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Showing posts from September, 2008

Lauren Brooke: Heartland

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Lauren Brooke: Heartland 1 - Coming Home
Scholastic - £4.49



Lauren Brooke's website

Heartland series - 25 books, including specials


Oh dear. Is this worse than telling a toddler Father Christmas doesn't exist? Daughter and I were talking about Lauren Brooke, whose Chestnut Hill series is on special offer in the book leaflet she had from school. "Ah," I said, in passing. "Lauren Brooke doesn't exist, of course. She's three different writers." "WHAT??" said daughter. "But how can she have a website? Is she real and then there are other people who write the books?" "Well no," I said. "There's nothing unusual about it - publishers have an idea and then go and get someone, or several someones, to write it. Like Lucy Daniels. Masses of people have written the Animal Ark books."

Intake of breath from daughter. "You mean... you mean... there's no Lucy Daniels?" Me, looking anxious now: "No. I…

Have I read a Booker Prize nomination?

I'm not sure that I ever have - I've certainly read books by Booker nominees, but not, I think, a title which has been shortlisted. I certainly, beyond a shadow of a doubt, have read none of this year's nominees.

So, in an attempt to broaden my limited intellectual horizons, there's a poll on the Ibooknet blog so you can suggest which Booker nomination I should read. I have a source of supply, I have a flicker of interest: I just need your advice now on what to choose.

The Deportment Girdle

I mentioned this in my blog post on theIbooknet blog; but I think a full explanation of its glories is probably better off here.


I never did win a Deportment Girdle in my entire school career - and yes, it really was called a Deportment Girdle. It was a crimson sash, worn tied around the waist. To a scruffy, scrawny, eleven year old, drowned in an enormous gym tunic, it seemed that all the more glamorous members of the school wore them, sashaying around the corridors, distant goddesses. 
Deportment girdles were just one of a range of school prizes. Northamptonshire, where I went to school in the 1970s, was late to embrace the comprehensive movement, and so having passed the eleven plus, I went to Kettering High School, a grammar school with a prize giving structure probably unchanged for decades. We did have other prizes besides the deportment girdle: there were form prizes, and subject prizes for the upper school, as well as colours for sporting achievement. That is, until we went comp…

Kierkegaard

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He's in there. Somewhere.


Lady of Leisure

Today I had a full plan for the day. I was going to clean the kitchen, hoover the stairs, ebay some more of the vast amount of junk we need to shift; try and get near enough to the garden to plant some spinach; get down the wood pile....

But none of it is done. I sat down on the sofa, put my feet up, and watched Burghley, texting dear son to come home and walk dog (he did).

Cor. BRILLIANT round from William Fox-Pitt (though why did the BBC cut the round off two jumps early?) on Tamarillo - just amazing to see, and of the young riders I was really impressed by Sara Squires and Angus Smales. Loved the commentary by Ian Stark too, and his female counterpart - who was she? Missed the very beginning but I thought she did a grand job. Far, far preferred them to Mike Tucker, who always sounds as if he should be commentating on racing.

K M Peyton: Minna's Quest

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K M Peyton: Minna's Quest
Usborne, 2007, £5.99

K M Peyton's website
More bibliographical detail


Despite what you might be thinking, I have not forgotten my quest to scan the heights (or indeed the depths) of modern ponybookdom, and this is my latest. Alas my fellow reviewer has fallen by the wayside, though I am not too sad about this, as she has been distracted by Antonia Forest, one of my absolute favourite children's authors. Oh joy! Oh rapture! I rescued Autumn Term from a school library sell off and gave it to her, not expecting she would read it, as my track record for persuading her to read things I like is frankly, dismal. However, she trotted downstairs earlier in the week to ask if I had any more by AF? My joy was unrestrained (and for those who are interested, yes I do!)
Still, on to what this blog post is supposed to be about: K M Peyton's Minna's Quest. I came to this book with very high hopes: K M Peyton is one of my favourite authors. She has written pr…

Katie Price: the human face of the horse

Or something like that. KP has been much in the equestrian news lately, whether it's because China White wouldn't let her in to the polo (their tent, at least), or because she's going to be appearing at the Horse of the Year Show as the subject of a dressage lesson, or because of the (oh oh oh I am LONGING to say something smartarse here but I won't because really, I don't need to) new equestrian wear range she's designed.

However, she is now going to be the face of "Hoof", which wants to challenge the idea that eventing doesn't really fit into London (a point of view which I have some sympathy with) and which also, much more laudably, wants to encourage London children to ride. Here's Hoof's website.

I think this is an excellent idea, though I'm not sure how realistic it is. I can see that having an accessible person like KP to promote riding will do more to reach people who wouldn't normally think of riding than say, Zara Philli…

Helen Griffiths

Every now and then I happen across an author who completely blows me away, and oh, the joy when I find out that the book I've read is by no means all - all those lovely things still to be read. Antonia Forest was one such, a few years ago, when I read her Autumn Term, and Helen Griffiths is now another.
One advantage of being unable to do much of any practical use over the past couple of weeks while my knee has been out of action is that I've been able to catch up on my to be read pile. To be accurate, the TBR pile is not a pile; it fills several boxes and is a fluid thing, often governed by whether or not I've sold a particular book.
But, prompted by the fact someone from whom I bought a large collection of books said this one always made her cry, I picked up The Wild Heart.
and was completely and utterly hooked. Helen Griffiths does not write conventional pony books: all her horse stories are set in the Spanish speaking world, and are very far from girl-gets-pony: they…

The revenge of the barn

I was finally starting to feel ok after my op, and had been out for my first run. We then ordered a skip so we could clear the rubble of ages out of the barn (and we had a lot of rubble - we are terrors for hanging on to odd bits of wood just in case. This is all very well, and we have occasionally used bits, and the chicken wire store came in very handy when the chickens arrived, but even we realise that you can go too far.)

So, we ruthlessly hurled all sorts of odd bits and pieces on to the skip - well, when I say hurled, with the price of skips these days we arranged carefully making the best use of the horribly expensive space - until we came to a particularly hideous, battered but solid 1930s mahogany sideboard. I have had this horror in my sights for years, and had meant to arm son and friends with crowbars and let them get on with it, but of course had not got round to it. Husband, although not fond of the foul sideboard, felt it had a future.

We discussed this, as you do, and …