I have a confession to make: I have never read Barbara Pym. That feels like such a heinous thing to admit! Well, I shall shortly be rectifying this gross oversight, because between June 1st and June 8th, the bloggers at My Porch (who designed the lovely banners for the challenge) and Fig and Thistle (who also has set up a neat Pym-themed Pinterest page) are hosting Barbara Pym Reading Week, in honor of what would be the author’s 100th birthday on June 2nd.
As I will have the house to myself all day and night June 7th and most of the day on the 8th, I’m thinking of having a bit of a stay-up-too-late reading marathon in which I will try to inhale the entirety of something by Pym. I have both Excellent Women and Quartet in Autumn from the library and will simply try the first chapters/goodly chunk of pages of each and let each book speak its case to decide which I wolf down for my marathon read. I thought to try Excellent Women, because besides coming highly recommended, it’s written in first person. I go weak-kneed for first-person narratives! Quartet in Autumn has also repeatedly been suggested to me, and both books will help with my Classics Club and 1001 Books projects. So I think either will do nicely as My First Pym.
I originally learned about the BP Reading Week event via Heavenali, who is also hosting a Barbara Pym Virtual Tea Party on Facebook. As I don’t “do” Facebook, I can’t link directly to Heavenali’s FB event page, but you can find all the details on her blog. As I can hardly go a few hours without tea, I will definitely brew up a pot in Pym’s name during my marathon read.
Finally, in Pym’s honor, I’d like to share a link to a lovely article on Pym which was posted yesterday at The Awl, written by Awl contributor Carrie Frye. There are many juicy and amusing bits about Pym and her life and career, and it definitely made me curious to read more both about and by her.