A Giveaway of Books by Barbara Pym, Max Beerbohm, Amanda Cross, & Isak Dinesen

Another giveaway!  Yes, I am weeding more books, and am offering these before our next trip to the Planned Parenthood Book Sale drop box.  You can’t go wrong with Barbara Pym, Max Beerbohm, Isak Dinesen, and Amanda Cross.  And I am happy to send all four Pyms to one person if you want a “set.”

You know the drill.  Leave a comment or email me at mirabiledictu.org@gmail.com

Barbara Pym’s The Sweet Dove Died , A Few Green Leaves, A Glass of Blessings, and No Fond Return of Love Pym is one of my favorite writers, but over the years I have acquired (used) hardcovers of her books.  These 1980s paperbacks are quite attractive, and The Sweet Dove Died is in very good condition. The pages of A Few Green Leaves are tanned, but it is a sturdy book.  The other two are a bit tatty but still readable.

2 Max Beerbohm’s Zuleika Dobson.  When the lovely Zuleika Dobson goes to Oxford, men fall at her feet.  The fascinated students want to die for her.  Really, boys:   Zuleika is a monster!  It is comical and I enjoyed it, but it is a tad misogynistic.

3 Amanda Cross’s The James Joyce Murder.  An academic mystery, one in a series by critic Carolyn Heilbrun writing as Amanda Cross.

4.  Isak Dinesen’s Out of Africa & Shadows on the Grass. Two stunning memoirs of Dinesen’s life on a coffee plantation in Kenya.  Gorgeous writing!  And actually my paperback is in better condition than the one in the photo below.

Please Take It! A Giveaway of Joanna Russ’s The Female Man

joanna-russ-thefemaleman Joanna Russ (1937-2011),  a lesbian feminist science fiction writer who was as intent on challenging the male SF community as on writing novels and stories for women, won the Nebula Award in 1972 for her short story, “When It Changed.” She incorporated the story into her 1975 Utopian novel, The Female Man, which received a retroactive James Tiptree, Jr. award in 1995.

A male science fiction fan, not a female man, recommended this novel to me in the ’80s:  he read men and women writers with equal enthusiasm.  I enjoyed the postmodern structure of Russ’s text, and the Second Wave feminist ideas.   When I found a copy at Waterstones recently, I was thrilled to see it still in print. But…it is well-written but dated and dogmatic, like rereading one of those wild 1970s radical texts, Shulamith Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex. (She says women will be inferior till they seize the means of reproduction.)  Only, mad as The Dialectic of Sex is, The Female Man purports to be a novel. (The women in one of Russ’s worlds control reproduction.)

The heroine Janet lives in an all-female world, Whileaway.  All the men were killed in a plague and the women live in peace, reproducing by splicing the eggs of the two women (or something like that!).  It’s not a perfect world:  the women work at dull jobs until in old age they are allowed to sit down and work at creative or analytic work.

Janet keeps popping in and out of alternate timelines in different worlds. The women of other worlds have very different values:   Joanna’s world is a 1960s version of our 1960s, where men dominate and women hope not to work, and Jeannine lives in a U.S.  where World War II never happened and the Depression is still going on.  Janet’s acceptance that women are not limited by gender and that lesbianism is natural is radical in these alternate worlds.  At a party in Joanna’s world, women coo at men, act stupid, and hope to find a man. Janet finds the whole thing hilarious.  In the Depression world, Jeannine works at a low-paying job and dreams of wearing the new fashions (constrictive corsets, push-up bras, etc.) and dreams of marriage, which her boyfriend cannot afford and anyway he’s far from her dream guy.

I find all the spouting about sex roles very tiresome, because other feminist writers of that time–Erica Jong, Sheila Ballyntine, Nora Johnson, Sue Kaufman–did this better.  But Brit Mandelo at Tor loves Russ,  as I found on scanning the internet (and Tor is a very good website).  Go here to read her essay, “Queering SFF: The Female Man by Joanna Russ (+ Bonus Story, ‘When it Changed’).

So please take this book!  Leave a comment if you’d like my copy. It is award-winning.  And I do think many of you would enjoy it.

The Spring Giveaway: Natasha Stagg’s Surveys & Conrad Richter’s The Trees

Surveys natasha Stagg 9781584351788It’s the Spring Giveaway!  I’m clearing space on my bookshelves again.

richter robert-mcginnis_the-trees_ny-bantam-1975Would anyone like my copy of Natasha Stagg’s stunning novel, Surveys, about a down-and-out college graduate stuck in a job giving surveys at the mall?   (I wrote about it here.)  And I also am giving away a mass-market paperback edition of Conrad Richter’s   The Trees,  the first in The Awakening Land trilogy.  This lyrical novel tells the story of a pioneer family settling in the woods of Ohio.  Sayward, the oldest daughter, must take responsibility for her siblings as one tragedy after another afflicts them  (I wrote about this remarkable novel  here:  Richter won the Pulitzer Prize for the third in the series.)  I recently replaced this 1970s paperback with a $1.50 first edition hardback.  (The beauty of the Planned Parenthood Book Sale!)

Leave a comment if you would like one or both.  The giveaway is open to Americans and Canadians (the postage is, alas, too high to send “abroad).”

And tomorrow back to my “Girlitude Week” posts!

Giveaways: Norah Hoult, Violet Trefusis, David Lindsay, & Margery Sharp

I have too many books!  We have three boxes of books from the Planned Parenthood Sale I am trying to consolidate into one.  Leave a comment if you’re interested in any of the five titles below (or more than one) and, if more than one person “volunteers,” I’ll draw a name.  Otherwise I trot them down to the Little Free Library, where my Dover book of Edith Wharton’s stories and D. H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow still languish.

Broderie Anglaise by violet Trefusis1.  Violet Trefusis’s Broderie Anglaise, translated from the French by Barbara Bray.  I read this one last fall and loved it.  The 37-year-old heroine, Alexa, a novelist who lives in Oxford, is having an affair with handsome 29-year-old Lord John Shorne.  When he tells her he is going to Rome, she knows it is “to see that Pamela.” He wishes she would restrain her feelings, because it’s dull for him to deal with them.  He says,…the least of your heroines is so much cleverer than you.”

“They’re my own portrait touched up,” she answers.

There Were No Windows2.   Norah Hoult’s There Were No Windows (Persephone).  Some Persephones I keep forever;  this one I enjoyed, but it needs a new reader   According to Persephone:  This 1944 novel is about memory loss and is the only book we know of, apart from Iris about Iris Murdoch (and arguably There Were No Windows is wittier and more profound), on this subject. Based on the last years of the writer Violet Hunt, a once-glamorous woman living in Kensington during the Blitz who is now losing her memory…

voyage to arcturus3.  David Lindsay’s A Voyage to Arcturus.   A fantasy novel described by Loren Eisley as:  “The book is an amalgam of strange philosophies clothed in weird exterior forms that have taken shape in weird exterior forms that have taken shape in a fantastically gifted if somewhat elusive mind.”

martha-in-paris-margery-sharp-0014.  Margery Sharp’s Martha in Paris.  A feather-light to-be-read-once novel.  Last fall I said, “Sharp takes our image of fat women and throws it in our face.   Art matters, not fat, and Martha is a fat artist.    A sexual experience jeopardizes Martha’s aspirations, but she overcomes it, despite pregnancy.”

5.  Margery Sharp’s In Pious Memory.  Another feather-light novel.  Mrs. Prelude, the wife of a famous financier, survives a plane crash, but her husband does not.  Later, she is unsure if she has correctly identified his body; and she and her youngest daughter, Lydia, fantasize that he is still alive.  Lydia and her cousin set off on a bicycle trip to look for her father in France.  It is funny, though a bit Disneyish.  Perfect plane reading. Not very good, but entertaining.