feather_ghyll: Illustration of the Chalet against a white background with blue border (Chalet School)
The Chalet School Does It Again: Elinor M. Brent-Dyer. Armada, 1990

I am excruciatingly slowly completing my Chalet School collection, and yes, with the aid of abridged Armada publications.

The title of this story always Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
I’ll post an overview of a few books I’ve read over the holidays eventually, but this post is a look back at 2015, following a tradition started by my first post of 2015 when I said I looked forward to the next adventures of Wells and Wong. Well, Arsenic for Tea by Robin Stevens (in which the 1930s schoolgirls investigate another mystery, this time in Daisy Wells’s country house home) lived up to my expectations. I enjoyed Kate Saunders’s Beswitched, originally published a few years ago, but taking the reader back to a 1930s boarding school, a fraction more, even. I loved reading Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery and Gail Carriger’s Etiquette & Espionage.

Turning to hadrbacks, I enjoyed The Little Betty Wilkinson by Evelyn Smith, even though I think she’s written better books. I did read a book each by the ‘big four’: Elinor M. Brent-Dyer’s Chudleigh Hold, Sally’s Summer Term by Dorita Fairlie Bruce, Tomboys at the Abbey by Elsie J. Oxenham, which I didn’t review, and For the School Colours by Angela Brazil.

(In the first paragraph, I build up to my favourite and do the opposite in the second.)

Perhaps the best book I read this year was ‘Rose Under Fire’ by Elizabeth Wein, which is wonderful and harrowing, and I feel incapable of writing about it. I also really loved Helena McEwen’s Invisible River.

I reread Katherine L. Oldmeadow’s The Fortunes of Jacky, which stands the test of time, and now I have no more Oldmeadows to reread. I am, obviously, looking out for more by her in all the shops that sell second-hand books! I hope to read the next case Hazel Wong writes up and the second in the Finishing School series, but I expect to read EBD's 'Fardingales' as I have a copy in the depths of my 'to read' pile.
feather_ghyll: Boat with white sail on water (Sailboat adventure)
Barbed Wire—Keep Out!: Agnes M. Miall Brock Press 1950

Isn’t this one of the most brilliant titles for a children’s book ever? It demands that the reader dives in, just like the barbed wire and the injunction to keep out has no influence on the main characters of this adventure.

They are Perry (really Perilla, poor thing) and her sister Prue and their chums Hump and Noel. They have appeared in other books, one of which, Snowed Up With a Secret, I own and had read years and years ago, but don’t remember a thing about. Perry and Hump are aged about sixteen, Prue’s about fourteen and Noel about eleven. So, if you like books about gangs of children bringing down gangs of criminals, you’ll like this.

Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Boat with white sail on water (Sailboat adventure)
The Fortunes of Jacky: Katharine L. Oldmeadow The Children’s Press (This impression 1968)

So, we come to the last of my Oldmeadows, a collection that’s increased by one since I took to rereading them (see the tags). I’ve owned this book for many a year, although it was fun to reread it as an adult, while Read more... )
feather_ghyll: drawing of a girl from the 1920s reading a book in a bed/on a couch (Twenties girl reader)
Happy Easter!

A Term on Trial: Mary Gervaise Cassell (First published in 1929)

It’s been far too long since I’ve read a proper girls own book, by which I mean a boarding school story, and this one features a lot of staples of the genre.

Barbara ‘Bobby’ Laurence Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
I don't know if I'll get around to typing up a full review of 'Molly Hazeldene's Schooldays' by Maud Forsey, which I read over the holidays, but I felt it should be noted that one of the other school girls is named, rather magnificently, Leah Venus Sheepwash.

Looking back, my favourite Girls Own books read in 2014 were The Scholarship Girl at Cambridge by Josephine Elder, Dimity Drew's First Term by Nancy Breary and Mullion by Mabel Esther Allan. I also loved Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens (and look forward to more Wells and Wong cases) and enjoyed rereading The Chalet School and the Lintons.
feather_ghyll: Book shop store front, text reading 'wear the old coat, buy the new book.' (Book not coat)
I hope to write about a couple of books that I read over last weekend soonish, but for now, here’s a meme via slemslempike. Abridged – I skipped a lot of questions.

Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Illustration of the Chalet against a white background with blue border (Chalet School)
Excitements at the Chalet School: Elinor M. Brent-Dyer Armada, 1987

It has been years and years since I last read a Chalet School book or got my mitts on one of the few in the series that I hadn’t read (a slightly longer list than that of the ones I own thanks to libraries and friends). I genuinely think that I never read this before, Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Girl Reading: Katie Ward Virago 2012

I picked up this book in a charity shop because of the title, of course. It’s a collection of (long) short stories that all feature girls (or women) reading that, until the last story, are only tangentially linked. The stories cover various periods of time and places and, Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Of course I caught a cold for the Easter holidays, but I did little more than read. I'll be posting fuller reviews of books about murder, heroic new girls, a school for spies and why advertising was the perfect job for a girl in the fifties while she decided whether she wanted to be a career woman or a married housewife.

I also read a generic family inherits a property about which there is a mystey story by Francis Cowen, where the family was pretty lucky that the heroine had finished school and was willing to take care of them all until she was old enough to train as a nurse (Mystery Tower) and a book that's about the production of a 'book' or collection of stories by friends (A Job for the Jays) for another chum. Each chapter contains one of these stories, which the friends all criticise e.g. for contrivance. I couldn't make out if these were stories the author was trying to get rid of somehow because they hadn't sold off. It didn't seem to me as if each stories was saying much about the supposed author, as I couldn't differentiate between the Jays (all girls with names starting with 'J'.) Peculiar. (A Job for the Jays).
feather_ghyll: drawing of a girl from the 1920s reading a book in a bed/on a couch (Twenties girl reader)
Princess Anne: Katherine L. Oldmeadow. The Chirldren's Press (this edition published some time before Oct 1961, and wonderously, the previous owner's name was...Anne.

I finished reading this book this morning as I couldn't sleep, so that may influence what I type next.

I'm gradually rereading all my Oldmeadows and hoping I'll come across new-to-me copies of her books soon because of it. (Since reviewing Princess Charming, I reread Princess Prunella, and never got around to reviewing it.) Princess Anne never left that much of an impression on me, and I vaguely wondered if it was because I got Princess Charming and other books first. Having reread it, I think it's caused by more than that. Read more... )
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
I was saddened to hear of Diana Wynne Jones's death. Reading her obituary, it was interesting to learn of the links to other children’s fiction writers.

I don't know if I would describe myself as a fan. That is to say, I have enjoyed reading her books if they've come my way - they're witty and have a strong streak of common sense, while very much being fantasy books - but felt no compulsion to keep all of them and get more. I did read some of her books as a child, A Tale of Time City left the most impression and I have vague memories of the Archer's Goon adaptation, but I didn't own any copies of her books as a child, and read more of her work as an adult. I saw the adaptation of Howl's Moving Castle before reading the book; I have a feeling I read (some of) the Chrestomanci books before then.

Anyway, it is sad that there won't be any more books from her.
feather_ghyll: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
Via [livejournal.com profile] callmemadam and [livejournal.com profile] lizarfrau

Read more... )

The meme did make me think a little about chapter breaks and how the author really can't control the readers' experience. I was rereading the Binchy book; I came to it with a bit of a prejudice, but after reading about half in one go (circumstances meant that I read the second half in a bitsier fashion) I found that I was enjoying it more than I'd expected, and during the break had a bit of a think about what I remembered (not much) and guessed what would happen next and circled around what I made of the characters. I couldn't remember whether I'd read it in one go the first time, without the break to muse five years ago.

It occurred to me that there are so many possible permutations of a reading experience that the writer can't control. Chapter breaks, to some extent, but for most novels, the reader isn't likely to stop after every chapter, and they could stop anywhere almost. There are some chapters where it's easier, such as if the main characters have to get to Venice to do something, you'd be inclined to stop when they got there, whereas the momentum of the story meant that you 'couldn't' tear yourself away before the point. Perhaps it's more likely for books that have distinct Parts (fantasy novels and historical novels spring to mind). Those create natural breaks. Even so, that's up to the reader or the reader's circumstance, and those breaks from the books vary the experience - you may come to a definite conclusion about a certain character, fair or not. In that break, external events may colour your whole reading of a book.

That probably seems very obvious to everyone else. I tend to (or think I tend to) read books (novels then) in as close to one go as I can get, which may be why it struck me.


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