Monthly Archives: September 2009

Mostly Bookbrains

AnnaBookBel   September 29, 2009   No Comments on Mostly Bookbrains

Dear Booklovers, On Tuesday November 3rd, on behalf of Mostly Books I’m hosting a Literary Quiz entitled ‘Mostly Bookbrains‘ at the Manor Preparatory School in Abingdon. Guess who’s Quizmaster and writing the questions? Yes, it’s me. We will cover the whole world of books – from bestsellers to prizewinners, cover art to author photos, children’s books to all sorts of… Read more »

Short Takes

AnnaBookBel   September 27, 2009   No Comments on Short Takes

Catching up on some shorter reviews … Amulet by Roberto Bolano To paraphrase the Cranberries album title, Everybody else is reading it, so why can’t I? – I’ve finally read some Roberto Bolano. He is definitely the flavour of the moment; his posthumously published epic 2666 is generating acres of discussion and review. However I wanted to read something shorter… Read more »

An evening with Alan Titchmarsh

The people of Abingdon had a treat tonight. Another national treasure came to visit in the body of Alan Titchmarsh, gardener supreme, broadcaster, chat-show host and great favourite of ladies of a certain age. I don’t count myself as one of them yet, but he is responsible for encouraging me into gardening during his stint at the helm of the… Read more »

A nail’s tale.

AnnaBookBel   September 23, 2009   No Comments on A nail’s tale.

This is not a post about books – It’s a musing about fingernails! I tend to keep my nails really short – it’s a habit – I used to be a fiddle player. My nails have never been strong either, flaking at the slightest exposure to harsh treatment; but apart from painting on nail strengthener when I remember and filing… Read more »

Two women, two cultures, two lives

Antigona and Me by Kate Clanchy This is a true story. Antigona is Kosovan, a single mother with two daughters and a young son; they are refugees in London. They had a terrible journey to get there escaping from war and Antigona’s wife-beater of a husband. Kate Clanchy has a happy home and a young baby, but needs time to… Read more »

A true story of the Russian Revolution

Blood Red Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick There has been renewed interest in the beloved children’s author Arthur Ransome lately due to the publication of a new biography: The Last Englishman by Roland Chambers. What many people don’t know is that years before he wrote the children’s classics, including Swallows and Amazons, for which he is so fondly remembered, he… Read more »

Power Games in Puritan New England

The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent To be honest, I wanted to get this book out of the way. I didn’t warm to the cover at all, particularly as when you see it in a stack it stares at you; it gave me the willies one morning when I woke up to see it looking at me! The subject-matter of… Read more »

Richard III – Dastardly murderer or totally misunderstood?

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey  Most people if asked, including me, would think of Richard III as the hunchback who murdered the princes in the tower. Our information generally comes from Sir Thomas More’s hatchet-job of him by way of Shakespeare and Laurence Olivier or Anthony Sher with a crutch capering around the stage. Josephine Tey does her best… Read more »

Rogue apostrophes and all that grammar and punctuation stuff…

There have been some great pictures of signs with rogue apostrophes and appalling grammar in the papers lately. With the new school year just starting, the government has produced a document as part of the National Literacy Strategy to tell teachers When to use a full stop. Apparently, up to a third of trainee teachers needed two or more goes… Read more »

Now Titchmarsh is coming to Abingdon!

We’re getting all the big names in Abingdon now. Next to visit is the gardening everyman megastar Alan Titchmarsh. The event promoted by Mostly Books is on Friday September 25th. The venue is being finalised, but tickets are on sale at £6 from the bookshop (01235 525880). Alan has a book to promote (naturally!). I was pleased to see it’s… Read more »

Monkey Business in Hollywood

Me Cheeta by James Lever This year’s oddball choice on the Booker longlist is a satire on Hollywood as seen through the eyes of Tarzan’s long-lived chimp companion. When it was published last autumn as an autobiography, the book had Cheeta listed as its writer, but it didn’t take long for the real author to be uncovered; James Lever, a… Read more »

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood – were they really desperate?

In the same way that I adored watching Rome and am enjoying The Tudors, I also loved Desperate Romantics which recently finished screening on the BBC. All of them are generally utter tosh historically, but great entertainment to watch – and of course everyone looks marvellous; (Rome also wins prizes for being the most creatively potty-mouthed programme on TV!). So how accurately… Read more »