I go in phases with my reading. Sometimes what appeals most is dependent on my mood, sometimes (strange as this might sound) it's dependent on the season or the weather, sometimes it's reading challenges and sometimes library due dates affect my reading pattern. I'll go for long stretches wanting a certain sort of book to the exclusion of all others until I feel satiated and am ready to move on to something else (or am urged along by something new). But it's all pretty cyclical. I'll eventually return to a favorite theme, genre or sort of book.
Lately I crave lots of mysteries, the cozier the better (the cold weather?). I'm not sure how many mysteries I have started or have in progress (am up to four perhaps? and eyeing others...). It's not impossible to find good mysteries in my library's stacks (maybe a little challenge for myself to find one for next week), but I came across an author I have wanted to read (and even own) who reflects, too, another desire of late. A certain sort of story, and if I say the sort of story that Persephone Books or Virago would publish, I bet you'll easily be able to envision the type of book I am thinking of I suspect. I am sure that very soon I am going to be raiding my bookshelves for just such a book.
In the meantime, have you heard of Storm Jameson? I am sure a fair few of you will have not only heard of her but read her, too. She is a Virago Modern Classics author. I have her Women Against Men, which contains three short novels. I'll get back to that, but let me share one of her books that caught my eye as I was browsing the stacks. The Voyage Home is actually the second book in a trilogy. It's a pity we don't have the first book, since the story sounds right up my alley: "The towering saga of an English family at the dawning of a new century. This story is a spiritual voyage about finding a balance between career and family." The trilogy is made up of The Lovely Ship, The Voyage Home and A Richer Dust.
Jameson was a hugely prolific writer. Her first novel was published in 1919 and she was writing well into the late 1970s. It's not surprising that this trilogy is about a shipbuilding family as Jameson was born in Whitby and grew up in North Riding of Yorkshire. Whitby was formerly a shipbuilding and whaling town but at the time Jameson lived there it still had a harbor and her father was a seaman. The books are in particular about one woman, Mary Hervey. The Lovely Ship follows Mary's life through her youth, marriage and family. The Voyage Home picks up when she is more mature and taking stock of her life. The review of The Voyage Home that appeared in the New York Times on January 19, 1930 is very favorable.
"In Mary Hervey, Storm Jameson has created a fine and recognizable character. There are a depth and insight in her writing which evoke--in Henry James's hackneyed but valuable distinction--the emotion of recognition. She penetrates the obscure corners of human will and motive, and she presents her conclusions in phrases which make even the most familiar objects more real and significant."
The reviewer noted that she hoped the trilogy would at some point appear in a single volume as "Mary Hervey's life richly deserves a more unified presentation", but from what I can tell the books unfortunately never did get published in one volume. I think I have just (inadvertently) talked myself into finding and ordering the first book of this trilogy, so I can start at the beginning.
In the meantime I have a Virago edition of Jameson's 1933 novel Women Against Men, which is made up of Delicate Monster, The Single Heart and A Day Off.
". . . these three novels explore the love that women bear men, powerfully illustrating that this love can become a weapon women use, sometimes against others, but most often against themselves."
It appears that the three stories are related only in theme but not characters, each telling a slightly different sort of story. Jameson seems to take as her subject strong women, and as Virago thought highly enough of her to publish her works she's basically a shoo-in as a potential (and likely) read for me. On an entirely different and shallow note, I love the illustration for the Virago edition. It is a painting by one of my favorite artists, Edward Hopper called "Tables for Ladies", painted in 1930 and is located in NYC's MoMA.
October (and RIP reading) is quickly nearing the end. November will be taken up with books translated from German. Maybe I should make December my own personal Virago/Persephone reading month. Hmm. Something to contemplate.