Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively

There are many reasons why a book stays on my TBR shelf for an age. With Moon Tiger, the reason was very simple – after my Nanny Turner died in April 2014, I just couldn’t face reading this story of an old woman reflecting on her life, especially one who had ‘grown old with the…

The History of Myddle by Richard Gough (1701)

This week’s random book of the week flavours social history with a Heat magazine vibe. So in 1701 this fella Richard Gough (1635-1723) compiled the history of every family which held a pew in the church at Myddle, a small village in Shropshire. On first appraisal, he is rather like Paul Whitehouse’s character on Harry…

Death On The Cherwell by Mavis Doriel Hay (1935)

On one level, I would describe Death On The Cherwell as a sort of grown-up Secret Seven. There are some strong Jolly Hockey Sticks vibes running through this tale of an Oxford college bursar dying in strange circumstances and the efforts of a group of female undergraduates to solve the mystery of her demise,  what…

The Rights of The Reader by Daniel Pennac

Those of you who await my blog posts (tell me there some of you! Please!) will have noticed my recent absence (tell me you have noticed my absence! Please!). In the past three weeks, I have been moving house, my books have been stashed unpleasantly in cardboard boxes, and I have also been Not Very…

The Chapter of Kings by Mr Collins (1818)

This week’s Random Book of the Week (see, I am trying to keep this up!) is a 200-year-old children’s royal history book that doubles up as an adult satire on the British Monarchy. ‘Mr Collins’, an unknown publisher, wrote The Chapter of Kings in 1818, during the Regency of the Prince of Wales. It tells…

The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry

Bibliophiles: do you remember the librarians of your childhood? I remember the librarian at Houndsfield Road Library in Edmonton very clearly. She was a small Scottish lady called Mary with very large glasses who spoke in the special whisper that I believe they teach at Official Librarian School. I imagine she went unnoticed by most, but…

A book-related proposal of marriage (EEK!)

I’m going to go off on a bit of a tangent here, book-crew. I got engaged at the weekend. ‘NOT RELEVANT. BOG OFF TURNER!’ I hear you cry. And you would be right. But please bear with. For this was a BOOK-RELATED PROPOSAL OF MARRIAGE. On Saturday I woke up very excited as I thought…

The It-Doesn’t Matter Suit and other stories by Sylvia Plath

Due to popular demand (from my mother) I am resurrecting my well-intentioned but slightly dormant ‘Random Book of The Week’ weekly post. In these posts I will be rooting around my shelves for books read long ago which maybe do not fit into easy themes or which I just want to share with you because…

The Governess, or, Little Female Academy by Sarah Fielding (1749)

The Governess, published in 1749 and written by the sister of Henry Fielding, is the first (known) novel written for children. It is the first example of a children’s book set in a social setting populated by real children that contemporary children would have recognized, and therefore can be seen as the precursor to all…

ODE TO READING IN BED WHEN YOU ARE 8 YEARS OLD AKA CRIM CITY

  MUM PUT ME TO BED, I HEARD WHAT SHE SAID ‘TURN OFF THOSE LIGHTS AND LAY DOWN YOUR HEAD!’ BUT  I’VE  GOT THE SECRET SEVEN WHIRRING ROUND MY BRAIN THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING JOLLY HOCKEYSTICKS  IS DRIVING ME INSANE MUM GOES DOWNSTAIRS AND I DON’T TURN OFF THE LIGHT I’M GEARING UP FOR…