Books and stuff

6 November 2011

Ah, don’t you just love Helena Bonham Carter? She makes a perfect Miss Havisham although I always feel it’s a poignant moment when an actress passes from being Estella material to that of her terrifying gothic guardian. On the other hand, applause to Dickens for creating such amazingly meaty roles for, often ignored, older actresses. Not that he realised, of course, but even so.

Like a slumming toff, I’m having a break from 1660s Paris today to pay a visit to 1888 Whitechapel. It’s a bit of a contrast. I’ve already murdered two women in the course of this book and yet another is about to get the chop, which I think is going to happen off camera so to speak as I don’t want this to just be about grisly murders and, you know, sometimes the feminist part of me pipes up and tries to persuade me that I really shouldn’t be writing about the Ripper murders at all.

It’s a brisk day here in Bristol – the sun is out but there’s a distinct snap in the air.I’m looking forward to an afternoon of Miss Marple followed by Downton Abbey on the television. It’s the last episode tonight and my attempts to manfully resist snarkily posting about it on here may well just cave in later on. Seriously though, what on EARTH is going on?

Further to my intention to read more this month instead of killing myself by attempting NaNoWriMo, I have bought yet more books to add to my To Read Pile (you can view its virtual counterpart on my Goodreads profile where I diligently add new books as I acquire them in the vain hopes that it will shame me into reading faster). I now have The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (I’m intrigued to see if young adult fiction about Jack the Ripper can work – I want to write for the YA crowd myself so am most envious of this feat!), Dr Jennifer Kloester’s excellent new biography of Georgette Heyer, The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz (Sherlock Holmes!) and The Horror of Love by Lisa Hilton (Nancy Mitford in Paris!) to read and Paris: Buildings and Monuments, Sarah Raven’s Complete Christmas, The Man who Outshone the Sun King and My Dearest Minette to come.

Oh and I have a vegan cupcake book too and DVDs of Lost in Austen and Love in a Cold Climate – perfect viewing for crisp November evenings.

Which should keep me busy for a bit!

When all the books are here, I’ll post a picture of the Minette Pile, which are the books I have heaped on my desk while I research my novel about her. Here’s the pile as it looks at the moment though. Actually, it’s not that bad, you should have seen the Marie Antoinette Pile at its peak. Crikey, that was terrifying.

Anyway, I’m off now but not before I’ve mentioned today’s historical birthday girl: Juana of Castile, sister of Catherine of Aragon and one of the greatest beauties of her day, who was born to Ferdinand and Isabella on the 6th of November 1479.

She’s commonly referred to as Juana the Mad but I think that’s just plain rude.

PS. Thanks to everyone who’s bought copies of my Marie Antoinette novel – it’s thundering towards its thousandth sale now, which I am just astounded by. I mean, obviously, if I thought it was dreadful bilge I wouldn’t have put it out there to be read but you know what they say about writers being pessimistic optimists…

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