It's not often that I can see the point of e-readers but just sometimes I'm prepared to admit that they might not be totally useless to me (I fully accept that they're very useful to other people, they just don't generally meet my reading needs). The romantic journals of Jean Lucey Pratt - the notable woman in question - which cover 60 years of her life, and even in this edited form run to over 700 pages are the exception that prove the rule.
I've been trying to read this book since December, it's moving, funny, insightful, absorbing, and compelling. It's also a bit to big to put in my bag and cart around. I could really do with a mild illness that would keep me off work for long enough to read it (I could bare another attack of shingles) because as it is I'm only reading it in fits and starts and it's a book that deserves rather more.
With the 1938 club in mind, and as encouragement to work out a reading strategy (which would probably be to stop knitting) for Jean I thought I'd read my way through the 1938 entries, and as these only cover a few pages I started in 1935 and read on (which made me want to read back, get into Jean's world and it's hard to leave).
These are eventful years, Jean is in her mid 20's, keeps developing crushes on inappropriate men, decides to move out of home due to friction with her step mother, loses her father, finishes a book, lives in Malta for 10 months, sees a therapist, hopes that war is not coming, has an article accepted by the Architectural Review. There is also the small matter of King Edward's abdication, and a visit to Germany and Austria in 1936.
Jean had private means, about £200 a year if I remember correctly, and which if the inflation calculator I found is accurate equates to about £12600 in today's money. That's not going to fund a lavish lifestyle but it gives her the luxury of time to follow her writing ambitions in these years. Thanks to these journals we also get a window into her life, and through it all sorts of insights into the past (amongst other things).
I can't recommend 'A Notable Woman' highly enough. It's a wonderful book and one day I'll report back properly about it.