William’s controlling mother dies suddenly, and his new freedom finds him swept into the world of pre-war socialism. Finding love as well as dogmatically-parroted views in fellow campaigner Griselda, they marry and embark on a lonely, isolated honeymoon in Belgium. When they emerge three weeks later to the local village war has begun, and they encounter soldiers and the brutal reality of war in ways that shatter their previous reality.
It took me a long time to get round to reading this book. I bought it from Persephone Books, and was excited about the concept; the design, the ethos. Rescuing the forgotten, important novels of history written by women. I chose to buy this one, the first selected by Persephone, the first published and neatly labelled No.1 on the back. But something held me back from reading it until now, and my instinct was right. I’m pretty sure it if would be better if this particular book had remained buried by history.
Until I started a blog and started getting books for free all the time, there was NOTHING like getting a new book for Christmas. The possibility contained within the pages, the whole world waiting for me to discover, the few hours of enjoyment promised to me. Oh the possibility in a wrapped parcel that looks book shaped!
Oh the disappointment if it was something else!
Anyway. Here’s some recommendations for all of you trying to decide what to buy your book loving friends this Christmas:
As usual I’ve read a lot of books this year, but there are three that clearly stand out from the crowd. These are the ones to buy your friends for Christmas, that are worth getting in physical form and that I would love to talk about with you. If you’re looking for a book to buy, look no further!
For my generation, experience is everything. Perhaps it’s a product of the digital age, where so much is at our fingertips, but intangible. Perhaps it’s a product of our desperation to display what an amazing life we’re having on instagram. Perhaps it’s a product of our comparative wealth and being able to own things easily. It’s probably a mix of all these things and more, but the fact remains. Experience is King. We want to be somewhere, to hear something, feel, taste or see something ourselves. And that is why books aren’t going anywhere.
The battle for libraries is on! Obviously, I think they’re magical, excellent, exciting and necessary places (see my joy when I registered to my local library) and I really hope that they don’t disappear.
Two of my very favourite authors (unsurprisingly) agree, and have written wonderful pieces in their defence in The Guardian. They’re really interesting referring to reading in general, the imagination and the writing process as well. Read them below:
If I go to someone else’s house the thing I’m going to be most interested in is the bookshelf. It was always a disappointment to me when the bookshelves in stately homes were furnished with fakes – or multiple encyclopaedia volumes. Books say so much about a person, and I’m super nosy.
So, this is what I’m looking for:
Persephone Press publish brilliant out of print books by female authors in history with class and style. Their shop was a delight to explore, and I can easily see myself building a collection of these beautiful books!