Monday 2 July 2012


The weather has been dreadful, but then I'm sure you know that. The sproglets have had both their sports days monsooned off and this Thursday heralds the start of the summer holidays. I'm wondering whether we'll see any sun this July or August, I suspect not!

After a period of not reading to the sprogs at night, something I've done forever, I have resumed the tradition. I think we stopped because often, we're not home till 6:30pm and then there's lambs and dinner and ... blah, blah, blah, poor excuse really. I'm reading The Seeing Stone by Kevin Crossley-Holland, an Arthurian legend that spans the interest of the 9yo as well as mine though the 7yo is unconvinced so he and I read Horrid Henry. (I'm less thrilled by this, although I amuse myself trying to emulate Miranda Richardson's voice, as she reads the audiobooks brilliantly.)

I love stories, good ones stick in your head. One of the earliest books I can remember was a Ladybird book called The Discontented Pony.

I'm rather hoping my own book will be as well loved. Take a look at my tale of three little girls; Nancy, Peggy and Susan as they get their first taste of freedom at boarding school

Available as an ebook from, this book is a traditional story for modern times of school friends, growing up and difficult relationships. Aimed at 7-11 year old readers. I do hope you'll consider buying a copy.

Recently I've taken to reading several books at the same time. I've no idea why, maybe I'm trying to read all the books before I shuffle off.... Or maybe I like the challenge of making my brain remember which character is in which book.... who knows.

I've just finished The Report by Jessica Francis Kane. This is a novel fictionalising a true story of a disaster in 1943, when 173 people died descending steps into a tube station on their way to shelter from an air raid that never materialises. Easy to read and fascinating though the fine line between the fact that the book is fictional yet based on fact opens a whole can of worms and leaves you asking 'Was that true or did the writer make that up?'

As a story, ignoring the need for factual accuracy, I was rather taken by some of the offered reasons for the disaster, one racism in the country at that time. I'd never really considered racism during World War II, my attention has always been taken by the media coverage concerning Europe, but as late as 1968 Enoch Powell was confident enough to make the Rivers of Blood speech. Sad to think that, 70 years on, and the debate still rages.

I also just finished No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. Hea-veee. Depressingly macho, a book made for film, [and indeed that film was made.] A series of drug related murders and a old school sheriff, this book does not have a happy ending. I can forgive Mr McCarthy almost anything, thanks to his stunning writing talent but I preferred The Road, in fact The Road is probably one of my all time favourite books which surprises me.... it not being very jolly either.

I'd heard Mariella Frostrup talk about Jean Auel and her huge following of readers obsessed by the author's portrayal of Ayla, a Cro-Magnon female  At age five, she is orphaned by a cataclysmic earthquake, and is taken into the Clan of the Cave Bear, a clan of Neanderthal people.

I started this chunky book The Clan of the Cave Bear, the first book in a series of three or four, with a huge amount of snobbery and disdain. I'm not usually so judgemental but I knew this wasn't going to be my kind of fiction. The two reasons I had chosen the book was 1. I was intrigued by the cult following of the books and 2. I had acres of painting and decorating to do and this book is 20 hours and 7 minutes long as an audiobook. [High brow eh?]

I immediately hated it; the over egged description, the bloody liberty of it all.Suspend disbelief? I had to throttle it! And then, and hour or so into the book I was hooked. Nonsense, but great to paint to.

I also listened to Salmon Fishing in The Yemen by Paul Torday and could see why it was made into a film. It helped to have such esteemed characters as John Sessions, Andrew Sachs, Andrew Marr and Samantha Bond to narrate it. Thus the painting was painless.

Anyhoo, off to bed now... check out my children's book if you get the chance. Night, night.


  1. I was hooked by Jean Auel years ago. I just wish her editor would be a little firmer footed - at least when you have the book in your hand you can skip the pages of endless description (that gets worse as the books go along). Book two is the best, by the way - at least make it that far...

  2. Laura: Ok, on your advice I will 'listen to' book 2, mainly because I have the 9yo and the 7yo bedrooms to do next. I don't think I could read it.

    Totally different genre but have you tried The Passage by Justin Cronin? Huge, dystopian, not my thing really: LOVED IT!

  3. Thank you for the kind comment about my blog! We do seem to have similar reading tastes! I also struggled with the first section of Clan of the Cave Bear, but ended up with it becoming one of my all time favourites. The second book was also very good, but I'm afraid the rest of the series goes downhill :-(
    The Report was one of my favourite reads last year so I'm pleased that you enjoyed it too..


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