Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

April books- 2020

So here we are in lockdown, library closed , charity shops closed, second hand paperback shop closed, nothing else for it I will have to read the books I already have………..

John Mortimer- Summer’s Lease- this had been put in our to go to the charity shop box. I decided to read it before we let it go. So glad I did, pure escapism- all the way to Tuscany. Molly hires a villa there for a three week holiday, dragging along her husband, three daughters and saddled with her old Pa- in his 70’s, but still going strong , nudge, nudge, know what I mean kind of way, on the prowl for old flames, and recalling the page boy/ tomboy girls he rogered in the 1950s and 60s. Along the way Molly falls in love and solves the problem of swimming pools which mysteriously empty themselves. It was turned into a TV series with John Gielgud and Lesley Phillips. Here’s a link to the series-

What really tickled me about our copy of the book is that we bought it second hand from a leather shop which also sold old books on the Greek island of Thassos, on one of our many holidays there.

A nice read.

Margaret Mitchell- Gone with the Wind- someone said that they would be reading some big sweeping epic of a book to get them through this time of Covid-19. This sounded like a good plan and as I have been intending for some while to re-read Gone with the Wind,ย  now seemed like the ideal time. Basically it is a love story set against a backdrop of the American civil war and the reconstruction of Atlanta , Georgia. Lauded still as a great novel it has been criticised for its treatment of black people. I was interested to see what I felt about a book I had enjoyed in my 20s.

It is a good book. It’s well written and the main larger than life characters are believeable.ย  It was written in the 1920s and published in the 1930s. It reflects the attitudes of the time in which it was written, and the minor characters are stereotypes from the black slaves- the Mammy figure- to poor whites, crackers, bootleggers, scallawags and carpet baggers.

Scarlett O’Hara seems to be based on Margaret herself with bits of her grandmother thrown in. Ashley Wilkes, Southern Gentleman , who is totally lost when the old way of life vanishes, may have been based on a early love of Margaret’s who was killed in WW1-and who can compete with memories of a young woman’s fallen hero. Margaret’s first husband sounds very like Rhett Butler ( who reminded me of a mixture of Heathcliff and the Great Gatsby). Margaret lost her own mother to Spanish flu in 1919, and may have been the inspiration for Ellen O’Hara- Scarlett’s mother.

It’s a jolly good read, I did enjoy it very much, I could empathise with the feelings around a lost way of life whilst acknowledging that the one lost in the novel was only niceย  for a very few lucky families. It drew me in totally at times, and gave me food for thought as I contemplated how it reflected the values of the time in which it is set and in which it was written. It entertained me and distracted me from our current situation. Very glad I re- read it. I am going to add it into my top100 books. This one is a keeper- I may well re-read it again one day.

It is over 1000 pages, and so for one month only I have just read two books. Not quite sure what I shall pick off my book shelves next.

Have you read anything good this month, I’d love to know and had you ever read either of the two I have read this month?


Comments on: "April books- 2020" (38)

  1. That is a lot of reading for one month even if it’s only 2 books. I saw the film of GWTW with my 2 year old son in a theater in Taiwan. He sat quietly enthralled the whole way through. I only read before going to sleep at night usually a chapter a night. Something light and nothing to brag on. I’ve taken a liking to English, Irish and Scottish authors of late. The language differences make me work a little harder. There are enough books in my own library and on my kindle that I will probably never go to the library again. I don’t read fast enough to get them back on time. You have had more books in your monthly lists than I get to in a whole year. Always so impressive. You probably won’t get a lot of time once the move is in full swing though. Keeping my fingers crossed for you.

    • Borrowing from the library made me read faster to get them back. Reading from my own shelves makes me go at a more lesiurely pace and I think I enjoy it more. I’ve chosen quite a challenging one to read now- lots of Russian names.

  2. Murtagh's Meadow said:

    Great idea to read a big book like gone with the wind at this time. Just finished Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Found it really good, part mystery, part life story of a child abandoned by those she loved and how she survived. Lots of natural history in too.

  3. I would like to read Gone with the wind. I think I will put it on my list. Still have six library books to read, they may just reopen before I have read them! X

    • The library here is trying to work out how it can re-open- I think their biggest problem will be in getting volunteers to come back- a lot are over 70 or living with someone with health issues. As I thought we would be moving I didnt get any library books. GWTW would be a suer book to read when you get back to your caravan for a holiday.

  4. Still a GWTW fan! I’ve never heard of ‘Summer’s Lease’ the book or the series, it sounds like it might be a good bit of fun to watch even now, but probably not available. Currently listening to ‘The Clockmaker’s Daughter’ by Kate Morton and thoroughly enjoying it. Reading ‘The Other Son’ but only just started that last night……….

  5. Can hardly believe you’ve only read two books in a month – even if one is Gone with the Wind. I’m still not reading anything!

  6. Gone with the Wind is on my reading list. I don’t know if we have a copy here, that would be nice to hold and have a bookmark!

  7. I’ve never read Gone with the Wind, but I loved Summer’s Lease (as well as the TV version). As you say, pure escapism of the best kind! Reminds me of A Year in Provence and other Peter Mayle novels as well as Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes.

    • I loved A Year in Provence which I re-read a few years ago. I think that copy went to a charity shop. I’ve not come across the one by Frances Mayes, so that’s on my TBR list now, thanks for the suggestion.

  8. I remember reading Gone With The Wind years ago – big book but a good read! Yes I have read loads during lockdown – most hits but a couple I wish I hadn’t bothered with. If you’d like a book with lots of female camaraderie go for The Secrets of the Sewing Bee by Kate Thomson – set in 1940, girls and ladies working in a sewing factory in the East End (the sewing bee is actually a knitting bee, but that’s by the by). I’d also recommend One Moment by Linda Green – the subject of someone a little bit of a misfit through Aspergers is dealt with in a lovely way. Paper Wife by Leila Ibrahim was well written too, interesting to find out Chinese took fake ‘wives’ (or sons/nephews/etc) into the USA to start new lives, didn’t want this one to end. Lastly for now, Five Steps to Happy by Ella Dove was a former book club read, based loosely on the truth of a journalist who had a freak accident and lost part of her leg and her recuperation .

    • Wow those sound like good reads. When I run out of books from my shelevs hopefully libraries will be open, or I can download onto my kindle. Thanks for the suggestions.

  9. Tired of everything closed. Most of banks here in Greensboro closed and drive through closed too. They have even suspended bus service. How are people with no car to get to work if they depend on the bus ? The cure is definitely worse than the illness.

    • Indeed that’s the way it can appear to those of us who are safe. I amnow finding that firms are finding a way to work now, all we need now is for public transport to find a way to transport people safely.

  10. Oh, Cathy! Oh, GWTW! Afraid I never liked the movie, and haven’t bothered with the book. But I understand the times and attitudes quite well. On another note, as we’re all still sheltering in place, what say we plan a little natter? I’ll send you an email with ID in the subject as I’ve changed addresses–one you’ll recognise. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Never read Gone with the Wind. Lately I wanted something soothing with not too much jeopardy so chose to reread a couple of books by Alexander McCall Smith in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Borrowed some of them from the library at first. Then found one in a charity shop and another sold off by the library. Both hard backs in very good condition. Not sure why the library was selling one. Maybe not enough people borrowed it. Set in Botswana and it pictures a lovely friendly way of life.

    • Would you believe libraries sell off books when they are five years old- due to lack of shelf space. They may hang onto a few copies to be shared by many branches. I love The Number One Ladies Detective Agency- less keen on his books set in Scotland. GWTW is a good big read- but the problems of reconstruction hit a bit close to home and our current circs.

  12. I first read GWTW when I was twelve , 60 years ago , and have re read it so many times. My daughter borrowed it to read for the first time and said every time she turns a page it comes out! I will have to buy a new copy but could never throw the original one away.

    • I was in my late 20s from the date I wrote in the book, my copy is very yellow and tatty, but the pages are still intact! A great read.

  13. Loved GWTW – both film and book and would probably still cry like a baby at the end.
    I’ve gone mad lately with books – both read and listened too. It’s great because I can read two books concurrently – well, read one at bedtime and listen to the other while I’m sewing or felting or cooking or having a bath.
    Just finished reading ‘The Binding’ Bridget Collins which wasn’t bad and listening to ‘Melmoth’ by Sarah Perry which was good but very dark. Before ‘Melmoth’ I was listening to ‘The Silent Patient’ which I enjoyed even though I guessed ‘who did it’ quite early on.
    I decided to cancel my Audible subscription for now because my credits were piling up and I wondered if I was ever going to get round to listening to everything but, at my current rate, I will probably have to join again before too long. I’ve also just downloaded another five books on Kindle (I wait until they go on offer for 99p) so I’m definitely on a roll.

    • My goodness me, you are a book devouring machine. I rather enjoyed going at a slower pace with GWTW, mostly because I didn’t have to get it read and back to the library because I had a big pile waiting to be collected. I am really missing the physical presence of books on shelves in a library or book shop- browsing one’s own shelves is not quite the same!

  14. claire93 said:

    I love GWTW.
    I have my Mum’s old paperback copy, that she must have bought in the 50s. It’s battered and worn, and sellotaped together in places . . . but, as you say, hasn’t lost any of its appeal.

    • Looking at my copy which is nearly 40 years old I reckon I must have lent it out to others as it is a bit yellow and tatty.

  15. I’m currently reading the follow-up to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Summer’s Lease sounds intriguing, I might just get a copy once I’ve read my latest ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I think I would like to read the follow up too, once I can get to the library again. Summer Lease was lovely, reminded me of how nice Italy is.

  16. I read Gone With the Wind way back when and remember enjoying it. My daughter is looking for books to read to her 12 year old (13 in July) daughter – do you think it would it be suitable?

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