The Cornflower Book Group already has its September book, that is Crusoe's Daughter by Jane Gardam (full details here), but I thought it might be helpful to plan ahead and choose something now for us to read and talk about in October and November, and I hope you'll feel well-disposed towards the books I have in mind.
October 2013 seems the most fitting month in which to read The Shooting Party by Isabel Colegate for it is set in October 1913. It's about a shooting party at Sir Randolph Nettleby's Oxfordshire estate: "opulent, adulterous, moving assuredly through the rituals of eating and slaughter, [the guests] are a dazzlingly obtuse and brilliantly decorative finale of an era." And from a review: "Threads of romance, social comment, country lore and intrigue both above and below stairs are cunningly worked together to create a brilliant tapestry ... I have seldom enjoyed a book so much."
If anyone baulks at the £12.99 UK cover price of the paperback (and I'm sorry that it is comparatively expensive), The Book Depository is selling it for rather less, and there are cheap secondhand copies available at Abebooks. For those in the US, your edition is more reasonably priced. Libraries should have the book, too, of course, and I hope no-one has any difficulty getting hold of a copy, whatever their preferred source.
On now to our November book which is something a bit different. A work of non-fiction, written in Japanese 1000 years ago, it is The Pillow Book by Sei Shōnagon. The author was a Court gentlewoman whose dates were c.966-1017; she wrote the book for her own amusement but it is "one of the greatest works of Japanese literature. A fascinating exploration of life amongst the nobility at the height of the idyllic Heian period, it describes the exquisite pleasures of a confined world in which poetry, love, fashion and whim dominated, and harsh reality was kept firmly at a distance. In sections ranging in size from brief reflections to longer, lyrical tales, Shōnagon moves elegantly across a wide range of themes including nature, society and her own flirtations and frustrations, to provide a witty, unique and deeply personal insight into a woman's life at Court in classical Japan."
So there are our three Autumn books and their discussion dates are below; please join us in reading them.
Crusoe' Daughter - from Saturday, 28th. September
The Shooting Party - from Saturday, 26th. October
The Pillow Book - from Saturday, 23rd. November.