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Simon T

What a beautiful copy of it, too! And a delightful title (I love stairs...) I have four or five of Nichols' books, but bizarrely have yet to read any of them, even though I'm sure I'd love them.


Simon--The cover isn't as nice as the inside, as it's well worn, but it looks good for its age nonetheless! I like the engravings and am very tempted to buy a set for myself, but I should really start here. I think Sherry has read a number of them--I wonder what she thought--they do look very entertaining.


I adore reading Beverley Nichols and the Merry Hall trilogy was my favorite of his so far. When reading I feel like I am sitting at my most amusing friend's table with a cup of tea catching up on his day to day events. I really don't think it matters to read them out of order except if you are really wanting to follow the progress of his garden chronologically. Otherwise, you aren't getting any "spoilers", none that I can remember anyway.

I'm a sucker for a beautifully published book so I've been collecting these Timber Press publications (thanks to my family for supporting this habit...).


I had the feeling several times (that a book was written with me in mind). Not sure it would be good to name all of them (maybe in an e-mail). One I feel like naming is Esther Freud's Gaglow. It can be a quite wonderful experience. I also had the feeling a few times that someone else wrote the book I should have written. The three first novels of Siri Hustvedt for example and Antonio Tabucchi's novel Indian Nocturne.

Walter Mason

Oooh, I have this one! Nichols is one of those long-forgotten literary characters, an incredibly elegant and gifted writer, he was altogether too fashionable in his day and was dismissed as a lightweight.
I'm so glad you rescued this one!


For English people of my generation Beverley Nichols will always be associated with the early days of television and with a class and culture that that was completely and utterly alien to those of us who were born and brought up in the working class. Furthermore, you always got the distinct impression that he would have thought we ought to stay in the working class and know our place, which was touching our foreheads to the likes of him. Undoubtedly this is tremendous prejudice on my part but even the mention of his name makes me feel slimy and I could no more read one of his books with pleasure than fly. However, I'm glad you're enjoying them.


I've a lovely copy of his *The Sweet and Twenties*, about which he writes, "This is not intended as a serious history of a decade..." You've encouraged me to put it higher up the TBR.


I have several of his collected secondhand over the years. He was quite an eccentric and very much of a time and place, but I love the books and his descriptions of the gardens. Enjoy!


I love to read anything by Beverly Nichols and actually bought my first book, Down the Garden Path, at the Morton Arboretum's gift store. Wanting more and on a book diet, I have searched all the libraries in our system, to no avail, and can't seem to find any in our used book stores, either. I think I would enjoy Laughter on the Stairs. The Timber Press editions are very lovely and I may just have to ignore the book diet and get another.

Joan Kyler

If you like garden literature, I'd highly recommend Elizabeth Lawrence and Henry Mitchell. Both were passionate gardeners and very literate. Lawrence's book Gardening for Love provides insight into the lives of farm women who sold or traded plants through ads in government issued farm bulletins. The styles of these two writers are different from that of Beverly Nichols, a writer I also adore. They're less story-like, but both allow glimpses of their private lives and provide much information about gardening and related matters.


I never heard of this author before! I like books about gardening; might see if I can find it though I doubt my library has any copies...


Dani, you're right, I LOVE Beverley Nichols! I've read many of his books, in no particular sequence, and don't think it matters. Overall, I always wish I could sit next to him at a dinner party! Charm, wit, and a willingness to learn about whatever is puzzling or foiling him are abundant.
Do have him join you for breakfast, for a start.


The titles you mention are unavailable, however I found The Unforgiving Minute through ILL. Autobiographical I gather so that will be my place to start getting to know Beverley Nichols.

Margaret Powling

I'm so glad you've discovered the delights of Beverley Nichols, and Merry Hall is my all-time favourite! Yes, definitely written with me in mind!
Margaret P


Elizabeth--These do sound like charming sorts of reads. I'm not actually much of a gardener, but I like the idea of gardens even if I am not very good at making them! Good to know there are no spoilers, so I can dip into this one with no fears. The reissues look like nice copies--the library book is an older one, but the illustrations are really nice.
Caroline--Those are always the best books or best reads anyway, the ones that fit so well that you feel like the author had you in mind when writing. The blurb on this one certainly makes it sound awfully appealing to me. I must looks into the authors you mention--I do know I have the Esther Freud book!
Walter--I had not heard of him before seeing a few of his books in the Bas Bleu catalog--it was nice to find this 1954 edition on the shelves. If he was dismissed in his day he's lasted much longer than other writers since a number of his books are in print in lovely new editions.
Annie--How interesting! I don't know anything about him as a person other than the bits gleaned from the brief wikipedia entry. I think this might be a case of the less known about the author's personal life the better and try and enjoy the books on their own. Some authors are simply off-putting and I think we all have our own prejudices. I'll be curious to see what the tone of the books is!
Bibliolathas--He seems to have written a number of books--I'm not familiar with this one. It sounds as though it might be very interesting to get a feel for the period even if it is only one small slice of it.
Ramblingfancy--I'm looking forward to trying his work. It's always interesting to read about a period from a writer who lived it-even from an eccentric writer.
Penny--I've not actually seen the Timber Press editions, but they certainly looked nice in the Bas Bleu catalog and I think they must contain the original engravings. I liked the sound of this one as well--it seems nice for a rainy day or in thinking about spring coming! Too bad you've not found him in your library--I lucked out I think, though it's too bad this is the only one of the set we have.
Joan Kyler--After reading Elizabeth von Arnim I find I do like reading about gardens. I like seeing them, too, only I hate to admit I do not have a very green thumb. I have good intentions and bad luck (or simply no skill), so better to just read about them perhaps. Thanks for the reading suggestions--I will check them out as they are both new to me!
Jeane--I'll keep my fingers crossed that you will find his books in your library! Since his books have been reissued maybe you'll luck out.
Sherry--I thought you had mentioned them in the Dove group. I like these sorts of reads where the narrator has an easy, charming voice. I will start with the one I have on hand and not bother to try and find the first book. The library copy seems to have been circulated quite a bit so he must have been popular in his day as well.
Catharina--My library only seemed to have two gardening books and one about ballads (?). I'd be curious to hear what you think of him. He sounds like he was an interesting person, and I see he also liked cats! :)
Margaret--You are a gardener, so I'm not surprised you've read him! I think Merry Hall is the book that comes before the one I have--so I will have to see if I can get my hands on that as well!


I've never heard of Nichols, but I love the titles of that trilogy, and given what a fabulous experience I had with both Elizabeth von Arnim and The Morville Hours by Katherine Swift, I think I have a real taste for garden/nature books. I'll have to see whether his work even exists in the UK.


Such a pretty book! Hopefully it doesn't matter if it is read out of order. I like the idea of a book about gardens and country homes. It sounds so sunny and relaxing.


Such a delightful title indeed! Looking forward to hear your thoughts on the book. :)


Litlove--I'm not much of a gardener myself, but I do like reading about it for some reason. It's usually so relaxing to think about. I know his books have been reissued here--he was British, but I know that doesn't always mean a author will be in print over there. They sound very good, however.
Stefanie--I can always go back to the first, right? It does sound sunny and relaxing--always good to have a few of those on hand.
Michelle--I'm looking forward to reading it! I have enough library books to keep me busy well through the summer... :)

M Reeve

I suggest you read 'Merry Hall' first. It is the best of the trilogy, and introduces you to the characters in the following books. You do not have to be a gardener to enjoy it - it is mainly about settling into a new house, deploring the taste of the previous owner, and getting to know the neighbours. Very funny, a forgotten classic.


M Reeve--I love the sound of the book. My library doesn't have Merry Hall, but maybe it is worth splurging and buying the nice reissue of the book?!

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