Moulders Lane

Category: Recommended Blogs

A Wodehouse Gallumifray

Following a link at Honoria’s site, I found this selection of Wodehouse book reviews from The Aroma of Books with some well-chosen quotes that had me screeching aloud in sudden laughter, proving, once more, that there really is no other like him.

I think we should be campaigning for a sticker on any future editions: WARNING ! Reading this book in public can lead to Severe Embarrassment.

Thank goodness only the Aged P. was around to hear me sounding like a macaw that had just had its toe trodden on …

Food, Glorious Food

I have been laid low with a flu-y cold for over a week now with a corresponding lack of interest in life, or even food, but earlier tonight started to wonder what you were all up to.

Wandering round in a desultory manner I found the intriguingly named The Hungry Mouse tucked away on someone’s blogroll and discovered a truly amazing site that made me realize I was starving, in seconds.

There doesn’t seem to be a way of re-blogging any of the posts so you’re going to have to rely on an illness-hampered description but I urge you to go over there and look round.

It’s basically a ton of recipes for gorgeous American food that explains everything with great clarity and, here’s the nub, has fantastic close up photographs of each step by step so you cannot possibly go wrong. It knocks Jamie Oliver into a cocked hat and I’m so hungry after looking through just a few of them, I’m off to review our store cupboards to see if I can make any of the dishes in the photographs.

 

Try Writing

A piece on why we write from Stuart M. Perkins over at Storyshucker, a delightful blog that’s the complete embodiment of the writer’s mantra: every encounter, every experience we have, whether good, bad or indifferent – it’s all copy.

 

Storyshucker

“Thousands of people who write believe they are better than thousands of others. They believe they will pen the next great American novel but their writing is dull and full of grammatical errors. Why do they write anything intended to be read by the public? Why do they write?”

I read those lines and was impelled to respond. The blogger’s entire post was arrogant and sarcastic, but those lines were the cherries on top. After I acknowledged that he can post what he likes on his own blog, I then asked if rather than squelch ambitions with a negative message about imperfection, he could instead applaud people for their attempts, for our attempts because I am one of the imperfect. But, we still try.

I don’t necessarily like being serious because, well, it’s not funny. I love a little arrogance and sarcasm as much as anyone, maybe more than…

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Doing Corn!

A discovery from the blogging stratosphere, this is a truly delightful collection of tales from the American South; a ‘book’ to keep by your bedside (with over 34,000 guaranteed pre-sales, why this chap hasn’t already got a publishing deal I do not know) or to turn to when you’re feeling fed up with your life and the world around you.

They’d also make a very nice feel-good film – and heaven knows we could do with some of those these days – in fact you could easily get three separate films out of the ‘Bus Whisperer’ stories, the Nannie/family stories and the Mary Dell stories.

I simply couldn’t pick a favourite so I’m starting you off at the beginning. Kick back on the porch and enjoy …

Storyshucker

A few years ago I reminisced with coworkers about childhood experiences we longed to relive. One said “Oh, I want to do Italy again! The sights and sounds!” Another said “I want to do Paris again! The shopping!” When asked what summertime fun I wanted to have again I whispered “I want to do corn…!”

Nannie, my grandmother, had a huge garden on her farm which was summer’s focus for my family and my extended family. We anticipated nothing more than CORN. Excitement began when Daddy hooked the planter to the tractor. Weeks later, we pulled suckers in the hot cornfield. “Straighten the stalks up as you go.” Daddy said, wiping his face with a handkerchief. As time passed, Nannie checked corn by pulling shucks back just enough to stick a fingernail into a juice kernel. “If we’d get rain it would go on and make.” Mama predicted. “You could…

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Reading emancipates

This is a lovely post from a newcomer to Blogosphere on the transforming powers of good books and what reading means to her. A would-be author (writing in her third language) she’s also a fully paid up member of our Wodehouse League of Nations so has my vote already.

I really like what she’s trying to do with her blog: it’s commentary rather than review, her viewpoint is an interesting one, and, particularly on those books I’m familiar with, she picks up on some unusual angles of thought.

It’s only a few months in and she’s still working out her voice (I see much of my early blogging beginnings here) but I think this is definitely one to keep an eye on.

I was brought up in an Indian middle class home where studies took precedence over everything else. And I am not talking figuratively here. Playing hopscotch, listening to a song, learning to dance, painting, and reading non-curriculum books, were all considered extra-curricular activities that you could pursue only when you were tired of cramming books, class notes, self-notes, and after you have narrated everything to an elder person. I was trained to eat quickly to save my precious study time.

But I also realize that my parents, their parents, and so on, were brought up in an extremely challenging environment. Three meals a day was never taken for-granted by my dad during his first 16 years on earth. So, I do not blame or argue with my parents, elders, society, or community about their beliefs.

But this post is not about them. It is about my third parent – a parent who had been brought…

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Herding Cats

A joyful discovery courtesy of Litlove at Tales from the Reading Room: an outstandingly well written and witty blog on the perversities of life, inanimate objects – and, of course, cats.

I recommend starting at the very beginning and just working your way through, so you don’t miss anything.

Baker's Daughter Blog

First problem – I can’t find the cat. She’s gone off on one of her expeditions next door to retrieve dead leaves. We have leaves in our own garden, of course, but the ones next door are better: they are as long as she is, vaguely tropical looking, and obviously very cumbersome. She likes to go for the oxen-pulling-plough effect, holding one end of the leaf in her mouth and letting the other drag on the ground beside her.

I need the cat because I have the perfect idea for a header image for my blog: I’ll put a pile of books on the floor, encourage the cat to inspect them, then take a photo. I can just see it stretching across the top of the page: a jaunty stack of books on the periphery, the spines an artful combination of faded moroccos, gilt-embossed leather, and bold primary colours. A…

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I Heart New York

This is rapidly becoming one of my favourite blogs – astute, acerbic and always very funny.

The Random Book Review

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I swear this is the last time I’m going to read unverified chick-lit (i.e. by authors I don’t already know and like). I stumbled onto Lindsey Kelk and this I Heart series when I was in need of a bit of escapism, and chick-lit fulfils the requirement perfectly (coz the worst thing that can happen here is a breakup), so I decided to give it a try. Lot of spoilers, so if you are still going to give the book a try despite the cheesy title, I suggest you come back later.

There’s a certain amount of disbelief suspension that has to be done when reading chick-lit. For example, the girl is almost always either ditzy/crazy and almost always in a lower paying and more peaceful job than the hero, who is invariably moneyed and handsome, and everything is always all right in the end (if it’s not, it’s not…

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Wodehouse and the conduct of old boys

To the continued weariness of his fans, Wodehouse has recently been appropriated, once again, as a shorthand for Establishment privilege. Our always charming hostess, Honoria Plum, has written this excellent and astute defence: a masterpiece of restrained, articulate indignation – and one of her very best pieces.

The Happy Land of Tea and Books

Another happy find: the delightful tea-table of Mlle Berlioz at ‘Miss Darcy’s Library’ whose evocative prose draws you into an enviable life seeking out stationery, books, flowers (and tea!) and the later revelling in their pleasures in her little flat in Paris; a bulwark of loveliness and peace in an otherwise turbulent world.

Miss Darcy's Library

     “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C. S. Lewis

     In December, I promised you all a post on tea and books. I had just come across Birgit’s “Tea and Books Reading Challenge” over on The Book Garden, which was inspired by C. S. Lewis’s famous remark, and I was delighted to have a cast-iron excuse to bring together two of my favourite pastimes: reading and drinking tea. As so often, the thousand and one trivial concerns of daily life then got the better of me and before I knew it, January was drawing to an end. But the weather here in Paris has suddenly taken a turn for the worse and, as I walked down the cobble-stoned streets of the 5th arrondissement on my way to work yesterday morning, wincing as the icy wind bit…

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‘The original Bright Young Thing’: Beverley Nichols’ Crazy Pavements (1927)

That charming hostess, Honoria Plum at Plumtopia, has introduced me to yet another interesting and intelligent guest: Erica at ‘Reading 1900-1950’, who writes excellent reviews of the early twentieth century fiction collection held at Sheffield Hallam University.  (Those written by others, it must be said, are rather more uneven.)

Reading 1900-1950

I hadn’t heard of Beverley Nichols (1898-1983) before finding this novel in a box of donations. As soon as I started to do my research it became clear that he is yet another writer who was extremely well-known in his day, and almost entirely forgotten now.  Nichols had an amazingly prolific and wide-ranging writing career. He wrote satirical novels, mystery novels, novels for children; short stories; plays; books on politics, travel, gardening, cooking; and finally, about cats. For a full bibliography see http://www.beverleynichols.com/index.php.

From the beginning of his career he was determined to become a celebrity, and he achieved this. Osbert Sitwell called him ‘the original Bright Young Thing’, and he wrote his first autobiography at 25. (His ambition is clear from the opening line: ‘Twenty-five seems to me the latest age at which anyone should write an autobiography’. It is called, imaginatively, Twenty Five.)

Crazy Pavements (1927)…

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