Bookshelf Travelling – September the 12th

It’s Bookshelf Travelling in Insane Times again, taken over from Judith at Reader in the Wilderness. How quickly it comes around!

Books Again

The bookcase this week is situated in our guest bedroom, there are three bookcases in there so if you’re ever visiting you’ll have plenty to choose from.

The shelf in the photo begins with a few Helen Dunmore books. I really like her writing, it’s such a shame that she is no longer with us.

I went through a W. Somerset Maugham phase when I was in my late teens and the two red volumes contain nine of his novels. Liza of Lambeth, Cakes and Ale, Theatre, The Moon and Sixpence and The Narrow Corner are in volume one. I have no recollection of Theatre or The Narrow Corner and I suspect I haven’t read those ones. Have you read them by any chance?

A.A. Milne is of course best known for Winnie the Pooh but he also wrote for adults – not that adults can’t enjoy Winnie the Pooh. His book Two People is a searingly perceptive account of a marriage between two people who come to realise they have little common ground. You can read my thoughts on it here.

Then there are a few books by various Mitfords. There’s something annoyingly fascinating about those sisters. I think that the youngest Deborah was the best of them all – but I would say that wouldn’t I – being the youngest myself.

Are you bookshelf travelling this week? Other travellers are:
A Son of the Rock

Bitter Tea and Mystery

Staircase Wit

10 thoughts on “Bookshelf Travelling – September the 12th

  1. I am imagining myself on a time travel to your guest room bookcase, to peruse some of these titles in detail. I’m so intrigued that you had a Maugham fascination in your late teens. I certainly had mine, many of which I’ve already told you. So I’m most interested in yours. Was there something in particular that interested you at that time, do you remember? Those late teen years are so important.
    And truly, I haven’t read anything by any of the Mitfords, other than learning that one of the sisters had a crush on Hitler in the mid-1930s.
    But Helen Dunmore–how I’ve loved every book I’ve read by her, and I still have more to read.
    I love this bookshelf, and what I love most is that I can really see all the titles on Flickr?? So wonderful. Thank you!!

    • Judith,
      When I was at school I read a Maugham short story called The Verger and that started me off reading him. I also went on a Thomas Hardy binge around that time, I loved his books despite them being dark.
      The youngest Mitford – Deborah became the Duchess of Devonshire and turned Chatsworth into a big commercial success, but she seems genuinely to have been a decent person. Unity, the Nazi one was the strangest. Having a Hardy and Maugham interest in my teenage years was so much more sensible than the Nazis!
      I’m glad you could see the titles clearly.

      • Ah! I will look for Maugham’s The Verger. I have several of his novels in the house, but haven’t read them yet. My reading has been definitely off. I’ve been going for comfort reads only, and that diet is insufficient for a healthy, stimulated brain. But I just can’t tolerate what is happening all around us. Politics, catastrophic wildfires in the West, Covid and Ken’s being immuno-compromised, and thus in danger from Covid, you know the drill! I’m sure your family has loads of its own difficulties. And the thoughts and concerns about a new grandchild on the way!
        On a lighter topic, how is your weather?
        Our September started out much warmer than normal, but it seems we’re about to get much chillier. Still I love this month, as you and I both know.

        • Judith,
          I watch a bit of CNN every day so I can keep up with what’s going on over your way, it all looks very scary. I hope it isn’t too awful where you are.
          Our weather is now quite autumnal, some trees are beginning to change colour. So far September hasn’t been as wet as it was in July and August. Our weather is truly crazy but nothing like as bad as yours – and still POTUS denies there’s a problem!

  2. Judith is right; it is fun to be able to click on the books to peruse. I think I own at least one book by Dunmore but am not sure where; clearly I should find it.

    You and I both have that Evelyn Waugh bio – funny we both featured it the same day! I have only read one book of his besides Brideshead but figured the bio would be interesting.

    My mother is a big Pamela Frankau fan. I remember she gave me A Wreath for the Enemy to read once when the libraries were all closed, maybe because of a blizzard.

    • Constance,
      Waugh wrote various types of books. I put him close to the Mitfords as they were friends – of a sort – Waugh was a terrific snob so liked to hobnob with the likes of them. Some of his books are really funny, the ones that feature Lady Metroland such as Decline and Fall. So far I’ve only read The Willow Cabin by Pamela Frankau and enjoyed it.

  3. I see you have “Those Fragile Years” by Rose Franken.
    I first came across her “Claudia and David” when I was 15, buying a paperback edition from a jumble sale. Snapped up “Claudia” when I saw it years later and then was thrilled to find an omnibus edition of all the “Claudia” books.
    Would recommend reading the books in order if you can.
    Gifted author, memorable writing, I know bits of the books by heart.

    • Valerie,
      I was looking for Pamela Frankau books when I saw Rose Franken and thought I would give her a go , but haven’t got around to reading any. I’ll have to look for her books on the internet as you love them so much, I don’t think her books end up in secondhand bookshops often, not that there are many of them left now.

  4. I would love to visit the books in your guest bedroom. I haven’t read anything by Helen Dunmore, although I know I have read posts (here and elsewhere) about her books. I will have to look into her more.

    Haven’t read W Somerset Maugham either, although would be willing to try his books. I have read The Red House Mystery by A.A. Milne, and enjoyed it very much. I suppose I read some Winnie the Pooh when my son was young.

    I am interested in the Mitfords but that is as far as it has gotten so far. I have The Pursuit of Love by Nancy on my TBR pile and I think my husband gave me a book about the sisters, but it is buried somewhere, so I don’t even know who the author is.

    I have read two books by Graham Greene, The Comedians and This Gun for Hire (also know as A Gun for Sale) and I want to read more of his books.

    I have recently made a commitment not to add any more books to my TBR for a good while. I don’t know how long that will last, but that means I will wait a while to try new (to me) authors.

    • tracybham,
      I also have Patricia Wentworth books in that room as well as Evelyn Anthony and Helen MacInnes, you would enjoy yourself!
      I haven’t read either of the Graham Greene books that you mention.
      Every now and again I ban myself from buying books or going to the library. My TBR piles have really diminished during the lockdown, but the libraries have opened again – and I’ve just requested eight books.

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