Monday, 24 August 2009

Persephone Take-off!


Welcome to the Persephone Reading Week Challenge! As delighted as I am to co-host this exciting event with Verity, I am just as giddy about a week-long indulgence in reading Persephone Books. I'm starting off with Flush by Virginia Woolf, what about you?

We have some fun things planned this week so please check back often. Later on this morning we will both launch our own Persephone competitions that will run all week - please join in!

As for prize giveaways, let's start the ball rolling... Persephone very kindly provided us with ever-so-slightly damaged books to offer as prizes (honestly, some of the marks or faults are barely noticeable, if at all), some of which are photographed below.

We are offering a Persephone Classics copy of Good Evening, Mrs Craven: The Wartime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes EVERY day this week. All you have to do is comment on this post or on Verity's launch post each day for an entry into the draw; the more comments, the more entries, and please include links to Persephone Reading Week related posts or simply comment to inform us of your reading progress this week or if you are enjoying yourself so far. The following day either Verity or myself will announce the winner of the previous day's draw. Is that clear enough (an answer to this will even obtain you a chance of winning)?!

In addition to the prize draw every day, we are going to award a copy of A London Child of the 1870s by Molly Hughes (a Persephone that Verity speaks highly of and one that I am hoping to read myself this week) to the Persephone Reading Week related post that we love the most so please link to those posts and reviews! That will be decided once Verity returns from holiday in September and once we have all caught up on our reviews and summations of the week.

Have fun and happy Persephone reading.



97 comments:

verity said...

Hurrah!

StuckInABook said...

Hello! Comment comment comment...
This will be a really fun week. My first Persephone for this week is Princes in the Land by Joanna Cannan.

Paperback Reader said...

The excitement is palpable... I've started off with Flush :). Princes in the Land is calling to me though after Danielle's review.

Julia said...

I hope it's not too late to sign up- my first Persephone for the week is The Closed Door and Other Stories by Dorothy Whippple.

Paperback Reader said...

Julia, it's not too late at all! Welcome to the challenge.

m said...

I feel ashamed that the Far Cry has been sitting on my pile for 12 months, especially after I so enjoyed Great Western Beach. Doubt I'll finish it this week, but I could make a start. What fast readers you all are!

Paperback Reader said...

M, I have a number of Persephones that have been on the shelf unread for at least nine months, which is why reading as many of them as possible this week is a great idea!
The Far Cry is a recent purchase for me but I'm not sure yet if it will be one that I pick up this week or save until later.

farmlanebooks said...

I have my persephone books ready and waiting. Hopefully I'll start reading it later today. I'll report back soon!

Paperback Reader said...

Great, Jackie!

Darlene said...

Morning Claire! This is going to be a super week of reading Persephone and meeting others. I've started The Village by Marghanita Laski, I'm hoping for a wide variety of titles to be read so we can discover all we can about these wonderful books!

Paperback Reader said...

Hi Darlene! I am discovering already that this week is adding exponentially to my reading list and Persephone wishlist! This week should definitely be informative and tempting.

Nymeth said...

My very first Persephone! Verdict: I loved it.

leaningtowardthesun said...

What we've all been waiting for! I'm starting with Miss Pettigrew lives for a day. I've heard lots about it. I also have Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, and Flush planned. In a last minute of Persephone excitement last week I ordered a slew and hope they'll be here in time for the challenge
Danielle

Paperback Reader said...

Ana, YAY! I am so happy!

Danielle, fabulous choices! can't wait to hear about your new purchases and hope that they arrive during the challenge.
I'm reading Flush at the moment :).

Tracey said...

I started The Wise Virgins by Leonard Woolf this morning on the train to work. Loving it already!

Paperback Reader said...

Glad to hear it, Tracey!

Green Road said...

I've started on The Victorian Chaise Longue today, and it looks very promising!

Paperback Reader said...

Swati, it's a popular choice! I hope you enjoy it.

JoAnn said...

My choice is Someone at a Distance. Thunderstorms are predicted to interrupt our vacation this afternoon, so I may get started then!

Paperback Reader said...

JoAnn, it will make perfect reading for a thunderstorm!

Steph said...

I was a little bit off the mark, as I actually read a Persephone book last week! But I did enjoy it a good deal and wrote a review: http://www.stephandtonyinvestigate.com/?p=2214. I guess this is a case of better early than never, right?

Book Psmith said...

I am starting with Miss Buncle's Book. I can't wait to see what you think of Flush since I am kind of on the fence about reading it. Everything is clear...crystal:) Off to read...

Jane said...

I'm reading the Victorian Chaise-Longue too.

Paperback Reader said...

Steph, you're just an early bird, is all! Thanks for the link; I enjoyed your review.

Book Psmith, my review of Flush is forthcoming... happy reading!

Jane, apparently great minds are thinking alike! It has nothing to do with it being the shortest... ;). I hope you enjoy it too.

Green Road said...

I've finished The Victorian Chaise Longue, (it was a very quick read as others have said) and liked it very much. Here's my review:

http://greenroadbooks1.blogspot.com/2009/08/victorian-chaise-longue-marghanita.html

Christy said...

Hello!

I'm taking off with Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day. See my review.

Followed by Good Evening Mrs. Craven; which is a collection of short stories.

And if I get to it, Marianna.

Well that's my line up.

I did say I had four, but then realized I had already read Little Boy Lost; which I have also reviewed previously.

I have also previously reviewed Someone at a Distance

I was only taking a quick glance at my Persephone Pile.

Christy

Samantha said...

Am off and running with Miss Buncle's Book - thanks for the email reminder :-)

claire said...

Ooh I'm so late! Have been pinned down all day my the kids so am only now catching up with all yours and Verity's posts. But I did get to put up my first Persephone post!

I'm starting off with Miss Pettigrew and three chapters in. Really loving it so far!!

m said...

This is possibly cheating but I am reading One Fine Day by Mollie Panter-Downes a Persephone author but not a Persephone book! Loving it so far.

Paperback Reader said...

Swati, I'll be reading your post shortly! I'm glad that you liked it and that it was a good choice by your husband!

Christy, great choices! I look forward to reading your existing and forthcoming reviews.

Samantha, we couldn't have you missing it, could we?! Miss Buncle seems to be calling my name... so many Persephones are tempting me! (Well, you all are tempting me by reading and loving them!)

Claire, take this at your own pace... we'll still be here! Some of us don't have children to look after.

I'm glad that you're loving Miss Pettigrew so far and I am off to read your post.

Paperback Reader said...

m, it's not cheating per se... ;) That's a VMC so it makes a good pairing with Persephones. I may be reading that book myself soon.

Merenia said...

Hello Paperback Reader,
I have been really enjoying the Persephone book reviews this week. Thank you to you and Verity for organising this - it looks like you've both put loads of thought and effort into it. The Persephone Imprint has been like this amazing door opening to me. I had deviated from English 19th and 18th C novels from time to time, but never understood the genre of the 'domestic' or 'middlebrow' novels as a whole until discovering Persephone Books a couple of years ago. The very best introduction for me was Nicola Beauman's A Very Great Profession, and basically from there I have a reading list to last a lifetime, as well as a lot of hunting down to do. (And like all book crazed people I do enjoy the hunt!) If I have time this week I would like to write a small review on A Very Great Profession.
I don't have a blog of my own, though so not sure how I would share it. In another life I will start up a book blog of my own, but two wee children are in competition at present! Thanks for all the illuminating book related thoughts on your blog, and also other kindreds (B Files, Stuck in a Book, Roses over a Cottage Door, Book Snob ).

Paperback Reader said...

Merenia, thank you! Glad to know that there are people without blogs who are following this week and enjoying the features.
If you do manage to write a review of A Very Great Profession (it gave me a fully-made reading list too!) then feel free to email me it and I'll post it for you as a guest review. That offer extends to anyone who would like to share their Persephone love; it's great to have you participating by whichever means possible.

Steph said...

New day, new comment! I'm sad I don't have any other Persephones in my reading stack so I can't play along with Tuesday Teasers or anything like that,but I'm enjoying all the posts!

Suzanne said...

What a wonderful Challenge! I never knew about Persephone Books and went to their site, thanks to your link!

I'm late to the party here, but wanted to thank you for opening my eyes to the wonderful neglected works of some great women writers!

Suzanne

Paperback Reader said...

Steph, keep those comments coming! Do you still have your copy of Miss Pettigrew? If so, use that and comment on Teaser Tuesdays for entry into the draw.

Hi Suzanne, thanks for commenting. It's never too late! This week is mainly about raising the profile of this imprint that we love as well as indulging in them ourselves so you are very welcome.

Cristina said...

Dear Paperback Reader and Verity,
I love both your blogs, particularly the Persephone Week entries! They are fun, informative and inspiring and I am enjoying reading each entry everyday. I possess only 3 Persephones to date but am starting with 'Miss Buncle's Book' this week and hope to acquire more Persephones in time. Thank you again for this fun challenge! :-)

Nymeth said...

Here's my daily trying-my-luck comment ;)

I'm absolutely loving Saplings, and I really think you should read it sooner rather than later, Claire. She writes with such sensitivity and insight, and she captures a child's perspective so well.

Paperback Reader said...

I definitely want to, Ana, and I had listed it on my summer reading list but I don't want to rush it this week as it sounds like a book that I should savour. We'll see...

Paperback Reader said...

Cristina, thank you and you are very welcome :). I'm glad you are taking part and I am looking forward to your contribution. Three Persephones is a good start!

Bloomsbury Bell said...

Am desperate to get through both Family Roundabout and The Wise Virgins as they have been on my to read pile for ages. I think I should have taken the week off work!

Paperback Reader said...

Naomi, next time I command you to take holidays! Hee. As long as you enjoy the ones you are reading. Family Roundabout was on my TBR piles for ages too.

m said...

I don't think anybody has mentioned The World That Was Ours, which is completely and utterly gripping but not what you'd call a typical Persephone title. It's a fast, pacey read - but also a deeply thought-provoking book about apartheid, so probably better set aside and read more deliberately some other time. Strong contender for best Persephone ever! At least that's what I think!

coops said...

I have resolved to finish Marianna, as it's been dragging on for weeks. I wasn't really enjoying it, but when I picked it up again last night I got quite into it. Not my normal cup of tea though!

Paperback Reader said...

m, I am desperate to buy a copy of The World That Was Ours! I think it's one that I will dedicate time to though but I do plan to read it as soon as I can. I love that Persephone Books have so much to offer to suit every mood!

coops, Mariana has been on my TBR list for about a year and I mean to read it soon. I'm sorry that it was dragging for you but relieved that you are enjoying it now.

Merenia said...

I've taken the Persephone Week Challenge to the screen, and watched Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day on DVD. It was excellent. I think both the DVD and more so the book, both do a good job of highlighting the very problematic place / restricted roles of single women in the early 20thC. Feel glad that women have so much more opportunity amd freedom now, at least in the Western World, as to how they live.

Merenia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
verity said...

Excellent idea taking it to the screen too.

Paperback Reader said...

Merenia, if you have a chance read Claire at Kiss a Cloud's review of Miss Pettigrew (linked to in Update #6) as it which also covers the role of women. I think both book and film are wonderful and if that wasn't your own copy of the DVD that you watched then check out today's related competition!

Verity, it was invaluable to Persephone as it raised their profile astronomically.

Steph said...

So far the week seems like it has been a smashing success! Do you ave any plans to do this again, perhaps in a year's time? I will definitely stock up on Persephones so that I can properly participate!

Green Road said...

Steph's idea is good. I know I will look forward to this again next year. I'll stock up too!

Cristina said...

Lovely reviews again today and such a wealth of links! Thank you! I too hope that this Persephone Week will be repeated again soon :-)

Paperback Reader said...

Steph, Swati & Cristina, we would love to do this again! At first we threw around October, when the new titles are released, but that may be too ambitious so if not the Spring releases then definitely this time next year. We are delighted at its success and popularity.

coops said...

Hurrah! I finished Mariana, and enjoyed the last quarter of the book much more than the rest.

Next up is Miss Buncle's Book, which is my only TBR Persephone - at least until I receive Few Eggs from our wonderful hosts :-)

hjelliot said...

Well, thought I'd try my luck for Good Evening Mrs. Craven as it's on the list of persephones to purchase. Still into Miss Ranskill comes home and may have a review by the end of the week. Is the Persephone Reading Week continued over the weekend?

StuckInABook said...

Commenting again for a hope of winning... (I think I have to comment everyday?? Yes, no?)

Green Road said...

Here's my tuppence in hope of winning the remaining copy before I cave in and purchase it! I'm a third of the way into Round About A Pound A Week and enjoying it. I think I'll have a review to post tonight.

verity said...

Yes, keep commenting guys. I've just announced today's winner, but still two more copies to be one tomorrow and Friday!

Paperback Reader said...

coops, glad you enjoyed the rest of Mariana!

I'd love to hear what you think of Miss Buncle's too. Hope you love all of that. Thrilled that you're so pleased with your prize :-)

Heather, no luck this time but still two copies to draw! Are you enjoying Miss Ranskill? Officially Persephone Reading Week finishes tomorrow (sob) as Verity off on holiday but I'm prepared to post summaries/reviews still to allow everybody to catch up and enjoy the aftermath of the experience.

Simon, every day so keep 'em coming ;).

Swati, looking forward to your review! And keep trying for the prize!

Merenia said...

Oh anguish. I am not keeping up with the reading of all this rich Persephone related discussion and the reviews!!! If theres a next time, maybe it could be spread over a month? I'd love to try out for all the lovely competitions, but doubt I will have a chance before Friday with my small family and their demands. Never mind. Thank you both for this excellent week. (I have left only comments on Paperback Reader blog as seem unable to post comments on B Files for some reason. Have wanted to many many times, before this week even but no luck. )

Paperback Reader said...

Merenia, it is a busy week and maybe we will make it a month next time to make it a little easier on ourselves too... Glad that you have enjoyed it and contributed when you can!

Verity, that reminds me that Tracey asked me to tell you the same: that she had problems commenting on your blog to thank you for the prize draw.

Green Road said...

Oh dear, does Persephone Week only last till tomorrow? There's not much chance of me finishing They Knew Mr Knight before then. I was planning to finish it by Sunday.

Paperback Reader said...

Over the weekend is fine, Swati! I'll still be wrapping-up my own reading and reviewing possibly.

StuckInABook said...

Another day, another comment :-)

savidgereads said...

Oh I didnt realise we had to come back to this post each day I am silly!

Now am reading a library copy I do so want one of my own to own!

m said...

I'm sure Jane's dress shop in High Wages has inspired beautiful end-papers - and I loved Dorothy Whipple's descriptions of windowdisplays in posh Manchester shops pre-WW1. But I'm a bit baffled that Persephone haven't chosen to publish Greenbanks instead, which is as good as anything DW has ever written. I liked High Wages but it reads like a more immature work. (Don't think there's much time between them, but with Greenbanks DW seems to have really hit her stride.) BTW her autobiography Random Commentary is lovely - I had to order it from the library.

Paperback Reader said...

Thank you, Simon T and Simon S, and good luck!

m, I'm sure that they will publish all of Dorothy Whipple's works eventually as they are so popular and highly anticipated (apparently people have been desperate for High Wages and impatient for October). Here's hoping. I shall definitely keep the biography in mind for when I read more of her books (so far I have read two).

Steph said...

I'm so glad to hear that there will likely be another Persephone Week in the future to look forward to. I started to keep a list of books to add to my TBR pile based on reviews, then figured that I could pretty much order anything from the catalogue and enjoy it!

I'm hoping to watch and review the film version of Miss Pettigrew before the week is up!

Paperback Reader said...

Steph, that's usually my sentiment when I'm placing an order! I can never decide anyway and like to surprise myself (that's how I came across Lady Rose & Mrs Memmary).

I'm looking forward to your film review!

hjelliot said...

Have finished Miss Ranskill Comes Home and am about to email my review to you Claire.
Do you think chanting would increase my chances of winning? Come on Good Evening Mrs Craven!

m said...

I'm waiting for Young Anne and Every Good Deed, I don't even know what they're about but they're the only two I haven't read. But I don't mind waiting as it's something to look forward to and there's always the faint hope of finding one secondhand! Wouldn't that be a thrill! Like you say, I'm sure Persephone will get round to them all eventually!

heidenkind said...

I know it's probably too late to sign up, but are you planning on doing another Persephone Week at some point? I would love to join in.

Paperback Reader said...

Thank you, Heather; I'll post it shortly.
You never know: chanting may do the trick!

m, finding a secondhand Dorothy Whipple (or any Persephone author) would be wonderful!

heidenkind, thanks for commenting! We will definitely arrange another Persephone Week at some point but we're not sure when. We would love for you to join us for the second!

Green Road said...

Claire, here's my latest Persephone review. I'll post it on Verity's blog too if I can (it sometimes rejects me for some reason)

http://greenroadbooks1.blogspot.com/2009/08/round-about-pound-week-maud-pember.html

Nymeth said...

As someone was saying above, another day, another comment :P Still finding comfort in Persephone authors - time for me to finally read The Secret Garden.

Paperback Reader said...

Swati, thank you! I'll comment and also link to it shortly.

Ana, that's the spirit ;). I love The Secret Garden; it's my favourite childhood classic, along with her other children's novels. The Persephone titles by Frances Hodgson Burnett are great, especially The Shuttle which is fabulously melodramatic.

Merenia said...

Thanks for your description of your visit at Persephone bookshop. It sounded divine.

Paperback Reader said...

You're welcome, Merenia; it was divine. Thank you for the first entry today into the final prize draw! Good luck!

StuckInABook said...

I'm desperate for a copy after reading Simon S's review!

Paperback Reader said...

Well, Simon, there is every chance that your post has won you a copy! We shall see tomorrow. The other Simon's review was great :).

m said...

I seem to have gone off at a tangent this week, because once I'd finished Mollie Panter-Downes's One Fine Day, I started Frost at Morning, by Richmal Crompton. So another Persephone author, but not a Persephone book. (Maybe that's an idea for future reading challenges? But of course they're usually out of print and it's a fluke if you get hold of them - I found this one very cheaply in a secondhand bookshop a few weeks ago, on a lovely sunny day at the seaside - feeling slightly guilty that my first urge was the bookshops, not the beach!) I didn't quite warm to it at first - I don't think it's as good as Family Roundabout - but in the end I got quite drawn in. There was a very caricatured vicar's wife (a scatterbrained novelette writer) who got on my nerves, she was so unconvincing. But of course the children, as you'd expect from William's creator, were completely convincing . The title says it all - it's about how children's lives can be warped by early rejection.
Many thanks for organising the challenge. I know I've cheated on the reading but I did go to the library yesterday and order two Persephone titles! (Wasn't really in the mood for those on my pile!) Lovely to 'meet' so many other enthusiasts.

coops said...

Posting with the pretext of recommending Doreen by Barbara Noble (no. 60):

When 9 year-old Doreen Rawlings is evacuated from her poor East End home to a comfortable life in the country, she discovers a new world of primroses and streams, of sowing vegetables and playing in a garden.

This is a wonderful book that through Doreen's watchful eyes illustrates how the class divide impacted people's daily lives even during wartime, which is often a leveller of boundaries. My mum was an evacuee from the East End and I look forward to discussing Doreen with her, particularly around the effect that evacuation had on her relationship with her parents.

m said...

Just a thought before everyone disperses ... does anyone have a favourite, out-of-print author/title that hasn't yet been rediscovered by Persephone (or Virago). Are there still forgotten gems out there? Thought of this because a few weeks ago I was reading the Tortoise and the Hare by Elizabeth Jenkins - a brilliant read and it is published by Virago - but I think she was quite prolific and everything else seems to be out of print. Of course, there could be all sorts of copyright reasons why they're not reprinted. But come on - can anybody recommend any other neglected writers?

Paperback Reader said...

m, it still sounds like a heavenly way to spend the week! I envy you your finds and will hopefully be able to indulge in other titles by Persephone authors at some point.

As for the question of forgotten authors that we would like to see published by Persephone, I am only discovering forgotten classics just now but I would suggest Paul Gallico and Angela two Carter's out-of-print novels, although they are very much outwith Persephone's period and type (I would love to seem them back in print though as it is a travesty they are not) as well as other Virago authors.

After speaking to Nicola, I have more of an appreciation of the copyright difficulties and am devastated that they couldn't obtain the rights to Mary McCarthy's The Group (Virago did), as that is definitely Persephone material.

coops, a wonderful quote! I look forward to reading Doreen at some point. fleur fisher is offering a copy of the book today.

Steph said...

We watched Miss Pettigrew last night, and I have my review up now!
http://www.stephandtonyinvestigate.com/?p=2272
Long live Persephone Reading Week!

m said...

I've never managed to finish an Angela Carter, just not an author for me. But I could really see Mrs 'Arris as a Persephone heroine in her Dior gown, though I should think the rights probably still belong to Penguin? There's some intriguing titles in the glossary of A Very Great Profession that I'd love to read some day. Would be great to go back in time to a really good jumble sale just before the war, wouldn't it?

hjelliot said...

Wow! I thought I was the only one who had heard of Paul Gallico! He would make a good persephone! I've also just purchased a copy of Driftwood by Dorothy Whipple (a book of her poetry). It hasn't arrived yet, so I'm not sure how I'll find it, but it's quite hard to come by and Persephone Books are big Whipple fans...maybe someday?

Paperback Reader said...

Steph, thanks for the link! Great review!

m, personally I think that everyone should read Angela Carter but I appreciate that she isn't for everyone, so that's a bit of an oxymoron!
The rights may still belong to Penguin, as a lot of rights seem to be!
A Very Great Profession provides a ready-made reading list, with a lot that I would one day like to read. It made William: An Englishman sound so appealing.
An inter-war book sale would be fabulous! Sigh.

Heather, Paul Gallico is wonderful! You are not alone.
The Dorothy Whipple poetry volume sounds intriguing; once you have read it you should email Nicola about it and perhaps a few of us should enquire about Paul Gallico...

m said...

I'm not going to put money on this, but is that the same Dorothy Whipple? had vague feeling that there's a Dorothy Whipple Fry who was American. But could well be wrong.

William is definitely an interesting read, even if you struggle with accepting that you could hide away in a valley and not notice WW1 breaking out! It's very funny in parts about suffragettes and busybody political types. l

Paperback Reader said...

m, I will suspend belief for that part!

hjelliot said...

Ack, you're right! It is Dorothy Whipple Fry! Only says Dorothy Whipple, but I just did a bit of research. Still anxious to see if it's any good. Perhaps Persephone would like to publish the American twin Dorothy Whipple?

m said...

Never mind, Dorothy Whipple II might be a brilliant undiscovered find and you can take all the credit for resurrecting her! Funny there's two of them when it's such an unusual name, isn't it?

m said...

Never mind, Dorothy Whipple II might be a brilliant undiscovered find and you can take all the credit for resurrecting her! Funny there's two of them when it's such an unusual name, isn't it?

Paperback Reader said...

How frustrating and also coincidental about the other Dorothy Whipple!

Green Road said...

I love the coincidence of two Dorothy Whipples. I wonder if there aare any more coincidences in their life stories. Maybe they both holidayed in Paris or something?

Paperback Reader said...

Swati, they could well have both holidayed in Paris!

Rachel said...

Jumping in once the week is officially 'over' but I will be doing a late review of Dorothy Whipple - what a bad week I chose to go on holiday!!