Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Year with Mrs. Appleyard - January

The wit and sense of playfulness which permeates Mrs. Appleyard’s Year begins on the copyright page, after we read the 1941 date.
The author asserts that any resemblance between Mrs. Appleyard, members of her family, or other characters in this book, and any real person or persons, including the Scandinavian, is purely coincidental, and she can’t think how it happened.

When you read that, you know you are in for some light, fun reading. The book begins with a chapter called About the Appleyards which rambles on enchantingly from one thought to another from statues to getting older to details about her husband and four grown children, and her house
that was too small for them when the children were small, and that is too big now that the children range in size from five feet four to six feet two.
The book then proceeds to a short January chapter which begins
Faults Mrs. Appleyard certainly has. As she looks them over on the first day of the New Year they seem to her like the ‘other articles too numerous to mention,’ always mysteriously listed in auctioneers’ advertisements. Since she has had most of her defects for over half a century, she is well acquainted with them. Some of them, indeed, have become enjoyable simply because she has had them so long. For instance: if she did not impulsively bring home a large Chinese cabinet (because it was such a bargain) instead of the lacquer finger bowls she started out to buy, her family would be deprived of the pleasure of observing: ‘Now, isn’t that exactly like Mother.’
She tells more anecdotes which illustrate her ‘faults’ and ends the chapter with a list of the things she intends to ‘improve,’ like planning to ‘glance occasionally at her engagement book instead of keeping the entries in it a secret from herself.’ And then because it is getting ‘too depressing’ to continue on with her faults, she takes note of her ‘virtues,’ such as
She uses the brakes on her car instead of the horn.She balances her own checkbook, no matter how long it takes.She never makes a fourth at bridge to help anyone out. She found out long ago that she was no help.
And the month of January ends with her feeling pretty good about herself!
Really, as she thinks it over, she feels almost unbearably virtuous. Perhaps her own best contribution to a pleasant New Year for everyone would be for her to indulge in her vices a little more. So, that is her Resolution.
I just love this book, as I did twelve years ago. It is a joy to read.

20 comments:

  1. Nan, it sounds wonderful! So I went off in search and I just found a copy of a compilation of 3 of her books, Mrs. Appleyard's Kitchen, Summer Kitchen and Winter Kitchen on paperbackswap and ordered it!

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  2. I looked for this book and didn't find it. hmmm..

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  3. It does sound delightful, and I am already looking forward to reading your monthly posts about it!

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  4. It does sound delightful. And I feel a distinct sense of kinship with Mrs Appleyard...every year I plan to look at my diary on regular basis, but generally the contents remain a mystery to me. And I'm sure my daughters enjoy trying to organise me, especially when they say 'Oh, Mu-um' in that exasperated tone...!!! Looking forward to the next instalment.

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    1. This was delightful to read! Wonderful. Thanks!

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  5. :) I like the sound of this one and look forward to more of Mrs. Appleyard.

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  6. have other mrs. appleyard books.

    our library system has this. will read it, and if I want my own, I will get it from used books on amazon. :-)

    the concept sounds something like gladys taber books.... by month.... by season...

    Tessa~

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    1. Yes, the monthly entries is like GT, but the tone is very different.

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  7. I want this book and plan to look for it as sson as I send this! I'm thinking of making a list of all books I've read (fiction and non-) I've read that have a vital interesting woman who is at least middle.aged! I can already tell this will qualify. My list will be too short! There aren't enough.

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    1. Oh, you will love it! I'd like to see your list. Please email it to me, and I'll see if I know any that are different.

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  8. Oh, I do love books like this, especially from that time period, but have never heard of Mrs. Appleyard. I will write the name down, thank you for the lead!

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  9. Sounds like a fun read! (I love your Yoga with a one year old, by the way)

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    1. Yes, and thanks about the yoga posting.

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  10. Once again, I must thank you for suggesting a delightful book. I have almost finished "Mrs. Appleyard's Year," and I have another of her books on the way from interlibrary loan. Yes, the tone is very different from Gladys Taber. I would describe Louise Andrews Kent as a humorist in the vein of Thurber. High praise, I know, but Thurber came to mind as I read "Mrs. Appleyard's Year." With generous doses of warmth and nature.

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    1. I love this 'warmth and humor' - absolutely!

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