Friday 11 February 2011

Bookish confessions

I was charmed to receive a Stylish Blogger Ward this week from two sources: Lynne Rees at The Hungry Writer (click here) and llevinso (here) at the Sarcastic Female Literary Circle (but was she sincere…?) No matter, acceptance speeches have been made, and I shall spare you those here.

First rule of acceptance is to reveal seven facts unknown to your readers, which I’ve decided to do in the form of books – books I love, not because they make me look clever, but the books that make me seek out a large comfy chair and wallow in pleasure.

Susan Hill’s Howard’s End is on the Landing. A year of reading from home – this is Hill’s premise. No more buying books, but rediscovering old favourites. Along the way, her insight about books, life, reading and authors makes you feel you are sitting by the bookshelf with a wise friend.

F Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night. I’ve chosen this one because it’s set on the French Riviera, but it could have been almost any of the others; The Great Gatsby is my longest-standing favourite book. And just look at that glorious old cover!

Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes is the whole deal: sumptuous food, travel, light, colour, and he’s a cultured cove. How many other restaurateur-cooks would write (or talk to camera, as this is the book of a TV series) about Corfu with a book by Lawrence Durrell in their hand?

Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca is a very old friend, and literary godmother to a novel never far from these pages…

Pleasure Gardens in Provence: The Art of Michel Semini by Louisa Jones and Anita Ortiz. I have a quiet fantasy that one day I will become a Vita Sackville-West and create a garden paradise in the sun. If I could afford him, I would definitely hire Michel Semini to design it. Many happy hours have been spent with this book.
Antoine de St-Exupery’s novella Night Flight is the kind of read that takes armchair travel to a different level, a dark world of astonishing courage from the early days of aviation, when men flew across the mountains of Latin America with the mail service in open cockpits at night with few navigational aids beyond the stars.

Up the Garden Path by Sue Limb is a joyous, hilarious, life-affirming comfort read. Love's Labours, its sequel, is just as good. She now writes mainly for teenagers, and my daughter and I adore her Girl, 15 series.                                   

The second part of the award is that it should be passed on to fifteen other bloggers. Well, it doesn’t say you have to do it all at once, so here are my first five shout-outs:

La Fourchette s’est Emballée, a consistently outstanding photography and food blog that comes to us from Aix-en-Provence.

Cornflower Books, of which I’ve been an avid reader for years, long before I began this little endeavour. Karen’s original blog – simply, Cornflower – is for food, craft and photography, and if we get really lucky, she makes the perfect biscuits or cake for certain books and serves with a flourish.

A Writer’s Lot in France, where Vanessa blogs about the practicalities and idiosyncracies of living in France, and I really enjoy the tone of her writing.

French Essence is so successful it hardly needs any accolades from me. Australian writer Vicki Archer’s blog is quintessentially stylish and essential reading for anyone interested in Provence.

Avignon in Photos is full of stunning photography, but also of quirky detail – open it, meet Nathalie and you’re being driven around Avignon and the surrounding areas on the inside track with a local.

So there you are, you don’t need to do anything more with it if you don’t want to. Just have your moment in the knowledge you are appreciated. If you want to take it further, make your own seven confessions and fifteen awards. Oh, and acknowledge who gave you the award. Enjoy!


llevinso said...

Of course I was sincere :) Honestly your blog is one of the few not entirely book-related blogs I visit, so that has to say something!

And what a coincidence, I blogged about the book Rebecca just the other day:

Anonymous said...

How lovely, thank you very much for this award and for the kind words about my blog. In accepting this accolade, I must of course thank all those without whom it would not have been possible, i.e. about 65 million French people.

What you won't know is that it's my blog's 1st birthday on Monday, so if you don't mind I'll save the formal announcement and press conference till then.

I now have the hard job of choosing the 15 worthy recipients and the scary task of finding 7 unknown but not too compromising things about me.

Thanks again. Amicalement,

Vanessa x

vicki archer said...

Thank you be included in such company is wonderful. I am delighted to find some new blogs to explore as another big thank you for that. As for your book choices...I am particularly fond of many of them...I haven't read Rick Stein's that will pop into my list...xv

Carol said...

Newbie to your blog.
You have a lovely blog here with some beautiful photos.

Good luck with your new book The Lantern. I will be looking out for it.


versus said...

Un bonjour en passant!

Cornflower said...

I'm honoured to be included, Deborah!
You've chosen some lovely books there - some I know and have enjoyed very much, others I'd like to discover.

Natalie W said...

Congrats on your award! I'm new here and checking things out.
Thanks for stopping by my blog and have a grand day!
Natalie :0)

Anonymous said...

Deborah! Thanks for stopping by today! I was afraid I wouldn't meet any writers on the Blog Hop so YAY!! I'm so excited!! Can't wait to keep up with you here. Check back often for lots of giveaways. Follow to enter today's contest!! Woot!!

Anonymous said...

I'm already a big fan of this blog and honestly can't wait to read your book. I'm also a big fan of Fitzgerald. The pictures on your sidebar are lovely!

Leovi said...

I really like but Scott Fitzgerald "Tender is the Night" I have not read if you recommend you try to find it. Thank you very much.

BookGeek said...

Congrats on the award - it was well deserved. I love your blog! Also, Tender is the Night is a favorite one of mine as well.

Anonymous said...

Just about to cook lunch from Stein's "Mediterranean Escapes". Night Flight is indeed a wonderful and dark book. I'm glad to have been directed to your weblog.

An old friend of Cornflower

la fourchette said...

Deborah, many thanks for your kind words about La Fourchette! And an award! woohooo! I'm just emerging from the flu and this was a lovely surprise. Thanks again.

Blu said...

Thanks for the visit, I fancy reading Night Flight, I wondered if you read it in French or English.

Unknown said...

Lovely blog, Deborah. Glad you found me, so I could find you. Those scenes of Provence are breath-taking. Have you read Rosy Thornton's A Tapestry of Love?
As for Sue Limb, I haven't read either of those you mention. Now how did that happen? Off to Amazon...

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

Congrats on the award! I haven't actually read any of your favourite books, so my wishlist has expanded a bit since reading this post!

I'm definitely going to re-read more, and hopefully I will appreciate the writing a bit more that way.

Shane Pollard said...

Hello Deborah

What a great list, the only one I knew was Vicky's beautiful blog, so I've got some exploring to do - thank you!

Thank you also for joining my blog, how lovely to meet you and I hope you'll come back often.
I won't be posting much in the next month as my daughter and her family will be visiting from France - so my 'normal' life will be on hold!!


Unknown said...

Deborah - Thank you for visiting my site- I love the book cover, I am not sure I have seen it before.

I am a new follower.

Deborah Lawrenson said...

A big thank you again to the excellent llevinso and Lynne Rees. Do check out their blogs as they're full of fun as well as insight.

I'm delighted you're delighted, Karen, Vanessa, Vicki, and Leslie, and thank you for the hours of pleasure your blogs give.

Salut, Versus et Leovi! (Do check out their blogs for some amazing art and photography...)

Jenny, BookGeek and Laurie, if I can possibly shoehorn him in, I'll always mention FSF...

Dark Puss, I'm touched and honoured after years of reading your always-incisive comments on Cornflower. Do come again!

Welcome Dizzy, Natalie, Valerie, Sue, Sam and Roses - great to have you here.

And Blu, I have Night Flight in English translation by Stuart Gilbert, with an excellent preface by Andre Gide. St-Exupery is to be one of the touchstones on the new novel I'm working on, and this is the book that got me thinking...

Mel u said...

There are things that annoy me about The Great Gatsby but the last 5 or so pages are just so beautiful who really cares!

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