It’s a little over a week until The Way Back to Happiness is released. (May 28th!) It’s available now for pre-order (here and here, for instance). You can also find it on the Kensington website, which has a Google preview button.
I’m giving away copies of The Way Back to Happiness on my Facebook page. Follow this link and tell what your favorite high school subject was for a chance to win.
I’m not a big Black Friday shopper, but I couldn’t help notice that Audible.com is having a one-day sale. I’m usually a sucker for those.
In addition to many bigger things, I am grateful for having walked into Goodwill this weekend and found a Joyce Grenfell autobiography. I always think of Joyce Grenfell as the wacky woman character actress in British films, but she was also half American and lived a very interesting life.
This morning I came across this bit about visiting her grandmother, which made the lit geek in me laugh:
…She remained on her own at Culford Gardens entertaining a few old men friends, and I think I once met Henry James there. Whoever it was talked in long convoluted sentences and took a long time to say something suitable to a small girl, and I remember wondering when it would finish. Yes–it must have been Henry James.
Last night I watched Carve Her Name with Pride, the story of Violette Szabo, a heroine of World War II. It’s not a happy story, and the romance is vague and bittersweet–although the movie does feature a youngish Paul Scofield in a pre-Sir Thomas More role. But the true story is so gripping, it’s a perfect movie just as it is.
I taped the movie off TCM last month during their Virginia McKenna day and was saving it for the right moment. Yesterday was stressful for all kinds of reasons, including sad news about an old friend, and I was in the mood for a war picture. (I’m not fond of watching happy movies when I feel sad–I find more solace in seeing people battling tougher odds than I will ever face.)
Violette, sent by Special Operations to spy on Germans in occupied France, used a code poem. In the movie, this poem is said to have been written by her late husband, when it was actually written by an SOE cryptographer named Leo Marks. Although the truth is less romantic, the poem is simple, beautiful and so so sad. It’s been in my head all morning.
The Life That I Have
The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.
A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause
For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.
While I had a cold last week I dipped into the Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard…and then spent the entire week gulping down the entire series (along with a few Nyquil gelcaps). It’s a four-book family saga spanning World War II, and I recommend it to all who need a Brit lit fix. There’s also a BBC series that covers half the saga. It has an amazing cast, but from what I’ve seen, it leaves a lot out.