Wednesday, 18 August 2010

I covet...

I stumbled upon these on Amazon yesterday and haven't been able to resist pre-ordering them.

I loved the set of Penguin Postcards that came out last year, there seems to be a postcard for almost every occasion, and I loved flicking through the cards again and again before I started using them to look at the publishing history of Penguin. I think I am going to love these even more - I adored reading Puffin by Design and am regularly using my pink puffin book bag - and I am looking forward to finding more appropriate cards to send to people. They're not released until October though.

There are two books which I would love to pre-order, but won't, because I'm trying not to buy books at the moment (is August too early to start writing my Christmas list??), both in a similar theme featuring material from the Mass Observation Archive.

The first is the third installment of Nella Last's diaries. I came across Nella Last well before she had the big revival following the Victoria Wood TV Drama "Housewife 49" which led to the publication of a second volume of diaries, Nella Last's Peace, because she was one of the "set texts" for a module on my degree course. I was delighted to be able to meet her again in the second volume, which proved a fascinating insight into post-war life in Britain - there was certainly no immediate end to the hardship which the British had endured since 1939. This new volume, Nella Last in the 1950s, picks up where the last volume left off.

The second is another book providing a window into women's experiences during the Second World War. Domestic Soldiers by Jennifer Purcell describes the lives of six women (including Nella Last) and the effects that the war had on their circumstances. It sounds absolutely fascinating and one of my favourite sorts of books.

I do hope to get copies of these eventually, and will certainly write about them when I do!


  1. Those books look wonderful! I would really like to read the Nella Last series - it's good that the diaries continue into the 50's as there never seems to be much social history about the immediate post war period available. Thanks for highlighting these, Verity!

  2. Ooh, I didn't know there was a third volume of Nella Last's diaries on the horizon. Thanks for that Verity.

    Have you read Mrs Milburn's diaries - again a real life 2nd World War diary, but in a different part of England. Not written for the Mass Observation project, but again a very interesting reflection of what life was like for people who lived through that conflict.

  3. Is it presumptuous of me to say that I can't wait to receive a Puffin postcard from you?! They may be too tempting to resist.

    Lovely to see you on another book-buying ban - you give me hope!

  4. I love your comment about your Penguin postcards and looking through them lots before sending. I received mine for Christmas and have only just started sending them and then only for special occasions... Maybe I should just send them out recklessly though?

  5. I love the sound of Domestic Soldiers - thank you for bringing it to my attention!

  6. Rachel - ooh you would love Nella Last. let me know if you get homesick while you're away and I'll send you v.1.

    Geraldine - yes, I have! Another book that I own from my degree.

    Claire - not presumptuous at all, as long as there is a suitable occasion.

    Joan - I half wish I'd bought two boxes, one to send and one to keep...

    Nymeth - I think it's a book both of us would enjoy.

  7. Lovely Puffin cards!

    On the subject of mass observation and War time social history you might like novelist Naomi Mitchison's "Among You Taking Notes...:The Wartime Diaries of Naomi Mitchison 1939-1945" ISBN 184212093X

    I did have lots in stock but sadly they sold really quickly. Actaully that is not sadly but I do have to remind myself that I am *supposed* to sell the books!

  8. hi verity,
    i work for nella's publisher and we're launching the third diary on 7/10 and will be hosting a launch event in barrow on 14/10 for it. could i send you some more information?
    my email address is anna-marie.fitzgerald at
    best wishes,

  9. Have been listening to Nella Last's peace on CDs from the library when my husbsnd and 2 teenage boys are out. They find them too "wordy" but I am fascinated by social history. Her descriptive and observational skills could surely under different cicumstances have made her a successful writer. I was interested to discover that Cliff became a successful sculptor in Australia. She nutured his artistic talent by letting her boys indulge in art projects when young. Whilst looking for more information on Nella and was delighted to discover that a 3rd volume has just been published.


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