It was good but not great. Today I will begin Desert Flower By Waris Dirie, a non-VMC but a Virago nonfiction. I have been looking forward to reading this series of books by Dirie for a while now.
I have also begun a Virago fiction, The Very Dead of Winter by Mary Hocking.

Aug 22, 2013, 9:00pm

Just in from the movies but before I left I finished William by E H Young. My first by her and it was a lovely book. A 4* read.

I recently pre-ordered two new Persephones for later in the year and one of them is The Squire by Enid Bagnold so I may as well read my Virago copy and that way I also read one of my Persephones.

Aug 23, 2013, 1:53am

How DID you get so clever our dear romain? Hmmmmmm?

Aug 23, 2013, 7:43am

Belva - I am on a roll. Ordinarily I pad AV/AA with outside reading but this year I have stuck to the VMCs. I am 100 pages into The Squire which is a very slim book printed with double spaced lines to make it look a lot fatter. I'll comment when I finish it.

Aug 23, 2013, 9:38am

I finished The people with the dogs. The second half was better than the first half, but I still found it hard to care about the characters or connect with the book. It's a realistic-feeling depiction of life in NY post-WWII, described through an accumulation of little details and fragments of conversation. I felt completely detached from the events and people, even from the dogs (apart from the whippet who has a brief part to play). I've given the book 3 stars, which is a bit generous considering how little pleasure I got from it, but I think the problem was me, rather than the author. I wanted to enjoy it as much as I did Letty Fox, which uses the same storytelling techniques, but Letty herself brings that book to life, whereas the characters in Dogs couldn't do the same. At least Letty has a goal and some determination, whereas Edward and his family seem to drift, with too much time and not enough to fill it. I do think, however, that this book is likely to linger in my mind for a while, and it is one I may find myself rereading in the future.

Aug 23, 2013, 3:24pm

I am totally enjoying The Very Dead of Winter and will probably finish it today or more likely this evening as we have our grandchildren & 1 great granddaughter here for the day. Good Times go better with Good Reads!~!

You are all doing so awesome this month. I don't think we have had an AV/AA this well attended & this well read since we began. I feel like a proud mama. ;-)

Aug 23, 2013, 4:15pm

Claire - I read The Little Hotel a decade or more ago and expected to love it. Group of people in a (I think) Swiss hotel. Sounded right up my alley. But although I finished it I also could not like anyone in the book or give a damn what happened to them. Carmen Callil recommends Cotters England as one of the best book written since 1950. But I think I'll pass. I am 62. So many other books, and so little time.

Aug 23, 2013, 6:33pm

I've just finished my measly little one Virago (and my copy wasn't even a VMC at that), but it was a really good one! Good Daughters: I liked it a lot. I'd love to talk a bit about the theology that Alice ends with if anybody is so inclined. I was going to read The Curate's Wife, and I guess I still might if I can ever, ever finish my ER ARC, which is definitely a slog (Lincoln Dreamt He Died).
Claire and Barbara, I doubt that I'll get back to Stead either after For Love Alone, which ranks right down there with Four Frightened People and The Mighty and Their Fall as the worst of the worst of Virago.

Aug 23, 2013, 6:36pm

Hmm. Is it perverse that your saying that makes me want to read For Love Alone and The Mighty And Their Fall?

Aug 23, 2013, 8:59pm

I seem to be oddly tempted by Letty Fox: Her Luck; for the last two weeks I've been taking it off the shelf and pondering it, reading bits of the intro, and then back on the shelf with the other NYRB Classics it goes. But I don't want to take on anything that long with the next tax deadline less than three weeks away. Plus I'd like to keep the trilogy theme going, so The Lost Traveller is at the top of my TBR stack.

Edited: Aug 23, 2013, 9:47pm

And yet, regarding Stead, her books are rated:
4 stars...3 books,
3 1/2 stars....5 books,
3 stars....1 book,
2 1/2 stars....1 book, &
1 1/2 stars....2 books.
So I would consider that to be only 3 books to be poorly rated. Guess I will have to figure it out for myself.

>264 lyzard::
Hmm. Is it perverse that your saying that makes me want to read For Love Alone and The Mighty And Their Fall?

Yes, that does seem a bit perverse, but I feel the same way. lol!~!

Aug 24, 2013, 2:49am

I'm feeling a bit disappointed that I haven't read more this end of the month, but I think once I get these two non-fiction books I'm on at the moment done, I can pick off a few more novels next week ...

Aug 24, 2013, 4:54am

I've gone off track with my reading plans this month and am currently stranded in Sakhalin Island with Chekhov - which is heavy going! I'm lightening things a little by reading Beverly Nichols' autobiography Twenty Five at the same time, which is a delight and also has a couple of Virago connections:

1. A lovely little pen portrait of the author of Vera, as he calls her, and also refers to her as Lady Russell!

2. A very moving chapter covering the Bywaters/Thompson trial which was of course the basis for A Pin To See The Peepshow.

It's also very, very funny!

Edited: Aug 24, 2013, 8:00am

My Virago reading has been on the light, rather than the serious, side. So far,

Welcome, Strangers
Minnie's Room
High Rising
Elizabeth and Her German Garden
Lolly Willowes
Invitation to the Waltz
Dancing Girls and Other Stories by Atwood, the only one I had a hard time finishing.

I'm reading Tin Toys Trilogy which I plan to count at three books! I hope that isn't cheating, but they were published in different years.

Aug 24, 2013, 11:02am

Are you home, Elaine? I'm running to the summer place to find out!

Edited: Aug 26, 2013, 5:22am

Ah Peggy, your exuberance delights me & probably Elaine as well. :-) ♥

>Elaine; no, not cheating at all. A trilogy is actually an omnibus anyway isn't it? I would count them as three if Tin Toys Trilogy is not considered to be a book of short stories & it doesn't sound to be.

Aug 25, 2013, 9:47am

I can't remember who talked about The Squire in glowing terms a few months ago but it was on their recommendation that I read it (with the added impetus of having it pre-ordered in Persephone). Well, my dears, they were right. It is, indeed, a beautiful book and has totally redeemed Enid Bagnold for me.

It would've been a quick read if I had read it quickly, but I took my time savoring whole paragraphs. This is a novel about childbirth and breastfeeding. Bagnold apparently kept notes all through her 4 pregnancies and clearly adored her children. She wanders through this book thinking and feeling and gardening and nurturing. She has a theory that childbirth is like a river, that if you can only let go and go with the flow of the river then the birth will be virtually painless. She is having her fifth child and with each pregnancy has got closer to that goal.

She has also come to a time in her life where she understands that women's love affair with their children eclipses anything they can have with a lover. She describes the new baby as 'the lover in her lap'. Bagnold has conveniently removed the husband from the picture (he is in India) but to be fair I know that many of today's men feel that same overwhelming love for their children.

I found this book deeply deeply moving and given that it was written in 1938, quite astounding.

Aug 25, 2013, 1:32pm

What an awesome recommendation Barbara. You make this one a must-read so I am very thankful that it is residing on my shelves. Very nicely reviewed.

Aug 25, 2013, 6:07pm

I enjoyed The Squire but felt it a tiny bit squeamy myself ... but very atmospheric and well done.

One more AV/AA in this pair of reviews

Aug 26, 2013, 3:16am

I will be starting Indifferent Heroes by Mary Hocking later today (after I've half killed myself in the garden).

Aug 26, 2013, 3:24am

Oh Ali, and it's just past midnight here. :-( I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. And enjoy working in your garden. We have been so lax in ours this year. But we did take the pool down today. Tomorrow we restock the trailer for another road trip. It's been a good summer here for camping.

I am almost finished with The Newspaper of Claremont Street and am enjoying this read about a cleaning lady a great deal. Then I think I will move on to The Aloe. I keep meaning to read Desert Flower but for some reason keep pushing it back. Perhaps the subject matter is a bit much for me at the moment. IDK.

Enjoy your reads everyone.
hugs all round,

Aug 26, 2013, 8:56am

I am 3 chapters into At the Still Point by Mary Benson which I picked at random from my shelves. Written in 1970 about South Africa it is so far marred by the slang of the late 60s but is okay.

Belva - No way am I ever reading another word about female genital mutilation. It was the reason I finally gave up Alice Walker. Like, enough already Alice!!!! I was listening to NPR on my car radio a few months ago and some woman was saying that over 90% of Egyptian women have had it done to them. I thought Silly cow - Egypt is a modern country! They wouldn't still be doing that THERE! But when I googled it, she was right. I was stunned. And this is a woman on woman crime.

Aug 26, 2013, 4:45pm

I'm on a roll, I tell you! Reviews of Alexander's Bridge and The Life and Rebellious Times of Cicely Hamilton up now on my blog (the latter is up for rehoming, even though it's a good read, I'll put a note on duplicates).

Aug 26, 2013, 4:45pm

Oh, and The Armour Wherein he Trusted is spellbinding so far!

Aug 26, 2013, 5:45pm

This has been a very slow reading month for me. Vacations with grandchildren.... Need I say more?

I finished a non Virago copy of The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton, which I loved. I got sidetracked with Where'd You Go, Bernadette, which I quite enjoyed. I just finished a green cover Full House by M. J. Farrell (Molly Keane). I enjoyed that one too. So although it has been a slow month, the reading I have been able to do has been fun.

Aug 26, 2013, 6:32pm

Barbara, I find those numbers so appalling!~! And it is a hugely upsetting subject, I would think, for most of us. Can't blame you in the least. But it is on my shelf for the day I do feel equipped to handle it.

Aug 27, 2013, 4:24am

NanaCC, that is what counts & why we do this. We want our reading to be enjoyable. So you have had/are having a good month. Not a thing wrong with two good ones.
And I thought Where'd You Go, Bernadette? was a gas, a really fun & exhilarating read. Glad you enjoyed it as well.

Aug 27, 2013, 6:58am

Add me to those who loved Bernadette!

Re: Christina Stead - I will probably give her another try in the future, as her score with me is one hit, one miss. Unfortunately, the other two by her that I own are For love alone and Cotter's England, neither of which seem well-loved here ... Barbara, The little hotel sounds great from the description, but your experience with it sounds very similar to mine with The people with the dogs.

I read two more VMCs this weekend, The lifted veil and Poor cow. I had expected to fly through Veil and then discard it, which is exactly what happened. I doubt I will ever need to return to this rather silly story. Poor cow was very good, vignettes from the life of a young single mother in '60s London. It seemed to me to capture the flavour of what I imagine the '60s to have been like, with lots of contemporary references and the emerging acceptance of a woman's enjoyment of sex. I probably won't read it again though.

Now I've started The group which I think will be a good read if I can keep all the characters straight.

Aug 27, 2013, 7:59am

Oh god, oh god Cotter's England, that's the one I abandoned on about p. 12, isn't it? Poor Cow is wonderful and I didn't enjoy The Group as much as I wanted to, be interesting to read your take on it.

Aug 27, 2013, 8:04am

I just finished The Tin Toys Trilogy. These novels are dark, dark, dark. They are set in the same period as the Hocking Trilogy and actually written at the same time, the 1980's. But don't expect warm fuzzies and loving families. Think hang-on-by-your-fingernails-to-survive, rather than coming-of-age. Also, in the introduction Holden says that the characters are based on her family (except for the mother, thank goodness.) I have to mull over the novels before I write a review but I know I will never have the gumption to reread these, fascinating and as beautifully wriitten as they are.

So if anyone would like my copy of The Tin Toys Trilogy I will be happy to send it to you after my review is finished.

PS. There is no physical abuse of the children or violence against them. It is total neglect by the responsible adults that makes their situation so tragic and compelling.

Aug 27, 2013, 8:57am

Lyzzy - I read The Group a few years ago and did enjoy it, after coming to it with no expectations at all. I read Poor Cow in the 60s and loved it but have absolutely no desire to re-read it, in the same way I have no desire to re-read Edna O'Brien.

Aug 27, 2013, 4:30pm

Sat out on the deck and sunned my legs while finishing At The Still Point. This book started slow and I was not overly enthused. I thought it a 'poor woman's' Nadine Gordimer. But as I went on I found myself increasingly attached to the characters and their struggle against apartheid in 1960s South Africa. Benson concentrates on the show trials in the East Cape - a mockery of a travesty of a sham, the reading made bearable by the knowledge that the right side eventually won.

But how hard it is to read books about the morally inferior abusing the morally superior be they Nazis, Spanish inquisitors, Maoists or KKK members. 3*

Aug 27, 2013, 9:16pm

Thought I'd knock off a couple of skinny Viragos before the end of the month so picked up Music Upstairs by Shena Mackay. I've read one of Mackay's later books and thought it very good but this was such a stinker I read only the first 50 pages and skimmed the rest. Really only a novella so not a lot of skimming but that's an hour of my life I'll never get back. Mid 60s London, teenage girl gets into a menage a trois with an older couple. It was thought to be really hip at the time of publication but 50 years later it's just snort worthy. In her afterword, written in 1988, Mackay says she wrote it at 19 and that 'As to the book, there is nothing I could alter now if I wished to do so.'

Edited: Aug 28, 2013, 1:28am

Finally checking in at the end here! I thought I wouldn't be able to participate much, since I only had a few unread Viragoes, but yay! August is also my birthday month, and a gift from my father scored me 11 new reads from Alibris! Here's what I ordered:

The Sleeping Beauty
Our Spoons Came From Woolworths
The Misses Mallett
The Ladies of Lyndon
The Rector and the Doctor's Family
Anderby Wold
Joanna Godden
Good Daughters
Thank Heaven Fasting

I've read the first two and am immersed in the third, and also checked off a couple of my already-owned unreads earlier in the month. I loved The Three Miss Kings--such a lovely, predictable, tidy little story. :) The Unlit Lamp was less fun--made me feel rather claustrophobic. The Sleeping Beauty, which I never read last year during the ET group read, was not my favorite of hers but not my least favorite either--somewhere in the middle. Our Spoons Came From Woolworths, however, is definitely my favorite Comyns so far--so heartwrenching to read, especially the chapters about her pregnancies and horrible childbirth experiences, and yet fascinating and, thank goodness, happy and sweet in the end. I'm also enjoying The Misses Mallett, although it's nowhere near as good as William or The Curate's Wife, both of which are among my top favorite Viragoes.

Another excellent birthday gift came from my mother--a new, MUCH-needed bookcase! This evening I had the delicious task of beginning to fill the shelves, and I started with Viragoes--they had been crammed and piled onto a different bookcase, and now are neatly alphabetized on nearly two shelves (along with my Pyms) of their own.

Aug 28, 2013, 4:38am

Yay for birthday months and new Viragos and shelves - well done!

Aug 28, 2013, 7:03am

#239 That is a particularly wonderful selection of books. A few novels and authors that I love, and the ones I don't know I have heard great things about.

I've had to put Rose Macaulay to one side - much as I love her, it was the wrong moment.

Last night though, I picked up The Fly on the Wheel by Katherine Cecil Thurston, and I am quite taken with the story, the leading lady, and a wonderful sense of time and place.

Aug 28, 2013, 9:04am

I've done Armour Wherein he Trusted and two new reviews should be up later today although I'm juggling two panicky PhD students and a massive transcription at work today!

Aug 28, 2013, 1:56pm

I finished Indifferent Heroes this morning and thoroughly enjoyed it - I am less keen on Louise -as I know some other people were - but I can sort of understand why she behaves as she does, I am hopiong she will redeem herself in the next book. I love Jacov!

Aug 28, 2013, 4:45pm

And I've finished and reviewed The Virago Book of Women Gardeners and Armour Wherein He Trusted and there's a sneak preview of my next reads, too - not doing badly at all with AV/AA this year!

Edited: Aug 28, 2013, 9:20pm

I only managed two books this year, but at least they were good ones. And I had an almost AV July, with the one non-VMC being a Persephone.

Aug 29, 2013, 9:30am

Okay - last book for the month - The Men's Room by Ann Oakley. Margaret Drabble meets 50 Shades of Grey. Well written but no one to like in the whole book. Two married people in what the author describes as a 'phallic relationship'. A lot of very graphic sex as they destroy the lives of their partners and children. This book is from the era when Virago published a lot of rather iffy books like The Sheik and the Mae West books, books that seem to have nothing to do with feminism. 2* because it was well written.

Aug 29, 2013, 9:47am

Tally for the month of August. I have to say I am Virago-ed out :)

Good Daughters )
Indifferent Heroes ) 5*
Welcome Strangers )
The Old Man and Me 3*
The Last of Summer 5*
The Loved and the Envied 4*
The Birds on the Trees - Nina Bawden. Read 50 pages and the last chapter. 1*
The Children 2*
William - E H Young 4*
The Squire 5*
At the Still Point 3*
Music Upstairs 1*
The Men's Room - Oakley 2*

13 in total!

Aug 29, 2013, 1:38pm

Whew! Well done Barbara (and everyone!) I am going to try and sneak one more Virago in before September - Blood on the Dining Room Floor, although alas I don't have a Virago version :(

Aug 29, 2013, 2:58pm

I'm also going to try and sneak one more VMC in to August. Will be starting The Lost Traveller in a while.

Edited: Aug 29, 2013, 5:07pm

>297 romain::
Very well done Barbara! That's a lot of Virago. 'Ya done good'!

>295 Leseratte2::
Andrew, I had noticed that you were running amuck with the Virago in July. You, sir, are my hero!

kdcdavis: I share in your celebratory happiness. How wonderful to have a father AND a M-I-L to love you so
much!~! But then what is not to love.

Everyone is doing such a great job with their Virago reads this month. I hope no one hit a real dudster!

I am quite decided that my little notebook is not what I need for use on our road-trips & campouts. When we get our VISA paid down, I am getting a laptop.

Edited: Aug 29, 2013, 5:07pm

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Edited: Aug 30, 2013, 11:17pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

Edited: Aug 30, 2013, 5:39am

I'm going to try and fit in Our spoons came from Woolworths, the only one of my Virago Comyns that remains unread.

ETA: Forgot to report that I finished The group last night. It was a good read, though Dottie's chapter read like an instruction manual for girls/women, and reminded me of the explicit but clinical description and discussion of sex in Judy Blume's Forever! I liked Polly best, and then Priss, but appreciated that none of the women were perfectly likeable or dislikeable. Due to the narrative following so many characters, some major events happened off-screen, which was a bit disappointing, but overall this was a satisfying and interesting read.

Edited: Aug 30, 2013, 7:26am

Like Barbara, I am Virago-ed out. But except for the Atwood short stories which I just couldn't appreciate, I enjoyed every read. I also need a break from WW2 for a while so I think my next Viragoes will be Enchanted April, Women in the Wall, and No Signposts in the Sea

Welcome, Strangers 3 weakest of the Hockings, in my opinion
Minnie's Room 4
High Rising 3.5 great fun
Persuasion 5
Elizabeth and Her German Garden 4 beautiful
Lolly Willowes4
Invitation to the Waltz 4
Dancing Girls and Other Stories by Atwood, the only one I had a hard time finishing.2
A House in the Country by Playfair 4

Tin Toys Trilogy
Tin Toys 4
Unicorn Sisters 5
Bubble Garden 2.5

Aug 30, 2013, 8:50am

Yes Elaine I am definitely Virago-ed out. As a change of palate I went to the library and got out a bunch of books on meditation and the like, although I can barely sit still, let alone meditate. I've been catching up on all the movies I've missed in the last 5 years as well, so the whole time I've been reading Viragos I've been watching a really strange mish mash of films: Coen Brothers, Bruce Willis saving the world, Tyler Perry etc. That's me.... all over the map...

Aug 30, 2013, 11:44am

I'm hoping to get The Rector's Daughter and Fidelity finished by the end of tomorrow - I'm talking the Rector's Daughter to the gym in a bit! I really hoped I'd read more, but I got a bit bogged down with the non-fiction ones. I will have to read those Bellow Vitas next month (along with two other books by people I know) to get them reviewed and a bit of publicity, so it won't all be celebrity autobiographies, which are strictly next on the TBR!

Aug 30, 2013, 2:49pm

>304 Liz1564::
Elaine, I felt the same regarding the trilogy. I rated Good Daughters a 5, Indifferent Heroes a 4 1/2 & Welcome Strangers a mere 2 1/2.

Aug 30, 2013, 11:19pm

I was finally able to find time to throw up some rather mediocre reviews of my Virago reads of the month which include:

Good Daughters, 5*
Indifferent Heroes, 4 1/2*
Welcome Strangers, 2 1/2*

The Other Woman, 4*
The Orchid House, 4 1/2*
The Lifted Veil, 4 1/2*
High Rising, 4 1/2*
The Yellow Wallpaper, 5*
The Clothes on Their Backs, 2*
The Very Dead of Winter, 4*
The Newspaper of Claremont Street, 3*, &
The Aloe, 4*.

Last night I began a piece of Virago nonfiction that I am finding so enjoyable that I do not want to put it down: The Bolter. However camping with a group of people does not lend itself to a great deal of reading time. For some reason that I do not understand, one is expected to be social. So I am sure that this one will not be completed in time to count it but I am certainly enjoying this VSS gift!

I have had a wonderful month of reading Virago. I hope all of you have enjoyed it as well. Thank you for all of the recks this year & I want to thank you all for joining in our All Virago/All August as well. I couldn't have asked for better company.

hugs all round,

Aug 31, 2013, 11:11am

Wow great list Belva : ) you did brilliantly well

Just finished my final AV/AA read and I loved it. My final tally then - 13 books read during August but I can oly claim 9 of them for AV/AA they were

The Odd Women George Gissing 4*
Good Daughters Mary Hocking 4.5*
Emma Jae Austen 5*
Breakfast with the Nikolides Rumer Godden 4*
The Judge Rebecca West 4*
The Glimpses of the moon Edith Wharton 3*
Careless People Sarah Churchwell 4.5*
Indifferent Heroes Mary Hocking 4*
The Lost Traveller Antonia White 4.5*

All in all some rather marvelous reads. What a joy to indulge in a good bit of old Virago reading, considering how many I have TBR - I should do it more often.

Aug 31, 2013, 11:28am

I've just updated my thread in the 75 group after a gap of more than a month and before my fingers seize up with all the unaccustomed work I thought I'd better post in this thread. I've only just made it as it's 31st August today. I've had a very poor month as far as Viragos go: I've read two. And I cheated a bit by reading ebook versions. The two measly titles are The Solitary Summer and Illyrian Spring and although I enjoyed them both I wasn't knocked out by either. Both had lovely descriptive passages of flowers and countryside but not much by way of plot.

I must get the Hocking trilogy. I've read and loved Letters from Constance and Belva kindly sent me A Particular Place, as yet unread, recently but all who've read them have enjoyed them, which is a strong recommendation. I've had a look at the ebooks I have and I do have a lot of Viragos in that format too. I've organised them into a collection on my kindle so that will help and just because August is over I shan't stop reading Viragos.

Aug 31, 2013, 12:31pm

I've only managed 3 Viragos:

The Harsh Voice
The Solitary Summer
Blood on the Dining Room Floor

Just squeezed the last on in yesterday though I am rather at a loss as to how to review it...... :s

I have unfortunately managed to increase my Virago collection this month, however (oops) and it has been a fun experience seeing what everyone read and getting their reviews and recommendations!

Sep 2, 2013, 5:35am

Here is my tally:
The lying days 3.5*
The people with the dogs 3*
A particular place 3.5*
Mad Puppetstown 4*
Trooper to the Southern Cross 4*
The Misses Mallett 4.5*
The lifted veil 2*
Poor cow 3.5*
The group 3.5*
Our spoons came from Woolworths 5*

Another wonderful AV/AA - thank you Belva for organising and co-ordinating this so well!

Sep 2, 2013, 5:49am

Oh and mine - I blogged about it a little here but not with a list

Flush 4.5* (Persephone)
Roman Fever 4.5* (VMC)
The Custom of the Country 5* (VMC)
Complete Short Stories of Elizabeth Taylor 5* (Virago)
Up and Running 3.5* (Virago non-fiction
Alexander's Bridge 4.5* (VMC)
The Life and Rebellious Times of Cicely Hamilton 4* (Women's Press)
The Virago Book of Women Gardeners 4.5* (Virago)
Armour Wherein he Trusted 4* (VMC)
Fidelity 5* (Persephone)
The Rector's Daughter 5* (Virago published: Penguin Modern Classic)

Read 11, hoped for 18 ...

Edited: Sep 2, 2013, 9:00am

Yes, many many thanks to Belva. I am so proud of myself for getting through so many VMCs and striking them from the list. Without this month I would not be motivated enough to do that. Thank you dah-ling!

Lyz - glad you loved Fidelity. I also LOVED it.

Sep 2, 2013, 9:05am

Romain - I'm writing my review today, such a marvellous book, so hugely readable, and the characters didn't do what you secretly wanted them to do but knew they shouldn't. Just blissful reading. HOW did I not buy this one before, though, it's No. 4 and I've been buying Persephone for YEARS!

Edited: Sep 2, 2013, 11:34am

I finished The Bolter last night and what a wonderful bit of Virago nonfiction. I really enjoyed it. Too late to count it but not to late to love it. And I had two perfect 5 star reads this year. Good Daughters, what a way to begin AV/AA and the exquisite written The Yellow Wallpaper.

I cannot believe how many books were read throughout August this year. You all were reading fools. Ain't life grand when you've got a good book in hand? It has been a wonderful month so congrats all!

Thank you all for coming to the party and thank you for the kind words. You are so more than welcome. August is by far my favorite reading month of the year. (followed fairly closely by January & July)

And yea! I just happen to have Fidelity on my single shelf of Persephone. Thanks for the reck! I will try to get to that one this winter. I have neglected my Persephone dreadfully this year.

hugs my friends,
We are off for a week in the wilderness. Will attempt a photo or two, if I can find my camera before we head out. **shrugs**

You enjoy your time too. ♥

Sep 2, 2013, 11:48am

I have Fidelity too - and since it's so highly recommended I must pick up my copy :)

Sep 2, 2013, 1:17pm

Decided to close out AV/AA by going back to The Vicar's Daughter, which I'd started earlier this year but put aside for some reason. Now that I'm back into it, I'm wondering why I put it aside the first time around.

Sep 2, 2013, 1:35pm

Ooh, is that another F.M. Mayor? The Rector's Daughter was very intense, I had eyes on stalks: wasn't expecting that!

Sep 2, 2013, 2:33pm

I sort of got "Virago-ed out" (thanks romain at 305 for the term) after finishing (@ 231) The Age of Innocence, when I got bogged down on Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow and wound up going with some "lighter" YA fantasies like The Deptford Histories as well as continuing to browse through A Very Great Profession and take in a couple early Djuna Barnes stories from Smoke and Other Early Stories.

Still, I finished more titles than last year, though some were shorter and a good deal less ambitious. All told, though, between my eight titles @ 219 and The Age of Innocence making a total of nine, I've made a decent dent, and I do intend to finish Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow in the next few weeks.

For right now, on to Reading Through Time's Edwardian challenge for September. I've got a lot of possible reading there, but I think I might get around to A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book. In preparation, I've started reading some quickies by E. Nesbit (on whom The Children's Book was apparently based).

Sep 2, 2013, 5:30pm

>319 LyzzyBee:: It's by E. H. Young but the touchstone links to the wrong book. You might be thinking of The Squire's Daughter by Mayor. I read that eons ago and liked it, although The Third Miss Symons is probably my favorite.

Sep 2, 2013, 5:31pm

Ah yes, all those daughters! Ah, it was a good month. Very much enjoying the history of the pony book that's my current read, though!

Sep 2, 2013, 7:04pm

I have at least six VMCs with "Daughter" in the title. Rectors and vicars and vets, oh my!

Sep 2, 2013, 8:26pm

I read only two, but they were both real winners (although only one was a real Virago): Good Daughters and The Curate's Wife.

Edited: Sep 3, 2013, 5:16am

Thank you all for your warmth and support earlier in the month, it was much appreciated.

I never got back to the Viragos but did enjoy that first one - All Passion Spent, and it's one that I'd been meaning to get to for ages so I have some sense of satisfaction in that! Well done to all who simply devoured their Virago shelves this month!

Edited because my iPad had changed "devoured" into "decentralized market economy"!!

Sep 5, 2013, 5:25am

My final review from AV/AA is now up here:

This was *definitely* the most challenging Virago I read this month!

Sep 5, 2013, 6:35am

I read challenging as charming there - oops.

Sep 5, 2013, 7:14am

Great review Karen. Like people in the comments section I struggled even with the Autobiography. I expected it to be funny because of the Alice B Toklas brownies thing, which all us 60s teenage stoners knew about.

Sep 5, 2013, 8:18am

327 - :) Well it *was* challenging, but also charming in places!

328 - I do have the Alice B. Toklas cookbook somewhere in my stacks but it's a looong time since I read it!

Sep 6, 2013, 7:49am

Rather late checking in. I didn't get to as many Viragoes as I hoped this month due to moving but these were the ones I did get to:

Anderby Wold by Winifred Holtby
Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple
Love's Shadow, part 1 of The Little Ottleys by Ada Leverson
84, Charing Cross Road and The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street by Helene Hanff

I also started Greenery Street by Denis Mackail but put it to one side as I wasn't in the mood.

Edited: Sep 10, 2013, 6:01pm

I've finally posted my last two reviews. Not EXACTLY Viragoes, but I'm sure you'll agree that they'll "do" (edited to add correct link!)