JENNIFER CHIAVERINI – Circle of Quilters

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Loan from Anglersrest

I bought the next one on in the series at Christmas but couldn’t find a copy of this one, so Julie kindly offered to lend it to me.

It’s always interesting to see how authors mix up things when writing a long series.  Monica Ferris introduces different communities and locations into her Betsy Devonshire mysteries, and Chiaverini tends to concentrate on quilting history, using her main characters’ familes as a starting point for an interesting excursion into quilting and American history.  In this book she takes a slightly different tack (ahem).  We meet the five people applying for a job at Elm Creek Quilts, with a long chapter each, and through this we get to see five different kinds of quilters – in style, background and in their place in more modern quilting history.  One older woman keeps quilting through the decline in interest in the art and the resurgence around the Bicentenary.   Another finds an antique quilt and crafts her own version of the history of its maker.   Another is challenged in her refusal to divest herself from the traditional womanly arts, and still another finds a new way to create, almost uninfluenced by history.

Each has an interview and then the Elm Creek Quilters we already know and love have to decide to whom to offer the jobs.

A lovely read, really interesting and absorbing as ever.

Thanks Julie! I’ll post it back soon!

ANU GARG – The Dord, The Diglot And An Avocado Or Two

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Acquired via BookCrossing 28 Feb 2009 – kind RABCK from Nice-Cup-of-Tea

I read this out of acquisition order (another one!) when I really needed a slim book to fit in an overstuffed handbag!

An amusing collection of word origins, some I did actually know already, but then that proved it wasn’t a spoof book – some of the early definitions and origins were so peculiar that I began to wonder! Good fun and a quick read. I’ll share with other BCers at the Birmingham meetup today.  Thanks again NCOT!

MONICA FERRIS – Hanging By A Thread

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Acquired via BookCrossing 10 Apr 2008 – RABCK from owl-music

Shock, horror, I’m reading this out of sequence! But I had to wait till I’d collected the earlier books in the series!

Next in the Betsy Devonshire series and Betsy is struggling with the community’s views on her seemingly reliable and honest workman.  When she finds that he is widely blamed for a double murder, she can’t help pick up the sleuthing hobby and start looking into it.  Meanwhile her Monday club people start to tell ghost stories, and there’s a couple of interesting mystery visitors to the shop – they weren’t filled out in this book but hopefully we’ll find out more in due course…

Don’t worry, Ali – I’ll keep this reserved for you for a bit as I only just gave you the last one!

CHARLOTTE MOSELEY (ed.) – In Tearing Haste

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25 Dec 2008 – from Matthew

The letters of the Duchess of Devonshire (a Mitford sister) and Patrick Leigh Fermor (one of my favourite travel writers) who have been friends for decades and are still writing to each other.  Of necessity there is sadness in the later years, as people die, but the letters are so joyful and loving and it celebrates a wonderful friendship.  Peppered with people I know from other reading and beautifully edited, with footnotes at just the right pitch and lovely interpolations from Debo and Paddy themselves.  I’m really looking forward to the Mitford Sisters letters now, as they are edited by Charlotte Moseley too.  Oh – and they read and enjoy the bookshop letters that Ali has just read and ringed!

Wonderful stuff and a real treat – I do like to have lovely big treaty hardback books for Christmas and this really fulfilled that need!

LUCIE CLAYTON – The World of Modelling

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Acquired via BookCrossing 12 Jan 2009 – from a bag donated by an old friend from Library college

Subtitled "and how to get the London model-girl look", this is written in 1968 and a marvellous period-piece of a time that was meant to be in the middle of liberation and exciting times for women… who can basically choose between careers as a model, a secretary or a wife.  Info on all sorts of long-gone models and designers and some sensible advice too. Very interesting!


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30 Dec 2008 – I think from the Red Cross donation bags

I enjoyed this coming-of-age novel, set in Cardiff and Oxford and following the fortunes of Rumi, a maths prodigy, who yearns to return to India and is pushed by her parents into a geekiness that she seeks to escape.  When she wins a place at Oxford and the numbers start to lose their shine, where will she turn and what will happen?  Interesting premise that is followed through – certatinly accomplished for a first novel.

What Kind of Boots Are You? (from misstemperance)

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You Are Cowboy Boots
You are incredibly down to earth and happy with yourself. You don’t pretend to be someone else.
You also tend to be very practical. You don’t really have a lot of room for fluff in your life.

You are a very honest and direct person. You will give anyone a straight answer, even if it’s a bit uncomfortable.
While you’re quite sensible, you always like a little bit of flash in your life. You don’t overdo it, but you do like turning heads.

JOANNA TROLLOPE – Second Honeymoon


30 Dec 2008 (charity shop)

"It is," thought Liz, "very annoying, *very* annoying, when your enjoyment of a book is spoiled by the hiccups of constantly repeated stylistic features."  She faced a dilemma. A very modern dilemma; should you keep a book or pass it on, if you’ve been collecting the author for years, but the latest book just isn’t very good.  She should have seen the signs before.  She’d lived with these books so long, their battered spines almost seeming to reflect the glow of an Aga, but sometimes you don’t see in the comfortable, what changes could come about. "I", said Liz distinctly, "think I’ll put it upstairs for a bit, to see.  And I’ll have a think about a play".

Sometimes it’s just HARD to be a WOMAN.


*bows* "thank you, thank you"

63 so far

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From *everyone* and all right then, I’ll do it too…

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

Copy into a new note Put an X next to the ones you’ve read. Include the number you have read in the title and post to your journal.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen- X

2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien  X

3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte – X

4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling – X

5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee – X

6 The Bible –  X

7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte – X

8 1984 – George Orwell – X

9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman –  X

10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens – X 

11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott –  X

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy – X

13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller – X

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare –

15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier –

16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien – X 

17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk – 

18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger – X

19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger –

20 Middlemarch – George Eliot – X

21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell – X

22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald –

23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens –

24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams – X

26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh – X

27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky –

28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck –

29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll – X

30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame – X 

31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy –

32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens –

33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis – X

34 Emma – Jane Austen – X

35 Persuasion – Jane Austen – X

36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis – X

37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini – X

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres – X

39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden – X

40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne  – X

41 Animal Farm – George Orwell – X

42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown- X

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez –

44 A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving- 

45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins – X

46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery – X

47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy – X

48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood- X

49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding –X

50 Atonement – Ian McEwan –

51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel – 

52 Dune – Frank Herbert – X

53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons – X

54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen – X

55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth – X

56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon –

57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens -X

58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley – X

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon – X

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez –

61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov – X

63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt –

64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold –

65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas –

66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac –

67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy – X

68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding – X

69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie –X

70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville –

71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens –

72 Dracula – Bram Stoker –

73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett – X

74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson – X

75 Ulysses – James Joyce –

76 The Inferno – Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome – X

78 Germinal – Emile Zola –

79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray –X

80 Possession – AS Byatt – X

81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens -X

82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell – 

83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker –

84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro -X

85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert -X

86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry -X

87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White – X

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom –

89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – X

90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton –

91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad -X

92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks – 

94 Watership Down – Richard Adams -X

95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole – 

96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute –  X

97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas –

98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare -X

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl – X

100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo.

CLARISSA EDEN – A Memoir: From Churchill To Eden


25 Dec 2008 – from Matthew

Born a Churchill (niece of Winston) and marrying Anthony Eden, Clarissa Eden is inextricably linked into the great political familes of the mid-20th century.  This memoir, admirably edited by Cate Haste, draws together letters, diary entries and political events of the time to provide a narrative of Lady Avon’s life from society and fun with the Lees-Milnes and Beatons of the age, to diplomacy, statecraft and crisis management.  Always interesting and with a wry take on events and people (she likes Prince Philip for this lack of tact), a great treat of a read.  It fits well into my mid-century biography collection as well as being a good read in its own right.

Made more interesting personally by the fact that the University holds Eden’s papers in the Avon Room; I used to have to phone Clarissa Eden to check that researchers were allowed to consult the archive, and my present colleague Phil is mentioned in the acknowledgements.

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