Reading Tove, and more

Tove Jansson

Paula Bardell-Hedley of Book Jotter is running an open-ended reading project focused on Tove Jansson which she’s calling Tove Trove. She launched it a month ago, in August, when the author and artist would have been 105 — if she’d still been with us.

Best known for her Moomin books (which I’ve yet to fall under the spell of, but shortly hope to remedy) Jansson also wrote novels and short stories for an adult audience. Of these, I’ve read and reviewed what is arguably her best work, The Summer Book (1972), and a collection of stories called Art in Nature (first published as Dockskåpet or Doll’s House in 1978).

After her death in 2001 a selection of tales was put together under the title The Winter Book (2006), a copy of which I intend to read soon. The project is intended to include not just reading books by her but also about her: her art, her life, her philosophy. Paula’s enthusiasm has persuaded me to read more by and about Jansson, and perhaps her enthusiasm may rub off on you too!

In other news

We’re coming up to the end of Cathy Brown’s annual event 20 Books of Summer during which, over three months, I aimed to complete … twenty books. I will, with the final pages of Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf, have indeed finished a score of titles (yay!) — only it won’t actually be the twenty I listed (oops).

In the frame are seven children’s books (a mix of fantasy and realism), three whodunits (two by Agatha Christie), two classics (one Victorian, the other mid 20th-century), the final two parts of a trilogy (by Robertson Davies), two short non-fiction books (one on environmentalism, one on children’s fiction), and one each of speculative fiction, a graphic novel and a Gothic romance.

A whopping fifteen titles were by female writers. Of the nineteen listed two were library books, and two were borrowed from the shelves of a holiday let within sight of Agatha Christie’s writing retreat on Burgh Island. Just ten of these (including Steppenwolf) will have figured on my 20 Books of Summer wishlist. My 10 Books of Summer, I suppose.

I’m finding time-constrained projects, challenges and events a little, well, constraining, so for the next few weeks I’m going to read just what I fancy. But, contrary to what I’ve just implied, there will be a title or two from my Classics Club list, the odd ‘summer’ book, and at least one ‘winter’ book — can you guess which one it will be?

Tove Jansson

15 thoughts on “Reading Tove, and more

  1. Thank you so much, Chris. 🤗 I’m really looking forward to discovering your thoughts on The Winter Book (I haven’t read it either) – you always have such an interesting take on everything you read.

    You’re doing exceptionally well with all your challenges. I wish I could say the same. Sadly I won’t complete my Books of Summer (plus a couple of those posts will be on the late side) but hopefully I’ll be back on reading form next year. Anyhow, here’s to many a contented hour spent with your chosen books. 🧐

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Happy to help encourage more people to read Jansson, Paula, in the same way as Lory did for Robertson Davies (and no doubt others will do for authors they think might be neglected for their range of work). We’re now in meteorological autumn, though not astronomical autumn, so The Winter Book may be a good title to consider sooner rather than later.

      I’m not sure if I really may have a different angle on this collection from any other reviewer but it’s true I do try to cast a new (or at least personal) eye on anything I read. And of course that’s why I follow review blogs like yours, for your interesting takes!

      Yes, I saw you were behind on your hopes for summer reading: however I’m happy to wait to see any reviews you’ve done, however delayed they might be. I’m not surprised you’re not ‘on reading form’ given what has taken priority this year for you two. (How you manage to fit in your WUTWs is beyond me!)

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: TOVE TROVE: Reading the Books of Tove Jansson – Book Jotter

  3. I crashed out of the 20 Books of Summer after the first three so I am in awe of your achievement. This will sound ridiculous, but it comes at the wrong time of year for me. I can never buckle down to anything during July and August.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The summer months with family, long days and so on are usually a difficult time for reading, though thankfully in my exalted senior citizen position this affects me rather less these days. Bummer for those not so privileged though, sorry.


      1. Always, Chris. You and a few others I follow, are an important part of my life. It’s so wonderful to read and keep my mind nurtured, to get inspiration for books, or to just read and listen to the different thoughts and ideas. It’s also those comments on our lives that I find so enriching. And the pictures too.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Winding Up the Week #86 – Book Jotter

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