Sunday, January 23, 2011

TSS: Barbara Pym, Virago Reading Week, and The TBR Dare


Good morning, and welcome to another Sunday Salon. It's a bitterly cold morning with temperatures hovering around zero, and forecast to stay here all day. There's a fire in the fireplace and coffee in my mug, and I'm ready to talk about books.

Yesterday I finished Excellent Women by Barbara Pym - what a wonderful novel! Sad, yet funny, and so real.  That nearly ended the TBR Dare too, but I resisted the urge to run to the bookstore and start another Pym immediately. I am determined to succeed and will wait until April 1!  Quartet in Autumn was my first Pym, and I received recommendations on twitter yesterday for Jane and Prudence and An Unsuitable Attachment. Are there other titles you would suggest?  I can feel a Pym binge (hmm, that sounds like it should be an event) coming in April...

Speaking of the TBR Dare, I'm thinking of giving myself permission to acquire one new book for every two (or maybe three) read from my collection. I needed some extra motivation NOT to buy every Pym title in sight yesterday and this seemed to satisfy me.  In addition to Pym, the next book to purchase may be The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. Bloggers seem to love this, but Lynne's review convinced me that I NEED to read it. Amazon has also named it one January's best books.

There was a moment this week, however, when I was actually grateful for the TBR Dare.  You know I love a good readalong, right? Well, Jill is at it again. This time it's Jousting with Joyce, a Ulysses readalong, and I have an easy, automatic excuse. Thank God there's not a copy on my shelf!

Finally... Virago Reading Week, hosted by Rachel and Carolyn, begins tomorrow!  My review of Excellent Women will be posted during the week and today I will decide on another title to read. Carolyn has posted the complete list here. Possible choices for me include several books by Willa Cather, Elizabeth von Arnim's Elizabeth and Her German Garden, The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty, and The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. We'll see which one strikes me this afternoon. Will you be reading Viragos this week, too?  Which titles have you chosen?

32 comments:

  1. Oh, I don't know, JoAnn, I think a Ulysses read-along would be an acceptable exception to the TBR Dare. ;-)

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  2. Very cold here in the Midwest too. Good day to stay in and read! Have a happy reading week with the challenges!

    Book Bird Dog

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  3. Pym is wonderful! I think you'd really enjoy Elizabeth and her German Garden...

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  4. Even if we weren't having sunshine this weekend, it would still be sunny here after reading your post (and THANK YOU).

    Barbara Pym is such a delight. Some have compared her to a modern Jane Austen but I appreciate each of them for their own quiet strengths.

    If I had not signed on to read Jane Eyre again and plan on rereading Middlemarch next month, the Virago Reading Week looks scrumptious. Willa Cather and Edith Wharton are rewarding each time they are read.

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  5. I look forward to reading your review of Excellent Woman. I am unfamiliar with Barbara Pym, but it sounds as if I need to rectify that.

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  6. I hope everyone else is having as much fun as I am with The TBR Dare. It's fun seeing how everyone is treating it now that we're almost a month along.

    I starting to hit the wall myself.

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  7. I am keen to try Barbara Pym, must look her up. Have you read Elizabeth von Arnim's 'The Enchanted April'set in a castle on the Italian Riviera, it is wonderful.

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  8. So funny about the Joyce not being on your TBR shelf. I am loving the TBR dare. I really liked Excellent Women, but my favorite Pym so far is Some Tame Gazelle. It was her first novel.

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  9. So glad you enjoyed the Pym - I've only read one (Jane and Prudence), which I very much enjoyed, and I must read more.

    So glad you're joining in for Virago Reading Week - I'm so excited to see what everyone chooses to read. I'm hoping to get some great recommendations!

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  10. I have Excellent Women to begin today, after the Bears vs. Packers game for the playoff to the Super Bowl, which I've chosen to read for the Virago Reading Week. I'm looking forward to it, and I'm glad that you liked it. Although, I'm not sure I'm in the mood for funny and sad right now. :)

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  11. I couldn't wait to hear if you liked Excellent Women and I look forward to reading your review. I really liked An Unsuitable Attachment but my vote is for Crampton Hodnet...it has been my favorite Pym so far. I couldn't make up my mind whether or not to join the Virago event for fear I might be in the middle of another book but I will be following you all along. Enjoy!

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  12. Oh I loved Elizabeth and her German Garden - hope you do too. I've been reading Frost in May and am really enjoying it.

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  13. I love Elizabeth Von Armin. I would definitely go with that one.

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  14. I never even thought of using the TBR Dare as an excuse to NOT participate in Jousting with Joyce. Love it.

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  15. Thanks for the reminder about Virago week! I'll see what I can find. It sounds like you're doing great for the TBR Dare challenge. I haven't started yet and I don't know if I can. There are so many great (new) books that I want to read! Have a great week!

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  16. Thanks for reminding me about Barbara Pym. I added Quartet in Autumn to my TBR list last year and then forgot about it. I've managed to stick with the Dare and may extend my commitment into February. Have a wonderful week, JoAnn.

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  17. I like the idea of using new books as incentive for reading TBR books! I didn't put a buying ban on myself, so I've been acquiring books as usual...which is probably a bad thing! Ulysses will never, ever be on my TBR list, so I had a good excuse as well :-)

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  18. I'd recommend No Fond Return of Love, though Jane and Prudence is also a good one.

    I'm looking forward to Virago Reading Week, too! I've gotten a head start with it by starting Devoted Ladies (Molly Keane) this weekend, and I've got a whole lot more on the shelves to choose from. Happy reading!

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  19. I've never heard of Pym, but just knowing that you want to buy all of her books makes me want to investigate this further!! Have a nice day staying warm...I'm ready for 30 degree days aren't you???

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  20. Oh, you see, since I don't have audios lying around the house unlistened to, I allow myself to get those from the library. And I just ordered The Weird Sisters! That is my out and why I could probably do this forever. It is a beautiful thing!

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  21. I have not read anything by Barbara Pym, but now you have me curious. Off to check out her book a bit more.

    Stay warm and have a great week JoAnn; more snow here mid-week on top of 20+" already (1/2 of what you've had I suspect :)

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  22. Amy - The tbr dare is my excuse and I'm stickin' to it;-)

    Book Bird Dog - Schools have starting announcing delays for tomorrow morning... already 10 below here!

    Verity - Have just pulled Elizabeth and Her German Garden down from the shelf. I'll probably end up starting it tonight.

    Lynne - You are so kind! There will be much more Pym in my future, I'm sure. Are you reading Middlemarch on your own or with a group?

    Molly - The review will post Wednesday or Thursday. I think the comparisons of Pym to Austen have some merit... will definitely be reading more!

    C.B. James - Yesterday was almost the end of it for me, but the promise of a good book shop at the end helps. Besides, I have some really great books right here.

    Zetor - The Enchanted April was one of my favorites in 2009! It's good to see you back blogging again.

    Thomas - I haven't heard of One Tame Gazelle... will add it to my list though. Hope to find some of her books when we go to London next month.

    Rachel - Maybe it was on your blog that I read about Jane and Prudence? Looking forward to Virago Reading Week. Thanks for hosting.

    Softdrink - That's my excuse... I'm sticking with it;-)

    Bellezza - I think you're going to like it!

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  23. Stacy - Crampton Hodnet? Hmm... have never heard of that either. I'll be looking for all Pym (and Whipple) titles in London next month. Can't wait to see what's available.

    Joan Hunter Dunn - Just pulled Elizabeth and Her German Garden down from the shelf... will start soon.

    Viv - It seems to be unanimous... I must choose Von Arnim!

    Christina - It works for me!

    Vasilly - The great new books are one thing that's making the tbr dare so hard. Hope you join in for Virago week!

    Gavin - I do miss the public library. There are two books I've had on hold a long time... if they come in, I'll have to read them.

    Erin - I think the incentives will help me stick to the dare.

    Katherine - Whew, finally a Pym title I've heard of! Will add No Fond Return of Love to my list. I'll look for your Virago posts this week.

    Staci - A 30 degree day sounds like heaven! It's close to 10 below now and schools are already starting to delay for tomorrow.

    Sandy - I need to get back in my audio habit... then I could get to The Weird Sisters sooner. I gave myself an audio exception, too!

    Diane - We're trying to stay warm, but it's almost 10 below now. Had a fire going almost all day! Will be curious to see if you decide to try a Pym.

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  24. Hi - I've popped over from Nymeth's blog. We're having a deep freeze here in eastern Canada as well. It's usually a lot milder here. But very good bundle-up-inside-and-read weather.

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  25. I read and reviewed Excellent Women and found it a very good book.

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  26. Hi! I have only recently discovered your blog and enjoyed your post about Virago. I have just started reading 'Excellent Women' and it looks promising. It is my first Pym and I am glad that you enjoyed it. I hope to follow it up with Elizabeth Taylor's 'The Wedding Party' - have you read her at all? She's one of my favourite authors, recently 'discovered'.

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  27. Julia Smith - Thanks for coming by. It was so cold today they actually closed school... guess the buses wouldn't start. We're looking for a heat wave tomorrow - may hit the freezing mark!

    Mystica - I'll come by and look for your review. I really enjoyed the book.

    Rochester Reader - Just heard from my daughter who is studying in London this semester, and she bought a copy of Excellent Women today!

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  28. such restraint! I am doing the TBR Dare too and it is a struggle not to given in to the need to pick up new books. I like your approach of acquiring a book for every 2 or 3 read from the shelves - may need to adopt that!

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  29. Booksnyc - I think that approach (acquiring a book for every 2 or 3 read) will help me stay in the dare until the end... good luck!

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  30. I just caught up on your Virago posts - looks like a great week for you.

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  31. Dawn - Thanks, it was a lot of fun. I wish Virago editions were easier to find though...

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