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Showing posts from March, 2010

Vanity Fair and Don Juan in the Same Week

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ewis, laid up for one week in his twenties (in the 1920s) with chicken pox, read:






three volumes of Gibbon
Vanity Fair
Don Juan
The Faerie Queene
Fool Errant (by Maurice Ewlett)
Lady Rose's Daughter (by Mrs Humphrey Ward)
and rewrote the sixth canto of his own poem, Dymer.

I've been reading All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis, 1922-1927 for over ten years now, I think. It's the book that's taken me the longest to read, but not for any definite reason. Actually, it's almost more enjoyable to leave it for a few months, return and reenter that glorious world of between the wars.

Oh, to dream of all the books I would read if I had a week off... Some of my research books (medieval travels, anyone?), some of the 180 books I still have four years to get through (see bottom of the blog), and some of the new (shh! it's a secret!) books I ordered off Amazon.

What books would you reach for?

Award Day

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appy Tolkien Reading Day!
What better way to celebrate than by passing out an award?
I received a lovely one from Tara and am now giddy (which is why I used an N in place of an H in the drop cap - look how much fun that slide looks!):


Here are the guidelines:

1. Choose five followers/commenters that 'get' you (I'm adding a sixth!)
2. Write something fake (preferably not too mean) about them
3. Link to them, and link back to this post to comment your receipt of the award

1. Jenny, who hasn't told anyone yet, but who has perfected a time travel method. You'll see, when her novel comes out!
2. All four writers at All The World's Our Page, who pretend to live on two separate continents but are really holed up together in a secret lair, plotting a takeover of the entire publishing industry.
3. Cindy, who surfs the tides on the Bay of Fundy.
4. Zan Marie, who wrote about her upcoming interview, but forgot to mention that she's got another one to do for CNN and …

Does This Look Like Isabella and Ferdinand?

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sign at my local. Pub, that is.

Tolkien Reading Day

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s on Thursday!

The theme for this year is Tolkien's Seafarers, including the "Numenorean romance the Tale of Aldarion and Erendis from Unfinished Tales, the journeys and ships of the Teleri, the flight of the Noldor, and the voyages of Tuor and Earendil in The Silmarillion. In LotR the topic might include Bilbo's poem about Earendil, the story of Amroth and Nimrodel and even the journeys and adventures that take place at the mouths of the Anduin. Among the shorter poems there are Errantry, The Sea-Bell, The Happy Mariners, and The Last Ship and at a pinch Bombadil Goes Boating."

Errantry is one my favourite poems, and I once spent a few happy weeks trying to translate it into Turkish, looking up words and rereading the poem over and over. Here is one version of the poem:

There was a merry passenger,a messenger a mariner:
he built a gilded gondola
to wander in and had in her
a load of yellow oranges
and porridge for his provender;
he perfumed her with marjoram,
and car…

A Snip from the WiP!

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ingdom of Castile, Spain, spring 1492:




When Rose finally drifted off to sleep, her dreams were as confused as her waking thoughts had been. She was slipping and sliding through long tunnels, something grey was moving in front of her face, she tried to grab it, but it was a cat's tail, which waved before her then disappeared, and then she was falling, wrapped in a cocoon... Her eyes snapped open. The rain had stopped, but it was still dark outside. Or was it? As she fumbled in her skirt for her spectacles, she caught snatches of light here and there, shining through the canvas. She put on her specs, almost dropping them in shock. There was no longer any tent around her, merely folds of canvas, ripped and torn, one length covering her face and the other wrapped so tightly that the lower half of her legs were bound together. She cried out and thrashed about, but the ground moved beneath her feet as she tried to stand, and she collapsed, sitting, onto the canvas, as it dropped away from …

Off the Cuff

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I was going to do another link post to showcase all the writing and book talk that's going on at the moment on All The World's Our Page, Voyages of the Artemis and Write On, but they're all there on the left of this post, a little further down.

It's time I concentrated on a writing post. I've been knee-deep in research, learning about all sorts of things like colours and painting, pilgrimages, money and currency, naming conventions, etc. Between university libraries and the internet, I've got the pre-Renaissance covered like nobody's business. Reading non-fiction can sometimes be an eye-opener for one's own writing. There's pages and pages of numbers and dates and statistics, until suddenly you come across a paragraph like "This cost 4,000 marevides. X petitioned the Crown and led a group back to Spain, on the promise that they would convert. Once in the town of X, they attempted to reclaim their land, which had been sold for 62,000 marevides.…

Where Do You Live?

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appy World Book Day!
appy Vivaldi's 332nd birthday!

ew Fallstars songs here!
ora Ephron's essay (from I Feel Bad About My Neck) on where she lives covers four places: New York City, her neighbourhood, her desk, the kitchen. I thought I'd treat it as a meme and talk about where I live.

Montréal, most of the time. In my head I live in Scotland, in Wales, in Turkey... NYC would be nice too. In my writing, so far I’ve lived in: an orphanage in Australia; a mountain side in British Columbia; Arnavutkoy, Turkey; Ephesus, Roman Empire; and Toledo, Spain, among others.

In my neighbourhood. It’s called Notre Dame de Grâce but no one ever says that; it’s simply NDG. Two hundred years ago it was simply forest and field. Circa one hundred years ago, when the city began spreading further west, it became a residential neighbourhood. It's a perfect location - close enough to downtown that you can walk or bike there but far enough away that it's quiet and tree lined, without being a s…

Link Happy

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appy Saint David's Day, or Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant! Are you wearing a leek or daffodil?




Also, Go Canada Go!

Have you any ideas on how to improve London, or your own city? Visit Marsha for details.

Is this a brilliant opening or what?

“To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband’s dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor.”Hie thee to All the World's Our Page for a fascinating interview with author Deanna Raybourn.

A tidbit from my ongoing research: circa 1492, it took 42 days to travel overland from Rome to Constantinople.

And... edited to add that it's also the anniversary of Dr Seuss' birthday!

Anyone else have links they'd like to share?