Endsleigh Book Salon last week and another great bookish evening, all warmly hunkered down around a crackling log fire in the grand environs of Georgiana, Duchess of Bedford's little holiday cottage.Someone's got to do it so we do.
We've come to the conclusion that we can now offer long range weather forecasting for the second Tuesday evening each month.Whatever the weather is doing it will be extreme, we've fought our way there through electrical storms, torrential rain every time and last week flooded highways and byways.
It was Spies and Spooks evening and as always the reading choices can be stretched to the limits of personal interpretation.
Two people had inadvertently read an early and a late Ian Fleming so we had some excellent James Bond debate and plenty of observations to be made about how his style had changed and of course the films, lots about the films.We had plenty to say about the Philby, Burgess, Maclean, Blunt type of spy, then we debated why they all came from Cambridge? Didn't Oxford supply any?
Spy on the Roof of the World by Sydney Wignall had a great airing from a fine advocate who had pilfered it off her husband's shelves and surprised herself by enjoying it. We have quite a few Dartmoor Rescue Group connections in our midst who love a bit of a wander in the outdoors with the added excitement of a previously unclimbed mountain route to deal with.
I'd gone with a small collection of Edith Wharton's Ghost Stories and also taken along The Victorian Chaise- Longue by Marghanita Laski.I read it a while ago and actually it was all so eerie and spookily terrible that I couldn't bring myself to read it again.Poor Melanie and that malevolent bit of antique furniture, with its ominous brown stain on the berlin-wool tapestry cover as she becomes "locked in the time and body of a Victorian".
I think my unease may inadvertently just have put everyone else off reading it too.
Ghost Stories by M.R.James got the thumbs down from its reader, times have changed and we decided it takes a lot more to scare us these days, like Marghanita Laski.I do think Edith Wharton still has immense power to disturb and unsettle and I have a new little volume of her ghost stories from Peter Owen to check out soon,The Demanding Dead : More Stories of Terror and the Supernatural.
Someone else brought along The Road by Cormac McCarthy, two people had read it and reckon it's 21st century reading at its scariest.
The Final Solution by Michael Chabon was also not well received by its reader.Someone else had also disliked this parrots for cash story (apparently that's what it boils down to), well actually hated it, so we hit on a great new idea.
We will have our very own Room 101 box and if three people think likewise about a book, in it goes.
I am reader number three for The Final Solution so Michael Chabon's fate rests with me.
Next month we are all spoilt for choice as we have War as our theme.