feb-2017-tbrI’ve got well into the books I bought on my trip to Astley Book Farm back in September last year now, and this was a real treat, even though I’ve read quite a lot about the Mitford Sisters. Do you have any collections, any authors or families whose books you automatically buy? I have a Sitwell, Mitford, Woolf and Sackville-West / Nicolson “thing” (though I’m aware I have gaps in all of these) and will buy and read anything I can find around these groups of people. Good for justifying those purchases as being part of a Collection Development Policy, right?!

Deborah Devonshire – “Wait for Me!”

(3 September 2016 – Astley Book Farm)

The memoirs of the youngest Mitford Sister, and although I’ve read a great deal by and about them over the years, it’s always interesting to get a new and different perspective on the group. It’s charming and quite self-consciously down to earth, sometimes almost militantly so, going into non sequiturs about hens, etc. (which is fine), with much more detail than some of the other books about things like Unity’s troubled later years and the split between their parents. It’s also very honest about husband Andrew’s struggles with alcoholism – if only because he talked about this in his own memoirs (which I must get hold of).

I found the bits about various foreign trips and society figures less interesting than the details about their life inhabiting and revolutionising Chatsworth, and it was good to get this in one solid narrative rather than the more disjointed books of essays and articles I read fairly recently. Great photographs but of course the final chapters on the loss of one sister after another are quite unbearably poignant. A good and breezy read.

No confessions this time! I have finished reading Adam Alter’s “Irresistible” and am busy writing the review for Shiny New Books – I’ll share it when it’s published. I’ve just started reading a lovely 1938 book about Lapland that I picked up at Astley.

In non-reading news, I’ve been taking part in a February Five challenge organised in aid of the charity, Mind, by my friend Verity – you have to pick some kind of physical activity around the number five (other participants are doing, for example, five 5k walks in areas they haven’t visited before; going up five mountains; taking in five parks in one route), and I’ve chosen to do five things I don’t usually do. So far I’ve gone to a Spin class (great, will go again), a running club coaching session (ditto), a Boxfit class (not what I was expecting; not for me) and a coaching session on the running track (wouldn’t have gone if it wasn’t for the challenge; will definitely do this more than the once a year I currently manage). Last on the list will be doing some work on the rowing machine in the gym, something I haven’t done for about four years. All fun stuff and in a great cause.