Catching up … plus more stocking fillers

It’s been so busy this past week and weekend, I didn’t have time to post or read much.

  • I’ve been preparing new pages for the Shiny New Books Christmas Inbetweenie issue – there are some goodies! (Coming to you on Thursday December 4th – click on the picture in the sidebar to sign up for the newsletter).
  • On Saturday, I was helping out at my daughter’s school Christmas fair where they had managed to get Mary Berry to come for the morning to sign books! I didn’t get to talk to her at all – As fast as I could unpack boxes of Mary’s books they sold! I did manage to send my daughter up with my copy of her autobiography to get signed. She must have signed steadily for about three hours – and then she went off to be a special guest in the audience on Strictly (Wasn’t BM’s ‘duet’ with Satchmo excruciating on the results show!).
  • Then it’s the school where I work’s turn this weekend – and with the boys’ stalls tending to have moving parts to win huge amounts of Haribos – the boy version of Whack-a-mole is always popular for instance! – there’s a lot of Health & Safety to double-check (part of my role).
  • We’re also at the start of party season, and I had my first pre-Christmas outing last Friday – Yay! A school staff social – we all went to a big pub in the middle of nowhere (relatively – the nearest habitation must be at least ten minutes walk), and had a great Thai meal! This Oxfordshire pub has a Thai chef and it was only £15. Strangely, on the corner of the lane up to the pub was a lonely kebab van – again in the middle of nowhere. After the meal on our way back (not even late), there was a crowd of people hanging out there … we didn’t stop.

However, I have managed to find some more bookish stocking fillers for you…

First is A Theft: My Con Man – a little pocket-sized essay from Hanif Kureishi which recounts the true story of how Kureishi was robbed of his life savings by a con man accountant. He uses his own experience to comment on the value of money and his opinions of the financial world.

It’s £4.99 – so not cheap for 48 pages, but I couldn’t resist – it’s fascinating stuff and new out last week. Buy at Amazon UK.

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Published back in June, Penguin Modern Classics brought out an edition of one of Shirley Jackson’s most iconic and terrifying short stories – The Lottery – as a pamphlet. If you can find it, it’s £0.99 but with P&P added it becomes rather over-priced for 16 pages. It would fit in with a Christmas card though…

Instead, you might prefer to give an anthology with other Shirley Jackson stories in as well – try this one, again from Penguin Modern Classics: The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson – buy at Amazon UK.

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Listellany is a little hardback that has grown out of John Rentoul’s column in the Independent newspaper in which he compiles top tens based on suggestions and contributions from his readers and twitter.

The lists, which cover such topics as ‘Upbeat songs that tell a sad story’ (cue Girlfriend in a Coma by The Smiths and many more), the most beautiful railway journeys in the UK, and words which used to mean their opposites, are pure opinion – but great for post-postprandial debate – Just start with the list of the Worst Beatles songs and go from there!

I got sent a copy of this book by the publisher, but being a trivia fan have enjoyed flicking through it.

Pub October 2014 by Elliot and Thompson. Hardback 128 pages. Listellany: A Miscellany of Very British Top Tens, from Politics to Pop – Buy on Amazon UK

9 thoughts on “Catching up … plus more stocking fillers

  1. Alex says:

    Mary Berry is probably a house-hold name in the UK, but I only got to know about her when i started watching The Great British Bake Off on BBC’s international broadcast. She seems so nice and approachable!

  2. Jenny @ Reading the End says:

    I cracked up at “Upbeat Songs that Tell a Sad Story” — that is a working description of my entire library of music on iTunes. I love an upbeat song that is secretly sad, which explains my devotion to the Smiths and the Decemberists.

    • Annabel (gaskella) says:

      I have a love-hate relationship with The Smiths, but must listen to the Decemberists one day… The List also included – S&G’s Mrs Robinson, F.Mac’s Don’t Stop (about the McVie’s divorce), Viva la vida – Coldplay (about Frida Kahlo apparently), one by the Housemartins called FIve get overexcited in which five people die and Dylan’s Positively 4th Street – to name a few of them!

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