Favourite 12

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I’m doing an art challenge for January and today it asked for 12 books or films that you would say were your favourites.

I decided to draw a quick sketch rather than going through my bookcases to find things. Because I read such a lot it was hard to be specific so I have generalised some of my choices.

My list starts with the Sky at Night TV programme which was on the BBC tonight. I’ve been watching it on and off since the 1960’s which is a long time, but it’s been great finding out more about the universe as human knowledge has increased. No one knew about black holes when it first started, and it was before we  went to the moon.

The second book could be anything about painting and drawing, either full of brilliant art or about exciting new techniques. I once bought a book from the National Gallery full of all sorts of art. I was enthralled.

Third is Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, I’ve seen the play of it but to my shame I’ve never read the book. There are a lot of classic books I would like to try and read.

Four. I was introduced to The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, by my hubby. He had a copy for his eighteenth birthday. We then heard the story on the radio. It was abridged but still ran for thirteen hours. A lot of the book was cut from the radio show and a it more from the films. I must read it again.

Fifth, any book on Art and Design. It could be about theatre design or clothes or architecture. As long as its interesting.

Six is any book about Evolution. I don’t think I could manage Darwins Origin of species. I have got the Blind watchmaker by Richard Dawkins, but I haven’t remembered to read it.

Seven (halfway-are you bored yet?). Any book by Terry Pratchett. From the Colour of Magic to Making Money, and all his other titles, this is fantasy fiction with a grin on its face.

Eighth, is a film, Spiderman, with Toby McGuire. I liked it because it was one of the first Marvel films. It isn’t a fight fest like some if the later ones, and again it’s fantasy, lights, special effects. My favourite things tend to be visual.

Nine is an old film, the Sound of Music. I saw it again on the TV recently. There is a lot more to it than I remember. And the songs are lovely.

Ten, almost there, Cats, not the musical, but Old Possums book of practical cats, by TS Elliot. It’s great to read McCavity the mystery cat, or about the Jellicles cats. I would recommend it.

Eleven is any book about Frida Kahlo. I didn’t really know much about her until I got a present about Women Surrealist Artists. When you find out about her incredibly difficult life, but see her art I just have such a strong admiration for her.

Finally, twelfth, any book on Anthony Gormley, artist and sculptor. He created the Angel of the North, a winged human up in the Newcastle-on-Tyne area. Its a huge sculpture next to the motorway up there. He has done other sculptures of figures emerging from the sea near Liverpool. His work is always interesting and thought provoking.

Looking at this list makes me feel like I am only dipping my toe into the things that interest me. Maybe some if the things will interest you too….

Got to tidy up

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I don’t like to admit it, but my house is a mess. This is one bit of it. It’s not all that bad, but I need to go through things and shred them or burn them. Why? Because I don’t like putting personal documents out in the bin. There are so many people who can take your details and use them. I wonder whether posting on line is safe sometimes although I try not to go into specifics.

Friends keep telling me that creative people are messy. I think I agree with that. But I need to tidy up. Now I’m feeling a bit better I might be able to do it before Christmas.

Help!

The things you find in old books.

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A train with pneumatic wheels that ran on the Paris underground? I didn’t know this existed, but it’s in the book my hubby is reading. It’s strange what you can find without looking at Google.

In the past you went to a library to find things out or research things, you took out the book and had your library card stamped, and a stamp put on the little form in the front of the book…..

Borrow for a week or two, then return so someone else could take it out. But beware, if you took it back late you could get fined! Books were sometimes sold off if they became out of date. Our bookshelves have some of these. The smell off a musty book, with slightly browning pages brings back memories of my school library, which for a comprehensive had a good big library, and our local, council library, with stern librarian keeping us all in order. Yellow or pale green walls and parquet flooring. Memories too of book covers with illustrations of dinosaurs or old fashioned atom symbols. I loved books on rocks and minerals and mystery stories. Craft books and origami. The library was the lace for ideas. Now many public libraries are gone, closed by politics not the Internet. Poorer people who can’t afford the Internet are kept away from knowledge. Sorry, getting political…..

Good memories…

A patch of sunshine

The Sun is shining in through the side window now the trees on the East side of the garden have lost their leaves. The Sun rises further South East in the autumn and winter. Its shining on the ‘great stack’ of knitted toys. They are usually on the setee but I moved them so people can sit on it. Behind is one if our numerous book cases. I would love it if it was neatly stacked, colour coordinated like they are on design shows. But that’s not what a working bookcase looks like! The top shelves are rarely touched and I sometimes find cobwebs up there. I’m sure the ornaments on the top shelf up near the ceiling will be covered in dust. But there is too much art supplies in boxes in front of it…

Disorganised, chaotic, too much stuff. Magpie, collector of ornaments, canvases, paints, visual memorabilia. I’m an artist, I can’t help myself.

Writing in the past….

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I’m watching a programme about the author George Eliot and I suddenly realised how different the world must have been then.

She took a man’s name so she could get her books published. She went from a deeply religious belief to someone who became strongly atheistic.

She lost her mother at age 16. She was self taught, and learnt a lot from being allowed free access to a local land owners library.

But apart from her history how was she influenced by the world? Modern history had  not happened yet. No Einstein, no Marie Curie, no first world war, no one knew about the Universe, the world was not fully explored. No TV, radio, computers, no electricity supplies. How did people communicate except by letters and books. No telegraph. Travel was by carriage, or horse. The trains were only just being thought of. How would she have described the modern world and how it affects the life you lead. She was living through a changing era. The chartist riots were happening.

Women were rarely published. The books by Jane Austin and the Bronte sisters were only ones of a few women authors. If she had lived now, she could have written under her own name, Mary Anne Evans, not a masculine pseudonym. She took the pen name George Eliot when she started to write fiction, not the romantic novels that other female writers were creating at the time. She wrote books like the Mill on the Floss and Adam Bede and Middlemarch. 

Reading

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He never stopped reading. Even when the toast was burning, or when the kettle boiled. He would sit reading the cereal packet when he was a child, and still did it as an adult.

When the letter came he read it. Then ripped it in half and put it in the bin.

Off to work, silence, cataloguing, putting books back in place. Following the system of the books, the shelves. A to Z, Abracadabra to Zebra.

Enjoyment, organisation, learning. It was fun to him. He’d been there years. He had skills. He knew where the book was that someone would ask for. He knew what he was doing…..

End of day. Home again. He picked up the letter out of the bin..

“Redundancy notice. Head Librarian”.

He looked at the books on the walls of his house. He began to rearrange them.

Sitting listening…

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It’s quite cool today, so after going out for lunch, then coming back and doing a bit of gardening I’ve come into the relative warm (about 18.5°C) and I’m sitting listening to the Radio.

I’ve decided to try and keep the heating off as much as I can. It’s getting expensive and it’s not that cold yet.

It’s grey and showery outside. We had to cut the hedge back because our neighbours need access on the path round to their back yard and it runs past our garden. The trouble is one set of shears handle is coming loose and is held on with gaffer tape! When you cut branches with them they bend inwards so you can’t always get a good purchase on the twigs.

So anyway, the hat in the drawing was given to me by a friend when it was raining last week. I meant to take it back but forgot. Just dumped it on the pile of books by the front door.

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