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Keeping Boredom At Bay

March 16th, 2020

First, thanks to Ruth for last week’s blog. I love the humorous way she writes and I think her suggestion of working with a friend is a really good one. Especially in these difficult times when our movements might become more restricted. It’s something that you can do from the comfort of your own home via your laptop or tablet.

And talking about movements being restricted, I  may not be in the 70+ range but I’m gearing up for having to curtail my activities a little. And for me, that means finding some great big, whopping books to read. At the moment I’m reading The Devil That Danced by Aminatta Forna. It’s a beautiful, lyrical book about her childhood in Sierra Leone, the murder of her father by the regime and the country as it has been recently with all its troubles and bloodshed. At 500-plus pages it’s a very satisfying read! I’ve read a couple of her novels, too – The Memory of Love and The Hired Man – and they don’t disappoint. Read the rest of this entry »




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The Novels That Shaped Our World

January 31st, 2020

The BBC has asked a selection of people to choose 100 English language novels that have had an impact on them. They say:

“Stories have the power to change us. We asked a panel of leading writers, curators and critics to choose 100 genre-busting novels that have had an impact on their lives, and this is the result. These English language novels, written over the last 300 years, range from children’s classics to popular page turners. Organised into themes, they reflect the ways books help shape and influence our thinking.”

You can see the list here. I find some of the choices rather odd, but reading preferences are a very personal thing and I’m sure no two people would agree completely. Last year, the Sunday Times printed a list (many of which I had already read) and I am still working my way through the stragglers. It’s been great as it’s introduced me to some wonderful writers that I might otherwise have overlooked. But there are still the odd one or two that I have downloaded to my library app and then deleted after only a few chapters. Read the rest of this entry »




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Annual Bloggers Bash!

May 31st, 2019

Thanks to Ann for last week’s contribution. When I’m trying to check facts I often find myself going off at a tangent and having to give myself a strict ‘talking to’ before getting back on track. But, as she says, it’s never all a waste of time. Some of those interesting discoveries might just trigger an idea for a new, and potentially lucrative, piece of writing.

I was speaking to one of our tutors, Esther Chilton, this week and she mentioned The Bloggers Bash  which will be held in London on Saturday 15th June. It’s a social event for bloggers, bringing together the blogging community and it’s now in its fifth year.

There will be opportunities to socialise and network; presentations on blogging and marketing your blog from guest speakers; a workshop on creating flat lay images for your website and social media and a panel debate. And talking of the panel debate, Esther will be one of the panel members. So if you live in the London area (or fancy a good day out) and you either  blog already, or are contemplating starting, then this could be just what you’re looking for. Read the rest of this entry »




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The Beauty Of Books…

August 24th, 2018

First, thanks to Roz for last week’s post. I’ve just started reading her book, ‘The Devil’s Dice’,  and I’m thoroughly enjoying it!

Talking about reading, I’ve had a bad back for the last couple of weeks, so I haven’t been as active as usual; so that  means I’ve had much more time to read. And have I used that time! Of the books I’ve read there are three that really stand out.

The first is ‘The Strange Disappearance of a Bollywood Star’ by Vaseem Khan. It’s part of a series about a private investigator in Mumbai and his sidekick – a baby elephant called Ganesha. It does for India what the Number One Ladies Detective Agency did for Botswana. It’s not high literature, but it’s well written, heart-warming and makes you care about the characters. And it doesn’t shy away from the problems faced by the less well-off citizens of the country. I’ll certainly be dipping into the series again. Read the rest of this entry »




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Schadenfreude

November 17th, 2017

At the recent Hong Kong Literary festival Ian Rankin, author of the John Rebus novels, was quoted as saying that in a world of uncertainty, increasing violence and terrorist attacks people were turning away from grittier novels and looking for something more ‘kind and gentle’.

I agree that reading is a form of escapism. But I also suspect that there is a degree of schadenfreude among the reading public. We sit comfortably with our book of choice and enjoy the fact that we’re safe while the protagonists are undergoing all sorts of perils and problems. And it’s not a new thing. You only need to go back to the Bronte sisters. Wuthering Heights…Jane Eyre… very romantic but also very gothic. They must have sent an enjoyable shudder up the spines of many a well-brought-up young lady. Read the rest of this entry »




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