Saturday, 22 January 2011


How is everyone? Has January been a good month for you, or are you glad it's almost over? Have you managed to read much this year? Do you like dogs? Does the buying of books fill you with any special pleasure? Have you taken a moment to wonder why I've not written anything so far that does not end with a question mark?

Are you one of those people who can go for a walk without an apparent destination? Does having time to read and drink coffee matter to you? What is your favourite manifestation of punctuation? How many mugs do you own? Have you heard of Padgett Powell? What are your favourite kind of flowers? Do you find split ends heartbreaking? Do you write a diary? Do you enjoy reading those that have been published? Are all these questions getting you down? What is your favourite piece of classical music? Do you think Bette Davis deserved a slap?

Do you wish I'd get to the point? Do you enjoy sunrise or sunset more? Do you think a book composed entirely of questions can be termed a novel? Do you read much fanfiction? Does a crisp white shirt do it for you? Can you credit the fact that I still buy books, even though I have enough unread to last me for over eight years? Is a pearl necklace somehow calming? Have I confused you? Would you ever start a war, if you could? Do you like the concept of royalty? Do you think Lawrence Olivier or Kenneth Brannah was better at Shakespeare? Can you conceive of a world without dogs? Should I stop now, or carry on indefinitely? Should you read 'The Interrogative Mood'? Do you need me to tell you yes or no?

Do you mind if I put a stop to this now and read something with no questions whatsoever? Will you seek out the book?

Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Year's Reformations

I should start this post by apologising for my extended absence. 2010 was an interesting year, but not one I could really write about. The last few months have pretty much been consumed by work - in part a way of ignoring other things that were going on about me. From September I barely had tme to read, and what I did manage seemed hardly worth talking about. I've never been one for the newest reads, and so I seemed to lose my reason for blogging in the face of so many other voices.

In view of tidying things up, here's a list of what I read in 2010

Barbery, Muriel The Elegance of the Hedgehog
Barker, Pat Life Class
Byatt, A.S. The Children's Book
Chevallier, Tracy Remarkable Creatures
Christie, Agathe Murder in Mesopotamia
Christie, Agathe Dumb Witness
Christie, Agathe The Moving Finger
Collins, Wilkie The Moonstone
Collins, Wilkie The Woman in White
De Santis, Pablo The Paris Enigma
Dexter, Colin The Way Through the Woods
Du Maurier, Daphne Mary Anne
Du Maurier, Daphne The House on the Strand
Dunant, Sarah Sacred Hearts
Gaiman, Niel The Graveyard Book
Grossmith, George and Wheedon Diary of a Nobody
Hardy, Thomas Jude the Obscure
Holt, Tom Who's Afraid of Beowolf?
Holt, Tom My Hero
HRH Princess Michael of Kent The Serpent and the Moon
Kingsolver, Barbara The Poisonwood Bible
Lake, Deryan The King's Women
Laurens, Stephanie The Ideal Bride
Maitland, Sarah A Book of Silence
Mantel, Hilary Wolf Hall
McCall Smith, Alexander The Sunday Philosophy Club
Morton, Kate The House at Riverton
Morton, Kate The Distant Hours
Murdoch, Iris The Bell
Picardie, Justine Coco Chanel
Smith, P. Robert Up a tree at night in a park with a hedgehog
Tolkein, J.R.R. The Hobbit
Beerbohm, Max Zuleika Dobson
Green, Grahame Travels with my Aunt
Barbery, Muriel The Gourmet
Gregory, Philippa The White Queen

I started the new year in a very familiar way - by reading. However, I chose a non-fiction book. You may be able to tell from the list above that 2010 was dominated by fiction, and on leaving the house this morning I made a grab for 'Venice' by Peter Ackroyd. I've made small inroads into it, and am already fascinated by the way it weaves around the many layers of history - much like the city's many canals.

It's also made me make a decision about how I go about reading, and talking about it all. Whilst I may not comment on the newest things out there, I believe I can still take you all on a journey. We'll start in Venice, but after that who knows? I may take you to India or Greece; back in time to the Plantaganet era, or whisk you off into war torn London. There are a lot of strong women out there, and we might get accquainted with the Georgian Duchess of Devonshire, or perhaps her Tudor ancestor. Thomas Hardy might welcome us to his part of England, and Rasputin might issue a warning from the Russian Steppes.

Do not expect me to stand still this year - I'm broadening my horizons and I suggest you come along for the ride!