Showing posts from September, 2016

12 Books I Would Give to my 12-year-old Self

I'm writing this little blog in response to a blog by Book Riot. You know the sort of thing: if you could go back in time and hand some books to your 12-year-old self...?  So, without further ado, here's my list (in no particular order): 1.  Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne I was about 18 when I first read it, and knew I would have loved it earlier. 2. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien My young self actually thought this was a rival to Narnia, and had no idea Lewis and Tolkien were friends. 3. The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder The book that turned me back to contemporary fiction, after about a decade hiding in the 19th century in case Angela Carter jumped out at me again. 4. Overcoming Low Self-Esteem by Melanie Fennel Enough said. 5. The Dalemark Quartet by Diana Wynne Jones How did I miss her at time of writing?? 6. The Lais of Marie de France So I wouldn't have to wait until uni to know I didn't need to give up fairy

A Lady Electrician

As part of my research for my ongoing work-in-progress, the Angelio  series, I have been reading Charles Burney's Life and Writings of Metastasio (1796).  Metastasio was a poet, a writer of librettos for opera during the 18th century, who spent much of his career at the Hapsburg court of Vienna.  He was also a lifelong friend of the castrato Farinelli (Carlo Broschi) to whom he wrote many letters. I couldn't help bring caught up short, though, by a couple of letters to a Signora Giacinta Betti Onofri, who was acquainted with Farinelli in Bologna.  According to Burney, "this lady...was a poetess, a musician, and an electrician." (Vol. 3, p. 57) An electrician!  I couldn't help picturing a lady in towering 18th-century headdress and blue overalls, knocking on the door and saying she'd come to fix the wiring!   Of course, what Dr Burney meant was something even more intriguing.  On p.60, he goes on to call her: "a smatterer in natural philosophy and electric