Tea or Books? #24: careful or manhandle, and The Love-Child vs Lolly Willowes

Tea or Books logoI have forced two topics on Rachel – firstly, are you careful with books, or do you manhandle them? (It will all make sense in context.) And then two books that were lynch pins of my doctoral thesis – The Love-Child by Edith Olivier and Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner. Prepare yourself for hearing lots about my research, partly because it’s the first time since my viva that anybody has sat down and listened to me talk about it.

(Btw Great British Bake Off recap coming SOON, promise, but it takes longer than putting this episode up and I didn’t have time tonight!)

It feels like ages since we recorded, so it’s really nice to be back. We’ve missed it! Do let us know what you’d pick in each category, and any topics you’d like us to cover in future episodes. Listen above, via a podcast app, or at our iTunes page. One day we’ll have enough ratings and reviews for them to show up on the page.

Here are the books and authors we talk about in this episode…

The Victorians by A.N. Wilson
Winnie and Wolf by A.N. Wilson
Angus Wilson
Ivanhoe by Walter Scott
E.T.A. Hoffmann
Why I Read: The Series Pleasure of Reading by Wendy Lesser
The Shelf by Phyllis Rose
The Old Wives’ Tale by Arnold Bennett
Henry James
Susan and Joanna by Elizabeth Cambridge
Hostages to Fortune by Elizabeth Cambridge
Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
Mapp and Lucia series by E.F. Benson
Mr Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood
Present Laughter by Noel Coward
The Love-Child by Edith Olivier
Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner
Henrik Ibsen
Winifred Holtby
The Witch-Cult of Western Europe by Margaret Murray
Sarah Waters
Lady Into Fox by David Garnett
Mr Fortune’s Maggot by Sylvia Townsend Warner
The Corner That Held Them by Sylvia Townsend Warner
Summer Will Show by Sylvia Townsend Warner
William Maxwell
Dwarf’s Blood by Edith Olivier
The Seraphim Room by Edith Olivier
The Venetian Glass Nephew by Elinor Wylie
Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker
The Brontes Went to Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson
A Harp in Lowndes Square by Rachel Ferguson
The Haunted Woman by David Lindsay
His Monkey Wife by John Collier
To The North by Elizabeth Bowen
The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen

18 thoughts on “Tea or Books? #24: careful or manhandle, and The Love-Child vs Lolly Willowes

  • August 25, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    You have given me books and authors to add to my want to read list: Edith Olivier and Sylvia Townsend Warner, plus the Victorians by A.N. Wilson and maybe Winnie and Wolf (I don’t know what that is about but I like the title).

    • August 28, 2016 at 10:59 pm

      Great title, isn’t it? And do enjoy any or all of these!

  • August 26, 2016 at 2:27 am

    Looking forward to the rest. More authors to add to the pile.

  • August 26, 2016 at 7:38 am

    I will never forget you buying SUSAN AND JOANNA for a pound in Lower Slaughter.About 5 years ago.
    I bought my copy 2 months ago for £8.

  • August 26, 2016 at 7:47 am

    I loved The Love Child as you know, but I’ve still to read Lolly Willowes. As for AN Wilson, I’ve seen him presents several documentaries on the TV and they’re always excellent so I’ll look out for his books.

    • August 28, 2016 at 10:58 pm

      Oh, you’ll love Lolly, PROMISE.

  • August 26, 2016 at 8:33 am

    I thought you originally said HARP IN LOWNDES SQUARE was “soso” a few years ago?
    I know it is being republished in October.

    • August 28, 2016 at 10:58 pm

      Gosh, you have a good memory. I don’t remember what I said then, but I certainly enjoyed reading it – even if it wasn’t as good as Brontes Went to Woolworths.

  • August 26, 2016 at 10:15 am

    I have Lolly Willowes on a bookshelf here … can see the yellow spine … it was chosen to be the first book of the Book of the Month Club in the states back in the day … I also KNOW that I have The Love Child somewhere here … somewhere …

    We have a very dear friend & I want to kill him when I see him commit this travesty on a book … when he gets a new book the first thing he does is BREAK the spine … paperback or hard cover … he does not CARE! I have to avert my gaze … I do not break spines or fold down corners or anything … I sometimes lend books & often hear ‘have you read this book?’ …
    My husband has lots of books of maps … he has travelled all over the world with the BSES etc. … but that is fine, they are his books & the marks have meaning … planning a journey or marking the memory of one.

    I too love getting not brand new books with fountain pen writing on the pre-dedication page and am pleased if I find some slip of something … right now I am reading a book where I found a RESERVED ticket for a coach seat travelling from Diss (great auction place there) to Liverpool Street.

    Another great show … thank you!

    • August 28, 2016 at 10:56 pm

      So glad you enjoyed the episode :) But, oh dear, that friend sounds like he needs a talking to!

      I believe the early reaction to Lolly Willowes from the Book of the Month Club members was a bit terrified – I think I read that they had quite a lot of returns – but they were missing a trick.

      Oh, and Diss is a lovely place in Norfolk :)

  • August 27, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    Listening to this made the task of cleaning a really grotty wall much more tolerable. Thank you!

    I now feel I must read Lady into Fox and The Love Child (both of which I am lucky to own copies) quite soon. I think to the 1920s fantastic literature one can add T. F. Powys’ Mr Weston’s Good Wine, first published in 1927 and a Vintage Classic at least until recently, although again I haven’t read it myself.

    • August 28, 2016 at 10:52 pm

      Oh, very glad that we helped with the awful wall task!
      Mr Weston’s Good Wine is an excellent suggestion – and an enjoyable book too, though perhaps the world it’s set in never quite feels like it was ever real. DO read LIF and TLC when you can :)

  • August 27, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    That was a great broadcast, loved hearing your cheery voices!

    I cannot wait to hear the next broadcast as you will be discussing two of my favourite books. The House in Paris is my all-time best and I read it every few years. Please talk about it in minute detail and please LOVE it! To the North, same thing.

    You were so good on Eggheads, Simon. Boo to the Eggs.

    • August 28, 2016 at 10:46 pm

      Aw, thanks Chrissy – and I do hope I enjoy To The North as much as you do :) I’m going to have to work hard to remember what I can of The House in Paris – or rely on Rachel to have a better memory than me :)

    • September 5, 2016 at 11:49 am

      I wish it was TO THE NORTH versus HEAT OF THE DAY by Bowen.
      TO THE NORTH would still be my winner.

      • September 5, 2016 at 2:00 pm

        Tina, what about The Death of the Heart? Just as powerful as The Heat of the Day and I found I have more sympathy and love for poor Portia and even Eddie than for Stella and Rodney.
        Re-reading all her books confirms for me her position as one of the very best writers of her day. And probably since – but then I’m biased, as you can see!

  • August 30, 2016 at 1:31 am

    I cosign Rachel’s position that nobody needs to read Ivanhoe. I read it because Edward Eager made it sound fabulous, and also because my fourth-grade teacher was having us do book reports, and I felt I was too old for book reports and I wanted to show her how grown-up I was by snottily reading an incredibly grown-up book. It was terrible. Even tiny, tiny me recognized the racism.

    I hope y’all do take up lending books in another episode btw! I am interested in other people’s positions — I rarely lend books, and never anything that I can’t replace/live without, but it feels kind of selfish to behave that way and I don’t like to talk about it too much. :p

  • August 31, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    I tend to be quite careful with books, and don’t like to see others manhandle them. I enjoy the podcast a lot, and have begun re-listening to the episodes. I know Rachel feels quite strongly about Mansfield Park, but would like to hear you do a comparison of that with Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters, for their similarities and differences. :-)


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