A Blooming Good Read

I should mention I have no method to my reading. If I had, I would waste less time on unworthy books (ah yes, The Goldfinch…)

Currently I’ve chosen well. I am revisiting the illicit charms of Lady Chatterley’s Lover which I read in my early teens probably concealed behind a copy of Smash Hits magazine.  The language is flowery and a little archaic. Tittering must surely be encouraged when DH Laurence repeatedly describes the Lady orgasming as having “reached her crisis.” As Constance advances in her sexual awakening, all the flowers are in bloom in the woodland where she trysts with the groundsman in his hut.

And hey, it’s Spring in the city. It’s practically a Monet painting outside (at least it was in Brooklyn Botanical Garden this week.)


In the novel I particularly enjoy the descriptions of the industrial climate around Nottingham in the early twentieth century: the pits and collieries that spill out the blackened-faced hostile pitmen who are considered almost animalistic by Constance’s aristocratic wheelchair-bound husband, Clifford. Do I sound like those people who say I buy Playboy for the articles? 

As I turn onto page 234 of my second hand copy, I discover to my surprise two little pressed flowers stuck between the pages. Fifty pages later, another pair of petaled bookmarks. Like little flesh colored remembrances of Constance’s afternoon passions caught between the folds of her hastily straightened dress, maybe? Twin twinges of guilt tugging at her conscience? Reminders of the feel, the color, of his skin?IMG_6081When my blushing becomes unsightly, I run from DH Lawrence’s sweaty grass-stained embrace straight into the cold but assured grip of Graydon Carter. Vanity Fair magazine is always resting on the chair by the window that now looks out on our Monet Spring. I’ve lost entire mornings of writing to lollygagging with Graydon even though he manages to keep me at arm’s length––all his correspondence he entitles Editor’s Letter.

When I need to read superior writing to kickstart my own, I’ll perhaps lift my copy of Lucky Jim but then spend the afternoon belly laughing instead of writing. I’ll reread Saturday Night Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe squeezing gleefully into a booth next to his fleshy vulgar types. I’ll dip into Edith Wharton and concern myself all over again with what is to become of Miss Lily Bart. Or I’ll open the first page of Zoe Heller’s The Believers and fawn over the artistry of that first paragraph, that first line:

At a party in a bedsit just off Gower Street, a young woman stood alone at the window, her arms pinned to her sides in an attempt to hide the dark flowers of perspiration blossoming at the armholes of her dress…

Now, back to the deflowering of Constance Chatterley…IMG_6063My novel, Silk for the Feed Dogs, a sunny Spring read that follows a young fashion designer in the first flowering of her career is available here.


  1. The photographs are beautiful and just like Monet paintings! I think I’ll have to grab a pen and notepad to remember all the books you enjoy reading. Love hearing what it takes to get you geared up for writing. 🙂

    • Thanks for your interest! I should be more strategic in my reading like some writers but I just can’t control it until it’s too late and I’m 200 pages into a dud, refusing to believe this is all there is, it has to get better, surely the ending…
      Hope Spring has sprung down by Tipp!

  2. My writing has been suffering lately. Maybe I’m not reading the right things! ~Elle

  3. I missed the Cherry Blossoms flowering along a path on the Hudson River Path, this year….I hadn’t biked as much with M. being in hospital. I was very disappointed when I rode by and saw the green leaves sprouting…Sigh. Spring in the City is a saving grace. XO

  4. I’m going in later to your posts from tis week. I’m falling behind. But what’s happening with M? Is he ok..?

  5. Did I miss the Believers? Something I should pick it up pronto? Lady Chatterley is also confined to teenage memories and I have often wondered if it was time for a dust off (and you should seriously reconsider The Goldfinch).

  6. I think you would enjoy The Believers. I enjoyed her writing from way back when she used to do a travel section in the back page of the Sunday TImes. Then she wrote several novels, including Notes on a Scandal. I would love to write like her. There’s a sort of timeless quality to it. I read her as much for the words as the story she tells.

  7. I’m with you that certain books can be very inspirational for writing… unfortunately for me, I seem to be stuck between books which are so good I get nothing done, and those which are about as inspirational as a pair of school trousers. A crisis of a much more mundane sort!

  8. Pingback: “A Blooming Good Read”: Jackie Mallon about reading | Betimes Books

  9. Reblogged this on PS Editorial Services and commented:
    My writing about writing often turns into writing about reading and re-reading. But I’m not alone. In this re-blog, Fashion designer-turned-novelist Jackie Mallon shares some “blooming good” re-reads.

  10. Hi, Jackie. Thanks for the chance to re-blog about re-reading. The WordPress chat folks helped me figure out why it didn’t post originally. They were really helpful!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: