Saturday, 12 November 2011

Stuck-in-a-Book's Weekend Miscellany

Morning everyone!  I usually try and write my Weekend Miscellanies in advance, so that they appear on the dot of midnight, but I was at a friend's house yesterday evening and too zonked to write anything when I got back.  And, prepare yourself, today's post is quite self-indulgent... I was going to be bashful and modest, but... no, I'll try that next year instead.

1.) Spangle very kindly asked me to participate in a series on her blog called Chapters In My Life.  As with the My Life in Books series I ran in March/April, we were both inspired by the My Life in Books TV programme.  I chose five books which were important during my life, and which have led to my current reading tastes.  I also tried to steer clear of my normal answers to such things, so there is nary a mention of Miss Hargreaves!  You can read it here, and see the others in Spangle's series here. As a sneak peak, my first choice is Enid Blyton's Five Get Into Trouble, but I now have a suspicion that I chose the wrong book... Our Vicar? Our Vicar's Wife?

2.) A teensy bit of trumpet-blowing, but trumpet-blowing occasioned by surprise and delight - according to Wikio, I am now top of their ranking of UK literary blogs!  I know these things are only a bit of fun, and I'll probably have dropped to no.93 by next month, but I couldn't help being rather pleased.

3.) A now a bit of fun - a great quiz I happened upon called Shakespeare or Batman?  Not as easy as it sounds... I got 20/30, which is the worst score of anybody I know.  Great.

4.) Slightly Foxed's beautiful little limited edition hardbacks have proved so popular that they're going to reprint their bestselling titles in paperback form.  More info here; the first will be Mr. Tibbits's Catholic School by Ysenda Maxtone Graham.  Anybody read it?

5.) To most of us, Elizabeth von Arnim is far from being a neglected author (she appears on my 50 Books list, for goodness' sake - what greater acclaim IS there??) but a mention in Downton Abbey a few weeks ago has apparently created something of a resurgence of interest.  A lovely little article here.  And a confession from me that I'm three episodes behind with Downton...


  1. If it makes you feel better, I got 19/30 on the Batman/Shakespeare quiz...not good!

    Thanks so much for taking part in my little blog feature. You have chosen some great books.

  2. Simon and Spangle, I can make you both feel better by admitting I only clocked up 15/30 in the Shakespeare or Batman game. It was enjoyable and surprising. At least this was better than the 1/7 score I have managed in the BBC History Magazine quiz (at the past two weeks.

  3. love the classic blyton cover ,all the best stu

  4. 20/30 for me - I felt a little "rushed" with that countdown clock at the top. Nice to see you featured in someone else's series. I seriously doubt that "93" is in your near future! Thanks for the fun links - happy weekend to you.

  5. Congratulations on rising to the top, Simon! And I really can't imagine you will ever be 93rd on anyone's list.

  6. Love the article on von Arnim, especially since it mentions The Pastor's Wife, which I really do think deserves to be more widely read.

  7. I was genuinely delighted when I saw your name at the top of the wikio chart, Simon. There's been too many non-book blogs hogging the limelight in that list — it's great to see a proper book blog in the number 1 slot.

    PS> I always have trouble commenting on your blog — Blogger eats them up — so keeping fingers crossed this one goes through!

  8. I was a bit shocked/pleased to find a whole section of von Arnim's books in Le Feltrinelli the other day, of course translated into Italian (boo for me). 'Enchanted April,' naturally, but also a slew of others I hadn't read!

  9. I'm with you scoring 20/30 for B/S quiz

  10. Very enjoyable blog, Simon, with lots of interesting links. I thought the author of the Slightly Foxed book you mentioned, Ysenda Maxtone Graham, looked familiar, and found she is the granddaughter of Jan Struther, of 'Mrs Miniver' fame. If she has inherited her grandmother's writing skills, it should be a very good book.

  11. I also only got 20/30. Oh well...

    And Mr... you better get caught up on Downton--it was incredible!

  12. Well lets try fourth time lucky on commenting on this one... what is it with blogger and commenting?

    Anyway... I loved the Batman vs Shakespeare thing, that was brilliant right up my street. I managed 21/30 which I was oddly impressed with. Whoever created that is something of a genius.

    The Chapters of My Life thing sounds interesting so will pop and read those in due course (have saved the link) please say you are bringing My Life in Books back at some point?

    I have to say I gave up on Downton series two, I thought it was rather boring and a bit forced, it seemed to have been rushed out on the success of the last and lost itself. Controversial.

  13. I chose 5 books which were important during my life, and which accept led to my accepted account tastes.


  14. 16/30 for me. A poor effort. The Physicist read out the quotes, spotted the iambic pentameter and got 23/30. *hangs head in shame at having been beaten by non-book-blogging husband*

    Thanks for the miscellany!

  15. I got 20/30 but I have to confess I guessed it all! I grew up reading Enid Blyton and loved her books.


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