SUE MOORCROFT – Uphill All the Way (Transita)

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Acquired 09 Jan 2007 – sent to me by the author

I enjoyed this tender tale of two hurt people trying to find their way towards each other. Much more than a love story, this is a rumination on the nature of family, more than anything else. The beautiful descriptions of Malta gave a sparkling extra dimension to the read, and the inter-generational discussions and conflicts were well observed, with the descriptions of the mother and the younger characters as well-crafted as those of the traditional Transita woman of a certain age. Moving and characters you could really root for.

VICTORIA GLENDENNING – Leonard Woolf: A Life

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26 Dec 2006 – Christmas present from Matt’s parents

It was, frankly, rather hard to perceive the Life of LW through the showers of sparks emitted by the various axes Glendenning had to grind … she has a beef with feminists, with Virginia Woolf, (particularly) with her biographer, Hermione Lee, who I happen to rate highly, with Vita Sackville-West… the list goes on. And that was a bit annoying. More annoying was the rather cavalier attitude to her referencing. I don’t like the footnotes in an academic work to be at the bottom of each page, and I especially don’t like them being set out without any punctuation. There were also a number of gossipy asides, which seemed to be aiming for the more popular market, the casual reader. But really, when it comes down to it, is the popular, casual reader going to go out and impulse buy a biography of LW?

So – interesting in parts but I had to rely on the rest of my Bloomsbury-fest to keep me going on this. There was useful information I didn’t know, and it does complete a gap in the collection, but it was (more than) a little disappointing.

JULIET GREENWOOD – Elissa’s Castle

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Bought 09 Dec 2006 – Transita Day

Another commute read. I’m getting through a novel a day at the moment!

This was a delightful read, full of Welsh expressions and steeped in the Welsh countryside. Elissa is a lovely, strong and wry character (the voice reminded me of that in Stage By Stage) and there are plenty of twists and turns in the plot, right up to the end. The garden design aspect adds another interesting angle, and there is a satisfyingly strong thread of female independance running the whole way through. A good read.

LUCIA VAN DER POST – William Morris and Morris & Co.

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Bought 31 Dec 2006 – Bookends, Birmimgham

This short book is not sure whether it’s a modern style guide or a work of history. But it’s got some useful text and some lovely illustrations. Not much new for me, but a nice addition to the collection.

NIGEL NICHOLSON – Virginia Woolf

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Bought 31 Dec 2006 – Bookends in Birmingham

An excellent short biography. Being Vita Sackville-West’s son, Nicholson is able to give a personal angle to this work, introducing short scenes in which he took part as a child. Not a hagiography, VW is portrayed honestly and with reference to the many other biographies and works on her (eg refuting claims that Leonard was distant and cruel with a few well-chosen scenes). This personal angle makes this reworking of a life much picked over in the public domain, well worth reading.

It’s also encouraged me to go back to the Glendenning biog of Leonard, as it’s rekindled my interest in the Hogarth Press and his League of Nations work, which will hopefully be covered.

SIMON ELMES – Talking For Britain: A Journey Through The Voices of a Nation

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26 Dec 2006 – Christmas present from Matt’s parents

A wonderful book. Elmes takes each region of the British Isles in turn, looking at historical patterns of language and dialect development and then the surveys undertaken during the Survey of English Dialects in the 1980s, Melvyn Bragg’s Routes Of English and the recent Voices Of Britain project, finally taking snapshots of groups of people from different parts of each region (urban and rural, etc) and their language, with a short glossary of interesting terms at the end of each section. Well and engagingly written and endlessly fascinating.

JOSEPHINE PULLEIN-THOMPSON – Pony Club Cup

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Acquired via BookCrossing 05 Oct 2006 – from Hudsons, via Katisha50

A great book about a small pony club with a new instructor, and the various members and their ponies. Quite a lot of technical detail which was good, and a nice big satisfying read.

Sick of being sick

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I have *another* cold. I think that’s my 4th of the season. This is a particularly nasty throat thing that I’ve picked up from Stratford. See, that’s the problem – I move around all the time at work. So I get used to the viruses in one place, then move on, and am exposed to a whole new lot.

I’ve phoned in and I’m at home. In bed. Not really wanting to read!

BETTY O’ROURKE – After Michael

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Bought 09 Dec – Transita Day

Fiona, although not exactly upset at her husband’s death, is left reeling by the revelations after it. I enjoyed this undemanding but intriguing read. I did guess the twists, but after a hard day at work and a long journey, it’s sometimes nice just to be proved right! I did like the positive male characters, Simon and Colin. It’s nice to encounter goodies as well as baddies (I was a bit worried about Simon at one point. Was I right? Read it and find out!)

SARA BANERJI – The Waiting Time

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Bought 09 Dec 2006 – Transita Day

This was an unusual book with unusual characters. Vividly drawn – in fact Banerji’s writing is characterised by vividness (which is probably what made me give up on another of hers due to the violence!). I did get a bit confused towards the end, but an interesting read.

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