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Group Reads > August 2018 Group Read Wild Strawberries Chapters 1-7

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Christmas Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 1753 comments Mod
Our group read starts on the 15th & I'm as keen as mustard.

Please no spoilers (or use spoiler tags) in this thread. We don't want to spoil a first read for anyone - including me!

I've never read this book before. My copy looks like this Wild Strawberries by Angela Thirkell Thanks very much to the lovely Kim Kaso for sending it to me!


Barb in Maryland | 502 comments I have an almost ancient copy, with a library binding. I should be able to start reading soon. I have not read this before, so I am looking forward to digging in.


message 3: by Andrea AKA Catsos Person (last edited Aug 15, 2018 06:39AM) (new)

Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 157 comments I had this book shelved as being owned by my town library, but I’m not seeing it when I checked again. So I sprung $5.99 for a kindle edition.

Though I prefer to read eBooks over dead tree, I do love the covers of old paperback editions. This book is short enough that I could have borne a used paper copy, but they take too long to arrive usps.


message 4: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments I had it in my head that our read was beginning August 15! Oops, I'll put it away for next month. But I now know how to pronounce "Conque", so I'm ahead of the game...


message 5: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (dandelion_cottage) | 275 comments I’m ready with the ebook and am looking forward to this one. :)


Barb in Maryland | 502 comments Carol ꧁꧂ wrote: "Our group read starts on the 15th & I'm as keen as mustard.

Please no spoilers (or use spoiler tags) in this thread. We don't want to spoil a first read for anyone - including me!

I've never read..."


Hey Carol--your Header says September Read when you really meant August, correct? There is some confusion down thread.


message 7: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 726 comments The home page for this group says the start date is August 15. I stole a march and read it last week, so I could clear the decks for reading The Scarlet Letter in another group this week.


Andrea AKA Catsos Person (catsosperson) | 157 comments I think Carol is asleep now, unless she’s a night-owl or has insomnia. But when she wakes up, she can tell us what’s what.


message 9: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments Abigail wrote: "The home page for this group says the start date is August 15. I stole a march and read it last week, so I could clear the decks for reading The Scarlet Letter in another group this week."

I haven't read The Scarlet Letter in decades!


message 10: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 1415 comments I have a used paperback Moyers Bell edition of Wild Strawberries and this will be my second read.Wild Strawberries


message 11: by Susan in NC (last edited Aug 15, 2018 11:14AM) (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 1415 comments Sorry, here’s my cover Wild Strawberries by Angela Thirkell . I started the first chapter last night - I love Lady Emily! - because I’ve been reading the Barsetshire books over the years and wasn’t exactly sure what happens in this one. Read this one in 2011.


Christmas Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 1753 comments Mod
Sorry for putting the wrong month! I was half asleep when I ddi it.

I've changed it now!


message 13: by Susan in NC (last edited Aug 15, 2018 11:18AM) (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 1415 comments Thank you, Carol, for all you do! I sure hope everyone enjoys this one - I love the Barsetshire books, not so much that they’re action-filled, but I find them very touching and funny at the same time. I relate so much to the character’s internal monologues about times gone by or loved ones lost - oh dear, don’t mean to sound mawkish!


message 14: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 72 comments I loved this book, and have just finished it - looking forward to the discussion. I now want to read all Thirkell's Barsetshire books! I liked High Rising, but this one has got me hooked.


message 15: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 1415 comments Judy wrote: "I loved this book, and have just finished it - looking forward to the discussion. I now want to read all Thirkell's Barsetshire books! I liked High Rising, but this one has got me hooked."

That’s how I feel about them! I’ve collected many (used) so I could read in order and follow the various characters and families.


message 16: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 726 comments Neither had I, Karlyne--I think I was twelve the last time I read Hawthorne, which is why I joined the group read even though it's a group I honor more in the breach than the observance. Finding The Scarlet Letter a relatively easy, fast read, though the sentences are layered and complex and it would reward a slower, more thoughtful approach.

My Wild Strawberries copy is a Perennial Library mass-market paperback with a pleasant but unimaginative cover of teacups and domestic strawberries; my horticulturalist's soul is aggrieved.


message 17: by Hana (new)

Hana | 1104 comments Mod
Abigail, to sooth you horticulturist's soul (and mine!) here is a picture of wild strawberries Fragaria vesca.



The berries are intensely flavorful, quite unlike the insipid out-of-season commercial stuff that dominates American supermarkets. For gardeners in the UK here's a source for wild strawberry plants.

I wonder about the symbolism of the title. The folks at Naturescape UK say that "Typical habitat is along trails and roadsides, embankments, hillsides, stone- and gravel-laid paths and roads, meadows, young woodlands, sparse forest, woodland edges, and clearings. Often plants can be found where they do not get sufficient light to form fruit."


message 18: by Hana (last edited Aug 15, 2018 02:02PM) (new)

Hana | 1104 comments Mod
Strawberries and their leaves are often included in European and UK heraldry. Thirkell was part of a remarkably talented circle that lived just on the upper edge of Britain's middle class at the time. Which reminds me to post a link to more information on Angela Thirkell starting with this lovely portrait by John Collier, 1914.



For more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angela_...


message 19: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 1415 comments Thank you, Hana, for all the information, but now I’m hungry!


message 20: by Linda (new)

Linda Dobinson (baspoet) | 57 comments Hana wrote: "Strawberries and their leaves are often included in European and UK heraldry. Thirkell was part of a remarkably talented circle that lived just on the upper edge of Britain's middle class at the ti..."

Thanks Hana. What a lovely portrait.


message 21: by Barb in Maryland (new)

Barb in Maryland | 502 comments Hana--thanks for the pictures. One of our neighbors used to grow real strawberries (not those hideous things you see in supermarkets). Oh, they were so wonderful! And then said neighbors moved and the lot got too shady to grow the berries and that was that. Sob!


message 22: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 726 comments Thank you, Hana, for both images! I feel better now. ;-)

And how lovely Thirkell was as a girl! Unusual face but very appealing.


message 23: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 405 comments this will be my first reading and I also have this cover

Wild Strawberries by Angela Thirkell

really looking forward to it but can't start tonight, too tired. in fact I'm exhausted. but as soon as I start I'll be here reading your posts and posting my own. YAY.


message 24: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 726 comments The Leslies seem like a very happy (or perhaps just contented) family, despite all their disparate personalities. The father gets to be cranky without alienating either his wife or his children; people disagree with other people's choices without making a drama about it. Recently I started reading another book about a similar family (The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard) and everyone was so miserable I had to set it aside--affairs, resentments, and so on. Give me Thirkell anytime!


message 25: by Allegra (new)

Allegra | 34 comments I'm usually so far behind that it doesn't matter, but here I am starting the book tonight. So can someone explain to me how the divisions work? Am I supposed to read Chapters 1-7 by a certain date? Or is this discussion only for the first part of the book? Other groups that show a breakdown of chapters have more specific dates for completion. My chapters aren't numbered anyway. but I am curious, and I could count by hand if it matters.
Thanks


message 26: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments We have wild strawberries in the mountains, and they're highly flavored, very elusive, and have a very short season. I'm thinking the title has to do with those qualities!

I love Lady Emily's creativity, her "genius winning over her complete lack of technique", and her daftness ("why have I got my gloves on" in bed). She's such an intelligent and caring and completely out of touch woman that she makes me smile.


message 27: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments Abigail wrote: "The Leslies seem like a very happy (or perhaps just contented) family, despite all their disparate personalities. The father gets to be cranky without alienating either his wife or his children; pe..."

Yes, Abigail! They're all so tolerant of each other; they may see the nuttiness or the selfishness or the crankiness, but they live and let live and don't make a federal case out of it!


message 28: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments Allegra wrote: "I'm usually so far behind that it doesn't matter, but here I am starting the book tonight. So can someone explain to me how the divisions work? Am I supposed to read Chapters 1-7 by a certain date?..."

You just read at your own pace and comment on the section you're in. We have lots of members who move in and out, gallopers and savorers alike, so be comfortable!


message 29: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments In Chapter IV David's charm is really evident, and so is his casual self-centeredness. The paragraph at the Abbey, where he talks at John, completely reminds me of a 7 year old's disjointed conversation. He seems a very "nice" man, but is it only because it doesn't cost him anything?


message 30: by Hana (new)

Hana | 1104 comments Mod
Abigail wrote: "The Leslies seem like a very happy (or perhaps just contented) family, despite all their disparate personalities. ..." One of the many things I appreciate about books from the Retro Era is that they seldom slide into the 'endlessly miserable family' mindset so popular in contemporary literature. I had to DNF Apologize, Apologize! a few years back for just that reason!

Lady Emily is a delight! But I could really use a family tree ("Gudgeon, tell Conque to bring the Family Tree along with the dead thrush. It's in the enameled box--the blue one with the clouds, not the red Japanned box--the Tree, not the thrush....")


message 31: by Hana (new)

Hana | 1104 comments Mod
Can anyone explain to me why Lady Emily is Lady Emily but Mr. Leslie is not Lord Whatever?


message 32: by Hana (new)

Hana | 1104 comments Mod
Allegra wrote: "I'm usually so far behind that it doesn't matter, but here I am starting the book tonight. So can someone explain to me how the divisions work? Am I supposed to read Chapters 1-7 by a certain date?..."

As Karlyne said, read at your own pace. And if you miss commenting you can always say you didn't hear Gudgeon ring the gong ;) I love Gudgeon!


message 33: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments Hana wrote: "Allegra wrote: "I'm usually so far behind that it doesn't matter, but here I am starting the book tonight. So can someone explain to me how the divisions work? Am I supposed to read Chapters 1-7 by..."

I have a gong! Its an old rusty paella pan hanging on the front porch with a wooden meat pounder for a hammer. And I'm going to start calling it Gudgeon, as in "Go sound Gudgeon, there's a dear."


message 34: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments Hana wrote: "Can anyone explain to me why Lady Emily is Lady Emily but Mr. Leslie is not Lord Whatever?"

And sometimes they're Mr. and Mrs. Leslie; at first I thought they were someone else. Lady Emily might be an earl's daughter, since Mr. Holt only refrained from murdering Agnes because she was an "earl's granddaughter ".


message 35: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 726 comments Hahahaha, Hana, very clever!

As to your question about titles, Lady Emily is the daughter of an earl so she would have "the Honourable Lady" attached to her name throughout her life by virtue of birth. Her husband is a commoner so he is only "Mr".


message 36: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments Hana wrote: "Abigail wrote: "The Leslies seem like a very happy (or perhaps just contented) family, despite all their disparate personalities. ..." One of the many things I appreciate about books from the Retro..."

And haha! You have her down to a tee!


message 37: by Hana (new)

Hana | 1104 comments Mod
Thanks for clearing up the mystery, Abigail and Karlyne!


message 38: by Hana (new)

Hana | 1104 comments Mod
Karlyne wrote: "And I'm going to start calling it Gudgeon, as in "Go sound Gudgeon, there's a dear." "

I don't think I dare try sounding a gong in a city apartment building but it does seem like a rousing way to start a meal :D


message 39: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments Can you imagine the panic, Hana?!?

I love the way Thirkell just lets her pen flow; the paragraph about David and George, the kitchen cat, and the doll's house was perfect in itself, but then she finishes with "The doll's house... was rapidly qualifying for demolition under a slum clearance scheme." There's nothing better than enjoying someone else's fun when they slyly let you in on it!


message 40: by Allegra (new)

Allegra | 34 comments Karlyne wrote: "Allegra wrote: "I'm usually so far behind that it doesn't matter, but here I am starting the book tonight. So can someone explain to me how the divisions work? Am I supposed to read Chapters 1-7 by..."

Thanks


message 41: by Allegra (new)

Allegra | 34 comments Hana wrote: "Allegra wrote: "I'm usually so far behind that it doesn't matter, but here I am starting the book tonight. So can someone explain to me how the divisions work? Am I supposed to read Chapters 1-7 by..."

Thanks. I'm liking Gudgeon as well


message 42: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 405 comments Lady Emily is a delight! But I could really use a family tree ("Gudgeon, tell Conque to bring the Family Tree along with the dead thrush. It's in the enameled box--the blue one with the clouds, not the red Japanned box--the Tree, not the thrush.

I love this, Hana! and I also am enjoying Lady Emily and here family. I'm going to come back to comment # 29 tonight, when I have read far enough.

isn't Gudgeon (the butler) a word Georgette Heyer's characters use as slang for an idiot?!


message 43: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 726 comments You're right, Jackie, Heyer does use gudgeon that way. Not sure if it's Regency slang or her creation. It's the name of a freshwater fish in England.


message 44: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments I think of gudgeon as being the nicest kind of idiot, though...


message 45: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 1415 comments I’m very much enjoying my re-read, Lady Emily is divine as ever with her stream-of-consciousness approach to life, but gosh my Moyers Bell edition is rife with errors (punctuation, misspellings, sentences just dropped off at the end of a paragraph). The first chapter wasn’t bad at all, but the second chapter was awful!

Having read so many Barsetshire novels, however, I can pretty much fill in the blanks!


message 46: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 726 comments Don't you hate that, Susan? As a former proofreader I always feel that readers should demand a nickel back on the cost of the book for each error--to create a disincentive for cutting corners on production.


message 47: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 1415 comments Abigail wrote: "Don't you hate that, Susan? As a former proofreader I always feel that readers should demand a nickel back on the cost of the book for each error--to create a disincentive for cutting corners on pr..."

Yes!


message 48: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments The problem is that you can't unsee those errors! They interrupt the whole sequence of reading and make it choppy.


message 49: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 405 comments Susan in NC, I have the same edition and I hate it. since it is a first read it really, really bothers. where can we leave them feedback about this? I've seen people do it on amazon and that doesn't make sense: aren't those reviews supposed to be about the novel, not how the publishers were cutting corners? so choppy! >:-(


message 50: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum | 1964 comments I hadn't heard of Moyer Bell before (I've been lucky), but I'll be keeping my eyes peeled. If you figure out where to take your complaints, mention your book club, Jackie!


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