winter

winter garden gnarled branches stripped of leaves aged fingers grasping at the sky southerly wind cutting through the grass winter’s chilling breath new turned soil beneath the sheltering trees sodden blankets heaped on dormant seeds harsh call of the circling raven echoing through the cold bright sky green shoots of hyacinths and blue bells outriders … Continue reading winter

One Minute Book Review – The Lie by Helen Dunmore

Shell-shocked and haunted by the death of his best friend, Daniel Branwell returns to his childhood village where he no longer has any family ties. He is offered shelter by an elderly blind woman and, when she dies, takes over her isolated cottage setting in train the events and lies, of omission and commission, which … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – The Lie by Helen Dunmore

Portraits of London Street Children from the Early 1900s

Images of poverty can easily be skimmed over when looking at old photographs but, for me, the sight of the children's bare feet is a visceral reminder of the reality of their lives. The photographer is Horace Warner (Spitalfields Nippers published by Spitalfields Life Books) Many more photographs can be found at Vintage Everyday: vintage … Continue reading Portraits of London Street Children from the Early 1900s

Hilary Mantel’s Rules for Writers

There are many, many articles out there containing advice for new and developing writers. I skim through most of them, head nodding, thinking 'Yes, I do that'. The other day I stumbled across this article on writing from 2010 by Hilary Mantel which raised some points I hadn't thought much about before. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/feb/22/hilary-mantel-rules-for-writers Several of  … Continue reading Hilary Mantel’s Rules for Writers

One Minute Book Review – Disclaimer by Renee Knight

A riveting read.  For the first time in years, I stayed up until 3am to finish this book. In this psychological thriller, documentary maker Catherine Ravenscroft discovers a book she cannot remember buying on her beside table detailing a incident in her life that she thought no one else knew about. The certainties of her … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – Disclaimer by Renee Knight

On Bluestockings and Beauty: 19th Century Advice for Educated Women

Another excellent post from Mimi Matthews.

‘a bluestocking is defined as a “pedantic female” who has sacrificed the “excellencies of her sex” to education and learning’ – it is a bit like that question of whether you would like to be 10% more intelligent at the cost of being 10% less attractive. Intellect wins any day.

Mimi Matthews

“Blue-stocking or not, every woman ought to make the best of herself inside and out.  To be healthy, handsome, and cheerful, is no disadvantage even in a learned professor.”
The Art of Beauty, 1883.

Unlike the clever, witty bluestockings that populated the fashionable salons of the 18th and early 19th centuries, the Victorian bluestocking was considered to be, as one 1876 publication puts it, “a stiff, stilted, queer literary woman of a dubious age.”  This unfortunate stereotype was so firmly entrenched that it even made its way into an 1883 edition of the Popular Encyclopedia, wherein a bluestocking is defined as a “pedantic female” who has sacrificed the “excellencies of her sex” to education and learning.

View original post 739 more words

One Minute Book Review – The Luminaries by Eleanor Caton

This vibrant and complex novel, set during the New Zealand Gold Rush, is Victorian in scope and language yet it reads as fluidly as spare modern prose. Thirteen men are drawn together to uncover the mystery at the heart of occurrences on a single night two weeks prior to the opening of the story: a … Continue reading One Minute Book Review – The Luminaries by Eleanor Caton