Archive for February, 2009

Books I’ve read this year #7

February 28, 2009

“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” by J K Rowling

Also first read in October 2000, according to the inscription.

Books I’ve read this year #6

February 27, 2009

“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” by J K Rowling.

According to the inscription inside this book, I first read it in October 2000.  I’m hoping if I read these again in quick succession, then when I read the final one I’ll be thinking, “Ah – of course!” rather than looking puzzled and wondering which wand belonged to who…

Some crafting at last

February 26, 2009

Baby blanket in progess

I’ve been working on this baby blanket, off and on, since just before Christmas.  I now have only 28 more rows to do, then sew in the million ends, and add a border.

Trouble is, I don’t know if I like it now.  Oh well.

UPDATE: after staring at this pic all day, trying to decide whether I do like it or not, I’ve decided I don’t, and am frogging it.  I’ll put up some pics of he new version when I’ve stopped crying and done some more rows.

Oh, and it’s not for me, just in case you thought there was some happy news I hadn’t shared!

Books I’ve read this year #5

February 16, 2009

“We Are at War: The Diaries of Five Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times” Simon Garfield

Chronologically, this is the first of a trilogy of books* containing a collection of diaries written for the Mass Observation social research organisation in Great Britain. Mass Observation was founded in 1937 with the aim of studying everyday life in Britain. A panel of ordinary people was recruited, and asked to respond to questionnaires about their life, and to keep diaries recording their daily life and activities as often and as fully as possible. Simon Garfield has compiled and edited the diaries of five members of the panel for this book, which covers the period from just before the start of the Second World War to October 1940, when the blitz was underway.

The second book “Private Battles: How The War Almost Defeated Us” covers the period from November 1940 to VE Day, 8th May 1945, and the third “Our Hidden Lives: The Remarkable Diaries of Post-war Britain” covers the period from just before VE Day to the birth of the NHS in 1948.

I have read all three of these books now, and have found them all absolutely fascinating. All five of the diaries included in this volume are interesting, but the entries by Maggie Joy Blunt are particularly engaging as she has excellent powers of observation, and writes very well. She is also the only diarist who is included in each of the three volumes. I can’t recommend these books highly enough. If you are interested in the Second World War, social history, or just the diaries of ordinary people, then you really should read these books if you haven’t already.

* The books weren’t published in chronological order. “Hidden Lives” was published first, “We Are at War” second, and “Private Battles” third, but now they have all been published I recommend reading them in chronological order. You can find more information about the books, and Mass Observation, on Simon Garfield’s website.

Valentine’s Day 2005

February 14, 2009

My boyfriend was in South Africa, and I was in London.  He had been gone for 10 days, and wasn’t due back for months and months.

I was already feeling slightly depressed when I went to Tesco after work.  The sound of the love songs playing over the tannoy and sight of numerous men picking up bunches of supermarket flowers didn’t do much to alleviate my mood.  But imagine how much better I felt when the checkout assistant scanned my ready meal for one, bottle of wine, and pack of cat food, smirked, and said, “Better luck next year.”

Books I’ve read this year #4

February 9, 2009

“The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox” by Maggie O’Farrell.

I read this book in a day.  But I still didn’t like it.  I found it gripping, but the end was sooo disappointing.  You’ll have to read it yourself if you want to know why, though.

Books I’ve read this year #3

February 2, 2009

“Engleby” by Sebastian Faulks.

I read pretty quickly, and if I like a book can finish it off in a couple of days.

It has taken me three months to read this book. I didn’t like it. In fact, if I didn’t have a rule that I have to finish reading a book once I’ve started it, I wouldn’t have finished it at all.

The Guardian’s “Digested reads” didn’t think much of this book, either.