One Year on the Landing: A Literary Milestone

Green bound classic

A rather smart binding…

I am pleased to say that today is the First Anniversary of The Landing Book Shelves Reading Challenge. There was a time when I thought that I would fall by the wayside, but I am pleased that I managed to stick with it this far. I have enjoyed having a go at blogging and I have taught myself a few WordPress skills in the process. Having the blog has also ‘landed’ me with a marvellous excuse for reading more books! Of course when I have finally finished my Landing Eight bit of the Reading Challenge then I will simply have to begin all over again with another random pile culled from the shelves.

By way of an anniversary (or perhaps it should be birthday?) gesture I have chosen to post up a  rather jolly picture from The Diary of  a Nobody, depicting Mr and Mrs Poooter taking a few frivolous turns around the room. The occasion for celebration was their invitation to a party at the Mansion House. The illustrations, drawn by Weedon Grossmith are so good that it would be difficult to pick a favourite, but this one fits my purpose today just nicely.

The drawing captures the exuberance of the moment as the couple whirl around the room in anticipation of the social event of the year. Not surprisingly, the maid picks that moment to enter the room. Sarah witnesses her otherwise respectable employers dancing in the parlour:

I cannot tell what induced me to do it, but I seized her round the waist, and we were silly enough to be executing a wild kind of polka when Sarah entered, grinning, and said: “There is a man, mum, at the door who wants to know if you want any good coals”. Most annoyed at this.

Mr and Mrs Pooter dancing

A merry dance…

It is not clear whether Mr Pooter is annoyed at the interruption of his impromptu dance session or at being caught doing something silly by the maid. The episode describing the actual Mansion House dinner and ball is very entertaining as Mr Pooter is rather shocked to find that some of the tradespeople he deals with have also been invited. I do urge anyone who has not yet encountered the Pooters and their friends to get hold of a copy forthwith and make their acquaintance.

Meanwhile I will be busy with Mary Robinette Kowal’s February letter writing challenge Month of Letters (hashtag #lettermo) and embarking upon a web design course. I also hope to have a bash at reading another book from the Landing Eight challenge.

Until soon (I hope!)…


Latest on the Landing : Mr Pooter

A pile of classic novels


You may have noticed that things have been rather quiet of late on the Landing. Rest assured that I have not been entirely idle, merely adjusting to the demands of the New Year (it usually takes me until well into January to become accustomed to the year). After reading my way through a mini crime wave in library books, I have finally started reading the latest on the Landing Eight list. That’s probably as far as my New Year resolutions for my Reading Challenge will take me in the short term.

I have opted to read The Diary of  Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith (Guild Publishing 1981) as my next book since I felt that this potentially dreary time of the year deserved a little light comedy. The edition that I have on the shelves dates back to the early 1980s when I was in the throes of a book club binge. By ‘book club’ I mean the kind where you promise to buy a book every month (possibly forever) after being lured in by a too good to be true special offer. Eventually I weaned myself off this habit after spending rather a lot of money. I did however end up with the guts of a decent classics collections so it was not all bad news by any means.

All in all then, I feel it is high time that I tackled this comedy classic (originally published in 1894) which has been languishing on our shelves for so long. Charles Pooter is a lower middle class clerk who lives with his beloved wife Carrie (Caroline)  in a respectable London suburb. Mr Pooter’s diary describes his day-to day life over a period of fifteen months, telling of his battles with recalcitrant tradespeople and forays into ‘Society’ as well as quiet evenings at home with his friends.

I will return to Mr and Mrs Charles Pooter anon. Meanwhile, I will leave you with the diarist’s own words to give you a little  taster, while I go off and finish the book:

Diary of a Nobody

First edition

Why should I not publish my diary?

I have often seen reminiscences of people

I have never even heard of, and I fail

to see-because I do not happen to be

a ‘Somebody’ – why my diary should

not be interesting. My only regret is

that I did not commence it when I was

a youth.

(The illustration of the first edition of The Diary of a Nobody was taken from Wikipedia)