Postmen all over the country must be finding their bags weighed down with Persephone Books' latest releases, if my Instagram feed is anything to go by. I daresay no one reading here will be unaware that Tirzah Garwood's autobiography Long Live Great Bardfield, and Every Good Deed and Other Stories by the much-loved Dorothy Whipple have just been published, and doubtless many of you already have your copies and are well into one or other of them as this is book post of the best kind.
Ian Rankin's latest Rebus novel, Rather Be The Devil, will be out next week; Mr. C. read it in an afternoon and promises a review, but for now says it does not disappoint.
"In August 1947, Diana Athill travelled to Florence by the Golden Arrow train for a two-week holiday with her good friend Pen. In this playful diary of that trip, Athill recorded her observations and adventures - eating with (and paid for by) the hopeful men they meet on their travels, admiring architectural sights, sampling delicious pastries, eking out their budget and getting into scrapes. Written with an arresting immediacy and infused with an exhilarating joie de vivre, A Florence Diary is a bright, colourful evocation of a time long lost, and a vibrant portrait of a city that will be deliciously familiar to any contemporary traveller."
When Pete Brown's The Apple Orchard: The Story of Our Most English Fruit came out last month I read an associated article and snapped up the book. Here's the blurb:
"An orchard is not a field. It's not a forest or a copse. It couldn't occur naturally; it's definitely cultivated. But an orchard doesn't override the natural order: it enhances it, dresses it up. It demonstrates that man and nature together can - just occasionally - create something more beautiful and (literally) more fruitful than either could alone. The vivid brightness of the laden trees, studded with jewels, stirs some deep race memory and makes the heart leap. Here is bounty, and excitement.
Taking us through the seasons in England's apple-growing heartlands, Pete Brown uncovers the magic and folklore of our most familiar fruit, showing its place at the heart of our lives."