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On My Book Table…7 – modest ambitions!

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After the excitement of all the reading and sharing from the #1920Club I was as usual a bit uncertain as to what I wanted to read next. I went for some Golden Age crime of various sorts, but then I decided it was time to have a bit of a reshuffle of the book table to see if I could focus on books I fancied tackling in the immediate future. Plus, a few new titles have made it through the blockades so I thought I would share those too! So here we go…

First up, let’s take a look at the contents of the Book Basket. Some of these are the same as when I last  shared this on social media – the Nairn and the two Huysmans are still WIPs. However, another sneaky little Notting Hill Editions hardback has crept in, in the form of Roland Barthes’ “Mourning Diary” – yes, another addition to my growing Barthes pile! That’s a recent arrival, as is the Dickinson volume. I’ve had a skinny Faber selected volume of her poems since my teens but I’ve been hankering after a complete edition for some time now. When I saw this one available for a reasonable price I snapped it up – ideal for dipping!

Chunksters! Let’s have some big books! All of these have been hanging around waiting for me to notice them for some time now; the Mollie Panter-Downes “London War Notes” volume is a beautiful Persephone I picked up some time back when they had a special offer. It seems like it would be apt reading for these times. The Chateaubriand is a lovely review copy from NYRB (I need to catch up….) and what I’ve read so far has been fascinating. And Carlyle’s “French Revolution” jumped back into my line of sight recently when I read the marvellous Persephone Jane Carlyle book. All would be wonderful to sink into for hours…

Then we have a few random titles which happen to appeal, mostly unearthed after a recent reshuffle. The Colette is one I’ve intended to reread for ages, but somehow never get to despite it being the perfect recent read for 1920… The Bachelard is a more recent acquisition and one which my radar picked up again recently (you might understand why next week). And “I Burn Paris” had been started a couple of times; it’s a beautiful hardback Twisted Spoon edition and although the subject matter is perhaps going to be a little triggery in these pandemic times, I do want to get to it sooner rather than later.

Last but not least, some recent arrivals. Needless to say, because of Outside Circumstances, the books making their way into the Ramblings have reduced in number – no browsing in charity shops nowadays, alas. But I *am* acquiring the odd one or two! The NYRBs are review copies – thank you! – and I’m very excited about these, particularly the Malaparte. “The Yellow Sofa” was one I read about on Tony’s Book Blog and I loved the sound of it (and it’s slim…). “Paris Then and Now” is pretty pictures of the place – ’nuff said. And the Mansfield is a most lovely first edition of her “Novels and Novelists” collection of reviews which I snagged at a Very Reasonable Price online. Last, but definitely not least, “People, Places, Things” is a collection of Elizabeth Bowen’s essays. This is a scholarly publication – but why her non-fiction isn’t more widely available is a mystery to me as I love her writing.

So there you have it. Plenty of reading available for this strange lockdown world in which we find ourselves. As I write this, I’m just coming to the end of another wonderful and comforting Golden Age crime read from the British Library Crime Classics series; so where I go next is anyone’s guess… ;D

#1920Club – the ones that got away! ;D

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Phew! Well, that was an interesting and varied week of reading. Thanks *so* much to everyone who joined in – it’s been a particularly wonderful Club and I think 1920 was a great year to choose. So many unexpected books turn out to have been published in the year and it’s been fascinating reading everyone’s posts and comments!

I’m very happy with the books I read for 1920, but inevitably I ran out of time and didn’t read all I wanted to. So here is a pile of the books I have on hand and *could* have read, but which got away…

pile of books flowers james joyce colette cheri 1920 club reading

As you can see, there are some chunky books as well as slim ones, and lovely choices. I regret not getting back to either Mansfield or Colette, as I’ve been keen to revisit both. Hesse is an old favourite too, and “Wandering” was appealing right now, though may well have triggered claustrophobia…

“Ulysses” is more of a long-term goal, so I didn’t really intend to tackle that one this week, tbh. Likewise, the Lawrence might be a good place for me to try to start with his work, but it didn’t feel this was the right moment. The Fitzgerald and Carswell are books I haven’t read (though I’ve read other books by both of them and loved them). Again, not enough time…

So those are the possible reads which got away. Maybe I’ll catch up with at least one of them later on this year. However, as I said, I’m very happy with what I read as I chose some favourite authors and also managed to get back into reading Proust! I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading along with Simon and myself, and do share links to any posts I’ve missed on the 1920 Club page here – I’ll try to gather up any links I’ve missed over the next few days.

As for which year we choose for our next Club in six months’ time? Watch this space…. ;D

#1920club – looking at some previous reads

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As is traditional during our Club reading weeks, I plan to take a look back at some previous reads from 1920. However, unlike before, I’m struggling to find any books from that year which I’ve actually covered on the Ramblings! (Mind you, the blog is not that well indexed…) Looking through lists from that year, I’ve identified several past reads, and here they are:

books and flowers colette hungry hears katherine mansfield bliss #1920club

Colette’s “Cheri” (seen here in two different editions, both of which include “The Last of Cheri”) is a book I read back in the day and have been determined to revisit at a number of points but always failed – I don’t know why, but because of the size of the book in which I’m currently involved, I think the same thing may happen again this time.

Katherine Mansfield’s “Bliss” is again a collection I read in my twenties; Mansfield is a marvellous author, and I loved the dramatised version of her life which I was lucky enough to receive as a gift. Another writer I should go back and re-read…

There are two volumes by Hermann Hesse in the pile – “Klingsor’s Last Summer” and “Wandering”. I read tons of Hesse in my twenties, and *presume* I read these as they’re in my collection. But alas, I can’t actually be sure! The covers are – well, very dated…

And finally in the picture is “Hungry Hearts” by Anzia Yezierska. I *know* I’ve read this collection of short stories, tales of a Polish-Jewish immigrant in turn of the 20th century New York, and I remember being very affected by them. I have a Penguin Modern Classic edition, though the book was also a Virago. I was pleased to find I still had this one in the stacks!

Not pictured, alas, is a wonderful book I’ve read and loved but don’t seem to have a copy of any more (which is a shame). I refer of course to “Queen Lucia” by E.F. Benson, the first in his magnificent Mapp and Lucia sequence. I owned and read all six books back in my twenties, and was obsessed with the wonderful Channel 4 adaptation. Alas, they’ve gone AWOL somewhere down the years – but I can recommend them to anyone, and I believe they can be got in omnibus editions at a rather reasonable price.

So – that’s some of my previous reads for 1920. Do share what you’ve read in the past or are reading now – there are some varied and wonderful books from the year and I’m looking forward to hearing what everyone is discovering and enjoying! 😀

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