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The First Book of the Year

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“Hullo, postman! No books today?”

In 2013 I read 96 books. I have always read a lot, but this was the first year I actually kept track of the books I read. I read mostly novels, a mixture of old and new, interspersed with a few biographies and history books. Only two of the books I read were in French, which is less than I would like.

Most of my reading choices are inspired by book blogs, mainly Cornflower Books, but also Dove Grey Reader Scribbles and My Porch, which have led me to many a happy discovery.

I read without a plan or set goals, purely and simply for pleasure. I read where my fancy leads me. No qualms when I do not finish a book because I do not like it. Life is simply too short. But this year, I did make a reading resolution: to seriously tackle my TBR. It is an idea I toyed with before, so when I came across the TBR Triple Dog Dare on Ready When You Are, CB, I thought I might as well give it a go. So from 1st January till 1st March I will only read from my TBR pile.  And who knows, maybe I will finally get to read Wolf Hall.

As it is, I started the year with a novel I was bound to love: Angela Thirkell’s Pomfret Towers.

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Pomfret Towers, Barsetshire seat of the earls of Pomfret, was constructed, with great pomp and want of concern for creature comforts, in the once-fashionable style of Sir Gilbert Scott’s St Pancras station. It makes a grand setting for a house party at which gamine Alice Barton and her brother Guy are honoured guests, mixing with the headstrong Rivers family, the tally-ho Wicklows and, most charming of all, Giles Foster, nephew and heir of the present Lord Pomfret. But whose hand will Mr Foster seek in marriage, and who will win Alice’s tender heart?

First published in 1938, Pomfret Towers is a highly entertaining and deliciously witty comedy of manners. The novel has romance, laugh out loud funny dialogues and great characters. The minor characters are particularly entertaining. I have a soft spot for Mr Johns, the longsuffering publisher of the formidable Hermione Rivers, to whom he privately refers as the “Baedeker Bitch in allusion to the amount of local colour that she piled into each of het books” and her generally not being a very nice person.

Pomfret Towers is the perfect book for a winter’s afternoon, to be enjoyed with tea, cake and a roaring fire. Highly recommended!

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