I know this isn't a political blog, but this is the only public forum I've got.
TAX AVOIDENCE SHOULD BE A CRIME
There is gonna be a few protests tomorrow. I hate violence, we should educatate not isolate. Here are some more carols with tax-avoidence lyrics.
In The Bleak Midwinter
In the bleak midwinter, tax payers moaned,
Philip Green won't pay for, all that we are owed
He could pay for nurses, he could pay for schools,
But instead he'll pay nowt, and still keep the rules
Our Government is not fair, out government sucks.
For we're loosing our jobs, whilst they keep ther bucks
In the bleak midwinter, tax payers moaned,
Why won't all these millionaires, pay what we are owed?
Philip The Tax Avoider
Philip the Tax Avoider,
Had a very shiney nose,
And if you ever saw it,
You would even say it grows, (like his tax bill)
All of the tax avoiders,
Really should all pay their tax,
So next time that your in Topshop,
Ask them for your money back.
I know this isn't a political blog, but this is the only public forum I've got.
The Travelling Suitcase Libraries’ Christmas Recommendations, ( because sometimes, you have to buy the books…)
Do you despair at the readers in your life preferring trash to treasure? At the Travelling Suitcase Library we believe there’s nothing wrong with that! This Christmas, why not treat them to something you know they’ll enjoy. These are some of the most popular titles that I’ve lent out in the past year. I hope that your readers enjoy them.
For the Twilight fan in your life…House of Night series by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast
I know vampires are sooo 2009, but this ever-growing series set in a ‘school for vampyres’ (so the best bits of Harry and Edward combined) flies of the shelves, is easy to get into and also features openly gay characters, a rarity in YA fiction. ‘Marked’ is the first one, but at £10.50 for the first three on Amazon this is an easy stocking filler for love-struck teens.
Sleep Pale Sister by Joanne Harris
Before Chocolat, Johnny Depp and world wide fame, Yorkshire writer Joanne Harris wrote hauntingly beautiful gothic thrillers. Sleep Pale Sister is the story of Effie, Victorian artist’s model who is kept as a laudanum-addled bride by the sinister Henry Chester. When she meets her lover Mose, she is drawn into the ghostly story of Marta, a brothel keeper’s daughter, murdered ten years ago and planning her revenge. Yes the subject matter is slightly risky for younger readers, but this is guaranteed to thrill fans of the gothic, and acts as a nice little introduction to ‘grown up’ books.
The Glass Lake by Meave Binchey.
I know, I know, but work with me here. This book has everything a Twilight fan requires, apart from the fangs. Teenage drama and am embarrassing family? Check. Strange mystery surrounding loved one? Check. Evolution of heroine from spoilt small town princess to grown modern women? Check. Everlasting love? Check. The least ‘provincial’ of Binchey’s books, this is the story of Kit, who’s beautiful, if odd mother tragically disappears in the lake near her small Irish town. As Kit grows up the mystery surrounding the supposed death deepens until she receives a letter from her mother’s childhood friend… I love this book, which I first read when I was twelve, and would recommend it as a great way to wean your teen off the vamps. Plus it’s a good three inches thick, which as any serious teen bookworm knows, are the only books worth checking out these days!
For the Jodi Picault fan in your life…The Lost Daughter by Diane Chamberlain
Less weepy, more pacy than Picault, Chamberlain again is from the ‘tell don’t show’ school of writing hated by Creative Writing students but loved by readers who want chunky heated storylines without the commitment of literary prose. This is the story of foolish love struck teen CeeCee, who has vital information on the murder of Genevieve Russell which tears apart her whole family. Gripping and movingly written, recommended.
American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
A ‘fictional story’ based heavily on the life of Laura Bush, this book is as fascinating as it is frustrating. Almost a justification for her action, Alice Blackwell looks back on her life leading up the last year of her husband’s presidency. You’ll love, then hate her. Sittenfeld is a wonderful writer and the depiction of America throughout the 60s to the present day is nostalgic and insightful, as well as impeccably researched.
The Girls by Lori Lansens
Absolutely riveting story of two conjoined twins living in small town Canada. This will appeal to Picault fans for its empathetic rendorings of the twin sister’s thought, and dreams. Although the writing is not consistant throughout, with the opening chapters being by far the best in the book, the amazing characterisations of Rose and Ruby and the pathos behind their condition makes this a weepy, but a goody.
For the Phillippa Gragory fan in your life
The King’s Daughter by Christie Dickason
Similar in premise to Gregory’s Tudor court novels, this takes a woman from history and re-works her story with a slightly more modern emphasis. The King’s Daughter is the tale of Princess Elizabeth, daughter of King James IV of Scotland, I of England and is absolutely fascinating. I have no idea how historically accurate this book is, but if they’re an ardent Gregory fan then historical accuracy really isn’t going to be the be all and end all is it. At the end of the day it’s a damn good yarn and has a sparkly cover with a ruff on it, what more do you need?
Crown in Candlelight by Rosemary Hawley Jarman
This is one of those writers that was massive back in the day, and deserves to become popular again. Writing of the Plantagenet era, Hawley Jarman’s pen pours beautiful flowery prose that just weeps along with you. This is my favourite of hers’, Katherine of Valios, raised in the mad corrupt dangerous world of the French court in the early 1400s marries the conquering English King Henry V (him off Agincourt). After the King’s death she falls for a certain Welsh archer, Owen Tudor, founding a rather more famous (if the world of publishing will have anything to do with it anyways) dynasty. Wonderful stuff.
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Because it is so good I can hardly speak. And if they’re as big a Tudor buff as they like to make out, then there will be no need to have a pen and paper to hand to keep track of the thousand and one characters called ‘Thomas’.
Due to the final part of the incredibly exciting Travelling Suitcase Library On Tour taking me to LadyFest Ten in London Town from Friday 12th to Sunday 14th November, there will be no book swap at Arcadia on that Sunday...
... or at least one that I will be attending.
However, if you love books and want to swap with other people who also love books, why not just turn up and find each other? It's a lovely pub, does decent food and cracking beer and you should all just do a swap anyway without me...
anyone who is coming to LadyFest (and I strongly recommend you do as it looks flipping awesome) then check out the www.forbookssake.net website for more details of where I'm going to be, and the other great literary events taking place.
The tour has been a great, if very tiring experience. Big up the #bettakultcha and Morley Lit Fest and Theatre in the Mill crus for putting up with me, hopefully more tour dates to come in the future!
The Travelling Suitcase Library will also be appearing at Bettakultcha V at Left Bank, Cardigan Road, Leeds on Tuesday 2 November. Tickets to the event cost £5, and if you've never been before I recommend it, its always a good laugh and a great way of meeting interesting people.
You can buy tickets here http://bettakultcha5.eventbrite.com/
Yup, I'm taking the Suitcase on tour throughout November.
I'll be appearing at LadyFest Ten in London Town from the 12th-14th November. I'm going to be setting up shop in a nice little pub corner in the Horatia during the day, but will provide more details nearer the time as to specifics as I would also like to see some of the amazing literary events happening throughout the festival...
More details can be found here http://forbookssake.net/ladyfest/, or just give us a tweet @BookElfLeeds and I'll let you know!
So very excited, may have to get t-shirts...
We are very very excited this month as not only will the Travelling Suitcase Library be in Arcadia, our usual lovely home, on the 10th October from about 5 ish for all your booky needs, but we are going On Tour!
Morley Lit Fest has very kindly invited us to facilitate (is that the word? I don't work in the third sector so never sure...) a book swap event on Sunday 17th October in the Cucina Cafe Bar in Morley from about 3 ish.
I'm really looking forward to the festival, as its going to be aceness itself, especially looking forward to Barbara Taylor Bradford, who has always been a bit of a legend.
Hope to see lots of you there supporting Leeds Lit Fests!
The Travelling Suitcase Library
The Amazing Portable Book Swap
Arcadia Bar, Headingley
Sunday 12th September From around 4 ish
Bring your tomes! Discover new classics! Make new friends! Have long winded arguments about Hunter S Thompson!
As seen in The Leeds Guide, Headingley Life and Bettakultcha III,
A Brand New, Totally Original, Environmentally Friendly and generally all round save-the-worldly library service operated out of a NOW BIGGER SUITCASE!
EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org or TWEET @BookElfLeeds for details
Will be in Arcadia Ale and Wine Bar
Oh Sunday 15th August
From 5-8 ish
Bring Your Tomes! (and take some away!)
Feeling severally hormonal, having previously wept at the picture of the mummy oranutang kissing the baby oranutang better, yesterday was not good day to finish reading Fannie Flagg's latest book, Can't Wait to Get to Heaven on the train home.
I was inspired to read the book after watching the adaptation of Flagg's 1987 novel, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe with N last week. This is a beautiful film, of an even more beautiful book. Flagg's style is good ol' fashioned Americana (think Steel Magnolias meets, well Steel Magnolias I guess!), conversational, slightly saga-esque. If she were British, she's be writing about apple orchards and village greens (very much like the excellent and very readable Apple Tree Lean Down by Mary E Pearce), if she were Irish, she'd be a slightly more flippant Meave Binchey.
I have read four of her books, my favourite being Standing in the Rainbow, a sprawling tale of 50s Missouri, which carries on with the same characters from her earlier book, Welcome to the World Baby Girl (excellent story about the treatment of people of colour in America over the past 50 years, masquerading as a hard-working-girl-discovers-the-best-things-in-life-are-free-er). Set in Elmwood Spring, Missouri, a town which is just about as nostalgically twee as you can get, the book revolves around the family and friends of possibly one of my favourite characters, Neighbour Dorothy, who runs her own radio show from her sitting room. Flagg celebrates the richness of life (horrid cliche) and celebrates how hard-work, and an appreciation for the good times, makes for strong communities and friendships. Although the plot meanders along at no particular rate, a characteristic found in Can't Wait to Get to Heaven, you'd be surprised how affecting the style is, how much you fall in love with the characters (even the annoying ones) and how much you blub yourself silly at the end. Just like Steel Magnolias, in fact! (God that a good film I've not seen in a long time, N? Whatdaya say?)
Fried Green Tomatoes is probably her 'best' of the books I've read. I especially love her character Evelyn dealing with the menopause 'I'm too old to by young and I'm to young to be old'. Trouble is, I feel that way most of the time and I'm 25. And defiantly not menopausal. I may cry at samsung ads (when the dad is filming his daughter on the beach and gets that look in his eye which you just know means he doesn't see her as much as he wants...oh God I'm actually welling up as we speak), but its not for want of lady-mones. The film is just plain brilliant, and stars my namesake Jessica Tandy, so next time your having a girly sleepover, rent it. But make sure you have plenty of tissues.
The next Travelling Suitcase Library and Amazing Portable Book Swap will be in Arcadia on the 11th July from 3 till about 7 ish.
Oxfam are having a book fest at Nation of Shapkeepers the same day- so please please go to both. If you have to pick one, pick them!
I'm also presenting the TSL at Bettakultcha III on the Tuesday, I think tickets for the event are still available, will let you know
Hope to see you soon (unless you can only dedicate yourself to one thing on the Sunday, then I won't, because you'll be supporting Oxfam, won't you?)
The Suitcase Library will be at Arcadia Bar on
Sunday 13th June
to host a lovely afternoon of messing about in books! Bring your tomes for swapping, sharing, and general book related chit chat.
Anyone wanting to bring donations for the library more than welcome, any I can't fit in the suitcase I shall happily take to a charity shop on your behalf!
Hopefully see lots of you there!
So... a poem off is it? Eh Niamh? Bring it on...
this is one of the best loves poems I've ever read. I saw it perfomed by JCC who is this insane punk with skinny legs at Halifax GCSE poetry slam many many moons ago, it should be screamed at the audience very fast.
I wanna be your vacuum cleaner
Breathing in your dust,
I wanna be your Ford Cortina
I will never rust,
If you like your coffee hot
Let me be your coffee pot,
You call the shots,
I wanna be yours.
I wanna be your raincoat
For those frequent rainy days,
I wanna be your dreamboat
When you want to sail away,
Let me be your teddy bear
Take me with you anywhere,
I don't care,
I wanna be yours.
I wanna be your electric meter
I will not run out,
I wanna be the electric heater
You'll get cold without,
I wanna be your setting lotion
Hold your hair in deep devotion,
Deep as the deep Atlantic ocean
That's how deep is my devotion.
Deep deep deep de deep deep de deep deep
I don't wanna be her's
I wanna be yours!
A HUGE Thank you to the lovely people at Headingley Lit Fest for inviting me to the very entertaining evening of poetry last Friday. A few people were interested in the library, but I clearly need more promotional material! Really enjoyed all the poets, especially Helen Burke, and the sausage rolls!
I'm going to be in Arcadia Bar on Sunday 11 April from about 3 ish, and will hopefully have some more dates in my diary before then...
Lookign forward this week to seeing David Peace talk at The New Headingley Club, St Michael's Road Headingley this Saturday and reading The Damned Utd in prepartion.
I'm going to be setting up shop at Headinglye Lit Fest this evening, from about 7 ish at the New Headingley Club, St Michael's Road, Headingley. Hope to see lots of lovely book lovers there!
This week I have been reading 'The Oaken Throne' by Robin Jarvis, blast from the past!
Had a really good night in Arcadia on Thursday- honestly nothing to do with the 2 pints of Black and Tam (which were very nice...)
Met loads of lovely people who all love books and were very excited about borrowing books in a pub! Also have been invited to set up my stall at Headingley Lit Fest which will be great- really looking forward to that.
Reading wise- I'm just nearly finished Andrew Pepper's Pkye myseteries, which are set in 1830s London- v.g.
Will be back in Arcadia on the 14th March, see you all then!
I'm really looking forward to World Book Day, which is on Thursday 4th March. Not only do I get to read the new Quick Reads (seeing as not aloud to put them on the selves until then!) but I also get to spend the evening in my favourite pub talking about loads of lovely books with really great people!
Yes, the Travelling Suitcase Library will be in Arcadia (of course!) from about 7ish, I'm filling up my suitcase with loads of brand spanking new titles from tomorrow pay-weekend charity shop binge... watch out Headingley here I come!
Also...tiny plug, there is going to be a kilo-vintage sale in the Methodist Church hall opposite the Arndale Centre tomorrow, and last time I went I left feel very glam, but also very broke! Great stuff to be found shoppers!
See you all on Thursday!
Thank you to everyone who had a look at the display, and to those who borrowed books hello! I hope you enjoy!
Arcadia is one of my favourite places in Leeds, I will be there on the 2nd Sunday of every month from about 3 o'clock ish, but will let you all know if there is a date I'm not going to be able to make.
Popular titles seem to be history/ social history based, so I will be adding more to the stock in future! Remember any donations to the cause are more than welcome, especially if it's something you think people should be reading.
A lot of people were amazed I was doing this for free. Let me say it again; this service is completely free, and always will be. I do not make any money from this, I am not applying for any government grants or local community funding because I don't need it, I would be buying the books anyway, you might as well share them with me! I don't need to be paid by your taxes to sit in a pub drinking tea on a Sunday afternoon! I am not sponsored by any particular book seller or publisher as I buy my books from charity shops (and, I have to admit, the occasional market stall, but I'm sure you can forgive me that). Any other books will have been given to me as presents or donated to me by friends or members of the directly for charity; this is not because I do not support charities themselves I just think its wrong for me to dictate your generosity, you may disagree fundamentally with a charity of my choosing and I would not want that. I try to buy from as wide a mix of charity shops as possible; so far the books in the suitcase are from Oxfam, the RSPCA, the British Heart Foundation, Sue Ryder Homes and St Catherine's Hospice (who I will always always support as they are angels), the PDSA, Martin's House, Mind, Scope and a whole host of local charities such as the Leeds Varieties shop in the town centre.
If you have any moral objections to any of the charities, please let me know. I will try not to let you borrow a book that has been bought from one of them, but I can't be absolutely sure, so please don't be cross with me! If there is anything major concerning one of my suppliers that I should know about, please email me, I desperately don't want to make anyone else's life harder by doing this and I don't want to find out I'm giving money to a cause that would not use it wisely.
If you work in a nice pub or cafe or anything at all where you think my services would be welcome, please email me and let me know- I am free most weekends (apart from the first and second Sundays of the month) and can do evenings after 7 o'clock ish, though cannot I'm afraid do late nights on a school night. All I ask is a chair, a table and the occasional cup of tea!