Tea or Books? #35: do we want to meet our favourite authors, and The Magnificent Spinster vs The Rector’s Daughter

May Sarton and F.M. Mayor go up against each other, and we chat about whether or not we want to meet our favourite authors (living or dead!)

Tea or Books logoOur episodes are getting a little more sporadic as we’re doing more reading specifically for them… depending on us managing to read the books. This is what happens when we run out of books we’ve both read and remembered!

In episode 35, we chat about authors we have met and authors we’d like to meet. In the second, we look at two novels about spinsters published at different ends of the 20th century – May Sarton’s The Magnificent Spinster and F.M. Mayor’s The Rector’s Daughter – and chat a bit about other spinster novels we’ve liked.

Btw, our plan for next episode is to read Tom Tiddler’s Ground by Ursula Orange and A Winter Away by Elizabeth Fair. (We don’t mention that on the podcast.)

You can check out our iTunes page, or listen through all the normal ways. Y’all know the drill. Reviews and ratings super welcome if you can battle with iTunes.

Let us know which you’d pick in each category, and any suggestions you have for future topics!

Books and authors we talk about in this episode…

A Child of the Jago by Arthur Morrison
Ian and Felicity by Denis Mackail
Greenery Street by Denis Mackail
Young Anne by Dorothy Whipple
Susan and Joanna by Elizabeth Cambridge
Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes by Michael Sims
The Story of Charlotte’s Web by Michael Sims
Sarah Waters
Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner
Marilynne Robinson
Alan Hollinghurst
Angela Young
Fell by Jenn Ashworth
The Runaway by Claire Wong
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
P.D. James
Hilary Mantel
A Curious Friendship by Anna Thomasson
Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield
A.A. Milne
Jane Austen
Virginia Woolf
The Rector’s Daughter by F.M. Mayor
The Magnificent Spinster by May Sarton
As We Are Now by May Sarton
The Love Child by Edith Olivier
‘The Daughters of the Late Colonel’ by Katherine Mansfield
Life and Death of Harriett Frean by May Sinclair
Alas, Poor Lady by Rachel Ferguson
Father by Elizabeth von Arnim
Emma by Jane Austen
Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead by Barbara Comyns
The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
‘Paul Revere’s Ride’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Third Miss Symons by F.M. Mayor
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

17 thoughts on “Tea or Books? #35: do we want to meet our favourite authors, and The Magnificent Spinster vs The Rector’s Daughter

    • March 23, 2017 at 11:12 pm

      Great, Terra! We certainly go all over the place with them :)

    • March 23, 2017 at 11:12 pm

      Thanks Mystica!

  • March 14, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    I would *love* to meet George Orwell, Margaret Atwood and of course Virginia Woolf – although I would be terrified that they’d all (particularly the latter…) think I was an utter idiot!!

    • March 23, 2017 at 11:13 pm

      Interesting selection, Karen – some very formidable people there!

  • March 14, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    Hello there. I have only just started listening to your podcast and I really have enjoyed it. I thought Her Fearful Symmetry was so poor so understand why Audrey was so sour! I am yet to go to a literary festival and I live in East Sussex so am ashamed I haven’t been to the Charleston festival, transport probably being my best excuse! I would love to meet John Fowles as he wrote my favourite ever book, (The Magus)Thank you for entertaining me!

    • March 23, 2017 at 11:16 pm

      I’m really glad you’re enjoying the podcast :) and that we weren’t alone with Her Fearful Symmetry!

      I haven’t read any John Fowles, so thanks for the recommendation – lovely to hear from you.

  • March 17, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Not to further bash Audrey, but I had a very similar experience on her book tour for Time Traveler’s Wife. Still love that book, but agree that it does sour the experience of meeting an admired author.

    Love the podcast! I am looking for a patroness to support me quitting my job and just applying myself full time to reading the lists of books you talk about! Cheers!

    • March 23, 2017 at 11:17 pm

      Intriguing that it wasn’t just Rachel’s experience! I do feel a bit bad about how often it’s come up on the podcast, so we might have to avoid in future…

      And thank you, Alexandra! I’ll keep an eye out for any likely patronesses, and let you know ;) (do let us know if there any topics you’d like us to cover)

  • March 18, 2017 at 12:54 am

    I’ve been meaning to post for ages, I’ve listened to your podcast since the very first one and look forward always to them popping up on my feed. Have either of you ever read any Miss Read? The Fairacre books also feature a teacher, and a positive outlook on singlehood!

    • March 23, 2017 at 11:19 pm

      Gillian, thank you so much – your ongoing support means a lot!

      I can’t remember if Rachel has or not – I’ve read one, the title of which entirely escapes me but it has a big house fire in it. I did enjoy it, but it was very light – I think it might be one of her lighter ones – so should go back and try more.

  • March 19, 2017 at 3:41 am

    I read The Rector’s Daughter and The Magnificent Spinster for this podcast, and while I enjoyed both and could see myself rereading them each some day, I liked The Magnificent Spinster best. I will look for more books by both in the future. Thanks for introducing me to both of them!

    • March 23, 2017 at 11:19 pm

      How nice that you read them for the podcast! And nice to have you on board with the love for The Magnificent Spinster :)

  • March 21, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    I hadn’t heard of The Magnificent Spinster and now very much want to read it. I did read The Rector’s Daughter back in 2012 (probably after reading your review!) and I remember liking it but finding it very sad. I notice you mentioned Father by Elizabeth von Arnim and your description reminds me a bit of her book The Pastor’s Wife — though obviously, the main character does get married, though she’s also expected to spend her life serving her father and everyone is SHOCKED that she would ever be so selfish as to do something for herself instead of disrupting everyone else by wanting her own life (insert massive eye-roll here!).

    I also have a copy of Alas, Poor Lady which I still haven’t read, so I think this will inspire me to read it. And one last thought — as I was listening to your podcast I was struck by the idea that there were so many spinsters in the 1920s because so many eligible men had died in the war. There’s an excellent book on the subject called Singled Out by Virginia Nicholson. After WWI there were about 2 million unmarried women with very little prospect of marrying, and it addresses how they dealt with it. It’s quite interesting.

    • March 23, 2017 at 11:23 pm

      The Pastor’s Wife is one of the E von As I haven’t read yet – but will, of course!

      I read Singled Out as part of my research, and really enjoyed it (and v useful bibliography!) The odd thing is that the number of unmarried women had already vastly outnumbered the unmarried men, and in real terms it had only gone from 1.25m to 1.75m or something like that – though papers always said 2m. It just became much more of a social topic – and sparked off some great literature.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: