Today, I have returned to the U.S. after a wonderful week in England, most of which I spent in Yorkshire, although I did manage two nights in London as well. I got to see many sites of literary significance in the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District, as well as a few in London. I also had the great pleasure of meeting some wonderful blogging friends: Catherine of Juxtabook, Claire of Paperback Reader, and Simon of Stuck in a Book. I’ll have a fuller report—with pictures!—next week.
This week, however, I wanted to share a bit about all the reading I did leading up to and during my journey, and to tell you about my bookish booty from my travels. So consider this a special edition of my usual Notes on a Reading Life.
Almost all of the books read have some sort of connection to sites I visited in my travels.
- On Art and Life by John Ruskin. This tiny volume from Penguin’s Great Ideas series was a great way to get a taste of Ruskin before visiting his home in the Lake District.
- On the Other Side of the Dale by Gervase Phinn. An amusing book about a Yorkshire school inspector that sometimes crossed the line into too precious. Perfectly fine for an airplane book, but not fabulous.
- Nineteen Seventy Four by David Peace. A gritty novel about disappearances of children in the Yorkshire area. So graphic at times that I almost gave up on it, but the writing and story were just interesting enough to keep me going.
- Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson. A wonderful story set in York of three generations of women, all told in the refreshing voice of the youngest daughter from the youngest generation.
- The Abyss by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. The 18th Morland Dynasty book and one of the best yet, with one of the Morland men behaving like a character right out of a Brontë novel.
- Hetty Dorval by Edith Wilson. This book about a young woman who makes friends with a woman of low reputation is mostly set in Canada, so the story is not connected to my travels, but I did buy it at the Persephone shop and read it just in time for Claire and Verity‘s Persephone Reading Week.
- Hetty Dorval by Ethel Wilson. I was looking for a good, short read for Persphone week, and this was one that Claire recommended.
- Every Eye by Isobel English. Another Persephone, this short novel about one young woman and two love affairs has been on my list for years.
- Tell It to a Stranger by Elizabeth Berridge. My final Persephone, this one is a collection of wartime stories.
- Life at Grasmere by Dorothy and William Wordsworth. This book is part of Penguin’s English Journeys series, which Thomas has been reading. My day in the Lake District included a stop for tea in Grasmere, right next to the church where the Wordsworths are buried. When I saw this little book in London a few days later, I couldn’t pass it up.
- The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter. Claire was giving this away as part of her Angela Carter month celebration. My library doesn’t have it, so I was happy to win a copy, although I may try to read another Carter before delving into this more controversial work.
- White Is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi. I read and enjoyed (but did not love) Oyeyemi’s The Icarus Girl preblog, and the reviews have gotten me curious about this book. Catherine had seen me mention it, so she passed along her copy to me.
- The Taste of Sorrow by Jude Morgan. So I had 10 pounds cash left when I was at the airport. I had to spend it, and better a book than crisps and candy, right? This novel about the Brontës has gotten great reviews, and it seemed like a great choice for capping off my trip.