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Austen to Zafón

Reading widely since 1972.

Currently reading

A London Family, 1870-1900: A Trilogy
Molly Hughes
The Cellist of Sarajevo
Steven Galloway
Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher
Lewis Thomas
All the Names
José Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa
A History of the World in 100 Objects
Neil MacGregor
Down the Garden Path
Beverley Nichols
Virtue Betray'd, Or, Anna Bullen
John Banks
Year of Wonders
Geraldine Brooks
Swallows and Amazons
Arthur Ransome
Illusion in java
Gene Fowler
London Labour and the London Poor - Henry Mayhew, Victor E. Neuburg I read this years ago as an antidote to all the English literature I was reading that I loved, but that primarily concerned the upper class: Austen, Wodehouse, Bronte, Saki, Trollope, Sayers, Christie, and so on. I wanted to know more about the rest of London (and English) society. Well-known journalist Henry Mayhew first published his research into "The Condition and Earnings of Those That Will Work, Cannot Work, and Will Not Work" in the newspaper, and then expanded his work into four volumes. This selection from those volumes fit the bill for me. Largely vivid, first-person accounts from London's underprivileged, combined with fascinating statistics and Mayhew's practical and compassionate views. Far more than a dry historical record. One thing that I found interesting is the number of things for sale on the street: everything from children's gilt watches to groundsel & chickweed to needles to dog collars to hot eel soup & hot elderflower wine. There wasn't much you couldn't buy from a street vendor. And imagine the amazing clamor of all the voices crying out their wares!