After the Sunday Papers #8: Persephones and Jane Austen

I had a nice surprise this week when I discovered part of my review of Good Evening, Mrs Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes had been quoted in the Readers’ Comments section of the Persephone Biannually Autumn and Winter 2010 magazine.

I’ve enjoyed all four of the Persephones I’ve read so far, and would appreciate any recommendations for which ones I should read next.

The Persephones I’ve already read are:

The Victorian Chaise-longue by Marghanita Laski
Good Evening, Mrs Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes
Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd
Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day by Winifred Watson

Have you read any Persephone books? Which books or authors would you recommend?

Jane Austen

I came across this article yesterday about Jane Austen. Apparently Austen’s manuscripts show that she made spelling mistakes, had trouble with the ‘i before e’ rule and wrote in a regional accent. Although I’m not a big Jane Austen fan or an expert on her background, I think the article is a bit harsh considering the standard of education that was available to girls in those days and also the fact that written English didn’t necessarily follow the same rules then as it does today. What do you think?

Currently reading

I’m still working my way through the stories in The Haunted Hotel & Other Stories by Wilkie Collins which as you might expect, is proving to be a perfect Halloween read! This will be my seventh book for the RIP challenge, which means the only book on my original challenge list that I haven’t read yet is Frankenstein. I don’t think I’ll have time to fit that one in before the end of the month, so I’ll have to either read it after Halloween or leave it until next year.

I’m also reading a book that I requested from Netgalley, called The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon. It’s the true story of a woman living in Taliban-era Afghanistan who started her own business to support herself and her younger sisters, and is one of the most inspirational stories I’ve ever read.

What are you reading this week?

16 thoughts on “After the Sunday Papers #8: Persephones and Jane Austen

  1. Karenlibrarian says:

    I LOVED Miss Buncle’s Book! If you’re looking for a fun, charming read something like Miss Pettigrew. I’ve read nine Persephones so far, and it’s one of my favorites. I also just finished The Home Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. Definitely a more serious read, but I enjoyed it also. I just wish it was easier to get them here in the U.S. — so far I’m working my way through the list based on what I can get through inter-library loan, which can be a challenge.

    • Helen says:

      I think I would probably enjoy Miss Buncle’s Book based on the reviews I’ve read. I haven’t heard much about The Home Maker but I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    • Helen says:

      The great thing about Persephone books is that there are so many to choose from, covering such a lot of different subjects, so you should be able to find something that appeals to you!

  2. Claire (Paperback Reader) says:

    Congratulations on the biannually quote! I noticed the quote.

    I’ve read a good few Persephone Books & my favourite so far are Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski, Still Missing by Beth Gutcheon, Lady Rose & Mrs Memmary and Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple; reviews of the first three can be found on my blog.

    I will be announcing this year’s Persephone Secret Santa early this week if you are interested in participating.

    • Helen says:

      I do have an unread copy of Little Boy Lost so I’m glad to see you’ve mentioned it as one of your favourites!

      The Secret Santa is something I’d be interested in but I’m trying to decide if I can afford it.

  3. Charlie says:

    Congratulations on the quote!

    The information you included on Austen works – if she’d written in this time, as you say. I think we can forgive some spelling mistakes and lots of books are written with accents in them.

    I’m reading LOTR this week, and have been for the previous one too. I hope to finish it soon.

  4. Nymeth says:

    My favourite Persephone to date is one I think you’d really enjoy – Alas, Poor Lady by Rachel Ferguson. It’s a book from the 1930’s, but it’s set in the Victorian age, and it’s about the fate of unmarried daughters of impoverish genteel families who had no way of supporting themselves. It’s insightful, wonderfully written, hard to put down, and often heartbreaking.

    • Helen says:

      This sounds wonderful. It seems to have escaped my attention when I’ve been looking through the Persephone catalogue, but it definitely sounds like something I would enjoy. Thanks for the recommendation!

  5. Verity says:

    I’ve read all of them! My favourite I think was Miss Buncles Book, but I’d also recommend Saplings or any of the Dorothy Whipples. In fact I have a Dorothy Whipple in my bag to reread today!

    • Helen says:

      I’m impressed that you’ve read them all, Verity! I’ve never read anything by Dorothy Whipple but I really like the sound of her books. And you’re the second person to mention Miss Buncle’s Book so I think I’ll have to try that one soon too!

  6. Carolyn says:

    And I’ll be the third to mention Miss Buncle’s Book, because it really is that good. I also really enjoyed Tea with Mr. Rochester, they’re both in my top favourite books of the year.

    • Helen says:

      I think you’ve all convinced me that I really need to read Miss Buncle’s Book as soon as possible! I like the sound of Tea with Mr. Rochester too.

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