Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Charmed Circle – by Anna Kavan

I love finding new/old authors. So what do I mean by that? Well, authors that wrote many years ago, but who I’ve never heard off. Many of these have become favourites, such as Barbara Pym. Anna Kavan will be the same I have a feeling, though from what I understand some of her later books are a lot different then her first few.

Anna Kavan wrote this book in 1929. It is a modern book of the time, so you have to get that time period in your head….only if like me you like to picture what is being worn etc. Industry has taken over much of the countryside of Hannington and the vicar moved out of the Old Vicarage and a new family moved in. This family is who we meet in this story. I was taken from the start with the way Anna writes:

In time builders came. They set up houses of a different kind: neat, ugly
little boxes strung together in rows. The rows, too, strung together. Surprisingly, they extended and met, forming mean streets that devoured the unresisting land. Fields were eaten away almost in a night. People went for their yearly holidays and returned four short weeks later to find the landscape strangely altered. Everywhere was an alien and unwelcome activity. Steam-rollers crawled over the endless new roads; workmen swarmed everywhere, combining with the inhabitants of the new houses to overwhelm the natives of the place. The ancient population dwindled and
vanished. A new people took possession of Hannington; a people which
teemed in the poor streets, demanding numberless shops, public-houses and
(Kavan, Anna. A Charmed Circle. London: Peter Owen. 1994, p.9.)

You really get a sense of what is going on here…then you meet the family and you see that unlike the progress that is going on around them, this family is stuck. They can’t seem to progress at all even though several of them try.

The reason I think they are stuck is because they don’t communicate with each other. It drives me made how many people I have difficulties with, only because they won’t tell you how they feel. At first you see it with the sisters. You are in their heads a lot and they tell you how they feel. But for some reason they can’t seem to express that then to the other sister and it leads to resentment and misunderstanding. There is a real hatred that flows through all of the inhabitants of the house. None of the family are happy, none of them tell each other how they feel, and they are all stuck together. No matter what they try to do so they can live their own lives….they end up back where they started. The reason is never really explained. I found that interesting. You have to really try and figure it out for yourself. You get the feeling that it could have something to do with the Dad and the illness he had that changed him. Or is it the house that keeps drawing them back. Is this why they can’t communicate to each other?

From what I understand, this book reflects the way Kavan was brought up. I see that with many authors (one of the reasons I like to read their biographies as I’m reading the first book.) A Stranger on the Earth: The Life and Work of Anna Kavan by Jeremy Reed, is the new biography that has been written about her and I’m going to get it soon so I can read it.

It might take you a bit to track down this book, but it is worth it! I interlibrary loaned it and it came quite quickly. In the States, I’m not sure how easy it will be to get.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Friends in High Places by Donna Leon

When Donna Leon writes about Venice, you feel like you are there. Her description of places and people almost makes you smell the salt of the sea. The opening of this mystery we find Commissario Brunetti told by a representative from the Ufficio Catasto that the apartment that his family live in doesn’t exist. This leads to Leon’s use of the corruption of Venice as a drive for what happens in the book. As the title says, if you know the right people, then little things such as an apartment addition that didn’t go through the proper government channels can be overlooked.

Leon plays with the idea of what is just calling in a few favours and what is letting something slide that is criminal. Brunetti’s father-in-law is called in by Paola to do something about the apartment. His contacts handle the problem very quickly. But Brunetti isn’t happy because he wanted to fix the problem. But does it really matter, would one person’s favour calling be any different then an others?

Corruption is rife in the book. Vice-Questore Patta, Brunetti’s superior, has a son arrested for selling drugs. Brunetti’s trying to figure out where a young man, who died from an overdose, bought the drugs. But Brunetti puts Patta’s son in danger with an planted article in the local newspaper. Patta makes Brunetti call up the paper and say that the problem has now been sorted. So the death of the young man is forgotten so that Patta’s son can walk free.

Another case of corruption is when the representative from the Ufficio Catasto, Rossi, that contacted Brunetti about his apartment, is killed because he was going to tell Brunetti about corruption in his department. Two drug addicts who witness the crime are also killed. All so that one man can be protected from scandal.

This is a very good read. In fact all of her books are very good. Brunetti and his family are very close and intelligently written. You really like them as a couple, they work hard at their marriage. The returning characters are well drawn. The description of Italian food makes me want to go make myself a tomato, mozzarella and basil salad! Definitely give her a try. She is a stunning writer! I would say that each of the books stand alone, though I have enjoyed reading them in order myself.

Death at La Fenice (1992)

Death in a Strange Country (1993)

Dressed for Death (1994)

Death and Judgment (1996)

Acqua Alta (1996)

The Death of Faith (1997)

A Noble Radiance (1998.)

Fatal Remedies (1999)

Friends in High Places (2000)

A Sea of Troubles (2001)

Wilful Behaviour (2002)

Uniform Justice (2003)

Doctored Evidence (2004)

Blood from a Stone (2005)

I’m reading another great book at the moment from Anna Kavan. I can’t wait to introduce you to her….though I must finish the book first and then let you know about her!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

So what is beside YOUR bed?

Sorry this isn't that great a picture, I should have used the flash. This is what is next to my bed to read at the moment. Yes, I did clean up the dirty clothes and tissues...but you don' t want to see the TRUE mess? Right so I'm currently reading...of course Harry Potter. Well.....I didn't want everyone to know what happened and let it slip. Underneath that is Martha Grahams biography by Agnes DeMille which is very good. I don't know much about modern dance, nor do I watch it much. But I love to read about people who are originators and she definitely was! It is a really big book, but I'm enjoying it. I also picked up "Don't you have time to think?" letter written by Richard Feynman. He is one of the best science writers I've ever read. In the past I have read his autobiography and have listened to some of his more technical books on tape. They are so fascinating and I just love hearing or reading about science from someone who loves the topic so much. I mean...this man was learning how to pick locks while he was also helping to build the Atomic Bomb. (Just for the record, he like most on scientist on the team regretted their part in how that was used and campaigned against its use.) You would have thought that he would have been using his brain enough for the real work he was doing, not to be fooling around with locks.

So under that is the Literary Review. I really enjoy reading this. It is like Slightly Foxed, in that you get a good idea of what is out there to read. A lot of times I don't need, or wouldn't read the whole book...but I find the reviews so interesting! Under Slightly Foxed is a new knitting book I bought and next to it is the new Workbasket that came in. Can't forget the crafts.

The last two books have been really setting me alight learning. They are both books by the assassinated Russian Journalist Anna Politkovskaya. I wanted to read the book that was published shortly after (or before) she was killed, but then I found that she had written two others that they had in, so I didn't buy "A Dirty War: a Russian Reporter in Chechnya." I've started with "Putin's Russia". Then of course I couldn't leave it there, so at work I've got a couple books about Russia history in the last decade and also about Politics since Stalin, just to kind of help me. So....what is beside your bed? Leave a link in the comments so everyone can see!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What is up with me??? I promise I have been reading, but I've had so much studying and stuff to do, I haven't had the time to write. Since I love to write, that means something. I let you in on a little secret, I've had a struggle with my reading. I got Bored...I NEVER GET BORED of reading. But I tried to do something that wasn't very smart for ME (not everyone is like this). I stopped reading what I wanted to read, and took suggestions from too many people. Not so much people in blog land, but more in my personal life. I do better if I really feel passionate about what I'm reading. I read for my moods. If I'm feeling sad and depressed, I'll read a mystery or maybe Barbara Pym. If I'm feeling lazy, I'll read something about a dancer or athlete. If I'm feeling smart I'll read a book about science. I read to learn, to experience new things. So, I'm back to reading from my list of books I want to read.

I will be soon writing a review of: Barbara Pym's "An Unsuitable Attachment" and Martin Cruz Smith's "Wolves Eat Dog". I'm reading at the moment a book about Martha Graham and the letters of Richard Feynman. So I promise to be back soon!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Need to get rid of a few books?

I've decided that I need to get rid of some of the books that I've bought, but should get rid of. You notice I said SHOULD....because as you all know...it is difficult to part with books! I was frustrated because I like to donate the books, but want to give them to people that actually will read them. Many of my books are mysteries. I use to get these from the Library I worked at in the States, so I didn't have to buy them. But to keep reading them now, I have to purchase them. I tried to get a few friends interested in them, but that didn't really work. Then I tried to give them to my fav second hand shop, but they just didn't go very well. I guess they are just too American. So then I joined a couple online book exchanges. That has been a really good way to give them to people that actually want to read them. I keep thinking I'm going to join Bookcrossing, but I'm not sure about some of my mysteries that way. I will do that soon though.

So what exchanges do I do? Well the most successful has been Bookmooch. It is an international exchange, but you can decide not to send outside of your country if you wish. I've given away two books now and have been sent two books. There are a few I have missed and a few that wouldn't be sent to me because I'm out of the US. But that is ok. They also have a very active forum, to talk about books that are being offered or looked for. The things I like about it:
  • They use a point system. You get 1/10 of a point for listing a book and full points for both mooching and for being mooched from.
  • You can put your wishlist on the site. As people but books in their inventory, it will flag that you have it on your wishlist.
  • You are emailed and you can say whether you want to give the book, how long it might take you to send it, and you can email the person to find out if they are willing to send etc.
The other I do is UK only...Green Metropolis. I've not had quite as much luck with this one for books for myself, but of course I've not used the wishlist like I have for bookmooch...so that is my fault. I have given lots of books away though. With this one:
  • They use a money system, where you can keep a balance as you sell books so that you can then "purchase" them without actually spending any money! Love that!
  • The person you send the book to does not get your address. The return address is to Green Metropolis.
  • 5p from all books recycled they donate to the Woodland Trust. You can also chose to spend some of the money you get for your books to them also.
  • Their focus is on the recycling.
  • They are strict on when you send the item and how it is sent, but they give you three days...which is usually doable. You can tell the system when you will be on holiday so t hat you aren't notified during those times.
So try these two out if you want. Please leave me comments about any others that you know about. It doesn't hurt to have the books on a couple, as long as you remember to take them off when you have given them away!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Libraries need Librarians....

the clue is in the name....

I attended something very meaningful yesterday. My first protest. I was a very young person during all the protests of the 60's. I always envisioned myself protesting against the Vietnam war, or against human rights violations. My first protest shouldn't, couldn't have been imagined to be for people that I feel so strongly are so important to this information age. Over the last three years, I've struggled with my calling...and I've always considered being a Librarian my calling. As soon as I stepped into a library, I wanted to work there. When I finally got my chance I proved to myself and overs over and over again that I was good at the work. I was interested in helping others. Interested in the process of finding information, and that only grew when we came into the internet age...not to long ago.......

The Hampshire County Council, (my local government) however, feels the Librarians are not needed. Why pay people who have been trained and have an interest in the field do a job for "all this money".........sorry....I just had to pick myself up off the floor laughing about that one...who has heard of a well paid library staff member????? When we can put library assistants who have no experience and who in most cases (not all cases) are only there to have the job, not because they have a love of information and helping people and pay them less! I was there. I've seen it. Library assistants asked questions that they have not been trained to answer and put on the spot by patrons that have no idea they AREN'T talking to a trained Librarian! It isn't fair to the assistants, the patrons, nor the Librarians! Three years ago when I worked for Hampshire, they had just been through a restructuring where they had replaced almost all of the Library managers with non-library degree staff. All staff member then were trained to manage libraries....I mean really....lets pay a bunch of money to train people...LIBRARIANS COME TO THE JOB TRAINED! Management is a course you take to get your degree!!!! You then would only need to learn the management software and forms that need to be filled out. The management course I took covers human resource, project and money management!

Ok, I'm off the pedestal....but it makes me soooo angry. So I've decided that the best way to fight back, is to get the degree and then market the heck out of Librarians. We are needed. I see that everyday. Students need us to help them with online journals searches. Who else would the go to that has sat down and learned the ins and out of searching on this torturous things? How do you know the information you are pulling off the internet is correct??? Ask a Librarian! What book should I read if I like so and so.....ask a Librarian! Want to have a educational experience for your child during the summer? Ask your children's librarian! Is the stereotype changing? Yes!!! Do we need to change and grow as Librarians? Yes!!! But every job has to do that! The problem is, we are changing...but now one is taking the time to notice!!!

If you would like to read more there are online articles here and here

I promise that I am reading, but I've been trying to study and get things like that done. We are having an early spring, and it is hard to sit here at the computer. I have to admit, that I've hit a bit of a slump. I've picked up several books I couldn't get into, no matter how I tried...and that has been a problem. But I will have another review soon!

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka

I don’t usually read books that people go on and on about. Partly, because you end up knowing so much about the book…there isn’t any adventure to it. Partly, because I like to be individual and shun things that might make it look like I’m conforming…..how self-aware is that statement!!!! Truth is, I don’t usually enjoy highly recommend books, because I find they are usually sad, and I just don’t need to read about the suffering of others. I’m a very sensitive person and being bombarded with my own memories and the lives of those around me is enough…without reading more.

Anyway, I’m discussing this because I’ve gone out on a limb once again and read something that was highly talked about. Unlike Arthur and George (see previous review), I liked this book very much. I did not, however, find it as funny as the blurbs on the book cover made out to be. I found it a very good read and I would recommend it.

The narrator of the book (Nadezhda or Nadia), is the youngest daughter of immigrants to England from the Ukraine. The mother has recently passed away. The father, to the horror of his two girls, has decided to marry a visiting Ukrainian woman. The woman wants to move to England, and obviously is using this frail 80 year old man, to make this happen. You never get a really good feel for Valentina, other than what the narrator tells you. She is a bit stereotypical; she uses the last of the money given to her before moving over to stop along the way and get breast implants. She eats boil-n-bag food and wants a Rolls-Royce, because it is important to have these as western status symbols.

The relationship between Valentina and the father is only secondary really to the story. The important relationships to me are those between the narrator and her father and sister. Nadia and her sister Vera, have a very rocky relationship. Nadia has always been concerned with others. She was involved in the socialist movement of the 60’s and teaches sociology at University. Vera is a survivalist, she thinks of her and her children before anything else. They are polar opposites. As the story goes along you see that having a common enemy has made it possible for these sisters to communicate. Instead of just avoiding each other, they have to work together to help their father. At the end of the book, the narrator has a better understanding of why her sister is who she is. The revelation is stunningly done. Because it isn’t chronological, you get the pieces a bit at a time. I find this wonderful.

I think that Nadia learns a bit more about her father during this book also. There is of course the struggle of a child becoming the caretaker. Both Vera and she have to help their father out of the situation he is in, but they have to learn to understand him a bit more too. Nadia finds out, as we do, that her mother, father and sister’s lives have been shaped by what happened to them in World War II. The things that are revealed about the father show that he is a survivalist like Vera. There aren’t heroic tales of his ability to help others. He did what he had to, to survive. Instead of making Nadia hate him, she realizes that what happens in war is not rational or sane. As she is fighting the “war” with Valentina, she finds her self doing many things that are against her usual ideology. To protect her father she feels that she finds herself torn between trying to understand and befriend Valentina and getting her out of her father’s life. Once Valentina starts to physically abuse him though, she does what she has to, to help him survive, because this time he can’t do it on his own.

So what about the title of the book? Well, the father has decided that he must write the history of tractors. This helps us to understand the history of the area, through tractors instead of through the battles or just the explanation of the politics. It is an interesting way to learn history, not as dry as it sounds. I think it also helps to humanize the father. He isn’t just an old man, who is being taken advantage of. He is also a very intelligent person, who retains lots of information about the topic that has always been important to him.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Skeleton Crew by Beverly Connor

I’ve been reading through Connor’s work for the last few years, taking my time with them as I try to do with all my mystery series. This one was very good. Lindsay Chamberlain is an archaeologist and forensic anthropologist, which is something I’m strangely interested. I also like the fact that I’ve been on the University of Georgia campus, so I feel that I have a tiny connection.

Lindsay is working on a new site that is actually in the ocean. They have built a cofferdam off the island and sucked out the water so that they can excavate a shipwrecked boat. How they built the dam and maintained it was really interesting. Connor also ties it together with a journal that has been found by the only survivor of the shipwreck. She includes passages from this journal. As the translator is translating the work for the archaeology team, you also get to read in his own words what happened. It adds to the suspense and is well done.

The problems start right away when it is found out that there are treasure hunters watching every move that is being made. There are rumours that there is another shipwreck somewhere with lots of treasure to be had. The island that they are excavating has been under the care of a biology research team who have been shoved to the side by this more “important” work. The biology team aren’t happy and do all they can to cause problems and not be helpful. People start turning up dead and there are too many people that could be blame. Boats become sabotaged and the crews are put into dangerous situations.

Lindsay must figure out: who is doing the present day killings, whom did the 400 year old killings, and at the same time a romance is budding between her and someone she has had a rocky past with. It all culminates in what everyone had feared throughout the book, a hurricane which helps Lindsay solve all the mysteries in one fell swoop. I did not figure this one out at all.

Her book list for this series is:

  • A Rumor of Bones
  • Questionable Remains
  • Dressed To Die
  • Skeleton Crew
  • Airtight Case
  • Kill Site (to be published in 2007)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Book Retreat in Wales

Sunday, February 25, 2007 12:00

Marion picked me up in Much Wenlock and we had a nice drive down the Welsh coast. We then had trouble finding the B&B, but after a lot frantic calling and direction asking we found the place. The views are staggering and with two lovely dogs and Carole and Alan happy to see us arrive we felt better. We were happy too; to see the lovely soup and quiche’s waiting for us….since we were a bit late!

At lunch Anna read us our first short story. It was Grace Paley’s work “Wants”. It can be found in a copy of the book Enormous Changes at the Last Minute (Virago, 1979). This work was really moving about a woman who runs into her first husband. In the two pages and some, you learn so much about the woman, the man and the type of marriage they both felt they had.

We all had the afternoon free to do what we wanted. Three of us, including me, are staying in a self-catering cottage that belongs to one of Carole and Alan’s neighbors. The house is a lovely three bedroom semi-detached that is on the back of the B&B. The rooms are cozy and there are two bathrooms, which makes it nice for us. The only problem is it has been raining, so after our late night discussion in the fire lit lounge, we had to put on our walking shoes and coats and go out into the cold night!

After we settled in, we all came back to the main house and sat in the lounge, talking, reading or stitching. Slowly everyone who was staying at the main house disappeared to take naps or rest in their rooms while the rest of us read and had a bit of a chat. There is a lovely barn that we have been given the use of for silent time. That is the wonderful thing about this place. We can go where we feel comfortable.

We had a wonderful supper and then gathered for the discussion. Everyone spoke up and told their opinions, which is nice. You feel that you have a very even group then. Carole and Alan also joined us. Alan runs several different reading groups. He didn’t seem to be too intimidated with all the women in the room!

After a good night’s sleep, we made it up to the main house for a lovely breakfast. Anna then read us the second story of the weekend, “Across the Bridge” by Heinrich Boll. Unfortunately, there isn’t any bibliographic information about this work. After this the others went of for a coastal walk and though I was really tempted, feeling a bit of a cold coming on I decided not to go tramping out in the rain. I had promised myself peace and quiet to do some drawing and writing, so I’ve stayed behind at the fire side.

Tonight we are to have a talk by a poet about ways we remember poetry being different then the ways we remember books. It will be an interesting discussion.

Monday 26/Feb/2007 10:30

Last night was fabulous, but I’ll start with where I left off. After a wonderful lunch of soup, bread and cheese, we all went into the lounge for another reading. This time Anna read to us “The Stone” by Tove Jansson that was published in her book A Winter Book. We then went off our separate ways. I didn’t seem to leave the lounge for the whole day really. I enjoyed reading, knitting and doing some drawing. That is what I came for, to relax and take some “me” time. At tea time, we all got together to discuss the two stories we had read. We then had some free time to get ready for the evening.

We were so fortunate to have Gillian Clarke come to have supper with us and give us a poetry and short story reading. Her and her husband regaled us with stories about Wales and India (where they had just visited). We almost didn’t leave the supper table all night, but we did slowly make it into the lounge to have a wonderful reading of three poems and one short story. (Gillian’s poetry books are in print still.) The short story was “Honey” which can be found published in Magpies: Short Stories from Wales edited by Robert Nisbet. Her story was very poetical and rich with images, something that you want to take some time with. She had turned the story into a radio play also, which she has done many times. These have been performed on BBC Radio 4. We were up and captivated until midnight, when we called it a night and let Gillian and her husband leave.

I always find poetry easier to listen to than to read. I read very quickly, and tend to read concepts instead of each individual word. That’s fine for regular fiction or non-fiction reading, but makes it difficult to read poetry or stream of consciousness writing. Having this lyrical story read to you, allows your imagination to be the only thing you are really working with. I guess that is why I have heard it is better to read poetry out loud.

Tuesday February 27. 10:00

This was Ali Smith day. We started at breakfast with a reading of her story “Writ”, which is a limited edition unfortunately. The story is about a woman who is confronted with her 14 year old self, because of an unexpected kiss from an acquaintance. The thought of confronting my 14 year old self was actually something I wish could have happened. As with most things, I think I would have liked to have been reassured that life was going to be better. Many of those gathered; felt that, as in the story, their younger selves wouldn’t have listened to them. But I think I would have. I would have been so relieved to hear how happy I was finally going to be. How little I needed a “Man” in my life and that I would live in England with a wonderful man who loves me for who I am.

Still feeling the cold coming on, I stayed at the house while every else had a walk along the coast. They came back for lunch, where we had another wonderful meal and another story. This one was “Astute Fiery Luxurious”, a Guardian original fiction for 2003. This story is about two people in a very close relationship who receive a package in the mail that has their address on it, but doesn’t say who it is for. The story is very intriguing because Smith keeps so much open for interpretation.

Sue and I then went around some of the local craft sites. I felt the need to get out of the house. After supper we had another discussion about the two stories. Carole joined us for this discussion and was asked about some of her writing. She has a MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales. She wrote poetry for her dissertation about a noble woman named Nest. She lived in Wales during the Eleventh century. I’ve taken a peek at it this morning and it is really very interesting. Reminds me of Tennyson or Homer, where you are learning history through poetry. Though with Carole’s writing, you know that a woman with a love of her subject and a woman’s understanding has written the poems.

This morning the rest are having a tour of the farm from Carole and then we are going to have another quick walk along the beach and then home. (I didn’t end up going on this walk, which was good because they came home absolutely soaked, but very very happy.)

Even though it has been a short weekend, and most of us did not know each other before. We have enjoyed not only each others insight into the works we have been reading, but also each others company.

Anna asked us at the beginning of the retreat what we hoped to get out of the experience. What I wanted was some peace and quiet. I was able to get that and much more. I wanted to expand both my artistic creative side, but my reading side also. I’ve been able to do both. I’ve met wonderful people, read things that challenge me, and reawakened my need to read more. I also feel that I understand myself a bit better. The ability to say no, I want to stay by myself and not go out with the others all the time, felt good. I fought the need to conform, which has always been a driving force for me. I was able to stay behind. Write, read and craft all day with periods of interesting conversations. I didn’t feel that the others thought that strange or anti-social. It was very freeing for me.

There was an aspect to this retreat that you wouldn’t have had if it had been mixed genders. We were able to discuss things as multi generational women, about our lives. The way we deal with things like where are we going with our careers, family life and use the readings as ways of thinking about our lives as women. I’m not saying it was better for that. I think that if there had been men here it would have been fulfilling also. But I think there was something special about sitting around a room with women who have different experiences that made this retreat very special to me.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ready Steady Book

I've come across the coolest new literary site. It is called Ready Steady Book. It is a new site, but it already has a wonderful blog to keep you informed of the literary news. Plus, it has articles...book reviews...poem of the week....today in literature....and a list of a few British literary blogs. They are connected to The Book Depository, which is another find for me this last few weeks. I ordered something from Amazon and it came, new, from this online store. They do free shipping in the UK, so it makes it worth me checking there before relying on Amazon.co.uk all the time! With Amazon, I usually end up buying more books because I want the free shipping. That is OK most of the time....but sometimes you just want to spend the money on ONE book. (Shock Horror I know, but it does happen!)

(edit: Sorry Mark, I should have said...new to me literary site! Well worth a read and do check out his other site at.... http://www.britlitblogs.com/)

Book Retreat

I'm so excited. This weekend I'm headed to Wales to have a long 4 day weekend at a Book Retreat. The retreat is put on by Anna, who runs the Wenlock Books store that I've talked about before. I don't know anyone who is going except Anna, so that makes me a bit worried....but the whole object is to get some rest really (for me). We are free to roam during the day, but during the evening we are going to be reading short stories and discussing them. That ought to be good fun. Anna hasn't told us what kind of stories she is picking out yet.

I hope to spend some time with my computer typing out reviews that I'm behind! I've written one that I'll post, but I've read around 3 others I think.

So what am I taking to read???

Gillian Tindall
The House by the Thames

An Indian Attachment
Sarah Lloyd

Wolves eat Dogs
Martin Cruz Smith

Barbara Pym
An Unsuitable Attachment

I might sneak something else in too....but that is what I plan on taking....and two blankets I'm making....and well....probably more stuff too.....must remember NOT to take to much!

I tell you all about it when I get back!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman,

I've been listening to the Craftlit podcast for a long time. Heather Ordover who has been an English teacher and is very knowledgeable hosts. We started with Pride and Prejudice, and at the moment I'm listening to her short story casts. I know that she eventually does Henry James' Turn of the Screw, which I'm looking forward to listening. Heather has a great voice and does such a good job commenting on the work. There is craft talk, but it isn't the whole cast, so those that don't craft I don't think would mind. She gets the readings from Librivox, or reads some of the short stories herself.

I just had to talk about The Yellow Wallpaper. Where have I been??? Why haven't I read or heard of Charlotte Perkins Gillman??? I mean, I took a course in women's writing in college and I don't remember reading this remarkable work! If you have been like me and have missed it...well you just have to read it. I listen to it and even though I knew what was probably going to happen...it is so well written you are just totally taken in. You want to know whether the girl and the husband where in collusion against the wife...or where they just trying to help. Why would the husband feel that such a place would be appropriate for a woman who was so obviously depressed. I could just go on! I would love to discuss this with someone, so if you read it let me know!!!

I've been working with Anna from Wenlock books on a discussion forum. I'm having a few difficulties with the skin (way the forum looks), but it is up and running. (Very under used though). If you would like to have a look and have read any of the books that are to be discussed, feel free to start them off. Anna is fine with the discussion including more then just the people who are actually going to the groups. She has had such luck with the groups, that they had to turn people away. That is why she is hoping to get this going and see if this can be an extension to her bookstore!

Happy reading...(I'm still 2 books behind reviewing...or is it 3???)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I have been reading....

honest. I was home for Christmas (to the States) for two weeks and just got home. December was such a whirlwind of stuff do make and do that I didn't get a chance to post! I'm sorry about that. I've read three mysteries, so will be posting about those soon. Thanks for your patience! I hope to catch up with what my favorite bloggers have been up to soon also!