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Bookshelves #1

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I had so many people saying lovely things about the pictures of my library that I’ve decided, over time, to show pictures of the books themselves on the blog. This will also show how many of them I still have to read…and yet I keep buying more!

Shelf #1 is mostly YA/children-ish fiction.

Part 1

Part 1

 

Part 2

Part 2

Apologies for the images being a little rubbish – it’s really hard to get good light in the library for photography. It’s possible that having lined the walls with books and dark blue paint has made it a little darker in there…

This shelf has a higher than average number of books I’ve read in it – largely due to the collection of Harry Potter books there. Sadly I have lost my hardback copies of books 1 & 2. I had them stored in my parents attic while I was moving house and the roof leaked. They weren’t first editions but they were early and I had had them for a long time. Losing books is horrid.

I’ve also read ‘The Swiss Family Robinson’ many times over, I love that book and I think reading it as a child was a great experience, especially with the illustrations in this edition. The copy of ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ was bought solely for the illustrations which are done by Quentin Blake. Noticing a pattern here, ‘Drawn from Memory’ is also full of illustrations by the wonderful E.H. Shephard.

On the other side of the shelf is the fantastic ‘Valiant’ by Holly Black as well as ‘An Abundance of Katherines’ by John Green (one of my favourite authors – see the P.S.). I never get rid of books, even if I don’t like them; this is partly because I think, as someone who writes, it’s interesting to look back at what I didn’t like about a book and also because one of my friends might want to read it someday. I actually didn’t manage to finish either ‘North Child’ or ‘The Witch Family’. Both ‘Hexwood’ by DWJ and ‘The Spellgrinder’s Apprentice’ by N.M. Browne were recommendations from Zoë Marriott – I loved ‘Hexwood’ and haven’t gotten around to TSA yet. Soon.

On the theme of Diana Wynne Jones there was a great guest article by Andrea K Höst on The Book Smugglers about her, that is definitely worth a read.

Read/Not Read shelf ratio: 21:14

Vick.

p.s. A Theatre for Everybody In My Pants…

p.p.s. If you don’t get the ‘in my pants’ joke then have a look at this Vlogbrothers FAQ video where all is revealed. It’s explained at 2.37 if you want to skip there. Also – watch the rest of the videos and become a Nerdfighter!

Building a Library – Part One

Ever since I was a little girl I have wanted a library. This has been met with very mixed reactions over the years. For anyone who didn’t see my flat in London the books were quite literally stacked to the ceiling. Sadly I only have photographs from when I was selling it and most of the books had been taken out to make it look less personal.

I’ve had problems with damp twice now – once when my books were in London and my whole house was full of damp (basement flat and two lots of cowboy builders) and then again when they were being stored in my parents’ attic and the roof leaked. The second time was much worse and I lost 130 books at first and just recently found another ruined full bag. I’ve wanted all of my books in one place, where I can see them and read them for a very long time.

Looking at houses was amusing as people (quite naturally) assumed that I wanted a second room for guests or a future nursery. Trying to explain to people that the books were my children was good fun. My new house is perfect for the library – it gets the sun in the morning and is the larger of the two bedrooms with the smaller one having an en-suite.

I had several things that I knew I wanted to have. Two desks, so that visiting writer friends could work in here too. Armchairs so I could read near my books. Dark walls, just feels right for a library. Several lamps so I can have lots of different lighting levels (still working on this). And shelves, obviously.

For once I didn’t take picture while I was painting so you can see the room pre-shelves and post-shelves but the paint is all there! I’m only posting a couple of pictures now and will put the rest up online soon as well as probably a full blog full of pictures of my books.

One half of the library – with a hidden hint to my next poetry project…

The other side of the library

The arrival of the bookcases. Much heavier than they look too!

Almost half way through bookcase construction!

I’ll post pictures of the library as it looks now with all of the books in very soon.

Vick.

A Fond Farewell

It was very quietly announced that Valerie Eliot had died – I spotted a note on Twitter and then had to really rummage through international newspapers to find a notice of her death.

A few days and then a week later there started to be a few more stories around and about. Most people didn’t seem to know much about her and even more had no idea who she was. I suppose I was much more likely to have known her influence as I am a poet and read a lot of poetry but even poetry fans seemed in the dark.

I wanted to collect a few of the articles together so that I could read them in the future and thought I would pop them up here so others could read them.

Although I never met her I admired her hugely from afar. She was a very hardworking, canny and smart woman. She had a brilliant head for business and was tough without ever seeming (to me) cold. Her impact on F&F and the Eliot prize can be read in the articles but I always admired her protection both of the estate and her husband’s memory. T.S. Eliot’s poetry while he was with her is a great testament and one article suggests that we may get to see some of the poems he wrote specifically for her – something that would be a dream come true for me.

She shall be sorely missed.

The Two Mrs Eliots – Independent 1994

Guardian article by David Morley mirrors my own ideas of why she was so brilliant

NYTimes Obituary Article

Guardian Article on the future of the estate

Lovely article from the FT including a snippet from one of my favourite of TSE’s poems

Obituary from the Telegraph, with this wonderful phrase in the heading: “by sheer uncomplicated adoration achieved the miraculous feat of making him happy”.

This Week

This week I have been stressed.

Honestly that could be the end of that. However I have been up to a few things that might be worth mentioning. My latest cookbook review has been posted on the Huffington Post blog looking at ‘Boutique Baking’ by Peggy Porschen.

I’ve been writing political poetry, I’m not sharing much of it online but I am thinking of combining the found poetry idea with political poems to see what comes next. I’ve also looked at more paint colour combinations than is healthy. I now sit and talk about interior decor. My apologies for becoming so deeply dull.

I have read a huge number of books recently and took loads back to the library so I’ll just name a few. ‘Matched’ and ‘Crossed’ by Ally Condie were great although it took me a while to get into them. ‘The Secret Countess’ by Eva Ibbotson sounded like it would tick lots of boxes for me and I was thrilled when I liked it as much as I thought I would! ‘Miss Wonderful’ by Loretta Chase which was an unusual pick for me but I actually really enjoyed it. A lot of the books I’m reading at the moment are ones that were 9 or 10 rated by The Book Smugglers. I also decided to re-read ‘The Daughter of Time’ by Josephine Tey after reading Nicola Upson’s series about the author. Another recommendation was ‘Hexwood’ by Diana Wynne Jones which Zoë Marriott recommended and I have three more that she suggested for when I am in the middle of moving. I finally read ‘Looking for Alaska’ by John Green (I’ve been spacing them out to save them) which I thought was wonderful but it still only sits at #3 or 4 on my John Green list. I’m glad I didn’t start with it, anyway. ‘The Iron King’ by Julie Kagawa was a surprise and another that took me a while to enjoy but I’ll be getting the rest of the series. I’m now reading ‘Half-Brother’ by Kenneth Oppel which is great so far.

And, if that isn’t enough I have four books to read that I picked up at Edge Lit yesterday. For once all of the books I got at a convention were ones that I wanted to read – no swapping required! It was a brilliant day out where I saw friends that I don’t see often enough, met some people I only knew from the internets and (if I didn’t terrify people too much) made some new friends as well.

Vick.

This Week

This week (and a bit) I have been without my computer. Not a lot of fun. Most of the things I need I can access apart from my bookmarks which has been annoying but it could have been much worse.

I’ve been playing around with all of the photographs that I took on my trip to Wales recently but I hadn’t realised just how long it takes to sort through them all! Will be a while before they are all finished and organised.

Over here in England we’ve had a sudden upswing in temperatures. Now, for most people this is great news. Me – not so much. Warm weather makes me feel sick, lose my appetite and have an almost constant headache. I have the summer version of SAD! So I’ve been grumpy, complaining and hankering for frozen yoghurt almost constantly. I have developed a new way of looking at this though; many of my friends love the heat and are very happy so I’m trying to see it as something that makes them feel better than something that makes me feel worse!

I’ve been focusing on my new line of custom poetry on Etsy as well so a lot of other things have been put to one side for the week. I’m hoping to be able to get through a lot of work this weekend and make sure things start leveling out next week.

One of my biggest projects at the moment is working out how to merge my Jackdaw 19 business with my V.C. Linde business. One of the things that I have done is to start merging my boards on Pinterest. I’ve joined up my business and Etsy ones but for the moment I am leaving my art ones alone. Eventually I’ll also try and link blogs through to Pinterest as well but that will take a little longer and I don’t want to try and do it all at once.

I’ve been reading ‘City of Lost Souls’ by Cassandra Clare. Finally. I love her books, all of them and I made myself wait until I had finished launching my poetry until I bought the new one. I have to admit to savoring it a little as well because I could easily have read it in a day. The other main bulk of my reading is poetry, I’m working really hard on developing my style and keeping on top of practicing and re-defining my own poetry and reading as much as possible is key to that. I’m switching between some great anthologies and some individual collections. The anthologies I usually read are chronologically organised so I can see how periods of history affected the writers.

Today I am working on my poetry, finding new areas to promote and seeing who might be interested in it all. That and reading through some more cookbooks!

Vick.