15 February 2007

Splash out!

I went to the bookshop yesterday and spent $140 on four books. Two were by Emily Maguire an Australian writer I've wanted to read for ages - Taming the Beast and The Gospel According to Luke; one was A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka and the last, the tome, the book that grabbed me by the throat and said "Taking me home, darling!" in an upper class English accent with slight American tones was Decca - The Letters of Jessica Mitford edited by Peter Y Sussman.

I love the Mitfords. I'll read anything about them. My mother steered me in the direction of Nancy Mitford's novels when I was a gel, so Love in a Cold Climate and Highland Fling were among my favorites. When I read the first volume of Jessica Mitford's autobiography Hons and Rebels I was hooked even more.

Somehow the idea of a family of landed gentry that produced a noted wit, a Nazi, a fascist, a communist and a Duchess is something I just can't get enough of. There are biographies of all the Mitford sisters except maybe Pam who sounds like she was the stay at home one.

Jessica, of course, was my favorite. Setting up a running away from home account at a bank and actually doing it at eighteen to go fight in the Spanish Civil War, then marry her love and emigrate to America where she became a communist and a muckraking journalist sounds like quite a life.

So the tome is settled on my bedside table to dip into at night before sleep. I have so much to read at the moment but a dip into the real words of a lost era is an absolute treat.


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