Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Knitting and Music

Cross-posting to the neglected knitting blog today!

With all the excitement on the writing front, and busy real life, knitting has slid onto the back burner. I see intriguing patterns, and have family and friends with new babies, but can't seem to get a project started that's larger than one square to donate to a group project:

Starting out...

Oh no, I made a mistake and have to tink (unknit)...

Whew! Managed to finish a square!

Now for the inspection...

I'm also still compiling knitting-in-public images and references, as I see them. One of the more recent was a portrait of a knitter in Maison Tavel, the oldest house in Geneva:

Also came across a website listing 46 Interesting Facts About Knitting, including about its origins and history:
"In the 1350s, 'knitting Madonnas' began to appear in Europe, depicting the Virgin Mary knitting. These include Our Lady Knitting (c. 1325–1375) and Visit of the Angel (1400–1410). These paintings are important markers that indicate when knitting entered Europe and how knitting was done. ... There were shepherds in the Landes swamps in France known as tchangues ('big legs') who would knit on stilts while they watched their flocks. The need for stilt walking and shepherds were obliterated by the early 20th century when the government planted a forest of maritime pines over the swamps."
Apparently, knitting for 30 minutes burns 55 calories!

Knitting or otherwise keeping my hands busy is sometimes a good way to work through a plot problem or character conversations. Other times, music can be a source of inspiration:

I've written a couple of thousand words this past week, but am not much closer to finalising the short story. Two weeks to go till the deadline!

What other hobbies inspire your writing (or vice versa)?

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

A Word Wenches Christmas and Blog Lists: Writing Projects, I Need An Intern, and Blog Tasks


One of the things I used to use this blog for often was as an info-dump for upcoming writing projects, yearly goals, 30 Things I Want To Do, and so on. If they're written down, my brain feels less frazzled.

I've got three such lists today:

Simmering on the Back Burner Writing Projects (not counting items already started):

1930s father
1930s Springsteen
1920s hotel/class-crossed lovers
Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress
possible Lord Rochester romance
Seeing-colours dystopian

Blog Tasks:

Update all the photos in old posts
Compile posts 500 to today, the way I did for posts 1-500 during the celebrations for my 500th post
Related to the above, I'd like to keep track of all my book reviews (see intern list below)
Finish visiting everyone that came by on Blog Blitz Day and keep up with the blog roll
Re-sync with FB and tumblr and Ello and Pinterest
Consider adding tags
Prepare guest posts for Tolkienist, Tolkien Library, ROW80, etc.

Things I Need An Intern For:

Type up all of the scraps and scribbles where I've written my dreams
Type up and collate all my story ideas (the above list is only an indication)
Copy all my book reviews from the blog to Amazon and Goodreads (and vice versa, if necessary)
Add the 500+ books I've gotten since I finished the catalogue, including all items in pdf saved in emails and on the computer(s)

Create a filing cabinet with organized labels for all the articles/webpages/clippings/brochures/etc. I've collected over the years
(this and the next two items involve dealing with our massive pile of items in storage in Canada.
What does one do with about twenty copies of Melody Maker?)

Go through all the piles of "saved stuff" and extract every Folio catalogue, then make a comprehensive list of all the Folio books I want
Create a database to store every knitting pattern/recipe/good idea/remember to look up/quotes/poetry/etc. I've ever collected
Make a master list of books/albums/singles/DVDs I want, including all items in emails
Take care of my plants
Curate my Twitter: Unfollow all the spammers and collate my list of favourites into groups of items to watch, read, research, etc.
Also, figure out whether lists would be useful in keeping up with FB

And so on. There are always items to add to the list.

Time is running out on my main ROW80 goal - I've got half the ending for the short story written. Need to finish it and edit it and polish it before the SIWC contest deadline!

I read this great book this past week:

The Last Chance Christmas Ball

"Christmas 1815. Upstairs and downstairs, Holbourne Hall is abuzz with preparations for a grand ball to celebrate the year's most festive -- and romantic -- holiday. For at the top of each guest's wish list is a last chance to find true love before the New Year...

A chance meeting beneath the mistletoe, a stolen glance across the dance floor -- amid the sumptuous delicacies, glittering decorations, and swell of the orchestra, every duchess and debutante, lord and lackey has a hopeful heart. There's the headstrong heiress who must win back her beloved by midnight -- or be wed to another...the spinster whose fateful choice to relinquish love may hold one more surprise for her...a widow yearning to glimpse her long-lost love for even one sweet, fleeting interlude...a charming rake who finds far more than he bargained for. And many other dazzling, romantic tales in this star-studded collection that will fill your heart and spice up your holidays."

There's something cosy about reading stories set in a bleak, snowy landscape while outside its a warm August day. It's also fun to read an anthology where different authors' characters criss-cross each other through the different stories. All the characters in this collection are well-realised and the romances -- and initial reasons for the characters' troubles or hesitations -- were believable and intriguing. Some of the stories are sweet, while others are a bit more spicy, with some great banter back and forth between hero and heroine. My two favourites are the stories by Jo Bourne ("My True Love Hath My Heart" - this one is actually two romances in one short story!) and Jo Beverley ("Miss Finch and the Angel").

Did I mention that this is a Word Wenches anthology? If you're not following their collective author blog, do! They've always got lots of fascinating book and research and travel related information and discussions and images.

Are you thinking about the holidays already?

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Neuchatel! and Story Starts and Ends


Life is intruding again but it seems to benefit the blog as I get to share lots of photos! These are from a day trip to the town of Neuchatel last month:

At the train station 

An ad for Appenzeller cheese. I think it says "the tangiest/most full-bodied secret in Switzerland".

Town centre 

Town centre 

Town centre, below the castle 

Beginning the walk up... 


Up the winding road... 

Still climbing, now facing the dungeon tower 

Through the arch... 

View from the top 

Looking out on the dungeon tower 

1685! Parts of the castle are even older, at least 12th Century

Collegial church 


I really like the expression on the face on the left

Leaving the church 

The castle 

Castle entrance 

Very steep street! 

The steps of the steep street 

Piggy outside a butcher shop

I think this says All Work in Latin. Wonder why?

As for ROW80, the main thing this week is figuring out an ending to, and editing, my short story.

Questions are still percolating in the back of my mind. What I need is a solid sit-down stream of consciousness session, to see what my characters think about their situation.

Do you struggle with endings or with beginnings?

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Entry for a Janet Reid Flash Fiction Contest, CampNaNoWriMo Winner, Celebrating IWSG Day, ROW80

CampNaNoWriMo was a success!

I was about to add "relatively speaking" but I just realised that today is Insecure Writer's Support Group Day! In honour of the occasion, I refuse to feel guilty over all the editing I am not doing, and instead focus on all the ROW80 goals I've accomplished this summer, some set in advance and some unexpected but exciting. Since June, with regard to writing and transcription goals, I have:

Beta read two novels (not counting additional synopsis or query letter or scene-related assistance)
Written a short story (One to Another)
Provided my contributions to a joint novel I'm writing (s l o w l y) with family members (The Horror of Horhor)
Typed up over 10,000 words on Larksong (my 2014 NaNo novel), with only 10,000 left to go
Provided brief copy edits on a self-published novel
Submitted two requested reviews and reviewed a handful of other books read
Finished typing up another batch of Wallace correspondence transcripts (with only the formatting left to do)
Jotted brief notes for a brand new novel inspired by the life of Henry Blythe King Allpass 
Written the first third of an entirely new novel for CampNaNoWriMo! (The Heathen in the Hold)

I hadn't realised that the goals for CampNaNo weren't flexible, in the way our ROW80 goals are. I had originally intended to write 20,000 words on a new story, but only managed 15,000. I declared myself a winner, though, since I made up the other 5,000 with the short story and the contributions to the family novel. I wouldn't have been so lax with myself if there wasn't a baby in the house, of course!

I also wrote one other piece, which was a reworking of a vignette I wrote more than a year ago. There's an image by Dave McKean at the end of one of the collected Sandman (Neil Gaiman) editions, of a dark New York City-type building. As soon as I saw it, I was inspired. I'd originally intended the vignette for Vine Leaves, but wasn't accepted.

Then, a couple of weeks ago I caught a Janet Reid flash fiction contest marking the publication of Go Set A Watchman (which I haven't read yet. I'm just saddened by all the "regular" readers (i.e. those not involved in the publishing industry in any way or frequenting writing-related blogs or what have you) who are buying it because they think it's a sequel. Saddest instance was a colleague who told me he was interested in this new release, but admitted he hadn't read To Kill A Mockingbird).

The main rules were 1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer and 2. Use these words in the story: watch, man, total, flim, flam

I took my vignette, had fun tightening and reshaping it, and then realised that at the moment when I saw her tweet about the contest, the deadline had already come and gone! Instead, I'll share it here:

Riding home, slumped against the cab window -- had two girly drinks (flimsy flamingo straws included) and am playing at melancholy without being totally drunk -- I notice a pine strung with Christmas lights.

An office window's fluorescent white mutes the holiday warmth.

Tonight he said he's moving, "but we'll keep in touch."

The cabman -- watching in the rearview -- asks, "You okay?"

I say no, and he slams the brakes.

Christmas lights and fluorescent glare shine off snow where I stumble out, but even if I'm drunker than I thought, they can't blind me from the truth:

I'll never see him again.

The original (with a more hopeful ending), is under my Shared Writing Snips tab, if you'd like to compare.

Next task is to finish editing One to Another for submission to the Surrey International Writers' Conference contest. I've gotten some great feedback from betas, but am up against my bugbear: needs more conflict. I always struggle with raising the stakes. Oh wait, it's Insecure Writer's Support Group Day...

What are you congratulating yourself for today?

Have you entered any of Janet Reid's flash fiction contests?

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Mini Book Reviews! Garth, Claypole White, Robinson, and Novak

Mini book reviews!

But first, if you missed Misha Gerrick's blog tour stop here last week, please drop by! She's got some fascinating facts about spectacles and tea in history.

Zan Marie's great at these mini book reviews. I find them a relief when I'd like to showcase a book (or have volunteered to do so) but for various reasons can't go on at length.

I've got four reviews today!

Tolkien at Exeter College by John Garth

Published as a monograph with the help of Exeter College, this new text on Tolkien's undergraduate studies includes previously unseen pictures by and of Tolkien.

Vividly told, and despite its short length gives enough detail to ground the reader in the language and customs of the time. A great introduction for those looking to read biographies other than Carpenter's and move on from this monograph to Garth's longer work about Tolkien in World War I. There are some story possibilities surrounding one acquaintance of Tolkien's who was lost on a battlefield during the War...

The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White

"A mother fighting for life, a father demanding perfection, and a son struggling with chaos...
From a distance, Felix Fitzwilliam, the son of an old English family, is a good husband and father. But, obsessed with order and routine, he’s a prisoner to perfection. Disengaged from the emotional life of his North Carolina family, Felix has let his wife, Ella, deal with their special-needs son by herself.
A talented jewelry designer turned full-time mother, Ella is the family rock...until her heart attack shatters their carefully structured existence. Now Harry, a gifted teen grappling with the chaos of Tourette syndrome, confronts a world outside his parents’ control, one that tests his desire for independence.
As Harry searches for his future, and Ella adapts to the limits of her failing health, Felix struggles with his past and present roles. To prevent the family from being ripped apart, they must each bend with the inevitability of change and reinforce the ties that bind."

I read this one for the One Book One Facebook book club, and am very glad I did!

The characters are each intriguing in their own way, and even more compelling was watching (as it were) my own reactions to each character as I learned more about them, through what they revealed in their thoughts and - very gradually - to each other.

Zan Marie has recently interviewed the author!

Death of a Century: A Novel of the Lost Generation by Daniel Robinson

"Set in 1922, Robinson's atmospheric tale of betrayal and revenge paints a passionate picture of the Lost Generation.
[When] reporter Joe Henry pays a call one night on old army buddy and newspaper colleague Wynton Gresham [he] finds Gresham lying dead on his sofa with two bullet holes in his chest. The sheriff who arrives soon after regards Joe as a suspect, but allows him to go home. Later, in Gresham's office desk, Joe discovers a first-class ticket on a Cunard liner leaving for Cherbourg the following day.
Posing as Gresham, Joe uses the ticket to sail to France, where he hopes to find his friend's killer and clear his own name. Joe's reflections on his time in the war and the atrocities he witnessed slow the narrative, but [Robinson] does a fine job of bringing Hemingway's Paris to life" (Publisher's Weekly)

Oddly enough, the parts about Joe's reflections on the War weren't the parts that I found slow. I've said it before, that I'm drawn to novels and poems of World War I and World War II, as the heroism in each individual really shone through in that time. Robinson's novel is no different; his scenes where former soldiers talk (or avoid talking) of the war are quite affecting (though some of the language struck me as anachronistic).

There's simply a general slowness in the narrative, especially in those parts where Joe is rising, dressing, preparing to leave his cabin or hotel room. It might have been possible to shorten the front matter (i.e. everything that happens before he boards the liner to France) and let the Paris scenes stand out. The mystery at the core of the novel is intriguing, especially for those studying more of the history of the War.

Special mention to the scene in Shakespeare and Company which, by coincidence, I visited this month!

The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak

"Did she once have a sister? Has her mother lied all these years? Why?
After a painful divorce, Maisey Lazarow returns to Fairham, the small island off the South Carolina coast where she grew up. She goes there to heal -- and to help her brother, Keith, a deeply troubled man who's asked her to come home. But she refuses to stay in the family house because the last person she wants to see is the wealthy, controlling mother she escaped years ago. Instead, she finds herself living next door to someone else she'd prefer to avoid -- Rafe Romero, the wild, reckless boy to whom she lost her virginity at sixteen. He's back on the island, and to her surprise, he's raising a young daughter alone. Maisey’s still attracted to him, but her heart's too broken to risk...
Then something even more disturbing happens. She discovers a box of photographs that evoke distant memories of a little girl, a child Keith remembers, too. Maisey believes the girl must've been their sister, but their mother claims there was no sister.
She's convinced that child existed. So where is she now?"

There's still a month of summer left to go and I'd recommend this as a beach read!

The characters are really well drawn and, given their interpersonal battles, there are no easy answers to some of their struggles. The romance is both sweet and passionate. Come to think of it, this one would also make a good read for a book club, as there are many nuances of parenting and of sibling relationships that could lead to great discussions.

When I first picked up the book I wondered how something as simple as a handful of photographs could lead to an involved search -- it was intriguing to follow Maisey on her journey, especially through the tense moments, when I wondered not only what she might uncover, but feared for her safety.

Read the first chapter here!

Brief ROW80 check in - the writing's going well! Though now that I've sort of met my CampNaNoWriMo goal (more on this next week), I've dropped off a bit. I love having the freedom to revise my goals during ROW80. The project for the next little while is to return to typing up that last notebook of drafts for Larksong!

Do you revise your goals often?>br?
Which books have you reviewed recently?

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Spectacles and Tea: Guest Post by Misha Gerrick

Misha's guest posting today!

Let me just slip in a quick ROW80 and CampNaNoWriMo update: The words are flowing! (Of course, I'm woefully behind on blog visits...) I'm only 9,000 words away from meeting my CampNaNo goal, and that's not counting the nearly 1,000 words on a completely separate side project:

A murder mystery jointly written with some of my family. We've been working on it on and off for a while, passing paragraphs back and forth. None of us knows where the story's headed! It's titled The Horror of Horhor, and takes place in 19th Century Constantinople. What sorts of things would you hope to see in a mystery set in that time frame?

Misha's blog tour is for the War of Six Crowns series. The first two books are out now:

The Vanished Knight

The entity living inside Callan's soul orphaned her at age eleven.
By the time she's sixteen, it's ensured her being shunted from one foster family to another.
Her thirteenth foster assignment should be routine. Except... it's not.
A psycho in medieval armor kidnaps her and she ends up in a magical world.
There, she accidentally discovers a secret her parents had kept until the day they died.
Both actually came from this magical world, but left before Callan was born.
To cover their tracks, they'd lied about everything. Even who they really were.
Driven to find out where she comes from, Callan's trapped in a race for life and death.
Walking away isn't an option, but if she stays too long, the entity will find its next victim.
In this world where secrets are sacrosanct and grudges are remembered, finding the truth will be near impossible.
Especially when Callan has her own homicidal little secret to deal with.
One with a taste for destroying her life.

The Heir's Choice

After discovering her parents had kept a whole world secret, Callan races to discover her past.
Not easy to do with an increasingly agitated entity living in her soul.
Going to her long-lost elvish roots should answer all her questions. Instead, she ends up in the middle of a nightmare.
The elves are on the verge of an apocalyptic war. Their enemy, King Aurek of Icaimerith, will only be appeased if Callan marries his heir. It's either her life getting messed up, or an entire country's lives lost. Simple enough, right?
Because when the entity wants the elves blotted out of existence, saving them gets taken to a whole new level of complicated.

Misha Gerrick has been creating stories long before she could write
and is currently going after her dream of making a living as a writer.
If you'd like to see how that's going, you can visit her on her blog,
where she also discusses all things related to writing and publishing.
Or, if you'd just like to know what she's reading and
get updates on what she'll be publishing next (Sorry, no newsletter just yet.):
You can follow her tumblr
You can follow her on Twitter
And you can circle her on Google+

Spectacles and Tea

When Deniz mentioned that she's always been interested in landscape and history, it got me thinking about the large part I've let both play in my story.

Partially, I think they feature the way they do because of my love of both. I've always been fascinated by history, and grew up in a country with varying but beautiful landscapes in all directions. I've always enjoyed driving and seeing these wondrous places.

There's more to it than that, though. To me, history and geography both have a huge impact on what's going on in the world I've created. If I say so myself, I think this is the right way to go about it if you want to create a fantasy world that feels real.

The funny thing is that I go out of my way to make it so subtle, people probably won't even notice. In fact, I think I know enough about my world to fill a whole other book series, and that's just the history. Most of this knowledge won't get any special attention in my story, and this actually helps my series feel real. Why?

Spectacles and tea.

Let me explain. In the real world, Europe once launched themselves into the stratosphere economically by the time of the Industrial Revolution. But the thing people don't realize is that it was largely fed by a larger labour population than ever before, simply because people could now work even with age-weakened eye-sight. All this because of...


The invention of which would have taken much longer, had it not been for the fact that at the time, Europeans were more enamored with wine and making it display prettily as they drank. To show off the wines' colours, they needed glass, and someone realized that glass could be a lens.

China, the only empire that had the people power to compete with Europe, couldn't. They were pretty much stuck in the previous century where weakening eye-sight meant retirement. Why? Because their idea of the perfect drink was tea. And their idea of showing off the tea's lovely color was... porcelain. So they didn't bother to make glass and didn't import it (as far as I know). Which meant that no one could look at it and think: Hey, you know what? The distortion in this little spot of glass helps me see better.

As a result of this and obviously quite a lot of similar and larger events that determined China's course, China's only now starting to look like it might catch up to Europe economically. Most people drinking tea never realize all this, and honestly, I wouldn't expect them too. (I just know this because I can't help absorbing strange facts/stories.)

But everything that happened in the past (even glass and porcelain) helped to form the world as it is now. Even if someone doesn't realize it. When it comes to speculative fiction, I think people pick up on the sense that there's much more to a world than what's immediately relevant to the story.

Which makes a world feel even more realistic, and why spec fic writers should know a lot more about their worlds than they let on.

What's your most interesting historical titbit?

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Photo Interlude and An Unidentified Object

Progress...not so much. I've got bloggers to catch up with, three book reviews to write, a short story to edit, and more words of the new story to draft to meet my minimum goal for CampNaNoWriMo.

But we've been playing tourist again... A few random shots:

Alpine Horn concert!
Stained glass at the Ariana Museum
View from a window at Ariana
Swiss images: William Tell, and the Geneva coat of arms
Swiss alpine flora
A pub sign
The layout of Geneva in the 19th century
View from the Maison Tavel, oldest house in Geneva
A crib!
Kakelorum, a child's toy from the 19th century
More coats of arms

The kakelorum is intriguing. It seems to be specific to the Swiss and Austrian alpine regions.

What other ancient toys have you come across in museums or in research?
In a related note, can you help identify this item in Bardstown, Kentucky?

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!))
  • La Verite sur l'affair Harry Quebert by Joel Dicker (loving this!)
  • How To Be A Man (and other illusions) by Duff McKagan
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J R R Tolkien (reread)
  • Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland
  • Journal of Inklings Studies
  • Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman)
  • Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • Pop-up Peekaboo: Farm (DK publishing) (board book) (duh)
  • Paddington Bear Goes to Market by Michael Bond (board book)
  • Emily's Balloon by Komako Sakai
  • Bible stories and puzzles (in French) (board book)
  • The Last Chance Ball (a Word Wenches christmas anthology featuring Jo Bourne, Jo Beverley, etc.)
  • Farmer Giles of Ham by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread but new edition)
  • CassaFire by Alex Cavanaugh
  • First and Second Things by C. S. Lewis
  • Smith of Wootton Major by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread but new edition)
  • So Anyway... by John Cleese
  • The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl
  • Slowly, silently now the moon by Walter de la Mare (poem)
  • I can't work like this by Neil Gaiman (poem)
  • CassaStar by Alex Cavanaugh
  • Death of A Century: A Novel of the Lost Generation by Daniel Robinson
  • The Fly by William Blake (poem, reread)
  • Tyger, Tyger by William Blake (poem, reread)
  • The Christie Notebooks by John Curran
  • The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White
  • What to Expect in Baby's First Year
  • Baby's First Year for Dummies
  • secret beta 2!
  • The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak
  • Chu's Day at the Beach by Neil Gaiman (reread, many times)
  • Sacred Inwardness by Marilynne Robinson (essay)
  • New Statesman issue guest edited by Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman (I don't usually include magazines in this list but I read this one cover to cover)
  • The North Star is Nearer by Evelyn Eaton
  • Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King (loved My Pretty Pony)
  • Every Month Was May by Evelyn Eaton
  • Occasional Soulmates by Kevin Brennan
  • secret beta!
  • Smoke by Catherine McKenzie
  • In Two Aeroplanes Over the Sea by Amanda Palmer (poem)
  • Jim at the Corner by Eleanor Farjeon
  • Finding Fraser by kc dyer
  • Mother Tongue -- The Story of the English Language by Bill Bryson
  • The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan
  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  • Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
  • Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie
  • The Lord Fish by Walter de la Mare
  • The Going To Bed Book by S Boynton
  • The Nursery Rhyme Book by Andrew Lang
  • In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck
  • Subterranean Scalzi Super featuring To Sue the World (an original, very short Redshirts story available nowhere else) Muse of Fire Mallet of Loving Correction Lock In, Lost Chapters (available nowhere else) How I Proposed To My Wife: An Alien Sex Story An Election Judge Sn Goes Golfing Questions for a Soldier The Sagan Diary The Tale of the Wicked The God Engines You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop by John Scalzi
  • Emily Goes to Market by William Mayne
  • Many Moons by James Thurber, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (reread)
  • Colours Are Nice (Little Golden Book)
  • Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo by Judy Blume
  • The Wars by Timothy Findley (reread)
  • The Captive Diary of Catherine Logan by Mary Pope Osborne (Dear America)
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (reread)
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (reread)
  • The Poky Puppy (Little Golden Book) (abridged)
  • The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (reread)
  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • secret beta read 2
  • Pre-Fix: A Ciel Halligan Short Story by Linda Grimes
  • Hidden by Catherine Mackenzie
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton
  • But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
  • Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad by M. R. James (short story) (1904)
  • Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman (reread)
  • My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl
  • Usborne board books
  • Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  • Lila by Marilynne Robinson (so lovely)
  • Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico
  • secret beta read!
  • The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend
  • HELP! Food Allergies Coming To Dinner by Kait Nolan
  • This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak
  • The Owl Service by Alan Garner
  • Two Caravans by Monica Lewycka
  • Aunt Sass by P. L. Travers
  • An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten (actually a few pages of the story, written by John Green for the film of his novel The Fault In Our Stars)
  • January Brings the Snow by Sara Coleridge (poem)
  • Kissing song by Neil Gaiman (poem)
  • The Mother by Nettie Palmer (poem)
  • William Tell Told Again by P. G. Wodehouse
  • Her Ladyship's Companion by Joanna Bourne
  • The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
  • How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
  • Mes P'tits Contes, legends of Swiss cantons
  • see the 2014 list and statistics at
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here
  • see the 2011 statistics on
  • see the 2011 list at
  • see the 2010 list at
  • see the 2009 list at
  • also in 2009 at
  • see the 2008 list at
  • also in 2008 at
  • also in 2008 at