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So, I have to get a dress for Matt’s brother’s wedding in August. It’s Black Tie, and I don’t really have anything suitable, although the red dress pictured would do at a pinch.

I have had troubles in the past with allowing myself to look nice, feminine etc. Pretty well over that. But my style is funky, cute, unusual, when I dress up. For example, when I went to the pub the other night, skirt made of Hawaiian shirt material, flat pumps, well we all know my peculiar skirt collection.

What I don’t like is this stuff. Having to pay out a LOT of money for something pretty conservative and black-tie-y that I’m only going to wear once or twice. I just don’t “do” dressed up. I don’t like dressing up in that way. And I resent the money. If I had £100-£150 spare I’d buy Persephone books, get some new trainers, give some away…

We marched round a few shops today as I’d been complaining there is mostly smocks or wrapover cleavagey things around. Debenhams had a fair range of party dresses and so did Monsoon. But nothing I loved for £100. And I just feel uncomfortable getting and wearing this stuff. So I basically wept my way round Birmingham, had a cry on the bus and one when I got home.

It’s too pressured. It has to please me, Matt and not embarass him in front of his family. I’d be tempted to get a very cool black suit and white top and go in black tie myself. No way.

So I think it’s TKMaxx and Bicester shopping village. Anywhere else in the Midlands?? I resent the time spent too, you know.


Feel better now… a bit better… thank you for listening to the rant…


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Bought 11 Mar 2007 – Bookends

This was an OK novel about growing up in 1960s Wales. The Tempest sisters try to claim the swinging 60s while battling against traditional expectations. I found this OK but a bit formulaic (accidental pregnancy – check; abortion – check; girl who wants to go to University – check) and I also felt the author was a bit too fond of some of her characters and let her feelings for them get in the way of their development. I thought this was a first novel and thought it was quite good for a first, then I found it was her fourth.

Will be registered for BookCrossing.

MICHAEL JACOBS – The Factory of Light: Tales from my Andalucian Village

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Bought 25 Feb 2007 – Bookends

A remarkable and powerful book – Jacobs discovers what seems a standard Spanish village to be full of fascinating characters and an atmosphere both of heightened spirituality and feelings of homecoming. He draws the place and the characters lovingly, structuring the book around his almost-suicidally-stupid attempts to restore the village cinema. Another unusual and excellent read.

TARQUIN HALL – Salaam Brick Lane

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Bought 27 Jan 2007 – Bookends

Hall comes back from journalistic assignments in India and elsewhere in the world, and ends up only able to afford to live in a tiny, rundown studio flat in an East End slum. Gradually he acclimatises to the characters and location, and we get a beautiful, affectionate and honest picture of the area and its inhabitants. Bittersweet and addictive; an unusual and powerful read.

SUE HEPWORTH / JANE LINFOOT – Plotting For Beginners

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Bought 25 Feb 2007 – Bookends

I picked this up at The Bad Shop because I thought it looked Transita-y and was intrigued. Well, it was Transita-y, in that it involved a 50-something woman and her struggles to survive and write a novel when her husband suddenly flies off to the Colorado wilderness. I’m not sure why this had to be written by 2 people; OK, I didn’t see the joins but then I didn’t rate this very highly at all, so probably didn’t make an effort to look for them. There were some witty moments, and the cat didn’t die, but apart from that… disappointing.

DEBBIE MACOMBER – 311 Pelican Court

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Bought 31 March 2007 – Sue Ryder charity shop Kings Heath

I couldn’t resist the next one in the lovely Cedar Cove series! This one focusses on Rosie and Zach and their unconventional access arrangements for their kids when they divorce (the kids stay in the home, the parents swap between the home and an apartment!). Will they manage to stay civil, or even grow closer? Meanwhile, we follow the adventures of the other characters we’ve grown to know and love.

All book review posts (and all others) are now Friends-only. I’m disappointed that the authors won’t see my reviews any more, but it’s become necessary.


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OK I’ve been tagged a million times and I don’t have any friends left to tag, so here you go…

“Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs the 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog.” (OK, I’m not going to comment on blogs – if you see this you see it, if you don’t, you don’t …)

1. [copied from Wyldetwo] The first single I bought was The Theme From Fame, the first album was Abba The First Ten Years, and my first gig was The Violent Femmes at the Moseley Dance Centre.

2. I have one leg longer than the other. You always wondered why I run in circles, didn’t you…

3. I used to be a (legal) busker

4. My favourite perfume is Cocktail by Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful

5. I have 1,962 books in my Permanent Collection.

6. I used to collect china horses. There is a box in our loft labelled “Liz’s china horses from Birmingham”, label put on when I moved to London in 1996, box never opened.

7. Since I grew up and left home I have had cats called (For I Will Consider My Cat) Jeoffrey, Bathsheba Everdene and Eustacia Vye, Tabitha and Dorothy.

ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH – Blue Shoes and Happiness

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Received May 2007 – loan from Heaven-Ali to LindyB, passing via me on its way home

Another lovely installment of the Mma Ramotswe story – full of the characters and elements we love, with the slight sadness of time passing and traditional ways disappearing. Some nice complex cases, but the characters are what we read these for, and they do not disappoint.

ANNIE HAWES – Ripe For the Picking

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Acquired via BookCrossing 04 Apr 2007 – loan from Beckydore

Second installment of her life in Italy, we find Annie settled into village life, dating Ciccio and getting used to the ways of his family, and writing and publishing her first book. Ever so good – an easy but satisfyingly meaty read and I hope she does more than these 3 that I’ve now read.

SARAH DARMOODY – Ticket to Ride: Lost and Found in America

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Acquired via BookCrossing 27 Apr 2007 – BookRing

In which an Australian girl wins the Green Card lottery and sets off around America to see what the country she has “won” is really like, and if she can actually imagine living there.

I really enjoyed this travel book and it was an interesting contrast with other similar books, such as Irma Kurtz’s Greyhound travels. The idea that she was testing out her citizenship was both a good peg to hang the book on, and a good idea in the first place. Well-rounded, self-effacing and thoughtful.

I have to say though that Albuquerque is a *lovely* place really [she has a bit of an unfortunate incident there]! I’ve been several times, and to Santa Fe too. I prefer the former!

I will look out for other stuff by this author.

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