So. There are plenty of book blogs around, and this is just another one to add to the burgeoning collection. This one is a way for me to collect what I read throughout the year. I will readily admit that I have tried to do this before (much like writing a diary) and began with the best of intentions, only to abandon it not long after beginning it. However, much of my job is about books, and reviewing them. I’m ok-ish at reviewing things on social media, but I’m hoping this will encourage me to write a little more than just a few sentences about the things I read.
The name for this blog comes from one of my All Time Favourite books, The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett. I read it for the first time a very long time ago, in a thin Wordsworth classics edition (you know the ones, they’re about £2.50 each – they’re black now with slightly odd cover art but they used to have cool covers) and from then on, its been one I always come back to. The descriptions of the Yorkshire moors and the large, draughty Misselthwaite Manor seemed to light something inside of me – I read eagerly onwards as Colin was discovered and then the garden, watched it thrive under the hands of Dickon and Mary and be rediscovered by Mr. Craven. Something about the redemption of Mary and the way in which Mr. Craven found himself at peace at the end of the book – I loved all the different facets of each of the characters. From Mary’s selfishness at the beginning of the novel, Dickon and Martha’s no nonsense, so clearly Yorkshire attitude.
Starting as I mean to go on – I’ve got a few things on the go at the moment, they’re all pretty different as I like to try and read as widely as I can.
I shall begin with the one I have at my elbow at the moment Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield. The record of a housewife in the 1920s, I was expecting it to be something of a dry classic, but instead I found an unbridled amusement within its pages – originally published in the 1930s, there is still something so fresh and modern about our narrator – she is eminently relatable (“Feel that life is wholly unendurable, and decide to buy a new hat” – replace hat with book, and you’ve got me to a tee). It reminds me somewhat of The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford. There is that similar sort of dry humour. I’m not too far into this one, but its one that is nice to dip in and out of as its a diary and not a novel of continuous prose.
Alongside this, I’m also flicking through Monty Python Speaks! – a look at the creation of Monty Python and their flying circus among other things. They’re one of my favourite comedy troupes and this is a fab look at their most famous creations, but it also looks at the way they worked together and its cool to get a behind the scenes glimpse of what went in to the sketches and films that so many of us know so well.
The one book I’ve decided to focus on this month however, is Things in Jars by Jess Kidd. I’m not too far through it yet, but I absolutely adore it! It has all the things I love in a good book – a historical setting, a mystery, and lots of kickass characters (and some funny ones too). The book follows Bridie Devine a most excellent lady detective in 1800s London. She must solve the kidnapping of Christabel, a child most unlike any other, with some help from a few supernatural pals. Along the way, she meets fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and even more crooked showmen. It’s an absolutely top adventure of a book, and Bridie is fabulous. The prose in this novel is gorgeous, so many sentences have made me pause and reread, better to appreciate them. There are hints sprinkled through the novel that there is something in her past that she is trying to escape, but we never quite find out what that is. I’m certainly hoping for a sequel!
I’m hoping too that I manage to keep atop this blog – so here’s to my next post in the not too distant future!