Skip to main content

The Sunday Salon

It’s a quiet Sunday here; a usual week at work, too. I’ve spent most of the weekend watching episodes of Are You Being Served? and Upstairs, Downstairs (again!).

In terms of reading, not much has been going on in that department; I read O, Juliet, by Robin Maxwell, and The Road to Jerusalem, by Jan Guillou. The latter book, although only 380-ish pages, took me the better part of the week to read.

I’m currently reading, and enjoying, another Persephone: The Carlyles at Home, by Thea Holme. It’s nonfiction (the first nonfiction from Persephone that I’ve read), about Thomas and Jane Carlyle and the home they rented at 5 Cheyne Row, London, for over thirty years (1830s-60s; coincidentally, Jane's 209th birthday was on this past Thursday). The book is not so much about their stormy relationship as it is about their domestic arrangements, from clothing to the Servant Problem to the wacky, noisy neighbors next door at number 6. The book draws heavily from the massive correspondence between Carlyle and Jane. Highly recommended for anyone who likes reading about daily life in Victorian England.

How was your week?


Danielle said…
My library has an older edition of the Holme book, which I keep looking at. It sounds good and I expect I'll check it out sooner or later.
Serena said…
I really love "Are You Being Served?"!
Pour of Tor said…
"The Carlyles" sounds like a good one. Every year when I am in London in the summer, I try to stop by the Persephone shop on Kensington Church Street and pick up a single new Persephone to add to my collection. It is always a challenge to choose just one. Often I fail.

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972 Originally published: 1944 My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press) How I acquired my copy:, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…

Review: Jane Austen's Letters, ed. by Deirdre Le Faye

Pages: 667 Original date of publication: 2011 My copy: 2011 (Oxford University Press) Why I decided to read: How I acquired my copy:, April 2013
This is a compilation of many of Jane Austen’s letters, most of them sent to her sister Cassandra between 1796 and 1817, the year of her death. Although many of Austen’s letters were destroyed by her sister in order to preserve the family reputation, the collection contains over 160 letters in which Austen gives her sister details about her life in Chawton—as well as giving us a tantalizing glimpse of what was going through her mind as she was writing her novels (especially the novel that was to become Pride and Prejudice, First Impressions). There are other letters here, too, giving advice to her niece and professional correspondence to publishers—as well as a couple of letters that were written by Cassandra Austen after Jane’s death.
To the sisters, the letters acted in the way that phone calls do today; Austen’s news is all about pe…

Review: Midnight in Peking, by Paul French

Pages: 259 Original date of publication: 2013 My copy: 2013 (Penguin) Why I decided to read: How I acquired my copy: Phoenix bookstore, May 2013
In January 1937, the body of a young British girl, Pamela Werner, was found near Peking’s Fox Tower. Although two detectives, one British and the other Chinese, spent months on the case, the case was never solved completely, and the case was forgotten in the wake of the invasion of the Japanese. Frustrated, Pamela’s father, a former diplomat, tried to solve the crime. His investigation took him into the underbelly of Peking society and uncovered a secret that was worse than anything he could have imagined.
At first, I thought that this would be a pretty straightforward retelling of a true crime, but what Paul French (who spent seven years researching the story) reveals in this book is much more than that. Foreign society in Peking in the 1930s was stratified, with the British colonials at the top and the White Russian refugees at the bottom, but…