#PersephoneReadathon: My Persephone Books Collection

As part of the Photogenic Persephones Challenge, I wanted to share my Persephone Books collection.

My collection has grown to 22 books, a nice even number. I’ve listed them here by the order in which they were published by Persephone. This is also how I display them on my bookshelf, except that I separate out my Persephone Classics editions.

#1 William- An Englishman by Cicely Hamilton

#2 Mariana by Monica Dickens

#3 Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple 

#9 Few Eggs and No Oranges by Vere Hodgson

#21 Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson 

#24 Family Roundabout by Richmal Crompton

#28 Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski

#31 A House in the Country by Jocelyn Playfair

#33 The Far Cry by Emma Smith

#38 Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey 

#39 Manja by Anna Gmeyner

#40 The Priory by Dorothy Whipple

#46 Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd

#52 The Village by Marghanita Laski

#53 Lady Rose and Mrs. Memmary by Ruby Ferguson

#83 Making Conversation by Christine Longford

#95 Greenbanks by Dorothy Whipple

#97 Harriet by Elizabeth Jenkins

#100 The Persephone Book of Short Stories

#102 The Exiles Return by Elisabeth de Waal

#111 London War Notes by Mollie Panter-Downes

#125 Guard Your Daughters by Diana Tutton

(At the moment) I own the first, the 100th, and the most recent Persephone Book to be published.


On their website, Persephone Books list their books by various categories. I thought it would be interesting to see how my collection breaks down into several of these categories, as well as a few additional ones that I created.

Here’s some of the ways my Persephone Books can be categorized:

IMG_9086

I own five of the eleven Persephone Classics Editions:

  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
  • Someone at a Distance by Dorothy Whipple
  • Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey
  • Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski
  • Mariana by Monica Dickens

Authors Who Appear More Than Once: Dorothy Whipple (3 books) and Marghanita Laski (2 books)

Books by Men: I don’t own any of the 14 books written by men that Persephone has published

Set in London:

  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
  • Few Eggs and No Oranges
  • London War Notes

IMG_8979

Set Abroad (i.e. not in the UK): 

  • William- An Englishman
  • The Exiles Return
  • The Far Cry
  • Manja
  • Little Boy Lost

Coming-of -Age:

  • Mariana
  • Manja
  • Guard Your Daughters
  • Making Conversation
  • The Far Cry 

IMG_8936

WWII Era:

  • London War Notes
  • Few Eggs and No Oranges
  • Little Boy Lost
  • Miss Ranskill Comes Home
  • A House in the Country 

Set during the Interwar Period:

  • Making Conversation
  • Cheerful Weather for the Wedding
  • Greenbanks
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day 
  • The Priory
  • Mariana 
  • Manja

IMG_9002

Depicts Life in a Country House/Estate:

  • Lady Rose and Mrs. Memmary 
  • The Priory 
  • Greenbanks
  • Guard Your Daughters
  • Cheerful Weather for the Wedding
  • A House in the Country
  • The Village

Nonfiction:

  • London War Notes
  • Few Eggs and No Oranges 
  • and Harriet is a fictionalized account of a real-life murder case

This is actually a pretty good representation of my reading tastes as a whole.

I read mostly books by women and a ton of books set in the UK (especially in England). I adore a good coming-of-age novel, and can’t get enough of books set on the home front in WWII. The interwar period is also one of my favorites to read about, and oh how I love an English country house setting. Plus, I don’t read nearly as much nonfiction as I should.

If you feel like sharing some of the categories that make up your Persephone Books collection, I’d love to hear about them!

How does your Persephone collection align with, or diverge from, your general reading tastes? 

How do you display/organize your Persephone books?

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31 thoughts on “#PersephoneReadathon: My Persephone Books Collection

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  1. I also own 22 Persephone books! 😀 I don’t collect Persephone Classics though. At the moment my collection is in two continents – some in Sri Lanka, some in the US. Hopefully, once we settle down I’ll be able to reunite them! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a fun coincidence! I’m a bit torn about the Persephone Classics myself. Part of me loves them and part of me hates that they don’t match the rest of my collection. I do love the price point and the fact that they are often easier to find here in the US though. I’m sure it will be a relief to have all your books in one place when the time comes!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my gosh, I love your collection! Where do you get them all? My only options are Amazon and Book Depository and I’m getting them slowly. I currently own 5 and just ordered another 2 for my birthday. All the ones I have are the classic ones, with the image on the front. I think they’re so pretty. As of right now I don’t display them in any special way but I probably will once I start filling up my classics bookcase more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Kristilyn! Okay, this is going to be a bit long, but I hope it’s helpful (and that it makes sense).

      I’ve been slowly adding to my collection over the past few years, and would often ask for them as presents/buy them with gift cards. Most of them came from Book Depository and a few from Barnes & Noble.

      Then last year I discovered Abebooks, and my collection grew quite a bit. It’s fun to search through the listings, and I’ve found some great deals. I use the advanced search options and will filter them to look for specific titles, look for books only in the US, set a maximum price etc.

      Some of the secondhand copies are obviously nicer than others: some look almost brand new and come with the bookmarks and others have ugly stickers on the covers.

      Also, late last year I just happened to be looking on Book Depository and I found around seven Persephone titles that were ~$4 each. I’m still not sure if it was a technical glitch or just a crazy sale, but I bought four of them. So obviously I will be checking Book Depository periodically from now on!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh jeez, it would’ve been great to find them for only $4! I never thought about checking Abe Books … I can usually get them through Amazon or Book Depository, but they’re still really expensive. Buying one now and again works for me, though.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I added to mine slowly over the course of a few years, and then much more quickly when I discovered Abebooks last year! When my collection was smaller I kept saving/hoarding them because I didn’t want to read them all too quickly.

      So I’ve read a shamefully small number! I’ve read: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, and parts of: London War Notes, Few Eggs and No Oranges, and recently The Persephone Book of Short Stories.

      I wanted to host this readathon, in part, because I knew it would make me read my books!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It looks to me like we have nine Persephone books in common. Plus, I have five of the other titles just not as Persephone editions. We do seem to have quite the overlap in reading tastes. I also love Home Front, U.K., English country house, coming of age books. That is quite the specific type, isn’t it? Though, needless to say, I don’t need all that in one book. Of course, if a book that fits all that criteria comes my way I won’t complain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We really do, Jennifer! We are practically book twins!

      They are quite niche interests/subjects, and I think they are much less popular on our side of the Atlantic. Thank god for the Internet!

      I have read a few books that check all those boxes, and it really is like winning the bookish lottery!

      Like

  4. I’ve been collecting Persephone for about 12 years. I have ninety seven I believe. Only two I have read twice so far, Miss Pettigrew lives for a day and Cheerful Weather for the Wedding. I keep meaning to put a dedicated page on my blog with links to old reviews. Maybe your readathon will be my inspiration to finally do it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. We share only a handful of titles, but my reading interests very much align with yours. I get my Persephones as Christmas/birthday presents from my daughter who was living in London–fortunately for me, she still gets there frequently! I also buy most of mine direct from Persephone. They have sales. That helps. Even though I have about 30 I wouldn’t say I actively collect Persephones. It’s just that the books they publish completely fall in my scope of reading interests. I read a lot of British middle-brow fiction, and I’d say a lot of their stuff falls in that category–though ‘upper-middle-brow’! My Persephones live on my regular bookshelves mixed in with my other literature books. They tend to stick out since they are so plain but handsome.Photos of my Persephones are at https://melodylibblog.blogspot.com/2018/02/joining-persephone-readathon.html. I’m going to be posting a LOOONG review of The Hopkins Manuscript today or tomorrow–I’m also reading for A Century of Books, and also The Fortnight in September and The Young Pretenders later in the readathon.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m one of the few who hasn’t yet read and doesn’t own any Persephone titles, but in my defense, I only learned about them as a “thing” a few years ago! We just don’t see them in the US much, do we? I do intend to try a few as I do love British woman authors from especially the WWI to post-WWII eras. It’s a love I didn’t know I had until I started reading Barbara Pym about ten years ago. There’s so much to discover!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right, Laila! I’ve never seen them in person anywhere in the US.

      It sounds like you would really enjoy a lot of the books Persephone publishes.

      You might be interested in my blog post that lists the titles that are available as ebooks. There are many that are free since they are in the public domain. If nothing else, the ebook samples would let you see if you would be interesting in purchasing a specific book in the future.

      And if you’re looking for a recommendation for your first Persephone, I don’t think you can go wrong with their bestseller Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day.

      Liked by 1 person

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