The Mysterious Universe

(first published 1930)

James Jeans (1877-1946)
Language: English

One of the earliest of the popular science book genre, it is a philosophical summary of the new physics of the era by a leading British physicist. Keeping technical references to a bare minimum, Jeans argues that physics has entered a new age in which mathematical representation has supplanted mechanical models.
(Summary by Peter Tucker)

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The Diary of a Provincial Lady

(first published 1930)

E. M. Delafield (1890-1943)
Language: English

“Notice, and am gratified by, large clump of crocuses near the front gate. Should like to make whimsical and charming reference to these and try to fancy myself as ‘Elizabeth of the German Garden’, but am interrupted by Cook, saying that the Fish is here, but he’s only bought cod and haddock, and the haddock doesn’t smell any too fresh, so what about cod? Have often noticed that Life is like that.”

First published in 1930, this charming, funny book is a warm portrait of a middle-class English family and their village life. Our heroine recounts the mundane delights and disasters of her household, dealing with constant money worries, the challenges of finding & keeping a really good parlourmaid, and how best to retain grace towards her fellow humans in the face of their astonishing range of foibles. It’s also a wonderfully genuine description of a marriage, with all the little ups and downs of rubbing along with the same person for so many years.
(Summary by Cori Samuel)

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De wereld een dansfeest

(first published 1938)

Arthur van Schendel (1874-1946)
Language: Dutch

De danser Daniel Walewijn, zoon van een Nederlandse vader en een moeder van Zuid-Europeese afkomst, heeft de dans in het lichaam, zodat er niets anders voor hem bestaat. Zelfs zijn verhouding tot de vrouwen wordt volkomen bepaald door deze ene hartstocht. Zowel Daniel Walewijn als de melancholieke Reynald houden, ieder op zijn manier, van Marion Ringelinck, die evenals Daniel door de roeping voor het dansen wordt meegezogen. Deze drie levens gaan lange tijd parallel. In een reeks verhalen, vanuit het perspectief van verschillende personen die bij de hoofdpersonen betrokken zijn, laat Arthur van Schendel aan ons oog de levens van drie mensen voorbijtrekken, wier noodlot het is met elkaar in aanraking te komen, op elkaar aangewezen te zijn en toch aan elkaar voorbij te gaan.
(Samenvatting door Anna Simon)

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To The Lighthouse

(first published 1927)

Virginia Woolf (1882 – 1941)
Language: English

The Ramsey family, with house guests, visit the Isle of Skye at least twice. The plot is not at all the point though, as this is a book about how people think and feel and relate. There’s insight into the world of childhood thought and emotion, and a variety of views of adult cares and perceptions.

I hope this doesn’t make it sound ‘difficult’, it doesn’t need to be – just let the sentences flow and make your own sense of the words. It’s perhaps as close as a novel can come to the highly individual experience of looking at a painting. … (summary by Cori Samuel)

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Fumes of Formation

(first published 1933)

Amanda McKittrick Ros (1860 – 1939)
Language: English

Amanda McKittrick Ros’s poems and prose are unique, and her determination to write saw her publish two novels and two volumes of verse in her lifetime. Whether you like it or loathe it, her style is inimitable. In her own words: ‘This inventive production was hatched within a mind fringed with Fumes of Formation, the Ingenious Innings of Inspiration and Thorny Tincture of Thought.’ … (Summary by Newgatenovelist)

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Der Tee der drei alten Damen

dreialtendamen_glauser(first published 1940)

Friedrich Glauser 1896-1938
Language: German/Deutsch

»Aber Herr Staatsrat, ich bitte Sie, erklären Sie mir, wie Sie indische Petroleumquellen, amerikanische Missionare als Delegierte der Standard-Oil, Geheimagenten der Sowjets, basilidianische Gnosis, Giftpflanzen, Hexenrezepte, indische Maharajas, an lebendem Material experimentierende Psychologen, verschwundene Psychiatrinnen, als irrsinnig eingelieferte harmlose Menschen, den Meister der goldenen Himmel mit dem Holzgesicht, gestohlene und wieder auftauchende Mappen, und zum Schluß noch teetrinkende alte Damen unter einen Hut bringen wollen!«

Das ist hier in der Tat die Frage. Die Antwort gibt Friedrich Glauser in seinem schillernden Kriminalroman, der im Genf der 30er Jahre spielt.
(Zusammenfassung von Hokuspokus)

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Death of an Airman

(first published 1934)

Christopher St John Sprigg (1907 – 1937)
Language: English

The scene of this classic ‘whodunit’ story from the ‘Golden Age of detective fiction’ is a 1930’s Aero Club, filled with small open-cockpit aircraft and a host of eccentric characters. Experienced flight instructor George Furnace dies in a plane crash near the airfield, in full view of witnesses. The verdict at the inquest is ‘death by misadventure’. But an Australian bishop, who had signed up for flying lessons just before the incident, starts to question this. Could it have been murder? Or suicide? It takes some persistent work by police detectives Creighton and Bray, that takes them all over the UK and to France, to unravel the whole story.
Author Christopher St John Sprigg, also known under his pseudonym Christopher Caudwell (1907-1937) had a passion for aviation; he had previously published two beginners textbooks on the art of flying, so presumably he got his details right. Famous crime fiction novelist Dorothy L. Sayers wrote a glowing review for this novel at the time. (Summary by Anna Simon)

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The Gardener and The Burden


(first published 1925)

Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936)
Language: English

Helen Turrell’s life has been one of respectability and duty, and she adopts and raises her illegitimate nephew upon her scapegrace brother’s death. When the young man’s promising future is cut short by the First World War, Helen travels to his grave for a final meeting.
(Summary by Newgatenovelist)

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