This will be my last post before next Tuesday as this weekend, as well as being Easter, is my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday party, an occasion significant enough to warrant a marquee and caterers. My husband’s siblings are arriving from Toronto and Brussels (and Sheffield) and about 40 of my mother-in-law’s local friends are expected. It will be very nice to catch up with all the family, but given that I am not a party animal, and consider the optimum socializing time to be about an hour and a half, I have to admit to some quiet apprehension. It’s not that I don’t love my family, only that I have trouble spending more than three hours in any noisy, sociable environment. Still, I have a plan to get me through the party itself. We’ve started a family news blog for my mother-in-law as a kind of present, and I was going to go round her friends at the party asking what memories they had of the first time they met her. I’ll post the responses up on the blog, which might later win me some quiet, relaxing time with a keyboard if I’m lucky. We’ll see how it all goes.
I’ve also got quite a reading project to sneak off with, should a tempting dark corner lure me into it. A little while ago I decided to bite the bullet and join the parents’ reading group that convenes at my son’s school. The choices for the meeting that takes place a bit later this month are Kate Summerscale’s The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, which I received for Christmas and have been looking forward to in any case, and Wilkie Collins’ No Name. It was surprising enough that a group should have two books to discuss, not just one. And then No Name arrived in the post yesterday and lo and behold, it is a monster chunkster, weighing in at 741 pages. So altogether, the members had assigned themselves over a thousand pages to read. ‘What are the people at your school on?’ I asked my son, who replied somewhat drily, ‘I’m glad to see they expect as much from the parents as they do the pupils.’ Anyway, knowing my time over the weekend would be restricted, I’ve made it through 169 pages so far, and it is at least a very good story and most enjoyable. British 19th century isn’t my favourite era, but Wilkie Collins knows how to reel the reader in and keep the pages turning. Before No Name jumped the queue, I was having a lovely time with Mary S. Lovell’s entertaining biography, The Mitford Girls, which was no slim volume itself (529 pages). So when I turn up with both of these it’s going to look less like I’m expecting a weekend party than a siege.
Finally, I conducted the draw for the book giveaway. People came up with completely brilliant suggestions and I was truly sorry I didn’t have a prize for everyone. I promise you, if I’d had more doubles of any kind, I’d have given out more prizes. Anyway, there were so many wonderful contenders that I was scrupulously correct in doing the draw (names on scraps of paper from which I chose with eyes shut, no penguins on this occasion) and the winners are: Verbivore, Pete and JB. People, if you could let me know a postal address to which you would like your books sent, by emailing me at litlove1 at yahoo dot co dot uk, that would be splendid.
Have a wonderful, peaceful Easter, my blogging friends, and I’ll be back next week with reviews of Francine Prose’s Blue Angel and Lloyd Jones’ Mister Pip.