Fiction first: ‘The Witch Finder’s Sister’ by Beth Underdown. Great reviews for this spooky tale of witch hunting madness in 1645 Essex. I’ve always loved ‘Witchfinder General’, the classic 1968 Michael Reeves film starring Vincent Price as Matthew Hopkins – and this novel looks at his real life torture of ‘witches’ through the eyes of his sister, Alice.
Some history next: a lovely secondhand hardback of one of an old favourite: Julia Peakman’s ‘Lascivious Bodies: A Sexual History of the Eighteenth Century’. This is my favourite sort of history: learned, expert but not without humour and wit. If you thought sexual freedom was a 20th century invention – think again. The eighteenth century had it all…and more!
I’ve finally managed to get a copy of David Kynaston’s ‘Modernity Britain’, the third volume in his post war history of Britain from 1945 to 1979. This volume covers 1957 to 1962 and is a delight: simple, day to day life mixed with the massive social political and economic changes: This whole project should be essential reading in schools.
Waterstones in Manchester seems to have had a mini sale and I got a copy of this biography of Elizabeth Taylor by Nicola Beauman for the princely sum of £3!. One of my aims for this year is to read more Taylor, so this will snuggle alongside those novels quite nicely.
Another glorious find in the Waterstones sale was this mighty tome, edited by Christopher Breward and Ghislaine Wood:
A huge block of a book, it appears to have been produced to accompany an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum: and what a glorious book too! Just look at some of the beautiful pictures within:
Costume design by Ralph Koltai 1967
Design for Milton Keynes adventure playground. Archigram architects 1972
‘Pretty Girl’ Linder Sterling 1977
Gatwick Airport concourse, 1958
An extract from John Piper’s mural, ‘The Englishman’s Home’ 1950