Wednesday Notes

Mister Litlove is unwell, with the exact same throat bug that our son had a couple of weeks ago. He came down with it last Friday and still has a fever overnight, although he is getting better during the day which must surely mean he is improving. Poor Mister Litlove; he is the toughest and the strongest of us all generally, and so used to good health that he is a very unhappy bunny indeed when he loses it. I admit I feel very tired and empty-headed, after so many bad night’s sleep, and a lot of low-level fretting. I really don’t like the illnesses, I’d honestly rather we were poor than one of us was ill.

So, reading-wise it’s been comfort all the way lately. I did begin Orange longlisted On The Floor by Aifric Campbell, but it was a queasy sort of novel, about a young woman working in the overly-testosteroned environment of a trading bank and putting herself through all kinds of physical hell in order to stick with the pace and the competition. She was being tested beyond her limits when the novel began, because her relationship had just ended. It is most probably true that it’s relationship failures that bring women down, but I sort of wished that the story wasn’t about her relationships at all. The workplace in general remains masculine territory, banks displaying the worst features of it, and I’d be interested in a novel in which a woman does not have to ape masculinity to gain approval, but still enjoys her job and is good at it. To hold out against the prevailing culture in the workplace and make it a better, more ethical environment, now that’s a story that I’ve never heard told. But anyway, I am only a few chapters in to the Aifric Campbell novel and it was very powerful, so I shall return to it.

Fortunately, Simon, that sweetie from Stuck In A Book lent me his copy of Shirley Jackson’s Raising Demons, the second of her family life memoirs. Most people know Jackson from her short story ‘The Lottery’, or her literary horror-ish novels. But she also wrote about bringing up her four children and the stories she tells are just hilarious. She has a wickedly dry sense of humour and a lovely turn of phrase. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading that book these past few days.

I’m now reading The Attenbury Emeralds, written by Jill Paton Walsh but using Lord Peter Whimsey and Harriet Vane from the novels by Dorothy L. Sayers. Paton Walsh does a pretty good job of recreating the voices of Peter and Harriet and (she is a very experienced novelist) the story flows beautifully and effortlessly. It’s billed at Lord Peter’s first case,undertaken in 1921, but the time of recounting it is 1951 when Peter and Harriet have long been married. So Lord Peter is looking back to his vulnerable time after the war and the first social engagement of his slow rehabilitation. He is, as you might imagine, at a country house party celebrating the engagement of the family’s daughter, Charlotte, when the king-stone emerald from the family jewels goes missing and he finds himself drawn into the investigation. What’s a little odd is that this story is entirely recounted to Harriet by Lord Peter and Bunter. But I’m enjoying it so far for the well-wrought Golden Age atmosphere and an intriguing mystery.

I’ve also had a couple of new books arrive this week: our dear friend Lilian Nattel‘s bestselling new novel, Web of Angels, and the latest from Jude Morgan, The Secret Life of William Shakespeare. I hope to get to both very soon, as soon as I have a tad more brain capacity. And when Mister Litlove is better he will update my side bar for me, I’m sure.



30 thoughts on “Wednesday Notes

  1. First of all, I didn’t know there was a new Jude Morgan! This piece of news has pretty much made my day.

    I’ve been curious about Jill Paton Walsh’s Lord Peter/Harriet Vane novels for a long time, but at the same time reluctant to read them because I’m so attached to the characters’ voices as Dorothy Sayers wrote them. It’s wonderful to hear she recreates them well, though. I need to give her books a try sometime, because even if I don’t love them it would be much better to be a bit disappointed than to miss on something good out of fear.

    Lastly, I hope Mr Litlove gets well soon!

    • Nymeth, it is thanks to your reviews that I am looking forward very much to the Jude Morgan! I will certainly let you know what I make of it.

      As for the Jill Paton Walsh novels, I completely understand. She does a brilliant job of recreating Peter and Harriet and the relationship between them. What felt a little odd to me was the fact they have three sons, and that Bunter has also married and has a son who has grown up close to the Wimseys (Bunter disapproves, Peter Wimsey is all for it). I don’t know why but those sorts of things feel odd. But this is a very good mystery novel and worth a read for the story itself. I would love to know how a real Sayers fan finds it. And thank you for your kind words about Mr Litlove – he is finally on the mend!

  2. Gosh, you have been reading so much lately! I was not feeling well for the past two weeks, and it has been so hard for me to read much of anything when I get home from work. The Secret Life of William Shakespeare looks like an interesting book, but it will not be released in the States until September. I guess I will have to wait! I hope Mr. Litlove feels better soon.

    • Ali – you too? I’m so sorry to hear you haven’t been well! It feels like the entire past month has been swallowed up by this throat bug for us, and so hanging around reading has been all I’ve been able to do. Nothing taxing, though, only easy books. The Jude Morgan does look exciting, though, and I hope to get to that one soon.

      Do hope you are feeling better now!

  3. I absolutely adore those Shirley Jackson memoirs. (The first one, Life Among the Savages, is sheer brilliance as well.)

    I’ve never wanted to read those follow-ons by Jill Paton Walsh, but if you recommend them, I might.

    • Jenny – oh I love them so! Just such a hoot.

      I do quite understand the reluctance for the Jill Paton Walsh novels. I thought that she had really caught the relationship between Harriet and Lord Peter, but some of the other details (like the fact they have sons) jar oddly with me. It’s a really hard call as to whether you’d enjoy them or not. They are certainly not as dire as the vast majority of follow-on or spin-off novels, and the story itself was good. But…. they are not the originals. Perhaps you could flick through this one in the library and see what you feel.

  4. I really like the side bar but that’s the problem, it needs frequent updating when you are fast reader.
    I still haven’t read Lilian’s first novel although it sounded so good and I got it… Always the same.
    I’m very intrigued by “On the Floor”, I might even get it soon.

    • Mr Litlove can update it in a few minutes, now he has the hang of it – but although he told me how to do it once, I have completely forgotten and must ask him again. I would LOVE to know what you think of On The Floor. I’ve got back into it now and it is very intriguing, although not a likeable novel (that’s okay, it’s not a likeable topic).

  5. Glad that Mister Litlove is starting to recover – it must be a nasty bug to hit him so hard with his rowing and all that. Might try the Walsh and look forward to the account of the novel about Shakespeare. (i’ve just had to correct mysllf as I’d written “about the Shakespeare novel” – that would be a sensation!) Best wishes.

    • Oh your remark about a Shakespeare novel did make me laugh! You are a hoot, Bookboxed! Mister Litlove is only now really getting back to normal and of course I did catch it, but thankfully nowhere near as badly as the boys. Mr L thinks he has wisdom teeth coming through, which may be the cause of some of the disturbance. Anyway, I am hoping that the plague has passed through the house and I am now trying to catch up on some of my correspondence – more from me soon!

    • Thank you for your kind words! He is finally feeling more like himself again. And I’m really looking forward to the Jude Morgan – we move in the same circles! πŸ™‚

    • Of course I do! And oh I was so glad to have it last week as it was the exact right thing to be reading. Look for its return to you middle of next week, and thank you.

  6. First off, a quick get well wish to Mr. Litlove and hope you’re keeping well yourself. Thanks for the updates to these books. As for Lillian Nattel’s Web of Angels, Real glad for her. I see it in everywhere here in my city. I look forward to your review.

    • Arti, that really cheers my heart to think Lilian’s books is getting a lot of coverage. I hope to start it in a few days! And thank you for your kind words – I think we may finally be emerging from the shadow of the plague! πŸ™‚

  7. Good evening. My first book, Maybe Today, has been published by Tate Publishing and will be released this week. Maybe Today is about a Christian teenager whose family moves to a new county, for the third time in her life. New to yet another school, she is angry and resentful over having moved, but is determined to give it a fair shot. She is not given that opportunity. From the first day of ninth grade, she is sexually abused by her peers, in class and out. Despite her continued pleas, the teachers, administrators and her father turn a blind eye and a deaf ear, until two years later when things take a turn for the worse and she starts taking things into her own hands. Maybe Today is a story of strength, endurance, anger, fear, hate, faith, friendship and constant hope that, maybe today, it will all end. Maybe today, her classmates will stop condemning her for her anger, defensiveness, sarcasm, etc. toward her abusers and confront them. Maybe today, the adults in her life will acknowledge what’s happening and stop them.

    I am in the process of building interest before Maybe Today hits the market. Having read your review of On the Floor, I think you’ll appreciate the main character of Maybe Today, as well as one of my later books: Silent Night. If you’re able to review Maybe Today, I’ll send you the e-book. I look forward to your response.

    Thank you,

    • Mandy, alas I cannot read ebooks (no ereader and I don’t like novels on screen) but I will leave your message up here in case any of my readers would like to review your book for you. And the very best of luck with it – I hope you do really well.

  8. I hope Mr Litlove is all better soon and I was tickled to see my name in your post! I’m going to put the memoir on my list. It sounds like so much fun. But omg my list has got so long!!

    • Lilian – it’s lovely to know your book is doing so fantastically well. I hope to start it in a few days! And the Shirley Jackson memoirs are hilarious – definitely the exact right book to perk a person up. Oh and thank you for your kind words – I think Mr Litlove is finally on the mend!

  9. Best wishes and a speedy recovery to Mr Litlove! And I hope you feel better too, it’s horrible feeling like that.

    Then you can hurry up and finish The Secret Life of William Shakespeare and tell us about it!

    Helen πŸ˜‰

    • Ha! Too funny! I hope (fingers crossed, touching wood) that we can finally scrub the red cross off the front door and think that the plague has passed through…. Hopefully! And I am very much looking forward to the Jude Morgan – I will not delay in telling you all about it. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you so much for the tag! I’m really looking forward to doing this and I loved your answers. I don’t think I have any post that provokes anything like the discussion you had to suffer on your crusades movies post!!!

  10. Sorry to hear about Mr Litlove’s health, I hope you all can get rid of that nasty bug once and for all. I’d be glad to have a look at Shirley Jackson’s memoir, if only to see if writing horror stories was for her a release or escapist activity…?

    • Smithereens, I have a biography of her and it makes for fascinating reading. She wrote about whatever came to hand, and that was evidently her family. But also she was convinced she was a witch, interested in the satanic and the supernatural and prone to emotional breakdown. She was one extraordinary lady! And thank you for your kind words – I think we are finally getting through the illness – you know how they can stick around in a family!

  11. Guy, I’ve just looked it up – I’m sure there must be a very definite semantic message in the walking legs of a woman. She means business, right? So far in my reading of On The Floor, the heroine is struggling to keep up her image of competence and achievement, so I imagine it must be used ironically in this instance…. Well, I hope so. And thank you for coming by – I will come and visit you, too.

  12. I’ve only read one of Jude Morgan’s novels, but I liked it very much. I’m reading a Lord Peter novel at the moment–should probably read the real thing before I move on to a recreation–but I do want to read the book by Jill Paton Walsh and am glad to hear it is good. Not to be shallow but I do like the cover of it–even though once again the publisher has clipped the top of the woman’s head off! Hope everyone in your house is now well on the mend!

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