Sunday, 25 April 2010

Plenty of things spilling over my 'not finished yet' heap that's stacked on the bookshelf, the floor and turning into its very own skirting board. Though it is a more useful, decorative skirting board.

I haven't wanted to read much that's new to me recently. Instead, I've been on that blissful rereading stage. It's better than the state of mind where you look at your shelves, already crammed full of books, and all you can think is 'I haven't got anything I want to read!'

Part-way through:
* Their Finest Hour and a Half (still, bought it just as Borders did that amazing closing down sale and keep getting distracted by work).
* Bride Flight (is it a novel or is it a screenplay?)
* Love Letters (Katie Fforde and tea, perfect)
* Winter Holiday (the pleasure of reading Ransome out of season)
* Wishing for Tomorrow (even though I *despise* mocked-up handwriting in children's books to show the change of narrative voice, this is still lovely). Lovely enough for me to buy duplicate copies and give as Christmas presents.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Never mind chosing your own books, one of the most difficult things you can do is choose books for other people (or their children).

I've been reading Four to Fourteen (Kathleen Lines) while researching another project and it's a fascinating little glimpse into post-war life. The author, an experienced librarian, covers all the books that are judged 'suitable' for a child while omitting the lighter series fiction read with such often concealed pleasure like Elinor M. Brent-Dyer or E.J. Oxenham (I can't include Enid Blyton in my list now that I've grown up). I won't say guilt - feeling guilty about reading seems to be such a waste of good reading time. Four to Fourteen is on the worthy side and is a little sniffy about school stories, pony books and the like, but does cover interesting family adventures by Arthur Ransome and Noel Streatfeild. It also includes Violet Needham (whom I can't seem to like) and Alison Uttley's A Traveller in Time which I can't reread often enough. That and The Children of Green Knowe were read to bits and now I've replaced them with even more treasured hardback reprints.

I'll continue this later as I'm now beginning to wonder, with a free hand in the bookshop, what would I buy for a child today?

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Nanny McPhee

I wish the Easter long weekend wasn't such a distant memory. While I had a lovely time doing as little as possible (except reading) and catching up on sleep. One read stood out: Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (with film diary) by Emma Thompson. Nurse Matilda stories (the small hardbacks) with Ardizonne illustrations were regularly on my library account. This one is a very funny reinterpretation of Nurse Matilda (Nanny McPhee) and a new set of 'works in progress' children saving their farm from a scheming uncle. Emma Thompson is the kind and confiding type of companion you'd like to have a long chatty supper with. The 'novel/diary' runs the same way. Film set gossip and technical information chatters away alongside the adventures of the Green children who learn to be considerate and nice as they save their home and befriend their fouller cousins.