The Last A to Z of the year ….

… because I like to do this from time to time, because I’ve been rather distracted lately, and because the time seems right.

A is for ALDERMAN by Georgina Farrell in my current knitting project.

A is for Alderman

B is for BRINGING HOME BOOKS I ALREADY OWN – because I like to help the library statistics of books I love when I have space on my ticket.

C is for THE CLAVERINGS by Anthony Trollope. It started slowly, I was having a lovely time spotting many things that are so typical of Trollope, but now that I am twenty chapters in I am completely engrossed in the human drama.

D is for DOROTHY DUNNETT. I have reached the end of the Lymond Chronicles, and I want to write about the last book this month. Then I can start reading the Niccolo books.

E is for EMERGENCY DASH. Two weeks ago I had to carry Briar to the vet and I thought that I might not be bringing her home again. The vet pinpointed the problem and said that her general health was very good for a dog of her age, and in in a few days she was her usual self again.

F is for Framing

F is for FRAMING. I have had a lovely painting sitting in a broken frame for ages, but now it is been to the framer and it is back on the wall where it belongs.

G is for GOING BACK. I’ve picked up and put down a lot of books over the last few months, and I’ve decided that this month I am going to go back and either finish them or ditch them.

H is for HANDHELD PRESS – I am so pleased that Business as Usual by Jane Oliver and Ann Stafford will be reissued next year. I loved it and I really didn’t want to return the library copy that I read.

H is for Handheld Press

I is for ISLE. ‘Luminous Isle’ by Eliot Bliss has been sitting on my bedside table for a very long time. I do want to read it but it never seems to be the right time.

J is for JANE MUIR. I have admired her ceramics in the window of a local gallery for a long time, but I only discovered the name of their creator by chance when I was looking up another artist.

K is for KINGDOMS OF ELFIN by Sylvia Townsend Warner is a volume of short stories that I am reading very slowly, because I really don’t want to turn the last page and have no more stories left.

L is for THE LOST FUTURE OF PEPPERHARROW by Natasha Pulley. I am really looking forward to reading the sequel to The Watchmaker of Filigree Street next year.

J is for Jane Muir

M is for MUDLARKING by Lara Malkem is one of those books that I picked up and then dropped. I loved what I read but it wasn’t the right time for me to do it justice.

N is for NIGHT TRACKS is my favourite thing in the radio at the moment.

O is for ORGANZA BAGS. I brought a couple of packs of them and now my yarn stash is organised and easy to view.

P is for PALLISERS. I was very disappointed in the recent Radio 4 adaptation – there was some strange merging of characters, the modernisation lacked subtlety and it just didn’t work for me.

Q is for QUICKSILVER by Neal Stevenson. I spotted it on a list of best historical novels and I am trying to decide whether or not it is my kind of book.

M is for Mudlarking

R is for ROSA by Margery Sharp. A work email, from our shipping agents referring to Mexico’s Revolution Day, reminded me of this book and I ordered it in from the library’s fiction reserve to read again,

S is for STONECROP PULLOVER by Andrea Mowry is probably going to be the next thing I knit for myself. I have my main colour and a several possible contract colours.

T is for TIME TO FINISH. I just have half a sleeve to knit and then the Man of the House will have his new sweater. I’ve promised that it will be finished for Christmas – it’s not difficult but I don’t like knitting sleeves in the round and so I have let myself be distracted.

U is for UNDER THE TABLE. That is Briar’s summer retreat, but in the winter she prefers to curl up in her basket.

V is for VIRAGO SECRET SANTA. I have three parcels and I have a very good idea who they came from, but of course I’m not going to say who that is.

X is for (E)xclusion

W is for WOMEN’S PRESS. I spotted a set of four of their books in a charity shop, and it brought back memories of seeing their striped spines and Virago’s green spine together in the Silver Moon Bookshop many years ago.

X is for (E)XCLUSION. There are big fences up to keep people off the Promenade while it is refurbished, and they will be there until next June at the earliest. I miss walking there and Briar doesn’t understand why one of her favourite walks has been closed.

Y is for YONGE. I have ‘The Clever Women of the Family’ by Charlotte Mary Yonge in mind for my 100 Years of Books Project.

Z is for ZAWADSKI – Alice Zawadski has been an interesting recent addition to my life’s soundtrack.

An A to Z looking behind and looking ahead ….

… because I like to do this from time to time, and the time seems right.

A is for ANTONINE LAURAINE, whose new book – Vintage 1954 – will be out in the world tomorrow.

C is for Caldigate
C is for Caldigate

B is for BOWLS. We have two water bowls in the garden – a big one that Briar and bigger birds drink from and a shallow one for little birds and any small animals that might be passing through.

C is for CALDIGATE. After reading all of the Palliser and Barchester books, I felt a little lost among the many other stand-alone books by Anthony Trollope that I have yet to read, but a day or two ago I picked up John Caldigate and started to read.

D is for DUST BATHS. Briar loves watching birds in the garden from her seat in the bay window, but she isn’t entirely happy that the local sparrows have taken to having dust baths in the dip below her window. Too close!

E is for ELLA MAILLART, who wrote The Cruel Way. My copy is a Virago Traveller and it is sitting on my bedside table, because I hope to read it very soon.

F is for Flags

F is for FLAGS. The promenade flags have been up and down several times already this year. We have no idea why.

G is for THE GREEN. I love the design, the possible yarn combinations are intriguing, but do I really want to do that much repetitive knitting?

H is for HOW TO BE INVISIBLE. I knew exactly which book I wanted for my birthday, and the Man of the House picked up my carefully dropped hints.

I is for INDIANA by George Sand. It was a small book sitting on top of my library pile, and when something moved it fell down behind my desk. Rescue will necessitate moving more books, so I hope nobody else places an order for this one for a while.

J is for JUST ONE BOOK. The PBFA was in town last weekend. I admired lots of beautiful books, I noted a few names and titles, and I brought home just one particularly desirable book – the collected letters of Sylvia Townsend Warner and David Garnett.

K is for Kingfishers Catch Fire

K is for KINGFISHERS CATCH FIRE by Rumer Godden. I’ve just discovered that I have two copies – a new Virago Modern Classic and an older edition from the 1950s.

L is for LIMPING SEAGULL. When we saw a seagull with a damaged foot in the garden we weren’t confident that he would survive the winter but he did. We’ve seen him picking up twigs and other bits and pieces, drinking from Briar’s water bowl and waiting under the bird feeder that he can’t reach in case any thing drops.

M is for MAURICE GUEST by Henry Handel Richardson is the next book I plan to read from my Virago Modern Classics collection.

N is for NOTEBOOK. A couple of weeks ago I did something that I have been meaning to do for the very long time. I took a new notebook and walked around two three rooms of the Morrab Library noting books I mean to read one day. I’ve covered History, Travel and Art, and I’ll move on to other room when time allows.

O is for ON THE WALL. Briar has been walking along the wall that separates pavement and promenade ever since she was a small puppy.

O is for On the Wall

P is for THE PENGUIN CLASSICS BOOK. There is a very small overlap between what I read and what the Man of the House reads, but when I brought this home from the library we agreed that we had to buy a copy to keep.

Q is for QUIET – soon to be shattered by the Golowan Festival!

R is for ROMILLY CAVAN. Her novel Beyond the Visiting Moon is one of many highly desirable and once elusive books forthcoming from Furrowed Middlebrow.

S is for SOMETIMES IT PAYS TO ASK. I’ve only put in requests for the library to add new books to stock twice, but it has worked both times.

T is for TEA WITH JAM AND BREAD. I’m knitting this for the Man of the House, in blues and greys. The body is complete but I’ve stalled for the moment, because I really don’t enjoy knitting sleeves attached to the body in the round.

W is for Wilding

U is for UP TO THE VERY TOP. Briar has always loved looking down at the world from a high vantage point, and last Sunday she had a lovely view from the top of Madron Carn,

W is for WILDING by Isabella Tree. I had ordered a copy from the library, but when I saw a paperback edition in my local bookshop it was much too beautiful to resist.

X is for (E)XHIBITION. I’m looking forward to seeing Munnings in Cornwall at Penlee House.

Y is for YORK SLOUCH. I ran this up in a couple of evenings. The Man of the House has a had a couple of Noro hats but this is my first. I really must find it and take a photograph.

Z is for ZOE KEATING. Snowmelt was a lovely part of the soundtrack to my life last winter, and I am sure that I will come back to it again when the weather turns colder.

An A to Z to pick up the threads ….

…. because days have flown by at great speed and I have been distracted from the important business of reading and writing about books by professional demands, health niggles and the ongoing demands of living in an house in need of tender loving care.

* * * * * * *

A is for AMIRISU. I don’t do a great deal of summer knitting but I loved this season’s issue and I’d love to knit Summer in Norway one day.

A is for Amirisu

B is for BRONZE. I was very taken with a bronze border terrier by Rosemary Cook. I’ve seen Briar sitting and looking up and me just like that.

C is for CUPIDO COWL. I’ve had this pattern for a while, I thought it would be the perfect pattern to use the yarn that was this year’s subscription gift from Rowan, but I am tempted by a pattern from the 40th anniversary book that would only take a few balls more. I have to resist, because I don’t lack garments but I do lack something to keep my neck warm in cold weather that doesn’t flap about.

D is for DOROTHY DUNNETT. I’ve told myself that I really must write about ‘Queen’s Play’ before I start reading ‘The Disorderly Knights’.

E is for END OF THE CENTURY. The books that are calling me at the moment aren’t falling into empty years in my 100 Years of Books Project, so the end of the century has been put back from the end of this year to sometime next year.

F is for Five Telegrams

F is for FIVE TELEGRAMS BY Anna Meredith and 59 Productions – I was captivated by the sounds and the lights.

G is for G B STERN. When I put ‘Another Part of the Forest’ back on the shelf I just had to pick up ‘Trumpet Voluntary’, her next volume of autobiographical writing.

H is for HONEYCOMB by Khaja Bonet – a lovely recent addition to the soundtrack of my life.

I is for I WISH PEOPLE WOULD REMEMBER TO RETURN LIBRARY BOOKS. It is very dis-spiriting when you look up the book that really out to have arrived by now and find that it is out and was due back a month ago; or when you look for a book, you find that there is one copy in the county and that one is out and was due back last December.

K is for Keeping One Ear Open

J is for JOHN JULIUS NORWICH. I’ve picked up bits and pieces of French history from my reading over the years and I’ve always wanted a book to help me fill in the gaps; a book with substance that’s accessible, and I think that ‘France: A History: from Gaul to de Gaulle’ by John Julius Norwich might be the one.

K is for KEEPING ONE EAR OPEN. Just because she’s asleep you shouldn’t think that Briar isn’t alert!

L is for LADY AUDLEY’S SECRET by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. I listened to a dramatisation on Radio 4 Extra, and now I’d love to revisit the book.

M is for MAKE ME A BOX! The Man of the House has followed the Virago Secret Santa with great interest for many years, he decided to do something similar for my birthday and he asked me to do something similar for his next weekend.

O is for Oblomov

N is for THE 1944 CLUB. It’s still some time away, but I am going to recommend reading ‘Cluny Brown’ or ‘Green Dolphin Street’ and tell you that I have a book by Emily Hahn lined up.

O is for ‘OBLOMOV’ by Ivan Goncharov. I like what I’ve read but I’ve drifted away, and that feels strangely appropriate given the nature of the title character.

P is for PRIVATE PASSIONS on Radio 3 is always a joy, when I listen my expectations are always high, but recent programmes with Audrey Niffenegger and Lauren Child surpassed them.

Q is for QUAIL STUDIO. There are some lovely designs in Rowan’s new autumn collection and it has been so helpful to see many of them styled and moving on YouTube, courtesy of Quail Studio. I rather like this cardigan, it has a Cornish name and I could make it from yarn that I already own …

R is for Rosalind Lyons Hudson

R is for ROSALIND LYONS HUDSON. A recent discovery. I’m not sure that I can say I love her art but it does pull me in.

S is for THE SALT PATH: A MEMOIR by Raynor Winn – a wonderful book and it was lovely to hear the author speak at my local Litfest.

T is for TROLLOPE. I have begun reading ‘The Last Chronicle of Barset’ and I am captivated.

U is for UNDERAPPRECIATED LADY AUTHORS. The next two authors in the Birthday Book may not as underappreciated as many on the list but could definitely be appreciated by many more readers – Elizabeth Von Arnim an 31st August and Mary Stewart on 17th September.

U is for Underappreciated Lady Authors

V is for VERY VIRAGO ALL AUGUST. The LibraryThing Virago Modern Classics group has ‘All Virago All August’ is rolling along. I can’t do ‘All’ but I’m aiming for ‘Very’. I’ve read one of the newer VMCs by Patricia Highsmith, I have a couple more books from the list lined up, and I sthall endeavour  to write about books by Molly Keane and Winifred Holtby that I read last month.

W is for WAITING IN THE LIBRARY QUEUE. I’ve advanced from 26th to 13th in the list of readers waiting for a copy of ‘The Death of Mrs Westaway’ by Ruth Ware in the last month, so I should have a copy to read in early autumn.

X is for XHIBITION. If you are in Cornwall month you really should visit the ‘Scilly’ Kurt Jackson Foundation in St Just. Local art in a wonderful space, there is a lovely cafe/bookshop just around the corner, and the town car par is free ….

X is for Xhibition

Y is for YASMIN LACEY. A voice that has fitted to my life’s soundtrack this summer quite beautifully.

Z is for ZOE OLDENBOURG. I have been meaning to read ‘The World is Not Enough’ for so long, and at last I am far enough into the book to say that I will finish it this time. It’s ‘like very much’ but it’s not quite ‘love’ …

* * * * * * *

Back soon ….

An A to Z of Persephone Books

I’ve been reading Margaret Oliphant, I’m reading Amber Reeves, and I may fit in another books before the Persephone Readathon hosted by Jessie @ Dwell in Possibility draws to a close.

What I lack is time to think and write about them. I might get there in time but, just in case I don’t, I thought I would do what I often do at times like this.

An A to Z …

persephonereadathon-1

* * * * * * *

A is for AMOURS DE VOYAGE by Arthur Clough. This will probably be the next Persephone book I read, as I need a book from 1858 for my ‘100 Years of Books’ project.

B is for BIANNUALLY. It is always a red-letter day when the latest Persephone Biannually arrives, with articles, short stories, reviews, events, so much to peruse.

C is for COMING SOON.  ‘Despised and Rejected’ by Rose Allatini, ‘Young Anne’ by Dorothy Whipple and ‘Tory Heaven’ by Marghanita Laski will all be published in April.

D is for DOROTHY CANFIELD FISHER, one of a select bank of authors to be published by both Virago and Persephone.

E is for EARTH AND HIGH HEAVEN by Gwethalyn Graham. I have an old edition, and it is one of a small collection of books that I chose to sit on top of my Persephone Bookcase.

F is for FRANKIE BARNABY, the young narrator who finds that she has much to learn in ‘Hetty Dorval’ by Ethel Wilson.

G is for GLADYS HUNTINGDON. My copy of ‘Madame Solario’ is sitting on my bedside table, and I hope it won’t be too long before I to find the time read it.

52c9389586e1fe7af9101dfc6839934aH is for HOSTAGES TO FORTUNE by Elizabeth Cambridge was one of the best books that I read last year.

I is for INDIA. I loved following a young woman’s journey to India in ‘The Far Cry’ by Emma Smith.

J is for JACQUELINE MESNIL-AMAR. My kind of generous Virago Secret Santa sent me two Persephone books from my wishlist, and her memoir ‘Maman What Are We Called Now?’ was one of them.

K is for KAY SMALLSHAW, author of ‘How to Run Your Home Without Help. It’s a book I would love to read, to remind me of some of the changes that my grandmother lived through.

L is for LIBRARY.  I read a library copy of ‘The Village’ by Marghanita Laski, I aspire to a Persephone copy, but I have an elderly hardback rescued from a bargain bin for now.

M is for MARINA by Monica Dickens. The heroine’s name was inspired by Tennyson’s poem.

N is for NORAH HOULT, one of many authors to be found in the beautifully curated ‘Persephone Hook of Short Stories.’

O is for OLGA, the irrepressible title character of ‘The Runaway by Elizabeth Anna Hart; one of a handful of very well chosen stories for children in the Persephone list

P is for PAPER. Persephone books are printed on lovely, thick paper.

Q is for QUEEN ELEANOR. She appears in the second of the pair of novellas by Mrs Oliphant that Persephone published a few years ago.

R is for RUTH HOLLAND. Susan Glaspell tells her story in Fidelity, and, if you haven’t already, you really must find a copy and read it.

S is for SUFFRAGE. ‘No Surrender’ by Constance Maud is a passionate account of the suffragette movement written by one who was there. It hit me emotionally, and it taught me a great deal that I hadn’t known.

T is for TIRZAH GARWOOD. The Man of the House bought me her autobiography – ‘Long Live Great Bardfield’ for Christmas. I was so pleased, because I have read so much praise for this book.

U is for UNREAD. My copy of ‘Miss Buncle’s Book’ by D.E. Stevenson has been sitting waiting to be read for a long time. The right moment hasn’t come, but I’m sure that it will one day.

V is for VERSE. The first novel in verse that I read was ‘Lettice Delmer’ by Susan Miles. I doubted that such a book could hold me, but I put my trust in Persephone and I found that it was utterly compelling.

W is for WOMAN ABOUT THE HOUSE  from’Tell it to a Stranger’ by Elizabeth Berridge. It’s an odd little story, but it still speaks profoundly.

X is for EXHIBITION.  The Persephone Post offers’ a parallel in pictures to the world of
Persephone Books every weekday.’

Y is for YOU MUST LOOK INSIDE .The dove-grey covers make books look alike, but the endpapers within, chosen to match the period and the style of each one, highlight the differences beautifully. I’ve chosen a few favourites to illustrate this post.

Z is for ZINNIA, the very last flower in the index of ‘Gardener’s Nightcap by Muriel Stuart.

* * * * * * *

Now that there are 125 books in the Persephone list it’s impossible to fit every gem into an A to Z. So please tell me, which books and authors you couldn’t have left out, which are your particular favourites, and which are you most looking forward to reading?

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.

An A to Z for a Summer Day


A is for ALIAS GRACE. I was planning a re-read before the television series, I was sure I had a copy but LibraryThing told me I didn’t. I have a library copy for now but I suspect I will need to buy a copy to keep.

B is for A BOOK AT BEDTIME. It was lovely to hear Rachel Joyce reading her own abridgement of ‘The Music Shop.’

C is for COLOUR-WORK. I’ve really improved by technique knitting Franziska. I can’t do the two-handed thing that many people recommend, but holding two yarns over two different fingers is working well for me.

D is for DOCTOR THORNE – my next Trollope!

E is for ELIZABETH TAYLOR. The Virago Book Club has finally picked I book that I have, that I haven’t read and that I want to read – In a Summer Season by Elizabeth Taylor.

F is for FRANZISKA – growing slowly and steadily.

G is for GRIEF – it comes in waves,

H is for HOME IMPROVEMENTS. We’re waiting for scaffolding to go up and works to begin on our roof.

I is for IT’S GONE. I’ve been hacked more than once, so the email address I used for my old home on the internet is no more.

J is for JETTISONING a bag of books and a bag of clothes I hadn’t worn in a long time at a charity shop last Saturday.

K is for KNITTING ALONG. After two blankets – which wouldn’t have worked in our house and, though they were beautiful, I know I wouldn’t have enjoyed knitting – Marie Wallin’s Fair Isle Club is knitting a garment. I couldn’t resist signing up.

L is for LOVE HENRY JAMES. A wonderful season of programmes on Radio 4 has inspired me to do some reading and re-reading.

 M is for MIND THE GAP. We put the dog blanket that we brought home from my mother’s nursing home down next to Briar’s chair. She seems happy to have it there, and it holds the curtains back a little so she can see out.

N is for NAKED FLAGPOLES. The promenade flags have been taken down but the (removable flagpoles) have been left behind. Strange, especially at the height of the visitor season …

O is for O’FARRELL. There was a wonderful piece about Maggie O’Farrell and her soon to be published memoir in The Guardian yesterday.

P is for PATRICIA WENTWORTH. ‘The Chinese Shawl will be my next Miss Silver mystery, and it’s one of the few that I own.

Q is for QUEEN’S PLAY – my next Dunnett!

R is for ROWAN. The new autumn/winter magazine is the best for some time. It feels like a return to old-school Rowan values; there are two things I want to knit right now and lots of other interesting possibilities.

S is for SUNFLOWERS. I’m so pleased that I spotted Sunflowers Live

“In 1888–9 Vincent van Gogh produced one of the most famous series of paintings in the world – seven glorious variations of the ‘Sunflowers’. Today, five of these masterpieces hang in five art museums around the world, and are being united virtually in a world-first Facebook Live relay this August.”

T is for THIRKELL. The Man of the House often spots VMCs I already own in charity shops but this week he found one I didn’t have – ‘Northbridge Rectory’ by Angela Thirkell.

U is for UNCHAINED MELODY by Lykke Li – I love this!

V is for VICTORY. The current birthday-to-birthday Scrabble tournament ends next Saturday and – unless we Up the rate of play considerably – I have a winning lead.

W is for WAR AND PEACE. Reading five or six chapters a day and plucking a quotation from each chapter has proved to be the perfect way to read for me. I’m nearly half way through now.

X is for EXHIBITION. I couldn’t place John Armstrong – subject of this autumn’s exhibition at Penlee House – but when I looked him up I recognised one of his paintings from the cover of a Virago Modern Classic by Margaret Atwood.

Y is for YOU AND I by Tori y Moi – another new addition to the soundtrack of my life.

Z is for ZOLA – an author I still have to fit into my 100 Years of Books project.

A New A to Z for a New Month

A is for ALEXANDRE DUMAS. I have ‘The Black Tulip’ lines up to fill the 1850 slot in my 100 Years of Books project.

B is for BLANKET. Briar usually takes a while to get used to knew things, but she sat on the new blanket I bought for her visits to my mother’s nursing home room the first time I laid it out.

C is for CELEBRATION. I’m delighted that Lory will be hosting another celebration of Elizabeth Goudge’s birthday on 24th April.

D is for DARE. I made it to the end of the TBR Dare for the very first time!

E is for ELIZABETH VON ARNIM. Author of the Month for April in the LibraryThing Virago Modern Classics Group.

F is for FOUR BAGS left the house last time we did a charity shop drop.

G is for GREEN PENGUINS. I picked up eight books, including titles by Anthony Berkeley, Mary Fitt and Elspeth Huxley, in my local second-hand bookshop. Someone with very similar taste to me – and I think I know who – has been thinning out their shelves.

H is for HAIR. It’s that time of  year when we start thinning out Briar’s winter coat, putting the hair out in the garden, and then watching birds fly off with their beaks full.

I is for IN PROGRESS. My easy knitting project and my more complex knitting project are both close to completion, so expect a knitting post or two very soon.

J is for JUNE. Margaret Kennedy Day will be happening again on June 20th. More details will be coming soon.

K is for KAFFE FASSETT. I love the pattern on the cover of the new edition of Vogue Knitting, but with Felted Tweed held double it would be quite an investment.

L is for LYMOND. I’m smitten, I was tempted to pick up ‘Queen’s Play as soon as I put ‘The Game of Kings’ down, but I decided I shouldn’t rush and that I really should write about one book before I start the next one.

M is for MARGARET LAURENCE. Author of the Month for June in the LibraryThing Virago Modern Classics Group.

N is for THE 1951 CLUB. I have books by Margery Sharp and Howard Spring lined up.

O is for OXFORD WORLD CLASSICS. The new editions are lovely, but at the moment I am smitten with older editions that I picked up in a charity shop a week or so ago.

P is for PUZZLED. We ordered Briar some steps, to help her get into her chair now she’s getting a little older. When they arrived we couldn’t work out how the pieces could fit together. When I rechecked the packaging I found some brief instructions and realised that we had been sent a dog gate instead of steps.

Q is for QUIET – but not as quiet as it usually is this time of year, as we have major building works two houses away.

R is for READING LIBARY BOOKS AGAIN now that the TBR Dare is over is a lovely prospect, but I’m going to be very selective now that I’ve been reminded how many wonderful books I have in the house already.

S is for SPIN. The Classics Club Spin gave me ‘The Beth Book’ by Sarah Grand. I’m not thrilled but it is a book I want to read and an author I’d like to get to know.

T is for TINDERSTICKS. I hadn’t listened to them for years but when I heard The Waiting Room I was smitten.

U is for UP IN THE ATTIC is where I have to go to do some clearing out now that spring is here.

V is for VISSER. I love this design, and I hope it won’t be too long before I can start to knit.

W is for WILLA CATHER. Author of the Month for May in the LibraryThing Virago Modern Classics Group.

X is for (E)XHIBITION. A Casket of Pearls is going to be hard to follow, but a summer exhibition of works by Stanhope Forbes at Penlee House is very enticing.

Y is for YIN YANG DANCE. Here is a knitting pattern with a fascinating construction. You begin with an i-cord loop and knit outwards …

Z is for ZZZZZZZZZZ. Border terriers are very good sleepers ….

 

A New A to Z for the New Year

A is for A YEAR OF WAR AND PEACE is a lovely proposition.image029

B is for BRIAR. I can’t quite believe that the picture I rediscovered recently must be more than ten years old, or that my lovely dog is eleven years old now.

C is for CATHERINE MARTIN. Her novel ‘An Australian Girl’ is in a pile of lovely books I assembled on my bedside table, to help keep me on track for the TBR Dare.

D is for DOROTHY RICHARDSON. My Pilgrimage is over but I have a biography and a collection of short stories to read this year.

E is for THE EYE OF LOVE. This lovely book was my introduction to Margery Sharp, and I am so pleased that I decided to read it again

29372657F is for FRUIT TEA, which has suddenly become my hot drink of choice.

G is for GAUGHAN. I really want a copy of Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook. I like trying different things but I’m a cable knitter at heart.

H is for HAP. Now that the weather has turned colder I’ve finally been able to wear the House Martin Hap that I made last summer. It’s wonderfully warm and cosy.

I is for IN THE LEAD. I’ve established a 2-0 lead in the household Scrabble tournament that will run from new Year’s Day to my birthday.

J is for JONI MITCHELL. I love this song.

K is for KRISTIN VESTGARD. It was lovely to see her paintings ‘in real life’ for the first time, at the Cornwall Contemporary Gallery.

itemsfs_1544L is for THE LIGHTHOUSE GALLERY and another lovely Christmas exhibition  Catherine Hyde is a new favourite (and you may have seen her robin in my Christmas post) and Michael Praed is an old favourite, who used to teach in the same school as my mother. That’s his painting of my father’s home town on the right.

M is for MARGERY SHARP DAY. I’m delighted to see so many people lining up books to read for the celebration on the 25th.

N is for NORDERNEY. It’s my most recent addition to my Ravelry queue and will be a good test of my resolution (see the letter Y!)

O is for ORIEL MALET. I took my copy of ‘The Horses of the Sun’ off the shelf to read later this month, and it looks lovely.

game-of-kingsP is for PLANNING to finally start reading Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond books this year.

Q is for QUEUE. I have a stack of books I read last year but haven’t written about, and so I’m going to have them form an orderly queue and then write about them in turn. At least, that’s the plan …

R is for READING MY OWN BOOKS. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but this really is the year I’m going to focus on the books I have and be sparing with new acquisitions and library borrowings.

S is for SLOW PROGRESS. Scilly is taken longer to knit than I thought, partly because of all the slipped stitches and partly because I haven’t been giving it too much time. I love the fabric, I’m sure the finished sweater will be lovely, but I’m definitely ready to be knitting something else.

T is for TO WALK INVISIBLE. I loved it!

this-one

U is for UP IN THE ATTIC. It isn’t so much that there are masses of things, but when I put the Christmas decorations away I realised that there were a lot of things that hadn’t moved for yours, and that  it was time to have a good clear-out.

V is for VIRAGO AUTHORS. Monthly author reads are underway in the LibraryThing Virago Modern Classics Group. Vita Sackville-West this month, Rebecca West next month, and then we choose more authors. Do come along to vote, read and talk.

W is for WEATHERLAND by Alexandra Harris. Another book on the bedside table.

X is for I’M (E)XTREMELY PLEASED to have discovered magazine clips and to finally have all of my knitting magazines tidy but still accessible in their new lever arch files.

Y is for YARN DIET. I’m not going cold sheep, but I’m saying that I can only buy more wool if I’m going to start knitting within a week of it arriving.

Z is for ZOE OLDENBOURG. Another author in that pile of books on my bedside table. ‘The World is not Enough is on my Classics Club list and I’ve been meaning to read it for such a long time.