Last week I discovered Persephone books. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long – my joy of discovery is tempered by the fact that I’ve spent so many years not knowing them – years when I could have been reading. Persephone publish books by neglected authors, mainly women, whose books have gone out of print. Most of these books are from the interwar period – fantastic 30s fiction and luckily for me, perfect research for Fred. They are just so funny and charming and brilliantly observed – think Jane Austen with a tinkle of champagne.
I consumed Marianna by Monica Dickens and have now moved on to Miss Buncle’s Book by DE Stevenson. I think Barbara Buncle has the best reason ever for becoming a writer; namely that she really dislikes chickens:
Here Barbara meets her soon-to-be publisher Mr Abbot for the very first time…
‘So the you thought you would write a book,’ suggested Mr Abbott sympathetically.
‘Well, not just at first,’ replied the author. ‘I thought of lots of other things first – keeping hens for one thing. But I don’t care for hens much. I don’t like touching them, they are such fluttery things aren’t they? And Dorcas doesn’t like them either.’
(copyright DE Stevenson and Persephone books, 2009).
I’m with Barbara, I’d rather write than keep hens. Even if it’s raining. You can buy one of Persephone’s 83 books online at: http://www.persephonebooks.co.uk/
They’re so pretty and gift-wrapped and each one comes with a book mark to match the endpapers…