Archive for the category “Books I’ve read”

The Swansong of Wilbur McCrum by Bronia Kita

Wow. Just finished this book and had a little cry at the end. Lyrical, beautifully written. Loved the vernacular of the Wild West which was spot on. A celebration of survival and friendship, and the most loveable central character who is so compelling you take every step of his incredible journey with him.

Here’s the Amazon link, it’s also available on Kindle.


The Middle Class ABC

Went to a very funny and entertaining talk at the Chipping Norton Literary Festival, entitled ‘The Middle Class ABC’. The book of the same name was written by Zebedee Helm (who also did the illustrations) and by TV producer Fi Cotter-Craig.

In the talk they took turns reading extracts from the book, while Zebedee (is this his real name?, please may it be so) did LIVE and brilliant drawings on a flip pad. Paddington Clare and I were right at the front so we had the best possible view, while hopefully not unnerving Zebedee and Fi too much with our over enthusiastic grins (we don’t get out much).

Having bought the book, I expect to hear guests chortling uncontrollably from my loo in the very near future –¬†hopefully because they are reading ‘The Middle Class ABC’ and not for other, more sinister, reasons.

The books is described as follows:

“The Middle-Class ABC is the book loos the length and breadth of the land have been waiting for – a humorous celebration of the facts and foibles, manners and mores of contemporary British middle class life.

Letter by letter, the clever, witty and sometimes absurd observations and cartoons will ring true for all good Middlings who will instantly recognise both their and their friends’ choices – children’s names, foodie fads, and holiday destinations.

Crammed full of affectionately teasing jokes this is a book for to enjoy at any time of year in the course of going about one’s business.”

Here is the Amazon link:


Rachel Joyce at the Chip Lit Fest

On Saturday I went to the Chipping Norton Literary Festival with my fellow counter-terrorist operative (or rather, fellow mum) Clare. It was a gloriously sunny day as we drove, Thelma and Louise style but in a Peugot 307, through the Cotswolds. The first event we went to was ‘Coffee with Rachel Joyce’ which meant we got to eat some cake. The man behind the coffee bar told me that I was very messy and asked if I was married. Clare thinks that I could have pulled.

We were near the back, so struggled to hear at first, but were soon engrossed in the interview. Rachel’s answers were honest, thoughtful and sometimes moving. She talked of her late father, and his boating shoes. She explained how she entered Harold Fry’s journey, covering the walls of her writing shed with maps torn from a road atlas, which then left her husband stranded somewhere outside Bath. She talked about writing plays for radio, and about the fact that she thought of Harold and Maureen as Anton Rogers and Anna Massey originally. I would love to hear the original radio play ‘To Be A Pilgrim’ from which the book grew. Rachel Joyce spoke of how writing plays for radio was fairly anonymous, when asked how it felt to be thrust into the spotlight. She said she had to write the novel, but she has to balance the attention this has got her with family life. So whenever possible, they will all go somewhere together – for example when the book launched in Canada the whole family made a holiday out of it. Clare and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the talk, and got our books signed by Rachel Joyce afterwards, feeling quite starstruck. I am looking forward to Joyce’s next book (she read and extract and it sounds excellent, and intriguing – as it plays with time), and hope she writes many more as she is an excellent writer, who can catch you out with her brilliant turns of phrase.

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Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, ‘fantastic mother’ award and a new book to read…

I caused hilarity at Book Group last night when I confessed to something I did (accidentally) yesterday afternoon.

One of my sons tends to linger in the car playing on his phone while I dash ahead into the house. I assumed that he’d follow me in eventually – especially as he often goes straight upstairs or into some quiet corner. I was pretty busy and got on with a couple of jobs then made the boys tea, but when I called him to come and eat, there was no reply. I was annoyed, then worried when he was nowhere to be found anywhere in the house. Suddenly I remembered that about ten minutes earlier I’d heard a car horn sound. I looked out of the window to see my son’s very annoyed face looking out of the car which was parked in the drive.

He’d played his game till his phone ran out of charge, then realised I must have somehow locked him in the car, maybe by clicking on ‘lock’ on the key after I got in the house. He hadn’t been able to phone me, as he had no power on his phone, so he’d sounded the horn but I hadn’t realised it was him. I had no idea that some models of car mean somebody can be locked in so completely, with no obvious means of getting out. It used to be that you could release any locking of a car from the inside. So I’ve learned something about car locking mechanisms (be warned everyone, even a teenager can get locked in a car if you are absent minded enough), and my son’s learned to get in the house, fast.

I was delighted to get the ‘fantastic mother’ award of the evening.

We discussed ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ last night. We all loved it, and I now have a question from the entire book group to ask Rachel Joyce when me and my friend Clare go to her talk on Saturday morning at the Chipping Norton Literary Festival.

The postman has just been. I’ve received my copy of ‘Come to the Edge’ by Joanna Kavenna, published by Quercus. I’m looking forward to reading it, especially as Kavenna has been voted Granta’s ‘Best Young British Novelist 2013’.

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