Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A-Z Wednesday

Reading at the Beach is hosting A-Z Wednesday where bloggers take the time to highlight one book that starts with the letter of the day. This week is the letter C. How could you not love a meme that has echoes of Sesame Street in it? In any case, I wanted to put the spotlight on Angela Thirkell's Cheerfulness Breaks In.

This particular book is in the middle of the long and lovely series of books written by Thirkell in her imaginary village of Barsetshire. I have yet to read this one myself but I highly recommend the beginning of the series. (I always read in order and haven't reached this one yet.) Thirkell's writing is gorgeous and witty and her social observations are spot on. She deserves a much larger readership than she currently has! For those who enjoy series, the news that this is many, many volumes will be a happy thing. For those who enjoy English village reads, this will suit beautifully. And for those who like a little biting wit, they will find gems scattered throughout these books. I was planning to paste in amazon's description of the book but if you aren't already familiar with the characters, it probably doesn't entice you in any way to hear that this contains "Rose Birkett’s wedding; Geraldine Birkett’s infatuation with Fritz Gissing; and a romance between Octavia Crawley and Tommy Needham." See? I pasted most of it anyway and it probably doesn't call to you to tell you that you must read this book (and the ones prior and following as well) now does it? But you should. You can thank me later.

You want more information before committing? The back of the book is only marginally more informative:

Tears mingle with domestic upheavals as a delightful reunion of Barsetshire characters cavort through Word War II's early days. The antics of London children add to the genteel love affairs and sweet frolics of the English gentry, while the East European refugees bring a new spirit and energy to the peaceful countryside. Text from the Carroll and Graf edition of the book.

And the New York Times cover blurb says: "Extremely funny, high-spirited, capricious, delicately malicious and entirely entertaining." If her previous books in the series are anything to go on, this is spot on. And I've been assured that the books stand up to reading out of order (unless you are colossally obsessive-compulsive like I am).

This post was brought to you by the letter C and the number 2 (can't resist the Sesame Street vibe).

P.S. Everybody knows that really C is for Cookie, right?


  1. Never heard of this book before but it sounds like a good read!

    Thanks for playing A-Z Wednesday!

    (BTW: C is for Chocolate)

  2. I love English village reads. This is going on my TBR book list.

  3. Darn you -- you made me add another book to my TBR list! :-)

    I'm not very familiar with English village books, but I've been listening to a BBC radio show of some history called The Archers. I've fallen in love with the gentleness of the action: will the vicar and his new wife enjoy their camping vacation, who will help with the milking at Home Farm, who is doing the mysterious planting on the village green. I hope this series will give me a little more of that.

    (BTW, thanks for visiting my blog!)

  4. Love Love Love Thirkell. They take up a whole shelf and have read and re-read at least a few times.

    A definite add for any list...

  5. I haven't heard of this series. How interesting! Thanks for sharing!

    I participated this week, too.
    A-Z Wednesday


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