A bumper post today full of fun … well, and a Dull But Necessary Thing. Shall we get that over with first? Some of my lovely readers receive my reviews and other blog posts by email because they’ve signed up for it. And although it has a double opt-in and you have an unsubscribe message on every email, I had to put it on my GDPR Compliance and Privacy Policy statement, so if you want to read that, pop to the link and otherwise I’ll never mention it again. There’s more to my statement than just this blog, because I run a business and have customers, but I thought I ought to mention it. Now to the review and Acquisition.

Jane Austen – “Teenage Writings”

(06 June 2017 – from Kaggsy)

Kaggsy at The Ramblings kindly sent me this nice Oxford World’s Classics edition of Austen’s Juvenalia – I think she reviewed it for Shiny New Books but am not sure, although I half remember seeing her blog about it. Anyway, here we have those three volumes of Austen’s early, unpublished works that were circulated among friends and family, and the reading experience is a little patchy, I have to say – they were obviously packed full of in-jokes that now need explaining, and some of the very youthful stuff is a bit silly – but it’s still an insight into how she developed her craft and her ability to keep people amused and spellbound. I prefer the later pieces where she doesn’t rely so much on drunkenness and very weird punctuation and opens out into more of herself. “The Three Sisters”, though it does have drunkenness, is very funny especially on what one should expect from a husband, and Lesley-Castle has some sharp and funny comments about friendship, especially epistolary forms where you’ve long tired of the person but keep writing jolly letters to them.

The asterisks marking notes are a bit intrusive – the notes are great but of course cater to the greatest need. I wonder if just putting the notes under their page numbers but leaving off the asterisks and letting the reader decide what to look up might have worked a bit better. Of course, there are introductions, notes on the text, bibliographies, etc. enough to satisfy the most demanding reader. A necessary and good collection that will appeal to a wide range of people.

Now another book in, this time “The Maiden Dinosaur” by Janet McNeill, which I won in a competition (which I have to admit I entered slightly by accident. And look, not only the book but a lovely postcard AND a Seamus Heaney bookmark, all from the lovely Cathy at 746 Books (here’s her review in case the pic whets your appetite: you know this will have got behind all those books from Tuesday unless I alter my book choosing pattern!). Thanks, Cathy!

I owe you and NetGalley a review of Dan Hancox’ “Inner City Pressure” which is a simply wonderful book situating the music genre grime in its sociopolitical context in a way that’s much more readable than I’m making that sound. That’ll come on Sunday, I think. I’ve just opened Paul Theroux’ “Deep South” and am actually enjoying it so far (phew).

Oh, and talking of Cathy from 746 Books, I’m going to be doing her 20 Books of Summer challenge again this year, starting from 1 June. Cathy’s posted a teaser here but the proper sign-up post will come out on 1 June and that’s when I’ll be announcing my Pile. I know I have eight Viragoes and Persephones to add for my August reading but will see where I am in the TBR before I make up the rest of the pile. I’m looking forward to the camaraderie and linkiness, though.


Does one more book break the camel’s back or not? Have you had anything exciting in or won any competitions recently? Are you doing 20 Books of Summer this year?