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The Seveny book sounded absolutely fascinating--but really difficult reading. Oddly enough, that might have been the only book added to my wishlist that was mentioned in this one. (I had Keane and Naipaul on my list already.) I would like to read some of her other memoirs, though.


Hi, Danielle,
I'm destined to read Stet. When I researched Anthill a bit, I discovered that she has written a number of memoirs, all of which look interesting.

I just need a little time to get to it.

Thanks for including it.

Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)


I added the Seveny book to my TBR too along with a few others. Athill definitely has a lively voice and was fun to read. As much as I imagine how much fun being an editor like she was would be, I'm not sure I would enjoy all the coddling she had to do. But maybe the other parts of the job would make up for that?


I have already added Stet to my TBR list--but I may put off reading it because I certainly don't need even more books added to my list! Who am I kidding--the TBR list will never be done, it will always keep growing...I need to just go with the flow :).


It must have been something to work on a book like that--both to write and edit it. It's good that people are willing to write books about difficult subjects like this, but I will certainly have to be in the right mood to read it. I seem to have been noting down all sorts of books but then I tend to be an easy sell--she made everything sound so interesting. I didn't realize she had written so much and hope to start with that book of letters I bought.


Always too many books to read and not enough time for them, but she is an excellent writer. I plan on looking for more of her memoirs, too. And this was a fairly quick read, too.


Doesn't she? She must be quite an articulate speaker, too. I guess it's not surprising that a good editor would be a good and engaging writer, too. I'm not sure either, I could deal with writers in the way she did--some of them sounded so temperamental--you would have to be careful how you handled them, but as you said in your letter (which came today!), maybe things have changed since then? I suspect probably not too much anyway--though perhaps as you say with Rhys, they don't get so involved with their clients?


TBR piles are endless it seems. They do sometimes overwhelm me, but that doesn't stop me. Usually I just add titles to my Amazon wishlist to keep track of things, but I don't always buy (though will often borrow) all the books I note down. Still, you never know. I think you will like this one very much when you get to it!


Danielle: I was so excited to see your great review of Stet. I read Stet a couple of years ago and loved it; your review brought it back to mind. I'm not much of a memoir reader (it's one of those areas I'm always going to catch up on---there are so many great memoirs being published these days it's a shame not to). I became interested in Athill's when I read reviews of "Somewhere Towards the End," as writing an interesting, funny and unsentimental chronicle of life in one's eighties struck me as no mean feat. I stated Towards the End and liked it so much I thought I'd put it aside to read all her memoirs in order if that makes sense! (probably doesn't, unless you're a compulsive Type A like I am!). Anyway, I read Stet and thought it was fabulous. Alas, other books intervened and I've not yet made it through the Athil's next memoir "After a Funeral", although it's high on my TBR. ..........

Citizen Reader

I'm so excited you've let me know Athill has a short story collection, too--I've GOT to track that down.
I am completely, totally not interested in reading the fiction of V.S. Naipaul, yet every time I hear Athill talk about or read her writing about him, I think, maybe I've got to try him. She is that persuasive! Sigh. Someday, when we all get enough time for our TBR lists.


Oh, I'm sure I would like this very much. It sounds like abook full of bookish temptations too.
I love Jean Rhys, she is one of my favourites and one I've read absolutely everything of. I'm sure you'd like her very much.
Who would have thought Norman Mailar had such difficulties to get published but, at the time, the language must have been shocking.


You and I responded to this book in exactly the same way (yay!). I really loved her voice and the attitude that lay behind it. She seemed so funny and warm and honest, and I would have loved to have her as an editor! I enjoyed the character portraits of the authors she worked with most of all - she did them so very well.


Actually reading them in order sounds completely sensible to me and I think had it not been for this being a book club book I would have been inclined to do the very same. I have yet to look at the other books she's written (other than the two I mention in my post), but now I think I might have to go back and read them in order myself. I do like memoirs--I don't read as much nonfiction as I'd like (not due to lack of interest--only I am a very slow NF reader, so just don't finish very many in a year), but memoirs tend to make up a chunk of NF that I read--or social history. Anyway, thanks for the heads up on her other memoirs--I'll check them out as I suspect my library owns a few (maybe all?) of them.


I found her short story collection before I actually found her, if that makes any sense at all. I was browsing the new book shelves at my library when I came across it, and brought it home. Didn't get to it, but decided it looked interesting enough to just buy and own as I am very into short stories at the moment. Then my book club chose Stet to read and I started reading more about her in general. She seems to have had a really interesting life and I enjoy her writing style, so will be curious now to read her fiction since I've read a little about her personal life.


I think you would like it, too. I might have to buy a copy to own as it was something I found at the library. I have only read Jean Rhys's The Wide Sargasso Sea, but it's been years ago now. I'd like to reread it again, though I do recall liking it. I have a collection of her short stories as well as the quartet of books (an omnibus edition) of some of her earlier works. Also a biography of her that came out a few years ago. Just need to find the time to read her. She sounds like a very intriguing woman. I had no idea that Norman Mailer had such problems getting publishing initially either. His work had never really appealed to me before, but now I think I want to try one or two of his books. I suspect foul language at that time must have been shocking to see on the printed page--now it's almost the norm (certainly in many war books it seems).


This was such a good choice, Litlove. Thanks for making a great list--(though I do still want to read Hons and Rebels). I think I might not have picked up her other books otherwise--certainly not initially. She does seem like she would have been quite nurturing as an editor, though I had a laugh at her lack of desire to work on cookery books! She does do character studies exceptionally well--I agree!

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