Saturday, February 21, 2009

Persephone Books: Happy Birthday to Me!

I just received my annual order of Persephone books, and I'm so excited to dig in! But no, let's just gaze at them awhile first, because they are so gorgeous....

Okay, now on to the decriptions of this year's books. (Make sure to admire the lovely, unique endpapers for each of the books when you click on the links.)

~ No. 3: Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple
Every year, I order one starting at the beginning of their list, and as this is my third year, I ordered #3. It's the story of "an ordinary family... struck by disaster when the husband, in a moment of weak, mid-life vanity, runs off with a French girl," and the Spectator calls it "A very good novel indeed about the fragility and also the tenacity of love." I've never read any Dorothy Whipple, and I look forward to this one.

~ No. 16: Saplings by Noel Streatfeild
I should someday read Ballet Shoes by this author. For now, I'm going to try one of her books for adults. This novel is about children being separated from their families during World War II in Britain, something that was necessary in many cases for physical survival, but psychologically had many consequences. In the afterward, Dr. Jeremy Holmes says Streatfeild's "supreme gift was her ability to see the world from a child's perspective" and "she shows that children can remain serene in the midst of terrible events as long as they are handled with love and openness."

~ No. 38: Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey
This one sounds like a lot of fun: "A brilliant, bittersweet upstairs-downstairs comedy." (Shena Mackay, The Guardian) It is about a wedding, of course, but perhaps not a cheerful one. The soon-to-be bride knows she is about to make a big mistake.

~ No. 81: Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson
This is one of the newest Persephone publications, and it looks delightful. Miss Buncle is an single woman (hence the "miss") who writes a novel based on the village she lives in. She does this for practical reasons: she needs to earn some money. I can imagine the hijinks that might ensue... Her granddaughter says Stevenson's books are "a soothing balm." Lovely.

And now, the big question: Which one should I read first?


Michelle said...

Happy Birthday to you again, Caryl!

What pretty things these Persephone books are! Thanks for putting up the photo to make me droool!

My vote is to read either "Someone at a Distance" or "Cheerful Weather for a Wedding' first. Let us know which you choose!

Caryl said...

I will probably go for Cheerful Weather, if only because it's the shortest. For some reason, it appeals to me for March reading, too. I must make it a goal to read several of my Persephones this year. They are lovely, to look at and to read!