Weekend Bits and Bobs

I was in the middle of drafting a post setting out my own stall about where I get my books from etc after all the toing and froing on the subject lately. But, Simon Savidge’s impassioned post, (written after Gav and he got attacked on Twitter over where they got their books from), beat me to it, and I decided that he’s already said most of it. Instead I’ll just add a couple of comments below on my personal stance rather than a full (and potentially repetitive and boring) post:

mostly_booksI buy more books than I can really afford from my local indie bookshop Mostly Books in Abingdon, whom I am always very happy to promote. However, I’m a single mum on a part-time salary – so charity shops, second hand bookshops, the supermarket, bookshop chains, and online through Amazon, the Book People etc. will all get my custom from time to time.

Having been blogging for several years now, I’m lucky enough to be sent books from publishers and authors, and I review for Amazon Vine – Thank you.  I’ve only ever requested two books directly from publishers and felt guilty about doing that. These days, I purely respond to titles offered for review, only picking those I’m genuinely interested in reading.  I do not sell on any review copies that I receive. 

I have monetized (horrid word) my blog, with affiliate links to Amazon and The Book Depository.  I hope I make the links clear, and I am not forcing anyone to click through – it’s just there if you want to.  In nearly five years of blogging, I’ve received £29.80 in Amazon vouchers through referrals resulting in sales.  Part of me says I should drop the affiliations, as they promote the company only making treat- money for me, but if I find it useful to click through occasionally elsewhere so may others – I’m undecided on this though…

Mini-rant over now …

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I’m still working on gradually updating my blog’s indexes, but I’ve been toying with the sidebar too lately.  I discovered a great new widget to highlight posts I’ve ‘liked’ elsewhere. See the ‘Posts I Like’ section over there.

Sadly it only works with other WordPress powered blogs, so please, all my Blogger, Typepad and other service blog-friends don’t feel left out and see my bookish blog-roll for lots of other great blogs.  (Arrow image credit)

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crane wifeLastly, I’ve just finished reading The Crane’s Wife by Patrick Ness.  It was a lovely book and my review will follow.  It did make me cry (again – something Ness is good at!).

I often shed a little tear when watching TV or films and reading – am I over-sentimental, or is it something you do too?

Do tell me about the books that have made you cry …

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Enjoy the (long in the UK) weekend.  

Cheers!

My New Reading Chair

YIPPEE! My new reading chair arrived this afternoon (with matching sofa, from the sales at Furniture Village).

It’s a ‘smuggler’ chair – one and a half seats wide, so plenty of room for feet and wriggling and cushions – and a cat when we get one.  Meanwhile my daughter is pleased with the sofa because it is longer than our old one and she can lie on it, (just 3 months and she’s a proper teenager!).

New Chair 003

I’m now going to baptize it with my current read - The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers – I’m going to hear her talk next week (more info from Mostly Books).

I was slightly surprised that we ended up choosing a neutral grey-brown colour sofa though for there was red on offer (I love red), but I shall save that for winter cushioning.  But thinking about how I’d describe the colour – it’s minky – and that’s the name and colour of our much beloved hamster!

Mostly Minky 046 compressed

 

So that’s my new place to read.  Why don’t you tell me about your reading chairs and reading places …

Rewarding YA reading for Grown-ups! Let me persuade you…

I’m in my early fifties prime (!) and I’m not afraid to say that I love reading modern YA books now and then … but only good ones, naturally.  By using the term ‘YA’ here, I’m distinguishing them from those books we usually call ‘children’s classics’ (which still appeal to readers young and old alike).  I’m concentrating on contemporary novels specifically aimed at older children/teenaged readers, usually 12+.

I passionately believe that the very best of modern YA writing can be as good as books for grown-ups, and equal to that of the children’s classics that we remember from our youth.  Many remain to be converted to this way of thinking, so I’d like to explain a bit, maybe encourage you as a grown-up to give a YA book a go, and offer a few suggestions for reading.

There’s an incentive if you make it all the way to the end of this post.  You may disagree with me too, and I don’t mind that at all. We each find our way to the things we like to read, but I’m trying to encourage an open attitude to at least try reading something different.  I will, however, be the first to admit that as an adult reader of a YA novel you do have to be a bit more picky …

That black cover!

One barrier is making your way past all the formulaic black covers of all the ‘Twi-likes’.  The paranormal romance genre has been the big marketing success of recent years in teen fiction, spawning werewolves, witches, angels – stories featuring all kinds of undead following in the vampires’ wake, (paralleled to a lesser extent by zombie mayhem aimed at boys).  Twilight wasn’t the first teen vampire novel by a long shot – L H Smith’s The Vampire Diaries were there way before for instance, but it was Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight (my review here) that became the publishing phenomenon and really kick-started the whole shebang.  I’ve read a good variety of these paranormal high school romances; more than enough to know that although they can be enjoyable fun, they are for teenagers.  As an adult reader, I don’t need to read any more of them, even the rest of the Twilight series, (I have watched all the films though).

Now we’ve got that out of the way …

What are the differences between adult and YA literature?  

Well, they share the three major common elements of plot, character and writing style of all novels.  Many adults tend to favour writing style to dominate over plot or character – a debate that was the subject of a great post a while ago at Stuck in a book. What use is a great character or story if you can’t get into reading it after all.  Well, the same is true of YA books too,  but the balance between the three elements is often different.  I realise that by necessity I’m having to generalise here, but using my daughter’s reading experiences too, so go with me if you can …

Writing style in literature for younger readers does tend to be more direct.  Authors have to take great care with their language,  not using bad language unnecessarily, but keeping it appropriate to their audience.  Difficult subjects such as sex, drugs, alienation and all the good and bad bits of growing up – all these emotive issues need to be tackled with tact and sensitivity, again appropriate to their audience.  Sometimes I wish more adult books would moderate their language a bit – you can get fed up of too many profanities and graphic sex scenes.

What would a novel be without strong characters?  Pretty uninvolving, I think.  The only difference here is that the main protagonists in YA books tend to be younger, older teens themselves – an age their main readers can identify with.  This shouldn’t be a problem for the adult reader either.  There are so many adult novels with child or teen lead characters – the ‘coming of age’ novel in particular being its own sub-genre (see some of my reviews of these here.)  YA characters can, however, can often be defined by their actions, rather than their thoughts.

Plot though, does tend to come more highly up the scale for teens.  Younger readers need action.  They need things to happen all of the time – they can’t cope with pages of descriptive atmosphere or scene-setting.  This can sometimes make a YA novel seem rather relentless, you wish for a break.  The clever YA author will build in descriptive elements throughout whilst keeping a cracking plot going and coming up for breath now and then.  As we progress up the age scale, the action-quotient typically decreases a little to let the setting speak, and allow characters to pause for thought more too.

So, are you willing to have a go yet?  If yes, what could you read?

For starters, you won’t go far wrong if you pick one of the books that have been awarded the Carnegie Medal – an annual prize in the UK made to a writer of outstanding fiction for children. The medal is awarded by CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.  Admittedly, many of these winning books are for older children rather than teens – but they’re all great books.

The real King Arthur ...My favourite Carnegie winner from 2008 is Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve.  It is a very different and brilliant take on Arthurian Legend with Merlin as a spin doctor.

I’m also a big fan of Patrick Ness, who won in 2012 with A Monster Calls (and 2011). It’s a simple story of a boy whose mother is dying of cancer, who can’t accept what’s happening, and a monster comes to help him through. As our book group found, this one wasn’t universally popular as an adult read, but did provoke good discussion.  You can hear Patrick talking to Simon Savidge about his writing for adults and children in a podcast at You Wrote the Book!.

This year’s Carnegie Shortlist (award in June) has some brilliant novels on it; I’ve read three so far, plus several that were longlisted that didn’t make it onto the shortlist. Some previous thoughts on the longlist are here, but the highlights for me are:

  • Blood red snow whiteMidwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick (review coming soon).  Sedgwick is my favourite YA author. Many of his novels have a magical edge to them, they nearly always have a darkness at their heart and are based on folktales and folklore. My favourite book of his though, is his fictional account of Arthur Ransome’s years in Russia Blood Red Snow White.  I particularly enjoy his writing style which seems ‘ageless’. My fingers are crossed that he may win this year.
  • A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle.  A bittersweet novel about dying which tells the story of four generations of women with great empathy and humour, and is typically Roddy Doyle too!
  • The Double Shadow by Sally Gardner. A complex and fantastical philosophical novel for teens. While The Double Shadow didn’t make it onto the shortlist; another of her novels did however – Maggot Moon is narrated by a boy with dyslexia, which Sally suffers from. I shall be reading it soon.

Some other authors of YA books that I’ve read and reviewed include Sally Nicholls, Charlie Higson for ‘zombie mayhem to scare your pants off’, Matt Haig creator of the crossover vampire family The Radleys, Cliff McNish.

These are just a few of the contemporary authors writing primarily for teens that I’ve read and enjoyed on an adult level; authors I will be returning to again and again.  There are so many more for me to explore, not least Diana Wynne Jones who died in 2011 and who has an army of adult fans, Meg Rossoff too, and, and, and … the list could go on for pages.

Which contemporary YA authors & books would you recommend to me?
Would you consider reading a YA novel?

As a final incentive, I’m offering one copy each of Here Lies Arthur, and Midwinterblood as a GIVEAWAY – open to any country to which the Book Depository delivers to.  To enter – just recommend any children’s or YA novel that makes a rewarding read for adults, ancient or modern.

Midweek Musings …

Dear Readers, I am smitten!  No, not a new man in my life, but a book.

the-diary-of-a-provincial-lady

Finally, inspired by Simon’s Guest post on Vulpes Libris, I dug out my copy of The Diary of a Provincial Lady, by E.M. Delafield.  By page two, I was lapping it up, and I shall be dipping into this book and its sequels over the next few weeks.

Why was I previously intimidated by this 1930 classic? Maybe I worried that I wouldn’t like it, and that might offend everyone else in the blogosphere who adores it. I needn’t have worried for I can join the gang now! Here’s a very short extract from pages 2/3:

November 11th. – Bournemouth. Find that history, as usual, repeats itself. Same hotel, same frenzied scurry round the school to find Robin, same collection of parents, most of them also staying at the hotel. Discover strong tendency to exchange with fellow-parents exactly the same remarks as last year and the year before that. Speak of this to Robert, who returns no answer. Perhaps he is afraid of repeating himself? This suggests Query: Does Robert, perhaps, take in what I say even when he makes no reply? …
… Robert comes up very late and says he must have dropped asleep over the Times. (Query: Why come to Bournemouth to do this?)
November 12th. – Home yesterday and am struck, as so often before, by immense accumulation of domestic disasters that always await one after any absence…
… Robert reads the Times after dinner, and goes to sleep.

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Raven Black (Shetland Quartet 1) by Ann CleevesBack last summer, I went to hear Anne Cleeves talk about her two series of crime novels – featuring detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez, both of which have been adapted for TV. ‘Shetland‘, a two-parter based on her Jimmy Perez books finally comes to our screens this weekend on the BBC. I shall be watching to see how they match up.

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Alex in Leeds has come up with a wonderful way of tackling her TBR – the Book Jar – filled with slips of paper with book titles on.  Alex has even colour-coded the slips for different types of book.  I commented that I may shamelessly nick that idea for myself, and she said feel free.

So, once I’ve found a suitable container, I shall likewise fill it with titles of books from my TBR – including difficult ones, non-fiction ones, classic ones, 1001 books ones etc (I may not colour code though for a truly random result). I will aim to commit to reading one monthly.

We’ll see how I do, but I am known as a great starter and a bad finisher of projects! (Memo to self: Time to actually start reading the 2nd book of the Lymond Chronicles!)

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And finally today, I finished reading a really good book the other day, but it’s not published until the end of the month.

Is it too early to tell you about it?
What are your feelings about advance reviews?

Scoring books, some musings on the subject

There are two definite camps in the book blogosphere: those who give/find useful star ratings, and those who don’t. I’ve always been in the former camp, but I do recognise that ratings are no more than a highly personal snapshot of opinion at time of publication.

I started out giving whole stars out of five, then had to give half stars to reflect in between scores, and my ratings thus became out of ten. Then I found that I wanted to finesse my scores a little further and started giving half marks again. I’ve since found that I give a lot of scores of 8.5/10.  On one occasion (see here) I went one step further giving a book 7.3/10! What was I on that day eh?)

In fact it is rare that I give scores of 6/10 or less, most books get between 7 and 9,  and around 10% in a year may get the full 10/10. That makes the majority of books I read better than average.  I like to think that’s because I mainly choose to read books that I expect or know will be good, (although it can be therapeutic to read a stinker just once in a while).

pemberleyBack to the snapshot business for a moment. There are times when I’ve gushed about books and scored them highly, but with the benefit of hindsight can see that I overrated them. Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James was one such case. I was about the only blogger loving this book at the time of its publication. I later realised I was reading it with rose-tinted glasses adapting it for TV as I went with Colin Firth (natch) starring. Now, I can see that as a hybrid crime/classic pastiche it wasn’t entirely successful; I stand by my initial enjoyment of reading it though.

pureThen there are books that I’ve underrated.  One such came to mind as I was writing my post yesterday about Illumination by Matthew Plampin.  I was constantly thinking of and comparing it with Andrew Miller’s wonderful novel Pure. I did score Pure as 9/10 at the time but, going by the way this novel has stayed with me, and the number of times I recommend it to others, it should have been a five star book.

All this musing leads me to ask you, dear reader…
- Are you’re bothered by scores in a review? 
– If you do find them useful, is my fussing with halves out of ten taking it too far?

I do plan to keep scoring books for my own records (they’ll appear in my Reading lists), but other than highlighting 5 star books, or absolute stinkers, I’m thinking of dropping them from my main reviews, unless you want them that is!

Thank you for bearing with me…

Annabel’s Midweek Miscellany

It’s so long since I did a bits and pieces post – it’s only worth doing when you’ve the requisite bits to talk about though…

Book questionFirstly, advance warning to local quiz fans – The Mostly Bookbrains Literary Quiznight is returning in April, Friday 19th to be precise.  No further details at the moment, but all the profits will be donated to charity.  Be assured, we will cover the whole world of books in the questions!

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Secondly a link – for anyone interested in books aimed at teenagers and young adults, Simon Savidge has started a debate here about the ‘new’ genre of NA or New Adult books. Fascinating and empassioned stuff!

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BBRW

Thirdly, after the success of my Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week last year, I was contemplating hosting another themed season.

I’m in a quandary however, as I know that a ‘Beryl II’ themed week would be appreciated in many quarters; I still have around half her books to read myself, but I have recently read and reviewed the latest addition to the Beryl canon – the first biography – Beryl Bainbridge: Artist, Writer, Friend by Psiche Hughes, and I don’t think I have anything more to add to supporting another Beryl week apart from reading the books.  I am still maintaining my Reading Beryl page above however, and I will continue to add links to your reviews of Beryl’s books if you let me know.

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Which finally leads me to giving some hints as to what I’m planning for mid-May instead.  I’ll just state at the outset that the choice of May is arbitrary – no anniversaries etc for this author – it just suits my schedule. Here are some clues – Maybe you can work out who it is…

  • There is an author whom I’ve read quite a few works by, but still have a good few to go. I’d also like to re-read his (yes, it’s a ‘he’) early novels. I’ve never reviewed him on this blog.
  • He’s very much alive and still writing.
  • He writes two kinds of fiction, mainstream and genre.

There I’ll leave it!  Do have a go at guessing who it is.

Falling in love again …

The Joys of Re-reading

I don’t do much re-reading.  I have too many unread books to get through, both new shiny ones and more of those which have been languishing on the shelves for far too long. Once in a blue moon though, I will re-read a book – just a couple a year usually.

Double dog darere-readingbuttonIt so happens that Ali at Heavenali is hosting a month of re-reading for January. It’s a doubly ideal time for some re-reading given my participation in the TBR Double Dog Dare too.  Strictly, a re-read doesn’t qualify as being in one’s TBR, but … books you’ve already read but kept are still available ‘to be read’ – Pedant, moi? (tee hee!). Otherwise, I’m strictly abiding by it and my embargo pile of reading for after April 1st is already growing!

The book I’m re-reading is The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. It won the Pullitzer Prize in 1993. I discovered it when the paperback came out and I adored it. That was way before I started the blog, but I did write about it in one of my first posts where I said:

Whereas the English equivalents of novels based in small-town America often seem so claustrophobic they have an unreal quality about them, this is not true of their US counterparts for me. North America is so vast, the novels also have a quality of space about them. Sure, everyone still knows everyone else, but they’re not squashed together like sardines, they have to make an effort to interact.

This is so in The Shipping News, where one of life’s failures, Quoyle, betrayed by his wife, opts to start all over again in faraway windswept Newfoundland. The novel is all about how he starts to fit in with the local community which takes time, as they’re mostly failures of a kind too. The quirky characters are superb, both comic and sympathetic. If you liked the TV series Northern Exposure, you’ll find similarities here, but that’s where it ends, as Annie Proulx’s writing leaps off the page and makes everything seem totally real. The chapters are headed with figures from a 1944 book of knots and quotations from the Mariner’s Dictionary which add to the considerable charm of this book.

I’m still reading the book, and will write more fully about it soon, but I am overjoyed to report that it has won me over again instantly, and is totally worthy of being one of my real favourite books.

There’s nothing like a successful re-read. If you remember the essentials of the book from the first time, the second and subsequent readings let you delve a little deeper into the psyche of the book, or to analyse what it is you like about the author’s style or writing techniques.

Occasionally when you re-read a book, the experience isn’t as good as the first time. It can be hard to put your finger on why it doesn’t gel with you again. This happened to me with The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Given how many times I’ve heard the original radio show, watched the telly series, (and less so the movie, although that had its moments), it wasn’t until I re-read the book that I started to find it not as funny – it still had some great jokes, but the inbetween bits rather bored me – maybe I wasn’t reading it with the voice of Peter Jones as the Book in my head.  Can’t quite put my finger on it.

I hope to include a few more re-reads this year, particularly books that I first read a couple of decades ago. Simon’s recent post about Graham Greene has made me hanker after revisiting him for instance.

What are your favourite re-reads?
Which books didn’t work as well second time around? 
Do share …

Appearing elsewhere …

Just a short post to say that today I’m appearing elsewhere … My bookcases and I are over at Savidge Reads. Answering Simon’s questionnaire about my bookcases (and let’s face it, my mountainous TBR), was great fun and I am delighted to be taking part in his regular feature.

I took a bag of books to the charity shop this morning – including several chunksters that are just too long and don’t think I’ll ever read them – that means Infinite Jest, A Suitable Boy and Anathem amongst others. They may be masterpieces but life’s too short. Between them that frees up over six inches of shelf space, and I can always re-acquire/borrow them should the urge to actually read them come.

So see you at Simon’s and I’ll sure we can find a virtual cuppa and biscuits while you peruse the shelves…

Book Stats – Review of 2012, and aims for 2013

I posted about my books of the year a couple of weeks ago here. Now it’s time, as I always do, to take a light-hearted look at the stats of what I read…

Life must be getting busier, as each year I seem to be reading fewer books. I say that firmly with my tongue in my cheek, as I know that if I diverted some of the time I spend mucking about on Facebook playing games etc. into reading, and also not watching afternoon telly on days when I get home early, I’d get a lot more reading done!

So – having consulted my master spreadsheet, up to the time of writing:

  • 2012 Books NationalityI’ve finished 90 books this year, vs 93 in 2011, 106 in 2010 and 114 in 2009.
  • The page count is still holding up well at just under 26k, vs 29k in 2011, 26k in 2010 and 32k in 2009.
  • I read the same number of books in translation this year – 10.  Again, I’d like to read more in 2013.
  • Due to my hosting Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week, this was the first year in which I’ve read 6 books by the same author. I also read 4 Adrian Mole books by Sue Townsend, and 3 teen books by Sophie McKenzie to impress my daughter and her friends.
  • 2012 Books DateAnother stat I love to look at is when books I read were published.  I didn’t manage to increase my reading of ones published pre-1960 (my d.o.b.) this year, and am always shocked to find how many shiny new books I manage to squeeze in  – a full 44% percent published in 2012, plus 2 yet to hit the shelves.
  • In genre fiction, this must be the first year that I haven’t read any SF proper. I have read more historical fiction though particularly set around WWI & II – there’s a lot of it about!
  • One area I’ve improved upon is to read more non-fiction having read 6 books of memoir/biography and 5 others.
  • Lastly, I’ve redressed the balance between male and female authors this year. Last year my list was 70% by men. This year it’s almost at parity, with 46:44 male:female writers.

My aims for 20132013

  1. Read more!
      1. Read more from my TBR – I’m taking part in the TBR Double Dog Dare, which’ll take me up to the end of March without reading new acquisitions.
      2. Read more old books – particularly those published pre-1960.
      3. Read more in translation.
      4. Read some SF. Mustn’t forget about my first book love.
      5. I’d love to host another author reading week.  I have an idea, possibly for May – more soon!

So, how did your reading year shape up?

Character forming – Book then Movie or Movie then Book. Discuss:

There have been many posts about the merits of which order to do things in for novels that have been made into movies (or TV series). These tend to concentrate on the differences in plots made to give films the required conclusions, and the excising of large chunks of plot and/or characters in the novel to fit the film into two hours.

It was a comment by Sams Still Reading on my post about the film of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen that has sparked me off on a slightly different thread to the book then movie or movie then book debate.

Question: If you see the film first and then read the book, is it possible to put aside the casting you’ve seen in the movie/TV, and imagine the characters in the novel as the author wrote them?

I’d wager that the answer is nearly always NO.

Indeed, Sam said: “I want to read the book, based mainly of my love for all things Ewan. Based on your review, I think I’ll watch him first and then read it.”  

I think if Sam does read the book, she wants to be able to imagine Ewan in it. (Do let me know if I’m wrong Sam, but frankly, who wouldn’t after seeing the film first!)

Initially I wasn’t convinced about McGregor’s casting. I had imagined Fred – Dr Jones, as a bit older, tweedier, and with glasses.  Ewan won me over though with his boyish fringe and twinkly eyes.

I can think of an occasion when this inability to re-cast characters helps though…

I was the only blogger I can think of who loved Death comes to Pemberley by PD James.  With a little hindsight, I can honestly say I wasn’t comparing it with Austen’s Pride & Prejudice at all.

I have read P&P, but what sticks in my mind, as I have seen it so many times, is the wonderful BBC production with Colin Firth as Darcy, (and I still swoon every time I see that lake scene). Consequently, I read the book as P&P series two and it worked really well on that level.   I struggled with the casting in the 2005 film though, with Keira Knightley and Matthew McFayden despite how good McFayden was in TV spy series Spooks, he wasn’t aristocratic enough as Darcy, and Knightley is a marmite actress!

The film of Tinker, Tailor Soldier Spy, which I adored, was everything I had hoped for surpassing, for me, the older TV adaptation and really getting the feel of the times. All of the casting was brilliant, Benedict Cumberbatch as Smiley’s no 2, Peter Gwillam was fab, but Gary Oldman was just perfect. If I ever re-read the book I will be very happy envisioning Oldman as Smiley. His nemesis, Karla, though who was only talked about in the film will remain Patrick Stewart from the TV series. But what about the brilliant BBC R4 dramatisations with Simon Russell Beale as Smiley I hear you ask? Radio/audio in a way gives the best of both worlds – allowing you to imagine the picture, but with voices you sometimes know – but that’s another post!

It’s also fascinating when writers respond to how their characters are portrayed on the TV. Colin Dexter has said that the younger TV Lewis in the series Morse is an improvement on his original (who is older in his 60s, and Welsh).

I hope to read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie soon. It will be interesting to see if I can divorce my visions of Maggie Smith and Robert Stephens from the text – or were they the perfectly cast pair?   On the other hand, I’m looking forward to seeing the film of Never Let Me Go, a book I loved, but can I cope with Keira in this film?

Apart from having confirmed to myself the assertion I made at the start of this ramble that seeing the film inevitably colours your reading of a book in terms of the characters, it hasn’t changed my stance on book or movie first.  I’m remain a bit non-committal.  In general, I would always prefer to read the book first but, when push comes to shove, I don’t really mind either way!

Over to you now. Let me know what you think …

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To explore any of the titles mentioned on Amazon UK (affiliate link), please click below:
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen by Paul Torday
Death Comes to Pemberley by PD James
Pride And Prejudice – Special Edition [DVD] – the BBC TV series.
Pride & Prejudice – 2005 [DVD] – film starring Keira Knightley and Matthew McFayden
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – by John Le Carré
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy [DVD] – the 2011 film starring Gary Oldman
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley’s People Double Pack [DVD] [1979] – the original TV series with Alec Guiness.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (BBC Audio) – Radio dramatisation with Simon Russell Beale.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie [DVD] [1969] starring Maggie Smith
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Penguin Modern Classics) by Muriel Spark
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Never Let Me Go (2010) [DVD] starring Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan