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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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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