Tea or Books? #17: diaries vs letters and The Importance of Being Earnest vs The Picture of Dorian Gray

Tea or Books logoLetters! Diaries! Oscar Wilde! We’ve got it all – well, those three things – in episode 17 of Tea or Books?, which has taken a bit of time to arrive, for which I apologise. But we are as rambling and bookish as ever. Do let us know which you’d choose in each category, and any suggestions you have for great collections of letters of diaries.

Ooops for the moment where I said Virginia Woolf when I meant Jane Austen. Sorry Jane.

Next week we’ll be getting into all things Agatha, pitting Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot against each other. That one should be fun. Do, do, do let us know any suggestions you have for future episodes – we love getting them. Listen above, or visit our iTunes page (or use your podcast provider of choice). You can even rate us on iTunes if you so please.

Here are the books and authors we mentioned this week:

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
It’s Hard to Be Hip Over Thirty by Judith Viorst
The Small Miracle by Paul Gallico
Moranifesto by Caitlin Moran
The Prose Factory by D.J. Taylor
The Years by Virginia Woolf
The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf
Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf
To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
Night and Day by Virginia Woolf
Delta Wedding by Eudora Welty
The Lost Europeans by Emanuel Litvinoff
What There Is To Say, We Have Said by William Maxwell and Eudora Welty
The Element of Lavishness by Sylvia Townsend Warner and William Maxwell
The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters ed. Charlotte Mosley
The Letters of Elizabeth Myers ed. Littleton Powys
A Well Full of Leaves by Elizabeth Myers
More Was Lost by Eleanor Perenyi
The Romanovs: 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore
Sylvia and David: the Townsend Warner/Garnett Letters
Bloomsbury’s Outsider by Sarah Knights
Lady Into Fox by David Garnett
The Letters of Virginia Woolf
The Letters of Jane Austen
A Writer’s Diary by Virginia Woolf
Nella Last’s War by Nella Last
A Notable Woman: The Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt ed. Simon Garfield
A Life Discarded: 148 Diaries Found in a Skip ed. Alexander Masters
A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

4 thoughts on “Tea or Books? #17: diaries vs letters and The Importance of Being Earnest vs The Picture of Dorian Gray

  • May 12, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    I liked the Viorst book a lot – worth reading even if you aren’t a poetry fan! And having read both the complete letters *and* diaries of Woolf in my time I wouldn’t like to choose. I think you should read both as they give a rounded picture…. :)

    • May 18, 2016 at 2:54 pm

      Maybe I should try the Viorst again now I’m over 30! It’s definitely my biggest Persephone failure.

      I should just set aside a month and only read Woolf’s letters and diaries. But now I’m terrified that I’ll find something that would have been perfect in my DPhil thesis…

  • May 16, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Hello! I’m an avid reader of ‘booksnob’ but this is my first time listening to your podcast…. What lovely bookish chat! I keep wanting to chip in with some of my recommendations!
    I managed to read A Notable Woman over Christmas… it was really good and mostly worth the heft of carrying the book around. I found the ending very sad but I would recommend it to dip in and out of.
    Similarly, I found Barbara Pym’s diaries better to read in small bursts… I loved the wartime extracts about the cost of fabric and the lovely things she was going to sew with her rations. She did seem to be attracted to unavailable or unsuitable men, so it seemed like her personal/romantic life was mostly unfulfilled.

    Thanks for lots of great recommendations! I’ll be tuning in next time…

    • May 18, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      Aww, hurrah, Emma, and welcome! I’m so glad you enjoyed the podcast – and we love hearing recommendations afterwards. I have Pym’s diaries somewhere, I think, so will bear that in mind. I think letters and diaries do often work better spread out over a long period.


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