June 2013 TBRI hope that my regular readers will excuse this combined post and that it’s not too confusing – I didn’t want to miss doing my usual “State of the TBR” post; nor did I want to miss celebrating one of my favourite authors, Barbara Pym’s, 100th birthday celebrations. So, a bit about the TBR and what’s coming up next, and then a bit about the Barbara Pym tea party I went to today.

June 2013 currentFirst off, this month’s TBR, and actually I don’t think I’ve done too badly compared to the beginning of last month. You can see some of the same books, and the Iris Murdoch one hasn’t moved, but that’s because I’m (meant to be) reading another work on her at the moment. I haven’t acquired too many more new books than I’ve read existing ones, so I’m pleased it’s staying stable.  And I’m quite excited to see books from Christmas and this year’s birthday coming into view!

I am, however, reading this one, which I should have confessed about a little while ago – my friend, Sian, passed it to me via BookCrossing, and as a book of essays, it’s hung around upstairs at my desk and is being consumed when I’m waiting for things to print, waiting for the computer to reboot, etc.

June 2013 coming upComing up, I have books for some reading challenges, of course – and those include two Barbara Pyms, and, sadly, the Thomas Hardy (“Wessex Tales”) that I was supposed to start reading last month. Thank you, Ali, for allowing us two months per Hardy!  I’m reading “No Fond Return of Love” at the moment, and very good it is too, making me giggle and snort with its descriptions of a conference of editors and indexers and various faded gentlewomen.

And that brings me on to the Barbara Pym tea party today. My friend Ali, of the Heavenali blog and also a good friend in real life, had the idea of celebrating what would have been Pym’s 100th birthday with tea parties in her honour. She set up a Facebook group, and parties happened all over the world, with pictures posted for us all to see, which was exciting and lovely, and then she hosted at tea party herself at her cosy house.

pym4I tried to dress up as a Pym-esque lady (I was ever so pleased with how Pymmy I’d made myself, until I realised that I’d just basically dressed up as me dressed up …) which I hoped was reminiscent of Dulcie Mainwaring while fearing a lean towards the Esther Clovises of this world … Anyway, there I was, with my friend Sian, ladies who work from home as an editor and a translator respectively, in our flowery dresses, on the top of the bus, travelling round to our friend’s house for tea. As well as wearing a tea dress, cardi, sensible shoes, Librarian prefect badge and pearls, I was clutching a copy of Hazel Holt’s “Indexes and Indexers in Fact and Fiction”, which seemed appropriate. We met up with another friend on the way, and there were around eight of us altogether.

With our varied dietary requirements amply catered for, I personally feasted on salmon and cucumber open sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off, low-fat chocolate and black bean cake, fat-free biscuits and delicious meringues, drinking Lady Grey tea and Pimms (alternately). We had a pass the parcel fat with Pym novels, which I managed not to win, as I have all of them, and a good time was had by all. What a lovely way to celebrate a favourite author; thank you Ali for having us, Gill for Being Mum and sterling work at the urn, sorry, with the teapot, and our friends for coming along and in some cases being introduced to Miss Pym for the first time.