British Intelligence service folks - WWII

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British Intelligence service folks - WWII

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jun 15, 2012, 3:01 pm

"If you are eccentric enough to want a hobby that no one else has yet tried, try taking about five hundred alert and inquiring minds and setting them down in a wood in the middle of Buckinghamshire and give them a year or two to ferment. The results will astonish you."

My Friend Muriel by Jane Duncan

There is a follow on quote for this that I'll look up and post

jun 15, 2012, 3:14 pm

Oh, that's a series I haven't seen before.
Please, please write a short description of the book or the series.

jun 16, 2012, 5:05 pm

Next paragraph:
" We had arguments about everything, and sometimes these ended in a near-riot with a university don and a civil engineer lined up shoulder to shoulder vis-a-vis a little man who lived, in peace-time by forecasting the movements of herring shoals with me as his heavy artillery. A week later, the university don and I would be calling to drastic account a mediaeval archaeologist and a professor of botany on the subject of their views on the works of Marcel Proust. We argued about everything in our so-called leisure hours, but, in retrospect, I think that James Joyce and his works probably caused more trouble than anything else. When we got on to the agenbite of inwit, the number of broken glasses in the mess always went up by leaps and bounds. The only subjects that were beneath our notice and not worth talking about were the Royal Air Force, Adolf Hitler and anything to do with the war."

jun 16, 2012, 5:32 pm

2wonderY - I find it difficult to describe books that I like, but I'll give it a try. The My Friend... series by Jane Duncan is semi-autographical. Think of the Mrs. Tim series by by DE Stevenson in more books. She lived from 1910-1976 in Scotland, Buckinghamshire (during WWII) and Jamaica. The books center around one person or persons who, at least for a time, had an impact on her life and the lives of those around her - that is where the person or persons in the title of the book come in. has a guide to the series that says it better than I do. It also explains the sequence in which the books should be read. In Letter from Reachfar, Jane Duncan explains a little bit about where the books and her life diverge. The books are similar to DE Stevenson and Elizabeth Cadell books in that mostly, many would say, not a whole lot happens. Very little drama or violence, and no sex. And yet... some of the phrasing sticks with me as do some of the observations she makes about people. The books contain humor and observations on the many changes she saw occurring in whatever society she found herself in during her lifetime. I really enjoy the books and own most of them and intend to own them all as I re-read them regularly.

jun 18, 2012, 8:01 am

I absolutely agree about what makes a book worth reading - great phrasing and people insight.
Do you mind if I cobble a description for the series, without having ever read any of them?

jun 18, 2012, 1:03 pm

That is a worthwhile task, wish I'd thought of it sooner. Jane Duncan deserves to be read more thatn she is. Millrace Books have done a limited reprint of the first two in the series - I totally missed out on both. I could probably get something together in a week or so since I have read all of the books at least a couple of times. I am thinking that it might be helpful to have a synopsis of each book since each one describes a different part of her life. Not that I am discouraging anything you might want to do, I just feel like it is something that I should undertake. Unfortunately, I am well aware of my limitations in terms of writing in general and descriptions of books that I like, in particular. Perhaps some sort of joint effort?

jun 18, 2012, 1:16 pm

Sure! I love adding CK and combining, etcetera, instead of staying on boring work tasks.

jun 18, 2012, 2:06 pm

As part of this, I will definitely update CK. I try to do that, but then I get distracted by the reading itself...