Saturday 14 August 2010

Stuck-in-a-Book's Weekend Miscellany

Oh dear... well, it is still the weekend. But I've been busy planning a murder mystery party, so that's my excuse for not blogging earlier! And great fun it was too - we played it out this evening, set in a cake shop called For Goodness Cake! (aka our lounge) and gave me an excuse to splurge on a beautiful tiered cake stand, which I'm show off soon. And I already had a beautiful non-tiered cake stand... I may be developing an obsession.

Anyway, I wrote a murder with nine parts, all unisex so they could be distributed randomly, and I think it worked quite well. Lots of fantastic acting going on all round! Great fun - and all to celebrate my housemate Debs' birthday. The present I
gave her was, of course, books... some gems I found in Malvern. I thought I'd give her books I'd loved, and hope for the best - so she got rather lovely old copies of The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim, Mrs. Miniver by Jan Stuther, and the Collected Short Stories of Saki.

Anyway, enough of my news - let's leap towards the book, blog post, and link. Not much colour this weekend, as that's the bit which takes the most time, and I need to sleep...

1.) The link - comes courtesy of Nancy, thanks Nancy - fancy living in the house in Rye which has housed E.F. Benson, Henry James, and Rumer Godden? (Not all at the same time, you understand...) Well, you can rent it! I can't believe this is true, and wish I had the money and the desired ability to garden... I'd love it if a SiaB reader got the gig. Have a look here.

2.) The blog post - is Simon S's very interesting post on blog commenting. Some people find blogging-about-blogging (meta-blogging, if you will) tiresome, some find it fascinating - I am one of those who finds it fascinating, and could read about it all day. The ways people go about it, the decisions they make, etc. etc.... so interesting. And so I've enjoyed everyone's thoughts on commenting on blogs. And apologise once again for my laxness in replying to comments - Must Do Better.

3.) The book - I spent much of today reading The Uncanny by Nicholas Royle. When a publisher told me they were issuing his novel Quilt, and would I like a copy, I thought - gosh, how uncanny (ahem). And said yes. And it sounds right up my street - here's the blurb:
Facing the disarray and disorientation around his father's death, a man contends with the strange and haunting power of the house his parents once lived in.

He sets about the mundane yet exhausting process of sorting through the remnants of his father's life - clearing away years of accumulated objects, unearthing forgotten memories and the haunted realms of everyday life. At the same time, he embarks on an eccentric side-project. And as he grows increasingly obsessed with this new project, his grip on reality seems to slip.
It sounds like a combination of things I've loved in novels by Edward Carey and Stephen Benatar, as well as reminding me of 'Daughters of the Late Colonel' by Katherine Mansfield... and utterly irresistible. I think it may form part of a little project I'm intending to undertake next weekend, which I'll tell you about soon...


  1. Note the small windows up top of Lamb House - err, uh, Mallards - servants' quarters. That's where Miss Mapp climbed through the window with her spyglass to watch for a certain train to pull into the station, while all and sundry others in town were already there and waiting.

  2. Thanks for a lovely post - all subjects so interesting. The weekend has flown. Its Sunday morning and I am delivering wedding invitations! I would prefer to finish a book I've started but duty calls!

  3. I was at the Henry James house last month on a very hot day in Rye. I did not manage to go in that day as I was short of time and it was closed for lunch. I did not know of the Delafied or Rumer Godden connection though.

    You are always providing us with interesting links, and while tackling the ironing pile today I heard this on Radio 4 and thought of you!

    It is a repeat, and you may have caught it first time unlike me.

  4. The murder mystery party sounds like great fun - what a fantastic idea for a birthday party.

  5. The murder mystery party sounds so fun - I find myself thinking, "I want to go to Simon's house to play!" :) And I will eagerly await your review of Quilt. It sounds very interesting. Hope you had a good weekend.

  6. Are you sure it’s the same Nicholas Royle? I didn’t think the Uncanny Royle (who interviewed me for my BA at Sussex) had written much fiction – and the Author Royle is mentioned in The Uncanny (as doppelganger). If it is the same Nicholas, I’d love to know what you think of his novella...

  7. Nick - the publisher who sent it to me told me it was the same person! The plot thickens...

  8. Intriguing! I look forward to hearing your verdict...

  9. Nancy - wonderful! You're making me want to reread...

    Mystica - how lovely, though! If one can't be reading, delivering wedding invitations is a nice second best.

    henrietta - I've still never been to Rye, which is shocking. And thanks for the link!

    A Bookish Space - we've done them a few times, they're really good fun - and gives someone the opportunity to die dramatically!

    Susan - aww, Susan, you're welcome any time!


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