Friday, 3 July 2015

Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt 2015: Haven't I seen that outfit somewhere before?



Hi again.

I'm back to cross off  another category from the 2015 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt created by Rinda from Gallo Organico and this one was always going to grab my interest [you know how I love clothes!].

17. At least two people wearing matching outfits or uniforms
Last month, right before the Middlesbrough Mela Festival got underway [which I mentioned earlier here in my first scavenger hunt post last week] Jame's and I climbed up to the second floor of the MIMA gallery and went out onto the deck to get a good vantage point of the preparations. 

From there we spotted these tall, strange characters - all in matching outfits - being photographed by the press:
They were bird-like wearing beak masks and with huge wings which they duly demonstrated for the cameras.  And they also had a look of those figures you see in Venetian festivals ... with a hint of 'elaborate choirboy'!
Oh and, as you might have noticed, they were led by a large rooster-ish chap, naturally! But he wasn't wearing the same outfit:  
I was fascinated by how whoever was in there was managing to walk on those legs and feet which were quite clearly way out of alignment with their centre of gravity! As someone who can fall over just by standing up from the sofa ... I had great respect watching him.her get around so effortlessly!

And the idea of balance takes us nicely to my SECOND attempt at the same category ...

17 [again]. At least two people wearing matching outfits or uniforms
It was a sunny, still, and almost silent morning in June and I was working at my desk with the window open when I could suddenly hear voices. 

When I looked out I could see a child, around 9 or 10 slowly cycling by ...
Followed close behind by another ...
... and another ... and with so many of them all wearing the same High-vis vest ... I decided to reach for my camera to capture them for the hunt. 

Which was actually pretty tricky. 

The first shot I grabbed was as the last one was turning the corner ... therefore the photo didn't have the necessary 'at least two people' in it!! So I thought I'd missed out ... until ... 
... until I realised that the road they'd taken was a dead end and that... possibly, at some point, they'd have to turn around and maybe, just maybe come back the way they came. 

I'm guessing they were part of something like the Bikeability scheme [the fancy 21st Century version of 'cycling proficiency'] as they were all very well behaved, very orderly, and clearly being shouted direction from the adult at the back. 

What a nice way to have spent a sunny school day morning. I wouldn't have minded doing that when I was at school [although, that said, if it had been during secondary school I might well have taken the opportunity to just keep cycling and get as far away from everyone as possible! ;-) ]

And then there they were, back again for another lap, and another, where I managed to grab these shots from my window: 
 So there you have it my No. 17s. My 'At least two people wearing matching outfits or uniforms'. My strange collection of school children in neon yellow and people wandering about on stilts.

Practically what summer's all about then! 

If you want to join in the hunt too then you can! Share your photos via your blog, on Instagram with the hashtag  #‎rindas2015photohunt or join the Facebook group and make sure to visit Rinda's blog to catch her regular round-ups and link posts.

And I'll see you soon with more photos. 

Julie 

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

My Month in Numbers 2015: June


Hello hello.

It's that time of the month again, no, the other one; the time where we gather to us all those numbers who've had an impact on how we spent the last 30 days. [If you're intrigued enough to learn more then do visit here].

But, before we begin ... have you heard of Leon Day?

And no,it's not a long forgotten X-Factor winner or that boy who joined your class in the middle of the year when you were 7 and then never came back the following term and whose name you can never recall when looking back at your class photo of that year.

No, apparently - and I only learned this on the day itself, 25th June, this year - is the name given to the mid-point in the calendar when Christmas starts to get nearer; Leon is 'Noel' spelled backwards.

And yes, Christmas is always getting nearer [scarily so in fact] but Leon Day marks the mid point of the year when there are fewer days of 2015 left until the whole gift-giving, cheese-eating, sherry-drinking shindig kicks off again. And, if you're reading this on June 30th then that means you've got 177 days to get your list-making, sellotape-tearing, mince-pie-lifting muscles ready.

I've already made a start ...

171 days before December 1st = when I began working on Christmas themed projects for Papercraft Inspirations magazine.
I'm not complaining about the work ... but it takes a conscious shift in attitude and craftiness to face the mistletoe and holly in June! Oh by gosh by golly.

But enough festive talk for now, let's enjoy the summer first shall we?

100% illuminated = the full moon on 2nd June which conveniently lined itself up with our front window:
I'm not a regular lunar observer [insert your own 'lunatic' joke here] but how could I miss this perfectly positioned one peeking over my hills? You probably can't tell from this photo but the light is was emitting somehow made everything in between me and it look flat - giving the whole town the feel of a stage set or painted backdrop.

And while we're on the topic of wonderful staging ...

7 + 1006 = the number of episodes in BBC's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell adaptation which ended on Sunday and the number of pages in the novel ... which I finally finished! 
Even though I knew how it all panned out I was very often breathless watching the series. I loved it. Wholeheartedly, unreservedly, ohmygoodnessbuymetheDVDnow-ly. But, having read the book, I have no idea if it made sense to anyone who hadn't! 

If, after watching it, you do feel like tackling everyone of those 1006 pages what I can say is the adaptation doesn't cover everything that happens [how could it without being a year long?] but ... the majority of the scenes it does cover are very true to the text; impressively, how-did-they-get-into-my-head-that-looks-exactly-how-I-pictured-it true in fact. Enjoy!

And while we're on the subject of brilliant TV ...

  • after 5 glorious years [since 2010]
  • after 6 gripping seasons 
  • and after 78 near-perfection episodes... this month we reached the last ever episode of Justified.
There were moments during those final 45 minutes where I'm pretty certain I stopped breathing. 

I'd hate to spoil the end for anyone not yet caught up but let me just say ... if - over the previous 3510 minutes - you've invested a good deal of your time and emotional energy into the relationship between Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder ... then the final ever 6 words of dialogue will definitely have an impact! 

[So much so my sister and I considered - for about 30 seconds any way - having them tattooed on our arms! I've just watched that scene again - there's a clip on Youtube - and I still got goosebumps!] 

Speaking of goosebumps ...

AA11 = the seat number I've grabbed for when I go to see Shakespeare's Hamlet at the Barbican.  

Benedict Cumberbatch's Hamlet no less.

I know!

I can feel my blood pressure rising just typing that phrase ... and there's several weeks to pass before I actually go ... and there's no question that I'll be mentioning this to you again before then [and after then. and then ongoing for the rest of my life. In short, I'm going to be insufferable.] and so ... I won't go on I'll just throw in one more related number before I go and apply a cold flannel to face.

£10 = the price of the Hamlet tickets. 
The regular tickets sold out long ago but I was deliriously surprised a fortnight ago to win a place in a draw I'd entered to be able to buy 2 x £10 tickets. 

Sounds like a bargain doesn't it?

Ah my friend ... but that's because you haven't yet worked out what a return train ticket plus 3 nights stay in a London hotel for 2 costs these days ... 

6 inches = how much of my hair I had lopped off:
After having the same style for a few years it was time for a change! And it hurt the lady in the highlight foils, sitting behind me in the salon, more than it hurt me.

Once my 'do' was done she declared: "It's lovely. But having all that lovely thick hair and then cutting it all off?!!!!"

My stylist - who I've trusted with my locks for the last 8-ish years replied breezily: "Oh, it's what we do. She grows it and then we cut it all off again".

Exactly! That's what hair's for isn't it?

The 5 minute rule = a new Facebook hoop for page owners to jump through/ shake their heads, roll their eyes at and continue on as before. 
I tend to get more comments than direct messages to my Facebook page but people do occasionally get in touch privately to ask or share something and that's great. And, where it's appropriate to answer [and, trust me, it's not always appropriate to answer ... the phrase 'feeding the troll' springs to mind] I do so as soon as I'm in the 'dropping by to Facebook' mood. 

I had a couple of messages this month and here - below my photo - is Facebook's assessment of how I did:
I answered 100% of my messages within 1 hour.

Now, I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty good communication.. Especially as it's a page about paper and crafting and old books and silly stories ... and not a medical emergency helpline!!

So, I might think that's a decent response time and you might be happy with that if it's you I'm replying to ... but how does Facebook feel about it?

If you visited me on my 'With Julie Kirk' page last week you'll have seen my mini rant about this because - in order for my page to bear the banner of 'Very Responsive To Messages' I'll have to buck up my ideas, because here's their criteria:
I need to answer messages, on average, 55 minutes faster than I do now!

Next time you have to wait in A+E for four hours to have your elbow X-rayed, or in a Doctor's surgery, like I did last week, for over 25 minutes after your appointment time has come and gone ...

... then do spare a thought for all those poor people on Facebook who are waiting over 5 minutes for a reply to their messages!  However do they cope?

2 = visits to the ever-splendid Olde Young Teahouse [Middlesbrough]:
Once time was to have lunch with my Mam and another was a Saturday morning pot of tea and a scone with James:
 And 'H' I know you missed my cake-based-statistics last month and I know you're good-old-fashioned-English-tearoom deprived right now ... so this one's just for you ...

A slice of 'Crunchie' cake which I took away with me to have at teatime!

13 Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley = the book I'm currently reading [and taking notes from in an equally colourful notebook!]
I'm absolutely going to write a book one day. It might not be a novel as such, but whatever it turns out to be, Smiley's book breaks it down making it all seem infinitely doable.

Not easy. Not by any means. But possible. But let me finish reading this book first before I start writing my own!

And finally ...
Let's end on an event this month that combined 4 of my favourite things in the world ...

This was the scene following the end of The History Wardrobe's presentation of 'Fairytale Fashion' - can you spot Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother there?
You'll have heard me mention The History Wardrobe ladies before as I went to their 'women and the Great War' event last summer. If you're anywhere near the North East of England then do check out their other dates and presentations. Personally I've got my eye on 'Gothic for Girls'!

And those 4 favourite things it combined?

  1. Fashion ... naturally. What's not to love about experts talking about fashion history?
  2. Fairytales / folklore / story-telling. I love the fact that starting sometime once upon a time we became a species that creates tales and then shares them down the line for hundred, thousands of years to come. 
  3. History, especially social/women's history. Until they pointed it out in this presentation I don't think I've ever noticed how many fairytales feature sewing and cloth-making - all traditionally female pastimes. Plus any presentation that mentions Versailles is bound to entertain me [I have an inexplicable 'thing' for it!]. And lastly ...
  4. Public libraries!! That lovely old book-lined room in the photo above is Middlesbrough libraries Reference floor; isn't it splendid? and a perfect setting for a night of historical storytelling. 
And finally ... here's a rare treat that the History Wardrobe ladies brought with them to demonstrate the style of dress in certain versions of Cinderella ....

An original 18th Century skirt! 
When do you ever get to see something this old and ornate that isn't locked away behind museum glass? Such a treat to get up close and personal with it!!! 
It was not the kind of item we think of as a 'skirt' but a decorative front section that would have formed part of a dress when worn with another piece called a 'robe'. Apparently they couldn't buy the whole outfit and the robe part was purchased by someone who intended to cut it up and make dolls clothes with it. 

Horrifying I know. But ... erm ...when it comes to cutting up old things ... I'm in no position to judge; let she who is without crafty-sins throw the first stone! 

And I think we'll end it there!

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As ever if you want to join in the number game and share your own, you're welcome to [there's lots of inspiration and tips here if you need them]. Just remember to leave me a comment to say 'hi' while you're dropping off your link. [Otherwise it can feel a little bit like you're one of those people who just sits outside beeping the horn so that I'll come out to your car, rather than you taking a minute to come to my door to greet me!] 

And I'll see you again in July. Or at Christmas ... whichever comes sooner [like I say ... it always seems to be almost Christmas!]

Julie :-)

Friday, 26 June 2015

Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt 2015: the town centre edition



Hello hello.

Ever since last summer I've been looking forward to joining in with the scavenger hunt again! This will be the third time I've joined in with the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt created by Rinda from the Gallo Organico blog and if you want to join in too, you can, Rinda is happy to have you.

You can blog your finds, share them on Instagram with the hashtag  #‎rindas2015photohunt or join the Facebook group. Plus Rinda also blogs some of those photos that have caught her eye throughout the hunt and she blogs posts where you can link up your successes too. 

I like the hunt because of two seemingly opposite factors:

  1. that it gives your summer snapping a structure - in finding things which match the 21 categories listed.
  2. while at the same time providing you with more free-form opportunities, excuses even, to go out wandering with your camera 'just because', to see whatever it is you'll see, to let serendipity have its way with you and to capture it all on film [well, in pixels more likely!].
So let's kick off with my first round of finds. I've crossed off those I've found so far [although they wont all be in this post].
Earlier in the month James and I went into the town centre mainly so we could have curry at the Middlesbrough Mela festival for lunch. Only it turned out that ... due to the unusually high winds happening around lunchtime... the curry stalls were prevented from opening on health and safety reasons!

You'd think that anyone selling curry would be used to strong wind by now wouldn't you? [Too far?]. But I digress ...

... so, while we were in the vicinity anyway we did a spot of 'tourist in your own town' wandering around with our cameras and here's the categories I managed to scavenge from that day .. 

6. A metal bridge
There's something of the 'old Middlesbrough' the Infant Hercules about the riveted steel on the ornate Albert bridge that runs into the train station:
And then, 2 minutes away, something entirely 'new Middlesbrough' in the sharp lines of this metal walkway between buildings in the digital and creative Boho zone:

9. A tent
Three colourful promotional stalls at the Mela festival in Centre Square.

10. A college or university
This was always going to be the easiest item for me to find ... it's where I work from time to time. I managed to somehow lose/delete the photo I wanted to share - of a new building in progress - so this one  - with its funny bobbly things on the side is the next best thing:

11. A cellular tower or television satellite dish
Also on campus these were spotted at the tippermost top of the 10 storey tower building:

12. A public restroom, bathroom, or toilet
Inside the MIMA gallery:
 As soon as I saw this category on the list I knew I wanted to capture the acid yellow of the art gallery's loos. Clearly I've paid their toilets too much attention ...

13. A merry-go-round or carousel
How about 3?
Taken from the 2nd floor outside deck of MIMA before the Mela festival got started.

And while we were up on the deck I grabbed ....

16. A panoramic view, taken while standing someplace high in the air
Up above the streets and houses ... [British 80s kids I'm pretty sure how you just finished that sentence! ;-) ]. I love the outline of the hills in the distance , quite different from the much closer view of them I get from my workroom window.

So that's 7 out of 21. A third of the list duly scavenged; plus there's another item I found on the same day but I'm holding that one back for a later post.  

All in all not a bad start ... especially considering they're all from one morning/afternoon's wanderings and I've found one of the 'alternatives' in case I can't find all 21 on the main list. So I'm feeling pretty positive that I'll have an album full of summertime scavenger hunt photos by the time September looms into view.

Also before September there's June's Month in Numbers post - my regular monthly round-up in statistics - heading this way, so I'll see you at the end of the month. 

Julie 

Friday, 19 June 2015

Card making: Make a card for a man using an acetate overlay. Plus 3 ideas to steal.


Hello hello.

It's Father's Day on Sunday meaning there's still a couple of days left to make a card if you're that way inclined. And if you're not one for lots of layering or die-cutting then here's an idea for a simple Dad-friendly card using acetate.

This is the card I gave my Dad for his birthday this year:
As he's interested in all things astronomical I thought this map of the stars would be ideal as a base. And, as it's simply a sheet of 6x6 patterned paper from the Basic Grey Aurora range, all I had to do was tear it off the pad and stick it on to a 6x6 card. How's that for a quick and easy first layer?

To introduce a little more detail I added a square of star design acetate on top securing it with a few strips of washi-tape and a length of string threaded through holes I punched through the card/paper/acetate.

[The acetate was left over from the Luxury Foiled Acetate 'Rainbow Collection' that Hunkydory sent me to use in my '10 Ways with Acetate' feature in a recent issue of Papercraft Inspirations magazine].
And the finishing touch - as it so often is for me - was a snippet I'd set free from an old children's encyclopedia:
3 ideas to steal and use on a card of your own:
  1. Use the whole sheet: if you come across a 6x6 paper that has a fancy, all over design, that you can't bring yourself to cut into ... don't! Just stick it straight onto a card and you're almost done! For a card to be special it doesn't necessarily need to have lots of layers. How many layers are there on the majority of cards you'd buy from a shop?
  2. Fix acetate down using washi tape: forget about trying to 'hide' all evidence of adhesive somewhere under an embellishment wher eit won't be seen; just use some attractive tape to hold it in place. So much easier! 
  3. Personalise your sentiment by finding the 'right words' in an old book: thinking of something other than 'Happy Birthday' to say can be a challenge, so simply find yourself a book you don't mind cutting into and browse for a phrase that will say it for you. It can really show your recipient that it was them specifically you were thinking about when you made the card and that it wasn't just another generic greeting. 
And if you really can't face cutting into a book, let me do it for you - there's lots of vintage paper pack options in my shop and if there's nothing there that quite suits, you can commission your own custom collection of pages. Just get in touch and both me - and my collection of old books - will be happy to help out!

Enjoy your weekend. 

Julie

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Portable Magic. I've been disappearing into novellas: The Mussel Feast & The Library of Unrequited Love


Hi hi, settle in with a cuppa, we've got another a few books to disappear into ...

And if it's an especially portable book you're looking for - perhaps to take on your summertime travels - then today's collection of lightweight, read-in-a-few-sittings, novellas might be just the thing.

Maybe if I was a bit slicker [or any amount of 'slick' in fact] I would pretend to you that I'd read these two books one after the other as careful research for a feature about monologues delivered in the novella format by European female authors.

But slick is not my middle name. [Thank goodness. Doesn't really fit with 'Kirk' does it? And what would my parents have been thinking?!]

Anyway, yes ... back to slick planning and novellas ... while I absolutely did read these books, back-to-back, one right after the other, there was no grand plan involved.

With books [as with many many things in my life] I'm more of a browser than a planner. More fond of the delight of serendipity than the logarithms of 'if you liked X then you might like Y'.

And so it was that, by providence rather than design, I ended up reading two books in a row - The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke and The Library of Unrequited Love  by Sophie Divry - both of which just so happened to use the novella format to deliver a monologue spoken by a female narrator.

Both simply happened to catch my eye, from their shelves in two different libraries, and I just picked them out and read them. Which didn't take me very long at all seeing as how - put together they total a mere 208 pages between them!

Chances are, that after carrying around several whopping, shoulder straining, 500, 600, 1000+ pagers with me this year ...  it was their slim profile that appealed to me most!

How about we dip into them now?

The Mussel Feast ¦¦ Birgit Vanderbeke
Trigger warning: this book - and my review of it - contains themes of domestic abuse.

This book has been translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch and, according to the publisher Peirene Press it's "the modern German classic that has shaped an entire generation."

Here's how it's described on their website:
"A mother and her two teenage children sit at the dinner table. In the middle stands a large pot of cooked mussels. Why has the father not returned home? As the evening wears on, we glimpse the issues that are tearing this family apart."
And here's a note from the author herself:
'I wrote this book in August 1989, just before the Fall of the Berlin Wall. I wanted to understand how revolutions start. It seemed logical to use the figure of a tyrannical father and turn the story into a German family saga.' Birgit Vanderbeke
As those descriptions might suggest this is a lightweight book in grams/ounces alone! The subject matter is certainly heavier and darker although the harder elements of the story kind of sneak up on you as you're reading.

The lone voice we hear throughout this book is that of a teenage girl, and we only ever hear the story from her point of view; however, while no one else has direct dialogue we do hear from other people through the filter of her limited understanding and her child's naivete. Here she introduces us to her father - the character who looms large over the entire monologue even though we don't hear from him personally:

"We already knew that my father was a brilliant and highly influential speaker; he was known for, and very proud of, his extraordinary didactic skills which he unfurled during these lectures. He also possessed a very winning and endearing manner with the public, a natural charm in addition to his expertise in one of the most difficult and controversial areas of science. This endearing manner with the public softened the rigour of his expertise, and audiences were consistently delighted by the lectures and by my father himself." 

At first glance this sounds pretty over-the-top and you might wonder what kind of teenager - outside of an Enid Blyton story or an etiquette book from the 1950s - would actually describe their father in such glowing, reverential terms??  But as the monologue continues our narrator - unknowingly - reveals more about her father's true nature and we begin to realise that the kind of teenager who would say such things ... is a frightened one. One who's being controlled, brainwashed?, to not question the way of life he forces upon everyone in his household.

When describing how her mother's hands are red from repeatedly scrubbing the eponymous mussels she lets slip the reason why such care has been taken: "since my father couldn't bear the crunch of sand between his teeth". And later her mother tells the children to stop helping because: "if there’s any sand in them then at least neither of you will be to blame". 

After this our adult, experienced, ears are on alert for other alarm bells indicating just what an unpredictable, demanding, unpleasant and abusive man the father actually is.

Cleverly and rather painfully all while the author is dropping us hints about just what kind of man the father is she maintains the voice of the teenager who - like so many children who've grown up in abusive homes - doesn't realise that what she's describing to us is NOT the norm in most homes. She doesn't know that we hear something quite different to what she thinks she's told us. She doesn't know that the family activities and experiences she relates to us don't happen in homes that aren't ruled by a controlling parent.

But we do realise it. And, if you're anything like me ... you'll want to rescue her and her family from him. Get them out from beneath his tyranny.

When the book begins he's already late and they're wondering where he could be - and you too may spend the next 100 or so pages hoping that he won't return home; that something, anything, will prevent him. Or you hope that, even if he does come home, that somehow they'll join together to fight back, to overthrow him, and at last they'll be set free from his oppressive regime.

And suddenly you'll understand why Vanderbeke used a domestic, small scale, tale to explore the idea of a wider national revolution, as the author herself stated.  Maybe many of us can't conceive of what it would be like to decide to overthrow an entire political regime ... but perhaps, in this setting, we can imagine wanting to be free from an individual.

This may be a very thin, speedy, read - but The Mussel Feast really does provide a lot of food for thought. And both its subject matter and its clever [if necessarily claustrophobic and narrow] narrative technique really does linger longer than its fleeting length might at first suggest.

Strangely enough ... and adding to the already huge coincidence of reading two monologue-based novellas by European female authors ... this next book also concerns itself with notions of revolution. Not that you'd guess it from the rather cutesy title ...

The Library of Unrequited Love ¦¦ Sophie Divry
Our narrator in Divry's monologue [translated from the French by Si├ón Reynolds] is a middle-aged, over-looked librarian whose contempt for Napoleon Bonaparte - who she calls a "barbarian and tyrant" - is matched only by her love for a student called Martin who frequents the library.

The entire book is a one-sided conversation she has with a man who's been locked in the library overnight and, after her initial annoyance of his presence wears off, she launches into using him as a sounding board for her stream of thought, which is the entire book.

Here she's often critical of men ranging from Melvil Dewey [he of the Dewey-decimal system of book organising] to "men making marks in books" and architects who've historically not spared a thought for the people who need to work in their buildings [her area of the library is dark and tucked away].  But it's a different matter when she's rhapsodising about Martin; here [from page 26] she's talking about that part of his body she finds herself admiring while he sits reading; the back of his neck:
"Yes, intimate, It's the part of the body you can never see for yourself. A few inches of neck, with a trace of down, exposed to the sky, the back of the head, the last goodbye, the far side of the mind."
But it's not just Martin who stirs her passions. There's a lot of talk of revolution from a historical perspective in this book [she is running the history section after all] but it's also revolution from a cultural stand point. Some of my favourite, expressive, parts of the book are where our narrator champions the role of books and libraries within society:
"Well, anyway, libraries do attract mad people. Especially in summer. Of course, if you closed the libraries during the summer holidays you wouldn't see them. No more lunatics, poor people, children on their own, students who've failed their exams, no more little old chaps, no more culture and no more humanity." [page 62]
And:
"Help yourself, it's free. Borrow, because as much as accumulation of material things impoverishes the soul, cultural abundance enriches it. My culture doesn't stop where someone else's begins. I fact, the library is the place where the greatest solidarity between humans takes place. Humanity, in its most depressing and suffering state, the  most beautiful humanity there is, actually, the sinners, the unemployed, the cold weather refugees, they're all around me here, Knock and it shall be opened." [page 67]
I love this!!! I'm a huge fan of libraries and there's no doubt 'cultural abundance' has enriched my soul and - more pragmatically - my bank balance! I simply wouldn't have read the breadth of stories and I'd never have risked so many unknown quantities if I'd been paying for them.

But I think I'll leave that train of thought there for now ... I think my love of the library deserves a post dedicated solely to it sometime soon!

If either of these titles has grabbed you, or if you'd just like to ponder furher on the short, condensed, almost poetic nature of the novella structure then here's some further  topical 'cultural abundance' for you!

FURTHER READING:
On The Mussel Feast:
On The Library of Unrequited Love:
And on the format of the 'novella' in general [might help you if you're looking for additional easy-to-carry, quick-to-read books]:
If you do read / have read any of today's titles  - or if you've got a great novella to recommend - then let me know in the commets. 

Thanks for stopping to chat over a good book with me today. See you soon.

Julie
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This is another post in my Portable Magic series ...