Wednesday, the 10th of April–Shelf Control day again! Shelf Control is a feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles. To participate, pick a book from your pile and write a post about it. Link back to Lisa’s page, and share your links with me as well (in the comments) as I’d love to check out your picks!
Like last week, I am continuing with my theme of books set/written in the 1930s (which is my reading theme this month), and my pick for this week as you can see from the cover is Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh, first published in 1930. Waugh originally wanted to call it ‘Bright Young Things’ but changed his mind as he found the phrase too clichéd.
What it’s all about: This book, set in the 1920s though written in 1930, is a satire on the ‘Bright Young Things’, post-World War I English society, a mix of innocence and sophistication. It tells the story of Adam Fenwick-Symes who seeks to marry Nina Blount, and parodies the conventions of romantic comedy. There are an assortment of characters all seeking new sensations–playing practical jokes, having wild parties, stealing policemen’s helmets (real life Wodehousian characters?). But behind the glittering surface lies darkness and vulnerability. This was Waugh’s second published novel.
Interesting coincidence(s): While picking this one for Shelf Control this week I was merely looking for books on my TBR from the 1930s, and didn’t deliberately go out and pick up Waugh. But it turns out this book has quite a few things in common with one of the books I’m currently reading, the book being The Mitford Girls by Mary S. Lovell, a bio of the Mitford Sisters. Of course, Evelyn Waugh was a friend of Nancy Mitford, but this book is dedicated to Diana (Mitford) Guinness and Bryan Guinness (to whom she was married at that point). Also, in the book, I’ve just reached the chapter on the ‘Bright Young Things’!
So enough to make me want to pick it up, even if I didn’t otherwise!
Evelyn Waugh: Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh was a writer, journalist, and reviewer of books. He attended Lancing College and Oxford. He wrote numerous works of long and short fiction (including Brideshead Revisited, Decline and Fall, A Handful of Dust, and Scoop), travel books, and memoirs. In fact, his fiction draws inspiration from events in his life. Satire and dark humour are among the themes/genres one sees in his works.
Have you read Vile Bodies? Or any other work by Waugh? Which one/s and how did you like them? Or if you’re planning to pick him up, which one do you plan to read? Looking forward to reading all about it!