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*note to self* Try May Sarton in some century. (Thanks for card btw. Mine didn't make it in the mail... I suck...)


I've enjoyed her--I am ready to pick up another of her diaries but I am waiting until I finish another few (yes, am midway through several--never just one!) books first. So glad the card arrived (only three? weeks late--Ha!). No worries about sending one--as you can see I wasn't exactly motivated this year either! ;)


This is something I must pick up. As I so enjoy Gifts from the Sea, I"m sure, by your recommendation and quotes here, that I would equally enjoy "Journal of a Solitude".


I am happy it was a good (re)reading experience for both of us :)


I bought a lovely little used copy at a bookstore recently, and had a notion to read it over the year September to September but it didn't work out this year. You may have seen Robin's blog recently when she used one of these passages:

Christine Harding

I keep meaning to read something by May Sarton. I've never come across her work at all, and don't recollect ever seeing it the shelves in a bookshop or library, but I keep finding references to her by Canadian and North American bloggers, so perhaps she is better known on your side of the Atlantic.


Some authors are very satisfying to read and it sounds like this author is just what you needed to read.I love how Books give us the chance to "talk to" or perhaps more accurately listen to people who we may never ever meet yet we share their thoughts and insights with such satisfaction ..."yes you have a point".."yes that is exactly what I mean".. sometimes it is a crystallization of a truth we were unaware of, a new way of looking at our lives, it can certainly be a lovely moment of truth and sharing ..the sad part is the fact that you may never meet they may be long in the past..but the brilliant part is the connection made the sharing of insight the oh yes that is so true moment.. sorry if this comment is too long and untidy and muddled but you post was quite special and true ..thank you!

Thomas at My Porch

No matter which way you decide to go both PDD and THIM are, not surprisingly, wonderful. The first passage you quote is so lovely.

Amanda R.

I keep seeing this book pop up on blogs and it is calling to me. I need to purchase it ASAP!


I love Gift From the Sea by A.'s a favorite of mine. Even read it at the beach once. If this book by Sarton is similar then I definitely have to read it. (Maybe even buy it.) Thanks for the review!! :)


They are both books that have come along at just the right time for me--the things both women write about are things that have been on my mind and they articulate them so well. I loved the Sarton and am eager to read more of her journals now--I think she was a very talented diarist!


You have picked most excellent books Cath! Maybe later in the year we can read something else together--your choice again, I think, since you are very perceptive when it comes to knowing just which book will have appeal and give inspiration! I have yet to reply to your last (last Sarton email that is) email, but I will do so in good time! :)


Hi Nan--thanks so much for sharing that link--and what a gorgeous photo. So much of what Sarton wrote was for me quotable, but passages like the one Robin quoted were particularly appealing. I do like the idea of reading along with it at the same time--I am doing that in a way with the Pavord book I just wrote about--reading each chapter (they go by month) in the corresponding month. I like the idea of reading along with the seasons.


She might well be--I think she was fairly popular when she was publishing--and perhaps, too, is/was well known for her poetry. She was pretty prolific. I have only read The Small Room, which is a novel with an academic setting which I very much liked and now this journal--she published a number of journals and I am eager to read more of them as she was such a perceptive diarist. I hope you come across her sometime in a used bookstore or library--she is well worth picking up if you do!


Thank you for that comment, which I think was not in the least muddled and not too long at all (I love comments like this and being able to chat with other readers) and very much just what I was thinking, too. This book came along at just the right time for me--and it is one I will happily revisit. I think I will be picking up the other two journals she published--one just before and one after--this one (I am not sure how many total journals she published), but I think I will have to buy them all. In her journal she writes about letters she received from readers and she even had people come knock on her door--so she has 'spoken' to a lot of people I suspect. This is what I appreciate about people who can write--that they can convey there thoughts and emotions so eloquently and they ripple across time and distance. I hope I come across more books like this this year--that resonate with me so strongly!


Hopefully this won't sound weird, but there were things she wrote that gave me goosebumps as they just clicked with what I think and feel too. I look forward to reading both journals (and will see what else she wrote, too). Do you have a favorite book by her--in general--fiction, diary or poetry?


I am glad she is being read--certainly her journals are so very well done. I think you will like her--especially since you like Pym (not that they are the same at all, but both perceptive in their own ways) and I know you like Barbara Pym!


Isn't the Lindbergh a beautiful book? I plan on picking it up again this year sometime. Maybe closer to summer--how very cool that you read it at the beach--that is so fitting. Do check out May Sarton-I think her journals are especially wonderful!


Oh I'm interested in this. I love journals about the creative life. Thanks for the review!


Like Christine, I've only ever heard of May Sarton from US and Canadian bloggers - what a shame she doesn't seem to be better known in Britain too. I have been meaning to read this; your lovely, thoughtful review makes me want to read it even more, to the point where I'm just going to see if it's very expensive on ABE, I have already spent far too much money on books this month...


And I've just ordered a copy! And because I can never just buy one book... Suffice to say, Danielle, I'm giving my bank manager your web-log address when he starts yelling at me... :)


I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed this. I read it several years ago but I think this would merit a re-read. Like you, my copy is filled with sticky notes. Unfortunately I have not read any other of her books so I'll be looking forward to what you discover!


I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! I also love reading about creative people!


I am sure there will be lots of used copies available--it is such a wonderful read and well worth owning, too! Happy to give a gentle nudge to another potential reader of the book! :)


I can't either--so I know exactly where you're coming from! Just send that bank manager my way--I'll set him straight! ;) I am quite good at rationalizing my book purchases!


I think I will have to pick up another of her journals--she was such a great diarist and I enjoy the format so much. I think this is a book that you could easily pick up again and take something new from it each time!


I wonder if I should read them in chronological order (sine I got all three books anyway already:) )
I sometimes long for a solitary life but the again it's only nice when it is self-imposed. I think many writers and authors wouldn't need to live a solitary life if the people around them were less intrusive. Not that I can complain but I hear it from others and then, frankly, I'd rather be on my own.
I've gotten better at not being productive for a day or two. It's not always easy though.
I think it's so wonderful when you read a book that resonates as deeply with you as this one has in your case.


I want to know how every time I step away from the computer for a day, it seems like when I come back there are at least three posts from you, all of which are thoughtful and interesting and require pondering before I comment! Really, your output impresses me. :)

I love that goosebumpy-feeling one gets when an author writes something that really resonates. I find Sarton and Anne Morrow Lindbergh both to be like that for me, too. I also sometimes resonate to Gretchen Rubin's (The Happiness Project, etc.) writings. It's one of the greatest pleasures of reading. I understand exactly what she's saying (and what you're saying) about feeling guilty when the day hasn't been full of "doing"--why is it so hard to just "be"?

I must find Plant Dreaming Deep and other things by Sarton. I've enjoyed and own both The House By the Sea and Journal of a Solitude. I've never read any of her poetry, so I should hunt that out, too.

It always makes me happy when someone else likes what I like to read. I find that a lot with you and with Belle at Belle, Book and Candle.

Buried In Print

If you can find a copy of the audio production that includes her reading from an assortment of her works, I think you would love it. It fundamentally changed the way that I hear/read/enjoy her works. Just lovely. So enjoyed reading about your experience with this one!


How interesting that book sounds.
Thank you for a great post, Danielle.


I like to read books in order-I think at the time I didn't realize they had been written so close together--since the journals didn't have years listed on them as they so often do in the case of diaries. I think I will go back now and read Plant Dreaming Deep, though I won't right away (until I finish a few other books first anyway...). I'm not even sure how many journals she published. She very much valued her solitude and I can relate to that. I always think I hate being alone, but there is Alone and alone--if you know what I mean. One is self-imposed and the other sort of thrust on me when I got divorced (which was a good thing ultimately, but I do miss that sort of companionship). I do think writers and artists probably flourish in solitary settings, so I can appreciate how she often might have felt put out when she was called upon to do other things. And I always feel the need to be productive. On those rare days when I lounge about and think I will spend hours and hours doing nothing but reading I find myself drifting mentally to 'things I need to do'--which I hate. I am not very good at Relaxing--and I think I need to do just that--sometimes at least. I love it, too, when the right book comes along at just the right moment--those are always the best reads. Totally off topic, but I think you will appreciate this--my first NYRB book from my 2014 subscription is a collection of short stories by Balzac that has been newly translated. I've just barely started reading and look forward to getting into the collection. I think I only read one novella by him--his short stories, I imagine, are not hard going?


See-that's me in my industriousness--I really do need to relax more! :) I always think I am going to post on a more abbreviated schedule but then I want to share what I've read or new books, and well, I end up with more posts than I planned. I really liked this book and AML--They articulate so well what I often think--or at least I can relate to what they write! Those are always the best books for me! I bought House by the Sea a while back as I love anything set by the seaside and I am more eager than ever to begin reading it, but I think I will go back to Plant Dreaming Deep first. I have not tried any of her poetry--I am not a good poetry reader, but I am planning on reading at least one book of poetry (by someone other than Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson!) this year. And Belle seems like a really lovely person and I find that we, two, also have a lot of overlap when it comes to books! She's another mystery aficionado, too! :)


I didn't realize there was an audio of her reading her work--now will set off in search of it! It is so interesting hearing an author read their own work. I don't I quite conveyed what I felt about the book--but it was probably close anyway! :)


If you ever come across her--she is well worth reading. Her journals are especially good. I've only read one of her novels--The Small Room, which has an academic setting--in New England which I thought was also very good! But Journal of a Solitude was excellent!


On the wish list!

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