Aug. 26th, 2008

dozydormouse: (Default)
The  latest bout of wheezing, gasping and general not wellness has led to a great deal of reading. This is obviously the silver lining to illness one is encouraged to lounge in a favourite chair, wrapped in a cosy blanket clutching a mug of tea in one hand and a book in the other.

A Town Like Alice, Nevile Shute
I've been meaning to read this since forever or at least since I took it from Granny's bookshelf after she died and carried it home. I don't know what I expected but it wasn't what I thought, it was much better. This was a book I read in one sitting because I was enthralled. I suppose it had many of the elements that make me like girlsown, a heroine who has fortitude and determination and who strives to do the right thing no matter what and in the end enjoys well deserved good fortune, a gentle love story that survives hardship and misunderstanding and history. There was a strong sense of time and place and I found that it really mattered to me what happened to the characters. The narrative voice is unusual and yet he too mattered to me. The ending is bittersweet and I found myself wishing that the narrator had chosen an alternative course. 

Journey to the River Sea, Eva Ibbotson
This is the first Eva Ibbotson I've ever read and I was instantly hooked. Once again I liked the sense of place in this book and the central character was someone I could really care about. I felt she really captured the atmosphere of the amazon and made it seem a place of endless possibilities. To be honest the governess and others were a little ahead of their time but it made for a good story. There was a sense of the fantastical about it, there are points when one has to suspend disbelief just a little but the exotic nature of the setting made the heroine's experiences seem just a little more plausible. The twins are such caricatures of badness that they are a joy to read about, I longed to know which new depth they would plumb.

The Market Square, Miss Read
I love Miss Read, her books are so gentle and comforting. I suppose because they describe a rural idyll that no longer exists if it ever did. They provide a constant in an unpredictable world. I particularly enjoy this one and its sequel because one can get completely immersed in the fictional market town of Caxley and the lives of the Howards and the Norths. The two books allow one to enjoy a gentle ramble through the first half of the twentieth century with the Howards and the Norths. This time I actually wept over Bender's death - somehow the poignancy struck me anew this time around. 

Unforgettable Fifth at Trebizon, Anne Digby
I read this to counteract a sudden terror that struck at 2am. It is the perfect antidote to things that go bump or rather telephones that ring in the night. I first read this book when it was published and at 16 and in Lower VI, I was only a Iittle older than the target audience. This reread made me recall all over again the reasons why I am a Robbie girl rather than Cliff's girl. My goodness Cliff turns out to have feet of clay and he just isn't the boy we thought he was. They say you should watch the quiet ones. There's something special about Robbie even if it is only the fact that I grew up with Rebecca and Robbie. The book is also always gearing up towards their eventual reconcillation. His birthday present is also both thoughtful and romantic - Go Robbie. As a grown up I feel she does not need either boy and would be better off without them but back then Robbie and Rebecca were my OTP. I also noted that when one considers the kind of fees that were paid for Trebizon, Rebecca's GCSE grades were really not very impressive. She was pleased with them but two fails! If I were a parent I think I'd want a refund. It is a good example of a modern school story, all the incidents are believable (Aside from the exceptional chastity of all the girls and boys involved - there are only kisses that make them tremble and only that once they are in the upper fifth.) and the concerns of the average 15/16 year old are well portrayed. 

Call the Midwife, Jennifer Worth
This book made me incredibly grateful I live in the 21st Century. The descriptions of midwifery in the East End in the nineteen fifties made me shudder. I know it goes against all the existing tenets of the Catholic Church but Marie Stopes should be canonised as should the inventors of the contraceptive pill.  The statistic that as stuck in my mind is that pre pill this midwife had a caseload of aproximately 100 deliveries a month post pill it was more like 8. I think that tells us all we need to know. It was fascinating as a piece of social history and I realised how much attitudes have changed in a very short space of time. No one would now tell everyone a mixed race baby had died at birth and spirit it out for adoption in the middle of the night as happened in one case. To give the author her due she was appalled by this.

Tales of Normansfield: The Langdon Down legacy, Andrew Merriman
The book opens with two descriptions of Normanhurst (a residential home for children and adults with Downs) one from the 19th century and one from the 1970s. You read it and make assumptions about the dates then you realise when these pieces were really written and hope that you are wrong and then you find that you aren't wrong and the horror sets in. I'd never heard of Langdon Down and now that I have I am filled with respect for this kind, compassinate Victorian doctor who was way ahead of his time in the way he treated those with learning difficulties.
dozydormouse: (Default)
The  latest bout of wheezing, gasping and general not wellness has led to a great deal of reading. This is obviously the silver lining to illness one is encouraged to lounge in a favourite chair, wrapped in a cosy blanket clutching a mug of tea in one hand and a book in the other.

A Town Like Alice, Nevile Shute
I've been meaning to read this since forever or at least since I took it from Granny's bookshelf after she died and carried it home. I don't know what I expected but it wasn't what I thought, it was much better. This was a book I read in one sitting because I was enthralled. I suppose it had many of the elements that make me like girlsown, a heroine who has fortitude and determination and who strives to do the right thing no matter what and in the end enjoys well deserved good fortune, a gentle love story that survives hardship and misunderstanding and history. There was a strong sense of time and place and I found that it really mattered to me what happened to the characters. The narrative voice is unusual and yet he too mattered to me. The ending is bittersweet and I found myself wishing that the narrator had chosen an alternative course. 

Journey to the River Sea, Eva Ibbotson
This is the first Eva Ibbotson I've ever read and I was instantly hooked. Once again I liked the sense of place in this book and the central character was someone I could really care about. I felt she really captured the atmosphere of the amazon and made it seem a place of endless possibilities. To be honest the governess and others were a little ahead of their time but it made for a good story. There was a sense of the fantastical about it, there are points when one has to suspend disbelief just a little but the exotic nature of the setting made the heroine's experiences seem just a little more plausible. The twins are such caricatures of badness that they are a joy to read about, I longed to know which new depth they would plumb.

The Market Square, Miss Read
I love Miss Read, her books are so gentle and comforting. I suppose because they describe a rural idyll that no longer exists if it ever did. They provide a constant in an unpredictable world. I particularly enjoy this one and its sequel because one can get completely immersed in the fictional market town of Caxley and the lives of the Howards and the Norths. The two books allow one to enjoy a gentle ramble through the first half of the twentieth century with the Howards and the Norths. This time I actually wept over Bender's death - somehow the poignancy struck me anew this time around. 

Unforgettable Fifth at Trebizon, Anne Digby
I read this to counteract a sudden terror that struck at 2am. It is the perfect antidote to things that go bump or rather telephones that ring in the night. I first read this book when it was published and at 16 and in Lower VI, I was only a Iittle older than the target audience. This reread made me recall all over again the reasons why I am a Robbie girl rather than Cliff's girl. My goodness Cliff turns out to have feet of clay and he just isn't the boy we thought he was. They say you should watch the quiet ones. There's something special about Robbie even if it is only the fact that I grew up with Rebecca and Robbie. The book is also always gearing up towards their eventual reconcillation. His birthday present is also both thoughtful and romantic - Go Robbie. As a grown up I feel she does not need either boy and would be better off without them but back then Robbie and Rebecca were my OTP. I also noted that when one considers the kind of fees that were paid for Trebizon, Rebecca's GCSE grades were really not very impressive. She was pleased with them but two fails! If I were a parent I think I'd want a refund. It is a good example of a modern school story, all the incidents are believable (Aside from the exceptional chastity of all the girls and boys involved - there are only kisses that make them tremble and only that once they are in the upper fifth.) and the concerns of the average 15/16 year old are well portrayed. 

Call the Midwife, Jennifer Worth
This book made me incredibly grateful I live in the 21st Century. The descriptions of midwifery in the East End in the nineteen fifties made me shudder. I know it goes against all the existing tenets of the Catholic Church but Marie Stopes should be canonised as should the inventors of the contraceptive pill.  The statistic that as stuck in my mind is that pre pill this midwife had a caseload of aproximately 100 deliveries a month post pill it was more like 8. I think that tells us all we need to know. It was fascinating as a piece of social history and I realised how much attitudes have changed in a very short space of time. No one would now tell everyone a mixed race baby had died at birth and spirit it out for adoption in the middle of the night as happened in one case. To give the author her due she was appalled by this.

Tales of Normansfield: The Langdon Down legacy, Andrew Merriman
The book opens with two descriptions of Normanhurst (a residential home for children and adults with Downs) one from the 19th century and one from the 1970s. You read it and make assumptions about the dates then you realise when these pieces were really written and hope that you are wrong and then you find that you aren't wrong and the horror sets in. I'd never heard of Langdon Down and now that I have I am filled with respect for this kind, compassinate Victorian doctor who was way ahead of his time in the way he treated those with learning difficulties.
dozydormouse: (Default)

To misquote Lucy Maud Montgomery "I want to know not just believe that the world is round."

  1. Egypt - The Valley of the Kings, Temples at Karnak, Pyramids at Giza
  2. Prince Edward Island
  3. St John, Canada
  4. Halifax, Canada (not Yorkshire)
  5. Malta - Valetta particularly
  6. Paris - yes despite having been around the Boulevard Periphique times without number I have never actually been to Paris
  7. Taj Mahal
  8. Bethlehem
  9. Hong Kong Island - I long to see how it has changed since I last saw it in 1996
  10. Pompeii
  11. Falkland Islands
  12. Arnhem - well nearish I would like to find the spot where my mother's cousin was buried in WW2
  13. Toronto
  14. Cleveland, Ohio - yes of course it's in a book
  15. San Francisco
  16. Grand Canyon
  17. Vancouver
  18. Seattle
  19. Niagara Falls - now I am old enough to remember
  20. Madrid
  21. Seville
  22. Athens
  23. Florence
  24. Amalfi Coast
  25. Geneva, Lucerne, Interlaken, Zurich, Berne, Basle - have in fact been to all those places but I cannot remember I was 6
  26. Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark - family trip when I was 3 sadly nothing remains in my memory
  27. Little Women House, Concord, MASS
  28. Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe Vermont
  29. New England in the Fall
  30. Morroco
  31. New Zealand
  32. New Orleans - actually I have been but cannot remember as I was 4.
  33. Gallipoli - if the FCO ever says it is safe to go
  34. St Petersburg
  35. Moscow
  36. Kenya
  37. Cape Town
dozydormouse: (Default)

To misquote Lucy Maud Montgomery "I want to know not just believe that the world is round."

  1. Egypt - The Valley of the Kings, Temples at Karnak, Pyramids at Giza
  2. Prince Edward Island
  3. St John, Canada
  4. Halifax, Canada (not Yorkshire)
  5. Malta - Valetta particularly
  6. Paris - yes despite having been around the Boulevard Periphique times without number I have never actually been to Paris
  7. Taj Mahal
  8. Bethlehem
  9. Hong Kong Island - I long to see how it has changed since I last saw it in 1996
  10. Pompeii
  11. Falkland Islands
  12. Arnhem - well nearish I would like to find the spot where my mother's cousin was buried in WW2
  13. Toronto
  14. Cleveland, Ohio - yes of course it's in a book
  15. San Francisco
  16. Grand Canyon
  17. Vancouver
  18. Seattle
  19. Niagara Falls - now I am old enough to remember
  20. Madrid
  21. Seville
  22. Athens
  23. Florence
  24. Amalfi Coast
  25. Geneva, Lucerne, Interlaken, Zurich, Berne, Basle - have in fact been to all those places but I cannot remember I was 6
  26. Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark - family trip when I was 3 sadly nothing remains in my memory
  27. Little Women House, Concord, MASS
  28. Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe Vermont
  29. New England in the Fall
  30. Morroco
  31. New Zealand
  32. New Orleans - actually I have been but cannot remember as I was 4.
  33. Gallipoli - if the FCO ever says it is safe to go
  34. St Petersburg
  35. Moscow
  36. Kenya
  37. Cape Town

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