Fiction

Cold Comfort Farm | ,

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One of the BBC's '100 Novels That Shaped Our World' 'Brilliant ... very probably the funniest book ever written' Sunday Times When sensible, sophisticated Flora Poste is orphaned at nineteen, she decides her only choice is to descend upon relatives in deepest Sussex. At the aptly-named Cold Comfort Farm, she meets the doomed Starkadders: cousin Judith, heaving with remorse for unspoken wickedness; Amos, preaching fire and damnation; their sons, lustful Seth and despairing Reuben; child of nature Elfine; and crazed old Aunt Ada Doom, who has kept to her bedroom for the last twenty years. But Flora loves nothing better than to organise other people. Armed with common sense and a strong will, she resolves to take each of the family in hand. A hilarious and ruthless parody of rural melodramas and purple prose, Cold Comfort Farm is one of the best-loved comic novels of all time. 'Screamingly funny and wildly subversive' Marian Keyes, Guardian The Penguin Classics edition of Stella Gibbons's Cold Comfort Farm is introduced by Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves. If you enjoyed Cold Comfort Farm you might like George and Weedon Grossmith's Diary of a Nobody, also available in Penguin Classics..

Fiction

Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm | Stella Gibbons

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WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH A glorious collection of stories from the author of Cold Comfort Farm. The title story tells of a typical Christmas at the farm before the coming of Flora Poste. It is a parody of the worst sort of family Christmas: Adam Lambsbreath dresses up as Father Christmas in two of Judith's red shawls. There are unsuitable presents, unpleasant insertions into the pudding and Aunt Ada Doom orders Amos to carve the turkey, adding: 'Ay, would it were a vulture, 'twere more fitting!'.

Fiction

Nightingale Wood | Stella Gibbons

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A sly and satirical fairytale by the author of Cold Comfort Farm Unavailable for decades, Stella Gibbons's Nightingale Wood is a delightfully modern romance ripe for rediscovery by the many fans of Cold Comfort Farm. Poor, lovely Viola has been left penniless and alone after her late husband's demise, and is forced to live with his family in their joy­less home. Its occupants are nearly insufferable: Mr. Withers is a tyrannical old miser; Mrs. Withers dismisses her as a common shop girl; and Viola's sisters-in-law, Madge and Tina, are too preoccupied with their own troubles to give her much thought. Only the prospect of the upcoming charity ball can lift her spirits-especially as Victor Spring, the local prince charming, will be there. But Victor's intentions towards the young widow are, in short, not quite honorable..

Fiction

Starlight | Stella Gibbons

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Gladys and Annie Barnes are impoverished sisters who have seen better times. They live in a modest cottage in the backstreets of Highate with Mr Fisher, a mild but eccentric old man living secretively in the attic above them. Their quiet lives are thrown into confusion when a new landlord takes over, a dreaded and unscrupulous 'rackman'. He installs his wife in part of the cottages in the hope that there she will recover from an unspecified malady. With a mounting sense of fear, Gladys and Annie become convinced she is possessed by an evil spirit....

Fiction

The Rich House | Stella Gibbons

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Set on the eve of World War II in a resort on the east coast of England, The Rich House follows the love affairs of six young people and their intertwined adorations. Encircling their lives is Archibald Early, a once-famous actor, his housekeeper and his grandson Ted. These three tip the balance, and relationships shift, but even war cannot halt the passions of the young..

Fiction

The Bachelor | Stella Gibbons

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Brother and sister, Constance and Kenneth Fielding live in calm respectability, just out of reach of London and the Blitz. But when a series of uninvited guests converge upon them – from a Balkan exile to Ken’s old flame and the siblings’ own raffish father – the household struggles to preserve its precious peace. In this full house, in a quiet corner of suburbia, no one expects to find romance..

Fiction

Light on Snow | Anita Shreve

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What makes a family? That's what twelve-year-old Nicky Dillon wonders after she and her widowed father discover a wailing abandoned baby in the snow-filled woods near their New Hampshire home. Through the days that follow, the Dillons and an unexpected visitor who soon turns up at their door-a young woman evidently haunted by her own terrible choices-face a thicket of decisions, each seeming to carry equal possibilities of heartbreak and redemption. Writing with all the emotional resonance that has drawn millions of readers around the world to her fiction, Anita Shreve unfolds in Light on Snow a tender and surprising novel about love and its consequences..

Social Science

Can't Even | Anne Helen Petersen

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A BEST BOOK OF THE FALL AS SEEN IN: Apartment Therapy • Book Riot • Business Insider • BuzzFeed • Daily Nebraskan • Entertainment Weekly • Esquire • Fortune • Harper’s Bazaar • HelloGiggles • LinkedIn • O Magazine • Time Magazine “[A] razor sharp book of cultural criticism . . . With blistering prose and all-too vivid reporting, Petersen lays bare the burnout and despair of millennials, while also charting a path to a world where members of her generation can feel as if the boot has been removed from their necks.”—Esquire “An analytically precise, deeply empathic book about the psychic toll modern capitalism has taken on those shaped by it. Can’t Even is essential to understanding our age, and ourselves.”—Ezra Klein, Vox co-founder and New York Times best-selling author of Why We’re Polarized An incendiary examination of burnout in millennials—the cultural shifts that got us here, the pressures that sustain it, and the need for drastic change Do you feel like your life is an endless to-do list? Do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram because you’re too exhausted to pick up a book? Are you mired in debt, or feel like you work all the time, or feel pressure to take whatever gives you joy and turn it into a monetizable hustle? Welcome to burnout culture. While burnout may seem like the default setting for the modern era, in Can’t Even, BuzzFeed culture writer and former academic Anne Helen Petersen argues that burnout is a definitional condition for the millennial generation, born out of distrust in the institutions that have failed us, the unrealistic expectations of the modern workplace, and a sharp uptick in anxiety and hopelessness exacerbated by the constant pressure to “perform” our lives online. The genesis for the book is Petersen’s viral BuzzFeed article on the topic, which has amassed over seven million reads since its publication in January 2019. Can’t Even goes beyond the original article, as Petersen examines how millennials have arrived at this point of burnout (think: unchecked capitalism and changing labor laws) and examines the phenomenon through a variety of lenses—including how burnout affects the way we work, parent, and socialize—describing its resonance in alarming familiarity. Utilizing a combination of sociohistorical framework, original interviews, and detailed analysis, Can’t Even offers a galvanizing, intimate, and ultimately redemptive look at the lives of this much-maligned generation, and will be required reading for both millennials and the parents and employers trying to understand them..

Fiction

Towards the End of the Morning | Michael Frayn

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Michael Frayn's classic novel is set in the crossword and nature notes department of an obscure national newspaper during the declining years of Fleet Street, John Dyson, a mid-level editor, dreams wistfully of fame and the gentlemanly life -- until one day his great chance of glory arrives. But does he have what it takes to succeed in the exciting world of television?.

Fiction

Westwood | Stella Gibbons

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WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY LYNNE TRUSS 'Stella Gibbons is the Jane Austen of the twentieth century' The Times Set in wartime London, Westwood tells the story of Margaret Steggles, a plain bookish girl whose mother has told her that she is not the type that attracts men. Her schoolfriend Hilda has a sunny temperament and keeps her service boys 'ever so cheery'. When Margaret finds a ration book on Hampstead Heath the pompous writer Gerard Challis enters both their lives. Margaret slavishly adores Challis and his artistic circle; Challis idolises Hilda for her hair and her eyes and Hilda finds Gerard's romantic overtures a bit of a bind. This is a delightfully comic and wistful tale of love and longing..

Fiction

Cold comfort farm | Stella Gibbons

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Cold Comfort Farm is a comic novel by English author Stella Gibbons, published in 1932. It parodies the romanticised, sometimes doom-laden accounts of rural life popular at the time, by writers such as Mary Webb. Following the death of her parents, the book and 's heroine, Flora Poste, finds she is possessed "of every art and grace save that of earning her own living". She decides to take advantage of the fact that "no limits are set, either by society or one and 's own conscience, to the amount one may impose on one and 's relatives", and settles on visiting her distant relatives at the isolated Cold Comfort Farm in the fictional village of Howling in Sussex. The inhabitants of the farm – Aunt Ada Doom, the Starkadders, and their extended family and workers – feel obliged to take her in to atone for an unspecified wrong once done to her father..

Fiction

Conference at Cold Comfort Farm | Stella Gibbons

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Robert Poste's child is back at Cold Comfort Farm. But all is not well. Flora finds the farm transformed into a twee haven filled with Toby jugs and peasant pottery, and rooms labelled 'Quiete Retreate' and 'Greate laundrie'. It is, Flora winces, 'exactly like being locked in the Victoria and Albert Museum after closing time'. Worse, the farm is hosting a conference of the pretentious International Thinkers Group - a group made up of the 'sadistic owl' Mr Peccavi, loathsome Mr Mybug and the overpowering Mrs Ernestine Thump. And worst of all, there are no Starkadders at Cold Comfort Farm. All the he-cousins have gone abroad to make their fortunes and the female cousins are having a pretty thin time of it. Once again the sensible Flora decides to take the situation in hand..

Literary Criticism

Representing Rural Women | Whitney Womack Smith,Margaret Thomas-Evans

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Representing Rural Women examines representations of the lives and experiences of rural women in North American literature, popular culture, and print, visual, and digital media. It highlights the complexity and diversity of rural women by considering intersecting issues of region, class, race and ethnicity, sexuality, and gender identity..

Fiction

Bassett | Stella Gibbons

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The Tower Guesthouse lies nestled between the beech woods of Buckinghamshire. It is run by the unlikely partnership of balmy Miss Padsoe and young, cockney Miss Baker - divided by class and age, they are determined to dislike each other. Through their tale and the interwoven tribulations of two young lovers, Gibbons's sparkling novel explores the heart of friendship and what unites us..

Fiction

Here Be Dragons | Stella Gibbons

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When Nell Sely moves from sleepy Dorset to Hampstead she leaves behind a childhood of dull teas and oppressive rules for the freedom of the big city. Naive and only nineteen, she becomes embroiled with the wayward John Gaunt and falls in with London's bohemian crowd. In this city of seductive, shifting morals, smoke-filled jazz-clubs and glamorous espresso bars, Nell must master her new found independence and learn to strike her own course..

Fiction

White Sand and Grey Sand | Stella Gibbons

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On the dunes west of Bruges, two-year-old Ydette is found wrapped in a blanket and taken back to live in a small grocer's shop. Opposite the shop live the wealthy van Roeslaere family and their son, Adriaan, a spoilt boy, plagued by ugliness. With overtones of Beauty and the Beast, their romance matures as they grow up together and learn what should truly be valued in life..

Fiction

Pure Juliet | Stella Gibbons

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Creepy. Peculiar. Fairy. Goblin. Liar. Weirdo. Crank. Genius. No one knows what to make of Juliet Slater, not even her mother. And clothes, boys, school, friends, the changing seasons and what other people think - none of these things seem to matter to Juliet. She spends hours in her room with incomprehensible mathematical text books, her mind voyaging in strange seas of thought, alone. Is she a genius? It might take the rest of her life to find out. While Stella Gibbons was celebrated for her beloved bestseller Cold Comfort Farm, the manuscript for Pure Juliet lay unseen and forgotten until it was brought to light by her family in 2014, and is published here for the first time in Vintage Classics. A tale that travels from an eco-millionaire's British country idyll to an Arabian Nights-style fantasy of the Middle East, this is a treat for fans of this witty, curious and always surprising author..

Literary Criticism

Women, Celebrity, and Literary Culture between the Wars | Faye Hammill

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As mass media burgeoned in the years between the first and second world wars, so did another phenomenon—celebrity. Beginning in Hollywood with the studio-orchestrated transformation of uncredited actors into brand-name stars, celebrity also spread to writers, whose personal appearances and private lives came to fascinate readers as much as their work. Women, Celebrity, and Literary Culture between the Wars profiles seven American, Canadian, and British women writers—Dorothy Parker, Anita Loos, Mae West, L. M. Montgomery, Margaret Kennedy, Stella Gibbons, and E. M. Delafield—who achieved literary celebrity in the 1920s and 1930s and whose work remains popular even today. Faye Hammill investigates how the fame and commercial success of these writers—as well as their gender—affected the literary reception of their work. She explores how women writers sought to fashion their own celebrity images through various kinds of public performance and how the media appropriated these writers for particular cultural discourses. She also reassesses the relationship between celebrity culture and literary culture, demonstrating how the commercial success of these writers caused literary elites to denigrate their writing as "middlebrow," despite the fact that their work often challenged middle-class ideals of marriage, home, and family and complicated class categories and lines of social discrimination. The first comparative study of North American and British literary celebrity, Women, Celebrity, and Literary Culture between the Wars offers a nuanced appreciation of the middlebrow in relation to modernism and popular culture..

Fiction

The Charmers | Stella Gibbons

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Thrown out of her long-established office job, Miss Christine Smith takes up a new role as housekeeper for a group of middle-aged artists. Charmed by a previous mystical experience, her spirituality is nurtured further by the tenants, who seem stuck in their own personal lull. Written in the 1960s, surrounded by social and political transitions, the novel focuses on change, or the lack thereof..

Language Arts & Disciplines

100 Must-read Classic Novels | Nick Rennison

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Want to become a classic novel buff, or expand your reading of some of the finest novels ever published? With 100 of the best titles fully reviewed and a further 500 recommended, you'll quickly set out on a journey of discovery..