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General > Persephone and Virago Books

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message 1: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4538 comments Mod
I've just been realising that I have quite a few unread Persephone and Virago books on my shelves which I've like to get to in 2018. Wondering if we have any other fans of these two publishers in the group?

They have reprinted a lot of interesting older books, especially although not exclusively by women - and Persephone books in particular are beautifully produced. Most have the instantly recognisable "dove-grey" cover, although they have also produced some with more colourful covers.


message 2: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4538 comments Mod
Just had a quick look through my shelves and I found I had the following 4 unread-by-me Persephone books:

The Crowded Street by Winifred Holtby
The Wise Virgins by Leonard Woolf
Saplings by Noel Streatfeild
The Far Cry by Emma Smith

So far I've also unturned 19 Virago books by a variety of authors which I have mainly bought from charity shops and haven't read as yet - there are probably a lot more lurking in my shelves too! I will need to make it one of my next projects to start reading some of these.


message 3: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9425 comments Mod
Mrs B loves a Persephone. I used to go into their shop in Lambs Conduit Street regularly. If I'm ever short of a present idea for Mrs B then I always buy her something published by Persephone. They have yet to let me down.


message 4: by Tania (new)

Tania | 990 comments I also have a large number of Virago books unread on my bookshelves. I can't resist them when I find them in charity shops. I will get to some of them next year, but they will probably be replaced by yet more unread ones, after all, I don't want my bookshelves stocked with books I've already read. I only have Greenery Street, from Persephone at the moment, as I'm trying to get better at getting rid of books I've already read. I'ts much harder to do that with these ones as they are such beautiful editions.


message 5: by Bronwyn (new)

Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 325 comments I adore Persephone books. They're so gorgeous, and I haven't read a bad one yet. I have a number of unread Persephones. For a while I was getting some regularly for birthdays or Christmas, but I wasn't reading them as fast as I was receiving them, so I haven't asked for any in a few years. And by chance a month or so ago I found Mariana used at a chain used bookstore here! :)

Unread are:
Doreen by Barbara Noble
Hetty Dorval by Ethel Wilson
Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple
The Hopkins Manuscript by R.C. Sherriff
Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski
The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Making of a Marchioness, Part I and II by Frances Hodgson Burnett
and
Mariana by Monica Dickens

I also have Miss Buncle Married by D.E. Stevenson, which is a Persephone book, but I don't have the Persephone copy.

I've read 7 Persephone so far, and Miss Buncle's Book, not in the Persephone copy.

Virago, I have The Blush to read yet. I only have one other (All Passion Spent).


message 6: by Tania (last edited Dec 27, 2017 11:16AM) (new)

Tania | 990 comments I think the Furrowed Middlebrow books have a similar feel as well. There aren't very many yet, I think it is fairly new, but hopefully they will be releasing more.


message 7: by Lynaia (new)

Lynaia | 468 comments I have several Persephone's I haven't gotten to. Like Bronwyn, I received many as gifts and didn't keep up. I still need to read
A Lady and Her Husband
Hostages to Fortune
The Young Pretenders
A House in the Country
The Runaway
Patience


message 8: by Lynaia (new)

Lynaia | 468 comments Bronwyn wrote: "I adore Persephone books. They're so gorgeous, and I haven't read a bad one yet. I have a number of unread Persephones. For a while I was getting some regularly for birthdays or Christmas, but I wa..."

The only ones on your list I haven't read are Hetty Dorval and The Hopkins Manuscript. I thoroughly enjoyed all the others. You have some great reading ahead of you!


message 9: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4538 comments Mod
I really liked The Making of a Marchioness and Little Boy Lost - I haven't read The Hopkins Manuscript yet, but I did really like The Fortnight in September by R.C. Sherriff.


message 10: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4538 comments Mod
Tania wrote: "I think the Furrowed Middlebrow books have a similar feel as well. There aren't very many yet, I think it is fairly new, but hopefully they will be releasing more."

I agree they are similar and quite a few have been given away free on Kindle - I have a few of those that I haven't read yet too!


message 11: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9876 comments Mod
Two excellent publishers, Judy and much loved by me. I have discovered a lot of great authors through them. Indeed, Winifred Holtby, a Virago author I think you have mentioned before, has some books listed at 99p today: Anderby Wold and The Land of Green Ginger


message 12: by Bronwyn (new)

Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 325 comments Lynaia wrote: "Bronwyn wrote: "I adore Persephone books. They're so gorgeous, and I haven't read a bad one yet. I have a number of unread Persephones. For a while I was getting some regularly for birthdays or Chr..."

Wonderful! :)


I also really like New York Review of Books books. They put out a lot I've never heard of before and the ones I've read from them are really excellent. They're really pretty too. From them I have a few of Nancy Mitford's non-fiction, Jessica's Hons and Rebels, Elizabeth von Armin's The Enchanted April, John Williams's Stoner. I think I'm forgetting a few. I don't buy everyone I see because they still have to sound interesting, but I probably could get any of them because they're another in which I've never been disappointed. (Looking through their catalog, there's a few authors I'm going to have to keep an eye out for in the future! :) )


message 13: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4538 comments Mod
New York Review of Books editions sound great - I think we can only get them in the UK on import, as I would think is the case with Persephone books for those in the US.

I've also come across one or two other smaller publishers who bring out similar books - I have one or two Capuchin Classics, but looks as if they stopped bringing out new titles in 2013.


message 14: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9876 comments Mod
I think publishers have taken a sensible line - rather than make books cheaper, they realise they cannot compete with kindle on price, so they are making books more expensive, but more special. I have noticed lots of children's books, for example, coming out in hardback editions with extra illustrations, etc. Or sets of classics, with beautiful covers. I think it is a sensible approach - if people will pay for a book, they they may pay more for something different.


message 15: by Bronwyn (last edited Dec 29, 2017 05:26AM) (new)

Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 325 comments Judy wrote: "New York Review of Books editions sound great - I think we can only get them in the UK on import, as I would think is the case with Persephone books for those in the US.

I've also come across one..."


I wondered if that might be the case with NYRB. They're worth it if you can get them though.

Yes, I've had to directly order most of them from Persephone. I found Miss Pettigrew and Someone at a Distance at Barnes and Noble, but I'm guessing that's because they're the Persephone Classics and have the illustrated covers. I've looked for other Classics at the store, but haven't seen any since those two!

I'm not familiar with Capuchin, but they seem to have some good titles too.


I agree, Susan. If something's special I will definitely pay a bit more for it. Quality is important. I'm pretty light on my books generally, but I'd rather have something I know will stand up to general wear and tear than something that is cheap and won't last. I also appreciate these publishers putting out authors and titles that aren't commonly found, but worth reading.


message 16: by Lynaia (new)

Lynaia | 468 comments I've purchased some wonderful novels by Greyladies publishers out of the U.K. They are another doing reprints of old novels. Another that looks good is Slightly Foxed. Although I haven't purchased from them, they have some beautifully bound editions. Again they are from the U.K. which makes them rather expensive here in the U.S.


message 17: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9876 comments Mod
I used to subscribe to the Slightly Foxed magazine, Lynaia, but I let it lapse after finding that I have no time for magazines...


message 18: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9425 comments Mod
Mrs B is still a Slightly Foxed subscriber


message 19: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4538 comments Mod
I'm very interested to hear about Greyladies because I've just been looking at their website - they have some tempting titles. It looks to me as if they are not publishing any more books but do still bring out a magazine.


message 20: by Susan (last edited Dec 31, 2017 03:59AM) (new)

Susan | 9876 comments Mod
I have just noticed that Virago publish a few of Sylvia Townsend Warner Sylvia Townsend Warner books. She came to my attention through the podcast Tea and Books and I want to read something by her next year. Lolly Willowes: or, The Loving Huntsman Lolly Willowes or, The Loving Huntsman by Sylvia Townsend Warner is often mentioned as a 'must read,' by her - has anyone read it?


message 21: by Tania (new)

Tania | 990 comments I read Lolly Willows a while back and enjoyed it very much. I don't remember too much about it now, but I gave it 4*. I haven't read any more by her yet but plan to in time.


message 22: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4538 comments Mod
I haven't read any Sylvia Townsend Warner, but have been meaning to do so as my daughter is a big fan.

The Bloomsbury Group is yet another publisher bringing out interesting retro books, including Henrietta's War: News from the Home Front 1939-1942 by Joyce Dennys which I really enjoyed and A Kid for Two Farthings by Wolf Mankowitzwhich I'm currently reading.


message 23: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9876 comments Mod
Thanks, Tania.

Judy, I adored Henrietta's War and the follow up by Joyce Dennys. They were a delight :)


message 24: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1185 comments Judy wrote: "I haven't read any Sylvia Townsend Warner, but have been meaning to do so as my daughter is a big fan.

The Bloomsbury Group is yet another publisher bringing out interesting retro books, includin..."


I liked Henrietta's War and have now moved on to Henrietta Sees It Through: More News from the Home Front 1942-1945.


message 25: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Anyone who likes Virago and Persephone reissues should check out this website (which has its own re-publication program):

http://furrowedmiddlebrow.blogspot.com


message 26: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9876 comments Mod
I recently came across this forthcoming title from Virago: Writers as Readers: A Celebration of Virago Modern Classics Writers as Readers A Celebration of Virago Modern Classics by Various which I thought looked wonderful. It is being published to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Virago Modern Classics.


message 27: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 726 comments Coincidentally, I have just finished a Virago Modern Classic as part of another group's project to revisit the 1970 Booker shortlist: John Brown's Body by A.L. Barker (my review). Barker had a surprisingly long career and from the blurb comments it is clear that she had some distinguished admirers.


message 28: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9876 comments Mod
Good review, Hugh.


message 29: by Story (last edited Jan 31, 2018 06:08AM) (new)

Story (storyheart) Susan wrote: Lolly Willowes: or, The Loving Huntsman Lolly Willowes is often mentioned as a 'must read,' by her - has anyone read it?"

I discovered it a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it.


message 30: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9876 comments Mod
Thanks, Storyheart. Definitely one I need to read then.


message 31: by Tania (new)

Tania | 990 comments That book sounds interesting, Susan. I hope my library will get a copy in.
I've just picked up a copy of Guard Your Daughters from my local book shop. I've been wanting to read it for ages so I was pleased when Persephone announced they would be printing it.


message 32: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9876 comments Mod
Is it an old favourite, Tania?


message 33: by Tania (new)

Tania | 990 comments No. I read about it somewhere and liked the sound of it. Apparently similar to I Capture the Castle, and set in the 1950's, but it was out of print so difficult to get a copy. Probably why I wanted it. (We always want what we can't have). It still may be a while before I get to it.


message 34: by Story (last edited Jan 31, 2018 01:26PM) (new)

Story (storyheart) Oh, it does sound good Tania. I've just asked my library to order a copy as we rarely see Persephone books in Canada.


message 35: by Tania (new)

Tania | 990 comments I hope you get lucky Storyheart. The Persephone book group on here is planning on reading it in June so I think I'll save it for that.


message 36: by Lynaia (new)

Lynaia | 468 comments I've read Guard Your Daughters several years ago and actually bought a secondhand copy a couple of years ago. There is a similarity to I Capture the Castle which I also own but it is still a delightful book. You're in for a treat!


message 37: by Bronwyn (new)

Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 325 comments Oh that does sound good! I’ll have to add it to a wish list. Anything compared to I Capture the Castle is something I’m interested in.


message 38: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4538 comments Mod
Does anyone fancy buddy reading one of the Persephone books? There are so many wonderful titles in this series.


message 39: by Nigeyb (last edited Feb 21, 2018 01:20AM) (new)

Nigeyb | 9425 comments Mod
Yes please. I am keen to read...


Good Evening, Mrs Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes by Mollie Panter-Downes

For fifty years Mollie Panter-Downes' name was associated with The New Yorker, for which she wrote a regular 'Letter from London', book reviews and over thirty short stories; of the twenty-one in "Good Evening, Mrs Craven", written between 1939 and 1944, only two had ever been reprinted - these very English stories have, until now, been unavailable to English readers.

Exploring most aspects of English domestic life during the war, they are about separation, sewing parties, fear, evacuees sent to the country, obsession with food, the social revolutions of wartime.

In the Daily Mail Angela Huth called "Good Evening, Mrs Craven" 'my especial find' and Ruth Gorb in the "Ham & High" contrasted the humour of some of the stories with the desolation of others: 'The mistress, unlike the wife, has to worry and mourn in secret for her man; a middle-aged spinster finds herself alone again when the camaraderie of the air-raids is over ...'




To what extent does that grab you? I have only ever heard very good things about it.


message 40: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9876 comments Mod
I discover this is - surprise surprise - already on my kindle, so will be happy to join in.


message 41: by Bronwyn (new)

Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 325 comments I’d be interested, but as I only have a handful my options to participate are limited.


message 42: by Tania (new)

Tania | 990 comments I would join in if I could get hold of the chosen book. I just checked and Good Evening Mrs Craven is available at my library, so I can do that one.


message 43: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9425 comments Mod
This is all looking very promising.


message 44: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4538 comments Mod
I don’t have that one, Nigeyb, but it sounds good - will check on availability from libraries etc. Bronwyn, which Persephone titles do you have?


message 45: by Lynaia (new)

Lynaia | 468 comments Nigeyb wrote: "Yes please. I am keen to read...


Good Evening, Mrs Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes by Mollie Panter-Downes

For fifty years Mollie Panter-Downes..."


I have this book and have read it. It's very good. I actually wanted to get a hold of London War Notes, 1939-1945 some time. It seems to be a more complete collection of all her stories on the war.


message 46: by Nigeyb (new)

Nigeyb | 9425 comments Mod
Thanks Judy, thanks Lynaia


Please don't worry if you'd rather read something else. I just happen to have made a note of Good Evening, Mrs Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes when it was recommended to me - and it came back to me when I read your post.

I'll probably read it anyway at some stage even if we decide not to do it as a buddy read.

So no pressure, just choose whatever book you'd most like to read.


message 47: by Bronwyn (last edited Feb 21, 2018 11:48AM) (new)

Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 325 comments Judy wrote: "I don’t have that one, Nigeyb, but it sounds good - will check on availability from libraries etc. Bronwyn, which Persephone titles do you have?"

I have:
Doreen by Barbara Noble
Hetty Dorval by Ethel Wilson
Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple
The Hopkins Manuscript by R.C. Sherriff
Little Boy Lost and The Victorian Chaise-Longue by Marghanita Laski
The Shuttle and The Making of a Marchioness, Part I and II by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Mariana by Monica Dickens
Miss Buncle's Book, Miss Buncle Married, and The Two Mrs. Abbotts by D.E. Stevenson.
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
Manja by Anna Gmeyner
Operation Heartbreak by Duff Cooper
Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey
Every Eye by Isobel English


I did check my library's catalog for the Mollie Panter-Downes just in case and they don't have it. :(


message 48: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4538 comments Mod
Wow, that's quite a collection, Bronwyn.

Out of yours, I own (and have read) The Making of a Marchioness and Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, and I also currently have Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day out of the library for a read in another group!

I've previously read Mariana and Little Boy Lost.

The titles that I own and haven't read yet are:

The Crowded Street by Winifred Holtby
The Wise Virgins by Leonard Woolf
Saplings by Noel Streatfeild
The Far Cry by Emma Smith


message 49: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 4538 comments Mod
It looks as if there is quite a bit of interest in Good Evening, Mrs Craven - I can get a copy from a neighbouring library.

So maybe we could read that one and another Persephone too? Does anyone fancy any of the titles on Bronwyn's list or mine? I'll admit I didn't really like Mariana (though if others want it that's fine!), but I'd be up for any of the others.


message 50: by Susan (new)

Susan | 9876 comments Mod
Intrigued to read Leonard Woolf, Judy.


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