Category Archives: Blogging

Childhood favourites – Top Ten Tuesday

Hello all, and a belated happy new month!

It’s Top Ten Tuesday again – it happens every week! Today, it’s Childhood Favourites. Here are mine:

Tim and the Hidden People

by Sheila K McCullagh. Tim finds a magic key which enables him to see the Hidden People. I came across this ancient class reader series in some dusty attic. So began my love of dark fantasy.

The Secret Island

by Enid Blyton. With my first book token I picked this – The Secret Stories – which were a forerunner to the more famous Famous Five series. Three siblings escape cruel relatives to live on a secret island, which is the start of their adventures with Prince Paul (!) of Baronia. I would go on to read a lot of Blyton, but this stayed with me the most.

Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

by Robert C. O’Brien. Talking animals didn’t interest me. I never liked Beatrix Potter or Wind in the Willows. OK, I liked The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann, but the mystery of the secretive colony of rats at the centre of O’Brien’s Newbury medal-winner captivated me.

Moondial

by Helen Cresswell. When you think of stately homes, what comes to mind? TIME TRAVEL, that’s what. I’d mention A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley, and Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce here too.

Five Children and It

by E. Nesbit. The first in a trilogy. Five kids staying at their uncle’s mansion discover a grumpy sand fairy who can grant wishes. Wishes go wrong! I also loved Nesbit’s The Treasure Seekers, featuring the adventurous Bastable children.

The Chrestomanci Series ‘Witch Week’

by Diana Wynne Jones – author of Howl’s Moving Castle. Part of the Chrestomanci series, Witch Week is set in a parallel world, similar to ours, where magic is common! Off the top of my head, Jones’ Archer’s Goon, A Tale of Time City, and The Dalemark Quartet brightened my childhood.

The Chronicles of Narnia

by C.S Lewis. I don’t recall loving Lewis’ writing. Despite that, and my ‘talking animals’ prejudice, there’s no denying the pull that Narnia had on me.

Midnight is a Place

by Joan Aiken. This historical melodrama lays it on a bit thick: wronged orphans, awful guardians, old mansions…I loved it, and also Aiken’s alternate history The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.

The Children of the New Forest

by Frederick Marryat. This was my maternal grandfather’s favourite, which he gave to me as a present. Set in Civil War England, the Beverley orphans hide in the forest to escape Cromwell and the Roundheads. Other classics I loved included Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, The Prince and the Pauper by Twain, and the slightly later The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit

final1562101752983.jpg

The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier

by Judith Kerr. WWII historical fiction dominated heavily in my reading. Pink Rabbit was probably my favourite, but I also loved Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden, The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier, The Cay, by Theodore Taylor, and I am David by Anne Holm, which was set a little later.

Soon I moved on to paranormal romance, but also Brontë, George Elliot, and Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier.

So that’s my 10…OK I cheated a bit! xLx

books on white background

Adapt this! Page to screen – Top Ten Tuesday

This is my first ever Top Ten Tuesday, a book blog meme created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010, moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018.

“Page to Screen” is this week’s topic. This is a list of books I’ve read, off the top of my head, that I’d like to see adapted/re-adapted, or are being adapted, etc…

Circe by Madeline Miller This current bestseller about Circe, daughter of Helios, Greek god of the sun, has already been optioned for a TV series. May the gods descend from the heavens if they stuff it up!

Life after Life by Kate Atkinson This is one of my favourite novels, with its historical family saga meets Sliding Doors-style alternate timelines. I’d love to experience this atmospheric novel up on screen.

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber They did an Amazon pilot on this, starring Rob Stark from Game of Thrones. It’s the most melancholy book I’ve read (FYI Faber’s Under the Skin became a cult classic starring Scarlett Johansson).

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman would make a fine movie if they get the tone right. It’s already been snapped up by Reese Witherspoon…sure. I don’t know why, but I got a slight Mike Leigh/Happy-Go-Lucky vibe.

Leia, Princess of Alderaan This is a YA Star Wars canon novel by Claudia Gray. I think Solo was doomed because fans just didn’t want a movie centered on Han. A series or a movie about a young Leia? A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one.

After Mrs Rochester This is actually a play Polly Teale wrote after adapting Jane Eyre for stage. It’s based on the troubled life of Jean Rhys, writer of Wide Sargasso Sea. We’ve had Colette, so why not Rhys?

Gates of Fire Rights to Steven Pressfield’s historical epic about the Battle of Thermopylae were acquired by George Clooney’s production company years ago, before vanishing into antiquity. Here’s a good article about why Gates of Fire never made it to the big screen.

Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews I did a post about the Jennifer Lawrence movie and the book it was based on. The film..and even the book (first in a trilogy) have a certain ick factor, but there’s still potential for a TV series about spy/ballet dancer Dominika.

The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook. Only recently done, but attempt #1 was dull, and they could redo in ten years! I know they have to alter things for screen – my only unfulfilled expectation was not to be bored out of my ever-loving skull.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath is Kirsten Dunst’s proposed directorial debut. While I’ve great faith in Dunst (who has co-written the script) as an actress, this is a huge challenge!

**Lx**

Bereavement blogging break

The last time I blogged was September 17. The last time I posted on Instagram was September 18. While I was never prolific, 14 weeks is a significant gap, especially as I was almost getting into the swing of things. But after years of making pulmonary fibrosis look like a head cold, my dad suddenly worsened.

We’d had a content, peaceful few months together. We already knew things would never be the same, as our 20-year-old cat was clearly basking in her last summer. Then in the middle of September, dad started to decline. I had to call three ambulances in ten days, and eventually he spent several weeks in hospital before finally leaving us in October.

Obviously this isn’t a very festive post, but today, Boxing Day, was his birthday, and I couldn’t just return to blogging in the New Year without explaining my absence or mentioning that my entire life had changed forever.

I didn’t exactly have a typical relationship with my dad. He was a very popular and funny man – in his final decade he had become something of a local legend/eccentric. But underneath the jokes and the outgoing persona he hid trauma, and grave mental and physical illness.

He was very brave, incredibly tough, and his faith only got stronger.

Having witnessed his determination, held his hand at the end, and barely survived a funeral, I finally think I might want to write again.

I’m very hopeful that I’ll be back in 2019 with my light-hearted reviews. I always did find comfort in books and movies; so far this holiday I’ve watched his favourite movie (Elf) twice.

Perhaps I will have more time and energy and will belatedly gain a new efficiency. (This post alone is a slight leap of faith – far more personal than usual.)

So here’s to 2019. xx

Inspiration and blogging

When you don’t have the traditional support network of family and friends, chasing your goals is particularly challenging. If, like me, you’ve also learned to be a private person, blogging and using social media can feel odd.

Yet people are achieving goals and connecting with others via Youtube, blogs and social media platforms. I workout to fitness-entrepreneur Cassey Ho’s Pilates videos and follow her blog for recipes and exercise plans.

Jaclyn Glenn has forged a career on Youtube, with videos centred on atheism and social issues. Although I do not agree with Glenn on everything, she is creating some of the clearest, most intelligent and compassionate content around.

I’ve found it easy to go beyond the ubiquitous fashion bloggers into, for example, the world of women who shoot. I’ve long been interested in US gun culture, and following various new social media stars and outspoken proponents of the Second Amendment offers fascinating insights not otherwise available through mainstream coverage.

So some of the most vibrant content providers, role models and entrepreneurs are internet personalities. Some of these successes are genuine celebrities now; they have ‘fans’ in the same manner as the more conventionally famous.

In a society that has somewhat snobby and contradictory ideas about the accepted paths to fame or success, this aspect of social media and blogging is an interesting one.

Having drawn so much inspiration and information from online commentators and creators, I decided to take the step from follower and consumer to active social media participant and blogger, and be a part of an incredible community.