Review: A Writer’s House in Wales by Jan Morris


My Interest

Thank you to The Book Jotter, for again hosting the wonderful Reading Wales month–aka Dewithon 2023

I saw this in her book list and decided it would be my read. A Welsh author and a transgender author, “what was vulgarly know as a change of sex,” all in one go.


The Story and My Thoughts

“I live, though, in a Wales of my own, a Wales in the mind, grand with high memories, poignant with melancholy. It is in that Wales, that imperishable Wales, that my house prospers.”

Author Jan Morris, born James Morris, had a wonderful life in her house in Wales with her wife [from back when she was James–a man] Elizabeth. The house is quirky and the neighbors are nice. The Postman [mail man] just come in and puts the mail on the kitchen table! Nice service! The house suits Jan and Elizabeth.

More than the house though are the mini-essays Jan includes on what it is to be Welsh and what sets Wales apart.

“Wales is threatened more than ever by the leveling powers of internationalism, distributed even here through every possible channel of communication. The world’s corrosion is inevitably settling in–beside the welcome new comforts and excitement, the dross of television and advertising, drugs, crime, general dumbing-down and sheer ordinariness. Even the Welshest parts of Wales are less Welsh than they used to be…..”

This quote resonated with me so much! It reminds me of how “homogenized” the world has become. A McDonald’s, then a Starbucks, then a Home Depot, and so on and so on all over the world. I don’t eat out because why? I like unique. Chain restaurants are not “unique.” I think Jan was feeling a similar malaise when she wrote this quote.

But, OH!! How I loved Jan’s library!! Oh, what a song of joy to read her words on that!

“This is not a collector’s library, but a writer’s working resource. I care not for first editions or rare printings. It is the text that counts and [her library] offers its owner a most satisfying range of reading and reference matter. The Internet is no substitute.” [AMEN!!!]

She takes us through her library in a wonderful tour. I was THERE. Yes, indeed, I was THERE!

And, oh that discussion of “grangerized copies”–books with the owners own memorabilia re-bound in. I love just finding things stuck into a book when I buy it second hand. It sounds like I am not alone in this and that is wonderful.

I’m not sure what I was expecting from this little book, but I loved those parts. Some passages bored me, but on the whole it was a very interesting account of life in a very little known and little understood country (at least to this American).

My Verdict


A Writer’s House in Wales by Jan Morris

9 thoughts on “Review: A Writer’s House in Wales by Jan Morris

Add yours

  1. This sounds fabulous. She’s so right about the demise of uniqueness but it’s sadly happening in so many parts of the world. Every place I’ve been in the USA looks the same – identical outlets of chain stories on the approach to every settlement.

    Some places manage to resist β€” I loved discovering that Starbucks struggled to get a foothold in Amsterdam because their coffee is so weak that Dutch people who love mega STRONG coffee thought it appalling.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like a wonderful and thought provoking book, Lisa. You are right, gone are the independent shops for chains everywhere. My library has no signed copies or first editions, just well read books.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A new shopping center is opening near us and, of course, there are chain stores. The only good thing about it? I won’t have to drive as far to get to one.


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