A few years ago, my grandmother gave her copy of a book by her favourite artist to her friend while she was in hospital to cheer her up. Sadly, her friend then died. My grandmother always talks about how much she loved the book and how much the pictures used to make her laugh, so for Christmas, despite knowing very little about art, I resolved to track down a copy for her.
It was surprisingly easy. I just did a quick search for “artists who paint fat ladies” and Beryl Cook’s name came up along with some very familiar looking paintings of fat ladies.
It was great to see how much my grandmother enjoyed looking at those paintings again. And an added bonus came when she was looking at the book with my very prudish boyfriend and a picture of a chubby lady in suspenders brandishing a whip turned up. I only wish I’d managed to capture the look on his face when she turned to him, with an innocent smile and asked, “Do you like being whipped, Jon?”
Old ladies, they think they can get away with anything!
If you’re the kind of person who appreciates the joys of paper and ink in a digital age, head over to Hickory Nines and read this fantastic post by my colleague Lisa. It’s a lovely read and I think you’ll agree that she has a wonderful way with words.
Having spoken to friends about their New Year’s Resolutions and commented on lots of blog posts in which people have carefully planned out their reading aspirations for 2013, I feel that it would be remiss of me to avoid coming up with a reading resolution of my own.
In light of this I have decided to read more books with strange, unusual, silly or quirky titles.
I will not read these titles exclusively, but as and when the mood takes me. As long as I read more of these than I did last year, I win.
I’m off to a good start as I am reading The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making which was a Christmas present I requested from my little sister after spotting it in a bookshop and reading a good review of it on Temperanceblog.
As much as I am looking forward to Christmas, once it’s over I miss the sunlight and the spring. I’m preparing for those dark winter months between Christmas and my garden sprouting for another year by preparing some book themed flowers in my house. I know that sounds a little crackers, but it’s all in the name. My flowers will have names which associate them with paper, books, stories… etc.
So far we have (sprouting) Amaryllis Novella and Narcissi Paperwhite… ta da!
Amaryllis and Narcissi growth
Do you know of any plants with similarly bookish names? I am planning on making my garden a nature reserve but can see potential for extending a similar theme to my borders. William Shakespeare roses for example. I’d be really grateful for any suggestions and am willing to include fruit and veg.
This evening I have been forced out of my sitting room while my boyfriend and two of his friends play a football game on the Playstation.
I don’t care about that though, because I am curled up in my rocking chair in the dining room flicking through this beautiful copy of The Nutcracker illustrated by the late, great Maurice Sendak who died earlier this year. Isn’t it gorgeous? My photographs don’t do justice to the luxurious feel of the paper or the comforting weight of a nice hardback book, but they do show the charm and colour of the illustrations.
Many headed mouse king
So, I’ve got a good book, tea and a tin of Christmas biscuits. All I’m missing is some little people to read it to, but I’m not planning to do anything about that just yet! If you do have some little people, I think The Nutcracker would make a great bedtime story, a chapter a night in the run up to Christmas and they days that follow. It’s not too late to get yourself a copy either, the ISBN is 978-0-385-34864-5, ask your book shop to order a copy for you, mine gets them in the very next day.
I have a copy to give away to a lucky reader, though sadly it won’t reach you in time for Christmas. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning, just email me your address with the subject The Nutcracker to firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve heard about NaNoWriMo and always been tempted to have a go at it, but decided that I didn’t have time. However after reading about it on mattdantodd.com I decided that I would have a go. I have signed up on the National Novel Writing Month website, even though I’m in the UK there is a group for my local area.
Now that I am signed up, I am recruiting writing buddies. So, how about it? Join me at NaNoWriMo and add bookandbiscuit as your writing buddy.
It’s taken me nearly a year to sign up to our local library after moving house, but I’ve finally gotten around to it. Check out my snazzy new library card, key ring card and book mark. Thank you Abingdon Library!