Adventures, LGBT, Theatre

The Night Watch at the Royal Exchange Theatre

When I heard, earlier this year, that the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester would be staging my favourite Sarah Waters novel (so far, at least – I haven’t read Affinity or The Little Stranger yet), I was delighted. Then I remembered that my mum really liked it, too, so we eventually got round to booking tickets for a Saturday matinee, and planned a daytrip to see it.  Continue reading “The Night Watch at the Royal Exchange Theatre”

Books

Crooked Heart – Lissa Evans

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When Noel Bostock—aged ten, no family—is evacuated from London to escape the Nazi bombardment, he lands in a suburb northwest of the city with Vera Sedge—a thirty-six-year old widow drowning in debts and dependents. Always desperate for money, she’s unscrupulous about how she gets it. Continue reading “Crooked Heart – Lissa Evans”

Books, Recommendations

Diary Of An Ordinary Woman – Margaret Forster

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When Margaret Forster died, aged 77, a few weeks ago, my Twitter feed was full of people who were very sad about it, and talking about their favourites of her books. I’d never heard of her, but I was intrigued. One friend said that Significant Sisters should be given to every 16-year-old girl. So I looked up which of her books we had in the library – Diary Of An Ordinary Woman, and Isa and May – and asked which of them I should read first. Susan said this one, because she hadn’t read the other, which was a good enough reason for me. Continue reading “Diary Of An Ordinary Woman – Margaret Forster”

2015 reading challenge, Books

Book challenge #17: A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

The first I heard of this book must have been four or five years ago, when a friend at university was reading it, and enjoying it. But that was when I wasn’t reading much for fun, so I didn’t make much of it. Then, last month, I went to visit Megan, and gave back the last book she lent me, and she gave me this. “You’ll love it,” she said. And I did. Continue reading “Book challenge #17: A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit”

2015 reading challenge, Books

Book challenge #13: A book at the bottom of your to-read list

Five Quarters of the Orange, Joanne Harris

Last October, I got a Reading Survival Kit from the wonderful people at Books Are My Bag. It was an enormous box and it was fun of excellent stuff, including this novel. I’ve been reading it in the bath, mostly (can’t risk dropping library books in the bath, and hardbacks are difficult, so this lovely floppy paperback is ideal bath reading), over a couple of months, but I wanted to finish it so I took it away with me this week, on a trip to Manchester for a party and then to Wales, where I climbed Snowdon with my friend, Lauren. Continue reading “Book challenge #13: A book at the bottom of your to-read list”

2015 reading challenge, Books

Book challenge #7: A book by a female author

The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion, Fannie Flagg

A book by a female author‘ is hardly a challenge for me – of the seven books I’ve read so far this year, only two have been written by men, but this seems a fitting one because it is so very much about women. It follows, simultaneously, Sookie in Alabama in 2005, and the Jurdabralinski family in Wisconsin in WW2. Sookie has four children and a mother who knows everything and everyone; the Jurdabralinskis have five children, four of whom fly planes for the American military. Continue reading “Book challenge #7: A book by a female author”

Books, Uncategorized

Reading challenge #5: A book with a one word title

Warpaint, Alicia Foster

I was given Warpaint for Christmas (by a friend whose recommendations have made me fall in love with such books as The Selected Works of T S Spivet and The Art of Fielding and who therefore is always to be trusted). I then got distracted partway because, as we’ve previously established, I am an idiot. Continue reading “Reading challenge #5: A book with a one word title”

Books, Uncategorized

Reading challenge #4: A book based on a true story

132.Richard Flanagan-The Narrow Road To The Deep North cover

The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan

It doesn’t seem right to say that I enjoyed this, even though I was compelled by it. It’s too harrowing to be enjoyed. Scenes of horrific beatings, of disease, of operations without anaesthetic, of fires and floods and drownings, of starvation, of the cruelty that people can, and do, inflict on one another, of the cruelty that nature inflicts, too. The fact that it is based on real events (Flanagan’s father was a survivor of the Burma Railway, and died the day the book was finished) makes it haunting, terrifying, and utterly gripping. Continue reading “Reading challenge #4: A book based on a true story”