Below, we offer two titles sure to put a little spring in your step. Each focuses on British ladies of letters--the Brontë sisters, and Agatha Christie.
The Brontë Cabinet, by Deborah Lutz; W.W. Norton & Co, $16.95, 352 pages, paperback, May 2016.
Whole libraries could easily be filled with the books devoted to studying the lives and legacy of the Brontës, and Deborah Lutz makes a compelling addition to the canon of literary criticism. In The Brontë Cabinet, the Long Island University professor examines nine artifacts from the Haworth home where Charlotte, Emily, and Anne lived and wrote. "Even ordinary objects can carry us to other times and places," Lutz declares, describing the deep spiritual meaning Victorians imbued into everyday objects, which they believed to recall the essence and physical presence of their owners. Studying the materiality of authors has become something of a trend in literary criticism, and Lutz does not disappoint, examining household objects to trace the Brontë sisters' lives and their literary inspirations. By unearthing playthings, books and momentos, Lutz creates a vivid portrait of the Brontë sisters and 19th century England.
Agatha: The Real Life of Agatha Christie, by Anne Martinetti and Guillaume Lebeau; SelfMadeHero, $19.95, 128 pages, paperback, May 2016.
In honor of the spring cover story on Agatha Christie in Fine Books & Collections, here's a graphic novel that follows the life of the Queen of Whodunnit from her childhood in Torquay, England, through her long and exciting career. Christie's personal life was frequently as intriguing as the stories she wrote, filled with tales of daring and adventure. Though an Anglophone undertaking, this volume is a thoroughly Gallic production: Co-authored by French crime novel editor Anne Martinetti and biographer Guillaume Lebeau and accompanied by Alexandre Franc's appropriately mischievous and suspenseful art, Agatha is as engaging as any of the Dame's classic capers.