Sunday, 28 November 2010

New project underway - "Second Title"

Well, that says it all. Another lovely new project to co-ordinate, design, typeset and then proof. The final stage seemed to take the longest with The Whicharts - proof-reading required intense concentration and masses of patience. More news to come when I have it.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Follies (and a sense of pride)

I'm in a sorting and tidying frame of mind tonight. Fortunately, I've finished all the business filing and feel ridiculously pleased with myself. What I can now do is look through the new-to-me Follies that I've been given. Folly (Fans of Light Literature for the Young) has been running for some years and I find it a very useful resource. Much as I enjoy rummaging through library catalogues and ordering new secondhand (probably vintage) books on the strength of a mention on a DW and you do find treasures that way, there's nothing like a personal recommendation to influence you.

Thanks also, to S. of Folly, who gave The Whicharts such a generous review. I've added it to the main site just in case anyone is hesitating to buy the Noel Streatfeild fan in their life a real treat (and rarity). Possibly a more important factor in their decision is price - I've joined Amazon in their winter holiday discounting, so enjoy.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Sifting towards a shortlist

It's a smudge after one o'clock in the afternoon and I find that I need the reading light on already. It's a grey, damp light and the day will only improve with warming spiced pork supper and apfelstrudel. Now that supper is as prepared as it can be for the time being, I have presents to purchase, so I am mentally shortlisting. A gentle wander around Foyles - I needed to read blurbs and turn pages gently - has helped greatly in sifting.

The reissued hardback of Ballet Shoes is a perfect 'small present', white cloth binding with rich red wine ribbon bow at the front and a delicate embossed picture of Pauline, Petrova and Posy. It's a beautiful design and I'm continually impressed by the enduring interest in the book - I don't think it's ever actually been out of print since 1936. For myself, I'd like a copy with the original silver dustwrapper, but I don't have a fairy godparent with deep pockets. A publisher can continue dreaming.

I may need to buy a duplicate copy of The Help, just so that I prise my own copy back from eager reader relative who takes great care of my books, but reads them slowly.
For friends who, like me, have taken to 'costume crime', I'll need to introduce them to Nicola Upson and Frances Brody. Both fascinating for the types who love period detail. A word of warning, though, the scene in Two for Sorrow where a seamstress dies with a mouth stuffed with cut-glass beads left me turning the pages rapidly - I don't usually 'skip' (unless it's a Chalet School sale or night in mountain hut), but this necessitated a swift jump to the next chapter.

I also intend to spend some of my Christmas holiday inside with a good, long book or three. My cooking will be designed to be the sort that needs long slow cooking in the oven with minimum intervention from me. This means, I hope, that I will be able to start (and finish) Kate Morton's The Distant Hours, reread Just Henry and stamina is needed for that, and try Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet. The book claims a contemporary crisis in ballet, so I'd like to read the argument.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Browsing happily

I'd like some new books to take me out of damp November darkness. Actually, I quite like winter, but crisp snowy winter, not damp slush or freezing rain. To that end, I can feel comforted by an 'intentions' list of books to be purchased and hidden away for the Christmas holidays:

To start with, Kaye Webb's biography So Much to Tell. I have heard many good things about this and want some time over Christmas to concentrate on this. I never joined the Puffin Club, but I read the sections at the end of my puffins avidly. The phrase 'books for keeps' and 'nuffin' like a Puffin' are still locked into my head and very useful criteria when you need to clear shelf space. Some books are temporary, but rather more are 'for keeps' and always.

Kate Morton's latest, The Distant Hours, from an author who understands the appeal of old letters, family secrets, sprawling houses and having a foot or two in the past.

I'd like another (any other) Phryne Fisher that I don't yet possess and there are many to choose from. This is possibly my recommendation of the year for entertaining reading and has pushed me towards reading crime fiction again.

This is a list I'll keep adding to before Christmas and perhaps a 'book stocking' (see here) with pockets for paperbacks might also find its way to me. I may hunt down a pattern (and fabric) and borrow a time on a relative's sewing machine.

Business continues in a copeable everyday vein with only one 'glitch' to track and mend and that's's insistence on listing The Whicharts as 'out of print' when it isn't. The other, more pleasing, puzzle is the sudden rise in website traffic. Perhaps I've had another nice review as Elaine's comments resulted in an earlier increase in interest.