Thursday, May 26, 2016

Literary Ramblings

I've come across some wonderful websites & podcasts recently & I do love to share. After all, if I'm going to be scrambling to fit all these into my reading & listening schedule, I think you should all be under the same relentless pressure!

First though, I want to mention an audio book. Some friends have been visiting Mitford country & that may be why, when my monthly Audible credit was due, I decided to download Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford. Read by Patricia Hodge, who is the most perfect narrator for this book that I can imagine - do admit. I haven't read Love in a Cold Climate for years & I'm loving it. It's such a witty, funny book; Lady Montdore & Boy Dougdale are so dreadful that it's a treat to revisit them all again even though there's a sadness in Polly's story which is heartbreaking. That's my Mitford shelf at the top of the post. I have quite a few Mitfords on the tbr shelves but they're scattered so not easy to photograph.
I'm so pleased that some of these older Chivers audio books are available on Audible. Chivers went through several name changes over the years & finally went under altogether a couple of years ago. I would love their editions of the Barbara Pym & Dorothy L Sayers (read by Ian Carmichael) audio books to be available but, I'll take what I can get. Apart from anything else, their cover art for their classics series was always so stylish.

I came across this article about Constance Fenimore Woolson at Lithub which led me to sign up for their newsletter which links to lots of literary articles. The Woolson article was written by Anne Boyd Rioux, author of a new biography of Woolson that I'm very keen to read. Then, I discovered Boyd Rioux's website & her Bluestocking Bulletin which began in February & I've read the back issues & subscribed.

While reading the Bluestocking Bulletin, I came across a mention of the New Statesman History podcast series Hidden Histories. It is a six episode exploration of women writers before Jane Austen, from Aphra Behn to Maria Edgeworth. I've listened to two episodes so far & it's wonderful. You can listen at the website or subscribe to the podcast.

Another new podcast is from the people who run crowdfunding publisher, Unbound. Called Backlisted, each episode highlights a forgotten book, in the manner of the website, Neglected Books.
I've listened to one episode so far, on Sylvia Townsend Warner's Lolly Willowes, one of my favourite novels. I found the episode a bit too long & a little self-indulgent. The three male hosts didn't let their guest, Samantha Ellis, get a word in for some time, but when the discussion did get started on the book, it was fascinating. I've downloaded two more episodes, on Nancy Mitford's The Blessing & J L Carr's A Month in the Country, so I will persevere.
I heard about this podcast from a terrific Facebook group, Undervalued British Women Novelists 1930-1960. It's worth joining if you're interested in the period & neglected women writers.

Well, that's it for now. More rambling to come when I have something to ramble about. Happy reading, listening & subscribing.


  1. I'm just discovering podcasts so I'm happy to benefit from your ramblings! I'm looking forward to reading about Constance Fenimore Woolson; I have the new biography waiting.

    1. I feel that I'm about to order the CFW biog & the collection of short stories edited by ABR. I hope you enjoy the podcasts & I'll look forward to reading your review of the biog.