Saturday, 3 October 2009

Stuck-in-a-Book's Weekend Miscellany

A bit later than usual this week, mea culpa, but I hope you've all settled into a nice weekend. I had fun this week, going up to London for a celebratory meet-up of an online reading group I'm in: five years together. Actually a bit longer than that, but five years since we changed our name. A lovely tea at the Orangery at Kensington, and some, ahem, moderate book-buying... I'll treat you to a list later in the week. Whilst I London I also met up with Simon S (Savidge Reads) and Claire (Paperback Reader) for a quick coffee - which was good fun. We chatted and gossiped about blogs, I mentioned Miss Hargreaves two or six times, and a good time was had by all.

Without any further ado... the link, the book, and the blog post. A bit like the good, the bad, and the ugly - except instead it's the goo
d, the good, and the good.

1.) The link - You might remember that I'm a fan of the gals behind 3191. Two ladies have been inspired by 3191 to start their own daily comparative photograph site - but one showing the charity work of SOS Children. The charity works on a huge scale, securing homes for millions of children and helping thousands of families stay together - but when we hear 'millions' it all seems too vast to understand. Using photography, they can show the detail and the individuals affected.

Every day two new photographs will appear side by side, as well as a few paragraphs on what the photograph represents, and what the charity is doing. It's a great idea, do have a look - the website is

2.) The blog post - Kirsty at Other Stories writes about secondhand bookshops, following the Guardian's list of the ten best in the UK. Might inspire me to write something similar soon... I was pleased and surprised to see my local bookshop in Somerset, Gresham Books of Crewkerne, make the list. And, with Kirsty, I mourn the absence of any great independent secondhand bookshop in Oxford, since Waterfield's closed. We just have charity bookshops, and the hugely overpriced secondhand department of Blackwell's.

3.) The book - I told, or warned, readers about a new Winnie the Pooh book, back in January. Well, it's coming out on Monday. The Telegraph printed the first story, about Christopher Robin coming back from school, and you can read it by clicking here. I have surprised myself by liking both David
Benedictus, the author, and his story. He's obviously done a lot of research (he even tried to use the word convolvulus in another story, which might be a reference to the novel-within-a-novel 'Bindweed', in AA Milne's Two People) and the story has a good tone. It makes more in-references than Milne ever did, and it's obviously not from Milne's pen, but I don't think an imitation could be much better. Of course, it's still up for debate whether a sequel is wanted, but given that one's being written... I think it might be ok. Doubtless forgotten in a decade, but fun for the moment. Though I'm still worrying about the illustrations by Mark Burgess... the one accompanying the story is ok, but has nothing of EH Shepard's wonderful spirit. Well, we'll see.


  1. I'll have a go at that link in a bit - meanwhile, your post reminded me of my retirement gift to myself five years ago - a felt Christopher Robin doll. Here's a link to an image - this one is 11" but mine is more like 19" tall. The detail is really wonderful. This doll artist worked from the original illustrations of favorite children's books.

  2. That's amazing, Nancy! Wow. Very impressive detail - and nice to see it inspired by EH Shepard rather than Disney.

  3. Really enjoyed the secondhand bookshop feature. Keep meaning to stop into Any Amount of Books and somehow never do.

    But I think I've been terribly spoiled by the secondhand shops in the States. Always on my list of things to do when I'm home!

    And very eagerly awaiting my signed copy of 3191 Evenings!

    K x

  4. I don't know how such nonsense as the Pooh "sequel" is allowed to happen. I bothers me.

    So many delights to investigate in this post. I will be returning to do so!

    Happy Sunday!

  5. Ah, the blog link makes me nostalgic for the wonderful secondhand bookshops at home that Kirsty mentions :(.

    Did you really mention Mis Hargreaves two or six times?! I must have missed those... I WILL be reading my copy soon, especially now I have read We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

  6. It does seem ridiculous that there should not be a single second hand bookshop in Oxford, of all places. However, I fear that they are an endangered species generally, and if you conisder the economics of it all, then it's hardly surprising.

    How about a campaign for them to be granted charitable status and be exempt from council tax and income tax? And perhaps be able to apply for a grant towards their rent from the Department of Education?


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