Joanna Cannon’s first novel, The Trouble With Goats and Sheep, is out in January and I can’t wait to read it – some Glenogle and Bell subscribers will almost certainly be receiving it. Jo’s a warm, compassionate, perceptive person and I’ve loved her writing for a long time. I hope this is the most massive success. This is her blog post about how it came to be written.
This post by Joan Bakewell for The Pool, explaining why retirement isn’t for her, even at 82 is fascinating. I can’t imagine ever retiring completely and it’s great to see that more and more people are continuing to share their expertise and try new things as well as keeping up with current society. Life doesn’t have to be a comfy chair and suduko once you get to 65, not when there are new skills to learn and a world to explore.
I found this piece by about Barbara Pym by Hannah Rosefield in The New Yorker (I love the New Yorker and really should ask for a subscription next time someone enquires re Christmas or birthday present wishes – I’ll mention it to M…) fascinating. I love Barabara Pym’s novels for their humanity and humour, the ‘quiet dramas’ as one of Rosefield’s interviewees at a Pym conference describes them. They’re subtle and dry and she never feels the need to tie everything up in a happy ending. Interestingly for the post-war period, her unmarried heroines are not spinsters who define themselves by the absence of a husband but rather an opportunity it itself. If you haven’t read Barbara Pym then do try her – Excellent Women is one of my favourites.
I’ve always been fascinated by looted art and the process of restitution that returns it to its rightful owners and this piece from The Times (I think the link should work despite their paywall; let me know if it doesn’t) about The Amber Room, (excellent piece from the Smithsonian Magazine) created from amber, gold and precious stones for Peter the Great, still further embellished by Catherine the Great when she moved it to the Winter Palace in St Petersburg and which was believed lost for ever, was intriguing. It seems that a fortified freight train has been found hidden in a tunnel under a Polish castle and who knows what might be inside… I was also interested by the fact that crime writer Georges Simenon (Maigret) set up the Amber Room Club to trace it although my Google-fu skills aren’t enabling me to find much info about that. I can’t wait to see what’s in the train for who doesn’t love a treasure hunt, especially one so lavish?