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.

Women Who Read Are Dangerous

Women Who Read Are Dangerous is a book which I bought at Stockbridge in Edinburgh a couple of months ago. Obviously in times past it was quite unusual for females to be educated, but to be fair a lot of men couldn’t read either. I’ve no doubt that there were plenty of the so called upper classes who thought it was a mistake to educate the masses. In this book there’s a selection of paintings, drawings and photographs of women reading. The artworks range from the Middle Ages, when teaching women to read was frowned upon by many men, to the present day. You would probably recognise quite a few of the paintings as some of the images appear on the sidebar of some blogs.

I was hoping that it was one of those books on Amazon which you can keek into to get a flavour of but unfortunatly it isn’t. I ‘m somewhat shocked at how expensive this book is online as I bought it for £2. The one below is of Katie Lewis by Sir Edward Burne-Jones
Katie Lewis

The Artist's sisters

Above is The Artist’s Sisters by Carl Christian Constantin Hansen

Peder Severin Kroyer rose Garden

Above is The Rose Garden by Peder Severin Kroyer

Jessie Marion King The Magic Grammar

I love Jessie Marion King’s work and the illustration above was created for the book called The Magic Grammar. King was a Scottish artist.

There are loads of lovely images in this book and as Marilyn Munro was apparently a very keen reader I thought I’d include the one below in this post. The version of the photo in the book is in colour.

Marilyn Munro

Apparently the book she is reading is Ulysses. According to the photographer Eve Arnold Marilyn was reading the book before she turned up for the photo shoot. She said it was hard work and she was reading it out loud to understand it better.