Posted on 14 January 2012 by Sue Williams
As we close in on the bicentenary of Charles Dickens’ birth on February 7th we do really have to thank the BBC for helping to bring it to the public’s awareness. Of course there are countless groups dedicated to keeping his memory alive and he has always been read widely, but it is so encouraging to see several of his books in the bestseller lists, which is not usually the case. The rather wonderful adaption of ‘Great Expectations’ was enthralling, with the added bonus of a very beautiful Pip, Burberry model no less, who would surely have attracted a younger viewer who may not have encountered Dickens before. I have my reservations about ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’ adaption, but, hey, it still pulled in lots of viewers . Being on the TV sells books, we only have to look at the enormous popularity and massive subsequent sales from any cookery series to see that. And what is more, people buy the physical book , hurrah, – is there word for this now? Paper book? 3D book?
Also, as I am sure is being repeated all over the country, indeed the world, my book club decided we should start 2012 by reading another Dickens.
Posted on 18 September 2011 by Marie Stevens
A really gratifying response to our new PB Couture Covers has made me look critically at the horrendous state of my own bookcases – I am not suggesting that I am the latest word in interior style but it would be very nice to have my sets colour coded (reveal as it would my obsession to read authors in their entirety in turn). For example – Richmal Crompton 31, E.M.Delafield 38, Noel Streatfeild 11, Elizabeth Taylor 13. There is a tremendous similarity in these authors of course – middle class domestic early 20th century – so to prove (to my children who find my focus somewhat odd) that I am not welded to second hand books I am taking time out from received English, Church attendance and nursery puddings to read Caitlin Moran’s brilliant new book, How to Be a Woman. I am only half way through it but can already highly recommend it for the stellar writing and wonderful, self deprecating humour.
Posted on 17 August 2011 by Sue Williams
A survey published by the academics of the University of Queensland this week concluded that every hour glued to the TV ‘shortens life by 22 minutes’. What better excuse do we bibliophiles have for getting up out of our chairs ( very good exercise) to get another book off the shelf – we’re all going to live longer!
Though I must admit that I would willingly give up 22 minutes of my life to watch Idris Elba in ‘The Wire’ , or indeed in anything,( make that 44 minutes), our brains are surely stimulated more by the inspiring words we read than by any visual input. Books we read in our childhood stay with us throughout our lives. Whether it is the Harry Potter series, or Terry Pratchett’s novels , ‘The Arabian Nights’, or ‘Swallows and Amazons’, two of my personal childhood favourites, remembering them we still get that same tingle of excitement as when we first stepped into those imaginary worlds.
Once seduced by the written word, whether by having stories read to one as a child or having discovered them subsequently, one is hooked for life. And so much is owed to Roald Dahl and J.
Posted on 20 June 2011 by Marie Stevens
My mind has turned to honour this week as I finished a book I last read when I was around 16. I came across Stanley J. Weyman’s “Under the Red Robe” while hunting (as we do) in a second hand book shop and remembered how much I had enjoyed it. First published around the turn of the last century the action takes place in the time of the feared Cardinal Richelieu and his harsh suppression of the Huguenots and, apart from being a very good read, the book is a wonderful evocation of the codes of a time when honour was more important than life and a man’s “parole” could be relied upon. Although rarely read these days, the author was very popular 90 years ago and both Oscar Wilde and Graham Greene were fans. I now feel compelled to re-read other books of the same period (those wonderful Geste brothers beckon me again) although I am conscious that my reading seems to be going backwards in time and I shall have to get Sue to pull me back into the 21 century for fear I will be attempting to decipher illuminated manuscripts before too long (not to mention talking in a very strange way).
Posted on 23 May 2011 by Sue Williams
Amazon’s new strapline for their wonderful Kindle is ‘the book lives on’ – well, that’s a relief.
Of course the book lives on and it would appear that digital versions of books are outselling what most of us think of as a book – the tangible object. What we don’t know is if more ‘books’ are being sold in total. Are more people reading because of the advent of ereaders? Let us really hope so.
However we must look to a dictionary for the definition of ‘book’ : according to Collins, first up is “a number of printed or written pages bound together along one edge and usually protected by thick paper or stiff pasteboard covers” ,but it seems this will no longer suffice, because secondly a book is “ a written work or composition, such as a novel, technical manual, or dictionary”; and only then is followed by various descriptions of bound records, scripts which all can be termed books. There is of course The Book, and we use many phrases incorporating it – a closed book ( a shut down Kindle?), cook the books (crispy Kindle?), in someone’s good books (maybe).