14 January 2018

Waiting for Spring...and three new books!


The sun is showing itself a little more lately but Spring is still too far away for my liking.  I'm putting off this morning's walk with Kip in the hope it will warm up a few degrees.  It's -17C, which stings a bit, so the length of time to layer up is usually longer than the walk itself.  So while we wait....a few new books.

The Illustrated Letters of Virginia Woolf - Selected and introduced by Frances Spalding, bought while in Toronto recently to visit two exhibits at the Royal Ontario Museum.  The Vikings and Dior exhibits are fascinating and couldn't be more stimulating in asking you to switch gears in such opposing interests.  If you can, do visit!  I digress....this illustrated book of letters is beautifully put together, featuring letters to family and friends.  Some of which I'm familiar with, and some I am not.  A very enticing way to learn more about key figures in Virginia Woolf's life and twentieth-century literary circles.

London Garden by Roger Fry

And nearly every page includes a sketch, photograph, or painting.  Duncan Grant's mother learned to cross stitch so she could transfer some of his designs into textiles.  One scene, a view from a window, must have taken ages so it's fair to say that his mother was a firm supporter of his craft.

Lytton Strachey by Vanella Bell (1912)

Naturally, works by Vanessa Bell feature as well, including some of her cover designs for Virginia's novels.

This book would thrill anyone interested in Virginia Woolf, the Bloomsbury Group or literary London, so a perfect gift for someone special or a nice addition to your own collection.

Two other additions I'm very happy about are Stella Gibbons' final novel The Yellow Houses and Henry Green's Concluding.  My plan is to head straight into the latter book once I've finished the Cazalet series, it sounds irresistible and Green considered it his finest work.

'...set in a single summer day - has at its heart old Mr. Rock, a famous retired scientist: he lives in a cottage on the grounds of a girls boarding school.  Living with him are Elizabeth, his somewhat unstrung granddaughter; his white cat, Alice; his white goose, Ted; and his white pig, Daisy.  Miss Edge and Miss Baker - the harpies who run the school - scheme to dislodge him from the cottage.  It is the day of the school's annual Founder's Ball, but when two schoolgirls vanish, chaos and confusion ensue: no one is able to agree on what to do.  The day unfolds in flashes and jumps - searches, a love affair, worries, small joys, that magnificent pig, deep longings, the dance, old dreams, and low ambitions all crowd together...'

When a synopsis brings a smile to your face by the end of the first sentence, there's nothing else to do but reach for your wallet.

Now it's time for that walk......

8 comments:

  1. I bought the illustrated letters as soon as I heard about it ... but that synopsis? Off to look for Concluding right now. Hope things warm up soon - for you and for me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Doesn't it sound like just the story to perk us up through January blahs? Stay warm, Audrey...and good luck with your book search!

      Delete
  2. What a lovely book - I covet it madly. And so happy to hear you are going to read Concluding - I love Henry Green and loved this novel. Look forward to your review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have you to thank for leading me to Henry Green, Harriet. Your review of Loving was my gateway and then I went on to read Back, also an excellent read. Hopefully you can find a copy of the VW book - it's both beautiful and informative.

      Delete
  3. Is that robin migrating to cold climates?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Silly little fellow! I'm sure he's plotting the route back to London...

      Delete
  4. What a lovely book that I definitely don't need, but also do need...

    ReplyDelete
  5. I would expect no other response, Simon! There's been a few times when I've remembered what you said last October - that reading books and looking for books are two completely different things. It's usually as I walk into a bookshop when I have no real need to be there other than for sheer pleasure.

    ReplyDelete