Book reviews, writers retreats and Marcel Proust

This is for book lovers everywhere. Especially those of you who commented on my last post... 
A Love Affair and 84 Charing Cross Road, here

A few posts ago I wrote about the London Review of Books.
I had recently discovered it and have since subscribed. I have to say each issue since has been a treat. 
It has become my travel companion, taking me from station to station around London.

Yesterday, I read through the topics that interested me most and deciding that I must pick up
the latest book, Blue Nights by Joan Didion, I moved onto the classifieds. I am not sure 
what it is about English magazines/newspapers and classifieds but I feel compelled to read them.
When I do, I feel like I am sliding into another world.

I know this sounds random, but I have a feeling some of you will be just as intrigued.

Thinking of taking a creative writing Oxford? 
Read on...

Interested in visiting Bloomsbury..the heart of 'British Bookselling'?
Read on....

Fancy a writers retreat in France or England?
Read on...

Thinking of Venice?
Marcel Proust did too....

Want to know the Top 10 Bestsellers at the London Review Bookshop?
Here you go....

Am I enjoying my subscription to the London Review of Books

If you want to get in on the can check it out here.

My enthusiasm is totally unsolicited. I just like it 
and if I like it, I think of you. :)

images by me
on my kitchen table :)

A Love Affair and 84 Charing Cross Road

Last night, I called time-out for myself and grabbed a stack of old magazines,
a pair of scissors, poured a glass of wine, lit my favourite candle and enjoyed watching 
'84 Charing Cross Road' ...all over again.

The story is based on a book by Helene Hannff written in 1970. 
It was made into a stage play, television play and the movie that I refer to here.  
It has a sterling cast,
Anthony Hopkins as Frank Doel a quiet and endearing Englishman.
Anne Bancroft as Helene Hannff a smart 'brassy' New Yorker.
Judi Dench as Nora Doel, a quiet soft spoke wife with an Irish lilt.
Ian McNeice as Bill Humphries, Frank's efficient co-worker.

Those of you who are followers of Doc Martin would recognise
 Ian McNeice, he plays the character Burt Large.

Roll back the years and there you have it...1949-1968,
Frank in an antiquarian bookshop, Marks & Co in London and 
Helene in Manhattan, New York. Letters are shared, books are posted 
across the pond, birthday gifts and Christmas packages soon follow....
there is joy, there is laughter and I admit the tissue box came out a few times too.

My Thursday evening, nothing too exciting....just what I needed.
For those of you who are new to '84 Charing Cross Road'... 
I recommend you read the book first. When you are done with both the book and the movie,
move on to The Duchess of Bloomsbury by Helene Hannff. :)

It makes for a great gift too!

I leave you with best wishes for the weekend and wondering
on friendships. I often explain to people who are not familiar
with blogging that is similar to 'pen pals'...we write back and forth,
we often share gifts...and if we are lucky, friendships are made. 
Are we that different from Helene and Frank?

top image: UK movieposte, book image via me, 
bottom image via You Tube as noted in movie clip.

My Essential London Apps

Switching Gears...
I have been totally immersed in thoughts 
from our trip to India (here, here, herehere and here)
and need to pull myself back into the real world. 

Before I left I stared consolidating my notes on London.
What started as a simple idea is
 taking on the proportions of War and Peace.

iPhone/ iPad Apps..
I am going to take it one step at a time 
and start with my essential London Apps.

As long as I have these few Apps....
I am good to go.

Getting started...

Have map will travel...

Train, Tube, Bus..

Stopping off for a bite...

Looking to see what is around the corner....

Jeanne's Travel Tip:
Have a trip planned?
Download a travel App before you go.
They come in very handy and it saves dragging
tourist guides around in your luggage. 

Setting your sights on Paris, Rome, New York or Barcelona?
Check out Conde Nast Traveller, here.

Stay tuned for my 'Nice to Have' Travel Apps :)

image~ Pinterest

English Gardeners and the Fashions of the Day

I received a lovely note from a reader, Anita, in Australia.
She made my day!
She was looking for a post I had written on English gardeners.
I had mentioned a book she was keen to find.
She searched thru my blogs and could not find the post. 

Firstly, I was impressed that she went so far as to do that. 
There are many trials and tribulations of having five blogs, one of them 
is trying to remember where I posted on something. 
Luckily, this was an easy one to remember.

 I wrote the post 'Gardening Style' over at my other

In my mind, 
 if you collect gardening books, you must have this one.
'Garden People: Valerie Finnis and the Golden Age of Gardening 
by Urusla Buchan

Photograph of Nancy Lancaster tending her garden, taken by Valerie Finnis.

The woman behind the camera...
Valerie Finnis, woman extraordinaire.

Photograph by Tessa Traeger

There is no doubt that Valerie Finnis was a talented photographer.

"With great skill and verve, she took photographs of gardeners, gardens 
and plants from the mid-1950's onward, using a Rolleiflex camera 
given to her by a friend."

"All are seen at home in their gardens, weeding, inspecting, watering and 
standing proudly by their plants, wearing the fashions of the day, epitomizing
 many aspects of life and society in the second half
of the twentieth century."

Lady Birley of Charleston Manor in Sussex.

Cecily 'Parsley' Mure wearing silk whilst watering her alpine trough. 

Valerie Finnis loved gardening and her eclectic circle of contemporaries 
and friends that lived within that world. She left some 50,000 transparencies, 
taken between 1950-1990.

Valerie Finnis appearing in World of Interiors magazine. 
If ever there were a hat to love, this has to be it! 
Photo beautifully taken by Jan Baldwin.

I have been collecting gardening books for years.
 I am very excited to have this book
sitting alongside the rest. I highly recommend it!

American, Nancy Lancaster gardening at Haseley Court.

Margery Fish of East Lambook Manor in Somerset.

Valerie and her partner in life, Sir David Scott, with their pug Kate, "sitting outside
The Dower House, where they lived and gardened together in great harmony."

A great book for that special gardener in your life. 
(and it could be you)

via the book,  Garden People:
Valerie Finnis potting around with her pug via

A Literature Festival and London Review of Books

The river Thames en route to Richmond with a stopover at Petersham's Nurseries. :) here

This morning my daughter and I were having one of those great
philosophical discussions while driving along the back roads of Surrey.
If you ever feel the need to have a heart to heart conversation
with one of your children..or anyone for that matter, 
 save it for a long car ride.

We were talking about people and judging them before you have had a chance to get
to know them. Said I, in all my motherly wisdom, "things are often not what they appear"
to which I added 'You can not judge a book by it's cover'.

Morning drive over and I am home with my morning coffee, 
reading over a fantastic brochure I picked up in Richmond last week
for the Richmond Upon Thames Literature Festival 
running from the 3-27 November 2011.
You can read all about it here.

There is so much on offer that it is hard to choose.
This is what I have marked so far..

Anne Sebba and 'That Woman: The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor'
Sheila Rowbotham: 'Dreamers of a New Day'
Lisa Chaney: 'Chanel Biography'
'The River Podcast' with Amy Redmond, Radio 1 producer

I also discovered the London Review of Books
Where have I been all this time to have missed this?

Each issue contains up to 15 long reviews and essays by academics, 
writers and journalists in addition to art and film reviews, 
poems and a 'lively letters' page.

Add to this a bookshop and cake shop in Bloomsbury.
14 Bury Place

I thought how I professed this morning to my daughter that
you can not judge a book by it's cover....
In this case, I would say that you could!

The artist and writer Peter Campbell has been creating 
the covers since 1992. Each one is a work of art.
I love that he hails from New Zealand as well.

 I'm in...if you are interested in subscribing too, 
please read the advertisement below, it caught my eye
and the result is a subscription and this post. :)

Best wishes to one and all for a wonderful weekend.
We have had spectacular 'Indian Summer' like weather
here in Surrey with sunny skies and warm weather
forecasted for the weekend.

top image~me
all others via London Review of Books

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