Saturday, June 8, 2013

Inspiration Saturday: 'A Glass of Blessings' by Barbara Pym

For the past few months, I've felt a little like a literary poser, because I haven't been reading as much as I would like.  And who is a bookworm without having their nose in a book?  The trouble is, it's rather difficult to multitask with reading.  You cannot read and blog, or read and knit.  You can read and walk, but that takes a certain amount of skill, grace, and clear pathways.  And so my poor books have sat on the shelf, waiting for me.  And one in particular waited in that perilous state of being half-read, 'A Glass of Blessings' by Barbara Pym.

Distilling a plot into a few sentences always seems hollow, but let me try.  The book is narrated by Wilmet Forsyth, a housewife in 1950s London.  She lives a comfortable life of leisure with her civil servant husband, indulging in imagined romances with various other men around her while she endeavors to be somewhat useful in the church.  Wilmet reminds me so strongly of Jane Austen's Emma Woodhouse, with her secure, not to say privileged, lifestyle that has left her self-involved, naive, but ultimately well-intentioned.  Her daily dramas are on a similar scale of scandal, nothing more serious than 'borrowing' a Faberge egg.  There's even a not-unsubstantial amount of knitting in the plot, from sweaters being made to Wilmet's meeting a knitting pattern model, another suburban scandal.

I cannot possibly recommend the works of Barbara Pym more.  I love her.  I wrote an entire research paper about her in my last year of college.  A single blog post could never be worthy enough of my devotion to her wonderful novels, so I'm just going to start with this one.  You might think that because it took me so long to finish it, that should mean it wasn't interesting enough, but in fact I think the ability to set this book down for long periods of time, then pick it back up and turn the pages just as quickly again is a mark of a wonderful book.  Wandering through Wilmet's world is easy, and I wish I could join her mother-in-law Sybil in the sitting room after a lovely tea and knit with her.

I reached the end of the book last night, and now I'm wondering what to read next.  Are you reading anything at the moment?  Have you read any books, that aren't a part of the growing knit lit genre, where knitting pops up?

For more inspiration, go to Woolen Diversions.

1 comment:

  1. Thaaaaaank you! I needed a book rec and that sounds right up my alley.

    Knitting popped up recently in a book called Wool. Now, that might not seem surprising, but the book is not actually about wool or knitting at all. It's about a futuristic society where the characters are living in a silo underground. It is wonderful and highly recommended if you like dystopian novels.