Thursday, 13 June 2013

Bookish weekend



Oh dear! I seem to have opened a can of worms with my comments on Dorothy L Sayers... I've read two (Strong Poison and Gaudy Night), wasn't hugely impressed by the former, and liked the latter even less... I shan't go into much detail, because I don't want to upset her fans, but suffice to say that Sayers and Lord Peter are not for me! To propitiate Sayers fans, here is a piece written by Diana on the OxfordWords blog today, commissioned by yours truly.

And another reminder that I'll be appearing (with Elaine) at the Felixstowe Book Festival on Saturday - I spent the evening putting together some notes for it, which has got me quite excited and looking forward to it.  My one hope is that people come, so if you live remotely near Felixstowe, please do come along and introduce yourself!  More details here.

The next few days are going to be really busy, so this might be my last post until Monday.  Have a fantastic few days, and I'll let you know how the talk went!

And PLEASE bully me until I write about seeing Judi Dench in Peter and Alice, and the excellently funny 1944 film I watched the other day.

In my absence... why not tell me what you're reading?  I'm just about to finish my first book by Winifred Holtby - but perhaps not one you'd expect to be my first...

36 comments:

  1. I was just wondering, did you take that picture? Its really lovely. I just love pictures of old books. :)
    I was actually thinking about reading Strong Poison, but maybe you saved me some time.
    I'm about to start reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar children.
    Anywho, have a wonderful day! I'm glad I found your blog, its quite charming. :)

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    1. I did! It's from the secondhand bookshop Ripping Yarns in North London.

      So many people love Sayers that you should really give her a go - don't just take my word against her ;) Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Good luck at Felixstowe - I am sure you and Elaine will both be brilliant.

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  3. All sounds exciting! I don't think I've ever read any Sayers, but then I'm not a crime sort of person ...

    Currently reading "The Gentry" by Adam Nicolson, which is just wonderful - he's one of the authors who I know will be good, whatever they write, and this is history at it's very best, and "Bird Cloud" by Annie Proulx, which is about her house in Wyoming, the landscape and nature around it, very well written and absorbing.

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    1. Two authors I've meant to try for ages, and haven't ever done...

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  4. I love the picture as well.
    I am reading Time and again by Jack Finney.
    Have a nice bookish weekend.

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    1. I've been meaning to read that for ages!

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  5. Don't forget to write those post you've promised Simon!

    Have a great time at Felixstowe - I'm sure it will go brilliantly for you and Elaine. Wish I was free to come.

    I'm currently reading and enjoying 'Fallen Land' by Patrick Flanery - his second novel, and definitely an author to watch.

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    1. Heehee, thanks Annabel! One of them is up now, at least...

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  6. Hi Simon, it will probably come as no comfort to you, but I share your views of Dorothy Sayers. I'm never upset by someone having a very different view of a book from me and I doubt if anyone would be upset by your arguments so I wouldn't worry about that.

    As you might know I'm reading a trio of books with Litlove for her "Womens Writing" month. I have just finished the splendid "Black Milk" by Elif Shafak and I am now half-way through "What Alice Forgot" by Liane Moriarty. I won't say anything about these (nor Marge Piercy's "Small Changes") as we will be posting on them very soon.

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    1. It does come as a comfort, Peter! I do sometimes feel a bit of a pariah... well, no, but I would expect to like Sayers, and am surprised that I do not.

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  7. Good luck! I'm wallowing in crime this week - currently reading Michel Faber's Under the Skin. (And we can agree to disagree re Sayers. After all, I don't like Miss Hargreaves... *ducks for cover*)

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  8. I wish I could visit you and Elaine at Felixstowe. I'm sure it will be a huge treat for those who can.

    Reading now... I've picked up 3 or 4 books in the past few days, just dipping into them. But feeling the need for a bit of relaxed down time, and inspired by your post yesterday, I pulled The Thirteen Problems off the shelf. I've read it many times, but it's a wonderful period piece (my edition is 1934, 2 years after publication), and such fun to read about Miss Marple's first appearance. Faded blue eyes, Mechlin lace, and a black lace cap (!) on piles of snowy hair.

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    1. How lovely it would be to have you there, Susan!

      And Marple is a wonderful antidote to reader's block - since the talk I've been wanting to get into a Christie, but all mine are in Somerset.

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  9. Good luck with your talk Simon - alas, I think it unlikely I will make it but I will try! I'm sure all will go swimmingly (and I forgive you for not liking DLS!) :)

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    1. Thanks for forgiving me, Karen!! Sorry you couldn't make it - next year!

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  10. Hi there - I am coming along and am looking forward to it! Am currently reading Tracy Chevalier's The Last Runaway, and have just finished Mapp and Lucia (thought I should read in honour of you and Elaine). Finally, I understand the Au Reservoir joke!

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    1. Lovely to meet you there, Myrtle, and I'm so glad you've read M&L!

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  11. Hello Simon, I love that photo of old books in the bookcase. You needn't feel bad about not liking Dorothy, we all have our likes and dislikes for sure. Indeed there's a certain insanely popular classic author that I don't care for and might be shunned if revealed!
    At the moment I'm reading a little mystery called Septimus and the Minster Ghost by Stephen Chance.

    Have a lovely weekend.

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    1. Thanks Lori - I am so intrigued as to which author that might be! It's not Austen, is it?

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  12. Just reading Mapp and Lucia too, Myrtle. Sanditon is waiting in the wings. It's all antidote to reading too many Joanna Trollope books - in a week - for my book group 'marathon'!

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    1. What fun M&L is! So glad you're reading them, Mum :)

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  13. I tried to read Gaudy Night a few months ago and found it unbearable. I always feel disappointed when I don't take to a book I think I ought to like. Hilary Mantel is another writer I don't seem to get. I've read 3 of her books and felt fairly lukewarm about each of them. It is summer so I am reading boaty books. I have wrung all the goodness out of Patrick O'Brian for the time being, so I am going through Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series. I'm American and never read them when I was a child. They have a certain anthropological fascination for the adult me.

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    1. Oh, glad it's not just me with Gaudy Night! My problem, I think, is that I wanted it to be a detective novel - and, on those terms, it rather flops.

      I have never read Swallows and Amazons either, isn't that awful? I have a lovely new edition, though, so I should get on with it.

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  14. Hi Simon,

    Loved your and Elaine's talk about blogging and books today!

    You have a wonderful way of communicating with intelligence and humour and keeping it interesting too -- eg re your 'early days' and experiences with other bloggers, publishers, etc. Especially liked your top three things not to say ...

    Cheers and happy reading,
    Carolyn from Felixstowe

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    1. Thanks so much Carolyn, what a lovely thing to write!

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  15. Ally (front row)16 June 2013 at 07:55

    Hi Simon. Really enjoyed the first day of Felixstowe Book Festival. The highspot of the day was meeting you and Elaine. You make a brilliant 'double act' and I hope you get future BOOK-ings to help spread the 'word/s'. Thanks to you two I now know a bit about blogging and will look in again to see what you are up to.
    Off to day two of Book Fair shortly.
    Thanks a lot for all the info.

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    1. It was very lovely to meet you, Ally, thanks so much for your comment! I very much appreciated having someone friendly and funny in the front row :) Thanks for tracking down my blog!

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  16. You'd BETTER post about Peter & Alice. I'm expecting a full report (especially as I plan to refer my followers :)

    And for reading, I've gotten into Orson Scott Card's Ender's Saga. I was expecting sci-fi aimed at a 14 year old boy. I've been surprised by moral complexity and the trifecta of plot, character, and style (so rarely found, especially in best-sellers). All that to say, I'm on my fourth book in the series.

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  17. I've been waiting and waiting for your post on Peter and Alice. Did you see on my FB page the video I took of Judi Dench coming out of the theatre? Did you have tickets before you got there? I stood in the returns line for an hour and a half and luckily got great seats. Looking forward to reading your post...soon, I hope. @:-)

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    1. The wait is over, Margaret! I didn't see you video - you lucky thing! I couldn't find it on your page, but will have another hunt. We waited for a bit, but she wasn't coming out and the crowd was huge, so we went home without seeing her (but I do have my photo taken with her from 2004...)

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  18. Same as some of the other writers, I really like your picture of the bookcase. Is it yours?

    Now to your question. What am I reading? Oh, so many different things. At the moment, I read two German and two English books. I suppose you are more interested in the latter.

    It's "To the End of the Land" by David Grossman and "And the Mountains Echoed" by Khaled Hosseini.

    Marianne from Let's Read

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    1. The bookcase is in Ripping Yarns bookshop in London - I *wish* it were mine!

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