Saturday, 30 July 2011

Monica Redlich - Five Farthings

Monica Redlich's Five Farthings is slowly coming into shape ready for the printer. Text complete and ready for the editing. As I'm doing my usual 'complete and unabridged' edition, this means checking that every full stop is where it should be or where it was in the first edition. I reread the novel constantly during this process and am (still) charmed by it. It's a wonderful story of 1930s London, pre-war and much of it I suspect obliterated in the Blitz. There don't seem to be so many London-set novels for children, even Ballet Shoes or Curtain Up only really mentioned the Underground. With any luck a sentence like that will ensure that lots of people comment to say how wrong I am and give examples. Five Farthings shows the grubbiness and charm of city life from theatres to architechture to the quiet corners only locals know.

I'll need to return to the question of 'queer' as the search for 'queer people' (unusual people) takes up much of Five Farthings. I intend to reprint an unabridged version, but need to formulate a note at the front along the lines of 'this is a complete and unabridged version of Redlich's novel. Words have not been updated or omitted'.

UPDATE: Thank you for the recommendation for Marcus Crouch. I'd forgotten about that review. I may be biased, but it strikes me as fair. All being well, the book will be ready well before Christmas. I would reply to your comment, but Blogger keeps logging me out.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Collecting Books and Magazines

More good news: the Australian site Collecting Books and Magazines mentions Margin Notes Books and The Whicharts. It's such a useful site to check cover art, authors and reprints of half-forgotten books and, much like LibraryThing, helps by encouraging half-forgotten memories of titles and authors of books to rise to the surface. I know I'm not the only reader who can remember plots of books read as a child, though not the more significant details of author or title so that I can track them down for a reread.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Heat and chills

In the first really unbearable heat of the summer in England without enough air-conditioning it's useful to have a set of chilling short stories near to hand as an antidote. A sudden rise in temperature to 32 in the last week or so all over southern England and you start to dream of chilled drinks, ice cubes and some way to get home that doesn't involve a train whose windows are sealed and no breeze. However, a really good collection of short stories, say Joanne Harris's Jigs and Reels or Roald Dahl's Someone Like You are most effective in cooling your mood and sending chills down your spine. I love a good page-turner and appreciate the pared-down craft of the short story at its best. Jigs and Reels provides entertainment to keep you agreeably chilled and amused from the feel-good 'Faith and Hope Go Shopping' to the sinister 'Waiting for Gandalf'.