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Showing posts from January, 2019

Barbara Pym

In 1977, the Times Literary Supplement polled several well-known British critics and authors and asked them to name the most underrated writer of the previous 75 years. Barbara Pym was the only writer to receive two votes, one from the poet Philip Larkin and one from the biographer Lord David Cecil, who said that Pym's "unpretentious, subtle, accomplished novels...are for me the finest examples of high comedy to have appeared in England during the past seventy-five years." Although the poll results led to a resurgence of interest in Pym and in her novels, I think that she may still be one of the most underrated writers of the last 75 years. And speaking very personally, I'd like that to change.

Barbara Pym was born in 1913 and raised in Shropshire, England, near the Welsh border. She attended St. Hilda's College, Oxford, where she majored in English Literature. After she graduated, she wrote her first novel Some Tame Gazelle, which she completed when she was 22 …

Most Anticipated Books of 2019

I thought it might be fun to follow up a post on my favorite books of 2018 with a post on the books that are scheduled for publication in 2019 that I am most looking forward to reading. To be fair, there are lots of pronouncements out there about the big books of 2019, so this is not an original idea. But those articles tend to focus on the books that are expected to be bestsellers or on the ones that will get the most attention, and that's not my focus here. The library runs its popular Book Buzz program twice a year (in March for spring and summer books and in September for fall and winter books), and that's where we talk about the books slated for publication that are getting the most pre-publication buzz in the world of books and book lovers. By contrast, the books that I mention below are the ones that are getting the most pre-publication buzz in my head (and maybe only in my head). But I'm sufficiently excited about them to want to share the news.

To state the obviou…