StuckinaBook’s Weekend Miscellany

I’m still cat-sitting, and enjoying having a house and a cat to myself. It’s a good way to get some reading done (finished a very good Sylvia Townsend Warner novel, which I’ll review next week) and indulge in catching up with some TV. It also means being introduced to the life of a commuter – which has given me joy (more reading time!) and angst (where IS THE BUS). Let’s go all joy and no angst for the link, the blog post, and… the TV show (gasp).

1.) The blog post – isn’t really a blog post, but I’m counting it. Trevor, the lovely fellow behind The Mookse and the Gripes, runs a ‘Mookse Madness’ series of polls in the blog’s Goodreads group. I believe ‘March Madness’ is something to do with baseball or basketball or American football or somesuch, but this series of rounds is all about BOOKS. Which are much better than all sports, I think we can agree.

You can see the polls here, I believe. Some are open and some will open later. There is currently no pairing at all where I’ve read (/finished) both books, but that hasn’t stopped me voting for such favourites as GileadTo The Lighthouse, and So Long, See You Tomorrow. Head on over and join in the fun!

2.) The link – everyone now and then I remember the Agatha Christie quiz on Sporcle. Can you name all 66 of her novels in 12 minutes? Spoilers: you can’t. But see how well you do. I’ve played dozens of times and my personal best is 61, I think.

3.) The TV show – yes, there is no book in this week’s miscellany, shockingly. I wanted to recommend the Netflix series Abstract instead. I don’t know which countries it’s available in, but it’s certainly viewable in the UK – it’s a documentary series Netflix have made, each one about a different sort of designer. I’ve watched one on an illustrator and artist who designs covers for the New Yorker and one for a stage and set designer – both fascinating, especially the latter. There’s also designers of shoes, architecture, interior decor, and more. Don’t let anybody tell you that we don’t live in a spectacular era of television!

StuckinaBook’s Weekend Miscellany

I’ve been coldy most of the week, so haven’t done much reading or blogging – slowly working my way through A Pin To See the Peepshow and (spoilers for the next podcast ep) it’s marvellous. But I’m hoping I manage much more reading throughout February than I did in January. For now, let’s have a link, a blog post, and a book.

1.) The blog post – is the exciting return of Shiny New Books! As I mentioned last year, I’m no longer on the editorial team – but will be an Editor at Large, and also very much like the look of the new format. New reviews will come every Tuesday and Thursday. Find out more by heading over to the new-look site.

Jennifer Walker E von A2.) The link – for people who like going to academic conferences, let me draw your attention to one in May. It’s the second conference about British Women Writers 1930-1960, held in Chichester this time. I couldn’t get to the previous one, and I’m kinda furious about that since there was a panel with papers on Richmal Crompton and E.M. Delafield. You can’t imagine how much I’d love to have heard that. ANYWAY, I’ll be giving a paper there, and the whole thing will hopefully be fascinating.

3.) The book – I’ve been reading Jennifer Walker’s biography of Elizabeth von Arnim on and off for 18 months (it is v good, it’s just somehow happened that way!). If you were put off by the hefty hardback, then you might like to know that the ebook is now available.

StuckinaBook’s Weekend Miscellany

I’m off to Bristol this weekend, so scheduling a weekend miscellany in advance. As I write, it’s pre-Trump-inauguration, so… well, let’s just say the past is a different country and I’m writing from it.

Take Courage1.) The link – Hannah at the charity Lifelites got in touch about a raffle to win 100 signed books. Yep, one lucky entrant will win all of ’em – including books signed by Zadie Smith, Sue Perkins, PD James, Alan Bennett and John Le Carré. AND you’ll be helping a charity which donates specialist technology packages for the 10,000 terminally ill and disabled children in every children’s hospice in Britain.

2.) The blog post – Thomas’s annual book awards (‘the Hoggies’) are always good for a laugh. Enjoy!

3.) The book – there’s a new biography of Anne Bronte out, by Samanatha Ellis (whose How To Be a Heroine I’ve been intending to read for ages). Tempting, tempting…

StuckinaBook’s Weekend Miscellany

Books For LivingIt’s been an emotional week for me, because yesterday was my last day working for OUP and the Oxford Dictionaries department. I’ve been there, off and on, for nearly four years – 2.5 years in a full-time role – and I’ve made some of my best friends there. The idea that I could write about words for social media and get paid for it is still extraordinary to me.

Still, it felt like time for a change. I need to learn my new company’s social media policy before I talk about it (!) but it’s still in Oxford, and it looks like it’ll be a great, encouraging, and exciting place to work. But my OUP leaving do made me very emotional nonetheless! 2012 was really hard for me in various ways, and starting work at OUP in early 2013 was a real gift from God that I will always be grateful for.

S0 – new job on Monday but, before that, here’s a book, a blog post, and a link.

1.) The book – I’ve rather given this one away by putting the image up the top of the post: it’s Books For Living by Will Schwalbe. I saw somebody put it on Instagram, I think, but I can;t remember who… sorry! I’ve not read The End of Your Life Book Club, though intend to at some point, but this book is about why we read and what it means to us, and I can never get enough of that sort of book.

2.) The link – is the farewell speech by Barack Obama. Hey, let’s embed it. Sure, he is a human and thus he isn’t perfect (and he’s had to put up with a Senate from the other side, blocking his changes) – but we are so lucky that the most powerful office in the world has been held by a man of such wisdom, dignity, kindness, and intelligence. Goodbye, Barack, and thank you.

3.) The blog post – having read and loved some of Sylvia Townsend Warner’s short stories last year, I was excited to see Ali reading a collection of them. I haven’t read Scenes of Childhood, but I am all-the-more excited to after reading her review – and you can do the same.

StuckinaBook’s Weekend Miscellany

I had big plans to spend the morning lying in bed reading today. Well, guys, I spent the morning in bed. But since I only work up at 10.45, I didn’t do all that much reading… I guess I needed it! It’s definitely been a fairly busy start to the new year – and I did manage to read for an hour or so after that as well. Partly a book I picked up from my Tell Me What To Read shelf, and partly Jennifer Walker’s biography of Elizabeth von Arnim (called, inevitably, Elizabeth of the German Garden). I read half of it ages ago, didn’t finish before I went to a von Arnim conference, and somehow forgot to finish it. Now’s the time!

Now is also the time for the miscellany regulars: book, link, and blog post.

the-runaway1.) The blog post – is over at my bro’s, as he awards his version of the Oscars to the films of 2016. His podcast (The C to Z of Movies) also does a v funny round of 2016 films here, and you can follow them on Twitter too. Watch this space, as there will be a C to Z of Movies/Tea or Books? crossover at some point in 2017…

2.) The book – before I’m accused of nepotism… no, this one isn’t far off either. My friend Claire’s first novel is coming out in a few weeks. It’s called The Runaway and you can read more about it here. I’ve not read it yet, so can’t give any opinions, but it’s very exciting – I know Claire from church, and didn’t even realise she had completed a novel until I heard it was being published!

3.) The link – sadly I have only a week left at OUP. I’m going to miss it terribly, but it does feel like the right time to move onto other things – which I’m sure I’ll explain in more detail at some point. For now, enjoy probably my final book quiz for OxfordWords: book titles with missing colours. I bet you can get full marks.

StuckinaBook’s Weekend Miscellany

bookshopsI’m off to spend the weekend with Sherpa – ahem, with my family – and to recover from the excitement of Emmerdale’s death week. Seriously, I have struck up conversations with strangers about Emmerdale this week; it’s been amazing. If you watch it, please fill my heart with delight by letting me know and talking about HOW GOOD this week’s storytelling was.

But let’s get back to books for the usual (is it still ‘usual’ when I forget to do it so often?) book, blog post, and link…

1.) The book – Susan’s review of Bookshops by Jorge Carrion, which Annabel pointed out to me in the comments to my previous post, has made me very much want to get hold of it. And I suspect you will feel the same.

2.) The link – an exhibition of Tove Jansson’s paintings is coming to Dulwich (yay!) next October (boo!). Read more about it here.

3.) The blog post – it’s all about writing the introductions to Furrowed Middlebrow books, courtesy of Woman and Her Sphere.

StuckinaBook’s Weekend Miscellany

Happy weekend! Hope you’ve got lots of lovely things planned. Mine will hopefully include editing a podcast at some point, so that will be out early next week, but for today… let’s have a book, a blog post, and a link.

1.) The blog post – is the always-funny Jenny from Reading the End being extra specially funny about the Brontes. What’s the Bronte-est thing that happens in Claire Harman’s new biography of Charlotte? Find out…

2.) The link – who doesn’t love interspecies friendship? And etymology? I don’t think I’ve shared this, that I wrote a couple of weeks ago for OxfordWords about words you didn’t know shared an etymological origin.

00Blog Pics6

3.) The book – coming out in a few days (if you’re in the US) and in late April (in the UK) is Helen Oyeyemi’s first collection of short stories, called What is Not Yours is Not Yours. Coming full circle in these three points (triangle?) is that I heard about it on Jenny’s podcast. A proof copy is now in my hot little hands, and I’m looking forward to starting it soon. I think it’s two different publishers on either side of the Pond, and the US and UK covers are very different. Which do you prefer?

StuckinaBook’s Weekend Miscellany

Thus Were Their FacesHowdy y’all – hope you’re all having lovely weekends. It’s beautifully sunny here in Oxford, but in a few hours I’ll be hopping on a plane for a very short trip to Glasgow (no time to find any bookshops, boo) – I’ll let you know all about that afterwards. For now, here’s a book, a blog post, and a link…

1.) The book – I heard on the Reading the End podcast that Helen Oyeyemi was having a collection of short stories out later this year, and while searching for that (FYI, it’s What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours and is out in April in the UK, possibly earlier in the US) I came across an NYRB she’d written an introduction for. It’s a collection of short stories called Thus Were Their Faces by Silvina Ocampo, and sounds darkly, weirdly fascinating. Does anybody know anything about it?

2.) The blog post – it’s got to be the link round-up post for Margery Sharp Day over at Beyond Eden Rock.

3a.) The link – thanks to Biana the publicist for sending me this link, to a video of the highlights from the Costa Book Awards, which seems like a fun thing to embed:

3b.) The sneaky second link – can you match the grammar abilities expected of 7 year olds under the new curriculum? I’m sad to say I got 10/11 – I feel like by now I should be able to ace a test for 7 year olds…

Stuck-in-a-Book’s Weekend Miscellany

Christmas tree

I hope you’re enjoying some Christmas shopping, carols round the fire, egg nog and whatnot. We’ve put our Christmas tree up at Argyle Street, accompanied by carols played on the piano – albeit arrangements of carols, which made for rather confusing singing-along-to. I think I did the last of my Christmas shopping today (though have also come down with a cold, which made a wander into town rather exhausting). Still, should be germ-free by Christmas itself, right? And here are some links to enjoy if you’re also under the weather…

1.) Queen of Crime: this is quite an old New Yorker article, but I haven’t read it before, all about Agatha Christie.

2.) A really interesting article about reading Virago Modern Classics as a man.

3.) 100 Best Novels: another list! But this one has a different spin; 81 non-British literature experts were asked to choose the best British novels. It’s a very good list, with some surprises (both in terms of inclusion and exclusion) and not just the usual suspects.

4.) Struggling with Christmas gift ideas? Let Jenny and Jenny at Reading The End help you out! More details here.

Stuck-in-a-Book’s Weekend Miscellany

I’ll be spending my weekend reading 1924 books in preparation for the 1924 Club kicking off on Monday – I unwisely decided to start quite a few books at once, but I’m hoping to finish at least one of them by Monday. Of course, the club readalong will be going on over a fortnight, so plenty of time!

1.Alice Dali) The blog post – speaking of readalongs, Ali has come up with a really brilliant Woolf readalong plan for 2016. It’s a very thoughtful look at Woolf’s life and career, with plenty of opportunities for the Woolf devotee or the Woolf newbie. I’m looking forward to lots of Woolf re-reading, and maybe even finally getting around to reading her letters and diaries.

2.) The linkKoko the gorilla had a birthday and picked some kittens to be her pets. Then she signed ‘put it on my head’. Koko is the gorilla we all deserve.

3.) The book – I’ve had my eye on this for a while, in my Amazon wishlist, but just spotted it in a shop the other day. I resisted (partly because my birthday isn’t too far away!) but this Princeton University Press reprinted edition of Alice with illustrations by Salvador Dali looks like a must for my small but beautiful Alice collection (featuring thus far Tenniel and Tove Jansson).