Tuesday, 30 June 2009

update: June 2009

# of books read in June: 6

Cumulative total: 29

1. You Are Here (Bremner, Bird and Fortune)
2. Le Dossier: How To Survive The English (Sarah Long)
3. Du phonographe au MP3 (Ludovic Tournès)
4. Where Angels Fear To Tread (E. M. Forster)
5. Born on a Blue Day (Daniel Tammet)
6. The Tale of Genji (Lady Murasaki; tr. Arthur Waley)
7. The Comedy of Errors (William Shakespeare)
8. The Golden Gate (Vikram Seth)
9. Al Capone Does My Shirts (Gennifer Choldenko)
10. A History of Modern Britain (Andrew Marr)
11. The Power and the Glory (Graham Greene)
12. Le CV de Dieu (Jean-Louis Fournier)
13. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Jonathan Safran Foer)
14. The Music of Silence (Andrea Bocelli)
15. Love (Toni Morrison)
16. Class: The Secret Diary of a Teacher in Turmoil (Jane Beaton)
17. The Wives of Bath (Susan Swan)
18. The Penelopiad (Margaret Atwood)
19. The Queen and I (Sue Townsend)
20. Molly Fox's Birthday (Deirdre Madden)
21. Daisy Miller (Henry James)
22. The Rules of Attraction (Bret Easton Ellis)
23. Gods Behaving Badly (Marie Phillips)
24. Cold Comfort Farm (Stella Gibbons)
25. The Crucible (Arthur Miller)
26. The British Museum is Falling Down (David Lodge)
27. them (Joyce Carol Oates)
28. Flaubert's Parrot (Julian Barnes)
29. Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years (Sue Townsend)

Average number of books per month: 4.8

% by male authors: 55%
% by female authors: 45%

Flaubert's Parrot (Julian Barnes)

--The blurb--
"Which of two stuffed parrots was the inspiration for one of Flaubert's greatest stories? Why did the master keep changing the colour of Emma Bovary's eyes? And why should it matter so much to Geoffrey Braithwaite, a retired doctor haunted by a private secret? In "Flaubert's Parrot", Julian Barnes spins out a multiple mystery of obsession and betrayal (both scholarly and romantic) and creates an exuberant inquiry into the ways in which art mirrors life and then turns around to shape it."
from www.amazon.co.uk

--The review--
The lives of famous writers do not often take the stage in modern fiction; however, this does not mean that we are necessarily short of examples. Colm Toibin's The Master, for instance, adeptly covers the life of Henry James; Passionate Minds, by David Bodaris, fictionalises the life and loves of Voltaire; and finally, of course, the arguably most famous example presents itself in the form of Michael Cunningham's The Hours, which stars Virginia Woolf. However, none of these perhaps combine academic writing with fiction to quite the same extent as Barnes in his treatment of the life of Flaubert. Perhaps unfortunately for Barnes' readers - regular or otherwise - it swings more in the direction of academic writing. It is a clever novel, but there is 'clever' in the way that most people will identify with and enjoy and there is clever in a way that reaches out only to very few.

There is no denying that this novel is tight, well-researched, occasionally witty, makes subversive and intelligent use of language, and makes excellent use of quirkier details that other biographers would miss. Despite this, though, while the style of the novel is readable and accessible, the ideas perhaps are not, as well as at times only being of interest to the most die-hard of Flaubert fans (which cuts out a significant proportion of the reading population). This weakness is also perhaps augmented by the fact that the narrator is extraordinarily underdeveloped. The connections between his life and the life of Flaubert is only especially prominent in one chapter and is hardly detectable at all in the others. Being able to 'sense' the main character or narrator is important to most people when reading, even if actually liking the character is not; if you can barely even form a picture of said character or narrator, you are arguably in trouble.

This is therefore not the most enchanting start to Barnes' oeuvre; there are novels of his that are wittier and more crowd-pleasing. Do not start here: make a dash for his more digestible and amusing History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, or, for that matter, if you are not put off by the format of a novel chronicling the life of another author, opt for a tale based on the life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Arthur and George.

Other works by Julian Barnes
Metroland (1980)
Before She Met Me (1982)
Staring at the Sun (1986)
A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters (1989)
Talking It Over (1991)
The Porcupine (1992)
England, England (1998)
Love, etc (2000)
Arthur and George (2005)

Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years (Sue Townsend)

--The blurb--
"An accidental celebrity, with a spreading bald patch, despairing of family values, Mole is still worrying: Is Viagra cheating? Why won't the BBC produce "The White Van", his serial killer comedy? Mole, aged 30 1/4, chronicles the closing years of the 20th century with slanderous abandon."

--The review--
It's understandable that the runaway success of the Adrian Mole series when it first came out is perhaps a lot to live up to. The originals sold millions of copies and have been made into television shows, theatre productions and radio plays. They were made into musicals and computer games, and a feature film is planned. So the question perhaps on everyone's lips is whether or not the same esprit is maintained as Adrian passes from youth to adult.

In many ways the answer is no; while The Cappuccino Years is humorous, it is not laugh-out-loud funny and is imbued with predictability in terms of Adrian's character (though perhaps this is inevitable when a series is so long-running). While the series has grown up and progressed in terms of plot and setting (political and otherwise), Moley has not: the gawky teenager is an equally awkward and socially inept adult who thinks as naively and literally as in his teenage years, and it is more difficult to laugh at this in an adult character, where the opportunities for playing on a stereotype are not as plentiful as they are for teenage protagonists. And yet it is this stagnation of Adrian Mole's character that does in fact make this book a good competitor to its companions in the series: his blunders and egotism add ridiculousness and humour to the book, and the novel would probably be poorer without these characteristics. We can visualise Adrian just as well as before, as well as his hapless family and old school friends.

As well as having some humour (in a roundabout sort of way) the book is also touching and generally concise. However, there are two slightly incredulous aspects: one is the 'wife swap' situation between Pandora and Adrian's respective sets of parents (though perhaps this only enhances the comedy further, and so can be excused), and the other is in the novel's general style. It appears that by this stage in the series, Townsend has lost her grip on the diary style. While this would make an excellent first-person narrative, it relies too much on giving background information (which would not normally occur in a diary), and even though, as previously mentioned, the novel is usually quite concise, a few of the entries do ramble on.

These shortfalls therefore do not make this the best book in the series. However, it is worth reading in the context of the others, and it allows Townsend to keep her reputation for what it is she originally became famous for: for providing entertaining, politically pertinent, and touching reads whose doors (or covers) are open to all.

Other works in the Adrian Mole series
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 (1982)
The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole (1985)
The True Confessions of Adrian Albert Mole (1989)
Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years (1993)*
Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction (2004)

*Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years fits here in the series. Published 1999.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

them (Joyce Carol Oates)

--The blurb--
them is the third novel in the Wonderland quartet, exploring social class in America and the inner lives of young Americans. As powerful and relevant today as it was on its initial publication in 1969, them chronicles the tumultuous lives of a family living on the edge of ruin in the Detroit slums, from the 1930s to the 1967 race riots. Oates traces the aspirations and struggles of Loretta Wendall, a dreamy young mother who is filled with regret by the age of sixteen, and the subsequent destinies of her children, Maureen and Jules, who must fight to survive in a world of violence and danger.
adapted from Modern Library book jacket

--The review--
Newark, New Jersey, has allegedly changed very little since the days of the 1969 riots, with particularly the black working class being badly supported, especially by the police force, which does not accurately represent the social and ethnic mix of the city (leading to further crime owing to difficulties relating to the city's youth population). It is of this world and its creation that Oates writes, and a world which resonates strongly with certain youth subcultures today, in cities such as London, England, where gang warfare problems with sometimes racially-motivated knife and gun crime still persist. Equally, the novel shows that then, just as now, those involved, whether directly or indirectly can be painfully young: Jules, one of the principal players, is said to have started smoking at the age of ten. This theme is highly relevant to the murder of Rhys Jones in Wales in the summer of 2007 - being in the wrong place at the wrong time, he was shot dead aged ten when crossing gunfire between enemy gangs.

Seeing the family's bad beginnings at the start of Oates' novel, one does not (perhaps strangely) feel the derision that one might feel when looking on a similar family setup today. Instead, the perceptible humanity urges the reader to hope for the story's main characters and believe that they might be able to fulfil their potential. This is built up wonderfully, with Jules starting out as an earnest young boy who falls in with the wrong crowd before discovering the pleasures of true love and good honest work, and his sister Maureen being a diligent student who paves a bright future for herself. Oates effectively creates palpable possibilities for these children of an unfortunate background to elevate themselves from their poverty (far rarer then than it is now), and only the climax of the 1967 riots (the book's final scenes) brings us the truth.

While the novel is long at over 500 pages, the characters and settings are well-sculpted and easy to visualise, which in combination with a taut plot make for riveting reading. The children's early lives are whizzed through, with more focus being placed on their teens and twenties, but this in no way inhibits the depth with which the reader gets to know the characters, although this initial whistle-stop style takes some perseverance. Oates also paints a realistic portrait that shows up all the characters' flaws as well as their more personable qualities, in conjunction with bringing to life a realistic (or what I imagine to be realistic) picture of the era and its social situation which just sucks you in.

Despite starting with this quartet from book 3, this made no difference to my enjoyment of the novel (especially since the link between all four books in the quartet is thematic, rather than being plot- or character-based), and was a welcome inauguration to Oates' work. This is an engaging and illuminating portrait of real-life American history lifts up any masks that the readers may have had over their eyes, opens real social wounds, and addresses important questions about whether we make our lives, or whether our lives make us.

Other works by Joyce Carol Oates (select list)
The Gravedigger's Daugher (2007)
I'll Take You There (2002)
My Heart Laid Bare (1998)
We Were The Mulvaneys (1996)
American Appetites (1989)
You Must Remember This (1987)
Mysteries of Winterthurn (1984)
A Bloodsmoor Romance (1982)
Unholy Loves (1979)
Son of the Morning (1978)
The Assassins: A Book of Hours (1975)
Do With Me What You Will (1973)
Wonderland (1971)*
The Wheel of Love and other stories (1970; short story collection)
Expensive People (1967)*
A Garden of Earthly Delights (1967)*
Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? (1966; short story collection)
With Shuddering Fall (1964)
By The North Gate (1963; short story collection)

*part of the Wonderland quartet

Sunday, 14 June 2009

The British Museum Is Falling Down (David Lodge)

--The blurb--
"Literature is mostly about having sex and not having children. Life is the other way around...
And that, precisely, is the dilemma that preoccupies Adam Appleby as he begins another day of research in the Reading Room of the British Museum. Adam is a graduate student in literature and a practicing Catholic in the days before the Pill. He is also married, has three children, and is not looking forward to the possiblity of a fourth. On this foggy day in London, however, work and life conspire against him. As Adam makes his bumbling way through a series of misadventures that do little to alleviate his anxiety, the reader is treated to a hilarious and heartfelt tour of academia that only David Lodge could have created."
from www.fantasticfiction.co.uk

--The review--
Lodge is a fairly solid mainstay in the world of literary and linguistic criticism, there to help university students and the merely interested public alike with just about anything from the art of fiction to the practice of writing. However, he is also an academic, having taught literature as a professor at the University of Birmingham from 1960 to 1987, and his tongue in cheek satirising of this particular career choice is a recurring theme. This is particularly prominent in The British Museum is Falling Down, where the realities of living as a modern Catholic (I say 'modern' - the novel was written in 1965, but is not as displaced from the 21st century as you might think) are also spotlighted.

The central players in this saga are charming and make for wonderful light comedy: we have Barbara and Adam's extreme paranoia, Adam's general awkwardness and inclination towards procrastination, the precocity of their daughter Clare (there are two other children, but they do not really feature), and the hippyishness of Adam's study-mate Camel. The novel takes place over the course of one day, and the progression of events and emotion is, at least, far more realistic than the too-rapid evolution of these things in Alastair Campbell's novel, All In The Mind (whose events are supposed to take place over one week, and in which the protagonist goes from completely sane to completely mad during this time). The setting is equally pleasing, with London's familiar streets and landmarks given full and rich attention and description. As with Michel Peyramaure's fictionalised life of Degas, I thought that this would irritate me greatly, and instead it was pure pleasure.

Adam's feelings develop nicely throughout the book and the conclusion seems sound, though I felt that his reactions to the incineration of his scooter and to the loss of a potential job were slightly lazy and glossed over. There are also further weaknesses: Lodge randomly and deliberately switches from third person to first person halfway through chapter four, for no apparent reason (this is a device that is not picked up again anywhere else in the novel); the extended metaphor of the British Museum as being like a womb dragged on for too long; and, finally, Barbara's interior monologue at the end of the novel had the same fault, with it being far too easy to switch off and lose interest.

The satirising of academia was extremely amusing (though perhaps only to people like me, who have to some degree experienced the world of postgraduate life, conferences and so on) and to an extent reminded me of all the reasons why shutting yourself in an ivory tower for forty years is a bad idea. In contrast, Lodge provides us with an amusing insight into the pitfalls of Catholicism, while simultaneously rendering it thought-provoking and relatively inoffensive. These themes enliven the book and make it both entertaining and provocative in accessible ways, despite Lodge's clearly stratospheric vocabulary ('cloacal', anyone?). The encounters with minor characters, such as Virginia, add further humour and contrast to the beautiful yet concise descriptions of the museum.

Slightly problematic, perhaps, is the notion offered to us by Lodge in his afterword (in newer editions only) that several authors are parodied in this novel, which is of mild concern when after an English literature degree this completely passes one by. To my relief, however, Lodge goes on to say that the vast majority of reviewers also did not pick up on his attempts at parody and pastiche, so I felt a little less stupid after that. The novel is, regardless, perfectly enjoyable without comprehension of these references. The reader is given the opportunity to enter a slightly bewildering world that is simultaneously touching and funny, racing around from religion to sex to literature to love to wearing women's underwear to London's great monuments and back again, while Adam's entire penny-pinching world threatens to collapse around his ears. A really engaging initiation into the world of Lodge's works.

Other works by David Lodge
Deaf Sentence (2008)
Author, Author (2004)
Thinks (2001)
Therapy (1995)
Paradise News (1991)
Nice Work (1988)
Small World (1984)
How Far Can You Go? (1980)
Changing Places (1975)
Out of the Shelter (1970)
Ginger You're Barmy (1962)
The Picturegoers (1960)

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The Crucible (Arthur Miller)

--The blurb--
"Arthur Miller's classic parable of mass hysteria draws a chilling parallel between the Salem witch-hunt of 1692 - 'one of the strangest and most awful chapters in human history' - and the McCarthyism which gripped America in the 1950s. The story of how the small community of Salem is stirred into madness by superstition, paranoia and malice, culminating in a violent climax, is a savage attack on the evils of mindless persecution and the terrifying power of false accusations."

--The review--
Nestling comfortably alongside the more conventional religions are several arguably more 'niche' and less conventional ones, such as Jedi, Hare Krishna, and Wicca. Given the increasing acceptance of the majority of religious beliefs in modern culture, it is perhaps difficult to reconcile today's tolerance with the notion that those sharing Wiccan beliefs, or something similar to them, could have been killed for it a couple of centuries ago, even if the people concerned were falsely accused.

This, however, is the gruelling reality of Arthur Miller's (arguably most famous) play, The Crucible. Founded on a complex web of lies, spin and hysteria, Miller effectively depicts the struggles and attitudes of 17th-century residents of Salem, Massachusetts, at the heart of the notorious witch trials. Creeping under the reader's skin similarly to Henry James' The Turn of the Screw, it combines emotion and humanity with darkness, coldness and distance.

Miller's stage directions, however, are highly Stanislavskian, proving dense in detail and providing information on the characters' background that would normally be more suitable for a novel, and that only readers and directors of the play will ever get to know (there are no instructions for this information to be communicated to the audience during the play, Brecht-style). There is something of the omniscient narrator about it, à la the narrator of Fantasia, meaning that Miller is strongly there with us throughout our reading of the play. It is easy for a reader or director to visualise the characters, and Miller's manipulation of dialect is extremely skilful. Moreover, the narrative arc is as realistic and touching as it is chilling, and Miller's depth of research is not to be sneezed at: as well as depicting events with presumably the greatest possible accuracy, his work goes right down to using the same people who were at the centre of the scenario in 1692, including the use of their real names.

However, the historical context is extremely intricate, and in itself can potentially require deep study, which means that this text easily merits multiple readings (or viewings, if actually seeing the play is more your thing). It's easy to see how the play has known such success since its publication; Miller's writing is very vivid, with characters and scenarios just leaping off the page. Perhaps even more poignant and significant than an intrinsic reading of the play (=just considering the events of the play in themselves) is the fact that Miller wrote this play at the height of the red scare, in 1953, which brings into focus a series of political parallels that are still relevant today.

The play's complexity is perhaps the only offputting element, but this is something which should be relished by those who enjoy a challenge, and the play has clearly not lost appeal with the general public because of it. Truly intellectual crowd-pleasers are often difficult to come by, and it is perhaps this that proves Miller's most powerful legacy.

Other works by Arthur Miller (selection)
No Villain (1936)
They Too Arise (1937)
Honors at Dawn (1938)
The Man Who Had All The Luck (1940)
Focus (1945; a novel)
All My Sons (1947)
Death of a Salesman (1949)
A View from the Bridge (1955)
After The Fall (1964)
The Creation of the World and Other Business (1972)
The American Clock (1980)
Broken Glass (1994)
Resurrection Blues (2002)
Finishing the Picture (2004)

Monday, 8 June 2009

Bookish Bits & Bobs: Reading Is For Everyone!

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not much of a socialist, but as you will know if you read my recent review of Cold Comfort Farm, I am a feverish bargain hunter and will always do my level best to track down whatever I want for the lowest possible price, whether it's a new piece of gadgetry, a normally ridiculously expensive eyeshadow quartet, or an out-of-print book.

I've had dealings with the out-of-print market before: once when trying to track down a triad of books that I loved as a child (Dresses of Red and Gold, All In The Blue Unclouded Weather, and The Sky in Silver Lace, all by Robin Klein), and once when I found a quotation from a Ted Hughes book online that would have helped desperately with my undergraduate dissertation had it not been out of print and unavailable in my university library. I managed to purchase all these for modest sums after considerable effort, mostly thanks to libraries who were shipping them out in favour of newer stock.The latter title had to come to me from a Massachusetts library, but still.

I was therefore convinced that in my latest search (for the sequels to Cold Comfort Farm ) I would be able to find what I wanted with plenty of effort, but for still relatively reasonable amounts of money. To my shock and dismay, prices for Conference at Cold Comfort Farm started at no less than $111, often soaring closer to $400.

The situation was worse for Stella Gibbons' collection of short stories, Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm, where the price tag is closer to double that. Very few can afford to shell out this kind of cash without thinking, and while, as I said, I'm certainly no socialist, I am firmly of the view that reading should be for everyone - not just those who, as in pre-Victorian times, were able to stay at home and be expensively educated while everyone else got shoved up the nearest chimney.

This whole episode is reminiscent of the release of JK Rowling's The Tales of Beedle The Bard, which originally existed only in seven copies, each handwritten and illustrated by Rowling herself. Six were given to people she deemed closest to the Harry Potter series, such as her first editor, and the seventh was intended to be sold at auction for charity. Her fans (quite rightly, in my view) protested, saying that the charity would make more money if the book went on general release, as well as providing millions more people with enjoyment from Rowling's work. Publicity stunt or no publicity stunt, Rowling relented, and the book went on general sale in 2008 (naturally with all the proceeds going to charity as intended).

So the Tale of Beedle the Bard ended happily. But as far as my quest for the Cold Comfort Farm sequels goes, I can comfortably say "Worst. Episode. Ever.", Comic Book Guy style. For I cannot understand the motivation behind these sellers' price-tagging. Is it simply greed? Or is there something more complex at work? Do they perceive themselves as being excellent businessmen in trying to sell the book at these astronomical prices, or are they just foolish?

Luckily, there is hope for those of us without quite such cushy bank balances. I found a copy of Conference at Cold Comfort Farm for a mere £30 chez the lovely folks at Reid of Liverpool, whom I'd highly recommend. Equally, soon those greedy sellers on certain very-well-known bookselling sites might be laughing on the other side of their faces if the Blackwell's Espresso Book Machine takes off. So-called because it can supposedly print out any book of your choice (even one that you've written and is unpublished) at the same speed as an espresso machine can bring you a coffee (and not, sadly, because it can make you a coffee while your book prints), you can call up any out-of-print book from its vast catalogue and print it out for a nominal fee. Currently only available in the Charing Cross branch of Blackwell's in London, the plan is to roll it out across all 60 of the country's stores, with the original Oxford Blackwell's likely to be an early recipient. Out-of-copyright books currently cost 10p a page for you to print from this machine, but they hope to bring the cost down so that they cost you no more than your average off-the-shelf paperback.

This seems to me to be a fantastic way to exact revenge on all those Ebenezer Scrooges hiding behind their computer screens who have apparently forgotten what reading is all about. As these machines roll out across the UK and US, I hope they quake in their boots as karma is dispensed.

Until the Espresso Book Machines are more accessible to everyone, however, I advise you to Google with all your might. You, and only you, should have the final say on what you pay for an out-of-print book. Only pay what you are happy to pay, and don't be forced into a corner by sellers who wish to emotionally blackmail you into thinking otherwise.

Useful book-hunting links

Friday, 5 June 2009

Cold Comfort Farm (Stella Gibbons)

--The blurb--
"Flora has been expensively educated to do everything but earn her own living. When she is orphaned at 20, she decides her only option is to go and live with her relatives, the Starkadders, at Cold Comfort Farm. What relatives though. Flora feels it incumbent upon her to bring order into the chaos."
from www.amazon.co.uk

--The review--
In the novels I've reviewed recently, there have (unfortunately) been far too many silly, simpering and just downright bland female protagonists, about which I have complained vociferously of late. With Gone With The Wind being one of my all-time favourite novels, it is perhaps natural to want to compare these heroines to Scarlett O'Hara and find that they don't quite square up to her standards, but finally, in Cold Comfort Farm, readers are introduced to a heroine that not only embodies the silliness of the heroines of this period (in Gibbons' delightfully tongue-in-cheek style) but also gives us a glimmer of the future Scarlett O'Hara's devil-may-care attitude (Cold Comfort Farm having been published a mere four years before Margaret Mitchell's wartime classic).

The setting is slightly reminiscent of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden: a neglected dwelling nestled away in dark countryside, miles away from anything (although Burnett's residence is a rich mansion in the north of England, while Gibbons sets the action in a more modest group of farm buildings in Sussex), and the feeling of change being in the air is common to both novels. The novel is perhaps arguably also the first modern sitcom novel - the coming together of a rich finishing-school girl with more humble relatives is set up very deliberately to have hilarious and awkward consequences.

While the novel isn't laugh-out-loud funny (though I appreciate that the sense of humour of modern readers may have taken a significant shift since the book's publication in 1932), there are some amusing moments in a couple of incisive one-liners and vibrant similes and metaphors, which find humour in their apparent total randomness (though I'm sure that Gibbons worked harder on them than their effortlessness would have us believe). The characters, while in one sense clear caricatures, were also believable - the reader is led to care about them and what happens to them and is allowed to actively seek out a happy ending. The ending itself is therefore surprising. To paraphrase the Simpsons for a moment, one could confess confusion in not knowing if it's a happy ending or a sad one. Ultimately it is an ending, and that is enough - and yet upon learning that there is a sequel available, in the form of Conference at Cold Comfort Farm, as well as a collection of short stories (Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm), one immediately wants to know what will happen to Gibbons' unique cast of characters next. It is lamentable that these sequels are no longer still in print, though perhaps with a bit of clever detective work online copies may still be found (one hopes).

The notion of Cold Comfort Farm parodying sentimental rural novels of the time is a nice one, but appears initially a little too 'niche' for the vast majority of readers. However, the novels of DH Lawrence and Thomas Hardy are often flagged as touchstones for the situations and setting on which Gibbons has based her story, and upon reflection this can be detected, even if it is in no way central to understanding and enjoying the novel. Gibbons' powers of description are highly poetic while keeping the writing accessible, and the novel combines tradition and modernity with sharpness and subtle humour throughout, as well as using extremely successful character development to keep the reader hanging on right to the end.

Other works by Stella Gibbons
Nightingale Wood (1938)
Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm (1940)
Ticky (1943)
The Bachelor (1944)
Westwood (1946)
Conference at Cold Comfort Farm (1949)
Starlight (1967)

*Stella Gibbons also published several volumes of poetry during the 1930s and wrote a story for children (The Untidy Gnome, 1935).