I’ll be spending the month of April on an English Journey


From the moment I first saw a few of the volumes in this Penguin English Journeys series I knew I had to own the whole set. I loved the art work, I loved that they were all about the English countryside in one way or another, and perhaps most appealing of all was that they were part of such a well coordinated set. That really appealed to my anal retentive (in)sensibilities. My husband was able to buy me all but one of the 20 volumes through The Book Depository.

One, A Shropshire Lad was on back order and over the course of several months never came back into stock. Which is where Cornflower and her reading club member Jill came to the rescue to help me get the final volume to complete my set.

So for a while now I have had all 20 volumes sitting in my TBR pile. I have toyed off and on with the idea of reading them all at once. I always knew I would read them sequentially, even though the sequence seems to be based solely on alphabetical order. But since none of them are very long, I finally decided that it would be interesting and a fun spring activity to go on a vicarious English Journey during the month of April. So I have decided to read these twenty books during the month of April. And I will, of course, read them in order. I am anxious to start now, but I am going to force myself to wait until April 1 to begin.

Voices of Akenfield – Ronald Blythe

The Wood – John Stewart Collis

From Dover to the Wen – William Cobbett

The Pleasures of English Food – Alan Davidson

Through England on a Side-Saddle – Celia Fiennes

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard and other poems – Various

A Shropshire Lad – A.E. Housman

Cathedrals and Castles – Henry James

Walks in the Wheatfields – Richard Jefferies

The Beauties of a Cottage Garden – Gertrude Jekyll

Country Churches – Simon Jenkins

A Wiltshire Diary – Francis Kilvert

Some Country Houses and their Owners – James Lees-Milne

The Clouded Mirror – L.T.C. Rolt

Let Us Now Praise Famous Gardens – Vita Sackville-West

One Green Field – Edward Thomas

English Folk Songs – Ralph Vaughan Williams and A.L. Lloyd

Country Lore and Legends – Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson

Birds of Selborne – Gilbert White

Life at Grasmere – Dorothy and William Wordsworth

I am terrible at doing reading challenges, even ones that I create for myself. So why in the world I am setting myself a challenge for April? I don’t have the answer to that. Maybe I will know at the end of April.


14 thoughts on “I’ll be spending the month of April on an English Journey

  1. verity March 22, 2010 / 8:22 am

    Ooh, fantastic – that sounds like a fun challenge indeed and I look forward to following it. That Vita Sackville West book looks brilliant.


  2. Mrs. B. March 22, 2010 / 8:37 am

    How wonderful! I haven't seen these books anywhere. I love the covers. I hope you'll be reviewing all of them.


  3. Susan in TX March 22, 2010 / 8:44 am

    I'll look forward to hearing more about these. Isn't there something wonderful about a well-matched set of books? :)


  4. savidgereads March 22, 2010 / 9:17 am

    For a minute I thought you were actually coming to England and I was going to say you and your husband could stay here hahaha.

    These do look a lovely collection of books. Good luck with this challeneg I want to know more and see how you do so will be keenly following.


  5. Aarti March 22, 2010 / 10:36 am

    Those are such pretty covers! I look forward to your April challenge :-)


  6. JoAnn March 22, 2010 / 12:14 pm

    What a beautiful collection! I look forward to following your journey.


  7. Hannah Stoneham March 22, 2010 / 2:24 pm

    I am looking forward to this lots… what a wonderful collection



  8. Kathleen March 22, 2010 / 4:02 pm

    I look forward to hearing all about your journey through books in the month of April! What a wonderful set!


  9. mel u March 22, 2010 / 9:51 pm

    truly a brilliant reading project!


  10. Thomas at My Porch March 23, 2010 / 12:56 am

    Verity: Vita Sackville West is one of those areas where my interest in literature collides wonderfully with my husbands interest in gardening.

    Mrs B: The only place I had seen them was on various blogs and couldn't get them in the US.

    Susan: Yes, a well matched set is wonderful and in some cases cheaper than the therapy to overcome the compulsion to have it.

    Simon S: We are due for a trip to England but all such plans are on hold until we find a house. Don't think I haven't been contemplating flying over for the London-area meet-up that Simon T is planning for May. And I have a good friend moving there at the end of April…who knows it could still happen.

    Aarti, JoAnn, Hannah, and Kathleen: It should be interesting to get all of the different perspectives and aspects of English country life in this series. I look forward to sharing.

    Mel U: It will only be brilliant if I pull it off. But I have high hopes…


  11. Molly March 23, 2010 / 7:39 am

    I am totally unfamiliar with this series, but it is PERFECT for my upcoming trip to Oxford (I spent quite a bit of time researching different day Cotswold day walks this past weekend).

    I very much look forward to reading your reviews – and joining you vicariously on this journey (if I could afford one of these books, do you have a suggestion as to which one I should start with?)


  12. Frances March 23, 2010 / 4:15 pm

    You are a bad influence on me. This is not the first time you have prompted me to buy more books. I actually came back to look at this post three times yesterday. Book porn. Now today, as I placed my order, I reminded that I needed to come by and thank you. I won't make the travels in April like you but soon. Look forward to your travels.


  13. madbibliophile March 24, 2010 / 7:17 am

    They all sound really interesting and the cover art is beautiful. I wasn't aware of this series and now I want them too!


  14. Thomas at My Porch March 24, 2010 / 7:44 am

    Molly: While you are at Oxfor you really need to check out nearby Blenheim Palace.

    Frances: If this isn't the first time, does that mean you bought the Bill Amberg leather bound set?

    Madbibliophile: After I bought all these I noticed on someone else's blog that they are available in a boxed set! Which I have never seen anywhere expect that person's blog. But I must tell you I was tempted to try and find it and buy it. But that would have meant I had two of each.


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