Thursday, October 13, 2016

1947 Book Club

I had reading plans for this week but they've been stymied by a nasty chest infection which totally wiped me out, and destroyed my ability to concentrate on anything very much. I can only imagine how much fun I've been to be around.

It's vexing not to have read something specially (Chatterton Square had been waiting for this, but there's no chance I'll get to it in time now) but I can at least link back to books previously read.

First up is Dorothy B. Hughes' In A Lonely Place which is a fantastically atmospheric bit of noir by a mistress of the art . It seems I was full of a bug and a total misery the night I wrote about that too. Never mind, the book is brilliant.

Second is T. H. White's Mistress Masham's Repose which was unexpectedly joyful, Kate Macdonald has written an excellent piece about it for the 1947 club. The copy I read has gone back to its owner and now I'm thinking I need to get my own, and also read more White.

And last for tonight the book of my favourite film, Compton Mackenzie's Whisky Galore. It's a wonderful book, funny and affectionate - a classic for a reason, and one that I can't recommend highly enough.


  1. I hope that you are getting better; you've had that chest thing for a very long time now and I hope that you are getting competent medical advice and treatment. Also, try building up your immune system! Good books, hot lemon tea and sit peacefully somewhere and read!

    Whiskey Galore is brilliant (so are some of his other books) and so is Mistress Masham's Repose.

    Take it easy for awhile! Look at knitting pattern books. Plan the Christmas cake cooking. Drink Lemsip (I wish we could get it over here!)

  2. Thank you! I'm feeling much better just now, but it was a horrible bug that lingered far to long. I'm hoping that'll be me for the rest of the winter now.

  3. In A Lonely Place is one of those books that sticks in the mind so much -- really creepy, and such atmospheric descriptions of L.A. (And I hope you are feeling much better by now!)

  4. Only a moment ago did I discover this post.
    Deciding to read more T.H. White is a capital New Year resolution.
    At the start of 2016 I chanced on an ex-public library copy of The Godstone and the Blackymor (1954) which turned out to be a first edition.
    Only second-hand bookshops can come up with such surprises.
    In the same shop, Voltaire and Rousseau, I found a first edition of stories by A.E. Coppard with a letter inside signed by Mr Coppard only a year before his death.
    The Godstone is Timothy White's account of hunting and fishing in Ireland, but he follows up a mystery about times past in the green isle.
    It has all his relish of life outdoors (as well as White's fears and demons) to be found in his better known work, England Have My Bones.
    The latter appeared in paperback more than a generation ago, along with White's collected tales, The Maharajah and Other Stories.
    The Goshawk was reissued in the New York Review of Books imprint though the Penguin version pops up in Oxfam shops.
    I read Sylvia Townsend Warner's biography of White in 1968 and have since acquired two hardback copies of her book as well as two Oxford paperback editions.
    Later I became acquainted with S.T. Townsend's delightful novels such as Mr Fortune's Maggot, The Flint Anchor, and Summer Will Show - the latter is set in the time of the French Revolution and is the kind of story you remember for its women characters.
    The writer of Lady into Fox (I have forgotten his name) describes visiting Tim in his home on the Isle of White and watching his huge black tomcat jump up on to the table and eat from White's plate.
    This always reminds me of Elizabeth Blackadder's wonderful print of a giant black tomcat, almost like White's daemon.
    Sylvia Warner knew her friend Tim White with all his flaws and virtues. This makes her biography of White come to life like one of her eccentric novels.
    His correspondence, Letters to a Friend is full of his passions and discords. The life of a true solitary.
    His letters show his delight in Thomas Malory's Morte d'Arthur. (John Steinbeck's love of Malory comes to the fore in the happy year he spent in Somerset.)
    There is a short BBC documentary on T..H. White narrated by Robert Robinson and available on the BBC's internet service.
    Julie Andrews had a cottage on the Isle of White and found Tim to be a kind and gregarious neighbour.
    The solitary bachelor delighted in her company.
    J Haggerty