What I’m Reading

Unusually for me I have no books that I can write about, this is what happens when you get stuck into the knitting season instead of reading – and when you choose to read Miss Marjoribanks by Margaret Oliphant. This one has been waiting for me to pick it up for years. It’s a Virago and has quite small print and 495 pages, but I only have 80 to go and I’m very much enjoying it. Just in case you don’t know, the Scottish surname Marjoribanks is pronounced Marchbanks. This one has been on my Classics Club list since I joined years and years ago, and I’m now on my second list of classics.

I have still been buying books, unsurprisingly and have recently added these ones to the piles:

Recently Purchased Books

The Rendezvous and other stories by Daphne du Maurier
The Reason Why by Cecil Woodham-Smith (about the Charge of the Light Brigade)
The Double Image by Helen MacInnes
The African Queen by C.S. Forester (I could act the film myself, but if it’s on TV I find myself watching it again).
Midwinter Nightingale by Joan Aiken
Scotland’s Hidden History by Ian Armit (featuring standing stones and more)

From that place that I’m not supposed to be visiting – the library, I have:

Rosie Scenes from a vanished life by Rose Tremain
The Marches by Rory Stewart
They are both blogpal recommendations, and lastly
Le Testament Francais by Andrei Makine

That last one will count towards the Reading Europe Challenge. Have you read any of these books?

9 thoughts on “What I’m Reading

  1. Hi Katrina,
    I read The Reason Why when I was fifteen, in the tenth grade, in my Modern European History class. I was most interested in Smith’s chapters about the Great Irish Famine, 1845-1851. I know he devoted another entire book to that alone, but there was loads about it in The Reason Why as well. I found the Charge of the Light Brigade info more difficult to relate to, though I read every word.
    Now I will tax your memory. It seems to me that there was a film, starring Terrence Stamp, The Charge of the Light Brigade. Did you ever see film or hear of it? I know I saw it, because it came out at the same time that we read this book in class and I have a few indelible memories of Stamp in that film. It came out in the late 1960s. What a blast from the past!
    I’m totally intrigued by the Joan Aiken title. Will look that up! Thanks. Also would love to read more and more Daphne Du Maurier.

    • Judith,
      Confusingly, Cecil Woodham-Smith was actually a woman and regarded herself as being Irish. I only learned this recently when reading Alan Bennett as he mentioned that he spoke to her a lot in the British Library or some such place.
      Yes I definitely have seen the film of The Charge of the Light Brigade back in the 60s and probably again in the 80s.
      I’ll have to watch it again next time it’s on to see how historically accurate it is.

      • Whoa, Katrina!
        How fascinating that Woodham-Smith was a woman! I do believe that there are some historians that don’t know that, because I’ve recently (this fall) been studying “An Grota Mor,” The Great Famine. I did a tremendous amount of study on it in the mid 1990s when I was writing a novel about a young Irish immigrant girl to America (I probably enjoyed the research more than the nerve-wracking aspects of novel-writing.) But then, now in 2019, I’ve been studying extensively again recently revised historiography of the Great Famine. And I swear, that lots of male historians don’t know that Woodham Smith is a woman. How interesting indeed! I could wax on about this topic, but I will sign off by saying thanks so much for letting me know!

        • Judith,
          I’m presuming that like the Bronte sisters she thought that having a male name would mean that she would be taken more seriously – sadly female authors are still having to do that, with J.K. Rowling writing under initials and the name Robert Galbraith. I’m glad I was able to give you that info! I’m sure I would enjoy the research far more than the writing too.

  2. I looked up Miss Marjoribanks by Margaret Oliphant and it sounds very good. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it. If I were to read it I would hope to find a copy with larger print.

  3. I read The Double Image by Helen MacInnes a few years ago and remember really enjoying it. I’ve not read any of the others but Miss Marjoribanks sounds delightful!

  4. Ian Armit is my favourite writer on Scottish prehistory and my copy of Scotland’s Hidden History is very well thumbed! I always check it out before visiting prehistoric sites.
    I hadn’t heard of Miss Marjoribanks – must see if it’s in my local library.

    • Sulewath,
      I’ve never read anything by him, but this one seems so interesting and we’ll be trying to visit the many locations mentioned in it that we haven’t managed to get to yet. We managed to see most of the Orkney sites when we were there a couple of years ago. Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment.

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