The Persephone Project is Back (Again)

I have always loved a Persephone book, back in 2012 I made the decision that I loved them so much I would go back to the very beginning and read them all in order. This was back when there were just 100 of them and it seemed like quite the treat to do. And it was. I started with the idea of reading one a month and writing about them on a specific Sunday so that I could let people join in who wanted to. It was great, I managed one a month for 8 months, then things off blog went awful (after Gran died) and I didn’t quite get my mojo back reading one in 2014 and one in 2015 and not even blogging about them – shame on me. You could say it all went a bit awry, however after heading back into Persephone Books a few weeks ago to say (a slightly shamefaced) hello and buy some books I am back on it and have picked up the challenge again, with the biography of Julian Grenfell by Nicholas Mosley…


It seems a particularly apt title, completely coincidentally, considering we have the Tower of London Poppies in Liverpool at the moment (indeed I will be event managing them on Saturday so if you happen to be passing do say hello) and this is about one of the soldiers who fought, and died, in the war. It is giving the book and extra poignancy and resonance for me.

The only difference in the ‘Persephone Project v3’ is that while I will still be reading them in the order they were published, I am reading them as and when. This will probably be one a month, yet it might be one every other month (especially if one is massive) or sometimes two a month if they are slighter, or if I just have an urge to read the next one straight after the others. So still planned and yet still whimsical too, I like it.

Now as I mentioned above I didn’t review two of the books I read in 2014 and 2015, thank heavens then for book notes. I thought before I finish the latest title and even contemplate sharing my thoughts on it, I would share some thoughts on those two books so I have a record of them (and can’t be told off for cheating) before we move on, I say we as I would love it if you read along the way. So you can find the reviews of Few Eggs and No Oranges by Vere Hodgson and Good Things in England by Florence White in yesterday’s post, they were both marvellous treats as I had hoped, especially the Florence White.

Anyway, I thought I would update you all and hope that some of you will join in whether it be for the long haul or just now and again. In the meantime do tell me all about some of your favourite Persephone titles that you have read, I would love to know what I have to look forward over the forthcoming weeks, months and years.


Filed under Persephone Books, The Persephone Project

17 responses to “The Persephone Project is Back (Again)

  1. Stephanie

    My family travelled to England from Ohio in 2004. We discovered Persephone Books and loved it! My husband ordered me a few for presents in the years after that, but I, sadly have also fallen off from them. I was so excited to hear you mention them when I started listening to The Readers! I loved Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson and The World That Was Ours by Hilda Bernstein. I have a few that I am embarrassed to say I haven’t read. Maybe you will inspire me to get back to them and even order some new ones!

    • Always glad to find a fellow Persephone lover. I always find it deeply ironic that I learned of Persephone quite late and after finding the shop realised I’d worked two streets from it for two years in an earlier job. Though this was probably very beneficial to my bank balance in hindsight. Ha.

    • Oh and meant to say. I have read both of your choices and they are marvellous. My favourite remains The Shuttle by Francis Hodgson Burnett which is like a sensation novel that never was, I’m a huge fan of Monica Dickens too.

  2. Ann

    thank you Simon – I have never heard of a Persephone book – but thanks to you — I learned something new today! One is never too old to learn.

  3. I always buy a few Persephone books when I’m in London but I would never have thought to read all of them in order. What fun. I think I’ve managed to collect about 30. They are consistently high quality. I’ll be looking forward to your thoughts as you share them.

    • I should have clarified I haven’t got them all in the house Nancy hahaha. I think I have around the same amount as you. I thought reading them in order might tell its own story, the story of the publishers in a way. Which probably sounds bonkers.

  4. I love the reviews on the Persephone Books but it is one thing that is totally unavailable here so I cherish the reviews! keep them coming.

  5. Miss Pettigrew is still my favourite. I’m dripping in and out of Virginia Woolfs diary at the mo. Love bit of Persephone!

    • The only Virginia Woolf I’ve enjoyed yet was Flush which is a Persephone so hopefully I will love the diaries. I haven’t got to Miss Pettigrew yet, I was reading lots randomly before I decided to give it an orderly sway.

  6. happyphantom

    Simon, I love this blog. Even when I don’t have time to read (more and more lately) I feel like I’m reading by coming here and listening to The Readers. I think it’s a great project but don’t do it in order or you’ll abandon it again. Pick and choose what you fancy. Life’s too short and there are far too many books out there to have to wade through some you don’t really want to read. Just my thoughts.

    • I appreciate your thoughts. I think my reason for wanting to read them in order is to see if I can see a story in Persephone’s curation if that makes sense. I also need some order in my reading as I’m all over the shop otherwise. Ha.

  7. I love Persephone books. They’re so gorgeously crafted with the beautiful end papers and wonderful stories. I just want to gobble them up. Despite me going on with myself, I’ve only actually read one. That needs to change in 2016.
    I fancy the first in fact and another WWI one – William-an Englishman by Cecily Hamilton. I did try to push it on the bookclub one time … to no avail 🙂

  8. I have you and Thomas to thank for my discovery of Persephone books. My favourite titles so far are: The Home maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher – This novel took me by surprise in that it is presented as a simple story of one unhappy family, but it packs in so many different layers through the different narrators. Another favourite is Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple which is essentially about the breakdown of a marriage. I admire how Whipple got into the mindset of her characters – both male and female.

    • Hoorah. Delighted to be one of your ways to discovering Persephone books aren’t they charming. I liked that very Whipple too. I’ll be reading much more of her over the weeks ahead. Monica Dickens is my favourite discovery from Persephone so far. Her narrative voice chimes with me wonderfully.

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