Category Archives: Autobiographical

Fragments, Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters By Marilyn Monroe

Fragments is a collection of typed letters, poems and thoughts, written in journals, notebooks and on hotel and personal stationery.  Through which you get a deeper glimpse into the untold Marilyn Monroe.

When she died in 1962 her personal effects were left to Lee Strasberg, in turn when he died in 1982 his young wife Anna Strasberg inherited this large and uncatalogued collection.

On one side of the page is a photo copy of her actual writings and on the other a printed version, in case you can’t understand her writing and also some additional inserted words where needed, but you know they aren’t Marilyn’s.

If you’ve always loved Marilyn Monroe and thought that there was more to her then the dumb blond, then get this book.

Christy

My 2009 Year End Reading Summary from Christy

  • How many books read in 2009? 24
  • How many fiction? 14
  • How many non-fiction? 10
  • How many biographical or auto-biographical? 8
  • How many travel books? 2
  • Female authors? 16
  • Male authors? 8
  • Most favourite? Someone at a Distance, by Dorothy Whipple
  • Least favourite? The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet, by Colleen McCullough
  • Any I simply couldn’t read all the way through? The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet. I was amazed that the writer of Thornbirds could write such a dreadful book.
  • Oldest book read? The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery
  • Newest book read? Persona non Grata, by Ruth Downie
  • Longest read? The Lost, A search for six of six million, by Daniel Mendelsohn
  • Shortest read? The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery
  • How may books from the library? 18
  • Translated books? 3
  • Most read author of the year? Dorothy Whipple
  • How many by that author? 3
  • Any re-reads? No
  • Favourite character? Charlotte Gray
  • How many countries were visited, through the read page? Australia, USA, Canada, Russia, Poland, Germany, Monrovia, France, United Kingdom, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Kenya, South Africa, Botswana
  • Which books would you not have read without a recommendation? The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, Someone at a Distance, Mrs Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Little Boy Lost, Facing the Lion.
  • Which author was new to me, and I want to read all that author’s works? Dorothy Whipple
  • Read any books I always meant to read? The Blue Castle, L.M. Montgomery
  • Any books I’m annoyed I didn’t read? The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society

I have never kept a statistical record of the books I have read. And I don’t think this was my best year for reading books. I averaged two books per month. I think I’m going to try for three books per month next year. But I read for the love of it, so what takes my fancy or comes to my attention, will be read.

I seem to especially like books fiction or biographical, that are set in the first or second world war time period, but I’m not stuck there.

I have sorely neglected our library, book reading club and every time I run into someone they say “when are you coming back?” Just life gets in the way. So will work harder to keep up and participate in that.

Reading, what a joy, what a transportation, through time and distance from ones own fireside.

Well signing off from my American fireside reading.

Christy

P.S. Found this meme on Paperback Reader

A London Child of the 1870s, by Molly Hughes

My book review of ‘A London child of the 1870’s’ by M. Vivien Hughes. Is a delightful autobiographical addition to Persephone books. It is maybe not as flowing in a literary style, but does capture the essence of a child growing up in a middle class family of that time period.

Mary Vivien Thomas, born in October 1866 the youngest, with four older brothers, Tom, Dym, Charles, Barnholt and parents who in many ways are very liberal in their attitude to bringing up children. In 1870 they move to Canonbury, North London and live there for nine years. Their father works in the City, something to do with stocks. They have their ups an downs financially, but are never poor and have a couple of servants.

It’s a charming review of a child’s life. how did children play back then? What did they play with? Learning at home, the books she read, relatives who often visited. Her joy of life, wit and insight fullness.

The highlight of life was visiting her mother’s family in Reskadinnick, Cornwall. These accounts are full of Cornish life back then, and I love the quotes from the locals. My grandfather came from Somerset and I can relate to that pattern of old speech. She mentions a manchet loaf of bread, that was not put in a tin to form, and if it was cut, must not be left on the table, a superstition. She also mentions her mother’s family money coming from the tin mining business, which goes all the way back to the time of the Phoenicians who traded tin from Cornwall. Mollie mentions a trip that her aunt Tony took to Norway with her grandfather to buy Norwegian logs for pit props. Just interesting history.

There is a lot of mention of reading of those very pious religious Victorian books to teach morals, that mostly taught fear.

With all the liberalness of the family Mollie was not taken out on trips as much as the boys were, such as the Lord Mayor’s Show, a steam boat trip to Greenwich. In fact she says, “Of course I was never allowed to go there myself.” And further on that page she says “Strange as it seems I was never taken to anything more exciting than a picture gallery, not even to a Pantomime at Christmas…” Mollie does not resent this, but states it as a fact. “My father’s slogan was that boys should go everywhere and know everything, and that a girl should stay at home and know nothing.”

One entrance that caught my eye was a visit to Bumpus Book Shop in Oxford Street, London. It seems it was a very large and well known bookshop so here is a link to Bumpus Book Shop, don’t you love that name? I think we would have liked to visit Bumpus Book Shop.

All the photos below are from the first book, except for the first photo of the author.








I wrote this a couple of days ago before the above review.

I had totally not thought about this book, ‘A London Child of the Seventies’, as I do not have this book as a Persephone publication. I was driving home from work today and it suddenly flashed into my mind, that I had this book, in fact the trilogy. I was so excited thinking I could do a review on it when I almost missed my exit to go shopping.

I first ran across the autobiographical works of M.V. Hughes over twenty-five years ago, in the form of a paperback discard from our local library which I happened to buy. It was ‘A London Girl of the Eighties’. I so loved this book that I read it over several times during that time period.

In more recent years I realized that it was part of a trilogy, ‘A London Child of the Seventies’ and ‘A London Home in the Nineties.’ So I thought let me try and find it on ebay and in my first week of looking I came across A London Family 1870 – 1900, by M. Vivien Hughes. What is so nice about this is I have the 1947 trilogy, first published 1946. Full of photos. The three books having been first published in 1934,1936,1937. I don’t know if the Persephone publication has photos in, so thought that I would post some here.

I always felt that these books would make wonderful reference works if you were writing a fictional novel in that time period. You would be able to capture the period by reading these books. But of course the writings are far more than a reference book you feel you have walked those streets with Molly.

I do have one question of Persephone. Why did they choose A London Child of the Seventies? Persephone calls it A London Child of the 1870’s. As opposed to, what I personally think is the most interesting of the trilogy, A London Girl of the Eighties. That opinion could be totally subjective.

In any case try and read both, the last book of the trilogy is not I feel quite as interesting.

Christy

The Journal of Helene Berr


Helene Berr kept a journal from April 1942 to February 1944. She is a recent graduate of the Sorbonne, with a love for English literature and plays the violin, she calls her ‘selfish magic’; which helps her to escape the everyday oppressiveness of living under a Nazi Vichy government.

The time covered is the same as Anne Frank’s Diary. But while Anne was hiding in rooms in Amsterdam, Helene was a student at the Sorbonne, however their fate was the same eventual incarceration at Bergen-Belsen, both being there at the same time and dying in 1945, only weeks before liberation.

Her father is a director of a chemical company and a decorated WWI veteran., her background is one of privilege. Will their fate be the same as poor Jewish refugees?

She writes of everyday things, friendships and loves, the ups and downs of youth. She thinks she loves Gerard, until she meets Jean Morawiecki, a fellow student.

Early on the petty anti-Semitic laws are upsetting and bothersome, but as time goes by the signs become more and more clear that this is a noose, becoming tighter and tighter.

She writes in reference to the wearing of the star. A friend Vivi Lafon says ‘”I can’t stand seeing people with that on.” I realize that: it offends other people. But if only they knew what a crucifixion it is for me. I suffered there, in the sunlit Sorbonne courtyard, among my comrades. I suddenly felt I was no longer myself, that everything had changed, that I had become a foreigner, as if I were in the grip of a nightmare. I could see familiar faces all around me, but I could feel their awkwardness and bafflement. It was as if my forehead had been seared with a branding iron.’

She writes of inertia and even covert duplicity of French Catholics around her. ‘And she was right Catholics no longer have the freedom to follow their conscience, they do what their priests tell them to do. And the latter are weak cowardly and often unintelligent. If there had been a mass uprising of Christians against these persecutions, would it not have won the day? I am sure it would have. But the Christians would have had to protest against the war in the first place, and they weren’t able to do that. Is the Pope worthy of God’s mandate on earth if he is an impotent bystander to the most flagrant violations of Christ’s laws?

Do Catholics deserve the name of Christians when, if they applied Christ’s teaching, religious difference, or even racial difference would not exist?’

She often quotes from Keats, reads Winnie-the-Pooh and recites Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Rikki, Tikki, Tavi.’

Helene was indeed a gifted writer. This book, I have read, has been immensely popular in Europe, and I think, stands on par with ‘The Diary of Anne Frank.’

Christy