The Shame Pile

My living room has a very handy built-in book­shelf (although the amount of differ­ent compart­ments meant it took a long time when I moved in to paint over the old nicot­ine-stained paint). The major­ity of my books live on the bigger book­shelves in my bedroom, but the living room houses the Shame Pile.

Categorised as Books

Hibern­at­ing & clean­ing

I was supposed to be in Austria right now running school work­shops, but obvi­ously that’s not happen­ing. Like many other people right now I’m unem­ployed as my whole industry has stopped exist­ing overnight. Seeing as I’ll be spend­ing a lot of time at home in the fore­see­able future, today seemed like a good time to have a big cleanup of the living room.

Ma Chambre

So here’s my room. I moved to this small unfur­nished flat in Octo­ber, and until the New Year I didn’t have a bed or enough shelves, so everything was in boxes all over the place, and it didn’t look great. The other room has both the living room stuff and my desk, which isn’t ideal. Photos of that will have to wait because it’s currently covered in a load of paper­work and art stuff.

Diana Wynne Jones zine

I have a zine of articles about children’s writer Diana Wynne Jones (of Howl’s Moving Castle et al) I wrote this zine in 2011, also managing to inter­view her before she sadly died (you can also read the inter­view online here). The origin­al edition was 1/​6 of an A3 sheet, made on a Riso­graph machine. This was great when I still had access to an A3 Riso machine, but after I didn’t it was very expens­ive and diffi­cult to reprint, so it went out of print. Recently I did a new edition, with all-new illus­tra­tions, in a much more conveni­ent stand­ard A6 size

Miyazaki’s Read­ing List

When I was in Japan I went to the Studio Ghib­li Museum just outside of Tokyo. Sadly pictures were not allowed inside, but I wrote about it in my zine of the trip. I highly recom­mend the museum, it’s magic­al. The book­shop was also stocked with Miyazaki’s own favour­ite books, as well as books related to the studio’s films. I didn’t buy anything, as they were all in Japan­ese, and it would take me forever to read anything, but I noted down a lot of less well-known books I saw in the shop to compile a read­ing list (help­fully the copy­right tends to list the author’s names in roman text rather than try to make it fit katakana). Unfor­tu­nately I wasn’t able to write down the Japan­ese author’s names in most cases as read­ing unknown names writ­ten in kanji is very tricky. However Miyaza­ki made a list of clas­sic children’s books (includ­ing a lot of the usual suspects like The Secret Garden) else­where which also includes some Japan­ese recom­mend­a­tions.

Char­ity shop finds

I haven’t found as many good char­ity shop items lately as over the summer, but there’s been the odd few things. I got this vase for £2, which I’ve planted an aloe vera in, for my own plant version of Sideshow Bob.

A bit part in your life.

So it’s Octo­ber now. The last few weeks I’ve been boun­cing back and forth between Kent and Sussex. Job-hunt­ing is boring and tedi­ous, and has pushed back moving house. All my things are packed up in boxes, ready to go, but the going isn’t happen­ing yet. I’ve also had toni­sil­it­is for the last week, which is finally clear­ing up. I’ve got too many of my own projects I need to finish. So not the most fun of times, but hope­fully it won’t drag on forever.

Here’s some inter­est­ing odds and ends:

Godless heathenry

The next issue of Being Edit­ors will be about C.S.Lewis and Phil­lip Pull­man. As a sneak preview, and to give contrib­ut­ors an idea of what my own reli­gious (or more to the point, non-reli­gious) back­ground  is, here is the article I wrote which leads in to anoth­er about why That Hideous Strength is a guilty pleas­ure- if you’d like to contrib­ute, find out more here

That Hideous Strength has always been a weird guilty pleas­ure. I’m not a Chris­ti­an, never have been, and didn’t grow up in a reli­gious envir­on­ment. People enjoy the Narnia books because they’re good children’s books and writ­ten with charm and wit, and they don’t Jesus you too hard (except for the last one). That Hideous Strength is noth­ing like that, the plot is weirdly cobbled togeth­er, and it’s full of rail­ing against every single one of C.S.Lewis’ person­al bugbears as a sexist old Chris­ti­an univer­sity don of the 1950s, and he doesn’t both­er to hide it. The relent­less sexism, homo­pho­bia and evan­gel­ising makes me want to throw the book against the wall as the godless hell-bound pinko lefty I am, but it’s just so glee­fully bizarre that I actu­ally quite enjoy it and have re-read it count­less times.

Categorised as Books, Zines