papagena

The World of Ephemera #4: Childhood drawing

Sorting through mountains of papers, one happy discovery has been a folder containing many of my childhood drawings and doodles that my Mum had kept.  It has been absolutely wonderful to be reunited with them, and indeed a real trip down memory lane as I can remember many of them. My daughter has been especially Read More

Story Sisters

Sisters are doing it …

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman Elv, Claire and Meg Story are sisters.  They’re extremely close, inventing a language all of their own – Arnish – even their mother is excluded from their fantasy world, and the younger two are always rapt with Elv’s storytelling about the fairy land of Arnelle.  Theirs is a world full Read More

living-dead-2

Sookie Stackhouse #2

Living Dead In Dallas by Charlaine Harris Living Dead in Dallas is the second in the hugely successful Sookie Stackhouse series of vampire novels by Charlaine Harris. If by any chance you’ve not encountered them before, either as books or in their TV incarnation True Blood, I suggest you start here with the first. In this second novel, Sookie is Read More

balthazar jones

The Yeomen of the Guard off duty …

Balthazar Jones and the Tower of London Zoo by Julia Stuart (republished into its original place in the time-line from my lost post archive) I’d picked this book up in a bookshop, and put it down again, thinking it might be a bit twee. Then I was offered a copy by the publisher and after Read More

living-dead-2

Twins & Ghosts – a complex combination

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger There was an awful lot written about this book around the time of its publication last year.  I generally prefer to miss all the hullaballoo, to let things settle down for a bit and read books at the time of my choosing. This autumn, I decided to include it in Read More

peyton-place

Everybody here has a secret…

Peyton Place by Grace Metalious This was our book group choice for October, and what a good one it was, for everyone who finished reading the book loved it. This is the book that set the benchmark for every soap opera and drama of small town America that followed, and it’s almost shocking to find Read More

living-dead-2

Susan Hill’s ghostly story for autumnal nights

The Small Hand by Susan Hill Susan Hill is justly renowned for her ghost stories – her best-known is The Woman in Black which is both chilling and a darned good read. The Small Hand is her latest, and I thoroughly enjoyed it too. It starts off simply.  Adam Snow, an antiquarian bookseller is on his way home from meeting a Read More

living-dead-2

Black magic in Madchester

To the Devil: A Diva! by Paul Magrs. Magrs is the author of the totally wonderful Brenda & Effie series of novels, gentle comic paranormal mysteries set around Whitby – Never the Bride is the first, and I gave it ten out of ten – but don’t take just my word for it – Juxtabook and Savidge Readsboth adored it too. After so Read More

C&E 1

The World of Ephemera #3: The Department at Work   

In the days of brown coats and drawing boards. My parents worked for the Customs & Excise for just about all of their working lives in one post or another.  The C&E is now incorporated with the Inland Revenue into HM Revenue & Customs or HMRC.  We tend to associate C&E with catching smugglers and inspecting Read More

living-dead-2

Return of the Living Dead …

It’s that time of year again when I fit a few spooky novels into my October reading plans.  Last year I read only vampire stories – this year I’m ranging more widely for fearsome creatures and I’ve started off with a ‘Teen Gothic’ novel about werewolves… Claire De Lune by Christine Johnson Claire is just a Read More

From those wonderful folk

Those maddening real-life Mad Men …

From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor: Front-line Dispatches from the Advertising War by Jerry Della Femina. This book was originally published in 1970 – an insider’s guide to the goings on in the ad industry in the 1960s by a guy who was there – one of the original Mad Men.  Thanks to the success Read More

SHORT STORIES TWITTER4

The World of Ephemera #2

I have a stunner of a spoof letter for you today.  This was found in amongst my Mum’s papers, but not just one copy – I’ve come across several during my filing!  What makes it even funnier is that this copy had a typed circulation list attached plus a handwritten note from my Mum explaining how Read More