Read, Reading, To Read – Sunday Salon

I’ve just finished reading Exit Lines by Reginald Hill, a Dalziel and Pascoe novel – my post to follow. I’m almost up-to-date with reviews of books I’ve read recently, just Exit Lines and Molly Fox’s Birthday by Deirdre Madden to do.

As usual when I’ve finished one book I’m not sure what to read next. I’m still reading Eden’s Outcasts: the story of  Louisa May Alcott and Her Father and have yet to get going again on The Matchmaker of Kenmare by Frank Delaney, but I fancy reading something different.

I go to a face-to-face book group and the next book we’ll be discussing is Climbing the Bookshelves by Shirley Williams. I think I’ll start reading it soon. I know very little about her, other than the bare facts that she was a member of the Labour party for years before becoming one of the founders of the Social Democratic Party, one of the ‘Gang of Four’. I particularly like the title of this autobiography, which came about as she and her brother liked challenges; one challenge being her

parents’ bookcases which ran from floor to ceiling like climbing-frames, with the added zest of forbidden books on the top shelf. Soon after I could read, I sneaked Havelock Ellis and Marie Stopes from that top shelf. I had learned from my brother that these were naughty books. They turned out to be very boring, but I was amazed by one illustration, a blurred spot underneath which was written: ‘This photograph of a human egg is several times life-size’. (page 3)

Although we’re not meeting until the last week in April I think I’d better start reading this soon as autobiographies/biographies take me longer to read than novels.

But I’d like to fit in something else as well. I have now built up quite a lot of books and samples on my Kindle and having watched some of the My Life in Books programmes last week I’m quite keen to read some of the books mentioned – such as Black Beauty, Crime and Punishment, The Moonstone, Treasure Island and Nicholas Nickleby, all of which I have at my fingertips. As usual, my wishes run away with me – so many books and not enough time to read all of them. And my reading time has been reduced recently as I have started to go to an art group. Painting, even though I’m terrible at it or maybe because I’m so inexperienced and lacking in talent, is just as time-consuming as reading – but it is so very enjoyable.

13 thoughts on “Read, Reading, To Read – Sunday Salon”

  1. Margaret – I think it’s wonderful that you’re exploring painting. Very creative! I hope you’ll share ‘photos of your work :-). And those books look interesting, too 🙂

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  2. Interesting post Margaret, Shirley Williams book is going on my tbr list. I hope we will see some of your masterpieces from the Art class soon.

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  3. One obscure fact about Shirley Williams is that she is the daughter of Vera Brittain, a famous campaigner in and after the First World War – author of a famous trilogy of diaries Testament of Youth and two others (Experience and I forget the title of the third). These diaries are a fascinating account of her pacifism (which came about when she lost her fiance, beloved brother and her brother’s two best friends) in WW1. She was one of the founders of the (unsuccessful) League of Nations. These diaries are wonderful books, I did so much enjoy reading them in my 20s.

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  4. I’ve enjoyed your post today and hope to see some results of your paintings soon. I hope you enjoy your new book and your painting. I’ve posted a review of The Kitchen House today and would love for you to stop by and check it out.

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  5. Thanks for your comments. I’m not sure about posting photos of my ‘paintings’! Maybe later on …

    Maxine, I didn’t know Vera Brittain was Shirley Williams’s mother until I looked at this book. It’ll be interesting to read about their relationship. I have to admit that I’ve never read anything by Vera Brittain – I really should.

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      1. Have you read Kate Summerscale’s ‘The Suspicions of Mr Whicher’? ‘The Mooonstone’ has so many similarities and is really illuminated if you know about the real life case that came before?

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  6. The Shirley Williams book sounds really intriguing…I’ll be watching for your review.

    Have fun with the painting…I’m definitely not good at it, but I wish I had been. Several of my family members have that talent…not I!

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