A more gentle mix this time of charming novels and a book about editing … I’m also whizzing through the months of the TBR now we’re in the middle of the year’s acquisitions: yes, I’ve made it to May, although I do still have one left from my last birthday, and an omnibus from last Christmas.

Dodie Smith – “The Town in Bloom”

(16 May 2012)

An absolutely charming and delightful, adorable book, written in that naive voice I love in Barbara Comyns and Victoria Clayton. I am amazed that I don’t seem to have read this book before, and regret missing out on it for so many years – this should have been a many times re-read!

Tiny Mouse comes to London to get into the theatre, acquires her nickname and bluffs her way into a job at the Crossway Theatre. As demonstrated so amusingly, she can’t actually act, but she’s a good assistant and becomes – perhaps too much – part of the fabric of the place. She lives at a dotty Club with three other girls, and at the end of one memorable summer they pledge to meet up every five years. Forty years on, she looks back on that summer, as they all do, and the present-day framing allows an excellent and seamless update on all of the characters, which makes for a full and satisfying read. I adored this book, which didn’t put a foot wrong, and I wish I’d found it years ago!

Dodie Smith – “The New Moon with the Old”

(16 May 2012)

I couldn’t resist jumping straight into this other charming Dodie Smith novel, the plot of which was very reminiscent of Victoria Clayton’s books (or, I should say, VC’s are reminiscent of DS’s). Jane Minton arrives to a new position as secretary/housekeeper to a large family house, only for everything to go to pot when the father of the house is accused of business wickednesses. We then get a section narrated by each of the four children of the house as they try to become independent. Lovely stories, really giving us four in one as far as novels are concerned, with a delightful cast of supporting characters. Even though some of the assumptions about women blossoming when presented with the right man to hang off are a little hard to swallow, it doesn’t take away from the delight – and yes, romance – and the quirkiness and humour of this lovely, absorbing read.

Carol Fisher Saller – “The Subversive Copy Editor”

(7 June 2012)

Sound, sensible advice on the job of copy editing, mainly addressed to in-house editors, but with a chapter on freelancing, lots of great advice that can be applied to freelancing, and even a chapter for authors who are dealing with editors. It’s more reassuring than new for me, now – but then it’s great to be reassured that you are on the right track. It should be recommended reading for all of those new to – or considering – the job. We find some superb sections on dealing with conflicts, and amusing but apt examples, many gleaned bravely from the author’s own lessons learned and mistakes. Over all too soon, and one to return to!


Currently reading: Tony Blair’s autobiography is more interesting than I thought it would be, and George Eliot’s “Daniel Deronda” forms an excellent and wonderfully written contrast.