Not that a stack of Persephones and a stack of lemon cakes aren’t enjoyable in and of themselves.
But there’s something about knowing that there are similar stacks of books and stacks of sweets at hand for other readers. That, just as you’re turning the pages of Persephones, others are turning the pages in their Persephones too.
My Persephone reading last year was on a theme:
Vere Hodgson’s Few Eggs and No Oranges: 1940-45 Persephone No. 9 (1999);
Mathilde Wolff-Monckeberg’s On the Other Side: Letters to My Children: From Germany 1940-1946 Persephone No. 75 (2007);
Mollie Panter-Downes’ Good Evening, Mrs. Craven: The Wartime Stories Persephone No. 8 (1999);
Etty Hillesum’s An Interrupted Life: 1941-1943 Persephone No. 4 (1999); and
Duff Cooper’s Operation Heartbreak Persephone No. 51 (1950).
But my Persephone reading this year was decidedly not. On Saturday morning, I still hadn’t decided which Persephones I would read this weekend.
I had a small stack, and I was fairly sure of the one that I left visible on top, but I ended up reading in other Persephone directions. I dabbled in three (some short stories, a novel, and one non-fiction volume) and just couldn’t settle in. (Shan’t call them out here because it was entirely my fault and I’m sure I’ll enjoy them more on another go.)
But it was Isobel English’s Every Eye and Agnes Jekyll’s Kitchen Essays (I’m on page 147 of Persephone No. 30) that won me over. And, also, Claire and Verity for being such attentive and enthusiastic hosts!
If Persephone didn’t focus on unjustly neglected classics, they would be publishing Alice Munro. Although it is the title of one of her most widely known works, her oeuvre also could be titled Lives of Girls and Women. Which is also the subject matter of much of Persephone’s catalogue.
For those of you who really do want to try Alice Munro, but haven’t yet, this would be a great place to start.
It’s a popular pick for high school and university students and it’s also been popular on banned books lists since it was first published in 1971.
Inspired by Freedom to Read Week? Join in next week!
Beginning on March 9th, Lives of Girls and Women:
The Flats Road; Heirs of the Living Body MAR9
Princess Ida; Age of Faith MAR16
Changes and Ceremonies; Lives of Girls and Women MAR23
Baptizing; Epilogue: The Photographer MAR30
And here’s a recap of the 2011 Alice Munro reading so far, Dance of the Happy Shades:
Walker Brothers Cowboy; The Shining Houses; Images JAN19
Thanks for the ride; The Office; An Ounce of Cure (above) JAN26
The Time of Death; Day of the Butterfly; Boys and Girls FEB 16
Postcard; Red Dress – 1946; Sunday Afternoon FEB23
A Trip to the Coast; The Peace of Utrecht; Dance of the Happy Shades MAR2
Persephone Weekend brought February to a satisfying conclusion. And anticipating Alice Munro’s classic makes March look as tasty as a plate filled with lemon cakes.
What stood out for you, book-wise, in February?
What are you particularly looking forward to reading (or continuing to read) in March?