Devon Book Club discussion

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Devon History, Culture & Events > Books about, or set, in Devon

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message 1: by Ian (new)

Ian | 2998 comments Mod
Hi
Seeing a couple of books added by Carol to our bookshelf has made me think that it would be good to build a library of books set in or about Devon. So, feel free to add any here and add them to the bookshelf. If you do that can you select the folder "set in or about Devon". Then, if you look at the Bookshelf you can slect that folder and it will show all the relevant books


message 2: by Angela (new)

Angela Hobbs | 222 comments The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry begins in Devon, I think it was Kingsbridge.


message 3: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Shuker (kathyshuker) | 524 comments Evil Under the Sun, The Sittaford Mystery and Dead Man's Folly all by Agatha Christie take place at least in part in Devon I believe.


message 4: by Ian (new)

Ian | 2998 comments Mod
Kathy wrote: "Evil Under the Sun, The Sittaford Mystery and Dead Man's Folly all by Agatha Christie take place at least in part in Devon I believe."

a growing list - i wonder how many we'll find


message 5: by Angela (new)

Angela Hobbs | 222 comments Of course no list of Devon based books would be complete without that otter!Tarka the Otter


message 6: by Carol (new)

Carol Dobson | 800 comments It's not a book and it's not set in Devon, but I thought I would mention The Beggars Opera, by John Gay, as he is very famous and I believe he came from Barnstaple.The Beggar's Opera


message 7: by Carol (new)

Carol Dobson | 800 comments The Rural Economy of the West of England, vol.2, by William Marshall features various parts of Devon. He describes in detail the agricultural practices that went on, the type of land etc. It was written in 1798 and so 's' is written'f' which can be slightly off putting. I found it very interesting, but shouldn't imagine anyone else would, so I won't put it on the list!


message 8: by Carol (new)

Carol Dobson | 800 comments If you are interested in Combe Martin, then "Out of the World and into Combe Martin", published by the local history group in Combe Martin, in 1989, is very interesting.


message 9: by Helen (new)

Helen | 105 comments Went to Lyme Regis last weekend, Lyme is only just over the Devon border in Dorset. I walked along The Cobb and it made me think of the book, The French Lieutenant's Woman The French Lieutenant's Woman and the film too with Meryl Streep.


message 10: by Ian (new)

Ian | 2998 comments Mod
Helen wrote: "Went to Lyme Regis last weekend, Lyme is only just over the Devon border in Dorset. I walked along The Cobb and it made me think of the book, The French Lieutenant's Woman [book:The French Lieutena..."

Don't know that one well but I did read it many years ago and remember enjoying it - quite atmospheric, from what I remember


message 11: by Helen (new)

Helen | 105 comments Very atmospheric. Good book and film.


message 12: by Angela (new)

Angela Hobbs | 222 comments The Cobb also features inPersuasion my favourite Jane Austen novel.


message 13: by Helen (new)

Helen | 105 comments I read Persuasion many years ago and I had forgotton about that. There was a lot of wash over the Cobb on Sunday and it was very dramatic to watch the waves crashing over it. Maybe it is time for me to look at Persusion again, to put it on my 'to re-read' list....so many lists!


message 14: by Ian (new)

Ian | 2998 comments Mod
Helen wrote: "I read Persuasion many years ago and I had forgotton about that. There was a lot of wash over the Cobb on Sunday and it was very dramatic to watch the waves crashing over it. Maybe it is time for m..."

My worst nightmare - Austen fans. Perhaps I should close the Book Club down quickly!


message 15: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Shuker (kathyshuker) | 524 comments Ian wrote: "Helen wrote: "I read Persuasion many years ago and I had forgotton about that. There was a lot of wash over the Cobb on Sunday and it was very dramatic to watch the waves crashing over it. Maybe it..."
I'm afraid they're everywhere you go, Ian. You'll have to develop 'digital earplugs'! By the by, why do you dislike her? (That's probably a stupid question - I don't always know why I can't read authors other people delight in...)


message 16: by Carol (new)

Carol Dobson | 800 comments Perhaps it's rather sexist of me, but I tend to think Jane Austen is more for women than for men, as it involves romance.


message 17: by Angela (new)

Angela Hobbs | 222 comments I like her novels for their social commentary and acerbic wit, but I find the romance aspect rather repetitive and tedious,although I accept that finding a suitable husband was a major preoccupation for a certain class of young women in Austen's time.


message 18: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Shuker (kathyshuker) | 524 comments Angela wrote: "I like her novels for their social commentary and acerbic wit, but I find the romance aspect rather repetitive and tedious,although I accept that finding a suitable husband was a major preoccupatio..."
I agree, Angela. I think the character I like best from Austen is Lizzie from P and P because - at first at least - she is prepared to fight the 'girl must meet boy' assumption. But it's definitely the social commentary and witty characterisations that appeal most.


message 19: by Helen (new)

Helen | 105 comments Hi everyone, I must admit that I'm not a huge fan of Jane Austin, but her books are enjoyed by many and they do reflect a certain time and society. I have read most of them and have liked them up to a point, but each to their own.


message 20: by Ian (new)

Ian | 2998 comments Mod
SO - controversy - excellent. I find Austen's book repetitive and internally focused on a very narrow type of person, without any wider awareness of social events and conditions of life. Not a gender issue - I don't find romance off-putting. I read Northanger Abbey recently, on the recommendation of Austen fans in our reading group, and I enjoyed that a bit more - darker and more satirical. I preferred Middlemarch, which I also read this year - at least George Elliott tackled a broader set of themes.


message 21: by Carol (new)

Carol Dobson | 800 comments I prefer Charlotte Bronte to Jane Austen, and I agree with Charlotte Bronte's criticism of her writing. She said "where are all the bonny brooks?" and that is my feeling exactly.


message 22: by Ian (new)

Ian | 2998 comments Mod
Carol wrote: "I prefer Charlotte Bronte to Jane Austen, and I agree with Charlotte Bronte's criticism of her writing. She said "where are all the bonny brooks?" and that is my feeling exactly."

Hurrah! come on you Austen fans - defend your heroine


message 23: by Angela (new)

Angela Hobbs | 222 comments People led such narrow lives, and often based their novels on their own limited life experiences - pity the poor Brontes with their excess of 'governess-itis'!


message 24: by Ian (new)

Ian | 2998 comments Mod
Apparently R.F. Delderfield lived in Exmouth and set many of his books here. To Serve them All My Days was based on Buckland Abbey school in North Devon


message 25: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Shuker (kathyshuker) | 524 comments Angela wrote: "People led such narrow lives, and often based their novels on their own limited life experiences - pity the poor Brontes with their excess of 'governess-itis'!"
Yes that's it, isn't it: they led narrower lives, nor did they have the access that we have to the world through modern media. I wonder how much it would have changed their writing to have been exposed to 24 hours news/comment?! There again, it's maybe that 'small world' focus which is sometimes so intriguing and which gives the books their character.


message 26: by Carol (new)

Carol Dobson | 800 comments Kathy wrote: "Angela wrote: "People led such narrow lives, and often based their novels on their own limited life experiences - pity the poor Brontes with their excess of 'governess-itis'!"
Yes that's it, isn't ..."

Yes, that's a thought I've often had, when thinking about Shakespeare. What would he have written if he had lived today? What sort of novelist would he have made?


message 27: by Angela (new)

Angela Hobbs | 222 comments Interesting thoughts-I expect Shakespeare would have found modern politics an excellent source of inspiration!


message 28: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Shuker (kathyshuker) | 524 comments I see the film version of War Horse is on BBC1 tonight. I haven't read the book but know the bare bones of the story. Not sure I have enough paper tissue in the house to cope - I'm such a soppy sentimental thing. :'(


message 29: by Ian (new)

Ian | 2998 comments Mod
Kathy wrote: "I see the film version of War Horse is on BBC1 tonight. I haven't read the book but know the bare bones of the story. Not sure I have enough paper tissue in the house to cope - I'm su..."

we saw the film some time ago - certainly moving. I used to cry at Littlr House on the Prairie so dont feel bad - you are in good company. We are just sensitive souls.


message 30: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Shuker (kathyshuker) | 524 comments Kathy wrote: "I see the film version of War Horse is on BBC1 tonight. I haven't read the book but know the bare bones of the story. Not sure I have enough paper tissue in the house to cope - I'm su..."
P.S.: there's an interview with Michael Morpurgo on BBC4 this evening at 10.15pm


message 31: by Ley (new)

Ley Holloway | 158 comments I saw the film last night, very moving but not a patch on the stage show, how is it that a puppet can move me more than a live horse? I haven't read the book either.


message 32: by Ian (new)

Ian | 2998 comments Mod
Ley wrote: "I saw the film last night, very moving but not a patch on the stage show, how is it that a puppet can move me more than a live horse? I haven't read the book either."

guess you use your imagination more


message 33: by Angela (new)

Angela Hobbs | 222 comments Our book group readPrivate Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo, also set in WW1 - a sad story about two Devon brothers and the injustice of execution by firing squad.


message 34: by Lynda (new)

Lynda Bowler | 6 comments Kathy wrote: "Kathy wrote: "I see the film version of War Horse is on BBC1 tonight. I haven't read the book but know the bare bones of the story. Not sure I have enough paper tissue in the house to..."

I read the IMDb synopsis ahead of each scene so I was prepared with the tissues!


message 35: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Shuker (kathyshuker) | 524 comments Lynda wrote: "Kathy wrote: "Kathy wrote: "I see the film version of War Horse is on BBC1 tonight. I haven't read the book but know the bare bones of the story. Not sure I have enough paper tissue i..."
I applaud you; I'm afraid I chickened out.


message 36: by Carol (new)

Carol Dobson | 800 comments Kathy wrote: "Lynda wrote: "Kathy wrote: "Kathy wrote: "I see the film version of War Horse is on BBC1 tonight. I haven't read the book but know the bare bones of the story. Not sure I have enough ..."

Yes, also 'chickened out'. I like jolly, happy stories, so thought it was probably not for me.
When I saw the 'horse' on the TV the other day it looked like it had 8 legs, which was a bit off-putting. Was surprised that the legs of the men hadn't been made to resemble the horse's legs.


message 37: by Ley (new)

Ley Holloway | 158 comments Somehow the puppeteers don't matter when you're watching, it really is a magical experience, even when viewed on a screen in a NT live screening as I did (saw it twice that way as I work at the Landmark Theatre) Makes you cry though.


message 38: by Carol (new)

Carol Dobson | 800 comments Husband said that human legs don't move the same and are in the wrong place, so that is probably right. Can't see why they couldn't cover them up with a white cloth or something.Apart from that quibble the horse was incredible.


message 39: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Shuker (kathyshuker) | 524 comments I have finally got round to seeing my recording of the Michael Morpurgo interview from BBC4. He is such an interesting, articulate and delightfully humble man. It was a fascinating interview and gave such an insight into the way he comes up with his stories and what inspires him. Did anyone else see it?


message 40: by Helen (new)

Helen | 105 comments I didn't see the programme, but Michael Morpurgo visited my son's Primary School many years ago and gave a talk, he inspired the children to read. My son finished Uni many years ago, but he still remembers the visit well.


message 41: by B J (new)

B J Burton (bjburton) | 314 comments Westward Ho! Am I right in thinking that this Charles Kingsley book is probably unique when it comes to books being set in places. Westward Ho! didn't exist as a place when Kingsley imagined it as the location for his book, but the book was so popular that the town was subsequently built and named after Kingsley's creation! Now there's a way to achieve long-lasting fame.


message 42: by Ian (new)

Ian | 2998 comments Mod
B J wrote: "Westward Ho! Am I right in thinking that this Charles Kingsley book is probably unique when it comes to books being set in places. Westward Ho! didn't exist as a place when Kingsley..."

yes - that is where the name came from. The only village in the UK with an exclamation mark I believe


message 43: by B J (new)

B J Burton (bjburton) | 314 comments I wonder if the locals shout the name when giving their address.


message 44: by Ley (last edited Nov 30, 2014 02:43PM) (new)

Ley Holloway | 158 comments I think it's the only town with any kind of punctuation in it's name, could be wrong


message 45: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Shuker (kathyshuker) | 524 comments Ley wrote: "I think it's the only town with any kind of punctuation in it's name, could be wrong"
I think I heard that too, Ley.


message 46: by B J (new)

B J Burton (bjburton) | 314 comments There are quite a few with the more boring hyphen (Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Henley-on-Thames, Weston-super-Mare) or possessive apostrophe (King's Lynn), but I don't know any other with an exclamation mark - and none with a question mark.
That's a shame, really. I suspect there are towns that could be made to sound more interesting by the addition of a question mark.
Lostwithiel? a polite enquiry into whether one has lost one's withiel.
Looe? - self-explanatory.


message 47: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Shuker (kathyshuker) | 524 comments B J wrote: "There are quite a few with the more boring hyphen (Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Henley-on-Thames, Weston-super-Mare) or possessive apostrophe (King's Lynn), but I don't know any other with an exclamation mar..."
Lol! I'm going to look at place names in a whole new light now. It's going to make some journeys much more entertaining...


message 48: by B J (new)

B J Burton (bjburton) | 314 comments These two seem to go together:
Bakewell?
Chard?


message 49: by Carol (new)

Carol Dobson | 800 comments It's very interesting to look at place names, because it reveals who used to live there. From BJ we know about the pixie contingent. Most of Devon names seem Anglo-Saxon to me, eg Ilfracombe, Woolacombe etc. Does anyone know place names which are clearly not Anglo Saxon, and came from the previous inhabitants? Devon itself is one, I suppose.


message 50: by B J (last edited Dec 01, 2014 04:05AM) (new)

B J Burton (bjburton) | 314 comments Yes, Devon is Celtic in origin - as are the 'combes' deriving from 'cwm' meaning valley.
Lots of other Celtic names in Devon, for example all those that include 'tor' (a tower of rock), 'tre' (farm), 'pen' (headland) and 'dun' (hill).
Exeter and Axminster both derive from the Celtic word 'isca' meaning water.


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