Gransnet forums

Books/book club

Anyone else love Barbara Pym?

(27 Posts)
Witzend Fri 01-Jun-18 09:32:00

I just wish she'd written a few more!

Of course they're pretty much period pieces now, especially the pre-WW2 Crampton Hodnet, which is my favourite - I love her gently P-taking humour.

winterwhite Fri 01-Jun-18 09:57:35

Oh yes, love them all, and good for re-reading. My favourites are prob Some Tame Gazelle and Quartet in Autumn.

henetha Fri 01-Jun-18 10:42:54

I remember Barbara Pym and her gentle novels very well.
They were an absolute delight. I must try to read them again.

DanniRae Fri 01-Jun-18 10:59:36

Isn't it funny how different we all are when it comes to authors? Years ago my aunt sent me a copy of "Quartet in Autumn" because she loved it and thought I would too. Well I am sorry to say that although I finished it I can't really say that I enjoyed it - for me it was too 'twee'. My favourite authors are 1. Rosamunde Pilcher 2. Monica Dickens 3. Lillian Harry.

Jane10 Fri 01-Jun-18 11:33:46

Another Barbara Pym fan here!
I love the minutiae of life.

Eloethan Fri 01-Jun-18 12:57:31

I read lots of her novels years ago and found them very amusing.

I also started to read her autobiography, thinking it would be full of funny little incidents and characters, but unfortunately it was deadly dull and I couldn't finish it.

M0nica Fri 01-Jun-18 16:30:41

Yes, love them.

celialillian Sun 17-Jun-18 13:29:31

I am going through a period of reading Victorian mystery novels. which I am loving. This started with watching THE WOMAN IN WHITE by Willkie Collins on TV recently. I have a Kindle HD. I went searching on Amazon and found endless books in this style and many are free. Another excellent writer was J.S.Fletcher.. .Fergus Hume. The background social history is so interesting. When I stop reading I am transported back into our fast and greedy society, but we do have many compensations, such as comfort and medical advancement.

Nannarose Sun 17-Jun-18 13:41:00

I also love Barbara Pym, with her little insights that remind me of Jane Austen. Jilly Cooper is a fan as well.
Although I don't count her in quite the same league, her great friend Hazel Holt has written a mystery series that contain a lot of Pym references, and I find them a pleasant read.

winterwhite Sun 17-Jun-18 14:07:37

Does anyone else read Ivy Compton Burnet? I’m a huge fan, as was Barbara Pym who often consciously imitated her dialogue style.

Jane10 Sun 17-Jun-18 17:12:04

Just ordered a Hazel Holt book based on your recommendation nannarose! I also love Ivy Compton Burnett. Do people enjoy EF Benson books? I just adore life in Tilling!

janeainsworth Sun 17-Jun-18 17:22:43

Yes! Another fan here. So subtle and funny.
I loved her description in A Few Green Leaves, her last book, of the village doctor trying to persuade his mother-in-law to eat healthily, looking on with exasperation whilst MiL liberally spread her toast with butter instead of low fat spread grin

Nannarose Sun 17-Jun-18 19:54:50

Oh Jane10 I do hope you enjoy it! They certainly don't have the depth of Barbara Pym's books, but are well written and amusing ( and I can spot whodunit!)

winterwhite Sun 17-Jun-18 21:09:07

Another Lucia fan, here, Jane10! And agree the Tilling ones are the best.
Will try Hazel Holt.
Has anyone else enjoyed R C Sheriff, esp The Fortnight in September? Reissued by Persephone books, with those attractive grey covers.

Jane10 Sun 17-Jun-18 21:58:16

Oh I just loved 'The fortnight in September'. That detailed account of the family's annual holiday kept me engrossed. Such a wonderful picture of past times.

MargaretX Sun 17-Jun-18 22:04:13

Yes I love her books, have read them all many times.
I will try Hazel Holt novels as I enjoyed her biography of Barbara Pym.

Jane10 Mon 30-Jul-18 11:38:55

Well just to say thanks to Nannarose. I enjoyed the Hazel Holt book so much that I've ordered 3 more of hers. Such readable books. I love her writing style, the detail and the characters. Thank you very much for the suggestion.

Hellsbells63 Wed 03-Oct-18 10:49:15

I love Barbara Pym, seeing this has made me want to re read her.
Has anyone here read any Elizabeth Taylor?

DoraMarr Wed 03-Oct-18 10:53:39

I love Barbara Pam! However, I don’t think she is quite as cosy as some people seem to think. My favourite is “Crampton Hodnet”. It is my comfort blanket book- I will be taking it with me to hospital. There’s something about the arc of the story, from one autumn to the next, and the heroine’s quiet pleasure in flowers, a nice dress, and the foibles of the other characters, that I find very satisfying.

Apricity Wed 03-Oct-18 11:00:43

Oh yes. Have only discovered Barbara Pym in the last few years and I love her books. It all started when I bought the memoir written by her sister in a second hand bookshop. Her books are hard to get in Australia, very few copies in local libraries so have had to resort to buying her books from UK booksellers. She is so wry but gentle in her writing depicting an England long gone.

M0nica Wed 03-Oct-18 16:51:38

I posted quite a succinct remark further up 'I love her'. I hadn't read her novels for some years. Over the summer I purchased one to reread - and really did not enjoy it. I actually gave up half way through, which is something I rarely do.

I found her style to mannered and her characters came over as caricatures. I have forgotten what the title was, and I have already donated the book to a charity shop, but it was set in London late 40s/early 50s, a time I remember and I found the attitudes and behaviour of most of the characters unbelievable.

It is sad to fall out of love with an author. I generally prefer fact to fiction, so treasure the authors I do enjoy.

teifi Wed 03-Oct-18 17:47:31

Love Barbara Pym..and agree with HellsBells that Elizabeth Taylor is another fab, underrated writer. Try 'Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont' - really good..

DoraMarr Wed 03-Oct-18 17:57:05

Monica- was it “An Academic Question”? I didn’t enjoy this one either, and I think she went through a phase of trying to be “relevant.” I think “Quartet in Autumn”, one of her last novels, is lovely though.

Nannarose Wed 03-Oct-18 18:00:49

I do think that some characters just 'walk off the page' to different people.
I have recommended the Catherine LaVendeur novels by Sharan Newman to several friends, and none respond to her the way I do.

M0nica Thu 04-Oct-18 16:58:55

Dora, I have looked it up, it was 'Excellent Women'.

I am rather sad, that I no longer enjoy an author I used to love.