Friday 14 May 2010

Stuck-in-a-Book's Weekend Miscellany

Well, after promising my return yesterday, I was out late last night at my church small group, and somehow slumping in front of a soap opera took precedence over writing a proper book review. Apologies... And for those keeping tabs on the state of all things technological chez Stuck-in-a-Book, the current score is Laptop: 1, iPod: 0. Yes, in a fit of pique, my iPod won't turn on, and none of the usual methods of fixing it seem to work. It did this a while ago and just started working again after a while, so fingers crossed... or I might have to go without new shoes for a while.

For those who know things about computers, unlike me, I opted for a Compaq CQ61-427SA. Goodness knows what that means, but it's nice and shiny.

Right. Enough of that - as we all know, computers are just a means to an end, and that end is books. So let's get on with the book, the blog post, the link...

1.) The book - is Stephen Benatar's Wish Her Safe At Home, which my friend's family gave me (yes, I did *choose* it, but that doesn't count as me *buying* it). I read an article about this novel in The Week magazine, which was reprinting this article from The Times, I believe. As well as sounding irresistible from this description -
'a gripping and haunting story about a middle-aged, genteel woman called Rachel Waring who inherits a Georgian house in Bristol and slowly goes mad'
- I was also impressed by Benatar's tireless and heartfelt promotion of the novel. And, let's face it, I was won over by the ever-beautiful NYRB Classics editions. I'm not on their payroll, but I should be...

2.) The blog post - isn't especially new now, but I was sans laptop for over a week, and in the blogosphere a week is a long time. So cast your minds back to the 5th May, those heady days before the election, and wander over to Polly (aka Novel Insights) and this post on forgotten authors. More specifically - and even more up my street - Polly has collected suggestions of novels by authors more famous for their work for children. That's a bit of a mouthful, but I hope you know what I mean. Novels by authors known for their children's writing. Not writing by their children, but... oh, I'm sure we're on the same page now. It's no secret that I love non-children's work by A.A. Milne and Richmal Crompton, but there are plenty of others. In fact, I wrote A Level coursework on the topic, now I think of it... ahh, memories.

3.) The link - is the one for which I can never think of anything... but this YouTube video is quite funny. Oh, they seem to have removed the import-videos-into-Blogger function, but you can see it if you click here. It's David Mitchell (the comedian, not the novelist) on the topic of Punctuation. Thanks Mel for showing it to me!


  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Wish Her Safe at Home. I am an evangelist for that book- it is fabulous! I hope you thoroughly enjoy it, too :-)

  2. I'd never heard of the NYRB Classic editions before I started reading book blogs so yes, their PR department certainly needs to put you (and several other enthusiastic bloggers) on that payroll!

    I've had my Compaq for 6 years now (eek! That's a long time) and I love it. It's really, really beat up - it's been across North America approximately 50 times, more than most people - but even as its casing falls apart, I cling desperately to it. I hope your tech issues are resolved quickly and cheaply!

  3. Wish Her Safe at Home sounds like a really good book! I'll have to keep it in mind for later, I'm starting to get a little sick of madness after my sensation fiction class this semester.

  4. Simon, have you tried to reboot your iPod? Press down on the round centre button and the menu area at the same time for at least a count of five seconds, waiting for the apple to appear. There are some great diagnostic sites you can find through Google. Also, I've had the embarrassing situation of thinking my iPod was dead when the hold switch had been accidently activated. So all may not be lost!

  5. Aarti - wow, what a recommendation! I'm really looking forward to it now :)

    Claire - 6 years! Goodness me, mine have never lasted more than 2. Here's hoping my Compaq is different to my Dells...

    Ash - yes, you can have too much of a good thing, can't you! I haven't read any madness books for a while...

    Darlene - I tried all those things, on the help websites, to no avail. Then my housemate suggested I plug it into my computer again, and that somehow sparked it into life! Hurrah!

  6. I too was Benatarred (but nor feathered!) in Waterstone's. A few days previously I'd been in the store, where they had a small portable shelf unit loaded with his books. The covers were classy and atmospheric black and white photos, and when I opened the books to have a look, I liked the look of them. So when I got home I ordered three from Amazon Used and New.
    When Mr Benatar came up to me and asked if I'd be interested in looking at his books, gesturing to the shelf unit, I said "So you must be Mr Benatar himself?" The surprised author was quite pleased to learn that I had bought 3 of his books, but I have not as yet read one!

  7. Several times recently I've been tempted to buy Wish Her Safe at Home. Please give us a review soon Simon.

  8. I haven't heard of her but it sounds really cool--I'll pick up Wish Her Safe soon! :)

    Yay for Milne!

  9. What is the picture Simon?

  10. That's Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin, and AA Milne!

  11. Doh - I should have guessed that as I've seen the original Winniethe Pooh in a library in New York. He's a lot more battered these days!


  13. I love the NYRB. I don't know how I missed notice of that one. That article makes me want to buy it immediately.


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