June books

Jul. 2nd, 2014 11:04 am
slemslempike: (books: slemslempike)
What is the What - Dave Eggers
Wallflower at the Orgy - Nora Ephron
Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction - Sue Townsend
The Moomins and the Great Flood - Tove Jansson
Diary of a Provincial Lady - EM Delafield
We Have Always Lived in the Castle - Shirley Jackson
Life on the Edge - Jennifer Comeaux
The Provincial Lady's Diary - EM Delafield
The Provincial Lady Goes Further - EM Delafield
The Marlows and the Traitor - Antonia Forest
A Place of Greater Safety - Hilary Mantel
The Provincial Lady in America - EM Delafield
For Richer or Poorer - Victoria Coren
My Man Jeeves - PG Wodehouse

June books )
slemslempike: (girlsown: seven sisters)
[livejournal.com profile] katlinel asked what more stuff would you like to write about children's books?

There are two ideas I've had for a while. The first is something I wrote an essay about at university, but would quite like to revisit and do it properly, about the representation of WW2 women's services in children's books. The essay was about WW1, WW2, Falklands and Iraq wars (with a footnote about sheep), but it was too shallow and there's only really a lot of examples in WW2. Mostly I wrote then about the hierarchies, with very few Old Girls from school stories are in the ATS, which was not considered appropriate for nice girls.

The second is about tracing the changes from the beginning to end of the longer running series - Chalet School, Abbey Girls, Dimsie. When I first started thinking about this I was even more untheoretical than now, but I had had ideas about professionalisation ofof schools, and a change from "feminine" to "masculine" values. Mostly it would be a comparison, from the early 20th century, and the values and ambitions of the novels, to their finishing points after the authors had found success, been through a world war, and changed their characters to fit the times (or not changed them, and shoved them in a world of folk dancing and aristocrats). I don't know - I think that has been done in various forms already, and is probably not all that interesting at the heart of it. I'd still quite like to do something about the first and last novels in each series. Maybe more of a personal reading project than a writing thing.

I've just remembered an lj conversation ages and ages ago where [livejournal.com profile] cangetmad came up with the title "funk and functionality" and I thought I could write something about fear in children's books, possibly the Marlow books iirc, but I am less sure about that. And somewhere I have a not even half finished spreadsheet containing information about what Chalet Girls do in their lessons and prep, and in what class. Fail to find predicates, mostly, I think.

Anyway, I don't think it very likely that I will write these, certainly not very soon. I am very bad at working off my own bat, so it would have to be spurred by a call for papers, and I don't look for those very often. But then I did like writing the class article, so maybe I will get to it some day.
slemslempike: (nemi: argh)
I do not like change, and I especially do not like change to my email. Oh yahoo, why must you unnerve me by being quite similar but not quite? I am almost getting used to it, but mostly it just looks like it hasn't loaded properly. And if I wanted conversations to be grouped together, I'd use bloody gmail, as I haven't made the switch (except for professional stuff) then you should assume that I LIKE having to use an unreliable search box and trying to remember what precise words used were.

[livejournal.com profile] sabethea linked to this a while ago, and it's stuck with me:

Malory Towers/Battle Royale
Summary: It's the end of Darrell Rivers' fifth year, but now she and her friends are being forced to fight to the death, and only one can survive. How long before old friendships give way for good?


http://archive.skyehawke.com/story.php?no=17564

I haven't read Battle Royale, but it works as a standalone Malory Towers dystopian fic. It is multi-chaptered, and I felt quite bleak for a while after reading it. Recommended! (Sort of.) It gets around the "but surely a Malory Towers girl would never kill another?" aspect pretty well.

I went to a talk on tax and avoidance, that was very interesting, and I got to seem knowledgeable after remembering [livejournal.com profile] hfnuala mentioning a while ago that income tax was brought in as a temporary measure in the UK to fund the Napoleonic Wars. Tonight I am off to another talk, this time on the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh, which is having a presentation and display of some photos, apparently also with some sort of refreshment. I was supposed to go to an NLS talk on Slavery yesterday, but work overran and I didn't make it. The talks are because I was messing around on eventbrite, and decided to see what was on that I hadn't heard about. Lots!

Book meme

Jul. 10th, 2013 05:45 pm
slemslempike: (nemi: argh)
Another meme, though this one I found on friendsfriends rather than back in the midst of time. Given my propensity for memes and books, it's likely I'll have written about these quite a lot before, but never mind, eh?

A nice long book meme. )
slemslempike: (books: slemslempike)
Brighter than the Sun - Julia Quinn
Nancy, Canadian Schoolgirl - Phillis Garrard
Broken Elements - Mia Marshall
Summer Term - Susan Pleydell
Corsets and Camoflage - Kate Adie
The Ballad and the Source - Rosamund Lehmann
A Young Man's Fancy - Susan Pleydell
Friends, Lovers, Chocolate - Alexander McCall Smith
Love is in the Air - Diana Gregory (Sweet Dreams)
Te Amo Means I Love You - Deborah Kent (Sweet Dreams)
Ask Annie - Suzanne Rand (Sweet Dreams)

August Books. )


[livejournal.com profile] whatho told me about the Amazon Vine programme, where if you write respected reviews for them then they GIVE YOU FREE STUFF. I want free stuff, so I hve been starting to write reviews on amazon. If you see the reviews and find them helpful, then you could perhaps click the button that says that they are helpful, which propells me up the rankings. (I don't know how the Vine programme works, but I assume that being higher than 38,262 would be a good start. I would be higher, but quite a lot of people didn't find my brief excoriation of Ellie Levenson very helpul.) So if you had the time and the inclination then you could go to look at my amazon reviews. If you have reviews I will assess their helpfulness too!

July Books

Sep. 2nd, 2012 08:45 pm
slemslempike: (books: slemslempike)
A Lady of Quality - Frances Hodgson Burnett
Guides of the Chalet School - Jane Berry
The Holiday - Stevie Smith
They Both Liked Dogs - Elinor M Brent-Dyer
A Long Way from Verona - Jane Gardam
A Circling Star - Mara Kay
Miss Lonelyhearts and A Cool Million - Nathaniel West
Miss Owen-Owen is at Home - Margaret Forster
Convent on Styx - Gladys Mitchell
O Caledonia - Elspeth Barker
Blame Hitler - Julian Rathbone (actually in July)
Ten Way Street - Susan Scarlett (Noel Streatfeild)
Scenes from Provincial Life - William Cooper
The Middle of the Sandwich - Tim Kennemore
Wall of Words - Tim Kennemore

July Books. )

June Books

Jul. 15th, 2012 11:15 am
slemslempike: (books: slemslempike)
Playing with the Grown Ups - Sophie Dahl
A Snowball in Hell - Christopher Brookmyre
Sweet Valley Confidential - Francine Pascal
Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris
Earth, Air, Fire and Custard - Tom Holt
The Elephanta Suite - Paul Theroux
The Crow Road - Iain Banks
The House at Riverton - Kate Morton
Balthasar's Odyssey - Amin Maalouf
The Corrections - Ian Rankin
Deira Joins the Chalet School - Caroline German
Country of the Blind - Christopher Brookmyre
Sister Anne Resigns - Josephine Elder
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance - Lois McMaster Bujold

June Books. )

April books

Jul. 9th, 2012 12:23 pm
slemslempike: (Default)
Apparently I never got around to posting about what I read in April, so here are two non-consecutive months' worth.

April Books
Come Hither, Nurse! - Jane Grant
The Finkler Question - Howard Jacobson
Exchanges of Hearts - Janet Quin-Harkin (Sweet Dreams)
No More Boys - Charlotte White (Sweet Dreams)
The Lark on the Wing - Elfrida Vipont
The Spring of the Year - Elfrida Vipont
Flowering Spring - Elfrida Vipont
The Pavilion - Elfrida Vipont
The Story of Horace - Alice M. Coates
The Summer Jenny Fell in Love - Barbara Conklin (Sweet Dreams)
Penny and Aggie
Mr Wonderful - Fran Michaels (Sweet Dreams)
The Cinderella Game - Sheri Cobb South (Sweet Dreams)

April books. )

March books

May. 1st, 2012 07:56 pm
slemslempike: (books: slemslempike)
March Books
It's OK If You Don't Love Me - Norma Klein
Crying with Laughter - Bob Monkhouse
The Cheer - Norma Klein
The Swap - Norma Klein
The Queen of the What Ifs - Norma Klein
Just Friends - Norma Klein
The Gender Delusion - Cordelia Fine
Man Overboard - Monica Dickens
Trouble at Skelton Hall - Elinor M Brent-Dyer
That's My Baby - Norma Klein
Saving Francesca - Melina Marchetta
Started Early, Took My Dog - Kate Atkinson
The Lark in the Morn - Elfrida Vipont
All Change - Josephine Pullein-Thompsom
Margaret Powell in America - Margaret Powell

March books. )
slemslempike: (books: slemslempike)
August
Mary Francis Shura - Summer Dreams, Winter Love
Azar Nafasi - Reading Lolita in Tehran
Fiona Cooper - Heartbreak on the High Sierra
Tracey Rosenberg - The Girl in the Bunker
Jenny Lindsay - The Things We Leave Behind
Michael Arditti - Unity
Joyce Grenfell - Joyce Grenfell Requests the Pleasure
LT Meade - The Rebel of the School (K)
Christopher Brookmyre - The Sacred Art of Stealing
Victoria Walker - The Winter of Enchantment
Victoria Walker - The House at Hadlows
Marian Keyes - This Charming Man
Kazuo Ishiguro - A Pale View of Hills
Mike Thomas - Pocket Notebook
Richard Herring - How Not to Grow Up
Mrs Stephen Fry - Mrs Fry's Diary

August books. )
slemslempike: (girlsown: end of term)
GOSH I'm not sure about this at all:

Kingscote Spring Term.

GGBP are publishing a "fill-in"/fanfic novel as part of Antonia Forest's Marlow books, set following Run Away Home. I am not at all sure about it. If it were news of a long multi-chapter Marlow fic, I'd be utterly delighted, but it being a published novel is a different thing for me. I have come up with a LIST of reasons why, when I enjoy reading Chalet fill-ins, I'm uneasy about a Kingscote book. (I'm still going to buy and read it when it comes out.)

  • There are loads of the Chalet school books, and they are all quite similar to one another. So writers of fill-ins can slip into the universe quite easily, while it's much more difficult with Antonia Forest, whose world is much more dense and varied. Another novel amongst 59 others can slip in, while another after 10 originals stands out more. We've had so much of the Chalet world that as a reader I know roughly how EBD would address most situations. With Antonia Forest, it's much less clear-cut, and more surprising, so I think it will be hard for the author not to seem OOC.


  • Antonia Forest was a very good writer. EBD was a good story teller, but her writing is very imitable. I can read the EBD fill-ins quite happily (well, most of them) without being taken out of the world. It's going to be much more difficult to achieve that with AF-fic. I've often found longer length faithful fics to be a little hard for me to take, as they didn't quite get the voice and I didn't trust them to be telling me the story of these characters. Unreasonable, perhaps.


  • When GGBP started publishing Chalet fill-ins I didn't know about fanfiction really, and hadn't started to discover online fandom. Whereas now I read fic online, and have started to resent the idea of paying for it, when the best fic I've ever read is available for free. Which seems rather mean of me. On the one hand, it's part of liking fandom specifically. I've seen fanfic being referred to as like a gift relationship. On the other hand, why shouldn't I support women's work (and most fanfic is) financially?


  • It's not written by Ankaret. Which isn't exactly fair of me, because most of Ankaret's fics (especially the longer ones) aren't meant to be straight fanfic of the GGBP kind, and this is a very different kettle of fish. But while I don't think it's appropriate for Jareth the Goblin King to pop up in this novel, Term of Duty is so much the right voice that I can't really imagine it being equalled.


Actually, having now written down my objections to the idea, I'm rather looking forward to it. It won't be AF, and I might not find it to my liking, but it'll be interesting to see what someone else has thought about what might happen after Run Away Home. GGBP says it'll be published in July/August this year, but my experience of their previous publishing schedules leads me to scepticism.

Does anyone know the author? I'm not asking for any online IDs to be outed or anything, or even if she has them - just I don't know the name or if she's written anything else, and I'd be interested to know if anyone has come across her before.

Twinsome.

Aug. 25th, 2010 11:13 am
slemslempike: (girlsown: end of term)
I found a piece of a quiz thing I was going to do a while ago in honour of [livejournal.com profile] alltheleaves, and then completely forgot about. Better late than never, eh? And hopefully it might entertain some people. Or at the very least, me, as I like comments but can't be bothered to earn them right now. Answer as many or as few questions as you choose in preferably more than one word where applicable.

Which school do Pat and Isobel O'Sullivan attend? (correct spelling please!)

What are the middle names of the Maynard triplets?

Joey Maynard produces triplets and two sets of twins over about a decade. Rosamund Kentisbury produces two sets of twins within one year. Which is the greater achievement?

You awake to find yourself in bed surrounded by incredibly posh women in country dancing frocks. Apparently you have had the temerity to be injured by some psychopathic twins, and now as a penance you are expected to stay in some sort of ruins and work unpaid.
a) How were you injured?
b) How will you escape your fate? Please pay particular attention to the correct use of gentlemen's titles.

Nicola and Lawrie Marlow are identical twins. You have captured one of them but can't work out which. What are some tests you might set to discover their identity?

What is the best ever set of twins you have ever encountered in fiction?

What is the worst ever set of twins you have ever encountered in fiction?

Which twin set would you most like to be one of?

June Books

Jul. 2nd, 2010 05:50 pm
slemslempike: (Default)
Ngaio Marsh - Death in Ecstacy
Sara Paretsky - Guardian Angel
Lee Child - Echo Burning
Keith Waterhouse - Mrs Pooter's Diary
Norma Klein - Going Backwards
Charles Butler - Calypso Dreaming
June Oldham - Enter Tom
Julian Barnes - England, England
Sylvia Edwards - Sally Baxter, Girl Reporter in Underwater Adventure
The Two Ronnies - But First: the news
Anthony Buckeridge - Jennings' Little Hut
Antonia Forest - Attic Term
KM Peyton - A Pattern of Roses
William Honey - Travel Courier in Spain
John Dos Passos - Manhattan Transfer
Armistead Maupin - Babycakes
Roddy Doyle - A Star Called Henry
Jane Duncan - My Friends the Hungry Generation
Beverly Cleary - Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Margaret Atwood - The Robber Bride
Lois McMaster Bujold - Shards of Honor
Lois McMaster Bujold - Barrayar
Paul Gallico - Mrs Harris Goes to New York
Beverly Cleary - Beezus and Ramona
Paul Gallico - Mrs Harris MP
Paul Gallico - Mrs Harris Goes to Russia
Paula Danziger - United Tates of America
Tessa Duder - Mercury Beach
Elizabeth Beresford - Diana in Television
Joe Bennett - A Land of Two Halves
Antonia Forest - Falconer's Lure

June Books. )
slemslempike: (books: slemslempike)
January
Helene Hanff - Underfoot in Show Business
The Uncommon Reader - Alan Bennett
Letters to Ms. - Mary Thom
Flash Fire - Caroline B Cooney
Operation: Homefront - Caroline B Cooney
Family Secrets - Norma Klein
Sister of the Bride - Beverly Cleary
Ramona Forever - Beverly Cleary
The View from Saturday - EL Konigsburg
I Love You, Beth Cooper - Larry Doyle
The Divorce Express - Paula Danziger
It's an Aardvark-Eat-Turtle World - Paula Danziger
A Field Guide to the English - Sarah Lyall
Travels with my Aunt - Graham Greene
The Pursuit of Laughter - Diana Mitford
Masha - Mara Kay
The Youngest Lady-in-Waiting - Mara Kay
Brick Lane - Monica Ali
Season of Migration to the North - Tayeb Salih
La Batarde - Violette Leduc
Emma's War - Deborah Scroggins
Belching Out the Devil - Mark Thomas

January books. )
slemslempike: (books: slemslempike)
November
Tragically, I Was an Only Twin - Peter Cook
Unseen Academicals - Terry Pratchett
Dimsie Grows Up - Dorita Fairlie Bruce
Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
Straw Without Bricks: I Visit Soviet Russia - EM Delafield
The Purposes of Love - Mary Renault
Chocolate and Cuckoo Clocks: The Essential Alan Coren - Alan Coren
Dimsie Goes Back - Dorita Fairlie Bruce
Shakespeare Wallah - Geoffrey Kendal
Books do Furnish a Room - Anthony Powell
Temporary Kings - Anthony Powell
Hearing Secret Harmonies - Anthony Powell
Dimsie Carries On - Dorita Fairlie Bruce
Dimsie Takes Charge - Dorita Fairlie Bruce
The Encircled Heart - Josephine Elder
The Saturdays - Elizabeth Enright
Anything Can Happen - Jane Shaw
Now and Then - William Corbett
The Trouble With Vanessa - Jean Ure

November Books. )
slemslempike: (books: slemslempike)
October
The Military Philosphers - Anthony Powell
A Comedian's Tale - Ian Cognito
Dimsie Moves Up - Dorita Fairlie Bruce
Dimsie Moves Up Again - Dorita Fairlie Bruce
Dimsie Among the Prefects - Dorita Fairlie Bruce
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People - Toby Young
Dimsie, Head Girl - Dorita Fairlie Bruce
Dimsie Intervenes - Dorita Fairlue Bruce
Cover Her Face - P.D. James

A Comedian's Tale (on his website, here) is a disjointed look back at his career, from the first gig to the latest, with notable successes and failures (mostly failures) along the way. Probably only interesting if you are already interested in the history of UK stand-up.

I am rather stalled on Dimsie now, as I have reached Grows Up, which is BORING. Although to be fair it did start with someone nicking a car at gun-point, but she's an adult now and there is no more trying on corsets in the lower music room (what? there's no rule, that I've ever heard, against trying on new corsets in the lower music-room)), rescuing poetry from a burning shed or suddenly finding that an escaped bear has leapt into your sports-car.

Toby Young is not exactly meant to be likeable in How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, but I don't think he was intending to come across as boringly irritating as I found him. He kept banging on about how in the US women judged him on what he did, and in the UK women judged him on what he was like, and it seemed that not being judged on what he was like could only be a bonus.

Cover Her Face is the first PD James I've ever read. I enjoyed it - it took me a while to get into it, because no-one died for ages. But good.

Poetry.

Oct. 8th, 2009 08:02 pm
slemslempike: (snooker: maguire peekaboo)
It's National Poetry Day! And lots of people on my flist have also been talking specifically about women poets. I combine the two with this extract from Dimsie Among the Prefects. One of the original rules of the Anti-Soppist League was that no member should write poetry (poetry being dreadfully soppy, of course). The ASL was formed when they were juniors, but there is no less need for watchfulness in Div 1. Jean Gordon, however, was found out at the beginning of term to be a secretly budding poet. This was reluctantly allowed to pass, so long as she kept to suitable subjects like the dear old school. However, later in the term, she is discovered deviating from these clear rules:

What's the matter with Jean's poetry? )

My bathroom book at the moment is Germaine Greer's collection 101 Poems by 101 Women, which is arranged chronologically, and I'm up to Christina Rossetti. Unfortunately the poems have got longer than I like, and since I am thankfully currently free from intestinal difficulty I am not managing to get through them so easily. I mostly like poems rather than poets, but here are my ten:

Ten women poets. )

I don't care if the last one's a cheat, I think of it as an entity, and it's the first book of poetry I ever bought myself. I was 15/16 and on holiday in Wales with my family and my childhood best friend Chloe and her family. I had blue hair and I was sulking because if I hadn't been on holiday I would have been going to see Dinosaur Jr with my soon-to-be-boyfriend Daniel. We went to the bookshop in Machynlleth, where I spent all my holiday money on my book, and Chloe bought A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man because she loved the line "when you wet the bed first it is warm and then it is cold". We read our respective books when we went to bed that night huddled under blankets because it was technically summer but we were in a damp cottage up what might have been a mountain with no heating.
slemslempike: (girlsown: brownie)
I always think of Dorita Fairlie Bruce as the sensible one of the Big Three, lacking as she does a surfeit of either avalanches or titled gentlemen. And of course the presence of the Anti-Soppist League. But I have just finished Dimsie Moves Up Again, and so far in the series they've discovered a secret maze of passages cut of of rock through the back of a wardrobe, found a Vandyck, had it stolen, chased after the thieves in a stolen car driven by an underage schoolgirl, seized it back and made their getaway in a rowing boat on the sea. And I haven't even started the book with the bear leaping into the backseat of the car yet.

At least these do happen to indivdual girls, or groups of girls, though. You can quite see that the whole thing could be explained away as one-off events triggered by the unique nature of Dimsie Maitland*. Much more difficult to convince parents that there is no inherent institutional health and safety problem when the whole school may at any moment be flooded out, trapped in a shed by an snow/heavy fog/inadequate foresight by mistresses, felled by a flying bookend, or married off to a passing member of the medical profession.

I love girls' school stories.

'Meg saddled her horse and rode eight miles across country in the dark - Irish country, mind - to fetch a doctor for a man who had been shot in the rioting.'

'Then she'll marry that man,' declared Pam, with conviction. 'I don't see what else she can do. It was splendid of her though. Meg was always a sport.'


What else indeed!


*Is this not an early example of RAS syndrome? I dearly love that the entry takes care to point out the humour in the name in case anyone missed it.
slemslempike: (books: slemslempike)
September
Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown - Jennifer Scanlon
The Valley of Bones - Anthony Powell
Spinster - Sylvia Ashton-Warner
The Best of Myles - Flann O'Brien
The Ionian Mission - Patrick O'Brien
The Reverse of the Medal - Patrick O'Brien
The Soldier's Art - Anthony Powell
No More Saturday Nights - Norma Klein
Dimsie Goes to School - Dorita Fairlie Bruce

As ever. )

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