Whilst helping students get sorted for their studies, I had the good fortune to stumble upon a great resource called UK RED, that will interest anybody who has a curiosity in reading, it’s history and the myriad contexts that make up the rich fabric of our cultural experience.
From the about page:
UK RED is an open-access database housed at The Open University containing over 30,000 easily searchable records documenting the history of reading in Britain from 1450 to 1945. Evidence of reading presented in UK RED is drawn from published and unpublished sources as diverse as diaries, commonplace books, memoirs, sociological surveys, and criminal court and prison records.
UK Red captures the literary experience as told by everyday readers. The search options are comprehensive, covering century, socio-economic group, whether the source is from a reader, listener, or reading group. It even goes so far as to check through translations, publishers, etc. The choices allow the reader to go deep into history for study, or just for curiosity. The room for context of a particular book to a specific group of people at a specific time (and also the changing opinions of society over time) can be fascinating.
Poet Letitia Elizabeth Landon spoke of her experiences reading Robinson Crusoe: Continue reading “UK RED”
Although the summer has had a less than stellar start, with plenty of wind and rain, there is always something to warm the heart and in this instance, aside from being back in the Motherland, its reacquainting myself with those books that didn’t make the journey to Ph with me but were stored carefully away for my return.
A fine selection of eclectic works I am sure you will agree, and just as many were lurking out of shot so there will be some surprises too. It’s an exciting time and with the weekend here I am looking forward to plunging into something either new to me or nostalgic, and most importantly not yet reviewed.
It’s always a shame to have to report a bookshop closing its doors for the last time but sadly its happened again, this time to my favourite second hand bookshop in Nottingham, Jermy & Westerman which ceased to be the last weekend.
I wonder if my continued support would have helped, had I not been abroad for the last year and a half, which in turn fuels my need to support the remaining bookshops when I have some spare Sterling. A noble excuse for being a book junkie but the mutual enablement is pitched perfectly.
Despite being a small book space with only two floors and a few rooms there were always plenty of good books on offer over a variety of subjects. In fact being a regular I noticed there was a regular turn over of stock, to cater to the needs of the obsessive. Continue reading “Jermy & Westerman”
As we all know, odd little facts about a story can stay with the reader for years, so after last week’s team success in finding a book I had sought for years, I thought I would throw another wider ranging mystery your way to capture your imaginations.
I touched on this a few years ago in another aged post, along with some other various things. It comes from the book Inca Gold, a book of action, adventure, and a lost treasure, which always adds something thrilling to a story.
Towards the end of the book, protagonist Dirk Pitt comes across the grave of 10-year-old girl, Patty Lou Cutting, in the Sonoran Desert, Mexico, upon which the are the words:
The dark night some stars shine through.
The dullest morn a radiant brew.
And where dusk comes, God’s hand to you.
The significance of which is never expanded upon, it just hangs there cryptically, tantalisingly challenging the reader with its nebulous presence. Continue reading “Patty Lou Cutting: The Clive Cussler Conundrum”
The power of community once again comes through! Yesterday I shared my experiences with a book memory I had – or thought I had – and the subsequent adventures in tracking the possibly mythical book down.
Having thought the story too obscure to be well-remembered, or at least the clues given, too little to go on, it was surprising when, less than a day later this suggestion came through the comments.
It’s a massive thank you to Liz who found this book, primarily based on the mentioning of a scary tunnel. After watched a reading of the book (below) on YouTube, It’s more than likely that this is indeed the one I have been seeking.
Although it doesn’t tally up exactly with what I remember, the memory is undoubtedly embellished after all the other books since read. Not only that but the chances of two tunnels in two patchwork quilts isn’t going to be statistically high. Continue reading “Patching the Clues Together”
A comment from Victoria – on recent post A Pound of Paper – about a book she was trying to remember the title of, got me thinking about my own quest for a book from yesteryear that remains an enigma.
Back when I was in school, I vividly remember reading a book about a patchwork quilt. The details still stored in my brain are thus:
A child is fascinated with a quilt and each square patch provides a mini adventure for the narrator. I believe the adventures were completely in the mind of the child, as opposed to actually being trapped in the quilt.
One section fascinated me above all, a tunnel was the particular patchwork picture this time, and the child is walking through it. It’s dark and footsteps echo loudly, they sound like someone following, paranoia strikes and some running towards the light at the end of the tunnels follows ensues.
As I remembered those specifics as well as I did, it must still be worth a reread just for that specific section, and so at every opportunity I trawl lots of charity shops, market stalls, libraries, and of course bookshops on a quest to enjoy my bit of nostalgia. Continue reading “Book Memory…or imagined?”
After the obligatory reading of all the Middle Earth literature, there came a hankering for another Big Fantasy, and perusing the pages of the Waterstones Quarterly magazine back in 2001, I came across a review for the paperback version of Winter’s Heart, book nine of the (then) ongoing wheel of time series.
The bite sized paragraph review spoke of convoluted quests, many characters, and wanderings on a vast map. Naturally, I was sold on this. Not only for the amount of words to read (the overall total for the series being 4,410,036 according to Wikipedia) but the word convoluted appealed, greatly too.
Almost two decades since I picked up that first entry, and I again plucked it from a bookshop’s shelf home, due to a hankering for the series. The covers in the UK are now a fancy black but this cover (as was my original) is of a quite unimpressively realised depiction of some of the main characters. Thankfully only my original books one and two were these hand drawn creations. Although I imagine many fans were annoyed by the mid series change of cover that came about before book ten (and if I remember rightly the lone prequel New Spring).
Having read a few things in the glossary whilst in the shop, I was eager to delve straight into its 782 pages, there were so many characters and events popping back into my head. It’s good to return in this world, I enjoy being there even if nothing happens (not an exaggeration) in book ten. I am just happy to relive the adventure in Jordan’s world. Continue reading “Book Memories #3 The Eye of the World”