Sitting Ducks posterOn Saturday, I visited John Byrne‘s exhibition Sitting Ducks, at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. There were only two days of the exhibition left – sadly, it ended yesterday, else I would have encouraged you readers to get yourselves along to it forthwith. John Byrne has fascinated me since first I saw some of his work at the People’s Palace in Glasgow. What child could fail to love the banana boots designed for Billy Connolly? Continue Reading »

Tomorrow night I’m attending a reception for alumni of Glasgow University’s School of Modern Languages and Cultures (of which I am one; this isn’t a reckless boast about gatecrashing). In addition to – I hope – meeting up with old classmates and tutors, this is about making professional and academic connections as well. Networking is not, as a general rule, one of my favourite activities – once I’ve published this post, I wonder if I should dig out my copy of Networking for people who hate networking by Devora Zack (Berrett-Koehler, 2010)? But it is essential, and I usually find that I meet a lot of very interesting people who are worth my nervousness. Continue Reading »

I still haven’t got round to reading everybody’s – even half of everybody’s – Teaser Tuesday posts from last week, but will nonetheless persevere. I finished Joanne M. Harris’s The Gospel of Loki – which is excellent. You can read my full (and spoiler-free!) review here on Goodreads. What I did learn from reading other Teaser Tuesday-ers’ posts is that the two sentences to be posted should be sentences that come together, not sentences from two separate places on the random page.

Ragnarok, by A. S. Byatt (Canongate, 2012) – paperback cover image from Goodreads.

This week’s Teaser Tuesday of mine is another work of fiction focusing on the Norse Gods – my adored A. S. Byatt‘s Ragnarok : the end of the gods (Canongate, 2012). Given that I haven’t yet begun reading it (it being next on the pile), I will be as cursory as possible in flicking through the pages to discover a suitable spoiler-free quote to use. And here it is:

He led her to the shoals of mackerel, shimmering and speeding, and changed himself to a spearfish, a swordfish, to join the snake in the pursuit. The rushing shoal was like an immense single creature, huge-bellied, boiling, twisting and turning, green and pink and indigo and steely.

I love tales about metamorphosis and shape-shifting, so I’m now even more excited about reading this book.

Random quotes were taken from p.65

Ada Lovelace, 1815-1852 (St James Square blue plaque)

Ada Lovelace, 1815-1852 (St James Square blue plaque)

Happy Ada Lovelace Day 2014! Do you have any plans for the day? I walked past her blue plaque (in the photo to the left) at least twice a week most weeks when I lived in London, going to and from the London Library on my lunch hour, as a result of which I began reading a lot about her, and she has become one of my heroines. Continue Reading »

Kathleen Neal – my own GCMRS 2013 doppelgänger (sort of – it’s all in our names) – issued the above challenge in the name of the Monash Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies on 5 October, and Twitter exploded under the hashtag #MedFemList. My own list was as follows:

Octavien de Saint-Gelais (b. 1468-d. 1502), Translation of Ovid's Epistulae heroidum. Cognac, 1496-1498, Library of Congress Manuscripts Department, Western Section, Fr. 875, Parchment

Octavien de Saint-Gelais (b. 1468-d. 1502), Translation of Ovid’s Epistulae heroidum. Cognac, 1496-1498, Library of Congress Manuscripts Department, Western Section, Fr. 875, Parchment

Real-life friend and medievalist Dr Kate Mathis of the Women’s Poetry in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales project, admitted to blatantly cheating with a series of tweets organised by themes – primarily medievalists working on Irish, Welsh, and Scottish material. I responded with a declaration of my intention to cheat by writing a blogpost on the subject as opposed to several more tweets. Et voilà, the MedFemList Cheating blogpost, to meet my Medieval Monday obligations! Continue Reading »

I’ve been following the bibliophile blog Should be Reading for a few years now, and particularly enjoy Teaser Tuesdays. The premise is as follows (copied from today’s entry):

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

But this is the first time I’ve been true to my mental not to participate. Here be my two randomly-chosen, spoiler-free, sentences:

“Tell me more,” she would say, lounging on her silken couch, eating fruit, attended by her maidens.

“The sons of Ivaldi may not have been judged the best craftsmen in the Nine Worlds – although I still dispute this – but they are undoubtedly the finest goldsmiths I’ve ever seen, as I’m sure you’d agree, if you’d seen their work.”

Intrigued? Read Joanne M. Harris’s The Gospel of Loki (London : Gollancz, 2014). I am not far into it yet, but am greatly enjoying it.

(My quotes are taken from P.77)

Autumn Leaves (1856), Sir John Everett Millais 1829-1896 ; Oil on canvas (Manchester Galleries), via Wikimedia Commons

Autumn Leaves (1856), Sir John Everett Millais 1829-1896 ; Oil on canvas (Manchester Galleries), via Wikimedia Commons

Autumn is coming, and Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market, in those first lines heaping fruit upon fruit, is to me a poem of that season. I accept that it doesn’t make a lot of sense, as many of the fruits are summer produce, but still it says Autumn to me; in the heaping of the fruit I see the work of creating preserves for the colder months, and this is something I do as Autumn comes.

Goblin Market

Morning and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpeck’d cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheek’d peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries;—
All ripe together
In summer weather,—
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly;
Come buy, come buy:
Our grapes fresh from the vine,
Pomegranates full and fine,
Dates and sharp bullaces,
Rare pears and greengages,
Damsons and bilberries,
Taste them and try:
Currants and gooseberries,
Bright-fire-like barberries,
Figs to fill your mouth,
Citrons from the South,
Sweet to tongue and sound to eye;
Come buy, come buy.” Continue Reading »


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