Category Archives: Authors

Oscar Wilde – on priorities

I’m not actually entirely convinces that it *was* Oscar Wilde who said this – I’ve been caught before by google’s propensity to link all quotable phrases as his or Churchill!

 

Still, love the sentiment!!

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LISTEN TO – The Reith Lectures – Hilary Mantel

Just sat in the car for ten minutes to the last moments of the forth of Hilary Mantel’s Reith Lectures on BBC Radio 4 – I didn’t want to lose a word, while relocating! Don’t know how I’ve missed the previous three – clearly I’m very successfully sleep walking through life right now – but really looking forward to a catch up!

Mandatory Credit: Photo by SUTTON-HIBBERT/REX (424360ae)
HILARY MANTEL
THE EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL BOOK FESTIVAL, EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND, BRITAIN – AUG 2003

Now, I don’t always ‘get’ Hilary Mantel, but after a rough start with Wolf Hall (see HERE and HERE) but had a much happier time with its follow up ‘Bring up the Bodies’. However, she is always an unusual and spirited speaker and I very much enjoyed listening to how she viewed her world as an author (and NOT a historian!).

For your convenience, links to the 4 parts that have currently aired are below.

From the BBC website:

Over this series of five lectures, Dame Hilary discusses the role that history plays in our culture. How can we understand the past, she asks, and how can we convey its nature today? Above all, she believes, we must all try to respect the past amid all its strangeness and complexity.

This series is chaired by Sue Lawley. The producer is Jim Frank.

Part 1 – The Day Is for the Living

Art can bring the dead back to life, argues the best-selling novelist Hilary Mantel, starting with the story of her own great-grandmother. “We sense the dead have a vital force still,” she says. “They have something to tell us, something we need to understand. Using fiction and drama, we try to gain that understanding.” She describes how and why she began to write fiction about the past, and how her view of her trade has evolved. We cannot hear or see the past, she says, but “we can listen and look”.

Click here to have a listen on the BBC website 

Part 2 – The Iron Maiden

How do we construct our pictures of the past, including both truth and myth, asks best-selling author Hilary Mantel. Where do we get our evidence? She warns of two familiar errors: either romanticising thepast, or seeing it as a gory horror-show. It is tempting, but often condescending, to seek modern parallels for historical events. “Are we looking into the past, or looking into a mirror?” she asks. “Dead strangers…did not live and die so we could draw lessons from them.” Above all, she says, we must all try to respect the past amid all its strangeness and complexity.

Click here to have a listen on the BBC website 

Part 3 – Silence Grips the Town

The story of how an obsessive relationship with history killed the young Polish writer Stanislawa Przybyszewska, told by best-selling author, Hilary Mantel. The brilliant Przybyszewska wrote gargantuan plays and novels about the French Revolution, in particular about the revolutionary leader Robespierre. She lived in self-willed poverty and isolation and died unknown in 1934. But her work, so painfully achieved, did survive her. Was her sacrifice worthwhile? “She embodied the past until her body ceased to be,” Dame Hilary says. “Multiple causes of death were recorded, but actually she died of Robespierre.”

Click here to have a listen on the BBC website 

Part 4 – Can These Bones Live?

Hilary Mantel analyses how historical fiction can make the past come to life. She says her task is to take history out of the archive and relocate it in a body. “It’s the novelist’s job: to put the reader in the moment, even if the moment is 500 years ago.” She takes apart the practical job of “resurrection”, and the process that gets historical fiction on to the page. “The historian will always wonder why you left certain things out, while the literary critic will wonder why you left them in,” she says. How then does she try and get the balance right?

Click here to have a listen on the BBC website 

Part 5 – Adaptation

Hilary Mantel on how fiction changes when adapted for stage or screen. Each medium, she says, draws a different potential from the original. She argues that fiction, if written well, doesn’t betray history, butenhances it. When fiction is turned into theatre, or into a film or TV, the same applies – as long as we understand that adaptation is not a secondary process or a set of grudging compromises, but an act of creation in itself. And this matters. “Without art, what have you to inform you about the past?” she asks. “What lies beyond is the unedited flicker of closed-circuit TV.”

This episode hasn’t yet aired.

Check out the trailer for the excellent BBC series Wolf Hall – based on the first of Hilary Mantel’s Tudor trilogy.

PODCAST – BookElfLeeds Reading Challenge – Update

modern mrs darcy reading challenge

This year, @BookElfLeeds and I decided to reignite our reading groove thaing by completing a reading challenge. We found this awesome list by Modern Mrs Darcy – and already we’re inspired!

Jess provides us with an update of her Modern Mrs Darcy Reading Challenge of 2016.

With 6 books read; she’s at the halfway mark already!

From historical fiction to librarian-readers-recommendations books (oooh, secret knowledge!) to coming-of-age to raunchy reading for teens – join us for a fascinating voyage of literary wonder!!

As with any other podcast that I am involved in; the usual language warnings apply (it’s really bad – mixed metaphors, noun-aphasia and swearing that would make a navy blush!)

Mobile Link

Visit our  Modern Mrs Darcy 2016 Reading Challenge page to see our choices (for now!)

  1. a book published this year
  2. a book you can finish in a day
  3. a book you’ve been meaning to read
  4. a book recommended by a local librarian or bookseller
  5. a book you should have read in school
  6. a book chosen by your spouse/partner/sibling/child or BFF
  7. a book published before you were born
  8. a book that was banned at some point
  9. a book that was previously abandoned
  10. a book you own but have never read
  11. a book that intimidates you
  12. a book you’ve already read at least once

If you’d like to join us with this – or any other reading challenges, please drop me an email, leave a comment or tweet one of us!


PODCASTS

Christmas Read-a-Long – Greenshaw’s Folly

THE ADVENTURES OF THE CHRISTMAS PUDDING

AGATHA CHRISTIE

christmas read a long

There are six short stories featuring two of Agatha Christie’s most beloved detectives – Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. The plan is that we shall read one a week in the build up to Christmas

BLURB

Raymond West’s niece is invited by an elderly recluse to help compile her late grandfather’s diaries for publication. After only two days at their sprawling home of Greenshaw’s Folly, she witnesses a murder, which only Miss Marple can solve…

  1. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding – 15th November
  2. The Mystery of the Spanish Chest – 22nd November
  3. The Under Dog – 29th November
  4. Four and Twenty Blackbirds – 6th December
  5. The Dream – wc 13th December
  6. Greenshaw’s Folly – wc 20th December

If you decide to join us, please tweet your thoughts via #LBCReadalong

Christmas Read-a-Long – The Dream

THE ADVENTURES OF THE CHRISTMAS PUDDING

AGATHA CHRISTIE

christmas read a long

There are six short stories featuring two of Agatha Christie’s most beloved detectives – Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. The plan is that we shall read one a week in the build up to Christmas

BLURB

Hercule Poirot is slightly reluctant to answer a letter demanding his services by the reclusive and eccentric millionaire Benedict Farley. Entering the strange world that Mr. Farley inhabits and accounting for each stagy nuanced oddity

Poirot is a little at a loss at his ability to help. Poirot is apparently meant to consult on Mr. Farley’s reoccurring dream, of death, something not usually within his remit. The dream haunts Mr. Farley and only one week after dismissing the bemused Poirot the dream becomes real.

What ensues is a perplexing short story in which each member of the Farley household that Poirot questions seems more puzzled than the one before.

  1. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding – 15th November
  2. The Mystery of the Spanish Chest – 22nd November
  3. The Under Dog – 29th November
  4. Four and Twenty Blackbirds – 6th December
  5. The Dream – wc 13th December
  6. Greenshaw’s Folly – wc 20th December

If you decide to join us, please tweet your thoughts via #LBCReadalong

Christmas Read-a-Long – Four and Twenty Blackbirds

THE ADVENTURES OF THE CHRISTMAS PUDDING

AGATHA CHRISTIE

christmas read a long

There are six short stories featuring two of Agatha Christie’s most beloved detectives – Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. The plan is that we shall read one a week in the build up to Christmas

BLURB

Hercule Poirot is about to tuck into a very traditional English supper with his old friend Bonnington, when the habit and ritual of a lone diner sparks his interest more than the chestnut turkey.

The lone diner has eaten there on Thursdays and Tuesdays for the last ten years like clockwork, but, no one at the restaurant even knows his name.

However, ‘Old Father Time,’ as they have fondly nicknamed him, suddenly stops coming and Poirot believes that he might have picked up that one essential clue that could shed light on a man who no one really knows. Could what Old Father Time strangely ordered as his final meal prove to be the only thing that makes this suspicious?

 

  1. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding – 15th November
  2. The Mystery of the Spanish Chest – 22nd November
  3. The Under Dog – 29th November
  4. Four and Twenty Blackbirds – 6th December
  5. The Dream – wc 13th December
  6. Greenshaw’s Folly – wc 20th December

If you decide to join us, please tweet your thoughts via #LBCReadalong

Christmas Read-a-Long –

THE ADVENTURES OF THE CHRISTMAS PUDDING

AGATHA CHRISTIE

christmas read a long

There are six short stories featuring two of Agatha Christie’s most beloved detectives – Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. The plan is that we shall read one a week in the build up to Christmas

BLURB

‘One looks for humanity in these matters’

Pretty Lily Margrave, smart little black hat pinned to her golden hair, is not convinced Hercule Poirot is needed in the matter of Sir Atwell’s murder at all. At the request of her employer, the emphatic Lady Atwell, she has had to recount the precise details of what happened that evening, ten days ago in the Tower room even though the victim’s nephew is incarcerated and charged with the murder.

But, Lady Atwell’s persistent bee in her bonnet drives Poirot up to the great house, Mon Repos, to see if he can look beyond the cold facts presented by Miss Margrave and look for the humanity in the matter. Poirot soon takes up residence in Mon Repos, ensconcing himself in the household and all its nooks and crannies.

However, whilst at first the family are struck by his ardent endeavour to find out what befell Sir Atwell in the Tower room, their disquiet at having a ‘ferreting little spy’ going through their rooms becomes too much for some to bare. With his signature ingenuity, a scrap of material and the contents of a tiny box lead the detective to uncover who is behind this violent act.

 

  1. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding – 15th November
  2. The Mystery of the Spanish Chest – 22nd November
  3. The Under Dog – 29th November
  4. Four and Twenty Blackbirds – 6th December
  5. The Dream – wc 13th December
  6. Greenshaw’s Folly – wc 20th December

If you decide to join us, please tweet your thoughts via #LBCReadalong

Christmas Read-a-Long – The Mystery of the Spanish Chest

THE ADVENTURES OF THE CHRISTMAS PUDDING

AGATHA CHRISTIE

christmas read a long

There are six short stories featuring two of Agatha Christie’s most beloved detectives – Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. The plan is that we shall read one a week in the build up to Christmas

BLURB

Major Hastings and Hercule Poirot are not interested in the case of the Spanish Chest, so obviously has it been reported in the papers that it seems an entirely closed book.

But, when Hastings persuades Poirot to attend a rather fabulous party given by Lady Chatterton there is someone sequestered upstairs waiting for the pair’s help.

She’s so sure that there has been some great mistake and is desperate for their help. Will the contents of the dead man’s pockets reveal to the inscrutable eye of Hercule Poirot who the culprit is?

  1. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding – 15th November
  2. The Mystery of the Spanish Chest – 22nd November
  3. The Under Dog – 29th November
  4. Four and Twenty Blackbirds – 6th December
  5. The Dream – wc 13th December
  6. Greenshaw’s Folly – wc 20th December

If you decide to join us, please tweet your thoughts via #LBCReadalong

Christmas Read-a-Long – The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding

 

THE ADVENTURES OF THE CHRISTMAS PUDDING

AGATHA CHRISTIE

christmas read a long

There are six short stories featuring two of Agatha Christie’s most beloved detectives – Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. The plan is that we shall read one a week in the build up to Christmas

BLURB

In this delightful tale, an Eastern Prince arrives in England with some family jewels which he’s having reset as a gift for his fiancee. However, the Prince also has a mistress; she asks to wear one particularly enchanting piece that features a huge ruby, and then promptly disapppears with it.

Poirot discovers a connection with a house party at the home of Colonel and Mrs. Lacey, and in order to pursue his investigation an invitation is procured for him to the Laceys’, ostensibly to enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas.

He will need all his deft skills and little grey cells to solve this crime!

  1. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding – 15th November
  2. The Mystery of the Spanish Chest – 22nd November
  3. The Under Dog – 29th November
  4. Four and Twenty Blackbirds – 6th December
  5. The Dream – wc 13th December
  6. Greenshaw’s Folly – wc 20th December

If you decide to join us, please tweet your thoughts via #LBCReadalong

Christmas Read-a-Long 2015

christmas 01

As November draws to a middle, it’s time to get excited for our Christmas Read-a-Long!

For the last few years, we’ve embraced the festive spirit via fiction (because OF COURSE!) and this year will be no different…despite my protestations to the contrary!

Last year, White Swan settled on Julius Ceasar, after our brilliant Augustus read. Previously, we welcomed LBC Puffins with A Christmas Carol. This year, it’s time for LBC Outlaws to shine with a Crime and Thriller choice:

 

THE ADVENTURES OF THE CHRISTMAS PUDDING

AGATHA CHRISTIE

christmas read a long

 

There are six short stories featuring two of Agatha Christie’s most beloved detectives – Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. The plan is that we shall read one a week in the build up to Christmas – which means that it actually begins next week!

  1. The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding – 15th November
  2. The Mystery of the Spanish Chest – 22nd November
  3. The Under Dog – 29th November
  4. Four and Twenty Blackbirds – 6th December
  5. The Dream – wc 13th December
  6. Greenshaw’s Folly – wc 20th December

If you decide to join us, please tweet your thoughts via #LBCReadalong

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