Bits and Bobs (the Jackie Schuman edition)

More Jackie Schuman covers
One of my favorite parts of Barbara Pym Reading Week was finding out more about Pym cover designer Jackie Schuman and being able to share it on My Porch. I like the process of hunting down hard to find information, but I also like it when my efforts bring joy to others. After my post on the Dutton Pym covers, Gloria DeVidas Kirchheimer, one Jackie’s friends (who had been alerted to the post by Jackie’s daughter) wrote me a very nice email with examples of work that Jackie had done for her and her mother.

Don’t you love the title of this short story collection? I also love how Schuman combined  a wallpaper like background  in the vein of her Pym covers and the line drawing style she used for her Colette covers.
(Cover design by Jackie Schuman)
(Cover design by Jackie Schuman)

Meeting bloggers in foreign lands
I have written before about meeting book bloggers in the UK and about meeting up with bloggers here in DC. During Pym week, as I was preparing for an unexpected, last minute trip to the Netherlands, Dutch blogger Anna van Gelderen contributed a Pym post. It struck me that most places in the Netherlands are day-trip material given the size of the country and the efficiency of the transit system. So I emailed Anna and asked her if she wanted to meet while I was in Den Haag. Since I was the one with all the time on my hands I hopped on a train and met Anna in the beautiful train station in her town in the northeastern part of the Netherlands.

She took me for a lovely lunch at a hotel that was once a friary. It was a beautiful spot. The weather was nice enough so that we could sit outside in the forecourt with a peaceful view of a churchyard (free of gravestones). I had delicious mushroom ravioli and we spent a lot of time forgetting to talk about books. We did, however, talk about books long enough to bond over a shared lack of interest in modernist writing and a certain amount of loathing of a couple of authors.

Now that I think of it, John and I also met up with a blogger when we visited Thailand in 2010. And of course I almost met JoAnn last month in Ithaca. Common wisdom says that the cyber world distances us from the real world. It certainly can, but I have had the opposite experience. Next time you travel, think of who you might meet along the way.

Books read recently

Angel Pavement by J.B. Priestley
I  loved this book. When I bought an edition just like the one at left, I did so just because it had such a great cover and was about London. Had no idea if it would actually be enjoyable to read. It was. It painted such an interesting picture of life in a London office in the late 1920s. It could be a Persephone for boys. There is a lot of dry, subtle humor as well.

The Autobiography of the Queen by Emma Tennant
An interesting, though not necessarily original premise of the Queen walking away from her job. The first 20 or so pages were kind of delightful, but then it just became too implausible to be enjoyable. It made me want to write my own Queen abdicates fantasy.

An Unsuitable Attachment by Barbara Pym
Since I got on a plane halfway through Barbara Pym Reading week, it seemed appropriate to take along some Pym. Usually on a long flight I get distracted. Meals, in-flight entertainment, sleeping, other books, crosswords, and just general discomfort tucking my 6’2″ frame into a doll’s chair. But Pym made it all speed by. I read this cover to cover on the flight to the Netherlands. It was, not surprisingly, delightful.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
I had seen the movie years ago but never read the book. If not for an online glossary of the made up words peppered throughout the book I never would have made it through the first two pages. After a while one no longer feels the need to look up every strange word, but sometimes my contextual guesses were wrong. I don’t really get books that are so violent. Less graphic than American Psycho, but I just don’t get this kind of violence. I know the whole point of ACO relates to violence, but I still don’t feel like I need it described.

The Widower’s Tale by Julia Glass
This is the first Glass novel I have read where I didn’t feel the need to keep a running list of implausible or inaccurate details. This isn’t to say there weren’t any in this book, but it is the first time I found the plot and writing good enough to not notice the mistakes. Or maybe they were just far fewer and less egregious. I always enjoy a book where lives are transformed generally for the better.

6 thoughts on “Bits and Bobs (the Jackie Schuman edition)

  1. Anna van Gelderen June 19, 2013 / 12:59 pm

    It was great talking to one of my favourite bloggers.
    Very nice photo of the Prinsenhof, by the way. Too bad there wasn't time enough to show you some of our former alms houses. We could have discussed Trollope à propos of them ;-)


  2. readerlane June 19, 2013 / 5:28 pm

    From the covers shown, I wonder if she was the artist for some Colette covers–there was a whole series of them which were somewhat similar to the first one with the line drawing. I'll have to pull them off the shelf and see.


  3. Thomas at My Porch June 21, 2013 / 7:36 am

    Anna: I found that picture online. The one picture I took from our lunch table didn't exactly turn out.

    Readerlane: She did indeed do the Colette covers for Noonday.


  4. Alex in Leeds June 26, 2013 / 2:57 pm

    *grin* Glad you loved Angel Pavement, I have the same edition and read it over Christmas last year. I'm a Priestley fan but for some reason it took me a while to get to his best known novel! We just had a great radio adaptation here in the UK, very funny and really well adapted too so hopefully it's inspired a few more readers to seek Priestley out. :)


  5. agoodstoppingpoint July 2, 2013 / 6:36 pm

    The Sephardic cookery cover is gorgeous. Sounds like a lovely trip too.

    I've never heard of Priestley, but I just looked him up and The Good Companions looks intriguing.

    – Christy


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