The Last A to Z of the Year

A is for ALAIN-FOURNIER’S LOST ESTATE. It’s a lovely mixture of book, biography and travelogue, and it’s still available on BBC iplayer.

B is for BLACK FOX RUNNING by Brian Carter. This lost classic of nature writing looks wonderful, and  I’m planning to read it very soon.

C is for CINEMA PARADISO. I was sorry to lose LoveFilm, but this is much better for the old films and the foreign films that are much loved in our house.

D is for DUSTY IN MEMPHIS. Not the album, a song by the Dreaming Spires that has been stuck in my head lately.

E is for EXHIBITION. It’s been lovely to see Kristin Vestgard at the Cornwall Contemporary Gallery and Catherine Hyde at the Lighthouse Gallery again.

F is for FRANZISKA. I just have one sleeve to knit and then I’m done.

G is for GLADYS HUNTINGTON. ‘Madame Solario’ is one of the books I’m hoping to read over the Christmas break.

H is for THE HAPPY READER. I’d dropped my subscription, but Annabel convinced me that I should pick it up again.

I is for INCOMING BOOKS. I was restrained for quite some time – until Karen mentioned the Verso Books sale …

J is for JAY GRIFFITHS. I love her opening piece in the Little Toller woodland anthology ‘Arboreal’ and I think I’m going to be looking more of her work.

K is for KNITTING NEEDLES. I realised that I had far too many and that I hadn’t used the long straight ones for quite some time; so I paired them all up and threw them in a charity shop bag.

L is for LESLEY BLANCH. I was delighted when the Man of the House found a copy of ‘On the Wilder Shores of Love in a charity shop and brought it home.

M is for MOTHS – something that every knitter dreads. I’ve lost a cardigan, I’ve saved a jumper, and I’ve ditched a wicker storage chest.

N is for NATASHA KHAN – better known as Bat for Lashes – is a genius, and I have played ‘The Bride’ so much recently.

O is for OCTOBER SUNRISE. This is my simple knitting project of the moments, for times when I want something do do but don’t want to look down at what I’m doing or look at my pattern too much,

P is for PLAYLIST.I love the appearance of my ‘best of the year’ playlist on Spotify. It always reminds me of something lovely that I haven’t heard nearly enough.

Q is for QUEENS’ PLAY. My second Dunnett is well underway, and it’s still love.

R is for ROOF. It’s lovely to be going into the winter with a brand new roof, and not having to worry nearly as much as we did last year when the weather turns stormy.

S is for SARAH EMSLEY, who has just launched a new series – ‘Youth and Experience’ – celebrating ‘Northanger Abbey’ and ‘Persuasion’.

T is for TIDE TIMES. We can look out of the window, but I need to buy a little yellow book showing tide times and heights for the new year so that we can plan ahead for beach walks and know when the biggest high tides are coming.

U is for UNDER THE GREEENWOOD TREE. The next book in my chronological re-read of Thomas Hardy is ready and waiting.

V is for VASS. I bought a set of Deborah Vass’s cards for my godmother, and I am sure she is going to love them.

W is for WATER. I thought that I’d taken a fairy standard ‘happy dog on a beach’ picture, until I saw the sky reflected in the surface water.

X is for XAN BROOKS. I’ve been disappointed with three of the books listed for the Costa First Novel Award, and I’m hoping that ‘The Clocks in the House All Tell Different Times’ by Xan Brooks will break my bad run.

Y is for YOKED SWEATERS. They seem to be everywhere at the moment, I’ve never knitted one, but maybe it’s time. I’m leaning towards Arboreal, and I’m thinking that I’m reading a book with the same name and maybe that’s a sign.

Z is for ZOE OLDENBOURG. I have been meaning to read ‘The World is Not Enough’ for so long, and I think – I hope – its time has finally come.

25 thoughts on “The Last A to Z of the Year

  1. A lovely end to the reading year, Jane! I was delighted to see your “Q” 🙂

    And I fell instantly for the cover of the Lesley Blanch book – so striking.

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  2. What an awesome list! I LOVE your knitting projects and feel I should take one up every year and then remembering my ridiculous arts and crafts efforts in school, get all angsty and give up even before I start. But one day….Under The Greenwood Tree? I never seem to get along well with Hardy but I look forward to your review. I am trying very hard to get hold of a The Game of King after your review but the wait list here is LOOOOOOONNNGG! I love the picture of the water reflecting the sky…..it’s magnificent! Here’s hoping for a happy and joyous holidays for you and your loved ones! Happy Reading as well! 🙂

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    1. ‘Game of Kings; is definitely worth waiting for her, and I hope you will be as taken with Dunnett as I am. I love Hardy, but I can understand why not everyone does. It helped that he was the first ‘countryside writer’ I read and that the places he wrote about are not to far from me. And I wish just the same to you!

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  3. Thanks so much for including “Youth and Experience” in your list, Jane. That was a lovely surprise! Your photo of water and clouds is stunning. Best wishes for the holidays and a wonderful year in 2018.

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  4. Yay for yokes! I’m also about to embark on my first yoked jumper that’ll be knitted on circulars. It’s a Kate Davies design knitted in Icelandic yarn and I can’t wait to get stuck in. I’m making myself complete all my half-finished projects first or they’ll be abandoned forever once I’ve cast on! 🙂

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  5. What a lovely list! I enjoyed reading through it and I was so happy that there were so many neat things that I’m totally unfamiliar with! Makes it fun to learn new things and dig around new places. How lovely that you can look out the window to check the tides and what does Dorothy Dunnett write? What vein? That book cover is stunning! Amy

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    1. That’s exactly why I do these A to Zs, to gather up bits and pieces I don’t want to forget. Dorothy Dunnett wrote literary historical novels, I can already see why many people say there’s no one else quite like her, and you’ll find my thoughts on the first of her books that I read a few posts back.

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  6. Lovely A-Z Jane! I’m not sorry to have been a bad influence as I think the Verso sale is always worth taking advantage of! I’ve just embarked upon a subscription to the Happy Reader myself. I think it may keep me quite quiet over Christmas! 🙂

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  7. A lovely alphabet to finish the year! I’ll be interested to hear how you get on with Under the Greenwood Tree. We read it at school, and I hated it – it was 20 years or more before I could bring myself to try Hardy again, at which point I discovered (much to my surprise) just how brilliant he is. But I still haven’t re-read Under the Greenwood Tree…

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    1. I loved Hardy at school, but it probably helped that we read ‘Far From the Madding Crowd’, which had much more going on. My impression from the opening of ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ is that it isn’t Hardy’s best writing, but it is a lovely picture of a rural community. A simpler, more grown-up pleasure, I think.

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  8. How do you find time for all the knitting such large projects. I am still on my premature baby cardis but have the wool ready for a cardi for me next.

    I love your A to Z and inspired to do one to kick start the blogging again.

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  9. Incoming Books is one that’s very much on my mind at the moment. All those lovely square parcels downstairs … And I’m very glad for your roof. Let’s hope storm season abates the last week in Jan when we’re experimenting with coming West again at a different time of year!

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      1. Aha – an interesting storm measure for those of us much further inland!! We had some biblical-style rain in October and the house we rent is cosy and high up so we can just hole up and watch the waves if it comes to it!

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