Archive for December 5th, 2010

05/12/2010

It isn’t really cheating…

Again with the high numbers, Reading Gods??

You know…given the beautifully Gaussian distribution of The List, it is rather remarkable how much trouble I’m having not merely landing anywhere near its median publication date, but even in the same century!

While this apparent determination of the Reading Gods to keep me reading outside the declared timeframe of this blog is somewhat exasperating (I know – it’s my own fault for moving the goalposts), I have to say that this zig-zagging between Restoration politics and the lighter literature of the early 20th century is starting to do some rather interesting things to my brain.

But to return to the point— If it is a case of again with the high numbers, it is also a case of again with a refusal on the part of Yours Truly to read what the Reading Gods were trying to make me read – although I think for a good reason. This trip to the random number generator sent me to Ethel Hueston’s 1924 novel, Prudence’s Daughter. However, a little searching and investigation, and it soon became evident that there was a series of “Prudence” novels, and that the one I’d hit was the last of them. That seemed a little self-defeating, so I decided to read instead the first of them, Prudence Of The Parsonage, which was published in 1915. This turned out to be Hueston’s first novel, which suited my “in order” sensibilities very well. It also meant that I could borrow a copy from my academic library, instead of having to buy one – yay!

In her day, Ethel Hueston was both a prolific and a popular novelist. She was born in Iowa, the daughter of a Methodist minister, Charles Wesley Powelson, and a number of her novels, including the “Prudence” series, have strong autobiographical elements. She was a graduate of Iowa Wesleyan College, and was married three times. She began writing during her first marriage, and always retained the professional name of Hueston. From 1915 into the 1950s, she published more than 50 novels in a variety of genres, although her more personal ones seem also to have been the most popular. Searching for this information, it became evident that many people have fond memories of Ethel Hueston’s novels, particularly those individuals who read them in their childhood or teenage years.

We shall see.

In other news, this week my arch-enemy, Whoever-It-Was, finally returned the third volume of Mary Meeke’s Count St. Blancard. Take THAT, Reading Gods!!