Skip navigation to main content

A Yarn and Reading Storm

Written by stickyeyes, 11th October 2011

I recently discovered Jane Brocket's heart lifting blog.

For someone who occasionally has madly obsessive bursts of knitting, who loves cake, loves reading and often needs to be cheered up, this is the blog for me.  Jane Brocket is hugely creative and writes well.  Her sense of colour is superb and she has published some terrific books on knitting, colour, cooking, quiltmaking gardens and games.  Her blog features posts on all these things, lots of cake and masses of inspirational photographs.  She is also a real reader and today has an excellent post about Dickens.  As we gear up for the bicentenary flood of all things Dickensian, here is someone talking sense and urging us to read the novels because they are great. Go and see and enjoy for yourself.

I am on my third knitted hat in as many weeks. I don’t suit hats but these are easy to knit and I have to keep knitting …

5 thoughts on “A Yarn and Reading Storm

fiona says:

Don’t mean to put you on the spot Angie, but I’m about to order another Dickens biography, and have Peter Ackroyd’s in mind, what do you think?

Good post, I’m always needing to be cheered up, one way or another. Better than the happy happy mask!

My book for yesterday’s mental health day (have I got that right?) would have to be ‘Still Alice’ – excellent and so very true and honest in how to move through this disease without the usual how-to-keep-your-memory formulas – Alice is herself, but not the one the formal idealists have – and Alice still loves and is loved.

jane davis says:

I’m not Angie …. but I enjoyed most of P A’s biography – tho it is far too long but you can just skip when you get bored – it has a novelistic feel rather than dull plod of many biogs – so I’d give it a go.

John Forster’s Life of Charles Dickens is written by Dickens’ close friend so needs pinches of salt but does contain the best thing about Dickens’ life ever, CD’s own ‘autobiographical fragment’. Worth tracking a secondhand copy down just for that. It was published, I think, in the old pocket size World’s Classics or Everyman.

Angie says:

I am not much of a biography reader and have not read the two the Jane Brocket mentions. I have read most of Peter Ackroyd’s and go with what Jane says.

Angie says:

My note above shot off before I had finished. I wanted to add that in the replies to Jane Brocket’s post, a large number of people are saying they cannot read Dickens. Some blame school and some blame the ‘sentimentality’. At an event about literary deaths during the Cheltenham festival last week, the audience were invited to laugh with contemporary scorn at the death of Little Nell and to feel sick with sentimentality over Joe the crossing sweeper. I am guessing that it would have been hard to stand up then and own that these things had moved you. It is no wonder that so many are reluctant to try a Dickens novel after being put off first at school and then by so called literary fashion or influence.

fiona says:

Thanks to you both! I’ve actually gone for both PA’s and Jane Smiley’s (hers mentioned on Jane Brocket’s blog and thought it might be a good ‘different’ kind of approach) this mission completed last night before your posts so glad I’ve somehow managed to go with some good and solid ideas. I have read quite a bit of John Forster’s and it is good as well as realising his loyalty to Dickens may have even surprised Dickens at times. But I don’t think that is something to criticise him for, just be aware of as you are reading.

So sad about the Cheltenham festival and so narrow minded an approach to any writer. Dickens I did not read at school and know that my youngest two boys (now young men) were put off at school – this had a lot to do with having to scour the first two chapters of a particular Dickens book in order to be able to show that they could recognise and comment educative-ly (Is that a word?,) on literary concepts and it bored the pants off both of them.

I was lucky enough to find him at university level although it is sad to have to realise it might not be until this stage many become aware of what Dickens can offer. Boys seem not to want the same or be unmoved by what may appeal to girls at School – sorry girls don’t mean that you are in some way more conservative but perhaps you are more likely to stay your interest a little further and read further!

Late reply as I can’t keep up with blogs unless I’m at home on my pc but, again thanks to you both for your interest and replies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact us

Get in touch and be part of the story
You can also speak to us on: 0151 729 2200
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.