week in books: 10/2/11

October 2, 2011

One nice thing about doing these weekly posts is that it helps me actually keep track of what I’m reading. But then there are weeks like this, where all I have to offer is the fact that I reread half of Georgette Heyer’s The Convenient Marriage this morning, and it’s just kind of embarassing. What can I say? There have been numerous distractions this week.

But here, have some dark and blurry photographs of things I bought at a library book sale yesterday:

I don’t spend all my time at book sales, I promise. It’s just that one of the libraries in my area has been running a ook sale out of a side room on alternate weekends or something, while another had a big booksale fundraiser thing this weekend.

The pictures are terrible, but yes, that is a stack of twelve Georgette Heyer paperbacks on the left. I’ve read all of them, I think, but I didn’t own any of them. And I left at least as many behind.

On the other side we have…hmmm. There’s a book by Katherine Cecil Thurston, an early 20th century bestseller whose books I’ve never read. There’s a copy of Rupert of Hentzau, because I didn’t have a nice one. There’s one of the Lillian Elizabeth Roy Polly and Eleanor books, which are pretty great and which I should write about at some point. That skinny white thing is by Annie Hamilton Donnell, and the second thing from the top is something randomly entertaining-looking by Mabel Dana Lyon (anyone familiar with her?). And the last one is someting by Grace Livingston Hill, who should have appeared on this blog before but hasn’t.




  1. Grace Livingston Hill has moments of awesome– I loved both Aunt Crete’s Emancipation and Cloudy Jewel. Although they’re both Rescue-The-Spinster stories, the non-standard rescue makes them both worth it, and the period details in Cloudy Jewel were perfect.

    Also love Polly & Eleanor for their moments of borderline incoherence, really loved Donnell’s “Rebecca Mary”, and I thought Mabel Dana Lyon was a pulp writer, but now I suspect I’m conflating her with someone else.

    • Cloudy Jewel is the one I just bought, and now I’m excited about spinsters. The two books of hers I’ve read have had young, not terribly interesting heroines.

      Polly and Eleanor are kind of great, aren’t they? Half the time they’re more sophisticated than you would expect and the other half they’re completely nonsensical.

      The Lyon book appears to be about a woman who marries into a snooty family and reforms them? It sounded pretty entertaining.

      • Cloudy Jewel has a strong Christian theme going through most of it, and Julia herself totally comes off as weirdly manipulative in places, but it’s still a fun read. I don’t know Hill’s background, but both Cloudy Jewel and Aunt Crete have a strong “Fanny Fern”* feel– as if maybe Hill was familiar with being treated as the family workhorse, and dreamed of the day when someone would rescue her. There’s definitely a lot of emotion in

        P&E – The whole God / good thing in the New York book was bizarre, but funny.

        * How many stories did Fanny Fern write about a struggling widowed mother abandoned by her family, only to be lionized by then when she became a successful author?

        • whoops. “There’s definitely a lot of emotion in the way she tells about Crete & Julia’s lives with their families.”

        • Yeah, I think Grace Livingston Hill was one of those authors who wrote to support her family, and also I think she had some very E.D.E.N. Southworth marital problems. Also she apparently wrote to proselytize, so there is a lot of Christian content in most of her books. But self-indulgent fantasy often makes for really enjoyable books, so I look forward to that.

          I haven’t actually read any of Fanny Fern’s books — is there one you’d recommend?

  2. My virtual slush pile has most of those authors in it, and I already worked my way through the Polly & Eleanor stories. And now I want to revisit Heyer–she was a big fave of my grandmother so I read a lot of her books when I was quite young. And since I read her years before I read any Jane Austen, when I finally stepped in to Jane’s world, it felt very familiar!

    • I read the first few Polly & Eleanors a few years back, and really liked them. I’m looking forward to revisiting them.

      Heyer is pretty great–I wouldn’t have wanted to read her books before Austen’s, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who dislikes her books.

  3. I love Grace Livingston Hill books. My favorites are Cloudy Jewel, A Daily Rate, and The Seventh Hour. I really like it when the Wicked Person is killed off but allowed to repent at the last minute.

    I remember reading Georgette Heyer’s The Convenient Marriage when I was quite young and not really understanding it. I’ve never read anything of hers since, but maybe I should.

    I just downloaded the Katherine Cecil Thurston books from Project Gutenberg. They look quite promising.

    • Cloudy Jewel is the one I just bought, and you’re the second person to list it as a favorite, so I’m pretty excited.

      Georgette Heyer is a lot of fun. The Convenientr Marriage is atypical, since it’s Georgian, not Regency, but I like it a lot. My favorite of Heyer’s books are probably Cotillion, Black Sheep, and Powder and Patch (another Georgian one). Other peoples’ favorites often seem to be Cotillion, These Old Shades (same plot as Ethel M. Dell’s Charles Rex), Arabella, and The Grand Sophy (which sort of creeps me out sometimes). (So Cotillion is pretty great)

  4. Who on earth actually gave up her Georgette Heyer books? :)

    Great finds.

    • They’re really fun copies, too–they seem to be from the late sixties or thereabouts, and the cover illustrations are hilariously dated.

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