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Book Review: The New House


I’d been aware of Lettice Cooper’s novel The New House for years before I read it this month. The premise — a whole book about one day, a moving day –is intriguing, if you’re at all interested in houses, minutiae, and time. One thing that tempered my interest in the book was a description I’d read of the author as a Socialist and Freudian. Another thing that kept me from reading it so long was the price. But I found a copy for $1.50 at a barn sale earlier this month. And so I’ve finally read it.

First of all, the socialism. It is there, all right, and we get to watch several of the characters thinking about it. But Lettice Cooper the novelist is ultimately wiser than Lettice Cooper the socialist. And the book is ultimately too philosophical to be a political tract. We see a world in which tradition has been seemingly cut off from the sources of tradition and degraded to mere convention. In such a world, socialism possesses an attraction. One of the characters realizes at one point that socialist ideology gains force as belief in perfect justice in the next life wanes. Throughout the book, the thirst of the characters for the transcendent is palpable. The honesty of inquiry startles.

Second, the book is astonishingly acute as an expose of feminine vices: manipulation, pusillanimity, people-pleasing, imposing one’s own anxieties on others. It looks at the ways that people (“the members of one’s own family and household”) enslave each other and choose slavery for themselves. The concept of liberation is deeply examined. One character goes so far as to identify liberty and equality as opposing ideals.

Third, if you are interested in minutiae (or, for that matter, houses or time) you will find much in these pages to occupy and delight. I smiled inside every time the cats made an appearance because of how sharply they were observed. There are many layers of reality here and they are all unfolded with poignant clarity.

Mrs. Aldertree


The Golden Sticker

my 4yr old daughter comes crying to me: Mommy, Mommy! My book!
Me: what’s wrong?
my daughter: My book is wonderful but they don’t think so!! It doesn’t have a gold sticker!

Oh, the sad state of an underrated but beloved book! Which unrecognized book do you love?

A Modern Cinderella

A Modern Cinderella. Louisa May Alcott. not dated. Rare. Antique.

Modern Cinderella  by the beloved Louisa Alcott. This hardcover is not dated and is published by Hurst and co. This book was originally published in 1860 this is a later printing.

A Modern Cinderella; or, The Little Old Shoe
is a collection of short stories:
1. A modern Cinderella
2. Debby’s Debut
3. The Brothers
4.Nelly’s hospital

The Annotated Sherlock Holmes

The Annotated Sherlock Holmes William Baring Gould. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Hardcover vol I & II 1967.

Marginalia Books has recently listed this treasure! The Annotated Sherlock Holmes. William S. Baring-Gould  is an amazing annotated edition, filled with maps and illustrations. It contains Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s four novels and fifty-six short stories. Complete with plentiful notes for any aficionado of the world’s most beloved bee Keeper.