Birthday books

I was lucky enough to be given a copy of The Gathering Night by Margaret Elphinstone for my birthday. This photograph of me reading it in our garden makes me look a bit weird I think, worryingly my husband thinks I look normal in it.

I was also given The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale which is about a true murder mystery which took place in 1860 and inspired Wilkie Collins and other writers.

Last but not least is a lovely book, Plants in Garden History by Penelope Hobhouse. It’s beautifully illustrated if you like plants, flowers and garden plans.

I can’t resist visiting second-hand bookshops which are quite thin on the ground in this area but when I was in St Andrews I bought myself:

Hungry Hill by Daphne du Maurier as I am trying to read all of hers.

Moonfleet by J.Meade Falkner. It’s a classic tale of mystery and adventure in a Dorset smuggling village. For some reason I love smuggling tales.

The Best of Saki (Hector Hugh Munro) who was killed in the trenches in the First World War. It’s a book of short stories.

Last but not least School for Love by Olivia Manning. I’ve been meaning to read more of her books. I read and loved The Balkan Trilogy and The Levant Trilogy. The BBC serialised The Balkan Trilogy as The Fortunes of War in 1987 starring Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh. I think anyone interested in WW2 would love these books.

I was given lots of DVDs by Duncan and I was especially pleased to get The Shipping News. I read the book recently and was so immersed in it that I really missed it when it was finished, so now I can revisit the story via the film. It’s too soon for a re-read.

So, as you can see I was a very lucky birthday girl and that TBR pile just keeps growing.

6 thoughts on “Birthday books

  1. Happy Birthday! I’ll be 52 in November, so I’m just a bit older than you 🙂

    >worryingly my husband thinks I look normal in it

    I understand the worry…

    Hungry Hill is on my shelf–I’ve got a very long term goal to read all of Daphne du Maurier, but I would wager you’ll finish before I do.

    I haven’t heard of The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, but it sounds like something I would like.

    Enjoy your book haul and your summer.

    • Thanks Jane, I hadn’t realised that there are so many du Mauriers that I haven’t read. My TBR pile gets bigger every week so I’m putting no bets on.
      At least we seem to be having a bit of a summer this year, which is a shock to the system!

  2. I love Saki! I even started reading some of the stories to my daughter who is 13. She especially liked the ones with naughty children. And I found Mr. Whicher to be very interesting.

    Which du Mauriers have you liked so far? I love Rebecca but was very disappointed by Jamaica Inn. Loved her short stories also.

    • Rebecca is my ‘comfort’ book and I’ve lost count of how many times that I’ve read it. I love the vintage film too, with Olivier. The TV adaptation was good to, was it the BBC? I remember enjoying Jamaica Inn, I think that was the first one which I read when I was 11 or so but I haven’t read it for years so it can’t be so special. I just finished Not Before Midnight (short stories) a few days ago.

      I think that it’s great that your daughter is into Saki!
      Thanks for the comments.

  3. I hope you’ll enjoy The Gathering Night as much as I did. It seems to me that hunter-gatherer societies may have had a healthier lifestyle than the later agricultural cultures. The vast variety of the foods the “Don’t Tell Me I’ve Already Forgotten the Name of the Tribe or Group the Book is About” eats. It seems they lived much, much closer to Nature and the Earth than agricultural societies.

    • I’m about half way through now and really enjoying it. I think you mean the Auk People, but I’ll have forgotten the name next week! It does seem like a good idea to move out and let the animals clean up the ground every so often. I’m wondering when they started domesticating pigs because they would have been able to take pigs with them when they moved, and they could have used everything but the oink.

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