A selection of words and pictures to represent April’s reading:
a book into which notable extracts from other works are copied for personal use.
‘Books were my companions,’ I said at last, raising my voice above the wind sweeping the leaves and her skirts. ‘And I am grateful I could learn something, no matter how I came to do so. It was a way to know that lives could change, that they could be filled with adventures. There were times I pretended I was a lady in a novel or a romance myself. It might sound foolish. But it made me feel a part of a world that otherwise I could never belong to.’
‘I daresay there isn’t a better liked man in England, and as for you ladies – ! The caps that have been set at him! You will be the envy of every unmarried woman in town.’
‘Do you think so indeed, Papa? How delightful that would be! But perhaps I might feel strange and unlike myself. It wouldn’t be comfortable, not to be acquainted with myself.’
Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer (1956)
Idleness was considered to be the gateway to sin and so the young Tudor princesses were never for a moment left to their own devices, but rather provided with a constant round of activities such as needlework, which could be picked up whenever they had any spare time to fill. Although they undoubtedly had some toys, such as the usual dolls – in Margaret’s case as elaborately painted and dressed as any court lady – and carved wooden figures, right from the start their activities were all designed to prepare them for a useful and productive adulthood.
Margaret Tudor by Melanie Clegg (2019)
Moreover, I have very strong views on the subject. I believe that an author who cannot control his characters is, like a mother who cannot control her children, not really fit to look after them.
What I’m saying is, I had secrets of my own, and I kept other people’s. People tended to tell me things; I think they thought I was a safe bet, not because they were interested in me, but because they were so interested in themselves. That’s how it is, you see. Some people consider themselves to be the stars of life, and they relegate everyone else to the shadows at the back of the dress circle.
After the Party by Cressida Connolly (2018)
‘Because, Mademoiselle, if thoughts are not allowed to circulate freely, there can be no other freedom. But those in power do not wish it, because the more people think, the more learning and intelligence they acquire, and that flies in the face of their leaders’ plans for their subjugation.’
“I believe everything out of the common. The only thing to distrust is the normal.”
The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (1915)
If he could last another year or so, they might give him his Wooden Foil with the silver guard, and he would be free. But his mind never got beyond the first triumphant moment of gaining his freedom, any more than it got beyond the sting of the death blow, because he had been born a slave and knew no more of what it would be like to be free than he knew of what it would be like to die.
But the truth isn’t solid, like the earth; she knows that now. The truth is water, or steam; the truth is ice. The same tale might shift and melt and reshape at any time.
The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea (2019)
“First of all, you have heard me talk of Logres. It was the old name for this country, thousands of years ago; in the old days when the struggle between good and evil was more bitter and open than it is now. That struggle goes on all round us all the time, like two armies fighting. And sometimes one of them seems to be winning and sometimes the other, but neither has ever triumphed altogether. Nor ever will,” he added softly to himself, “for there is something of each in every man.”
He paused by the table as she chopped the herbs, then scraped the leaves and stems together and chopped them in the opposite direction. Bianca sensed his thoughts were still elsewhere, and she let him be.
It occurred to her that companionship exists in these small moments. Moments spent in thought, isolated, secret and silent. They string together and make a lifetime of partnership.
The Alchemist of Lost Souls by Mary Lawrence (2019)
‘No. The South Seas. I know that. That’s exciting enough to start with, while I’m learning to explore.’
‘You don’t learn to explore, boy. You explore in order to learn.’
Gordon puzzled over this and failed to understand.
The House of Hardie by Anne Melville (1987)
Favourite books read in April:
Sprig Muslin and Over Sea, Under Stone
New authors read in April:
Sara Collins, Melanie Clegg, Susan Cooper, Olivier Barde-Cabuçon, Cressida Connolly, Caroline Lea, Mary Lawrence, Anne Melville, John Buchan
Countries visited in April:
England, Jamaica, Scotland, France, Iceland, China
Have you read any of these books? Which books did you enjoy in April?