Tag Archives: Books

Guillermo Del Toro, Cancelled

For those who booked a ticket to see Guillermo del Toro at 7pm on Friday 8 October at the Cheltenham Literature Festival you are about to be disappointed.

Guillermo del Toro is unable to attend as he has cancelled his planned trip to the UK and is no longer intending to visit Europe over the next few weeks.

If you have a ticket then please contact the Box Office for a refund or exchange your session for a different one. There are many to choose from.

You can buy tickets and browse through all the sessions at http://cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature/.


It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

“It’s Monday! What are you reading?” is a weekly event hosted by Sheila to share with others what you’ve read the past week and planning to read next.

I saw this on Leeswamme’s Blog and since I find myself spending more time indoors lately I thought I would finally take part.


This week I finished two books:

  • Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett, the 37th Discworld novel which provides a great read about some new and old characters in Ankh Morpork – see review on Suite101
  • The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes which was one more brilliant story by a woman who writes a lot more than just chick lit although that is how she is mainly categorised.


  • The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver. A book by the author of We Need To Talk About Kevin. I have started it many times and although the idea that the main love interest speaks with a cockney accent keeps putting me off, I hope to finally finish it.


  • Angels by Marian Keyes
  • The Magus by John Fowles
  • Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates

Other News

  • I like the idea of the Princess Bride readalong, which I read about on Leeswammes’ blog, and will be doing that in October. It is hosted by Chris from Book-a-Rama and begins on October 2

Cheltenham Literature Festival, Meeting The Stars

The annual Cheltenham Literature Festival is bringing the stars to this South West town for the 61st time in 2010. Between 8 and 17 October, the likes of Michael Parkinson, Antonio Carluccio and Alexei Sayle will be wandering the streets and settling for an hour or so to talk about their latest work. The theme this year is Dreams and Nightmares and my suitably favourite event is Guillermo Del Toro discussing his new novel The Fall on Friday October 8. Tickets are £7 and the session is on between 7 and 8pm.

Some other eagerly anticipated sessions include Mark Kermode, Melvyn Bragg, James Ellroy, Hanif Kureishi, Alexander McCall Smith, Sue Townsend, Michael Caine and Jo Brand.

You can buy tickets and browse through all the sessions at http://cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature/.

Bristol Central Library, Waiting

Libraries and waiting are concepts that feel tied together. I picture my granddad driving me to the local High School library and waiting in the car outside. He would listen to the radio for over an hour while I browsed the book shelves and he never once complained. Didn’t rush me, didn’t mention the time.

His role was one he joked about, once introducing my dad to a colleague of his in Preston, Melbourne. A hair dresser as well, my dad asked. No, a taxi driver my granddad laughed. My grandma didn’t drive so he was the only one behind the wheel of his yellow Ford Falcon.

Waiting is what I was doing on a Sunday in front of the Bristol Central Library but I wasn’t alone. There was a gathering of us, perhaps around eight, who were waiting for the doors to open at 1pm. On a sunny day, four of sat on the benches opposite the door, two people waited by the gates, and one woman walked over to meet someone already waiting and later on they would be chatting at a table next to me about a presentation. In their early 40s perhaps they seemed productive for such a slow afternoon. The security guard in his blue shirt unlocked the chain the locked the gates and a red car drove by and unloaded a young woman who scooped in ahead of us all.

While Bristol can lay claim to having one of the earliest libraries in Britain, established in 1464, the Bristol Central Library wasn’t completed until 1906 over four centuries later. That first library, by John Carpenter, Bishop of Worcester, was a religious arrangement situated at the North West corner of All Saints Church in Corn Street. The creation of the Central Library was due largely to the bequest by the barrister Vincent Stuckey Lean of £50,000. Stuckey was born in Clifton and remained a bachelor, devoting himself to the study of arts, natural history and literature.

The firm of H. Percy Adams won the competition to build the library and the designer was Charles Holden (1875-1960). Holden also designed the Bristol Royal Infirmary (1906-12), one of his most innovative facades apparently although later covered up by uninspiring additions.

Holden’s library was built of brick faced in the best quality Hartham Park Bath Stone. The chequer work was of green quarella stone, whilst the roof and other decorative tile features were of green Westmorland slate. The structure is supported by by an internal framework of box-section girders, encased in mortar, and founded on individual massive blocks. The floors are constructed of iron and concrete, surfaced with either marble or pitch-pine blocks. This internal structure might almost said to be separate from the external cladding, and much that appears to be structurally supportive is in fact merely decorative. – Beeson (2006) Bristol Central Library and Charles Holden, p.10

The well lit areas make it one of my favourite places and the designs on the outside can bring long moments of wonder. There are Tudor rose decorations by the entrance door, and locally created sculptures by Bristol-born Charles Pibworth. 21 figures are nested in the building and represent characters from early English literature. The first lunette on the left has Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales which are represented by the Miller, the Merchant and the wife of Bath among others. The central lunette shows the Venerable Bede and various literary saints. The last one shows King Alfred and some chroniclers.

From the outside the library is beautiful and while on the inside the selection of books isn’t extensive, the network of South West libraries means you can reserve anything that isn’t immediately available. There is a new cafe at the back of the ground floor and daily newspapers are available upstairs. It’s a nice place to wait or just pass the time.