Sacred reading, that's a bit misleading on Good Friday and many's the year I've spent the day robed and choired and singing for several hours, but I'm in an lapsed Anglican organised religion phase right now, yet that doesn't mean you don't mark the day somehow.
Times have changed for sure. We were never allowed out to play on Good Friday and it was fish on the menu which was torture. I can't remember whether I was let off or spent an hour pushing it around my plate until it was cold, but then hot cross buns which more than made up for it, bearing in mind that currants were the other food I loathed as a child.
But all in all a strangely quiet day was had by all.
Bookhound recalls hot cross buns, and thinks they probably went and caught their own fish, but there was no such sanction about not going out to play and he thinks it far more likely he wasn't allowed to stay in.
Currently top of my reading pile is Daphne by Justine Picardie, and anything that encroaches on Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier territory could be considered sacred reading. Oft repeated here, Rebecca was the first book I read that made me realise that I was reading as an adult rather than a child and appropriately I read it on a beach holiday at St Ives in Cornwall, when I was about fourteen or so.
Here's my original 5/- Penguin copy, vague whiff of the Ambre Solaire about it.
Is that grains of sand I can see trapped in the endpages? I've convinced myself it is...or perhaps dead ants?
This lead me to thinking about other books from that time,
special reading that was opening new and exciting doors to a different
bit of the library and setting me off on a lifetime's reading journey.
Library not withstanding I was a book buyer even then and don't ask me
how I managed that on 2/6d a week pocket money, but I still have some of
those books and this moth-eaten pile has amassed a sentimental value far beyond its
worth, I'd be sad to part with any of these.
I remember reading the first two in the Forsyte Chronicles and that was when we were all rooted to the TV series.
Nevil Shute was another favourite and I'd plump for A Town Like Alice as the definitive one for me. Remember those old Pan editions, 3/6d with the fabulous artwork covers? They really do speak of the moment.
But it was the Daphne du Maurier's that had my full and undivided attention.One after another, Jamaica Inn, Frenchman's Creek, My Cousin Rachel and I carried on down the years, The Glassblowers. House on the Strand, Don't Look Now and the rest but nothing matched that Rebecca moment.
Much more about Justine Picardie's book Daphne soon which I'm loving and will curl up with today because Good Friday remains a quiet day. The book is a compelling blend of fact and fiction, faction I suppose? A real blurring of traditional literary boundaries with biography, historical literary detail, reworked themes and explorations and an innovative extraction of elements from Rebecca which intertwine with Daphne's life and that of a student researching her life long after her death. Mix in Daphne du Maurier's The Infernal World of Branwell Bronte and an associated Bronte theme and the end result is all an intoxicating patchwork for an enthusiast like me.
There are a lot of books I will be rushing to revisit once I've finished Daphne and by the way the cover is as gorgeous as it looks. Has the feel of a Gwen Raverat woodcut about it, slightly raised ink printing, subtle pale colour tones against that Eating Room Red shade straight off the Farrow & Ball paint chart.
Perfect colour on a book jacket, but the paint everyone buys for the name and then realises they don't actually want to eat in a room that colour after all, well that's what happened here.
Now I'm beginning to feel the colours speaking to me and it's really time I made a Daphne - Rebecca quilt, but I'm currently and supposedly on an inspiration embargo pending too many unfinished projects. All right, I'll just think about it, won't buy any fabric.
You know me by now, once I've had the idea it's a mere nano-second before I have Jinny Beyer's The Quilter's Album of Blocks and Borders off the shelf and just think of the traditional block names you could use?The Lady of the Lake, Storm at Sea, Double Wedding Ring and then I'd invent a few, Danvers Choice, Sinking Boat. Could I just cut out and piece one?
As for the books I must revisit, well finally I have to read Rebecca again. It's high-risk because Rebecca is enshrined and preserved in amber in my mind, dare I chip it out and have a look? Also Margaret Forster's biography of Daphne du Maurier which I read when it was first published but not since. But I'm also intrigued enough to pick up Trilby by George du Maurier, Daphne's grandfather and I'm sure plenty more will emerge.
Anyone else have sacred reading like this?
Is there a book enshrined in amber for you too?