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Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Black Book humour!

Feeling a little under the weather and disgruntled with life, this sign I spotted in a tiny book shop in Keswick really appealed to my pessimistic side! I particularly love the slightly threatening/possibly suicidal tone.

Cheered me up a treat.

Friday, 9 April 2010

We need to talk about Kevin

No. 5
We need to talk about Kevin
by Lionel Shriver







Read or re read?
A much loved re read. I recently got the chance to meet Lionel Shriver in person and that, and this article I found in the Guardian, prompted me to pick it up again.

Fascinating Fact
A film is set to hit our screens either this year or the next, with Tilda Swinton playing the lead and narrator, Eva Khatchadourian.


The Blurb
Published in 2003, Shriver's novel about a fictional high school massacre seemed to be on everybody's bedside table that summer. Narrated through letters to her estranged husband Franklin, Eva Khatchadourian reflects on events before and after the 'Thursday' their sixteen year old son Kevin commits mass murder in his high school gym.

Now living alone in a rickety flat, she traces their marriage and family life from the beginning. She examines their happy marriage pre Kevin, and tries to explain her seemingly hot and cold desire for having him. When Franklin doesn't come home one night, Eva imagines her future without him, and this fear of losing the love of her life, seems to spur her final decision. They start trying to conceive.

From the very moment of his conception, Eva and Kevin fight. She resents her pregnancy, he is a fractious unattractive child, nannies won't stay and Eva, the founder of a successful travel guide, is forced to stay at home and become a full time mum. As Kevin gets older, Eva finds it impossible to not draw conclusions when things start to go wrong at his preschool. She sees him as a malevolent force, a calculating clever child who is determined to drive a wedge between his doting father and mistrusting mother. Even so, she tries and it is in these flashes of her earnestly trying to Be A Good Mother that redeem Eva as a character.

Time goes by and Eva continues to see her former life and her marriage drift disappear. They have another child, Celia. The sides even out. Eva and daughter. Franklin and Kevin. But things don't improve and Kevin is increasingly implicated in more worrying incidents.

But even Eva is unprepared when, one Thursday Kevin walks into his high school and murders a select group pupils and teacher in cold blood.

Is it a keeper?
Bit of a no brainer as I have had this for a good 5 years and still enjoy re reading it. I know that many people feel that Eva is a unappealing and self indulgent narrator but I can only commend Shriver for writing such an honest account of motherhood. We seem to have this invisible line of what we can and can't say when it comes to family life and Shriver bulldozes through it, exposing the very fabric of family life and the complex, painful relationships that hold us all together. Ultimately Eva loses everything, yet she still seems to love her son. To say this book gives you food for thought is an understatement; its a feast.

More like this
A Perfectly Good Family - Lionel Shriver
Bowling for Columbine - Michael Moore (film)

Technical hitch..

So... as some of you may have noticed the link to the map wasn't exactly working. I have resolved the problem, but if not apologies and let me know!

I have also put up my favourite of your suggestions so far, along with a link to their blog. Hopefully you'll be able to see if it was yours when you click on the map icon to the right.

Hopefully.

Anyway, hope your all enjoying the sunshine and happy Friday!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The First Literary Locations!

Hello folks, hope you all had egg-cellent Easters. (Don't blame me, I'm a bit scrambled..hahah!)

Well after my little hiatus (work blah blah blah...) I have been biting at the bit as they say to get back to my lovely little corner of blog world and start Literary Locations properly.

And as luck would have it I have just returned from a hasty mini break to the wilds of the Lake District. Specifically, the oh-so-quaint town of Grasmere. (Along with half the world and their Land rovers - not me I had the pleasure of Mr Branson's trains. Not. Nice)

Anyhoo, the bright eyed of you will have already made the connection but here is a little clue.


Then just click here and then on 'The Book Shelf ' on the left to take you through to the interactive map and find out who the bloody hell I'm talking about.


Monday, 22 March 2010

The Debut of Literary Locations..da daaaa!


Following a chat I had a few weeks ago with A Bookish Space, I have been nursing a germ of an idea.

Living and working in central London, I am extremely lucky to walk past places with bookish associations on a daily basis. But a lot of the time, us busy bees just walk straight past.

So I thought I’d embark on a bit of literary location sleuthing.

Then I’ll post up my latest discoveries and we can start to build up a bit of an interactive map. Interactive map I hear you cry? Worry not. I have a nifty solution up my voluminous sleeves.

So, before my first post do you have any favourite bookish spots? The map is international so think BIG! I’ll pick my favourite and post it on the map along with a link to your blog.

Louisa May Alcott on iPlayer



Happy Monday folks!

Well it might not be the most favourite of all my days but the BBC seem to have sensed that and put up Louisa May Alcott's Good Wives on iPlayer. Isn't the tinterweb marvelous?

I have seen quite a few posts about Little Women recently so I thought I'd share the brilliant sequel with you.

Find them all here. The first episode is available till this Wednesday so be quick!

Plus, keep an eye for an exciting new project I'm working on. It involves maps, and drawing pins and books...


Friday, 19 March 2010

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher


No. 4
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher
or The Murder at Road Hill House
by Kate Summerscale




Read or Re-read?
Read. Intrigued by it's cover I picked this up in a charity shop about a year ago. And there it has stayed...

A Fascinating Fact
To be honest picking just one is tricky - the whole book is packed full of them.


The Blurb
The non fictional plot follows one of London's first proper detectives Jack Whicher as he attempts to unravel the shocking and completely perplexing murder of three year old Saville Kent in the Somerset town of Road.

Snatched from his cot in his Nurse's room, his body is found in the grounds of his wealthy families' home, Road Hill House. The shocking savagery of the murder and the fact that it's perpetrator must have been a member of the household sets the Victorian society of 1860 in a frenzy and Mr Whicher is sent from London to get to the bottom of the truth. (The local police having proved disastrously inept.)

Summerscale follows his investigation, and his frustration, as he battles against the locals, the Kent's bizarre family history and the social class divisions of the age. After all only poor people are violent?

Simultaneously she refers regularly to the history of detection (here's where the good facts are) and how Whicher and his colleagues inspired a new genre of novel and a new character; the detective. Both Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins were contemporaries.

Like Sergeant Cuff in The Moonstone, Whicher is led (by way of a stained nightdress - same as Cuff!) to the person he thinks is responsible - Saville's older sister, 16 year old Constance.

He has her arrested, but she is later acquitted and Whicher returns to London in disgrace.
Summerscale then traces his and the Kent family's progress in the years after until a shocking confession and surprising discovery lead to the murderer, five years after the crime.

So whodunnit? Well you'll have to read it to find out...

Is it a keeper?
Mmmmmm. I have to admit as much as I found Summerscale's writing style and evident knowledge fascinating, I can't say I love loved this. I think part of the problem was I was expecting a fiction novel, and although the real life story is gripping I found this a little fact heavy, and at times a bit dry.

That said I am a huge fan of the detective novel so it was interesting to read about someone who inspired some of my favourite authors. And much like the Victorians, I also share their morbid curiosity in all things murder mystery. I guess some things don't change!

More like this

The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins
Bleak House - Charles Dickens

Friday, 12 March 2010

Lovely things for Book people

Wonder wandering around the beauty that is Liberty’s , ostensibly for a present for Mr Bookshelf’s mum, I got sidetracked by all the lovely things on offer for bookworms; eg me.

Over the week I often find such things, and with Mothers day coming up (not that you need an excuse) I thought I’d share some of them.



Love the smell of a new book? Well now YOU can smell like one too! Ok, so I’m not entirely sure about this one, or to be honest, what Paperback even smells like, but it’s certainly original.



Mum’s love flowers. Book lovers adore Shakespeare. So why not buy David Austin’s beautiful Shakespeare rose?



Nothing says I’m A Nice Person (honest) like a present that you don’t get to keep. Oxfam Unwrapped’s reading classes give the gift of literacy to impoverished adults around the world. You keep the warm fuzzy feeling.



For a lasting, (and serious brownie point giving) gift, you could adopt a book from the British Library. £150 gets you sole guardianship and a personalised bookplate with your dedication.


So it may have only been sunny for literally 2.5 hours but I (mum’s already got one) am already planning my summer reading from this IKEA lounger. It’s so comfy and ladywholunches that you can’t do anything BUT lay back and while away the day.


And if all else fails, National book tokens. Nuff said.

War horse..

Hello poor little neglected blog. Sorry for sounding like a broken record but I am very miffed with my employees for making me stay late every single night this week and keeping me from all the lovely things I have wanted to post about.

Rant over, I am looking forward to a lovely evening with the Boy, who is taking me to see Michael Morpurgo's war Horse at the New London Theatre. Woop!

I have heard fab reviews and would love to hear if any of you have seen it? I'll try and post about it tomorrow, along with a collection of lovely bookish suggestions for Mother's Day.

Have great weekends and I can't wait to catch up with all your posts very soon!

Monday, 8 March 2010

A very big thank you!

After all the excitement of the Book Oscars I was very excited to receive some awards of my very own!

Firstly thank you so much to Pageturners for my first ever blog awards! The...


And also the Happy 101 award! I have to list 10 things that make me happy, then pass them both on to 10 new blogs that I love.

So here is my list.

1. My boyfriend (I have to say this. I would like dinner tonight...)
2. Ditto, friends and family
3. One of my bath books*
4. Wine
5. My shoes. Even though in my current employ I don't get to wear the pretty ones nearly enough
6. Sunny mornings. Blue skies. Nuff said
7. Food. Of almost any description though cake rates quite highly
8. An unexpected bonus of the financial kind
9. Flowers. I am completely helpless in the face of a bouquet
10. The Sopranos aka Tony Soprano aka dream husband

* Book bath definition. Any of Louise Rennison's books or India Knight's My Life on a Plate. Fabulously funny books that cheer me up no matter how blue I am.

And then from all the way across the pond in the big apple, Books in the City very kindly gave me...


I have to tell you all 10 honest facts about myself then, you guessed it, pass it on to 10 people.

1. Despite my, sometimes terrible grammar, I am in fact a writer. I work for a London advertising agency
2. I am almost definitely always 3 pounds heavier than I will ever tell you
3. I used to live in Norway
4. I am a complete wimp and can't drive
5. I would probably choose to spend my last pennies on shoes, rather than food.
6. I may occasionally listen to show tunes.
7. I have never read Catcher in the Rye, Middlemarch etc
8. I enjoy the occasional run. Occasional being the operative word here.
9. I may the only person in the country who still quite likes Gordon Brown.
10. I'd like to write a real book. As opposed to the ones in my head.

Anyway - scuse the overload of personal info and thanks again! I'll put up my deserving nominees later!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

And the winner is...

Without further ado here are the results!


Best Book to film

Where the Wild Things Are



-.-


Best Cover Design

The Children's Book
A.S. Byatt



-.-


Best Female Character

Lisbeth Salander
Millenium Trilogy



-.-


Best Male Character

Thomas Cromwell
Wolf Hall



-.-


Best Fiction Novel

Wolf Hall
Hillary Mantel


So that's it folks! Thanks again to A Bookish Space, Paperback Reader, Books in the City and Page Turners and to everyone who took part. And to my parents, the internet, god...

The 2010 Book Oscars red carpet



Good evening and welcome to the very first Book
Oscars!


So most of the world is probably focusing on Hollywood's great and good this evening, but here in our little corner of the blogosphere we say keep your fancy ceremony, glamourous dresses and £60,000 goody bags. We'd much rather sit in front of the computer, supping a glass of something bubbly (Champagne ideally - lemonade still counts) and wait for the results of the very first Book Oscars!

First up I think we should take a look at our cyber red carpet and see what you chose to wear as your fantasy bookish outfit. Here are my favourties.

First up is A Bookish Space with the beautiful green dress featured in Atonement... tiny bit jealous I didn't think of this!

Next the lovely Becky at Page Turners chose this frothy beauty. Not technically booky but as she said, it's just to pretty to care!



Then I went all literal and picked this hand made book page dress...


And finally, and apologies for the pic, it's the best I could find, is my gorgeous Lucy's choice. Fleur Delacore's stunning blue dress and cape from Harry Potter. I got to see this in the flesh the other day - it really is stupidly lovely.


So we're all set! Results to follow....

Saturday, 6 March 2010

A Brave New World

No. 3
A Brave New World
by Aldous Huxley






Read or Re-read?
Shamefully, this is the first time I have ever read A Brave New World. I inherited a very lovely original Penguin Classic and it has sat on the BookShelf until this week.

A Fascinating Fact
Brave New World's iconic title derives from Miranda's speech in Shakespeare's The Tempest.

The Blurb
The book is set in London in "the year of our Ford 632" (that's AD 2540 to us). Most of the worlds population live unified under The World State, a consumer driven 'utopia' where natural conception ahas been done away with, and children are instead bred in test tubes and sorted at embryonic stage in to different castes: Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons.
Only Alphas are created using untampered cells. All lower castes are effectively clones subject to varying degrees of oxygen deprivation and conditioning to produce a hierarchy of intelligence.

From childhood, all babies are conditioned to embrace consumerism, ("ending is better than mending") and when they need a break they indulge in Soma, a hallucinogenic drug that takes them away on 'holidays'.

Enter Bernard Marx, an Alpha plus psychologist harbouring the distinct impression that life just isn't quite as it should be. A little short and swarthy for the usual Alpha male stereotype, Bernard decides in order to woo Lenina, a pretty, pneumatic (not my word!) Beta, he will take her to a Savage Reservation. This is where those not under The World State live.

With seduction off the menu (Lenina being seriously unimpressed) they are amazed to find a former World State member and her son living amongst the tribe, having got separated from a visiting party year earlier. Pregnant by a high ranking member of the State she had to give birth and raise (god forbid!) her son John.

Bernard decides to take them back to London and quickly enjoys his new celebrity status as the discoverer of the 'Savages'. John however, is horrified by the soulless order, lack of faith and sexual promiscuity.

The book ends with John falling more and more disgusted by this version of civilisation and ends up living in isolation in an abandoned Light House, where he attempts to atone for the sins he has witnessed and experienced.

Phewf.

Is it a keeper?
Despite the heavy subject matter and intricate plot, with its many layers of reference and metaphor, I found A Brave New World an incredibly accessible read. It's fascinating that a book written in 1931 could so accurately predict some elements of the future. It is genuinely funny too, a real show case for Huxley's inner satirist.

Quite simply, I adored it.

More like this
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
The Hand Maids Tale - Margaret Atwood
Gattica (film)

Friday, 5 March 2010

Roll out the red carpet...

In the lead up to the grand reveal of our book Oscar results this Sunday, I'm feeling the need to get a little dressed up, a little excited.

I'm going to start the proceedings by setting a challenge. What will you be wearing on our Book Oscar (cyber) red carpet?

Those of you that know me will know that my second biggest love after books is Beautiful Dresses and Things, so I'm going to get the ball rolling and give you a sneaky peak at my chosen frock.

Ta Daaaaaaaa!


I'm the teensiest bit in love with this. (Ok completely) Have a look at more pics of it on my new favourite blog discovery right here.

Just post the link to your chosen outfit and whether it's author inspired, book inspired or just what you bloomin' well want to wear, I'll put it up on the red carpet post I'll do on Sunday. With a link to your blog of course...

Happy fantasy shopping!

Ps. I just can't help it. These are the shoes. The bea-utiful shoes (book blog Cate, book blog...)

Books and food. Yum yum...

Happy friday!

I spotted a great article on the Guardian earlier today. Titled Literary Feasts for Children, it's about the relationship between children's books and food, and asks, what fictional feast sticks in your memory the most?

With Alice and Wonderland references reaching fever pitch in the run up to Tim Burton's new adaptation, (thoughts, views?) the most obvious is probably the Mad Hatter's tea party.

But for me, I have to admit my favourite literary food favourites are a little more down to earth. As a child I was completely infatuated by Enid Blyton's depictions of idyllic child hood picnics. I so, so wanted my mum to pack up homemade lemonade, currant buns and crumbly pork pies when me and my brother went off on our grandly titled Adventures. (All wrapped up in a comforting checkered napkin of course) Somehow monster munch and kitkats never quite cut the mustard.

It's a pattern I seem to have continued. Harry Potter was all the more glorious for its mouth watering descriptions of food (groaning tables of food that magically appear = heaven) and I know I will always love a Joanne Harris novel, an author who writes about food more like a lover than plain sustenance.

It also perhaps, explains my love of cookery books, or food porn as they are commonly referred to in our house. I can quite happily spend hours poring over them, looking at the pictures and reading the descriptions. Words like gooey, oozing and crackling are not mere instructions. They deserve proper reading. (Read Locatelli - his description of risotto is AMAZING)

Which begs the question, what are your favourite book + food moments? And why do they seem to be so evocative?



Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Giveaway winner!

The two weeks are up, followers are following and small pieces of paper with names on them have been placed in a hat and then pulled out.

Which means a brand spanking new copy of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox will be on it's way to...



Check out her gorgeous blog here.

Thanks to all of you who joined in and keep an eye, or two, open for more of the same!

Friday, 26 February 2010

A week in the life..

Well... Hello little blog. Hello blog pals. It feels like ages since I have actually sat down to write a Proper Post Full of Things.

Seeing as a stuuuuuupidly busy work week has meant that reading has been reduced to a few pages before I fall asleep on the bus, I thought I'd just share some of the things that tickled my bookish taste buds last week.

First up, was last Saturdays brilliant Guardian article on writer's top ten tips in the Review section. They are all good in their different ways, but my personal favourite (as someone who pretends to write for a living - yep someone pays me and everything) was Roddy Doyle's.

Here are the first five...

1 Do not place a photograph of your favourite author on your desk, especially if the author is one of the famous ones who committed suicide.

2 Do be kind to yourself. Fill pages as quickly as possible; double space, or write on every second line. Regard every new page as a small triumph

3 Until you get to Page 50. Then calm down, and start worrying about the quality. Do feel anxiety – it's the job.

4 Do give the work a name as quickly as possible. Own it, and see it. Dickens knew Bleak House was going to be called Bleak House before he started writing it. The rest must have been easy.

5 Do restrict your browsing to a few websites a day. Don't go near the online bookies – unless it's research.

I'm not sure how many of you saw this, but I would definitely recommend a gander. Fascinating stuff.


Monday meant work but also a meeting and discovery of my new favourite reading spot in London. Sketch may be one of the most ridiculously pretentious places in town, but it's tea room, with it's Alice in Wonderland like frivolity and comfy sofas and oh-so-pretty cakes makes it the perfect indulgence if you want to escape the gloom. A girl can dream..



'scuse the crap photo... was trying to do it subtly, in that, 'I'm totally not overwhelmed by this. I come to here all the time' kinda way...


Tuesday meant a trip to the Design Museum for the Brit Insurance Designer of the Year.
This rainbow book pile made me happy.


As I was wondering/running manically round London town this week, it did get me thinking. It would be really interesting to plot a route around the important literary places... it can seem as though you're never far from something you've read in a book.

If anyone has a particularly good one, whether it's in London, or you're home town, I'd love to know. Maybe we can start a bit of a virtual map...

Anyhoo, apologies for this bitty, long post... have a super week!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The Book Oscars nominations!



Good evening and welcome to the 2010 Book Oscar Nominations!

So firstly, apologies for being so technically incompetent. The plan was to get all of the polls into this post, but as yet that is totally defeating me so for now, please find them to your right... yey!

Also, due to slight complications vis a vis the global blog link up network (a bit like Thunderbirds) I am only releasing the first few lots of nominees tonight. I quite like the idea that the suspense will build up for best male and female characters... it's like the real thing. Sort of.

Anyway, here they are! (Points right) At this point I would like to offer huge thanks to, Books in the City, Paperback Reader and The Ideas Bakery for taking their time to share their favourite books with me. Muchly appreciated ladies.

And for the eagle eyed amongst you I haven't forgotten... here are the Book Cover Design Nominees for your approval...



I hope in the next few days to get all of the nominees into one post but for now.. let the disagreements and infuriated whynotthisamazingbook? posting begin!

Monday, 22 February 2010

The Book Oscars 2010.. ta daaaa!

It seems at the moment you can't go anywhere without someone talking about awards season. Which made me think, why not host our very own version of the Oscars here in blogland?

The idea is super simple.

I have approached some of your most popular blogs to ask for their nominees for the five main categories. Over the next weeks you can vote for the recipient you think deserves the 'Oscar' the most. Then we have a grand unveiling ceremony of the winners!

The categories are.

Best female character in a novel
Best male character in a novel
Best film adaptation of a novel
Best Cover Design
Best fiction

The only rule is that the books must be from this past year. That's it.

Voting will open tomorrow hopefully, I'm just sorting out a nice header you can plop on your blogs too.

Right I'm off to buy a frock....

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Through the letter box...

I was very excited to wake up this morning to find a mysterious package lying on the doormat. On closer inspection it turned out to be a new proof from the lovely Lee at Picador, (thank you!) which is pretty much the nicest way to get up on a Saturday.

It's called The Ice Age and it's the debut novel by American Kirsten Reed. Aside from the fact it has quite possibly the loveliest cover, the name Jack Kerouac is bandied around on the back which makes it doubly intriguing.

I'm just about to finish Aldous Huxley's A Brave New World (review to follow) so timing is perfect.

Apart from that I've been planning a bit of inter blog fun so keep your peepers open for an exciting (hopefully) announcement soon!

Have a fab weekend. x

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Books and flowers with Cath Kidston

The queen of polka dots and duchess of flowers, Cath Kidston, has started a book club. Or in her words,

"... we are launching our brand new bookclub and we would love for our customers to get involved. Simply tell us about the books you love and why. The best reviews will then be printed in the Cath Kidston magazine and you could even have your favorite book with your review on sale in our shops and on our website. Simply email us your favorites at bookworm@cathkidston.com"

As someone who tries very hard to keep the Kidston side of her personality in check, ("How divine, a darling cake platter..hello trees, hello sun, my, what a sweet tea-towel you have there...") I am naturally thrilled at the prospect.

I'm off to look for suitably splendid book to review. And in the spirit of research I may also put my polka dot pinny on. Maybe.

Ps. Remember to click on my 'follow me' button if you would like to be the lucky new owner of The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Bribery and corruption aka Book giveaway time!

So. After a month of faffing and fiddling, the new blog is starting to take shape and I’m starting to think about finding some people to read it.

Like Pageturners genius master plan to get members to her fab blog, I have decided to launch a bit of an appeal. Unlike her I am happy to offer a bribe.

I have been lucky enough to be given two copies of the next book off the shelf, Maggie O'Farrell's heart rendering account of madness and incarceration, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox.

One of those copies will be winging its way to one of my followers two weeks from today, on the 3rd of March.

The idea being, tons of you will click on my little 'follow me button' between now and then. Then I pick a name from a hat and voila! someone gets a shiny new book.

And ‘coz I am feeling full of the joys of spring I will also be putting a Surprise Thing in with the package.

Let the rush slow trickle begin!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The Bluest Eye



"Quiet as it's kept, there were no marigolds in the fall of 1941. We thought, at the time, that is was because Pecola was having her father's baby that the marigolds did not grow..."

And so Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye begins.

Set in Ohio in the 1940's, the story is narrated by Claudia MacTeer, both as young black girl growing up against the backdrop of the american midwest, and later on in life, as an adult looking back on her childhood. Parts are also narrated by an omnipresent third party.

Claudia remembers the autumn Pecola Breedlove comes to stay, her family having been put 'oudoors' with nowhere to go after her father sets fire to their home and is sent to jail. Believing herself to be ugly, Pecola's most fervent wish is to have blue eyes. Unloved by her damaged parents and surrounded by a lack of hope, she is bullied and has few friends.

Despite being the main protagonist, Pecola's character is the one to remain the least developed, perhaps as a way to reinforce the idea that she becomes a font for the shortcomings of those around her; a reflection of a brutal world.

As the story continues we learn that both her parents also had damaging and abusive upbringings. In the afterword, Morrison explains that she felt it important not to dehumanize the characters who ruin Pecola: this she achieves marvelously. (Though she herself, is unsatisfied with her depiction of Pauline Breedlove.)

The novel reaches it's peak with the rape of Pecola at the hands of her father. Not only does it represent the central point in the novel, for me it brought together all of the separate threads of narrative that Morrison weaves up to that point. It showcases her incredible ability to explore the complexity of seemingly simple, brutal events; to not only move you, but to make you question why you are moved.

In the aftermath of the rape and Pecola's subsequent pregnancy, it is through Claudia's childlike, innocent desire for Pecola's baby to survive that Morrison deftly shows societies ability to turn a blind eye. Pecola, transparent for much of the novel, simply disappears from the adults view.

My thoughts

The Bluest Eye is a stunning examination of societies perception of beauty and the importance we place on appearance. Written by Morrison in the 60's it has obvious racial implications, but there are still lessons to be learnt today, in our (hopefully more equal) society. It's certainly not a light read, nor an uplifting one but Morrison's rhythmic, almost poetic writing carries the reader through and captivates from the start.

The Bluest Eye may be a smaller in size than some of her more famous novels, but don't be fooled. It packs a heavy punch.

Tuesday Teaser...

Inspired by Page Turners post about Should be reading's Tuesday Teasers idea (keep up...) here is my very own teaser, a sneak peak into my most recent read, Toni Morrison's, The Bluest Eye.'

'They come from Mobile. Aiken. From Newport News. From Marietta. From Meridian. And the sounds of these places make you think of love. When you ask them where they are from, they tilt their heads and say "Mobile" and you think you've been kissed."
Page 63

If that has you suitably tantalised (god this is sounding like a saucy show!) keep an eye out for my review.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Do look now...Daphne De Maurier on iplayer

Afternoon folks!

Hope you all had lovely loved up Valentines, whoever you were with. Heathcliff, Mr Darcy.. Tarzan?

My last iplayer announcement got some lovely responses so I thought I would share another recommendation. Until this friday, Daphne Du Maurier's Don't look now is available here on BBC iplayer.

I haven't had a chance to have a listen but I am sure it will be great. I will be too busy writing up my next review... Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye.

If anyone has read it recently i'd love to hear from you... it has definitely stayed with me.



Friday, 12 February 2010

Book stairs for Book people



Happy Friday !

In response to a comment left by A Bookish Space yesterday, I have dug out some pictures of this rather splendid storage solution for those of us who can’t bear to chuck out books.

Worry not my fellow book fans, just turn your traditional boring stairs into…. book stairs!

Totally. Brilliant.


Thursday, 11 February 2010

Waiting for Columbus




"Sometimes the best map will not guide you
You can't see what's round the bend
Sometimes the road leads through dark places
Sometimes the darkness is your friend"

- Bruce Cockburn

Set in contemporary Spain, in the town of Seville, the plot follows the story of an anonymous stranger. Found semi naked and unconscious in the treacherous Strait of Gibraltar, he is taken to a local insane asylum where he claims to be Christopher Columbus. Yes, the 15th century explorer…

Here he attracts the attention of Nurse Consuela, who slowly begins to unravel his mystery as he tells her stories about his life. The deeper she involves herself in Columbus, she realises her professional concern is becoming muddied with personal feelings as she slowly becomes more entangled in the surreal narrative that Columbus weaves around them. As his story develops, Consuela starts to piece together the true reasons for Columbus’s break with reality and the horror he is running from.

Simultaneously, a young Interpol officer, Emile Germain, is searching Europe for a missing man, following a trail that eventually leads him to Seville, and to Columbus.

Trofimuk captured me from the first. He holds the readers attention effortlessly as he takes you from modern day Spain, to the 15th century/ dream-like state that Columbus inhabits. The surreal quality of these ‘reminisces’ is worn lightly, Trofimuk is never heavy handed with his hints about Columbus’s past life. Instead they are intensely sensual and evocative. (Trofimuk’s descriptions of wine and food are sublime…) Half way in and I think I was almost as in love with Columbus as Consuela. And this is, ultimately, a book about love. All-consuming, passionate, deep, scarring love in all of its complicated glory.

As the book draws near to the end, I felt I was dreading it with Columbus. As his stories become more fractured and real life (mine and his!) starts to interrupt, the truth is slowly pulled out.

I finished Waiting for Columbus in tears. I loved it.


Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Ehem... a Margaret Atwood announcement




A quick public service announcement for any Margaret Atwood fans. The BBC's spoken word station, Radio 7 has made a 10 part series of her ground breaking novel, The Handmaid's Tale.

So far the first four are available on BBC iplayer, keep your eyes, or ears, peeled for the rest!

Now all I need is an excuse to leave work, go home and spend the next five hours on my sofa, pot of tea at hand and HUGE imnotonadietanymore slice of cake... do people still get shingles??

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b007jl96/The_Handmaids_Tale_Episode_1/