Tea or Books? #48: Sad Beginnings vs Happy Beginnings and The Semi-Attached Couple vs The Semi-Detached House

Emily Eden and the openings of books – we muddle our way through episode 48!

First – do send any questions you have for episode 50 to simonthomasoxford[at]gmail.com. We’re quite excited about finding out what you’ll ask – about us, about books, about podcasting. Anything. If it’s a geography question then I for sure won’t know the answer.

In the first half of this episode we look at the beginnings of books, and discuss whether we prefer them happy or sad – and it turned out to be a very difficult topic to nail down. Your thoughts must appreciated! And in the second half, we talk about two very good novels by the Victorian writer Emily Eden.

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The books and authors we mention in this episode are:

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Men and Wives by Ivy Compton-Burnett
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner
The Love Child by Edith Olivier
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Little Women by Louisa M Alcott
The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson
The Making of a Marchioness by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Greenery Street by Denis Mackail
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Margaret Atwood
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
P.G. Wodehouse
Nancy Mitford
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Don Quixote by Cervantes
‘Miss Brill’ by Katherine Mansfield
The Semi-Attached Couple by Emily Eden
The Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden
The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Emma by Jane Austen
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Fanny Burney
Portraits of the People and Princes of India by Emily Eden
Up the Country by Emily Eden

3 thoughts on “Tea or Books? #48: Sad Beginnings vs Happy Beginnings and The Semi-Attached Couple vs The Semi-Detached House

  • November 23, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    I really *must* read those Eden books! I don’t think I want to choose because some books are good with a bad start and a happy ending, but some are good with happy start-disastrous middle when things go horribly wrong-happy ending – or in some cases, happy start-disastrous middle-not so great end. I guess when I’m trying to say is that I don’t like to restrict myself to one thing, unless it’s Golden Age crime fiction when the ending has to be resolved and happy because that’s the whole point for me of comfort reading them!! And of course Miss Pettigrew starts badly and ends perfectly so there you go!!

  • November 25, 2017 at 8:45 am

    I’ve never read anything by Eden but listening to the episode has encouraged me to look out for her.

  • November 29, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    I loved the Eden books too and I agree, I preferred The Semi-Detached House. I did love some of Eden’s terrible characters, like Lady Portmore. It has been a few months since I read them but it all came back while listening to your discussion. I do like how she added more political issues — she also reminded me a bit of Trollope (another author I’d love to hear discussed on your podcast!).


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