I’m so incredibly excited about Persephone Reading Week that I think I’ll need to take the week off work to celebrate it properly.

That was a temptation when I first heard about the event, and I started thinking “themes” and then spotted a collection of films about wartime England at my favourite rental spot and that seems to cinch the deal: what I want in do in Persephone Week won’t leave room for 9-5 toiling.

To begin with, the amount that I want to read is a bit overwhelming, even though I’ve pared it down from “the entire Persephone backlist” to a handful of titles of Second World War fiction, diaries and letters.

My initial instinct was to choose “quintessentially Persephone reads”, which according to my narrow, personal definition is all-things-Stevenson-Watson-Whipple-ish, but I realized that my bookmarks have been too-long-stuck in Vere Hodgson’s Few Eggs and No Oranges and Mollie Panter-Downes’ Good Evening, Mrs. Craven and I do want to make things right with them before moving on once more.

Is it ever a good time to read stories of pain and loss? Perhaps not. (And I have a history of resisting.) It’s hard to read them in inclement weather because it seems to add to the gloom, and it’s hard to read them on the most brilliant days because at last the heart is light and you fully want to enjoy that state.

But, setting that ongoing conflict aside, many of my favourite books have scenes that are harsh and sobering, filled with cruelty and sorrow, and I need to, at least as a reader, soldier on. (Sorry.)

So I’m planning to refresh and continue with Vere Hodgson’s diaries and Mollie Panter-Downes wartime stories and will finish them in Persephone Week, hopefully along with some others.

If you have any suggestions of Persephones that would fit with this mini-theme for Persephone Week, they’re always welcome.