Tea or Books? #23: keep or cull, and They Came Like Swallows vs Time Will Darken It

Tea or Books logoTwo William Maxwell novels go up against each other in this episode – but not before we’ve got to the heart of the emotional issue of whether to keep books or cull books. (Obviously we don’t want to cull ALL our books – we’re not certifiable – but you know what we mean.) It gets unexpectedly heated. YOU ARE WARNED.

Listen above, via the podcast app of your choice, or visit our iTunes page. Take a picnic; make a day of it.

Pop over and say hi to Rachel, and don’t forget to follow her on Twitter. It’s quite the journey. OH and here’s the article by Teresa, which we talk about in the first half.

We didn’t end up talking that much about specific books and authors this time – but here is what we did mention:

Time Will Darken It by William Maxwell
They Came Like Swallows by William Maxwell
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry (read Rachel’s full review)
The Ballroom by Anna Hope
To The Bright Edge of the Road by Eowyn Ivey
Love Notes to Freddie by Eva Rice (not quite what I said…)
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Foe by J.M. Coetzee
Robinson Crusoe by Jonathan Swift
Stoner by John Williams
Brensham Village by John Moore
Elmbury by John Moore
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
The Takeover by Muriel Spark
Margaret Atwood
The Love-Child by Edith Olivier
Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner
So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell
Virginia Woolf
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
Elizabeth Taylor
The Chateau by William Maxwell
The Element of Lavishness by William Maxwell and Sylvia Townsend Warner
William Maxwell Portrait: Memories and Appreciations ed. by Charles Baxter
Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon
Spinster of This Parish by W.G. Maxwell
The Old Wives’ Tale by Arnold Bennett

6 thoughts on “Tea or Books? #23: keep or cull, and They Came Like Swallows vs Time Will Darken It

  • August 4, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Basically I’m not usually a fan of new books – but I like maps! What do you have against maps????? Culling books is necessary sometimes but painful….. I find it easier to get rid of recent acquisitions rather than old ones – and some old ones I’ve had literally for decades and then finally read and loved. It’s very difficult….

    • August 16, 2016 at 2:22 pm

      Oh I loathe maps! And I blame having two parents who love them and would insist on showing me where we were going, where we were, and where we’d been… oh it used to drive me so mad!

  • August 6, 2016 at 10:42 am

    So pleased to see / hear people talking about Wm Maxwell … I have all of his books & they are on the shelf reading to be taken down to be read again. I also have The Element of Lavishness which is fine but not splendid.

    When I left Canada to move to England in 1997 I had 4000 books most of which I gave away arriving here with just one standard suitcase full … but I have been buying since arriving & we have 4 floor to ceiling 32 inches wide (old imperialist here) double stacked bookcases. I have books on the sideboard in the dining room (all of Patrick O’Brian), on the dressers in the bedrooms etc.
    I do not cull but give away to guests to admire / request to borrow … my best beloved has books of maps! We do not watch the telly which frees time for reading & hill walking.

    • August 16, 2016 at 2:23 pm

      Glad to hear from another Maxwell fan – though sad to hear you didn’t love Element of Lavishness as much as I did.

      Getting from 4000 books to one suitcase sounds like the most difficult thing ever! Gosh!

  • August 7, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Keep ! But it’s easy for me to say as I don’t own as many books as you two do. I am still in the hoarding process !
    To my great shame, I had never heard of William Maxwell, so thank you, he will soon be on my shelves.
    I must say that I greatly enjoyed your childhood memories. Maybe you could enlarge on the subject one day, and talk of the books that you loved reading as a youngster. For example, did you enjoy adventure books, like Treasure Island, or were you a precocious reader, like Nabokov who had already read Dostoievsi by the age of 9 ?

    • August 16, 2016 at 2:24 pm

      Childhood memories would be a really fun one – the nearest we got was when we went deep into our love of Enid Blyton :)


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