Wednesday, September 11, 2013

{misc.} mary stewart reading week


Next week is Mary Stewart Reading Week, the brainchild of Anbolyn at Gudrun's Tights

I've just finished reading The Gabriel Hounds (1967), and thoroughly recommend it for all the lovely things one expects from a Stewart book: location, mystery, romance, danger, and gorgeous writing. I'll hopefully get my review out next week, but I couldn't resist posting this taster, featuring a bookshelf. To give some context, our heroine is spending the night in a ruined palace in Lebanon as she waits to see an eccentric and aged relative who has adopted Lady Hester Stanhope's lifestyle. The servant has come in to collect her dinner things: 
Irritated now, and wishing she would finish her job and go, I concentrated on selecting a book. As light reading for whiling away an hour or two they were hardly promising. An Arabic grammar, a few books on Syria and the Lebanon which I had already read during my convalescence in Charles's room, and a collection which might be said to represent John Lethman's homework – some volumes (also familiar to me) about the original Lady of the Lebanon: Joan Haslip and Roundell and Silk Buckingham and the three old volumes of Dr Meryon’s diary about his redoubtable patroness. I looked at the fly-leaves. As I thought, they were Great-Aunt Harriet's own copies, presumably lent to her latter-day 'Dr Meryon' for his close study … I skipped along the row. T. E. Lawrence's Crusader Castles, Guillaume's Islam, the Everyman Koran, King-lake's Eothen … all Aunt Harriet's. No medical textbooks, which were presumably too bulky to carry on field work. The only things which carried his own name were – interestingly enough – Huxley's The Mind Changers, Fraser's Golden Bough, and a newish paper-bound copy of Théophile Gautier's Le Club des Hachachiens. No novels except Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov and Margery Allingham's The Tiger in the Smoke. The last volume in the row was de Quincey....
It would be nice to be able to record that I was the kind of person who would pick up the Dostoevsky or the Huxley or even The Golden Bough and curl up with it for a glorious evening's read. But when eventually Mr Lethman came for me as he had promised, he found me a few chapters into The Tiger in the Smoke, and half-wishing I had chosen something less exciting for a night in the deserted wing of a ruined palace.

12 comments:

  1. Lovely quote! I haven't read Mary Stewart for an awful long time but I keep hearing such good things that I ought to go back to her.....

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    Replies
    1. Go on! I've still got a few to go, and I've never tried her fantasy stuff at all (not my sort of thing, but maybe she could win me over as her writing is so good).

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  2. That's a great quote! I read The Gabriel Hounds a few months ago and loved it. I'll look forward to your review. I've just started reading Stormy Petrel for the reading week and I'm enjoying it so far but don't think it will be a favourite.

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    Replies
    1. I've not read that one yet. Something to look forward to. I think my favourites are the Greek ones.

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  3. I would have gone for the Allingham too! I hope you'll be able to post next week, but I'll look forward to seeing your review no matter when it is posted.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Anbolyn - I'm thinking now I could sneak another book in too by next week. They are so delightful.

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  4. Like Anbolyn, I'd have gone for the Allingham as well! and now (despite all the Mary Stewart books I have lined up) I'm wishing I had this one too! I still can't decide which I'm going to read.

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    Replies
    1. Only because I have read and not felt particularly warm about the Allingham would I select the de Quincey -- on my TBR already. If only there'd been another crime novel!

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  5. Oh, I wish I'd known earlier that this week was happening! I'm always intending to read some Mary Stewart--my mother adores her and I never know why it's taken me so long to give her books a try.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting, Jenny - I am looking forward to reading about what everyone else is reading for the future, as I have some Mary S gaps, notably the fantasy area. So you can still join in!

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  6. That sounds a lot of fun. I'm hoping to read Stormy Petrel, though the Hodder cover of Hounds is what I'm currently picturing when I think of Stewart's books, so I'll likely read it soon enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stormy Petrel is one that I haven't read. I've decided to go for Thornyhold as my other Mary S read of the week - enjoying it so far, though I think it might go a bit supernatural on me soon, which I'm less keen on. Enjoy whichever one you pick!

      Delete

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