Thursday, October 12, 2006


I go through phases. Enthusiasms come and go - and then come again.

A lot depends on what's happening at work. When things are routine I will pick up books and embroidery, and focus on detailed craft projects with lots of colour and texture. I wake up at weekends wanting to garden and write in equal measure. On the other hand, when we're busy-busy-busy I rarely read anything I haven't read before, but occasionally I'll disappear into a favourite for a day.

I go for children's and teenage fiction from the likes of Elizabeth Enright, Elizabeth Coatsworth, Joan Aiken, Michelle Magorian, Geraldine McCaughrean, Cynthia Voigt and Gillian Cross; action thrillers involving a central character with a history, like A. J. Quinnell's Creasy or Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan (I still haven't got round to Clive Cussler and good ol' Dirk Thingy!); or storytelling that involves a quirky individual shaking up someone else's dull but comfortable existence, and everyone coming out better off. Most Sandra Bullock films operate on that premise, though she tends to play women whose lives have never taken off, while I'm reading about older people who have not so much settled down as got stuck in a rut, as in Fannie Flagg's A Redbird Christmas, or Annette Sandford's Eleanor and Abel. I must blog on the fiction of the 'Deep South' one of these days, but this is almost all tangent already, so I'm exercising a little restraint tonight!

The other weekend I had a little love-fest all by myself (Habibi was busy!) and read a Mills & Boon trilogy. Oooh it was grand! I met 'Kate Walker' years ago when I had a Saturday job in a children's library. I read her first Mills & Boon manuscript, 'The Chalk Line' while babysitting for her then-toddler-now-English-teacher son, and when Habibi and I got married she gave us (ok - me!) a complete set of her novels - presumably to keep me going through the interesting early stages of married life?! I don't know how far she or I looked into the future, but this was an ongoing wedding present, and she recently published her fiftieth novel for a devoted 'Kate Walker' readership. We hadn't seen each other for a couple of years, so this summer I came back with nine novels! I have to say that as a rule I can't be doing with Mills and Boon, and most sagas leave me cold, but I do enjoy these, and I really enjoyed 'The Alcolar Trilogy'! Furthermore, in about six months time, when all my senior students are up to their nerve-ends in performance exams, I shall probably climb right back in there again!

Incidentally, our bookshelves are full, stuffed, packed. What doesn't fit gets poked on top. In theory there should be some gaps now that Habibibaba is off on his own, but somehow, it just hasn't happened. Habibi and I are resolutely not buying any more books between now and next July ...... except it's his birthday this month...... and mine next month...... and then there's Christmas....... ooooooooooooh! We're going to have to do our 'expat leaving sale' next summer. That's going to hurt........ =/


Kate Walker said...

Thank you! Glad The Alcolars hit the spot. And Now yo've visited my blog you have a some idea of how hard I have to work on research to write the darn things.

Oh yes, and talking of birthdays . . .I think I have an other book for you . . . or maybe two . .

I have the bookshelf problem - or I did, till I invested in a new set of floor to ceiling bookshelves - now I have a scary shelf and a half empty! Maybe I should write a bit faster.

elle said...

Aawww, Mills and Boons now that's something I haven't read for a while. Think I'll try and get my hands on one or two. I'll definitely look out for some of Kate's.

nzm said...

Shouldn't your opening line be I go through phrases?


MamaDuck said...

Arf! Glad to see you're back. Blogging again?