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I'm a happily married grandmother who's retired from work and enjoys pottering about with crafty stuff.
Recent Activity
I just saw this thoughtful tutorial by Andy English on how to use bookplates (via Craftzine) and it set me thinking... Does anybody use bookplates still? And if not, why not? Are they too close to scribbling in your books (sacrilege!) or do you find the notion of a personal library antiquated and dull ? As a regular lender of books I often think I should keep better track of my precious bundles. Plus, it doesn't take much to convince me that I need new stationery in my life. There are loads of beautiful ready-made bookplates available. This puffin design... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2010 at Five Minutes Peace
I loved Seeing Me Naked by Liza Palmer and thank goodness for that because otherwise I would've looked at the cover of this book and thought 'meh' and probably passed it by... Contrary to the jaunty cartoon image, A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents is a gutsy story of a young woman reconnecting with her family over her estranged father's deathbed. Yes, it's very funny. Yes, it is packed with quirky characters and witty dialogue. Yes, it is immensely readable. But it's also utterly convincing, emotionally honest, and says many wise things about the nature of family, relationships and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 4, 2010 at Five Minutes Peace
Five out of the six authors on the shortlist for the Dylan Thomas prize are female. The founder of the prize, Professor Peter Stead, said the judges were "both surprised and pleased" to see the final six are mainly women. The Dylan Thomas prize is worth £30,000 and is open to any young writer (under the age of 30) writing in English. It commemorates the Swansea-born poet (pictured) and is funded by the University of Wales. The 2010 shortlist represents a diverse range of writing including two poetry collections. Hop over the cut for the list in full. The shortlist:... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2010 at Five Minutes Peace
When I reviewed Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend I said it was my first Jenny Colgan but that it wouldn't be my last... True to my word, I just finished Operation Sunshine. Evie is desperate for a good holiday. She's tired, overworked - as administrator at a Harley Street cosmetic surgery - and haunted by the ghosts of disastrous holidays past. When her employers invite her to attend a conference in the the south of France, Evie thinks that her dream might've come true. The conference turns out to be exciting in ways Evie never imagined. She becomes embroiled... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2010 at Five Minutes Peace
Happy publication day to the multi-talented and charming cultural phenomenon known as Stephen Fry. It's thirteen years since the memoir of his childhood - Moab is my Washpot - hit our shelves, and I'm beyond ready for the next installment. The Fry Chronicles promises to be just as touching, honest and entertaining as Moab and it's going straight to the top of my to-be-read pile. Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2010 at Five Minutes Peace
Hooray for book shops! Especially when they are independent lovelies like this one, battling (and winning) in uncertain financial times. In my other life (one of the many I dream of), I run a book shop just like The Mainstreet Trading Company. It has everything on my list; light and bright decor, a little cafe with homemade delicacies, gifts and antiques for sale alongside the books and a beautiful location (St Boswells in Scotland). Oh yes, and a healthy dose of industry recognition. The shop scooped The Children's Independent Bookseller award at The Bookseller Industry Awards 2010. The shop hosts... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2010 at Five Minutes Peace
Well, the longlist for the Man Booker Prize has been whittled down and the shortlist announced... Interestingly, the two titles tipped as front-runners to scoop the prize are not on it (David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and Christos Tsiolkas' The Slap). Instead, the six finalists competing for the £50,000 prize money/literary prestige are: Peter Carey's Parrot and Olivier in America Emma Donoghue's Room Damon Galgut's In a Strange Room Howard Jacobson's The Finkler Question Andrea Levy's The Long Song Tom McCarthy's C [Via The Guardian] Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2010 at Five Minutes Peace
Could this be the perfect book-lover's necklace? An antique brass photo locket in the shape of a book along with a pair of silver reading glasses, strung on a 24 inch brass chain. It's available from Etsy for $24 (approximately £16) and the maker will adjust the length of the chain (longer or shorter) if required. Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2010 at Five Minutes Peace
I was aware of this book - of course I was - and I'd seen the film many years ago (Anne Bancroft and Anthony Hopkins, delightful). What I'd failed to grasp, however, was that the book wasn't fiction. 84 Charing Cross Road is the true story of a twenty year correspondence between New York writer Helene Hanff and Frank Doel, the chief buyer for an antiquarian book shop in London. Hanff first contacted the shop in 1949, searching for classic and British literature editions, and a friendship evolved between her and Frank, and many of the other staff members at... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2010 at Five Minutes Peace
Eep! After writing three action-romance collaborations with Bob Meyer (Don't Look Down, Agnes and the Hitman and Wild Ride) Crusie treats her fans to an all-Crusie title. However, Maybe This Time isn't a return to 'classic' Crusie. She is following a recent fascination with the paranormal, mixing a spooky old house, ghosts, and a story loosely based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. The first chapter is available for free on Jennifer Crusie's website. It's out (in the UK) at the end of the month and has a fabulous - very red - cover. Look out for... Continue reading
Posted Aug 25, 2010 at Five Minutes Peace
Designer Ellymental uses vintage ephemera such as 1950s books and Victorian newspaper to make jewellery. This owl brooch is sweet without being too cutesy and is varnished to make it hard-wearing. £14 from The Literary Gift Company. Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2010 at Five Minutes Peace
Let me begin by explaining that I am not a long distance runner. Nor will I ever be. Truth be known, I am not a short distance runner, either. Without appropriate motivation (being chased by a horde of fleet-footed zombies, for example), I'm highly unlikely to break a sweat. I am, however, entirely obsessed by writing and books about writing. While this short memoir is ostensibly about Murakami's long distance running habit (formed as a young novelist when he realised writing was a sedentary activity and that he had put on a little weight), it is also about his writing... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2010 at Five Minutes Peace
Hurrah! A new Jackson Brodie story. This is the fourth in a series of mysteries from literary novelist Kate Atkinson that feature ex-cop and private investigator Brodie. Kate Atkinson's mysteries are character driven and combine several different plot strands to form a complex, satisying read. Started Early, Took My Dog sounds like no exception. Hop over the cut for the publisher's description. A day like any other for security chief Tracy Waterhouse, until she makes a purchase she hadn't bargained for. One moment of madness is all it takes for Tracy's humdrum world to be turned upside down, the tedium... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2010 at Five Minutes Peace
This memoir has been recommended to me many times but I'd somehow never got around to reading it. Well, I'm glad I finally did. Glad and a little bit freaked out... It's the tale of Burroughs's childhood and, as it's a real life story, I'm sure I shouldn't have found it so entertaining and funny. His mother (a psychologically-unhinged poet) left his alcoholic father and proceeded to get Augusten adopted by her therapist. Unfortunately, he turns out to be a nutter who may have 'looked like Santa Claus' but was the bizarre patriarch of an incredibly dysfunctional family. Effectively abandoned... Continue reading
Posted Jul 29, 2010 at Five Minutes Peace
Brilliant interview - thank you both! Love the photos and the nostalgia. x
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Mar 15, 2010
When food writer Tilly Flint has one too many arguments with her boyfriend Jake, she ends up abandoned in a cottage miles from anywhere. The couple had planned a working holiday in the Penines, but Tilly ends up watching him drive away, leaving her newly-single and very much alone. However, Tilly is surprised at the excitement that bubbles in her stomach along with the terror, and, having discovered she once had family in the area, she she vows to make the best of things and to spend time getting to know the bleak landscape and its inhabitants. The story moves... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2009 at Five Minutes Peace
I am an avid fan of Neil Gaiman's work (Coraline, Stardust, Anansi Boys, Sandman etc) and his excellent blog. Having seen him speak at the Edinburgh Book Festival a couple of weeks ago, I can also confirm that he comes across as a thoroughly nice guy... As a result, I am willing to overlook the intense feelings of envy engendered by viewing his personal library. Take a green-eyed look for yourself via shelfari. Actually, this is just his 'downstairs' library - the reference section is upstairs. Of course. Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2009 at Five Minutes Peace
This beautiful print is by Emily Martin. I love the sentiment, the quote and the illustration... Shame my birthday is months and months away! Check out Emily's Etsy shop for more lovely images. Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2009 at Five Minutes Peace
I love the cover of A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans as much as I loved the book. It's quirky and pretty and romantic. Evans has a new book due out this October called I Remember You. It's described as 'A Richard Curtis film in book form' by the publisher, but the cover doesn't have the magic of this one. Hop over the cut and tell me what you think. I'm not a big fan of all those little hearts; I think they're a bit infantile and obvious. Although I do like the postcard. Overall, I think it's a bit... Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2009 at Five Minutes Peace
Not only do I adore reading (natch) but I also adore books as physical objects. As I sincerely believe that books are items of supreme beauty, to be loved and held and cherished, it goes without saying that only the most delicate and lovely bookmarks should be used inside them... Which is why it's a little odd that I'm currently using a tea-stained coaster instead of this beautiful pearl bookmark from Anthropologie. Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2009 at Five Minutes Peace
I love seeing creative spaces and this is a lovely selection. Thanks for posting!
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