Tea or Books? #8: biography vs autobiography and I Capture the Castle vs Guard Your Daughters


Tea or Books logoIn this episode Dodie Smith’s much-loved I Capture the Castle goes up against Diana Tutton’s lesser-known Guard Your Daughters, and we debate the merits of biographies and autobiographies.

Somewhat to my surprise, we didn’t actually end up talking about all that many individual books – the list is below – so do let us know which biographies and autobiographies you particularly love (and which you’d choose if you had to make the Tea or Books? decision!)

Listen to the podcast above, or through our iTunes page, or through whichever podcast app you’re enamoured with. Or by. With?

Beloved by Toni Morrison
My Own Story by Emmeline Pankhurst
The Lake District Murder by John Bude
Thirteen Guests by J. Jefferson Farjeon
Sylvia Townsend Warner: a biography by Claire Harman (N.B. republished by Penguin, not Virago as I incorrectly suggested!)
A Child Called It by David Pelzer
The Beacon by Susan Hill
The Life of a Provincial Lady by Lady Violet Powell
A Notable Woman: The Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt
Nella Last’s War by Nella Last
A.A. Milne: His Life by Ann Thwaite
It’s Too Late Now by A.A. Milne
The Other Day by Dorothy Whipple
The Story of Charlotte’s Web by Michael Sims
Frances Hodgson Burnett by Gretchen Gerzina
Late to the Party by Ann Thwaite
Blue Remembered Hills by Rosemary Sutcliff
Look Back With Love by Dodie Smith
Country Boy by Richard Hillyer
To Tell My Story by Irene Vanbrugh
Shakespeare by Bill Bryson
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Guard Your Daughters by Diana Tutton
The Feminine Middlebrow Novel by Nicola Humble
The Town in Bloom by Dodie Smith
Mamma by Diana Tutton
The Young Ones by Diana Tutton
Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill
The 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith


13 thoughts on “Tea or Books? #8: biography vs autobiography and I Capture the Castle vs Guard Your Daughters

  • December 2, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    Fascinating discussion and on balance I’m with you – I prefer Guard Your Daughters for the darkness it has.

    • December 10, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      Thanks so much Karen – and I’m delighted that it’s not just me in the GYD corner!

  • December 3, 2015 at 4:29 am

    Excellent discussion, as always! I am so clearly in the I Capture the Castle camp on this – just listening to your praise for Guard Your Daughters made me want to rebut with all the things I loathed about it. Don’t think I’ll be having any change of hearts soon. Sorry, Simon. But I do adore Howards End is on the Landing, so at least we’re not in conflict there.

    • December 10, 2015 at 12:32 pm

      I think it will remain one of the big mysteries of blogging, to me, that we should differ so much on this book – I was so sure you’d love it as much as me! – but definitely glad we are of one mind about HEiotL :)

  • December 4, 2015 at 10:34 am

    My favorite biography is The Reluctant King, by Sarah Bradford– it’s about King George VI. Great podcast episode, again– it’s fun to listen to you and Rachel talk about books, even ones I haven’t read. :-)

    • December 10, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      Thanks so much Sonja – and thanks for the suggestion!

  • December 4, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    I have just gone to your book reviews to read the on on Guard Your Daughters, which I have not read. I loved your review and know that I shall be reading this book as soon as possible.
    I do enjoy both your style of reviewing and your lively blog.

  • December 4, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    I have just posted and realise that there is no identity – apologies!

  • December 4, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Failed again! Third try lucky! My blog is Wordstitcher, in case this does not work.

    • December 10, 2015 at 12:26 pm

      Thanks Ann! I do hope you enjoy Guard Your Daughters :)

  • December 6, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    For some reason episodes 7 and 8 keep causing havoc with my podcast player – Antennapod on Android. I have to start and the beginning (which I have already heard), cannot fast forward and csn only stop by forcing the application to close. Other people’s podcasts have not been affected. Is anyone else having technical trouble with these episodes?

    • December 10, 2015 at 12:26 pm

      Sorry to hear that, David – I don’t think I did anything different with them. Hmm. Podcast Addict seems ok with them?

      • December 13, 2015 at 2:13 pm

        Thanks. Using Podcast Addict I was able to listen right through. I enjoyed the “mull” pun at the end.

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