Six Degrees of Separation: from Tales of the City to …

I so nearly didn’t post a chain for this month.  I made a start but the second half had several false starts and then when the final link came, I was aghast at how I could have missed the last few.  By then I’d taken a step back from the blogging world for a short while, and it’s been such a long time since I’ve posted about anything other than books; I thought, maybe I’ll just let this one pass …. But here I am: posting about books. Continue reading “Six Degrees of Separation: from Tales of the City to …”

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor


I have owned a copy of Angel (1957) by Elizabeth Taylor since the earliest days of Virago Modern Classics, but I only actually read it earlier this year.  Everything I’d read suggested it was Elizabeth Taylor’s finest book and for a while I thoroughly enjoyed it.  But that didn’t last.  I found Angel as a character quite ghastly – which is of course, the intention – but I also found the book dragged.  It was too wordy, too slow, and I couldn’t find a single character that I warmed to.  The writing in Angel was good, but not good enough to get me past a tedious story and an odious protagonist.

So I am delighted that I found my second attempt at one of Elizabeth Taylor’s novels to be an entirely more positive experience.  Continue reading “Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor”


perhaps what all the best fathers and father figures have in common is their universal striving to offer unconditional love and support to those in their care

I am aware that it’s been quite a while since I posted anything related to Cornwall and our lives here; I really must address it.  But not today.  Continue reading “Fathers”

The Provincial Lady in Wartime by E M Delafield

I have had less opportunity for reading and blogging recently, which partly accounts for the fact that despite my best intentions, I did not get to finish a book for E M Delafield Day: the next underappreciated lady author in Jane’s Birthday Book – and even this post is late.  In fact, I didn’t even start what I intended to read – which is probably her most well-known book: The Diary of a Provincial Lady.  But it’s not so long ago that I read another of her ‘Diaries’ so I’m joining in anyway. Continue reading “The Provincial Lady in Wartime by E M Delafield”

Six Degrees of Separation: from The Tipping Point to …

41-2d6m5+kL._AC_US218_The starter for this month’s six degrees is Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point (2002).  It’s important to include that first word.  I forgot when I looked it up on Amazon and got the popular TV game which I haven’t watched but have a vague understanding of courtesy of family members who all tell me that I’m missing out.  I haven’t heard of Gladwell’s book either but having finally found it on Amazon, I now notice its subtitle: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, and I think this is a book that I ought to have read and ought to enjoy.  A skim of the chapter titles didn’t endear it to me though.  I suspect it will remain a worthy book which I shall never quite pick up.  (I also noticed his more recent book: Outliers (2007). This one I have heard of, but it fell into the same category: I ought to want to read it but really, I don’t.) Continue reading “Six Degrees of Separation: from The Tipping Point to …”

Reading rambles: reading in situ

The Birdwatcher by William Shaw

‘Superb description of a haunting, blighted landscape.
His best book so far’

I am not a connoisseur of crime novels, though I have read a book by C J Sansom, whose praise it is that adorns my library copy of The Birdwatcher.  I don’t understand the distinction between thriller, psychological thriller, crime novel, detective novel, police procedural.  Perhaps there is no distinction; perhaps they are all terms for a wide umbrella of popular fiction, which, if what I read is correct, is currently booming.  Whatever it’s called, I have been standing out in the rain for quite some years, not particularly drawn to the genre however it might be described, and not really sure what the fuss is about.  But recently, I’ve read a couple of crime novels: the first as an early reviewer, because the book was based in Cornwall and the second because it was based in Dungeness.  And I might just be taking the bait.  But I’ve also been bitten by another bug. Continue reading “Reading rambles: reading in situ”

The Winds of Heaven by Monica Dickens



Today is the birthday of Monica Dickens, great-granddaughter of Charles, and next in the Birthday Book of Underappreciated Lady Authors collated by Jane at Beyond Eden Rock.  This will be the third lady author that I’ve appreciated thanks to Jane, but unlike the previous two, I had heard of Monica Dickens beforehand.  That said, I knew her as the author of the children’s Follyfoot stories; I had no experience of her writing for adults.

Monica Dickens had her first book published in 1939 and her last was published posthumously in 1992: a career spanning more than half a century.  She certainly deserves to be celebrated! Continue reading “The Winds of Heaven by Monica Dickens”