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Jul 14, 2015, 5:16pm Top

Welcome to our AV/AA 2014 thread. For those of you who are new to this, some of our group like to set aside a time each August to read one or more Virago/VMC books. We do include Persephone as well due to the fact that most of us who read Virago also read Persephone. Should you care to join in the Virago you choose may also include Virago fiction & nonfiction. They do not have to be VMC to count. Nor do they have to be THE Virago publication. For example I have been unable to find a few in the green & have gone on to purchase said books from a different publisher or for my Kindle. These count as well.
It is always a pleasure to come to the thread and read the posts regarding books we are planning to read & have read during this time Hopefully we will have some lively discussion of our reads.
For those who choose to join in, welcome & enjoy. For those unable or who choose not to, I know you will be enjoying some wonderful books as well.

Jul 15, 2015, 7:04am Top

Hooray - thanks for coordinating! I will be taking part, as I have quite a few Viragoes and Persephones on my TBR at the moment so should fill the month with them.

Jul 15, 2015, 10:13am Top

I'll be reading some too. Choices, choices?!?! :)

Edited: Jul 15, 2015, 11:32am Top

I'll be reading or listening to quite a few I hope.

I am becoming addicted to audiobooks, especially when I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep. I just finished listening to The Shuttle by Burnet, a Libervox recording. This is the entire novel, not the Persephone abridgement and the reader was really good Best of all, its free to download!

Jul 15, 2015, 2:17pm Top

Hooray! I also have lots of Viragoes and Persephones - not sure exactly which ones I will be reading but definitely some.

Jul 15, 2015, 7:04pm Top

Me too. Haven't a clue what I will read but still hundreds to go :)

Jul 15, 2015, 10:59pm Top

Yay! Count me in for one anyway. Like Barbara (and in some cases, thanks to Barbara) I have something for every mood and then some!
This is also a good place to welcome new member/new friend Roseredlee to the group! A fine new voice around here!

Jul 16, 2015, 2:25am Top

Hi Belva - thank you for reminding and encouraging us to join with Virago August. I have been reading almost non stop non fiction for my theological college studies so have been very absent from here and from fiction. As we are on holiday during August I am going to take a Virago - and get it read!
I will be back to confirm my title . . .
Welcome Roseredlee to the group !

Jul 16, 2015, 8:11am Top

Thanks for the welcome folks! (Short intermission there as I realised it was 2 hours later than I thought & whizzed lunch into oven - that's what comes of oversleeping!)

I am currently 'auditioning' my books for a permanent place on the shelves after a downsize move + a rethinking of the whole 'library' business. A lot of viragos have sadly headed to the charity shops, but I just reread The Diviners by Margaret Laurence and decided it's definitely a keeper.

And I am embarking on Elizabeth Taylor now, one of my favourite authors - will the books hold up to rigorous selection process? First one up: The Sleeping Beauty (timely as there appears to be a huge number of re-imagined fairy tales at the moment)

Jul 16, 2015, 9:14am Top

Hello Roseredlee and welcome to the group. Of course, we're all going to rush to your home town to raid the charity shops now (only kidding) (maybe only kidding). We did a group readalong of Taylor a few years ago, which was a lovely chance to fill in some gaps and wallow in her. Have you got the wonderful short story collection?

On AV/AA, I have taken a photo and will pop it on a blog post soon so all can see. I don't have as many as I thought I did in the TBR, but I'll see how I go!

Edited: Jul 17, 2015, 11:37am Top

I've been doing quite a bit of Reading Through Time the past couple of years, and the August theme is Ireland. I've got a couple of Molly Keane Viragos around, so I'll definitely be reading her to do a combo wit the RTT group. I think I'm going to try a genuine ALL Virago month this August and see if I can get some of my backlog covered.

ETA: And Mary Renault's The Charioteer is a Virago and it will tie in with RTT's currernt "quarterly read" of WW2.

Jul 17, 2015, 4:54pm Top

Don't know what I will be reading yet - but I will be reading some. :)

Jul 18, 2015, 6:10am Top

I'm working my way through the VMC Angela Thirkell Barsetshire novels - and they are a delight to read! Almost finished August Folly, then will start The Brandons.

Jul 18, 2015, 6:37am Top

>13 BurntUmberDust: I just read The Brandons a week or so ago, although mine was not the VMC edition. Anyway, the content is the same. :) I really enjoyed it. I've read 6 of her Barsetshire novels and they are good fun.

Jul 19, 2015, 2:57pm Top

I've read 5 of the Barsetshire series now, and all of them are really a hoot to read! Her characters are often mocked, but in a lovely way :)

Jul 21, 2015, 7:08am Top

Oh I MUST get the fourth one onwards, I love the first three!

Jul 23, 2015, 9:03am Top

I'll be joining for at least some of the time. I hope to read Pilgrimage 2 at least

Jul 27, 2015, 2:46pm Top

I will be starting off AV/AA with The Making of a Marchioness (a Persephone) by one of my favorite children's authors: Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Jul 27, 2015, 7:44pm Top

I am going on holiday on Friday to the South West Coast here in the UK. When I go away I tend to just take my kindle for ease - it also means I can't run out of books. So I will start AV/AA with VMCs which I only have in kindle form Twilight Sleep and The third miss Symons later once I have returned to my green spined volumes I am planning on reading The Lying Days and rereading West with the Night which I now have my own copy of thanks to Karen. I think I shall probably also read a Persephone book maybe The Happy Tree . There may be other books too but I don't want to make a massive list and then fail.

Jul 27, 2015, 7:50pm Top

I'm glad for the push to get to some of my unread Viragos. I will probably read Harriet Hume by Rebecca West. I'm curious to see what I think as I loved her Return of the Soldier and really disliked The Thinking Reed. I also may read High Rising by Angela Thirkell and possibly another Barbara Pym book, which I always love.

Jul 27, 2015, 9:13pm Top

I still have The Children Who Lived in a Barn (Persephone) on my nightstand so will probably start there. No clue what I will read after that. Every year I think I have run out of good Viragos and every year I find one or two gems I did not know existed.

Jul 30, 2015, 2:12pm Top

I've got a Molly Keane The Rising Tide on my shelf somewhere (also a ROOT) which I'll try to read in August, if I can find it. :)

Jul 31, 2015, 4:13am Top

I've been thinking about August's reading and oddly enough have come up with more Persephones than Viragos:


Though knowing my reading tendencies, I may well not read any of these.... :)

Jul 31, 2015, 4:47am Top

>23 kaggsy: As for Persephone, I really really really intend to get to Alas, Poor Lady. I've got a pile of Rachel Ferguson to get through and I also want to do a reread of The Brontes Went to Woolworths.

Jul 31, 2015, 11:55am Top

Well, I've so many unread Viragos, I don't know which I will pick, but I'll put at least one on the pile for August. My mother is currently reading my copy of The Brimming Cup. If she returns it this weekend with a good report, I may choose that one.

Edited: Jul 31, 2015, 11:42pm Top

I just finished The Edwardians by Vita Sackville-West.

When the Woolfs' Hogarth Press published The Edwardians in 1930, it became an almost overnight bestseller. It's set in the early 1900s at a ducal estate, Chevron, which is almost a mirror of the beloved childhood home, Knole, of Vita Sackville-West. The protagonist, Sebastian and his sister, Viola, are faced with the conflicts of the ancient ways of the aristocracy and the emerging challenges of the 20th century.

Utterly delicious. If you are a fan of Downtown Abbey -- this is your book. Upstairs, downstairs and all around London town: scandals, Prince Edward (barely mentioned but definitely in the background), affaires de couer, a polar explorer, and emancipated young women -- what's not to like?

Aug 1, 2015, 1:04am Top

I'm in! I think I'll start with Black Narcissus by Rummer Godden and Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski (Persephone). Then I'll maybe move on to some Barbara Comyns and Elizabeth Taylor.

Aug 1, 2015, 4:12am Top

I'm just starting Lyndall Gordon's Vindication, a biography of Mary Wollstonecraft. I've got it around somewhere in Virago but I've started with it on Kindle so I'll have something to read on Kindle while I'm also reading Molly Keane (who will fit in with the August Reading Through Time theme of Ireland).

For Keane, I've got Young Entry and Devoted Ladies in Virago. Any suggestion which I should start with? And is one of them more "Irish" than the other?

Aug 1, 2015, 4:51am Top

First review up for AV/AA (although it is a Persephone!):


>28 CurrerBell: I've read no Keane I'm afraid but would imagine that Young Entry is definitely country house Irish from what I've heard of it.

Aug 1, 2015, 7:53am Top

Wow, Kaggsy, that was quick!

I'm actually reading a Women's Press book at the moment, so I'm sure that "counts", too, right?

You can see a photo of my small pile of Viragoes and Persephones here https://librofulltime.wordpress.com/2015/08/01/state-of-the-tbr-august-2015/ - I hooked them out of the TBR for the photo, but I'll pick them off it individually as I go. I really hope to read all of those (two Dorothy Whipples, oh joy!) plus some other on-going planned reads. Handily, I have a trip to London coming up next week, which should help a bit ...

Happy Virago August, everyone!

Aug 1, 2015, 9:02am Top

I'm about two-thirds through The Children Who Lived in a Barn (Persephone) which I started yesterday. (It is a children's book and very easy to read.) Should finish it later today.

I'm with Jane on The Edwardians - loved it!

Anbolyn - I loved both the books you are considering. I read Little Boy Lost in my teens after seeing the movie on TV and Black Narcissus in my twenties.

I also should be dipping into my Viragos but will also dip heavily into my Persephones.

Aug 1, 2015, 10:07am Top

29> Kaggsy -- lovely review of The Children Who Lived in a Barn.

Aug 1, 2015, 12:10pm Top

>30 LyzzyBee: Well, I admit I cheated a little as I read this last month but scheduled the post for August - I mean, who knows what I'll read this month.

And I'm sure a Women's Press book counts!

>32 janeajones: Thanks Jane! :)

Aug 1, 2015, 12:43pm Top

>26 janeajones: oh I have The Edwardians! That might suit me this month. I never do the "all Virago" thing but will read one for sure, and follow what the rest of you are up to.

Aug 1, 2015, 1:06pm Top

Jane, a wonderful accounting of The Edwardians and it made me want to read it immediately.

Karen, loved your The Children Who Lived in a Barn review & want to read that one as well.

I have put off The Making of a Marchioness and am preceding it with Mary Lavelle by the wonderful Kate O'Brien. I began it in bed this morning and am still reading the letters. Love her writing and all of her little nuances that one finds in her books. She was a genius at her craft.

Aug 1, 2015, 1:25pm Top

>26 janeajones: Now you make me sorry that I didn't start The Edwardians. I'll read it! I'll read it!!
>35 rainpebble: And, Belva, serendipity! I've just started Mary Lavelle as my first of the month too.

Aug 1, 2015, 1:44pm Top

>35 rainpebble: Thank you Belva - I think you'll enjoy it.

I've finished a Virago too - The Swan in the Evening, which I read alongside P.J. Kavanagh's The Perfect Stranger - for reasons which will become obvious when I get round to posting my review! :)

Aug 1, 2015, 1:57pm Top

Another person tentatively lining up The Edwardians for a read later this month. At the moment I'm reading the Project Gutenberg ebook of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Shuttle.

Aug 1, 2015, 4:59pm Top

I finished The Children who Lived in a Barn. I must admit that the first and last chapters left me gob smacked. In Chapter 1 the parents disappear and leave five children home alone and in the last they re-appear with a very thin explanation for their 6 month absence. However, I have to admit that when I was a child I took these adult disappearances in stride. I mean, how else were the Famous Five to have adventures if they were not alone on a moor or an island?

But the body of the book was fabulous. It was actually written in 1938 and re-issued in 1955 so the primitive housework methods date from before my childhood. But how hard that little girl had to work to keep her siblings fed, clothed and clean, not to mention out of foster care - or whatever they had back then. I found it fascinating and thanks to whoever first recommended it.

Edited: Aug 2, 2015, 10:58am Top

I didn't have much success with AV/AA last year (just one Virago) and may get distracted this year as I have some library reservations waiting to be picked up.

Have made a start though. I've just begun The Ante-Room by Kate O'Brien (recently sent to me by Karen and highly endorsed by Jen ). I'm not far in but liking it a lot already.

Aug 2, 2015, 4:15am Top

I'm also reading The Children who Lived in a Barn. August is also Girlsown Literature month for me and this fits both categories.

Aug 2, 2015, 6:01am Top

>39 romain: It's hard to get your head round the parental parts of the book, isn't it? At least with Blyton the children were either abandoned by accident or parked with horrible relations - but here they're actively dumped by their parents! Still, the rest of the book *was* a great read and made me quite glad about my mod cons!

Aug 2, 2015, 4:23pm Top

Have not participated in the past, but I just finished "Mary Olivier" by May Sinclair and found it an essential read--- one that I regret not having read 30-40 years ago. A real engagement with the life of the mind, how it completes our emotional landscape. Now which Virago to pick up next?

Edited: Aug 3, 2015, 7:05pm Top

I have started my first read for AV/AA Twilight Sleep by Edith Wharton. So far it seems fine but probably a minor novel from Wharton. Happily discovered a Nina Bawden VMC on my kindle The Ice House which I'd forgotten I had, so might read that after. I do like Nina Bawden.

Aug 3, 2015, 1:43pm Top

I've just started Pilgrimage 2 and hope it won't take all month to read.

Aug 3, 2015, 5:36pm Top

I decided to read A Compass Error the sequel to A Favorite of the Gods. Couldn't remember much about the first book. But not to worry, because Bedford pretty much retells the plot of the first book in an extended flashback. She has her heroine Flavia explain her past history to her new lover. Indeed Flavia talks for 53 pages - basically rehashing the entire plot of the first book and bringing us all up to speed. I realize that this was necessary to make A Compass Error a stand alone novel but by the end of this 53 page monolog (her lover never speaks) I had forgotten most of what preceded it, including the lover's name and how they came to be in bed together.

The was my third Bedford. A Legacy was good. A Favorite of the Gods was only a 3* read, and this was a poor 2*.

Aug 3, 2015, 5:41pm Top

>46 romain: I've just started A Compass Error... perhaps I'll choose something else!

Aug 3, 2015, 8:46pm Top

No no Kerry - I am notorious for not liking books everyone else loves! And other people have loved it.

Aug 4, 2015, 11:55am Top

>47 CDVicarage: I loved A Favourite of the gods and A Compass Error probably liked the first one slightly more but loved them both.

Aug 6, 2015, 12:18pm Top

I do loathe the Daily Mail.......

Aug 6, 2015, 12:51pm Top

Re: Daily Mail article - Loved the clothes in the first picture.

I decided to finish Summer Will Show as part of AV/AA. I had previously read about 2/3rds and abandoned it. But because I love Townsend Warner I thought I might as well finish it and strike it off the list. Not my most favorite of hers. Too dense, too wordy, and ultimately a bit of a bummer. But I really liked the two female leads and the historical aspects were quite compelling.

Aug 6, 2015, 4:16pm Top

>51 kaggsy: ditto! That was a rather salacious article wasn't it?

Edited: Aug 13, 2015, 5:14pm Top

I have read two books for AV/AA so far. The first: Mary Lavelle by the beloved Kate O'Brien which I loved very much. The second: Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Making of a Marchioness, while I did not love it I liked it a great deal. However I did not think that the writing was up to the quality of the writing in The Secret Garden, Little Lord Fauntleroy nor especially A Little Princess.

I hope everyone is enjoying their August reads whatever they are.

Aug 6, 2015, 4:43pm Top

>53 lauralkeet: The Mail are like that - always looking to be shocked about something, really prurient and trashy while taking the right wing line. Not a paper I'd choose to read!

>54 rainpebble: I'm having a lot of lovely reads, Belva (and several that I had actually planned!) I've read a lovely Persephone The Woman Novelist by Diana Gardner which I really loved. Plus a Virago in the form of Rosamund Lehmann's The Swan in the Evening which I will eventually review. And lots of translated women! :)

Aug 6, 2015, 6:54pm Top

I began AV/AA with Hudson River Bracketed by Edith Wharton. I didn't get very far before I felt that the plot was too contrived. I decided to peek at the ending and found that it was just exactly as I assumed that it would be. I like a book to be unpredictable. I wonder if this book is not considered one of Wharton's best.

I have now continued with my rereading and have returned to Elizabeth Taylor and the Soul of Kindness. So far I have liked her books even more in rereading them and they usually have unpredictable plots.

Aug 6, 2015, 7:48pm Top

I just finished Young Entry and didn't that much care for it. Cousin "Gus" Augusta was a great/nasty character, cousin Kat was catty, and that was about it. Prudence was a dishrag, Peter (a female, but that was her name) was fairly predictable, and the other characters tended to be nonentities. If this had been a satire of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy, it might have been different, but I think it was supposed to be a charming little piece of country fare, which it wasn't. In fact, I think the character I most sympathized with was the farmer whose cow had been run off years earlier by some foxhound – except the farmer (in a "God bless the squire and his relations" fashion) rather quickly reconciles himself with the new Master of Hounds.

Actually, the whole book was about the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible, and it got a bit confusing since I haven't the foggiest about fox-hunting. 2½**, but it was Molly Keane's debut and I'll keep up with her since I think she'll get better. Anyway, I'm trying to fit AV/AA in with the Reading Through Time group, and Keane fits in with the August theme, Ireland.

Edited: Aug 7, 2015, 12:11am Top

Currently reading Lyndall Gordon's Vindication, a Virago biography of Mary Wollstonecraft. I'm doubling up on the Virago treeware and the Kindle e-book. Personally, I think Gordon's a bit superficial as a biographer (years ago I read her biography of Charlotte Brontë and the second volume of her T.S. Eliot biography), and Vindication (named after Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman) doesn't contain any footnoted sourcing despite fairly extensive quotes from letters and the like.

Still, it's a fairly decent introduction to Wollstonecraft's life for someone like myself who really only knows Wollstonecraft through her much more famous daughter. My recollection of the Eliot and the Brontë biographies is that they were likewise superficial, which for me made them worthless (especially, of course, for Brontë); but as a newcomer to Wollstonecraft mère I'm finding it fairly interesting.

I think I'll also get started on Molly Keane's Devoted Ladies, which is her chronologically next book (after Young Entry) that I've got a copy of.

ETA: Whoops! Take that back about the sourcing in Vindication. I should have flipped back to the rear and I'd have found it. She just doesn't use endnoting within her text. You have to go to the back and find the endnote tied to the page number of the text. A little cumbersome, that's all.

Aug 7, 2015, 6:03am Top

I was in the Persephone Bookshop yesterday and mentioned AV/AA to the lady who served us; she was very interested in the idea and loved the fact that some of us work Persephone Books into it.

Aug 7, 2015, 8:08am Top

>55 kaggsy: always looking to be shocked about something, really prurient and trashy while taking the right wing line.
we have media outlets like that here as well -- more TV than print I think. I steer clear.

>57 CurrerBell:, >58 CurrerBell: I've found Keane's earlier books are not as much to my taste as some of the later ones. My favorite is Good Behavior but I also enjoyed Full House and Two Days in Aragon very much. And I still have several unread on my shelves.

Aug 8, 2015, 3:31am Top

I joined LibraryThing but am having problems working out how to use it and haven't done anything with at al! I've got as far as joining this group because I have lots of Viragos waiting to be read, and have finished A Little Love, A little Learning, by Nina Bawden, which I loved - it is brilliant. So am I allowed to link it to my blog (http://chriscross-thebooktrunk.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/tears-lies-and-ice-cream.h...)?

Aug 8, 2015, 7:23am Top

Welcome Christine - I read that Bawden during AV/AA 2012. I just looked it up and I gave it 4*.

I am trying to alternate my Persephones and Viragos. Today I will be looking for another Persephone. I am thinking of Miss Ranskill which my sister sent a few Christmases ago.

Aug 8, 2015, 7:44am Top

Welcome Christine! This group is a great place to start. We all have piles of Viragoes waiting to be read and we enjoy sharing opinions as we read them. Feel free to ask questions about LibraryThing in general, too. We may be able to help you figure out how to use the site.

Aug 8, 2015, 8:14am Top

Thank you for the welcome! Romain, Miss Ranskill is a very unexpected heroine, who remains true to herself, and although some parts are little sentimental for modern tastes I thought it was quite, quite wonderful. Do read it!

Laura, I've just managed to paste in my Bawden review, and I'm adding books to my list! Having problems with pix of book covers on some of my old Penguins and green VMCs, but I guess it doesn't really matter if I use a different edition.

Aug 8, 2015, 10:34am Top

Welcome Christine!

It doesn't really matter if you use a different edition, but if you want to use the covers of your books, you can scan them or take a picture, save them on your computer and upload them to the book's main page. Click on CHANGE COVER, CHOOSE FILE and UPLOAD.

Aug 8, 2015, 11:03am Top

>64 TheBookTrunk: Most of the green VMC covers should be available on the site already, I think. Click on "Change Cover", and you should see lots of options to choose from. Have patience, this site is really wonderful, and worth the time to browse around and get the hang of it. (It's hard for me to remember when I didn't use it, and I've been here so long that many of the features were introduced to me one at a time, as they were added, so I suppose plunging into it in its current full blown state might feel a bit overwhelming!)

Aug 8, 2015, 11:13am Top

Thank you - just discovered it!

Aug 8, 2015, 11:31am Top

Definitely overwhelming! Thanks for your help

Aug 8, 2015, 5:04pm Top

I've not been here for a long time, but I am still reading my green books.

My blog became overwhelming, so I decided to step back for a while, and that made me realise that what I needed to start again in a new home.

That's why I'm not Fleur anymore - you'll find my new home here - and I plan to keep things simpler, and to have time to be here a little more than I have been.

As to the books:

I thought that Deborah by Esther Kreitman might be a little dour, but it was so vivid that I had to keep turning the pages, and it sat so well with the original Virago ethos.

I loved A Fugue in Time by Rumer Godden.

Now I'm reading The Brimming Cup by Dorothy Canfield and I'm very taken with that, albeit for very different reasons.

And >68 TheBookTrunk: it's lovely to come back and find you here too, Christine.

Edited: Aug 8, 2015, 5:41pm Top

>68 TheBookTrunk: Welcome Christine. I love your blog, another one to add to my bookmarked blogs folder!

>69 BeyondEdenRock: Thanks for updating us, Jane. I plan to pop over to your new base right after posting this.

I'm now nearing the end of The Ante-Room. It's my kind of book - low on plot and high on reflections on the characters' inner turmoils - and I'm liking it a lot.

After finishing that, I'll take a short break from Viragos and start on my library reservations. First up is Rise by Karen Campbell, which was recommended by Jane on her previous blog. (I can't find a touchstone for the book, so I've linked to the author instead).

Aug 8, 2015, 6:12pm Top

So far for AVAA I read Twilight Sleep as mentioned above then read The Ice House which I would rate approx 3.5 and 4 stars respectively. Now takinga break from AVAA to read an old 1930's mystery by Ethel Line White.

Although read before AVAA started I did review a re-read of a Persephone book today Cheerful Weather for the Wedding.


Aug 8, 2015, 6:16pm Top

>69 BeyondEdenRock: I recently lent The Brimming Cup to my mother, and she enjoyed it very much, so I'm seriously considering trying to read it in August.

Aug 8, 2015, 6:35pm Top

>72 laytonwoman3rd: I hadn't planned to read The Brimming Cup, but I read a very good review of Rough-Hewn and thought I should pick up one of the books I had by DCF before I went looking for more. When I picked my book up I discovered that it was a story about the same characters in later life, published a year or two earlier.

Aug 8, 2015, 8:06pm Top

>69 BeyondEdenRock: welcome back Jane!!

Aug 8, 2015, 8:23pm Top

Happiness to see Jane back and to welcome Christine! Yay!
Meanwhile, I've finished my Pepys bio and will now read more Mary Lavelle. Glad you loved it, Belva!

Aug 8, 2015, 11:26pm Top

Have missed you Jane so a big WELCOME BACK.

And a big WELCOME to you Christina. I am so happy you have joined us. Come hang out with us. You will find the best people do, as attested above.

Aug 9, 2015, 10:12am Top

Welcome back Jane and hello to Christine - this is a lovely friendly place to hang out! :)

Aug 10, 2015, 4:59pm Top

I finished Miss Ranskill Comes Home a few minutes ago. I had zero expectations of it but like Christine I found it 'quite, quite wonderful'. Recommended.

Aug 10, 2015, 6:44pm Top

I am now reading The Soul of Kindness by Elizabeth Taylor. It is the fifth in my list of Taylor rereads. I have enjoyed each one even more in the second reading. She has some gift that appeals to me. Everything is so understated and I think that that is there charm. She is able to use few words but they convey deeper emotions.

Aug 11, 2015, 3:38am Top

I haven't done any yet! Argh! I'm bursting to, too. I just have to finish my Ursula Le Guin short stories and I can go bottle green and grey for the rest of the month ...

Aug 11, 2015, 4:33am Top

Welcome Christine! This is the loveliest group on LibraryThing and I hope you enjoy reading the threads and joining in the conversations. And, of course, reading all your lovely green Viragos!

I'm 2/3s of the way into Pilgrimage 2, having just finished the first of the two novels contained within in. We see Mirian working as a dentist's assistant and learning to ride a bicycle. At the start of the next novel she seems to have arrived at a cottage for a few days of holiday.

>80 LyzzyBee: ooh, which ULG stories are you reading? I have so much of her work on my TBR pile to get to ....

Aug 11, 2015, 4:49am Top

>81 Sakerfalcon: Ooooh the bits about the dental assistant and bike riding are the bits I remember most strongly. Maybe I should re-read......

I've managed one Virago so far - The Swan in the Evening, reviewed here:


Aug 11, 2015, 5:33am Top

And another one... Winifred Holtby's The Land of Green Ginger. Not sure that enjoyable is the right word - it's a compelling read, but one I would recommend. Review is here: http://chriscross-thebooktrunk.blogspot.co.uk/

On the go now, Blaming, by Elizabeth Taylor, and Family History, by Vita Sackville-West. And, of course, there's always the chance that I'll get sidetracked on to something else...

By the way, how does Touchstones work please?

Aug 11, 2015, 6:14am Top

>81 Sakerfalcon: it's Tales of Earthsea - the first one was compelling, the rest are shorter and I can't wait to get into them. It's a while since I read the Earthsea books so I'm a little rusty on my mythology, but there's lots to like here.

Aug 11, 2015, 6:24am Top

>83 TheBookTrunk: Books go inside a single set of square brackets and authors go in a double set of square brackets. You should see an example to the right of the box where you type, and you should see an option to select from a list of possibilities if there are multiple books with the same name.

And the same html you use in blog posts for links will work here too if the touchstones decide they don't want to talk to you. That's not something to take personally - they do it to everyone from time to time.

Aug 11, 2015, 6:45am Top

>84 LyzzyBee: >81 Sakerfalcon: It's a long time since I read the Earthsea books - but I recall loving them at the time. If only there was more time to re-read...

Aug 11, 2015, 6:54am Top

>84 LyzzyBee:, >86 kaggsy: I did read those and liked them although not as much as the novels. I have the Gifts trilogy to read as well as some of the Hainish cycle, Lavinia and Changing planes; I really do like her as an author so I'm not sure why it's taking me so long to get around to reading them!

Aug 11, 2015, 9:20am Top

Thank you Jane. I'll give it a try. I'm not very technical I'm afraid, especially with anything new or different, but once I get it straight in my head I'm usually OK. Here goes... Currently reading Blaming by Elizabeth Taylor.

Edited: Aug 11, 2015, 9:27am Top

>85 BeyondEdenRock: Beyond Eden Rock:Thank you Jane. I'll give it a try. I'm not very technical I'm afraid, especially with anything new or different, but once I get it straight in my head I'm usually OK. Here goes... Currently reading Blaming by Elizabeth Taylor... Cracked it I think!

Aug 11, 2015, 10:09am Top

>83 TheBookTrunk: Welcome. Here is a link to a page dealing with posting, created by a Virago group member, which I have found invaluable since first joining LT: http://www.librarything.com/topic/59470

I hope it helps.

Aug 11, 2015, 4:11pm Top

>61 TheBookTrunk: Welcome to the group!

I don't feel that I have much brain at the moment but so far this month I have enjoyed the (unabridged) ebook of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Shuttle (baffled as to why Persephone abridged it) and was enchanted by Barbara Comyns' Our Spoons Came From Woolworths. That was my first Comyns and I'm tempted to jump straight into another one of her books.

Aug 12, 2015, 9:50am Top

My review of Twilight Sleep is up.My first read for AV/AA. I am a bit behind in reviews.


This morning I finished The Happy Tree it was lovely.

Aug 12, 2015, 2:15pm Top

I reached into my shelves last night and pulled out a book at random. It was The Gipsy's Baby a book of short stories by Rosamond Lehmann. I read the title story last night and liked it. I have loved most of the Lehmanns I have read - she is an excellent writer - but after reading the Selena Hastings biog of her I no longer think much of her as a human being. It's a short volume so I should be through with it in the next day or so and will comment further.

Aug 13, 2015, 7:44am Top

I finished Pilgrimage 2 last night, and find myself sorry to leave Miriam's world. It's not always comfortable - she is at least as awkward as I in social situations, and seems to be perpetually hungry - but it's strangely compelling and is as vivid a portrayal of life in early C20th London as I've come across. We more often see Miriam's reaction to events rather than the thing itself, so it can be difficult to work out what's happened but if you want to experience a character's inner life then I highly recommend giving this sequence of novels a try. It seems daunting at first - I put off even acquiring them for years! - but if you let it wash over you without trying too hard to figure things out then it's a very engaging read. I expect I'll be back with volume 3 this time next year!

I'm off to Canada for 2 weeks, leaving on Monday, so I'm going to take with me The diviners as a Canadian Virago that I haven't yet read.

Aug 13, 2015, 8:08am Top

>94 Sakerfalcon: Glad you got on so well with Pilgrimage - I remember having much the same reaction and you do get into a way of thinking that matches the writing as you read. Have a wonderful time in Canada! :)

Aug 13, 2015, 8:33am Top

>94 Sakerfalcon: Whereabouts in Canada will you be? I hope you are able to get out of the cities.

Margaret Laurence is a great choice. The Diviners is on every reading list dealing with CanLit.

Aug 13, 2015, 1:10pm Top

I have the Pilgrimage series and really must start it. As for Laurence I really liked The Stone Angel. Have a wonderful holiday Claire!

Aug 14, 2015, 7:07am Top

>95 kaggsy:, >97 lauralkeet: Thank you for your good wishes for my trip. I loved The stone angel and am looking forward to The diviners.

>96 SassyLassy: We're flying into Vancouver and having a couple of days there to get over jetlag, then picking up a camper van and hitting the road. The plan is to drive through southern BC, stopped off en route at places that look interesting, into Alberta and then cross the border into Glacier National Park in Montana. If the wildfire situation there looks bad then plan B is to head up to Banff.

Aug 14, 2015, 8:14am Top

Sounds wonderful!

Aug 14, 2015, 3:24pm Top

Enjoy your trip, Claire. I am sure you will have a wonderful time.

Aug 14, 2015, 5:16pm Top

Enjoy your trip, Claire, sounds lovely!

Aug 14, 2015, 8:35pm Top

I just finished Molly Keane's The Rising Tide. Great characters, and great descriptions of clothing, down to the last detail!

Aug 16, 2015, 12:36am Top

I just discovered a couple more Molly Keanes (one of them a Virago greenie) at Book Trader, our final stop on Saturday's Philly meet-up. (Photo of me with my very limited haul is third-from-bottom of qebo's post. I was a very good boy and just bought two in the whole store.)

Aug 16, 2015, 3:09am Top

>103 CurrerBell: very restrained and well done for your finds! Looks like everyone had a fun day! 😀

Aug 16, 2015, 9:29am Top

Great pics Mike!

Aug 16, 2015, 11:48am Top

Of the two books I've just reviewed, Unbridled Spirits is a Women's Press book - that "counts", doesn't it?? https://librofulltime.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/book-reviews-unbridled-spirits-and-tales-from-earthsea/

Edited: Aug 17, 2015, 4:18am Top

I've tidied the shelves! Viragos altogether, double stacked, and I need to move the Persephones because I've acquired some more VMCs since I took this last week!

Aug 17, 2015, 4:10am Top

Bother. Pic should be smaller. Where did I go wrong?

Aug 17, 2015, 6:59am Top

>108 TheBookTrunk: I have no idea how to add pictures. To be honest, I haven't tried. But look at your shelf! I am quite envious. :)

Aug 17, 2015, 2:49pm Top

>1 rainpebble: Am currently reading Frost in May, the first Virago, and one of the first I acquired.

Aug 17, 2015, 3:17pm Top

Just completed My Cousin Rachel in the beautiful modern hard back edition - a kind secret santa gifted it to me three years ago - it was a re-read but wonderful !

Edited: Aug 18, 2015, 5:52am Top

I am currently reading The Ha-Ha by Jennifer Dawson, it is good but not outstanding at the moment.

Edited to add - actually strike that, it is better than good, it is very very good I spoke too soon.

Today I reviewed The Happy Tree


Aug 18, 2015, 7:40am Top

I am on jury duty and have not got back to my Rosamond Lehmann.

Aug 18, 2015, 9:09am Top

Finished Frost in May. Almost picked up The Lost Traveller immediately, but I have other commitments first.

Aug 18, 2015, 10:53am Top

I've almost finished Jenny Wren, hope to have it done by the end of the day (pesky work and running club getting in the way ...).

Aug 18, 2015, 11:05am Top

I started The Edwardians on the strength of recent recommendations in this group (was it Elaine/Liz1564?). It is very Downton Abbey/Gosford Park-ish and enjoyable in the same way. The introduction says the book is very much based on life at Knole, VSW's family estate, with some of the characters rather obviously linked to family members and friends (obvious to people at the time, not necessarily to the 21st century reader).

Aug 18, 2015, 10:54pm Top

I did finish Mary Lavelle and liked it very much (as opposed to love). It would be hard for her to write a bad sentence, but it's not That Lady nor The Land of Spices. I think that my next Virago will be Susan Spray, but that may not happen in August, I'm sorry to say.

Aug 19, 2015, 5:38am Top

I got side-tracked. Frost in May and a re-read of There's Something About A Convent Girl, which is Virago non-fiction rather than VMC, but is an interesting companion piece to Antonia White Review on the blog http://chriscross-thebooktrunk.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/frost-in-may.html

Aug 19, 2015, 7:01am Top

I finished Jenny Wren and have gone straight onto The Curate's Wife which is very poignant so far.

Aug 19, 2015, 10:52am Top

>119 LyzzyBee: I really enjoyed Jenny Wren, and hope to get to The Curate's Wife soon too.

Aug 19, 2015, 1:20pm Top

I finished The Gipsy's Baby this morning. 4* Some really good short stories, especially the longer ones.

Aug 19, 2015, 1:47pm Top

I'm doing quite well for AV/AA this year; so far I've read:

The Children Who Lived in a Barn (a Persephone), A Compass Error and Fräulein Schmidt and Mr. Anstruther, and I have Troy Chimneys and Peking Picnic on the go.

Edited: Aug 19, 2015, 3:14pm Top

I've managed a few books this month - one Virago The Swan in the Evening and two Persephones The Children Who Lived in a Barn and The Woman Novelist - the latter was particularly brilliant and I'll link my review here when I finally get it done! I've read a lot of Women in Translation too.

Aug 20, 2015, 4:10am Top

Not a Virago book, but a Virago author - I re-read Colette's The Blue Lantern as part of Women in Translation month - review is here:


(If you like Colette, check out the video link at the end...)

Aug 20, 2015, 5:51am Top

>124 kaggsy: I loved that film, Karen.

Aug 20, 2015, 6:57am Top

>125 CDVicarage: Isn't it wonderful, Kerry? I wish I had a time machine.....

Aug 20, 2015, 3:07pm Top

Read beautiful hardback edition - a re-read of My COusin Rachel - wonderful !

Aug 21, 2015, 5:35pm Top

I finished a few books while in Maine last week. Two that I read for AV/AA were No Fond Return of Love: A Novel by Barbara Pym, and In the Mountains by Elizabeth von Arnim, which I mistakenly thought was a Virago. I've started Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym, and have a couple of Angela Thirkell's that I hope to finish before the end of the month.

Aug 22, 2015, 6:23am Top

oh >128 NanaCC: what lovely reads. I do so love Barbara Pym, and I loved In the Mountains.

I am continuing my AV/AA with the The Lying Days which I am two thirds of the way through, as a first novel it is truly remarkable.

Aug 22, 2015, 3:42pm Top

>128 NanaCC: Well, von Arnim is a Virago author, so I say you can count that one too! Some good reading there. I have a couple Thirkells waiting for me too.

Aug 23, 2015, 2:57pm Top

Aug 23, 2015, 3:34pm Top

Wonderful job people! I have only read two so you all are holding me up.

Aug 24, 2015, 1:44am Top

>131 LyzzyBee: Does this Jenny Wren have any similarities to the Jenny Wren in Our Mutual Friend? She was one of my favorite characters in that book.

Aug 24, 2015, 4:24am Top

> 133 I'm afraid I have NO IDEA. Someone else might know, though ...

Aug 24, 2015, 6:31am Top

I just finished a Virago biography, Lyndall Gordon's Vindication: A Life of Mary Wollstonecraft, 3½***. I may be comparing Gordon unfavorably to Juliet Barker and Jenny Uglow, but I've found her previous Bronte and T.S. Eliot biographies a bit superficial and this Wollstonecraft biography doesn't really change my mind about Gordon. Still, considering that I knew next to nothing about Wollstonecraft mère, this has proven a valuable read.

I've been simultaneously reading, just a bit so far, Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, a non-Virago (as far as I know), in the Norton Critical Edition. I'll probably continue and finish up with it while I simultaneously AV/AA-read Molly Keane's Devoted Ladies, of which I've just finished the first chapter.

>132 rainpebble: Don't feel bad. Vindication and Molly Keane's Young Entry are my only two AV/AA reads so far.

Aug 24, 2015, 3:23pm Top

>133 kac522: I would say No.

Aug 25, 2015, 2:11am Top

>133 kac522:

None at all. Quite the reverse. :)

Aug 25, 2015, 6:32pm Top

I finished The Lying Days which was amazing. Then read The Love Child which I also loved. Reviews in a few days.

I have now reviewed The Ha-Ha which I ended up thinking was excellent.


Aug 26, 2015, 4:04am Top

A Persephone, not a Virago, but I reviewed Diana Gardner's The Woman Novelist which is one of my favourite Persephones so far - loved it!


Aug 26, 2015, 4:17am Top

>140 kaggsy: oooh I have that tbr. So good to hear you liked it so much.

Edited: Aug 26, 2015, 6:10am Top

>141 Heaven-Ali: I really loved it, and I approached it with no preconceptions because I think I'd read an indifferent review somewhere. I think she twists what you expect at times and I like that!

Aug 26, 2015, 2:59pm Top

I decided to read something that was both VMC and Persephone (killing two birds with one stone) and the first one I came across was Maud Pember Reeves's Round About a Pound a Week. Very interesting. A lot of statistics with accompanying stories of pre-WW1 Lambeth residents subsisting on low incomes. I can't say it was a great book and yet I was gripped from page 1 by the sheer awfulness of people's lives back then.

But what struck me most about the stories was how close they were to my own 1950s British upbringing. When I tell people about my childhood I always quote that joke from Annie Hall - Such awful food! Yes! And such small portions! Plus my Dad got most of it. Men (the breadwinners) were fed the lion's share of the food, while the wife and kids made do with what was left. And of course there was the constant penny pinching and making do, the hours spent hand washing clothes, laying and lighting fires, washing at the kitchen sink (with a bath once a week, if you needed it or not :)) Bread and dripping (I LIKED bread and dripping), clean underpants once a week, going to bed in an unheated, freezing cold room.

I make a joke of it now but this book reminded me that it really was no laughing matter.

Aug 27, 2015, 2:20am Top

I loved that book, so fascinating yet so bleak.

I'm two stories in to Minnie's Room - Mollie Panter-Downes really is a short story writer extraordinaire, isn't she.

Edited: Aug 28, 2015, 9:21am Top

I decided to read There Were No Windows which Elaine highly recommended about a year ago. It's another Persephone. I am 88 pages into it and it is proving so good I wiki-ed the supposed subject - Violet Hunt - who in this book is in the early stages of dementia. Hunt was - in her time - considered 'a female rake'. Had affairs with all the usual suspects, including HG Wells, Ford Maddox Ford, and Somerset Maugham. (Wells! Again! What WAS it with Wells?!). This book, set in 1941, covers her last years as an unpleasant old lady being bullied by her unpleasant young caregiver.

Aug 28, 2015, 4:54pm Top

A Persephone added to my (short) list - Brook Evans https://librofulltime.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/book-review-brook-evans-persephone/ - I've also finished Minnie's Room but not published the review yet.

Edited: Aug 28, 2015, 11:40pm Top

I just loved my reread of Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. What a wonderful book.
Review here: https://www.librarything.com/work/4731

Aug 29, 2015, 2:34am Top

Just finished Molly Keane's 4½**** Devoted Ladies, which is so much better than Young Entry. I'm glad I read Young Entry first, though, because Keane pokes fun at it in Devoted Ladies and having read it increases the intertextual humor of Devoted Ladies.

Aug 30, 2015, 11:00am Top

Mollie Panter-Downes' Minnie's Room done now https://librofulltime.wordpress.com/2015/08/30/book-review-minnies-room-persephone/ and I'm on to Greenbanks. Not sure what my total is though!

Aug 30, 2015, 5:27pm Top

I finished my AV/AA reading with The Quest for Christa T. which is so complex and difficult to get a handle on but which I certainly appreciated for the exquiste writing. I am now reading The Mill on the Floss which I think I am right hasn't been ever published as a VMC so won't count.

>148 CurrerBell: I absolutely loved Devoted Ladies.

So my total for AV/AA is:

Twilight Sleep - Edith Wharton (on kindle)
The Ice House - Nina Bawden ( on kindle)
The Ha-Ha - Jennifer Dawson VMC
The Happy Tree - Rosalind Murray (Persephone)
The Lying Days - Nadine Gordimer VMC
The Love-child - Edith Olivier (Bello books edition)
The Quest for Christa T - Christa Wolf VMC

This list also means I have struck off three more books from the Seven Ages of Women list which I have sadly neglected. I do love AV/AA

Aug 30, 2015, 5:47pm Top

Just dropping in to say what a fabulous Virago August this was, and how delightful that we have a new member! A warm welcome to you, Christine/TheBookTrunk!

I've been keeping up with the celebration on the VMCReaders group on FB where I've been posting blog reviews as I come across them. Trying to get everyone's post up today and tomorrow - Liz, Ali and Christine, I posted a few of your reviews now. Will catch up over the next day!

Do any of our bloggers have Reading Weeks coming up? I seem to have morphed into an amateur Virago promoter so do let me know and I'll be happy to spread the word.

In the meantime, Happy August and yay for Autumn! 🌹

Aug 30, 2015, 9:32pm Top

>151 bleuroses: Happy August and yay for Autumn! Sounds like you're planning an All Virago / All Autumn ? ;-)

Aug 30, 2015, 9:37pm Top

>150 Heaven-Ali: I've still got in my TBR piles Molly Keane's Full House and Loving and Giving (which I've got in a non-VMC hardcover w/dj under the title Queen Lear).

Aug 31, 2015, 1:37am Top

August's not over yet! I'll post my list later when I've pulled it together. Not as "good" as last year, but I think I've read quite a lot in total this month, which is good.

Aug 31, 2015, 7:10am Top

I've only managed a few this month, having ended up with more Women in Translation. Will link eventually!

Aug 31, 2015, 7:24am Top

I've only read one Virago this month (The Edwardians), but all this talk of Devoted Ladies has inspired me to add it to my September reading list.

Aug 31, 2015, 7:55am Top

I am still reading - and the month isn't over till midnight!

Aug 31, 2015, 9:42am Top

Watching grandchildren this month really kept me from getting to all of the books I intended to read. I finished No Fond Return of Love: A Novel and Some Tame Gazelle by Barbara Pym, and August Folly by Angela Thirkell. I also read In the Mountains by Elizabeth von Arnim, thinking it was a Virago. It was lovely, so I am glad that I read it.

Aug 31, 2015, 10:05am Top

I don't think I'm going to get anything else finished this month so I declare 4 for AVAA:

The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Our Spoons Came From Woolworths by Barbara Comyns
Sisters by a River by Barbara Comyns
The Sugar House by Antonia White

I also started The Third Miss Symons by Flora MacDonald Mayor on my kindle but found it a little too bleak for my current mood.

Aug 31, 2015, 10:39am Top

What a wonderful way to end AVAA... although I didn't manage to read any, the mail has just brought South Riding and The Fountain Overflows, so I have good reading when I go on holiday next week. Thanks to CDVicarage for her generosity.

Aug 31, 2015, 3:46pm Top

I finished There Were No Windows is the nick of time! 4*. Too depressing to be a perfect book but I am very glad I read it.

Aug 31, 2015, 3:54pm Top

So here is my reading list for the month:

The Children who Lived in a Barn - Eleanor Graham
A Compass Error - Sybille Bedford
Summer Will Show - Sylvia Townsend Warner
Miss Ranskill Comes Home - Barbara Euphan Todd
The Gipsy's Baby - Rosamond Lehmann
Round About a Pound a Week - Maud Pember Reeves
There Were No Windows - Norah Hoult

7 in all. Some very nice books but nothing that captured my soul.

Sep 1, 2015, 3:21am Top

I've only managed three titles this month though I did rather better for translated women! some thoughts here:


Sep 1, 2015, 3:48am Top

Right, if you count Women's Press (surely we do), I did five in the end

Unbridled Spirits - Women's Press
Jenny Wren and The Curate's Wife - Virago
Brook Evans - Persephone
Minnie's Room - Persephone
I've also started Greenbanks - Persephone

Not too bad, I have read quite a lot of other books in the month, too. All reviews on my blog at the moment, will transfer them over one day http://www.librofulltime.wordpress.com

Sep 1, 2015, 5:09am Top

Well done Liz - I think most on here have done better than me! :)

Sep 3, 2015, 5:31pm Top

Well, I had wonderful intentions but I was distracted by work and life and only finished one Virago - Deborah - and one Persephone - Manja - both of which I loved. But I have a couple of green books in progress, a few more moved to the 'must read soon' pile, so AVAA will be informing my reading for a while yet.

Sep 3, 2015, 10:21pm Top

I turned awfully sleepy with the hot weather, but I finished....

Lyndall Gordon, Vindication: A Life of Mary Wollstonecraft 3½***
Molly Keane, Young Entry 2½**
Molly Keane, Devoted Ladies 4½****

....and I'm also going to claim credit for Molly Keane, Full House 4****, which I made a decent bit of progress on during the last couple days of August but just finished this evening.

Sep 4, 2015, 7:27am Top

>167 CurrerBell: I loved Full House. It was the first Keane I read. I'm looking forward to Devoted Ladies, and, based upon your rating, I should love it. I have it on the shelf.

Sep 4, 2015, 7:49am Top

After what I thought was a good start for AV/AA I only managed three (and one of those was a Persephone): The Children Who Lived in a Barn, A Compass Error and Fräulein Schmidt and Mr. Anstruther. I have one still on the go - Troy Chimneys - but it hasn't really grabbed me so far. But I can read Viragos during the rest of the year, too!

Sep 4, 2015, 11:49am Top

>168 NanaCC: If you have the time, you might want to read Young Entry first. It's not really that good (at least I don't think so), but Keane pokes fun at Young Entry in Devoted Ladies and you might better appreciate the humor if you know Young Entry first.

Sep 4, 2015, 12:09pm Top

I managed to finish The diviners before getting home from Canada on 1st September. SO that gives me a grand total of 2, with the volume of Pilgrimage that I read earlier in the month. Diviners was excellent in portraying the life of a woman who is something of an outsider. I can imagine how revolutionary this book must have been at the time of publication in featuring a heroine with an active sex drive. But this is just one part of who Morag is as a person, a writer, a parent. She is a fascinating individual and I liked how the story switches between her past and the present.

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