Artists for Grenfell single

Another music post today, but it seems wrong to blog about anything other than today’s release of the charity single Bridge Over Troubled Water by Artists for Grenfell. It brings together a whole heap of musical talent and is all in aid of raising funds to support all those affected by last week’s horrific fire.

Their donation link is here.

Book Stuff

Spotlight – Authors for Grenfell Tower


In the wake of tragedy the literary world can often be found pulling together in an amazing fashion to raise funds to support the aid efforts. Following last week’s horrific fire at Grenfell Tower a group of authors and agents has come together to organise an online auction to raise funds for the British Red Cross London Fire Relief Fund.

The auction is now live and can be found here. There are already so many incredible lots and they’re still being listed – more have appeared while I’ve been typing this post. I’ve got my eye on a few though I’m sure (and hope) that what I can bid will be far surpassed by someone else. Please do check it out and, if you are able to, get bidding.

Book Stuff · Fun Stuff

I Dare You book tag

Earlier this week I saw Donna at The Untitled Book Blog post this book tag and I thought it was a great set of questions. It’s such a long time since I did a post like this that I thought I’d join in the fun. The rules are:

You must be honest
You can’t not answer a question
You have to tag at least four people
So here we go!

1. Which book has been on your shelves the longest?
Most of my longest owned books are in boxes, but my sets of the What Katy Did and Little Women books have been there for a good 25+ years (and they were my mom’s before they were mine so between us they’ve been on our bookshelves for a very long time).

2. What is your current read, your last read and the book you’ll read next?
Current read: American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Last read: Cuckoo by Keren David
Next read: My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises by Fredrik Bachman (probably, it’s my book group book and I still have a couple of weeks so I may squeeze another in before I read it).

3. What book(s) did everyone like and you hated?
Not many actually and none in the last few years, mainly because I’ve got much better at not continuing with books I’m not enjoying. Un Lun Dun by China Mieville springs to mind and Every Vow You Break by Julia Crouch.

4. Which book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?
So many classics. I started reading Les Miserables about 15 years ago and have very optimistically left my bookmark in the book at the point where I put it down. I’m not sure I’ll ever get back to it (I think by now I’d have to go back to the beginning and start over which makes it even less likely I’ll ever do it) but who knows.

5. Which book are you saving for “retirement”?
None. If I want to read something I’m going to get on and read it now.

6. Last page: read it first or wait till the end?
Wait until the end. Absolutely. I really don’t like to be spoiled for anything.

7. Acknowledgements: waste of ink and paper or interesting aside?
Utterly essential. I love reading the acknowledgements, writing a book is super hard and I want to hear what the author has to say about it and about the people who helped along the way.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?
I think probably one of the minor characters from the Harry Potter universe, one who gets to stay properly clear of all of the drama but still gets to go to Hogwarts and enjoy the wizarding world.

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?
Lots of books do this. The Outsiders was the book that made me sit up and take notice and realise that children’s / teen fiction could be something more than what I’d previously thought. Most of Dorothy Koomson’s books remind me of things – reading The Cupid Effect sat by a pool on holiday, devouring The Woman He Loved Before in a morning while I waited to sit an exam that afternoon, buying The Girl From Nowhere to celebrate the end of my first week living in London and my first week in my new job.

10. Name a book you acquired in some interesting way.
Last year at YALC I had to play a card game to win a copy of Marcus Sedgwick’s next book Saint Death.

11. Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?
No. I’ve bought special books for special people, but never given away my own copies.

12. Which book has been with you to the most places?
Is it cheating to say the contents of my Kindle library? Yes? Oh. Well then I don’t know. Probably my Harry Potter books, they’ve moved with me to and from two universities (well, the earliest have, I was doing my first degree while about half of the series was published) and to London and back too.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?
I was blessed with an English teacher who really carefully chose books from the options set out in the curriculum so I really enjoyed them at the time.

14. What is the strangest item you’ve ever found in a book?
A piece of cooked bacon, back when I was working in a public library.

15. Used or brand new?
Love the history and stories that come from used books, but my reading preference is brand new.

16. Have you ever read a Dan Brown?
Yes. I’ve read the first three of the Robert Langdon books and both of the not Robert Langdon books.

17. Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book?
Not that I can recollect, no.

18. A book that NEVER should have been published.
Ooh, what a harsh question! I don’t think I have an answer for this one, I’m too busy focusing on the happy and the positive.

19. Have you ever read a book that’s made you hungry, cookbooks being excluded from this question?
Yes, I’ve read quite a few books where the main character bakes or runs a tea room – just the mention of delicious cake has me craving some!

20. Who is the person whose book advice you will always take?
I have a couple of friends whose book advice is always spot on.



100 Days of Cross Stitch – The three quarter point

Today I reached the next self-imposed milestone on my 100 Days of Cross Stitch project, the three quarter point. It’s now been 75 days of stitching 10 x 10 stitch squares, the project currently looks like this:

It is definitely starting to get a little trickier to come up with unique ideas, there have been a few days where my first idea has had to be scrapped because I’ve already done a version of it. I’ve kept a few of my earliest ideas back for this tail end of the project – I didn’t want the last couple of rows to be entirely filled with boring, uninspired squares.


Friday Favourites

After getting back from my long weekend away I’ve spent part of this week dashing around the internet trying to catch up with my subscriptions and feeds and things. It means my collection this week is more than a little random, but then I’m quite a fan of random.

First up is a video I spotted on Tumblr. It’s so clever and well thought out.

Next up is something completely different. I’m a huge fan of Bevis Musson’s very funny and clever Dead Queen Detectives comics series so I was really excited when he said he was going to be creating a Dead Queen Detectives colouring book. It’s going to have 21 colouring pages and 13 new strips. It’s available through Kickstarter, it met its very modest funding goal within a couple of hours of the page going live so backing it now will simply guarantee your copy (and may help to lead to an upgraded final version – I saw Bevis mention earlier that he may now be able to put a hardcover on the book). The Kickstarter link can be found here.

And finally, I thought this piece in The Pool by author Nikesh Shukla was very well expressed and thought provoking.