New Post at Thornfield Hall Redux: Real Estate Is Not Proust’s Madeleine

In Hilma Wolitzer’s short story, “Sundays,” the narrator must coax her depressed husband Howard out of bed every Sunday morning.  To cheer him up, they drive after breakfast from Queens to the suburbs to tour model homes.  But they would never dream of moving to the suburbs.

I love the Paulie and Howard stories, and I know the feeling of looking down on the suburbs.  Nonetheless, I am enthralled by real estate. “I would love to live there,” I exclaim as I pass a Victorian house with a wraparound porch, or a Mid-Century Modern Home from the ’60s.  Even if the house is for sale, it is just a fantasy. I’m hooked on real estate ads in print and online. though I have no intention of moving.

Here is the link to the post at Thornfield Hall Redux:

Colette’s “Break of Day” and “Letters from Colette”


During a horrendous illness, I turned to Colette, the lyrical French writer best-known for the autobiographical Claudine books. She ghostwrote the series at the bidding of her rakish first husband, Willy, who ran what Colette called a “factory” of  ghostwriters. Two of her other books kept me alive while I was sick, her meditative novel Break of Day, written in her fifties, and Letters from Colette, edited by Robert Phelps.

Here is the link to the post:

A Twentieth-Century Classic: Elizabeth Bowen’s “Friends and Relations”

My reading has been so eclectic this fall that I have fallen behind in my reviews.

One of my favorite reads this fall is Elizabeth Bowen’s stunning Friends and Relations, a twentieth-century masterpiece, and for that reason I was reluctant to “review” it. I felt should reread all of her novels and a biography or two before I put pen to paper. But my job as a blogger, thank goodness, is to appreciate or grumble, so I hope you enjoy this reviewette.

Here is the link to the post at Thornfield Hall Redux:

Nobody Bought My Viragos! And a Look at ‘The Caravaners’ by Elizabeth von Arnim

We went to the Planned Parenthood Book Sale on Half-Price Day. Surely we would find one or two books, we thought. And yet… we did not. 

One happy note:  I found at least 10 Viragos.  Oh, how wonderful, I thought.  Someone will love these.   Then I realized they were my books.  I HAD  DONATED THEM.  I hastily arranged them attractively at the front of the table, so somebody might find them.   

And speaking of Viragos, I will end with a “review” of a favorite Virago, The Caravaners.

Here is the link to this post at Thornfield Hall Redux:

New Post at Thornfield Hall Redux: The Planned Parenthood Book Sale Goes Modern

Founded in 1961 in Des Moines, The Planned Parenthood Book Sale is a melee of collectors, common readers, and book scouts who jostle between church-supper tables to compete for obscure Mrs. Oliphants and omnibus editions of Bess Streeter Aldrich. But there has been a shift from old books to newish best-sellers. Is it worth attending for a reader like me?

You can read the rest of this post at Thornfield Hall Redux. Here is the link:

My New Favorite Book: J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s “The Rose and the Key”

I’ve loved Le Fanu’s Uncle Silas for decades, so you you will not be surprised to learn that my new favorite book is Le Fanu’s little-read The Rose and the Key. Mind you, I do not claim it is a great novel.  Parts are brilliant, parts are draggy and dull. And yet I loved it from the beginning, with its ornate description of “a summer sunset, over a broad heath.” Maud, the impulsive heroine, and her good-humored elderly cousin, Miss Max, are enjoying a sketching tour.

Here is the link to the new post at Thornfield Hall Redux .

What Are Your Favorite Obsolete Expressions?

Raining like cats and dogs.

There are hundreds of obsolete words, expressions, and slang.  They come and go, and you barely miss them.  At some point every person is old enough to wonder, When did that change?  A kind of Standard English has evolved because of our communal watching TV, Netflix, and other live-streaming services.

When I was growing up there was actual dialect.  We said “warsh” for “wash,” until a teacher corrected us.  And how about “garsh” for “gosh?” But no one says “gosh” anymore, ergo there is no “garsh.” 

What are your favorite obsolete slang expressions? Do tell.

Here is the link to the post.