It’s been quite a busy week, but I’ve managed to read a book that I completely loved – Shaun Bythell’s The Diary of a Bookseller, a non-fic about running a bookshop in Wigtown. It’s hilarious and perfect for booklovers – watch this space for a full review, which will be appearing in due course as one of the Editor at Large slots on Shiny New Books.
On Saturday, I’ll be up in London going to a matinee with Colin – and on Sunday I am doing blissful nothing. Reading, I’d say, if I were a betting man. But, for now, I’ll leave you with a book, a blog post, and a link…
1.) The book – is one I saw somebody talk about on Facebook. Scott? John? Somebody. It’s a graphic memoir by Sarah Laing called Mansfield and Me and it parallels Sarah’s story with that of Katherine Mansfield. It looks wonderful and basically I’m going to need somebody to publish it in the UK… because at the moment it’s only available in New Zealand. Lucky New Zealand.
2.) The link – The Fortnight in September by R.C. Sherriff is now available as a Persephone Classic, and at the special offer price of £7.50. A great time to snap up a really beautifully told novel. I can’t think of a way to word this that isn’t hideously promotional, but… it’s great. Read it this September!
3.) The blog post – it’s always fun to see people discover my own favourites and, while Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle isn’t exactly a little-known secret, it’s certainly become much more popular in the years since I started blogging. Back then, particularly, nobody in the UK knew who Jackson was. Anyway, there’s a great new review of it over at BookerTalk – enjoy, and if you’re one of those people who’ve yet to try Jackson, hopefully it’ll twist your arm.
The weekend is already halfway over – and I spent Saturday in London, catching up with friends and seeing the excellent Lettice and Lovage, starring Felicity Kendal and Maureen Lipman. So wonderful to see two such talented actors performing complex, unusual, and amusing characters – it was a real joy. It’s sold out, I’m afraid, but maybe it’ll transfer? Anyway, here’s the book, the blog post, and the link – as C.S. Lewis almost called his book.
1.) The book – how did I not know about Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me by Bill Hayes? A zillion thanks to Jenny for mentioning it in the comment section the other day – it’s written by Oliver Sacks’ partner, and you know I can’t get enough of all things Oliver Sacks. Having not bought a book for six weeks, I’m back on track for Project 24… so this could be one I end up treating myself to…
2.) The blog post – is by me, I’m afraid. I wrote (over at Vulpes Libris) about a book that was very famous in the early 20th century – An Adventure, purporting to document two women’s inadvertent time-travel to Versailles just before the French Revolution.
3.) The link – the ‘long read’ at the Guardian is about the word ‘banter’. That doesn’t sound promising, but I found the 7000+ word essay a fascinating look at sexism, popular culture, and the ways in which a very British sense of humour can get distorted and turn dangerous.
By the time you see this, I’ll probably be driving off to a dear friend’s wedding – thankfully the temperature has come down a bit, so the idea of putting on a suit doesn’t make me collapse in a puddle of tears. I hope you’re having a great weekend, wherever you are – and I’ll help you along the way with a book, a blog post, and a link.
1.) The book – Scribbles in the Margins: 50 Eternal Delights of Books by Daniel Gray. WILL people please stop publishing books about reading while I’m on Project 24?? It’s the greatest temptation, and I very much want this. I went to school with a Daniel Gray, but I suspect it’s not the same one… though, who knows, maybe all the cool kids are bibliophiles now too.
2.) The blog post – be beguiled by this collection of excerpts about glass, courtesy of Jane at Beyond Eden Rock. Even more beguilingly, she doesn’t introduce it – so we have no idea why or how or when the idea and selection came to her.
3.) The link – Behind the GIFs. Silly but brilliant.
Hiya everyone – hope you’re having a good weekend. It’s finally summer, so obviously I’ve got a cold. I’m surrounded by tissues and lemsip and cups of tea and whatnot – and a pile of books, which I am alternating with Netflix. I’ll kick off your weekend with a book, link, and blog post…
1.) The book – I really want to read My Life With Bob by Pamela Paul. ‘Bob’ is a journal of the books that Paul reads. Yes, it’s a book about books. A book about reading. I want it so much. I have so many books about reading that I haven’t read. (I want it so muuuuuch.)
2.) The link – is one of my favourite Instagram accounts. If you’re on Instagram, you probably already follow most of the book accounts I follow – but I wanted to highlight Maren’s. Her wildlife and nature photography is just so stunning. And, yes, I first met Maren through Virago Books – so books lead to all sorts of delights!
3.) The blog post – is a giveaway of Elizabeth Taylor novels over at Ali’s. I haven’t seen this lovely new Virago editions before – a definite improvement on the previous incarnation (though not, of course, as perfect as the bottle green Viragos that surely will come back around one day). And one of those Taylor novels will be getting a StuckinaBook review next week…
I’m off to Mottisfont by the time you read this (or, indeed, I may well have come back and we’ve carried on with our lives) – there’s an exhibition of Rex Whistler art that I’m excited about seeing. But that doesn’t mean that I’ll leave you miscellaniless (yes, it’s a word).
1.) The blog post – do see Kaggsy’s round up of the 1951 Club. And we’ve picked our next club year! Actually – you’ve chosen it: in the comments on our round ups, 1968 got the most votes. So, 23-29 October 2017 will be the #1968club! I’m already excited about it, as it seems (somewhat to my surprise) that I have lots of books from 1968 that I want to read. Maybe I’m not quite such an interwar-reader as I thought?
2.) The book – is by Will Rycroft. Will – erstwhile blogger, Waterstones employee, actor, and generally lovely bloke – has written about his experiences performing in War Horse, with the excellent title All Quiet on the West-End Front. It’s with Unbound – in case you’re unfamiliar with the format, it’s a crowd-funding publishing house. To find out more about the book, and look into funding options if you’re interested, head over to Unbound.
3.) The link – treat yourself to a video of a grammar/punctuation vigilante. My brother Colin and my friend Mel both live in Bristol and love good grammar, but promise it wasn’t them.
It’s sunny! The flowers are out! It’s probably freezing! I’ll find out shortly – but, before I head off for the day, I’ll leave you with a book, a blog post, and a link…
1.) The blog post – sorry, egomaniac alert, it’s one of mine: I was over a Vulpes Libris earlier this week, writing about C.S. Lewis’s book Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer.
2.) The link – if you’re on Instagram, get voting for your favourite Agatha Christie book in a knock-out competition at The Year of Agatha.
3.) The book – I keep championing the latest Furrowed Middlebrow books, partly because Project 24 means I can’t rush out and buy them all. But I can heartily recommend Tom Tiddler’s Ground by Ursula Orange, which I am halfway through (and will be reviewing for Shiny New Books, and discussing on Tea or Books? soon).
Well, my weekend is going well – I’d planned to go on a National Trust jaunt, but had a lie-in instead – but later on today I’ll be going BOWLING for the first time in about eight years. Maybe I’ve just got better at it, without practising? Right?
Anyway, let’s stick to books for now – I feel on more secure ground there.
1.) The book – writing poetry every day without ever reading any is making me feel rather a fraud. And I was tempted by Zoo of the New, edited by Nick Laird and Don Paterson. The name is very silly, because this isn’t new poetry – it’s from Sappho onwards, excluding any living poets under sixty – but a flick through made it seem rather appealing, and not just the usual suspects. Anybody looked through this? Supposedly it’s published on 30th March, but it was in my local Waterstones last week. (Great cover, incidentally, which this blog tells me is designed by Richard Green.)
2.) The link – I’ve not read this yet, but my housemate was reading excerpts from the Guardian article about what happens when (if??) the Queen dies. It sounds fascinating – and I suspect the author was rather relieved that Her Maj didn’t die during his research period. As were we all, of course (love you, Lizzie!)
3.) The blog post – I’m just going to keep providing the world with links to reviews of The Lark by E. Nesbit until everybody gives in and just reads it. This week’s is from Call Me Madam!
I hope you’re having a good weekend. I’ll mostly be reading The Magnificent Spinster by May Sarton, trying to prepare for recording the next episode of ‘Tea or Books?’ tomorrow – there are definitely worse ways to spend a weekend. Before I get further into that – here’s a book, a blog post, and a link…
1.) The book – is one I’ve waited for for ages. And I’ll have to wait a bit longer: Jacob’s Room Has Too Many Books by Susan Hill – a sort-of sequel to Howards End is on the Landing. I read about it over at Cornflower Books – but, sadly, we’ll have to wait until October.
2.) The blog post – now that The Lark is back in print (or shortly back in print?) from Dean Street Press – the best book news of the year, without doubt! – it’s fun to see the reviews starting to come in. Here’s one from Liz.
3.) The link – I’m going to assume that everybody knows about Humans of New York by now… but, just in case… (Btw, at the risk of sounding like a hipster, I have two of his prints from the early days when he was sending them out for not very much. Sadly not signing them, though…)
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 Gilead, To 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!
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.
2.) 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.