After writing about the excitement of a night of tv about books to come on Saturday, the blindingly obvious thing that I didn’t really mention was the idea of giving away a million books for World Book Night. I applied really early to become a book giver, thanks to a post by http://www.dovegreyreader.co.uk/ first alerting me to the idea. I was duly accepted to give away Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.
It’s a wonderful book, with so many plot twist and turns as well as an excellent set of characters. I really enjoyed it when I read it years ago, probably the best of the Victorian -novel -written -in -modern -day genre. (although The Crimson Petal and the White was very impressive). It is one of the few books that actually startled me by a plot twist while drawing my interest and sympathy to the characters. More about this book to come. I am intending to give my set of books away to the groups I belong to and some individuals who seem very interested (Daughter, flatmate and friends) rather than complete strangers, but they will go with instructions to be given away further to people who will enjoy them as well.
Despite what Husband may think, I do give away or lend out books. Maybe because the piles of books around the house don’t seem to shrink. In fact, sometimes the house feels a bit like a library. There have been times when I have asked for books back, which may explain why I try to remember where they have gone! It’s usually because I have been told to read a book for a group, and begrudge buying another copy. My Daughter is usually the recipient, so I know where to start asking. She even got Persephone book the other day because I found it in Oxfam and thought that it needed a good home.
Daughter doesn’t get to borrow any of my main set of Persephone books as they are quite literally a matched set. Son Two suggested that I mention my collection occasionally and I’ve been reminded how much I enjoyed No.9, Few Eggs and No Oranges: The Diaries of Vere Hodgson 1940-45.
This is probably the biggest of the Persephone classics, being the wartime of diaries of a woman working for a charity in London. It is the current book on the Persephone Forum and is quite an unusual book among all the novels. It is a faithful, honest and detailed record of what it was really like, and unlike many books of wartime diaries, some which I have mentioned here, the length and depth really demonstrate the character of the writer as well as just the events. It is a fascinating contrast to the Nella Last diaries that I have posted about, if only because they have not been edited by a stranger but merely sorted out for publication by Hodgson herself. They are so realistic, describing things like the mind numbing exhaustion of dozens of nights when sleep was disturbed. If you are a fan of wartime diaries, or Persephone books, or just an accurate record of an exciting period of history, it represents a very worthwhile investment. My Daughter will have to buy her own!