Tea or Books? #51: Author Parents vs Author Children, and The Boat by L.P. Hartley vs Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

Literary families, and the reveal on our recommendations for each other – we’re back after a seasonal break. We’ve missed you!

In the first half of our 51st episode, we look at families where more than one generation has written, and try to determine whether we tend to prefer the parents or children – thank you Paul and Kirsty for your suggestion. And in the second half we find out whether or not our recommendations worked. We each picked a book we thought the other one would love – how well do we know each other’s tastes? I chose The Boat by L.P. Hartley for Rachel, and she chose Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner for me.

In the next episode we’ll be doing Penelope vs Penelope. All suggestions welcome (if you’ve sent one, it will doubtless happen eventually, once I dig it out from somewhere), and you can see our iTunes page here. If you can work out how to do reviews, via iTunes, they are always much appreciated!

The (enormous number of!) books and authors we mention in this episode are:

Miss Hargreaves by Frank Baker
Mr Men series by Roger Hargreaves
Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls
Bluestockings by Jane Robinson
No Surrender by Constance Maud
The Real Mrs Miniver by Ysenda Maxtone Graham
Mrs Miniver by Jan Struther
Terms and Conditions by Ysenda Maxtone Graham
The Priory by Dorothy Whipple
Money by Martin Amis
Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis
Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
Faulks on Fiction by Sebastian Faulks
E.M. Delafield
The Unlucky Family by Mrs Henry de la Pasture (not The Unhappy Family!)
Provincial Daughter by R.M. Dashwood
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Trilby by George du Maurier
Only the Sister by Angela du Maurier
Virginia Woolf
Leslie Stephen
Anthony Trollope
Domestic Manners of the Americans by Frances Trollope
American Notes by Charles Dickens
A.A. Milne
Christopher Milne
Mary Shelley
Mary Wollstonecraft
Angela Thirkell
Colin Macinnes
Denis Mackail
E.F. Benson
Stella Benson
Corduroy by Adrian Bell
Virginia Woolf by Quentin Bell
Bloomsbury by Quentin Bell
Angelica Garnett
Family Skeletons by Henrietta Garnett
Singled Out by Virginia Nicholson
Frieda Plath
Ted Hughes
Sylvia Plath
A.S. Byatt
Margaret Drabble
Margaret Forster
Ivy Compton-Burnett by Cecily Grieg
Appointment in Arezzo by Alan Taylor
Bloomsbury’s Outsider by Sarah Knights
H.G. Wells and His Family by M.M. Meyer
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Alan Bennett
Two People by A.A. Milne
Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley
A Perfect Woman by L.P. Hartley
The Betrayal by L.P. Hartley
According to Mark by Penelope Lively
The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
Penelope Mortimer

9 thoughts on “Tea or Books? #51: Author Parents vs Author Children, and The Boat by L.P. Hartley vs Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

  • January 23, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    I’m so glad that you both liked The Boat. I’m really touched that you read and featured it after I recommended it to you.

    If you’re going to read The Betrayal, Simon, you need to read The Brickfield first, as the latter is a sequel to the former.

    May I also recommend The Eustace and Hilda trilogy (The Shrimp and the Anemone, The Sixth Heaven and Eustace and Hilda)? Published in the 40s, these were the works that established his reputation.

    I also love Foreign Country, Adrian Wright’s biography of Hartley. I found it to be very moving and it revealed a lot about the circumstances that inspired his novels – his problems with servants, for example.

    Really looking forward to the next episode. For once, I’ve actually read both books – and enjoyed them both too.

    • January 23, 2018 at 1:09 pm

      Argh, David, yes! As soon as I said ‘Jonathan’ I thought ‘hmm, wasn’t it David…’ – sorry about that, and thanks again for the recommendation! And for the word of warning about The Betrayal, as otherwise I’d have launched straight into it.

  • January 23, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    Sorry, I meant that The Betrayal is a sequel to The Brickfield!

  • January 23, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    Well done for taking in a stray! :) A lot of very interesting family members featured in the podcast – I’ve read some of Freida Plath’s work and it’s powerful, though I suspect will never be judged without the context of her parents. She paints too, as did Sylvia, so I guess the creative gene has passed on there.

  • January 23, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    Well, I adored Crossing to Safety, but (sorry Simon) I didn’t care much for The Boat and gave it up. Usually I love both of your choices.

  • January 24, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Wonderful podcast as always! I also enjoyed Crossing to Safety, but I actually liked Angle of Repose even better. It’s long but worth every page. Quite different than Crossing to Safety in theme and setting, but wonderful.

    I haven’t read The Boat but I remember really enjoying The Go-Between, and I do have a copy of The Hireling that I bought at Shakespeare & Co a couple of years ago. Must move it up on the TBR list.

  • January 27, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    I know I’m late (as usual) but if you’re looking at literary families, what about Charles Dickens and novelist Monica Dickens, his granddaughter – or do I mean great granddaughter? Anof d Pamela Frankau’s father Gilbert was a novelist (not that I’ve read any of his work). And journalist Auberon Waugh (son the more famous Evelyn) also wrote novels, though I don’t think they were very successful. Forgive me if you mentioned these and I missed them – your recording kept stopping!

  • January 27, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    An excellent episode! A few late additions to the literary families list that I thought of while listening:

    Elizabeth Longford – mother to Antonia Fraser, Rachel Billington, et al
    The Sackville-West/Nicolson family – Vita and Harold, followed by son Nigel (who definitely falls into the category of people who wrote about their famous parents but also wrote a lot more), followed by very talented grandchildren Adam and Juliet
    Nicola Beauman (of Persephone) and son Ned
    And, because I’ve just been reading his letters, Evelyn Waugh and son Auberon Waugh

  • February 17, 2018 at 7:02 am

    I’ve only just listened to the episode so this reply is super late but the author Nick Harkaway is the son of writer John Le Carre. It is difficult to connect them because both write under pen names and their genres (spy thriller vs fantasy/sci-fi) are so very different!


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