Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday/Wondrous Words July 29

Hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

The White Garden : A Novel of Virginia Woolf by Stephanie Barron

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Bantam (September 29, 2009)

ISBN-10: 0553385771

ISBN-13: 978-0553385779

Product Description:

In March 1941, Virginia Woolf filled
her pockets with stones and drowned herself in England’s River Ouse. Her body was found three weeks later. What seemed like a tragic ending at the time was, in fact, just the beginning of a mystery. . . Six decades after Virginia Woolf’s death, landscape designer Jo Bellamy has come to Sissinghurst Castle for two reasons: to study the celebrated White Garden created by Woolf’s friend Vita Sackville-West and to recover from the terrible wound of her grandfather’s unexplained suicide. In the shadow of one of England’s most famous castles, Jo makes a shocking find: Woolf’s last diary, its first entry dated the day after she allegedly killed herself. If authenticated, Jo’s discovery could shatter everything historians believe about Woolf’s final hours. But when the Woolf diary is suddenly stolen, Jo’s quest to uncover the truth will lead her on a perilous journey into the tumultuous inner life of a literary icon whose connection to the White Garden ultimately proved devastating. Rich with historical detail,The White Garden is an enthralling novel of literary suspense that explores the many ways the past haunts the present–and the dark secrets that lurk beneath the surface of the most carefully tended garden.

An interesting fact: Sissinghurst Castle is now owned by The National Trust, given to them by Vita Sackville-West's son Nigel. Its gardens are famous and remain the most visited in England.

I have only read Orlando, Jacob's Room, A Room of One's Own, The Death of the Moth and other Essays, Passionate Apprentice:The Early Journals, 1887-1909, and Congenial Spirits: The Selected Letters of Virgina Woolf. So mostly non fiction, and not her best known works, because the woman herself and her intelligence fascinate me. While I'm waiting I may get to Mrs. Dalloway and To The Lighthouse, which I've now acquired copies of.

The White Garden, albeit fiction, sounds intriguing to me and I can hardly wait. If you work for Bantam or have a contact there that you'd be willing to share, I would happily accept an advanced reading copy of this book.

Which new release are you waiting for?

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Hosted by Kathy at Bermudaonion's Weblog.

"Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. Feel free to join in the fun."

These words are from Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome UK (1889)

1.bean feast - The book actually provides a definition in the notes at the back as "annual dinner given by employees for their workers".

But I wanted to know the etymology of the term and that turned out to be interesting.
According to the Free Dictionary a bean feast is "primarily an annual dinner given by an employer to his workpeople, and by extension, colloquially, describes any jollification. The phrase is variously derived. The most probable theory is that which connects it with the custom in France, and afterwards in Germany and England, of a feast on Twelfth Night, at which a cake with a bean buried in it was a great feature. The bean-king was he who had the good fortune to have the slice of cake in which was the bean. This choosing of a king or queen by a bean was formerly a common Christmas diversion at the English and Scottish courts, and in both English universities. This monarch was master of the revels.

2.scold's bridle - "There is an iron scold's bridle in Walton Church. They used these things in ancient days for curbing women's tongues. They have given up the attempt now. I suppose iron was getting scarce, and nothing else would be strong enough."

The chapter notes for the book explain: "a scold was a nagging wife, the bridle was a metal contraption which fitted over the head and prevented her from opening her mouth". There are so many things that I could say right now but this may not be the place for it so I'll resist.

3.riparian - "the riparian boors one meets"

He referred to those who shouted at them or otherwise behaved badly toward them while out boating on the Thames. The word "riparian" is derived from Latin, meaning river bank. It refers simply to what is found around the margins of a river, riparian vegetation, etc.

4.cynosure -"We were the cynosure of every eye."

Literary noun: a centre of interest or attention; from the Greek Kunosoura, dog's tail (name of the constellation of Ursa Minor).

What new words have you discovered lately?


  1. I know riparian because riparian rights is the term used to talk about landowners' rights to a waterway that flows through, across or adjacent to their land.

  2. I'm sorry to admit that I've never read any of Virginia Woolf's work and really know little about her. The White Garden does sound interesting.

    I don't know how you resisted saying anything about a scold's bridle. The thought of that just makes me furious!

    Thanks for participating in WWW this week.

  3. Bean feast and scold's bridle? Definitely new words to me! I love reading from different historical settings or cultural settings because the vocabulary can be so different and fresh to us. Glad you posted!

  4. I like the sound of The White Garden too!

  5. I haven't heard of White Garden before but it sounds like a very interesting premise.

  6. I'm afraid of Virginia Woolf...really!! But this one sounds pretty interesting!! Love the vocab words!! I feel a little smarter today!

  7. The White Garden sounds really intriguing!

    Bean feast is the only word I have never heard before. I am sure Hyacinth Bucket would love arranging a riparian picknick :D

    Have you read The Scold´s Bridle by Minette Walters, by the way? (That is where I heard the term).

  8. I haven't read Woolf either. This book sounds good, I'll watch for it!

  9. I've been wondering about The White Garden too - it sounds really good.

  10. This book, via your new words, sounds very intriguing. Scold's bridle, indeed! I wonder how the women got even, because I'm sure they did. Welcome to Wondrous Words. It's a fun meme and a fun habit to get into.



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