Monday, November 15, 2010

Reading in 2011

It's less than five weeks to Christmas, and however many days until 2011... time to start planning next year's reading list.

I've found a very nice place to start - with my blog crush India Knight and her ultimate comfort reads. Her lovely list is here.

How could I not love a list that starts with Nancy Mitford and includes Agatha, Daphne Du Maurier, PG Wodehouse and Austen?  I'm not sure Jilly Cooper fits with my resolution to read better. I may leave her off in 2011.

I loved Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle and as a girl despite being THE worst dancer at Mrs Todd's Ballet School, anything by Noel Streatfield.

Jane at My Pear Tree House gave me food for thought last week (as she so often does when it comes to books and food) with her post about grand castles in literature. I'm adding Kate Morton to my list - she's not English but Australian but Jane assures me she does English very well.

So many of the authors I love are English, terribly English. So many of the books I love are set in a particular period in English life and in a particular class too it must be said... perhaps in a past life I lived somewhere like Chatsworth House.
Maybe I spent my teen years in that other life mooning about in a grand country home in a scratchy tweed skirt, gazing out over green rolling hills while dreaming about silk dresses and pining for love.

One day in my much talked about dream house in this life (with a laundry, dressing room and library) there will be a room crammed with comfort reads - a no boy zone.

In my past life it may have looked like the drawing room at the Duchess of Devonshire's new Vicarage.
As the Mitford sister who married very well,  Debo (now 90) has downsized from the beautiful Chatsworth House. There's a lovely interview with her here and another lively Mitford book to look forward to.

Ah well, this Villa Life might be a little drab in comparison but my family is at least sane and pretty happy. They are rarely sane or happy in the books I've loved.

I'll settle for a book corner like this perhaps. And a silk dress.

(Image 1 and 4 from here, 2 and 3 from here)


  1. That's a very impressive list. My aim is to read at least one book a week next year. That used to be a cinch, now not so much! I wonder if you could do a linky thing with everyone's list early in the year?? That could be fun :)

  2. Ooh, Ann! A thoughtful post, Lovely.

    Now, a quibble. I was the worst dancer in Mrs Todd's ballet class. Armed with my sway back, I attempted to do demi plies at the barre. She walked along and smacked my bottom with a ruler, telling me it was sticking out too far. I never returned. Aged 7.

    I devoured Noel Streatfield books as a child. And yes, I want a reading room when I've grown up.

    Oh, and the Mitfords were a pretty crazy bunch, weren't they? Wikipedia referes to "Diana the Fascist, Jessica the Communist, Unity the Hitler-lover, Nancy the Novelist, Deborah the Duchess and Pamela the unobtrusive poultry connoisseur". I agree, your household is a lot saner than that one! J x

  3. An inspiring list. Makes me wonder why I read so much fluff. I think I will start with the Mitfords!

  4. What a great list Ann. Can't wait to read with you next year! I am negotiating bookshelves as we speak for our house, expensive, but we need somewhere to store all my lovelies and I am tired of rummaging through boxes in sheds, the roof and cupboards. Have a great week.

    Emma. xx

  5. Mmmm, a beautiful post that has sent my mind far away from the mundane day to day of mothering little'uns and all their 'delightful' mess. Thanks for a moment of escapism. I really must get reading again in 2011. This year has been very lax (apart from prolific blog reading). x

  6. I am ashamed how many books on that list I have not read, a good start for 2011. I have the lastest book by Debo on my Christmas list, I read the book of letters between her & her sisters, what a life:) I dreamed of living at Chatsworth when we visited a few years back........of course Mr PK pointed out we would have been firmly BELOW stairs, sigh.......
    Mary Wesley "Part of the Furniture" is just a lovely lovely book, I would add it to the list for sure!

  7. This is a great list! I reckon I've read about half of it, which leaves me with a lot of comfort reading to do (I'm going to quietly omit Jilly too). Many of them have in common a minor elegant quirkiness and an engaging attention to detail.


Thanks for taking the time to write, Ann x


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