Next up on the (re)reading list, three books saved from my father’s shelves in the West Indies:
Poems for Gardeners, edited by Germaine Greer (Virago, 2003); I could use some poetry and green growing things in my life right now.
The Semi-Attached Couple & The Semi-Detached House by Emily Eden. I’ve read this several times over the years while visiting my parents, and like it enough to want to give it a home, especially since it’s no longer in print, and I have a weakness for the old Virago Modern Classic covers. As the late great Noel Perrin wrote in his blurb on the back, “The Semi-Attached Couple is the answer to a good many prayers. It is the book you go on to when you have run out of Jane Austen’s novels.”
The Last Gift of Time: Life Beyond Sixty by Carolyn G. Heilbrun, which I think my father must have bought because he was a keen fan of her Amanda Cross mysteries. I still have a way to go before 60, but having to deal with all that my father left undone, or not properly done, has given me quite an education about life’s golden years. Heilbrun no doubt will be educating as well; the book was published when she was 71, and interestingly Heilbrun had, as she wrote, “long held a determination not to live past ‘three score years and ten”. Her book, a celebration of that extra time, is especially poignant to read now knowing that she did ultimately commit suicide, in 2003 at the age of 77. Her son, novelist Robert Heilbrun, explained at the time, “She wanted to control her destiny, and she felt her life was a journey that had concluded.”