feather_ghyll: (1950s green outfit)
Abbey Turns the Tables: Eric Leyland, Nelson 1959

I bought this thinking it would be about a mixed-gender school, but, set at a boys’ boarding school, it’s solely a boys own adventure. I see I’ve never written a review of a boys own book before, but then I haven’t read many and most of those involved Billy Bunter. When I see boys own books in shops, I tend to wish they were girls own and move on.

The most striking feature of this book is Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Tennis ball caught up at mid net's length with text reading 15 - love (Anyone for tennis?)
This itty-bitty post is bought to you by there being no Olympics on TV for another four years. I expect that the people running it would want more attention to be given to heartwarming stories about sportsmanship rather than other, less ennobling things. And so I oblige.

I did want to mention the hockey, because I found myself watching the exciting women's gold medal match on Friday, I think it was. Wasn't the British goalie amazing? Or should I say English? In the tradition of talking enthusiastically about a sport I know nothing about, are there seriously no outstanding Scottish or Welsh hockey players?

Anyway, international hockey is fierce based on that match and what little else I saw from Rio. There was talk of stitches and wired jaws! It doesn't come off as so violent in girls own books. I know there is talk of sticks and wild play when new girls play for the first time and, yes, there are injuries, but they're usually predictable and in service to the story: one player is injured so she can no longer play and the new girl in the fourth or the rebel who didn't impress the games captain at the start of term can show her mettle.

The force of watching top-class female team sports did strike me anew these Olympics.
feather_ghyll: Girl looking across unusual terrain to a full moon (Speculative fiction)
Katya’s World : Jonathan L. Howard, Strange Chemistry, 2012

I bought this without really appreciating that it was going to be YA. Anyway, Katya Kuriakova Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Boat with white sail on water (Sailboat adventure)
Glenallan’s Daughters: Bessie Marchant Nelson (no date, although it was awarded as a Sunday school book in 1935)

I misread the title and thought this was about Glenallan’s Daughter, assuming for a few chapters in that it would be around the first of the two girls introduced, Kitty, who is perhaps the more prominent. (I have no excuse, the illustration on the front is of two girls.)

First things first, however, Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Guitar Girl: Sarra Manning. Speak 2003

Any book that makes me hum Kenickie's 'I Will Fix You' for days afterwards, as this did by referring to the band among other female-driven bands and artists in the dedication, is a good'un. After reading this, I’ll certainly keep an eye out for more of Manning’s books - I'd seen her rated on book blogs.

Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Tennis ball caught up at mid net's length with text reading 15 - love (Anyone for tennis?)
I've kept meaning to post about the US Open. It's been strange not to be able to watch it, but to have to check up online and on sports headlines to see what's been happening. Highlight clips aren't the same! It was particularly heartening to see Robson building on her Olympics and having such a good run in the first week. Getting beaten by a defending champion is not too shabby. Read more... )

However, I've been able to watch the Paralympics. After last night, it feels churlish to say that, of course, the coverage hasn't been as good as the Beeb's would have been, but I haven't been able to switch to other sports when stuff I have no interest in watching comes on etc, although I've sat gripped in front of the swimming and athletic races. Claire Baldwin is an ace, I like it when former Paralympians get all technical (for instance about how individuals' disabilities affect them and what they have to do to adjust) and the fact that we move from heats to finals (in the races) and that there are so many different categories makes it all the more explosive. Then there are the moments where you realise what these people who run or swim so fast must have to face in their daily life. There's a lot more to say about disability , elite sports, gender and a myriad things than is getting raised – there’s a consensual attitude about certain topics in the coverage that I don’t always agree with, although if both the Games get girls who thought they weren’t able to ‘do sports’ to get up/out and exercise more, that is a good thing. But then, while the Paralympics are going on, sports coverage is tending back towards the belief that what the boys and their managers in the Premier League are doing is all that sport is, which is, frankly, depressing.
feather_ghyll: (1950s green outfit)
I have a tag labelled: genre: career story. It’s a genre that fascinates me, covering at least two subgenres, which I talk about here, although, in the post, I’m concentrating on Girl’s Name, Job Title in Exotic Sounding Adventure serial mysteries and not the ‘straight up career girl stories’ as I describe books like the one I’m about to review. Actually, I’m not sure that that’s the best name for the subgenre.

Kate in Advertising : Ann Barton. The Bodley Head, 1961.

This is a standalone book (as far as I know) about how a girl progresses in her job, although as I hope to show, calling it a career story isn’t precisely right. However, Kate Wilson, Copywriter certainly girl has no time to be a Part-Time Sleuth!

By the by, I wonder whether career stories for boys have ever been a feature – I tend to gloss over most boys' own books at best and get annoyed when there’s a heap of them and no female counterparts on the bookshelves or bookheaps of second hand book shop, so I wouldn’t know. I suspect there might be of the Part-Time Sleuth variety.

This second impression in 1961 of a fifties story for girls is typical of its subgenre, good enough at doing what it sets out to do, except it’s already out of date, as the author’s note apologetically makes clear, thanks to the growing influence of television. In the book, TV sets were still exotic and print spearheaded any advertising campaign.

Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Tennis ball caught up at mid net's length with text reading 15 - love (Anyone for tennis?)
Ah, so Nadal has pulled out. I'm sure it was both a difficult decision and not, putting yourself through seven potential five-setters when you're suffering from tendnitis, and, as a world No. 1 and champion, facing the likelihood of being out before that because you're not capable of playing your game.

Another weight on Murray's shoulders then/chance for him, and Wimbledon is different from the French. Federer and Del Potro must be feeling chirpier - although I would have thought that everyone would prefer to be a champion having beat Nadal. There's also Djokovic, but there doesn't seem to be that buzz around him. And I don't know who Haas is up to play in the first round.

Watched a fluff piece with Elena Dementieva on Breakfast. Maybe I'm too sensitive but would the chappie presenter be talking about the male world no. 4 at anything being a pin-up?

I'm reading Cassell's The British Girl's Annual from 1919, which has already featured an Angela Brazil story. It's a dipping into and dipping out of book. The stories are set up in columns, which I first thought was greaat, but it seems to make the story come to an end earlier.
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Over the holidays, I made the most of the opportunity to just sit down and read books from cover to cover. I started off with The Big Six by Arthur Ransome, which I really don't think I'd read before. Read more... )

I worked my way through The Woman in White - I believe I called every character a ninny at some junction.

I should have said the same thing about Family Playbill by Pamela Brown, Read more... )

I loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, which was recommended by [livejournal.com profile] callmemadam among others.

And then I read a Bessie Marchant, A Girl of the Northland, Read more... )

The latter was an interesting precursor to reading A Cousin from Canada by May Wynne, Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Over the summer, I've found myself reading a lot of books that are concerned with the employment of women, in the loosest sense of the phrase, maybe 'occupation' is closer to it, and some of them were girls rather than women...

Sue Barton - Staff Nurse: Helen Dore Boylston
Requiem for a Wren: Neville Shute
Miss Buncle Married: D. E. Stevenson
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day: Winifred Watson
The Third Miss Symons: F.M. Mayor
North for Treasure: Dorothy Carter
Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Stanton's Comes of Age: Sylvia Little, Stanmore Press 1947

This was the first Sylvia Little book I've read since finding out that Sylvia Little = Eric Leyland, who also used the name Nesta Grant, so, I was hyper-aware of any mention of gender, often in the form of authorial 'asides' about boys' and girls' natures. I hadn't ever suspected that the author was really a man, although I had noticed that boys did tread into the hallowed school grounds in Little's books. I've come across very few mixed boarding school a la Hogwarts. Following the real-life culture, older children's books and their fictional schools were strictly divided. I can think of one Mabel Esther Allan, there's the school that Blyton's Naughtiest Girl goes to, and there may be others, but I don't recall them, except for at least one school (Castle School, I think) that Little has written about. I think that in the other Little book I own, Queen's has a close relationship with a boys school (?), which is the case between the girls' school in Stanton's Comes of Age, the Trebizon books (set much later, though) and By Honour Bound link by Bessie Marchant and Sally at School. You know, the sort of school where the heroines' brothers go to. The language is of being chums rather than girlfriends and boyfriends (hi, Trebizon). This type of arrangement is still pretty rare in most of the girls' boarding schools I've read. Boys are for Christmas hols, mainly.

As for the book itself Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Black and white body shot a row of ballet dancers (Ballet girls)
Noel Streatfeild news and resources:

Ballet Shoes to be made into a feature length drama to air on BBC One later this year - read the press release. I got the heads up from Digital Spy. This could be great, the BBC, after all, should be able to handle this sort of material in its sleep, but it rather depends on who they cast to play the Fossils and what the director gets out of them.

h2g2 has an overview of the 'Shoes' "series" (which was artificially created as such, though some of them are obviously connected, says the person who never could read 'The Bell Family', in fact I'm not sure if I didn't give up and give it away.)

For more, there's this well-presented Noel Streatfeild site: http://www.whitegauntlet.com.au/noelstreatfeild/

Discussion - girls in fiction and the women writing it

Girl wonders
As Nancy Drew returns to the screen, Laura Barton remembers the fictional female heroes who bested the boys, bucked convention and shaped her childhood

Were you an Ann or a George? (Plus, it may be made more explicit in later books, because, yes, I am of the Nancy Drew Files/strawberry blonde generation, but is Ned Nickerson not 'the love interest' and sidekick to Nancy? Sadly, there's no mention of the Swallows and Amazons girls in this article.)

Editorial anonymous, a children's book editor, discusses the question of whether children's books are a girls' club and if so why? This mainly refers to modern children's literature.

I recommend
Essay/Discussion: Twins, part two
by [livejournal.com profile] sangerin, which focuses on the twins of the Abbey Girls and Chalet School series.

Malcolm Saville resources:

The Malcolm Saville centenary website, through which I discovered 'Three Towers in Tuscany' is the first of a sequel, which ends with 'Marston Baines - Master Spy'. My delight at the fact that there are more books and that one of them has such a title cannot be textually rendered.

Quizzes:

http://www.funtrivia.com/quizzes/literature/specific_subjects__themes/childrens_literature.html
feather_ghyll: Book shop store front, text reading 'wear the old coat, buy the new book.' (Book not coat)
Eek! It's a week since I scrawled the first version of this. I really should have typed and pasted it sooner.

Apart from some transportation problems - a late bus here, me missing a train there - there were no adventures a week ago on my trip to Hay-on-Wye. Instead I relaxed and did some heavy-duty shopping. The Hay on Wye damage was cough books for splutter pounds. I've been consoling myself by working out that the average cost of each book was around a fiver, which is cheaper than your average first hand paperback. I've also vowed not to buy any more books for a while, which seems a more realistic goal than not spending any money ever. In fact, I'm probably set for well beyond the time when the last Harry Potter is published, but I'll make an exception for that.

Pen, Polly and their Brothers: Doris Pocock, Blackie
is the first new purchase from Hay-on-Wye that I've delved into.
click here for a review )

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