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herschelian
Interests: Reading, cooking, gardening, politics, life in general.
Recent Activity
I think Hilary Mantel is one of the best British writers of my generation. I've read all her books, and they are all wonderfully well written, and as you say, so diverse in subject matter. Her novel about the French Revolution, 'A Place of Greater Safety' is an absolute masterpiece, and helped me to understand how frightening and volatile societies are during a period of revolution. At the moment I'm about two thirds of the way through 'Wolf Hall' and am starting to read more and more slowly as I don't want to get to the end! This really deserves to win the Booker Prize.
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One of my bookgroup girlfriends has just made 17 bottles of Elderflower Cordial for my daughter's wedding reception next month (it is to be the soft drink option). My contribution to the process was to drink the gin which was the original content of the bottles! She has been making it for years and I love it, it is so refreshing and so English and as half the guests are from Australia we thought it would be something different for them. BTW her recipe includes citric acid (available from the chemist or local indian shops)
Toggle Commented Jun 15, 2009 on A Cordial Invitation. at dovegreyreader scribbles
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When I was reading The Household Guide to Dying last year, a friend said "oh how can you read a book with a title like that, it would really put me off". If it hadn't subsequently been listed for the Orange prize I suspect that the title would have deterred quite a lot of readers. It was moving, but not as much as I was moved by Duffy's book "State of Happiness" which had me in floods of tears by the end, and I must admit I did find the sausage-making a really bizarre idea.
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Pizzas in Coptic Street - those lovely tiles, the music...that takes me back. When I first came to London from South Africa I lived in Judd St and walked to work past the BM, all the bookshops around there were regular haunts of mine; that area has changed less than other parts of the city I think.
Toggle Commented Mar 25, 2009 on Subscription madness at dovegreyreader scribbles
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Where have you been? - Well, obviously not in the woodshed.
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I enjoyed 'The Household Guide to Dying' but would never have thought it a contender for the Orange Prize. 'The American Wife' which is a roman a clef about Laura Bush was absolutely fascinating in a Hello magazine sort of way, but at the end I was no wiser as to why a woman like her would marry a man like him, so it left me feeling curiously let down. Just about to start reading 'The Flying Troutmans', I really liked Miriam Toews' previous book 'An Uncomplicated Kindness'.
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Thanks for introducing me to Telegram Books, I've just looked at their website and browsed their list for 2009. Hooray, 'My Driver' by Maggie Gee following on from her previous book 'My Cleaner' which I really enjoyed, so that must be ordered at once...and then two more I fancied..oh dear, bang goes my book belt-tightening resolution...and its all your fault!
Toggle Commented Feb 26, 2009 on The Blue Fox - Sjon at dovegreyreader scribbles
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Reading what the Bookhound and his gang got ticked off for doing reminded me of a game (?)that was played at my primary school in Africa. A group of girls would link arms and march menacingly around the playground chanting "we walk straight so you better get out the way". Quite fearsome, but if you were included in the group you felt ever so powerful!
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I second Janis Goodman's recommendation for Harry Thompson's novel; apart from being a great read, it puts Darwin's voyage on the Beagle into its proper context. Reading it lead me from Darwin to Fitzroy, a man who gave us the measurement of storms, an area on the Shipping Forecast, and a wonderful barometer. Two great minds on one small ship - extraordinary. BTW the statue of Darwin has just been moved to prime position in the Natural History Museum, replacing the statue of Richard Owen who founded the Museum and who was Darwin's arch rival.
Toggle Commented Feb 12, 2009 on Happy birthday to... at dovegreyreader scribbles
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Wow, serendipity - I'd already got Thin Blue Smoke on my 'must read' list and then you organise a draw. Please include me. I have an old American cook book given me 30+ years ago and I know there is a recipe for Vinegar Pie in it...now I have to go and ferret for the book.
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I read The Yellow Wallpaper years ago, and nearly did not finish it as I found it so sad and frightening. I was not quite sure what the narrator was suffering from - I thought she was psychotic. I think your post is masterly as it really makes the case for how this book is a classic study of post-natal depression - and of how it was 'treated' back in the day. I am very fortunate in that I never suffered from PND, though a friend had to be hospitalised as she had it so severely - in fact it permenently damaged the relationship with her child. To this day PND is a difficult condition to treat, not helped by complete morons like Tom Cruise who berated Brooke Sheilds for using medication to help her overcome PND.
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That's the cover of the copy I had, which has mysteriously ended up in my sister's house! I also loved Lisa & Lottie. One of my favourite books as a child was 'The Children Who Lived in a Barn' which has now been republished by Persephone books. For years I was obsessed with the idea of cooking food in a haybox because of that book.
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Another book to add to your Nuns pile is 'Through the Narrow Gate' by Karen Armstrong, and her follow up book 'The Spiral Staircase'. Of course today she is better known as a (prizewinning) author and speaker on religion and faith, and is often heard on Radio 4.
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Food and memories go together as Proust found out with his Madeleines - not that he included a recipe in Remembrance of Things Past. I love books that combine memoirs and cooking and there seem to be quite a few of them. 'Tender at the Bone' and 'Comfort me with Apples' by Ruth Reichl, and one I've just bought two copies of for friends who arefoodie readers: 'Where shall we go for dinner' by Tamasin Day-Lewis. I'd love to be included in the draw for LL's book (ps I still use Cookeen sometimes).
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The DH and I were given a Hudson's Bay Blanket as a wedding present 34 years ago. It is a lovely egg yolk and cream colour and is still as warm and soft as it was when we first got it. It will be passed on to son or daughter eventually, as I reckon it will keep several generations cosy before it wears out.
Toggle Commented Nov 25, 2008 on Oh Canada! at dovegreyreader scribbles
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I've also got a copy of Zlata's Diary from way back when. Discovered it a month or two ago when packing up to move house. Packing books is not something I'm good at - I kept discovering old favourites and getting sidetracked into reading bits here and there. The whole process took me far too long!
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I've also got a copy of Zlata's Diary from way back when. Discovered it a month or two ago when packing up to move house. Packing books is not something I'm good at - I kept discovering old favourites and getting sidetracked into reading bits here and there. The whole process took me far too long!
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I just blogged about "The Bastard of Istanbul" by Elif Shafak a novel about current Turkish/Armenian attitudes to the genocide. Shafak was charged under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code because some of the Armenian characters in her book were thought to express anti-Turkish sentiments. She faced a jail sentence of 3 years; fortunately when it finally got to court last year the judge dropped the charges. As a result of reading her book I am determined to read and learn more about this whole horrible episode in history and will certainly be reading Fethiye Cetin's book. Thanks for posting about it.
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This is my favourite of all DdM's books. I have read it and re-read it several times, and it just gets better and better. BTW - what did you think of Cherie Blair comparing herself to the 2nd Mrs De Winter from 'Rebecca' when she and Tony moved into Downing Street! Any one less like it would be hard to think of(in my opinion).
Toggle Commented May 22, 2008 on The Scapegoat at dovegreyreader scribbles
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Genius idea having the scribble space on the back of the bookmark - clever old you!
Toggle Commented May 20, 2008 on The Art of the Letter at dovegreyreader scribbles
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I think that this is one of those 'word of mouth' books, though being on the Orange prize list will certainly give it a boost. It was a Canadian cousin who recommended it to me, and I endorse everything you've said about it. In fact I've just posted my own review on my blog.
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I'm so glad you're enjoying The Scapegoat, it is in my top three Du Maurier books. I first read it in my teens but have read it twice since then (for me that is really something as I tend not to re-read, too many other books, too little time). I've not seen the film, partly because I have such strong images of the characters in my head, and don't want them spoilt!
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We have a Border Terrier who is a terror for mobile phones, cordless phones and tv remotes. He has dismembered at least two of each. My son says we can change channels by pulling his tail. My daughter reckons its the smell of our fingers on the buttons that attracts him. Whatever it is, it is damned annoying after the first one (which is funny. It has made my day to see that another dog is doing the same thing.
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