A fairly young cleric who declares his intentions for a comfortable, spinster companion to the rock of North Oxford society, an aging Oxford don who falls foolishly in love with a bright, pretty student in spite of the fact that he has been comfortably married to a worthy woman for many years, and his young adult daughter who is madly in love with a shallow young man, who on the surface, seems to be a perfect match - these are the characters that inhabit North Oxford in Barbara Pym's first novel.
This was my first exposure to Barbara Pym, and I really enjoyed it.
The characters were great archetypes, (especially the forbidding Mrs. Doggett), and Pym wrote about the follies of love and romance almost as well as Jane Austen. Her obsrevations of human character are just as keen and timelessly relevant as Austen's.
I also loved the feeling at the end that no matter what would go wrong in the lives of the characters there was a dual sense of fresh new beginnings like that of the new school term, and a sense of solid, comfortable timelessness like the university, itself.
24. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
25. Pirate Island Adventure by Peggy Parrish
26. Hermit Dan by Peggy Parrish
27. The Ghosts of Cougar Island by Peggy Parrish
Little different format this time, because there are five instead of the usual one or two books. The Peggy Parrish books are all young adults books I read in grade school and haven't touched in probably 20 years. So it was a nice nostalgia moment to go back and read them. While definitely written for the grade school age, I still enjoyed them and now recall why they were such staples of my early reading.
The one book on this list you need to go out and pick up right now is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. Rarely does a book capture my attention the way this one did. Heartfelt, funny, wrenching ... this book stirred up so many emotions as I read it. The letter-style writing gives way for many distinct voices in the story and it works well. Also fantastic is the World War II aspect of it. I can't recommend this book enough. It's definitely going to become one of my favorites.
Books completed: 27/50
Pages completed: 6,456/15,000