As I’m not writing at the moment, there’s a chance to catch up on reading, and the upcoming holiday means a break from the usual routine – shopwashcooktellysleep – and some lazy days ahead in which to do nothing but enjoy other people’s writing.
I love the Persephone Books list – they republish forgotten 20th century gems, many by women writers. The writing is generally so precise, so literate – and so redolent of times past, some of which I just about remember from my childhood in the 1950s. At the moment I’m reading Noel Streatfield’s The Saplings. She’s famous for children’s books, notably Ballet Shoes, but she writes wonderfully for adults too.
Next up for the holiday, another Persephone: a short story collection by Mollie Panter-Downes. Better known for her regular column, Letters From London, for the New York Times during WW2, she evokes the atmosphere of the Blitz-torn capital in much of her other writing so I’m really looking forward to her short stories, Good Evening, Mrs Craven.
Fiona at Pitshanger Bookshop recommended All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, this year’s Pulitzer Prize-winner Looks interesting, and there’s even a WW2 dimension – my obsession and inspiration. Judging by the swoony reviews (which can’t always be trusted) it promises to be a page-turner. And, for light relief, a Susan Hill crime yarn, The Various Haunts of Men, the first in her Simon Serrailler series. It’s set in a fictional small cathedral city, so I shall imagine that it’s Chichester, a small cathedral city on England’s south coast which I know very well.
Happy Christmas! Or to my American readers, Happy Holidays! Keep writing – and reading – and see you next year.