feather_ghyll: Back of girl whose gloved hand is holding on to her hat. (Girl in a hat)
The Abbey Girls on Trial: Elsie J. Oxenham Collins (between 1949 and 1951)

I found myself reading the first few chapters of this book with more interest than I’d expected, given the last few Abbey Girls books that I’ve read, 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: Girl reading a book that is resting on her knees (Default)
The Girl Who Wouldn’t Make Friends: Elsie J. Oxenham Nelsion Triumph Series

I bought this because it was by EJO, but by the end of the first chapter, I knew I’d read about the further adventures of Robin and the Abbey links to Plas Quellyn. Not that I can remember much about them, and I’ll have to hunt up my copy of Robins at the Abbey. Of course, it should be no surprise to me that it's linked, aren't all her books?

Read more... )

Edited for typos 3/5/10.
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)
I did say that my posting would be sporadic in this journal! I'll start off by linking to a rather wonderful post, to read perchance to dream, which urges us to marvel at books

This weekend, I'm hoping to go on a day trip to Hay on Wye, which is a fabulous village on the Welsh side of the border between England and Wales that mainly sells second-hand books. I am trying to set myself a realistic budget - I had a peek at some of the prices for books I might like to buy and had to revise my early plans: same budget, less books. I discovered that I could blow my whole budget (for bookshopping and sustenance) on a single copy of a first edition of an Abbey Girls book that I don't have. Then I'd have to train myself not to eat or drink in its vicinity. Or breathe. And I should possibly buy special gloves, which seems a little extreme. It's the portability, the clutchability and grab up and pick down-ability of a book, so that I can get to the story that matters to me, and so coming up against the second-hand market proper is always a shock. It was interesting to see the going rate for some of the books that I have (with added occasional coffee stain to decrease the value).

When I've told people that I'm going to Hay, a lot have asked if it's for the festival, but for me, that appeals far less than simply walking around from shop to shop and letting myself enjoy the serendipity of the experience that second-hand bookshops provide. (Charity shops provide it too, only cheaper.) While I certainly appreciate the way that online stores allow you to find very specific requirements (great for reading an older series in order, for example), the experience of walking into a shop and finding something unexpected on its shelves, attracted by the title or the cover, intrigued by the blurb or tempted by the price, is something else altogether. Going to Hay, where I'm unlikely to get a bargain in the mercenary sense, though I might get a great story in a tatty, cheap, copy, is more rarefied and intense than going anywhere else; it's a chocolate factory, not a chocolate shop, as it were. I've only been there once, and remember it as a jaw-dropping, fun, but frustrating experience on a pocket money budget, and it may be, oh another 12 years or so before I go again, but I'm really looking forward, and hoping to get some books that I'll end up reviewing here.

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