Do you know a Pym pimp? I'm willing to bet that your pimp has nothing on mine. Thomas procures followers for his beloved Barbara Pym with an enthusiasm and generosity that has no rival. JoAnn got me started with my first Pym title, Jane and Prudence, but Thomas will not be content until I have read them all. Multiple times I suspect. When we met for tea and hot chocolate and shortbread and books this week at Politics and Prose, Thomas presented this stack of books to me. Three novels I have not read, A Very Private Eye which is an autobiography in diaries and letters, and the bonus and charming E.F. Benson title you see up top. I was delighted!
I typically consume Pym titles in a day, and I will reserve idle days for each of these novels as well. Her books are so much more than the "social comedies of class and manners" they are often described as. They are funny and sharp and wry, and remind me of one of my favorite writers Stella Gibbons minus the much-loved ridiculousness that Gibbons sometimes embraces. Pym's novels are more restrained but equally insightful and tongue-in-cheek. I also see some strains of Muriel Spark's humor in Pym's work but Pym is not nearly as fierce and in no way has the tamped down anger that creates such addictive tension in Spark's works.
Pop over to Thomas to let him tell his own book buying story. He lost his mind a bit. And I gleefully encouraged him. In a quest to read more current and popular fiction, his choices ran numerous, influenced by all his book pimp brethren. Of whom I count myself among. I'm proud of the few choices I inspired in his basket. But having been at Politics and Prose just a few days before with my family, I had already acquired quite a few new reads. So I bought just one book. One that Thomas also bought. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. I've been drawn to this title of redemption since it was published. But never bought it. And the new cover has an endorsement on it that I would prefer not to have on my books. I bought it anyway, but will have to give it away after I read it and find another edition if I enjoy the book. Compulsive but Thomas understands. The beauty of counting bookish compulsive among your friends.