Monday 14 March 2016

MYSR: Nobody, by Susan Warner

MYSR = Maybe You Should Read.
I'm starting a new series of posts. There are a lot of books out there that I think ought to be better known. So I'm going to give you recommendations and tell why I like them. I'm afraid I might not be able to completely avoid spoilers, but I'll try.

One of my favourite 19th century authors is Susan Warner. I don't like all of her books, but some of them are very good.

Nobody is the story of Lois Lothrop, a New England country girl, who catches the eye of a young man of good family, while visiting a cousin in New York. His family don't think she's good enough for him, that she has no style and beside she is religious. She, on the other hand doesn't perceive value in the same way and is not quite willing to marry an non-christian.

Things I love:

Lois and her sisters are hard workers. They do everything themselves and never sit around. She also had a strong sense of Christian duty. But she doesn't just blindly accept the beliefs of her community. She has a taste for higher things. She ponders the purpose of beauty.

There are other deep questions discussed in the book, but not too deeply. They just fit in nicely.

This book has one of my favourite heroes. A perfect gentleman who goes to great lengths to make it possible to marry the girl he admired even though he knew there was every chance she wouldn't marry him.

And Lois is rather like me in a lot of ways. It's true that I'm not as comfortable in social situations, nor as good a gardener, but we have similar traits and values.

Here's a quote from it:
"But it is matter of astonishment to me, how you have so soon acquired such keen discernment. Is it that you do not enjoy these occasions yourself?" (said Mr Dillwyn)
"O, I enjoy them intensely," said Lois, smiling. "Sometimes I think I am the only one of the company that does; but I enjoy them."
"By the power of what secret talisman?"
"I don't know;—being happy, I suppose," said Lois shyly.
"You are speaking seriously; and therefore you are touching the greatest question of human life. Can you say of yourself that you are truly happy?"
Lois met his eyes in a little wonderment at this questioning, and answered a plain "yes."
"But, to be happy, with me, means, to be independent of circumstances. I do not call him happy, whose happiness is gone if the east wind blow, or a party miscarry, or a bank break; even though it were the bank in which his property is involved."
"Nor do I," said Lois gravely.
"And—pray forgive me for asking!—but, are you happy in this exclusive sense?"
"I have no property in a bank," said Lois, smiling again; "I have not been tried that way; but I suppose it may do as well to have no property anywhere. Yes, Mr. Dillwyn."

And another:
Lois stayed for no more, but ran in. The interior room of the house, which was very large for a bathing-house, was divided in two by a partition. In the inner, smaller room, Lois began busily to change her dress. On the walls hung a number of bathing suits of heavy flannel, one of which she appropriated. Charity came in after her.
"You ain't a goin' for clams, Lois? Well, I wouldn't, if I was you."
"Why not?"
"I wouldn't make myself such a sight, for folks to see."
"I don't at all do it for folks to see, but that folks may eat. We have brought 'em here, and now we must give them something for supper."
"Are you goin' with bare feet?"
"Why not?" said Lois, laughing. "Do you think I am going to spoil my best pair of shoes for vanity's sake?" And she threw off shoes and stockings as she spoke, and showed a pair of pretty little white feet, which glanced coquettishly under the blue flannel. 
There may be some longer discussion that tend toward theology, but the same happens with gardening and clam digging. It's not too much.

As you may have seen, you can get the book as a free audio book from LibriVox. (it has me in it) Or you prefer text (the recording is a bit mixed in quality) it's on Gutenberg.
If you read this book or any others by Susan Warner, let me know what you think.

Thank you everyone who voted on my poll. I now know that there's at least 21 people (which may or may not include me and does include my mother) who read my blog. I think I'll stay with Girl of the Rumours for now.


  1. Ohhh, I haven't met anyone else who used Librivox too!! EEeep. Isn't it amazing?! I got a bunch of Sherlock stories off there recently! I love getting classics via audiobook, I think it's the easiest way to read them, tbh. And I'm glad you love this one so much!! I hadn't even heard of it till now.

    1. LV is great isn't it? One because it means I can sew and feel productive while I listen and two for slower books. I've done three by Jane Austen and the whole 100+ hours of the history of England.
      I hadn't heard of Nobody either, before I saw the project on LibriVox, despite having listen to other books by the author.


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