shelf by shelf : from Ross to Sarton

I find this shelf deeply satisfying, but alas, there isn’t much variety so I’m guessing some of you may get a little bored.

Having said that, I will also note that May Sarton is one of the delights of my life. She wrote beautiful journals; warm, introspective novels; essays; and poetry. I think she is one of the most underrated authors. Her book are also pretty easy to find in used bookshops, at least in the U.S. So why haven’t you read her? If you need more convincing, you can read about my love for Sarton here, here, here, and here.

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

SHELF TWENTY-TWO: 39 books, 20 unread, 19 read, 49% complete

Ross, Sinclair – The Lamp at Noon and other stories 
Ross, Sinclair – Sawbones Memorial (completed)
Ross, Sinclair – As For Me and My House (completed)
Ross, Sinclair – The Well
I think the only way you would have read Sinclair Ross is if: A) You are Canadian; or B) Someone who already read him told you/inspired you/forced you to read him. And this is a damn shame. You will see I have only read half of my small Ross collection, but I have read As For Me and My House twice and think it is one of the more brilliant books of all time. When I re-read it in 2011 I described it thus: “Imagine On Chesil Beach meets The Grapes of Wrath meets Main Street meets Anita Brookner.” Re-reading my 2011 review makes me want to read the book again soon.

Rowland, Amy – The Transcriptionist (completed)
I just read this novel this past summer and really liked it.

Sackville-West, Edward – Simpson

Sackville-West, Vita – The Easter Party
Sackville-West, Vita – The Edwardians
Sackville-West, Vita – Heritage
Sackville-West, Vita – No Signposts on the Sea (completed)
Sackville-West, Vita – Seducers in Ecuador and The Heir
What is missing here is All Passions Spent. Not only my first VSW novel, but also the first Virago I ever bought. I got it in 1992 from a used bookshop on Charing Cross Road. I guess somewhere along the way I got rid of it. I wish I hadn’t.

St. Aubyn, Edward – At Last (completed)
Since I took this picture, I’ve read At Last and put it on my donate pile. I didn’t dislike it, I just can’t imagine ever wanting to read it again.

Salih, Tayeb – Season of Migration to the North

Sarton, May – Selected Letters, 1916-1954
Sarton, May – Faithful are the Wounds
Sarton, May – A Reckoning
Sarton, May – The Magnificent Spinster (completed)
One of my favorite novels of all time. From my 2011 review: “The Magnificent Spinster is cozy, cozy, cozy, but with feminist, political twists and some somber earnestness that elevates it to something more profound. Parts of it reminded me of Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn but it also had a Pepysian quality as WWI, the Spanish Civil War, WWII, the McCarthy Communist witch hunts and Vietnam all scroll through proceedings.”

Sarton, May – As We Are Now (completed)(two editions)
Another one of my favorite novels of all time, but for every different reasons. A tale of an elderly woman confined to a nursing home.

Sarton, Mary – Crucial Conversations (completed)
Sarton, May – Joanna and Ulysses
Sarton, May – Halfway to Silence (poetry)
Sarton, May – The Bridge of Years
Sarton, May – The Birth of a Grandfather (completed)
Sarton, May – Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing (completed)
Perhaps Sarton’s most (in)famous novel, but perhaps my least favorite.

Sarton, May – Faithful Are the Wounds
Sarton, May – Shadow of a Man
Sarton, May – The House by the Sea (journal)(completed)
Sarton, May – Journal of Solitude (journal)(completed)
Sarton, May – I Knew a Phoenix (journal)
Sarton, May – A Shower of Summer Days (completed)
Sarton, May – Kinds of Love (completed)
Sarton, May – The Small Room (completed)
Sarton, May – The Poet and the Donkey
Sarton, May – Anger
Sarton, May – At Seventy (journal)
Sarton, May – Recovering (journal)
Sarton, May – Plant Dreaming Deep (journal)(completed)
Sarton, May – The Single Hound
Sarton, May – A World of Light (biographical essays)

One novel I can’t believe I don’t own is The Education of Harriet Hatfield. I must have loaned or given it to someone. I hope they are enjoying it because I sure did. I’m going to have to buy the next copy I see.

NEXT TIME: Schine to Shute


8 thoughts on “shelf by shelf : from Ross to Sarton

  1. Jennifer Dee December 4, 2016 / 11:39 am

    I have read quite a few of May Sarton books and really love her writing. Her books really spoke to me.books. But surprisingly none of my reading friends like her writing. Which has always surprised me. Also Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is one of my whole time favourite books. Thankfully my friends agree with me on this one.


  2. Elle December 4, 2016 / 1:02 pm

    I’ve never read a proper May Sarton book but I’ve read some excerpts from her journals and was most impressed—would you say the journals are a good place to start?


  3. nerdybookgirl December 4, 2016 / 5:08 pm

    I love these posts and I’m reminded that I love Sarton and need to get back to reading her works.


  4. lauratfrey December 4, 2016 / 11:29 pm

    Never heard of Sarton; have heard of Ross but never read (I’m Canadian). These are persuasive mini-reviews so that may all change!


  5. Laila@BigReadingLife December 5, 2016 / 12:11 pm

    I read Sarton’s Journal of a Solitude years ago (apparently pre-Goodreads, since I don’t have a rating on it there.) I remember loving it. Thanks for the reminder that I need to read more of her work.


  6. Liz Dexter December 6, 2016 / 3:50 am

    Wow, you have a LOT of Sartons. I’ve never come across her! All Passion Spent was one of my first Viragoes, too, and I have it in the First Omnibus, which is a little annoying in actual reading terms!


  7. Simon T December 10, 2016 / 7:16 pm

    I remember you snatching Heritage out of my hands ;) I have since bought a copy, but it looks like neither of us have read it.


  8. Kat December 11, 2016 / 10:15 pm

    I loved Sackville-West’s The Easter Party and you’re the only person I’ve ever heard mention it! I found it at a university library. Without the U libraries, I’d go mad here in the Midwest in winter!


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