To Beg I am Ashamed (1938) by Sheila Cousins

This book is subtitled The Autobiography of a London Prostitute, and was originally intended to be published by Routledge in 1938. The papers heard about it, and created a scandal. ‘A disgraceful Book: It Must Be Stopped’ was the Daily Mail headline. The police went round to the publishers and were persuasive enough to make … Continue reading

Sleeveless Errand (1929) by Norah C James

Book review by Sylvia D: For the Reading Groups Second World War session, I read Enduring Adventure by Norah C James (1896-1979), a novel about the impact of the Blitz on the owners and regulars at a central London pub. When I was researching James, I was intrigued to discover that her first novel had … Continue reading

The Compulsory Husband (1928), by John Glyder

By Janice Maskort and Val Hewson ‘John who?’ we said at Reading 1900-1950, where we think we know our popular 20th century writers. John Glyder came to notice via Mary who features in our sister project, Reading Sheffield. Mary, whose interview is here, kept a record of what she read between the ages of 15 … Continue reading

Summer Will Show (1936) by Sylvia Townsend Warner

Book Review by George S: Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Lolly Willowes (1926) is about a woman leaving an ordinary environment and developing in extraordinary ways (she becomes a witch). Summer Will Show also describes the extraordinary progress and liberation of a previously conventional woman, but this time the process of liberation is not magical but emotional … Continue reading

The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932) by Sax Rohmer

Book Review by George S: In 1936, fifteen-year old Mary Wilkinson began to keep a record of her reading, and continued it for several years. This month members of the Reading Group have been reading some of the books a young woman read in the late thirties and early forties. The Mask of Fu Manchu … Continue reading

Passing (1929), by Nella Larsen

For December 2018, we looked at novels by Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) writers working between 1900 and 1950. I read Passing by the American author Nella Larsen (1891-1964), who explored connections, and the lack of them, between black, mixed race and white communities in 1920s America. Nella Larsen deserves to be much better known … Continue reading

Castle Gay (1930) by John Buchan

Book Review by George S: Castle Gay is the second of John Buchan’s Dickson McCunn novels. The first was Huntingtower (1921) in which the elderly McCunn retires from hisprosperous Glasgow grocery business, heads off on a walk through the lowlands, and becomes embroiled in a fantastic plot, protecting a Russian princess from villains. He is … Continue reading

Hatter’s Castle (1931) by A J Cronin

Book Review by Sylvia D: I decided to read Hatter’s Castle for the Scottish and Welsh session, because, apart from the treatment of its women characters, Cronin’s The Citadel was a good read with a strong message. Hatter’s Castle was his first novel and couldn’t be more different from The Citadel. It is 600 pages … Continue reading