Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times

Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times which is hosted by Judith, Reader in the Wilderness is supposed to be on a Friday – I’m late – or early whichever way you want to take it!

The books I’ve chosen to highlight this week are all as yet unread by me and are from a small bookcase in our guest bedroom. I’m not sure if any guests would want to read these ones, but it also houses a lot of Patricia Wentworth books so it’s an eclectic mix.

Everyman's Castle cover

I’m interested in houses, homes and architecture in general and when I saw this book called Everyman’s Castle with a dream of an art deco house on the cover, Crittal windows and all, I had to buy it. This book must have been donated to an Oxfam bookshop almost as soon as it was published, it cost me all of £2.99 although the publisher’s price was £20. Despite pouncing on it in the shop – it has remained unread by me for the last five years. The author is Philippa Lewis and it looks like it contains a lot of social history as well as references to different sorts of homes, actual and fictional. I really must get around to reading it.

The Pursuit of Paradise cover

The Pursuit of Paradise by Jane Brown is subtitled A Social History of Gardens and Gardening. This is a fairly hefty tome which could be why I haven’t got around to reading it, but flicking through now I can see why I bought it. It’s an interesting collection of all things gardening related, featuring just about every type of garden you can think of and including a ‘military garden’ which is a type that I’ve never heard of before. Apart from that there are lots of illustrations such as a plan of the gardens of the 1951 Festival of Britain, some colour plates of art works and gardens, and lots of history.

Women Who Read Are Dangerous cover

Lastly Women Who Read Are Dangerous by Karen Joy Fowler (author of The Jane Austen Book Club) is according to the New York Times Book Review…. A Treasure Trove of Visual Riches. The blurb says: Artists through the ages have been fascinated by the challenge of capturing in their work the intimacy and tranquility of reading. There was a time however when female literacy was a controversial idea, and it took many centuries before women were entirely free to chose what they read, whether for instruction or pleasure.

This is a lovely book full of paintings, drawings and photographs of women reading, including artworks from Vermeer, Manet, Whistler, Hopper, Fragonard, Larsson and many more, each accompanied by a short article on the image and the artist.

I’m really enjoying doing these posts as they’re re-acquainting me with books that I expected to read soon after buying them, but never did. Already I’ve read a few of the ones that I highlighted in previous ‘Insane’ blogposts. Thanks Judith.

6 thoughts on “Bookshelf Travelling for Insane Times

  1. I must track down a copy of Women Who Read Are Dangerous, it sounds like just the sort of book I would love!

  2. My husband reads a lot of social history and is interested in architecture so he might like Everyman’s Castle. The other two books sound interesting as well, especially Women Who Read are Dangerous. Just the title is wonderful.

  3. Thanks to you, Katrina.
    I am discovering the very same fact. I have books malingering on the shelves that are incredibly fascinating, and there they sit, neglected. I had no idea when we started this Bookshelf Traveling meme that anything like this would happen. But so it did. I’d love to prowl through Women Who Read Are Dangerous. And the one about gardens fascinates me as well.

    • Judith,
      I suppose all book lovers are the same – our eyes are far too big for our reading time, hopefully we get around to them all sometime. But I do remember that when I was told that my Gran had died, I was 11 I think – and I worried that she might have died half-way through a book!

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