callmemadam (callmemadam) wrote,

March reading

Rescue in Ravensdale by Esmé Cartmell (1946)
Winifred Avon by Mabel Marlowe (1920)
The End House by Freda C Bond ((1943
A School Goes to Scotland by Marjorie Cleves (1944)
Small Steps by Louis Sachar (2006)
The Dominant Fifth by Jessie McAlpine(1930)
Breton Holiday & Breton Adventure by Jane Shaw (1939)
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler (2004
Passions Past & Present by Roy Strong (2005)
The Discovery of Damaris by Amy le Feuvre (1920?) published as a serial in the GOA.
A House for Five by Pamela Mansbridge (1956)
Sara Sat-upon at School by Marjory Royce & Celia Damon (1927)
Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction by Sue Townsend (2004) 
The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith
Candyfloss by Jacqueline Wilson (2006)
A Girl in Springtime by Mrs Henry Mansergh aka Mrs Vaizey (1897) 
and I finished The Pillars of the House by Charlotte M Yonge

Juvenile first read of the month was definitely Rescue in Ravensdale, which several other people on the Girlsown mailing list have also been reading and enjoying for the first time. I also liked The End House, which is a Gwendoline Courtney-ish story about a large family living in reduced circumstances after the father dies young.
Of the school stories I read, I shall be keeping The Dominant Fifth, which was very amusing. A Girl in Springtime is also partly a school story. It is very slight compared with Mrs V’s later books. I'm now reading The Independence of Claire, which is much better.
Small Steps: the title has unfortunate connotations of Fly Lady, to me. Louis Sachar certainly can write and make you keep reading but this book lacks the weirdness of Holes. Jacqueline Wilson’s latest is not one of her best, IMO. And why have the publishers started making her books so big? The recent two don’t match the rest and take up a lot of space.
The Jane Austen Book Club: a wasted opportunity. This could have been a good book. Roy Strong: you love him or hate him and I dote.
Kalahari Typing School: I now only have one in this series to read. Radio 4’s Dead Ringers did a very unkind parody of the books. OK, they are slow, but the style reflects the way of life, and what’s wrong with books about good people? Does anyone else find that, reading about the gentle pace of life in Botswana, they actually read more slowly? Possibly, reading these books lowers the heart rate, in which case they should be prescribed as medicine.

I’ve spent nearly two months reading the two fat volumes of The Pillars of the House as a bedtime book. I had to stop reading it in bed when I saw that the end was going to be distressing. In fact, Chapter XLVII of Vol II is just about the most harrowing thing I have ever read in my whole life. Charlotte M Yonge was a genius storyteller. When I’d finished, I read the very first chapter all over again and the description of the crowd of little Underwoods sitting on the stairs and the account of what Felix did with his birthday present sets out the whole pattern of the long story to come. I really need to chat about this book but I’m still rather shattered by it.

I must up my reading rate as I have bought far too many books this month but I don’t sell them until I’ve read them. Will I ever be up to date?
Tags: books

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