15 November 2014

Shopping, Seminars, Streatfeild, and Stella...

Sliding from one season into another can be such a time grabber.  The garden has been sorted and put to sleep, the pots brought in and hauled into the basement, warmer clothes and boots bought, snow tires installed, investigation on how mittens and gloves end up solitary rather than in a pair is closed.  My friend, Kara, gave me a box of spider traps for the basement and now I'm afraid to check them.  The good news though is that aside from the mundane, some really nice things have been going on as well.


Jill Downie presented a seminar this past Thursday evening about the German occupation of the island of Guernsey.  It was so well attended at the library that she kindly offered up a second night for a repeat performance.  Jill's talk largely consisted of readings from two wartime diaries; the wording carefully veiled as, in many cases, the Germans were billeted with citizens in their homes.  The fear of saying anything against the enemy in black and white meant a fair bit of reading between the lines later on.  I was surprised most by the level of starvation and just assumed that since there was land there would at least be crops but Guernsey's inhabitants were as restricted as if they were in prison.  Germans were patrolling the coast and even laid mines in the water making it too risky to even attempt fishing.  Although, not only did a few fishermen with boats escape by sailing away there were a few cases when a German soldier would flee with them.  With approximately 7,000 officers occupying the small island it was inevitable there would be love affairs but Jill could not find evidence of women having their heads shaved as did occur in other cases of collaboration or dalliances during the war.  With this new perspective my copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is calling.


Audrey's review of The Ladies of Lyndon during Margaret Kennedy Reading Week made me want to own a copy of the book.  Oh sure, I could have simply placed an order for the reissued edition but the hunt is part of the fun so I was thrilled to finally find the black Virago in a second-hand shop.  While in the rafters of the shop on the sliding library ladder I spied a vintage-looking cover and found another gem.  Beyond the Vicarage is the third book in a trilogy by Streatfeild but if I were to stumble on any single copy, this would be the one for me.  Telling Kara about my finds I admitted to a very unfeminine, although discreet, fist-pump after discovering something special; apparently she performs a full-blown dance.  Anyone else want to share?

The Persephone Biannually arrived recently and resulted in doing, in part, exactly what it's supposed to do.  I went through the list of titles like a child with the Christmas catalogue...have it, want it, need it!  A copy of Tell It to a Stranger by Elizabeth Berridge should be arriving any day now.  I'm planning a trip to London for Spring and will no doubt bring back a few more titles in my luggage.  Which segues nicely....at a service recognition event earlier this month I was recognized for my twenty-five years as a circulation clerk at the library.  I chose a hard shell carry-on piece as my gift and look forward to wheeling it through Heathrow!

And finally, just finished The Rich House by Stella Gibbons last night and will be sharing my thoughts in a day or two.  Just a snippet....I loved it!

17 comments:

  1. I can't tell you how outraged I was when I discovered the first spider in my new bathroom, Darlene. I had convinced myself that they wouldn't have the cheek!

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  2. Hahaha...oh, they do! And to squish is to sully...

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  3. For me, it's a loud unladylike gasp (as in 'Whoa, I'm on Darlene's blog!!'). I'm so glad you found the book in the best possible way. (And this is kind of embarrassing, but I never knew that occupation had really happened until I read something about it that I thought was fiction... the talk must have been fascinating.)

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    1. So much of the focus in reporting or documentaries about the war is on London and the Blitz, isn't it. It was fascinating to learn about another community that was so impacted. Apparently the island is riddled with tunnels and the odd shed or garage is known to have collapsed into them! I could go on...and I'm sure you are mentioned on all sorts of blogs, Audrey!

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  4. Oh, and congratulations on your anniversary! That's very impressive and the library is very lucky. :)

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  5. Oh, I had the copy of Beyond the Vicarage, and while I much enjoyed it, I decided I couldn't keep everything. (I wonder if you bought my old copy. I can't remember where I sent it.)

    Now, if this comment posting works, we can say Yay! It worked! (And if it doesn't, you won't see this. :^))

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    1. This is great news, Susan! I was wondering if you changed browsers? but no matter, as long as we can 'talk'. My copy is jacketed so at first I thought it was an old library copy but there are no stamps or pockets...hmmm. I found it at Ten Editions and you should have seen the cloud of dust fly when I blew on the top of the pages! Perhaps the lovely woman who is at the shop reading her book all day should get out a duster every now and then.

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    2. I didn't change browsers, but I see that your "Select Profile" dropdown list now includes Name/URL, which works quite nicely.

      Silent no more....

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  6. I can't wait to read your review of the Stella Gibbons book. And how exciting about your spring trip to London! The lecture at the library sounded wonderful!

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    1. The museums, bookshops, and galleries in London are a must but your travels around the coast and countryside really make me wish that I could take more time to venture further. But, perhaps one of these days we'll be in London at the same time and can meet for tea and shop for a book or two!

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  7. Congratulations on your 25 years & on finding the Streatfeild. I read the trilogy many years ago but borrowed them from the library so don't own copies. Why doesn't someone reprint them?

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    1. Thanks very much, Lyn, it seems like yesterday and I have met so many wonderful people who have become like family.
      There is such an interest in books from this era so let's hope a publisher gets around to this collection at some point. I, for one, can not wait for Persephone to reissue Mollie Panter-Downes 'London War Notes'!

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  8. Congrats on your exciting find, Darlene. Haven't gotten around to Streatfeild's Vicarage books yet. Love the Berridge book and the Gibbons--can't wait to read your thoughts on them.

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    1. So many books and never enough time for them all! When I was trying to decided about Berridge's book I picked up my copy of Persephone's short story collection and sure enough, there she was. I didn't have to read more than a paragraph to know she was for me. Glad to hear you loved the book - that's recommendation enough for me.

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  9. That's the Persephone I just bought!

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