Shiny New Books logoJust a tiny round-up today to cover almost the last two books I read in July (one Ann Bridge review to come!) plus a naughty but nice acquisition.

First off, I was lucky enough to get two fab mid-20th-century biographies to review for Shiny New Books. I love being part of the non-fiction gang, and these two really fitted in well with my interests. Snippets here, but do pop through to the full reviews.

And then I might have bought something to read for #Woolfalong. Oops.

Philip Eade – “Evelyn Waugh: A Life Revisited”

When approaching a biography of Evelyn Waugh, one can’t help but assume it’s going to be a portrait of quite a nasty man who was mean to his friends and savaged friends and enemies alike in his novels. There have of course been quite a few biographical works on Waugh over the years, with his own autobiography being a major source, and there was Selina Hastings’ major work in 1994. But this is indeed a ‘Life Revisited’, as Philip Eade had access to quite a few sources that no one else has seen. He also seems to have a mission to save Waugh from this reputation of nastiness, and does indeed go some way towards doing this. Read more

Damian Collins – “Charmed Life: The Phenomenal World of Philip Sassoon”

Damian Collins, MP for the same constituency that Sassoon held almost uncontested (literally, sometimes) for three and a half decades, only came across his predecessor when he visited the estate of Port Lympne, which Sassoon created from nothing and fitted out lavishly. He posits that Sassoon always felt something of an outsider due to his ‘oriental’ and Jewish heritage, and there’s an implicit suggestion that this is the reason that this the first biography of the man to emerge. However, there may be other reasons for this. Read more

Virginia WoolfNow, this acquisition is entirely Not My Fault, and probably actually Doesn’t Count. Heaven-Ali’s #Woolfalong project is up to Phase 4: Biographies. I was entirely prepared to re-read the lovely “Orlando”, which counts. Then Karen from Kaggsysbookishramblings wickedly posted a blog post about working on this phase, mentioning a Woolf bio that I had never come across before: “Recollections of Virginia Woolf”. I have a lot of bios of VW, but I’d never seen this. Then I had. A bit of a look on the dreaded Amazon, and what do I find, but the lovely High Street Books in New Mills is selling a copy.

So it had to be done, didn’t it – and it arrived today, looking very tempting. I have a little road trip coming up soon and I think it will be coming with me – there or to Iceland … Of course, one very good thing is that it was published in 1976, a year that is missing in my Century of Books. So that’s OK, then, right?