A Persephone Project Pit-Stop; One Year In…

Last November I set myself a little mini reading mission to read all one hundred, now one hundred and four, Persephone titles in order at the rate of one a month. I thought now was a good time to catch up with how I am doing or not as the case maybe as I seem to have gotten rather behind with it all…

Today, being the second Sunday of the month which I mentally designated for the Persephone Project, I should have been discussing Consequences by E.M. Delafield, the 13th Persephone title. However with things as they were with Gran I got a few books behind and so instead would have been discussing the 9th Persephone title Few Oranges and No Eggs: The Diaries of Vere Hodgson  1940 – 1945. Well alas I have gotten somewhat behind again. This is not because of lack of time (though things have been a bit manic with quite a few job interviews) but because every book needs to be read in its own individual way and for me Few Eggs and No Oranges is not a book that can be read in big gulps or devoured in a week or two. It is one you need to digest slowly and take it all in. To rush it would be to spoil it and that is not what I want the Persephone Project to be, it should celebrate the books not make me impatient with them or rush them. So I am holding off, a mini Persephone postponement, but not for long.

Persephone Pit Stop

You see I have decided that I do want to get back on track and be reading the fifteenth title in February. You may, quite understandably, be thinking ‘hang on, he is way behind but in a mere few months wants to be ahead’ that doesn’t make sense BUT I think it is manageable because of what the next few titles are. As I mentioned Few Eggs and No Oranges are diary entries so I want to dip in and out of them daily along with other reads. Good Things in England is a source book of traditional English cooking by Florence White from the 1920’s so The Beard and I are going to cook some delights (possibly Eel Pie, Hasty Haggis, Egg Curry Cheesecakes – oh the fun) over the festive season. Nicholas Mosley’s Julian Greenfield looks a biography perfect for curling up with over the Christmas period and It’s Hard to be Hip Over Thirty by Judith Viorst being a short collection of poetry. All of this seems realistically juggle-able.

Speaking of realistic, I have decided that as of this month the Persephone Project will no longer have an official date every month. Deadlines can work with some bookish projects but apart from book group and Hear Read This I really want to free my reading up in 2014 as now I have a new job starting in eight days (see the interviews paid off) there is going to be less time for reading and indeed less time for blogging – so I don’t want either to become a chore. I will simply have a big binge over Christmas and then go back to reading one a month amongst my other reads when I fancy them.

Before I go, I should say what an utter joy reading the eight titles has been so far. They have been occasionally challenging (Etty Hillesum) and though provoking (Cicely Hamilton) but overall every single one has been a joy in its own way in particular I have loved how each one from the outset starts as a cosy feeling work and yet as you read on the darker undertones start to show (Dorothy Canfield Fisher The Home-Maker and Dorothy Whipple’s Someone At A Distance in particular) and two have easily been some of the best books of my reading year (Mollie Panter-Downes’ short story collection Good Evening, Mrs Craven and Monica Dicken’s simply wonderful Marina) so I am very much looking forward to what lies ahead.

Do let me know if you have been reading along or if you belatedly want to join in with the Persephone Project, I would be delighted if any of you are or would like to. Also, whilst on the subject what has been your favourite Persephone so far and which ones should I really be looking forward to?


Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

7 responses to “A Persephone Project Pit-Stop; One Year In…

  1. Projects like this one always end up taking longer than originally planned. I’ve not done anything as ambitious as 104 books, but the few I’ve done all took months longer than I expected them to.

    I’m still glad that I did them, mind you.

  2. Favourite Persephone so far? It’s a tie between Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and The Hopkins Manuscript – very different but equally wonderful! The Blank Wall is quite good too! You have many delights ahead of you, but it’s definitely a project that needs pacing, and you can’t rush the books – just read them when you can! It’s Hard to be Hip Over 30 is fun!

  3. NormaM

    Damn you Simon, I recently started following you and eagerly await your posts so I can add more titles to my TBR list….you have lead me to titles that I might not have chosen. Here in the Willamette Valley with an unseasonably cold winter and 6 inches of snow on the ground where we usually have zilch….it is perfect weather for reading (given I can’t get out of the house unless I want to slide on the streets).

  4. Having only recently learned about Persephone Books, I just finished reading Susan Glaspell’s Fidelity, which I’m sure would be the first of many more to come!

  5. AnnP

    I think my favourite has to be Miss Buncle’s Book but I also loved The Village by Marghanita Laski and High Wages by Dorothy Whipple. I’m afraid these are numbers 81,52 and 85 but I’ll look forward to re-reading them along with your comments in two or three years time!

  6. Marte

    I adore Persephone! Favourites so far:
    Laski – To bed with grand music
    Gutcheon – Still missing
    Whipple – Someone at a distance
    Dickens – Mariana
    Canfield Fisher – The home-maker
    The Persephone book of short stories

    I’ve read very few Persephone books this year, but I plan to read more next year 🙂

  7. Fenella

    I’ve come across four in second-hand shops or the bookstalls under the bridge on the south bank in London, so they’ve been books I wouldn’t necessarily have picked out of the catalogue. But the two I’ve read were really good: “Patience” I surprisingly liked, and “Harriet” was tragic and so well written. That one has stayed with me.

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