Thursday, November 20, 2008

Reading list

A couple of days ago, I was delighted to meet the beautiful and bookish Joanna from Lark; we discovered a shared passion for literature and it made me realize I hadn't posted a reading list in quite some time. So here are the volumes I perused since arriving in Los Angeles...
On the plane, I read my dear Iris Murdoch's comic novel Under the Net - very Buster Keaton-ish... The Balanchine Variations is a wonderfully stimulating slim volume about the master's most important pieces... I found the Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing a bit disappointing, though the first chapter is excellent and funny... I am fascinated by Greek art (ah, Praxiteles!), but didn't know much about it or about ancient Greek history, so I enjoyed The Oxford History of Greece and the Hellenistic World... I've saved the best for last: Alison Light's Mrs Woolf and her Servants is an extraordinary study not only of Virginia Woolf's complicated relationships with her cooks and maids, but also a fascinating history of servants in England from the late 19th century to the 1940's - a must-read, really.

And if you're not up for all that, there's always Teen Vogue! It's smart and stylish without the snottiness of regular Vogue. You're allowed to love it even if you've been a post-teen for a long time; my sister, however, would sigh "Oh grow up!"
On my copy of the mag is a lipbalm I bought at the Santa Monica Farmers' market. Bill's Bees brings us super fresh honey as well as all-natural honey and wax lipbalm, isn't that great?

30 comments:

gracia said...

Under the Net... I must re-read that soon, and Iris is a perfect travel companion.

willow said...

Love your choices! I must read Light's book on Virginia Woolf! I'm adding it to the top of my very long list!

A World in a PAN said...

Lots of reading, lots of books ... Not to mention your wish list at Amazon's ..

Mary-Laure said...

GRACIA - I'm so happy you you like Dame Iris!
If you haven't read it, you may enjoy her husband's memoir about their life together, "Elegy for Iris". It's very moving.

WILLOW - yyyyyeeeeessss! Do get that book about Woolf and the servants, it's really a fascinating and deeply researched volume. I loved it.

karina said...

I love when you do reading lists, I read teen vogue till my 30,then I had to leave it, but it is an excellent mag.

MISS GLITZY said...

Mrs Woolf and her Servants sounds great. And I wish I can find Bill's Bees lipbalm here cause I need a new one.

mansuetude said...

I remember thinking about Woolf and her servents while watching "The Hours" and wondering about that relationship--though its not in that book... thanks for this.

Rebekah said...

Your books sound very interesting, especially the one on ancient Greek history. I love history!

Kwana said...

Love your reading list. You've given me new things to add to my TBR pile.

miss cavendish said...

Mr. C just taught Under the Net--the bridge between Woolf and Elizabeth Bowen. I can't wait to read it . . . as well as Light's book on Woolf's servants!

Mary-Laure said...

MANSUETUDE - it's funny you should mention that because I too was most intrigued by the servants and Woolf in The Hours (a movie I just ADORE); this book was like an answer to my prayers!

MISS CAVENDISH - what a coincidence! It's really a good novel, but my favorite one by Murdoch remains the divine The Sea, The Sea.

l'air du temps said...

ahhh, the sweetness of life... reading that's good for the soul, mags that tickle our girlish fancies, and ...lip balm... that little find that simply tickles us...

have a fun weekend

limonana said...

excellent choices! i think I would love the Greek one, I'm just reading Phaidon version of "The Story of Art" by Gombrich, & I can't get enough about Greek art...

Joanna said...

Such kind words! It was so much fun chatting books and babies with you over coffee. Must do it again soon!

Ok, I just added the Virginia Woolf book to my list, as well. It looks absolutely fascinating. If those Bloomsbury walls could talk....

I read Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing so long ago, but I remember feeling disappointed with it, too, and then wondering what was wrong with me for not liking the much-loved book. Glad to see I'm not the only one!

Mary-Laure said...

LIMONANA - Phaidon books are so great, always beautifully illustrated. I'm a fan!

JOANNA - as a former Londoner, I suppose you enjoyed roaming the streets of Bloomsbury?
Do read the Woolf book, it's really excellent.
And I'm glad to see I'm not the only one either who was disappointed by The Girls' Guide... The first chapter was really super funny and smart, but the rest of the book was just not very good I think.

Solange said...

ah, good tips and books, love it.
I am esepcially curious of the Woolfs maids book you mention. Teen vogue, I see what you mean, but being 31 now, I just feel akward in buying it. but you are right that its a little lighter then the real Vogue, which to my opinion are so thick and heavy, it drives me mad!

thanks for the inspiration and enjoy your weekend,
Solange

Solange said...

ah, good tips and books, love it.
I am esepcially curious of the Woolfs maids book you mention. Teen vogue, I see what you mean, but being 31 now, I just feel akward in buying it. but you are right that its a little lighter then the real Vogue, which to my opinion are so thick and heavy, it drives me mad!

thanks for the inspiration and enjoy your weekend,
Solange

Mary-Laure said...

SOLANGE - I'm 31 too! I promise I'll stop reading Teen Vogue by the time I turn 40...

Hila said...

That's some reading list Mary-Laure :)

Carletta said...

Interesting and informative post!

Thanks for stopping by my site today.

Fifi Flowers said...

Reading sounds DIVINE! I MUST make time to do it... that will be my New Years Resolution! You have quite a variety of reading materials... hunting to teen vogue... hmmmm
ENJOY!
Fifi

Dave King said...

Eclectic. I like that.

Edi Style said...

Excellent. Your blog is charming

Annie said...

I am going to add your list to my very, very long list:-). I fear I will never catch up! Thanks for visiting my blog. I have never been to Paris, but it is my dream, I will be coming to visit your blog often.

WendyB said...

I need to read that Greece book.

My Castle in Spain said...

as ever your literary posts are so exciting !
i watched Gosford Park last week end and reading this book by Virginia Woolf would be a perfect counterpart!

Mary-Laure said...

MY CASTLE - oh, Gosfor Park is such an excellent movie! I loved Emily Watson in it.

michiko said...

I've only read few novels by Iris Murdoch but liked what I read, I've been thinking I should read Under the Net.
The Balanchine Variations and Mrs Woolf and her Servants sound very intriguing. (though I know it will take a lot of time for me to read books in English)
History of servants in England and Greek art fascinate me too. Sounds like we have some common interests :)

Joanna said...

I find the Bloomsbury world to be utterly fascinating. And yes, I did do a bit of roaming in my London days!

FYI I took your advice and bought the Woolf book and mentioned the book (and you!) in yesterday's post. I've only read the preface and prologue so far--the FANTASTIC Revolutionary Road is taking up most of my reading time at present--but I plan to dive back into the Woolf book this weekend. Thanks for the tip!

Mary-Laure said...

JOANNA - GREAT! I'm thrilled you bought the book! I'm sure you're going to love it.

MICHIKO - the first time I glimpsed at your blog, I realized we had many things in common, especially our love of art and beauty.