Well a week has passed with no mishaps, no illnesses, no pulled muscles so I am hoping that all is now well and that I can put the last couple of months behind me. Dosing myself up with vitamins etc so that I do not come down with anything else now that the winter is nearly upon us though the weather at the moment is lovely.
I have had quite a few books arrived and have started some serious reading one more now that my mind is not feeling like a wet flannel. So here we go.
The Uncommercial Traveller - Charles Dickens. A series of sketches, mostly set in London, which he wrote when he was in the middle of Great Expectations and Our Mutual Friend (how he managed all this I do not know). They are set in the Liverpool docks, a workhouse, theatre and a school for poor children. I have just started reading this and the first The Shipwreck tells the story of the ship, the Royal Charter which went down with at least five hundred lives on the shores of Wales. Dickens concentrates on the efforts and care taken by the local clergyman who spent weeks and months writing to relatives of the deceased trying to bring them comfort in their grief.
"I had heard of that clergyman as having buried many scores of the shipwrecked people, of his having opened his house and heart to their agonised friends, of his having used a most sweet and patient diligence for weeks and weeks in the performance of the forlornest offices that Man can render to his kind"
The responses and letters he received from the families were many and all full of love and thanks for the task he had undertaken and, being Dickens, he manages to bring a lump to the throat and, in this case, avoids bathos. I read this late one night and am keeping this by my bed to dip into it. It is not a book to be read through in one fell swoop. Published by OUP and, as ever, with this publishing house, a beautifully produced book which is a joy to own. Publication date 8 October 2015.
Two simply delightfully illustrated mini-biographies of Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf which I have had sitting on my to be read shelves for a couple of months. My apologies to the publishers for my slowness in writing about these charming little books. Neither of these books are particularly long but each page has a fact about Jane/Virginia and all accompanied by a gorgeous painted illustration. Really rather gorgeous and, as I am not particularly knowledgeable about Ms Woolf, this helped tremendously in imparting some information on this author. The author is Zena Alkayat and the illustrator is Nina Cosford and, with apologies for mentioning the C word, these would make perfect Christmas presents. I see that there is also a guide to Tea and Cake in London by the same author so that is going on my list.
Pemberley Shades by D A Bonavia-Hunt. Another in the canon of sequels to Pride and Prejudice. Published by Source Books, whose books are always a pleasure to have and to hold, this is a reprint of the first edition published in 1914. So this is a very early sequel indeed, only being beaten by Old Friends and New Fancies also published by Sourcebooks, and well worth the read. When Mr Darcy hires a new rector for Pemberley the recommended applicant turns out to be so bizarre and not at all what they were expecting that suspicions are aroused. Is he an impostor and what is he out to gain? Nearly finished this and thoroughly enjoying it.
A few more I am starting but this is enough to be going on with. I have some catching up to do.