Mostly Persephone Books

The exciting life of Simon continues apace, as tomorrow I am off to Bath to look round the University library – and, since it is a mere stone’s throw from Bristol (if you can throw a stone several miles, of course) I shall be visiting The Carbon Copy for the weekend. All go, here. In fact, my next lie-in looks to be sometime in 2009…

So I thought I’d flag up an exciting event for next week – on Tuesday night I shall be going to hear Nicola Beauman speak at Mostly Books, about Persephone Books. I’ve met Nicola quite a few times now, and it’s always lovely to see her, and hear her eloquent and passionate explanation of the independent publishing house she set up. And it was at Mostly Books a while ago that I met Angela Young and Mary Cavanagh for the first time, and had a jolly nice time all in all. See this link for my report on it… If you can be in the vicinity of Abingdon next Tuesday, follow this link and come along (I hope tickets are left!) If you’re already going, let me know….

A lot of people who read this blog have an obsession with Persephone which is akin to mine. Reprinting unjustly neglected books (often novels by women) from the first half of the twentieth century, they also produce the most beautiful objects. Uniform dove grey covers, concealing individually chosen endpapers appropriate to the book. I did some quick sums earlier, and I’ve read 23 of their books – which is about a third, so I have a long way to go!

Which is your favourite Persephone, oh Persphone readers? Mine would have to be the one which led me to them – Richmal Crompton’s Family Roundabout. And then EM Delafield’s Consequences, Dorothy Whipple’s Someone at a Distance, Elizabeth Cambridge’s Hostages to Fortune… oh, there are so many gems.

10 thoughts on “Mostly Persephone Books

  • July 4, 2008 at 10:12 am

    I’ve read 44 Persephones (I didn’t think it was as many!)and would say my favourites are the Dorothy Whipple novels and the two volumes of Mollie Panter-Downes short stories, but it is hard to choose.

  • July 4, 2008 at 11:49 am

    When i visited England three years ago we visited Bath and then stayed overnight in Bristol. I remember it because there was a fire alarm at 3 am and we had to evacuate the building. I didn’t even think to take my purse with me; the only thing I picked up was the book I was reading at the time!

  • July 4, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    I haven’t read all that many Persephones but of those I’ve read I think The Peacetime Stories of Mollie Panter-Downes was the best, closely followed by Saplings by Noel Streatfeild and Family Roundabout by Richmal Crompton. I have a *lot* more to read though…

  • July 4, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Just checked and it would appear I have read 55. You will know Simon which are my favourites, Delafield, Hodgson burnett, Crompton of course, all the Dorothy Whipples but out of them all and the one I re-read the most and which is still my top Persephone is The Home Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. Read dozens of times and each time I cannot put it down until I have done. Wonderful book.

  • July 4, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    I have a lot of Persephones still to read, but I loved Saplings by Noel Streatfeild – utterly believable.

  • July 4, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    That would be a tie between Saplings by Noel Streatfeild and The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield-Fischer :) I’ve read 16 Persephones so far.

  • July 5, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Ooh lucky you! I had the chance to visit the Persephone Bookstore several years ago and it was such a treat. Unfortunately I only have a handful of the books. My favorite is a toss up between Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and The Victorian Chaise-Longue.

  • July 6, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Did you know my python was called Persephone?

  • July 9, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Another vote for Saplings but I also love Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski and the book that first got me hooked – William: An Englishman by Cicely Hamilton.

  • July 14, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Lovely stacks–I don’t have quiye so many and I have loads still to read (but that’s a good thing right?!). My favorites are Family Roundabout (too) and Mariana. Now this makes me want to go and choose a Persephone from my pile…

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