9 July 2014

Persephone Books had two outings on Radio 4 this week, both of which were frustrating (although of course we are incredibly grateful to be on the radio at all and hope never, ever to take that for granted). First of all A Good Read: Nicholas le Prevost chose The Priory but didn’t seem to want to praise it. He must like it or it wouldn’t have been his choice but he was not allowed to articulate why this was so. The two women he was on with completely missed the point of the book: and we wondered whether one of them (Edwina Currie) had actually finished it! Maddening, because when House-Bound was on A Good Read  hundreds of people bought it but, alas, only a few will have been inspired to read The Priory by this downbeat trio. However, people, The Priory is a fantastic book. The other frustration was this morning on the Today Prog (here, scroll down to 2 hours and 25 minutes) which was billed as a five minute slot about why some novels are revived (Suite Francaise) and others are forgotten (Charles Morgan). But for some peculiar reason the academic ‘down the line’ talked about Sappho and then was encouraged by Sarah Montague to talk about Sappho some more. And we never quite managed a proper discussion before trivia set in.

Otherwise it’s been a normal-ish week with the October books (including the 2015 Diary) safely delivered to the printer and life in the shop going on as usual. A blogger took this delightful photograph.

The New Statesman had a letter about Elizabeth von Arnim (whose novel Vera is very much on our short list) which pointed out that in The Caravaners  (1909) she describes a German being sure that England ‘that plump little island’ will soon be part of the German empire; not content with this percipience, in a letter from France in 1932 she wrote” ‘Those Germans continue to be the danger…they’ll drag us to hell and themselves too.’ And so they did.

Ordering books from Wordery is proving a joy, and we are still loyal to Hive (though can’t get used to the name, it is boring having to explain to people that Hive is a mail order book supplier. At least they can vaguely guess what Wordery involves);  In Our Time was about Mrs Dalloway; there was an article in New Scientist by Douglas Heaven about the internet which had this memorable aperçu: ‘It used to take a totalitarian state to create an alternative  reality, but anyone can do it now. According to one estimate, one third of online reviews are fake’; finally, the Peggy Angus exhibition opens at the Towner next week and there was a good article about her by Rachel Cooke in the Observer.  Also there is a new book by James Russell. Here is a photograph of Peggy Angus in her studio.


Nicola Beauman

59 Lambs Conduit Street

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