I’ve only just spotted that Jessie at Dwelling in Possibility is running an eleven-day Persephone Readathon. What a good idea! You can read more here, and by exploring a few of Jessie’s most recent posts, but I definitely want to jump on board. While I’m still deciding which of my unread Persephones to pick up (and which of those tick years in A Century of Books, of course), I thought I’d join in with the challenge for Day One: First Impressions Challenge: Tell us how you first discovered Persephone Books and/or the first Persephone book you read.
Well, there are a couple of potential answers to that – because I read a Persephone or two in non-Persephone covers before I’d ever heard of them. But my route to Persephone was through Richmal Crompton – I’d picked up Family Roundabout (I think) in Hay-on-Wye, intrigued because I’d loved her William stories throughout my childhood. That set me off on a little RC binge, for any of the books I could find easily – Frost at Morning, Weatherley Parade. And so I was rather intrigued when I saw a copy of Family Roundabout as part of a display in Pershore library, the little library local to be in Worcestershire. Yes, that copy was in Persephone clothing.
This was in late 2003, I think. I went to Amazon and saw a review of it – back in the days when Amazon would tell you email addresses of reviewers. I emailed the reviewer to say how much I’d like the novel too – and that reviewer happened to be Lyn, of I Prefer Reading. She told me all about Persephone Books, and invited me to join an online book group discussing them – from which I have never looked back.
So, the first Persephone book I read in its Persephone edition was either Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd or Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day by Winifred Watson – they were both books I found in the library (and I should really check my notebooks to see which I read first). They’re also both brilliant.
To date, I’ve read 56 Persephone books. Which, wonderfully, leaves almost seventy still to read – plenty of happy years of reading ahead of me!
Do join in with the Persephone Readathon if you can, and head over to Jessie’s blog to find out more.