Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The 1947 Club

I like online reading challenges because they are often so bizarre and arbitrary that they encourage me to read something I normally would never consider, or that I have a long way down my "Must Read" list.

I have already signed up for the 1924 Club, but then I noticed that, the week before, they are running the 1947 Club. How could I resist?

So basically, to take part in this challenge you have to read in the set period (10-16 October) one or more books written in 1947. My first instinct was to go to Nancy Mitford, but the book she published in 1947 was The Pursuit of Love, and I have already read that twice this year. It would be cheating to do it the third time, and besides, despite my great love for that book I don't really feel like reading it again just now.

So I checked Kaggsy's Bookish Ramblings and one of the books suggested over there was Elizabeth Taylor's A View of the Harbour, so I am taking the opportunity to finally read Elizabeth Taylor. I have also decided to read Evelyn Waugh's obscure novella Scott-King's Modern Europe. In fact, until I googled "Evelyn Waugh 1947" I hadn't even heard of it.

So won't you join me?

Saturday, September 3, 2016

A successful talk about Cecil Beaton at Ashfield Library

Photo by Thang Ngo

I did one of my Saturday illustrated lectures at Ashfield Library yesterday and it went swimmingly.

The subject was the fabulous and glamorous Cecil Beaton.

Cecil Beaton and Alice B. Toklas

Good numbers, which was encouraging. I spent some money, for the first time, on doing a sponsored post on Facebook, and I think this made a difference - more of my friends came than usual, I am sure because they had noticed the post. Not sure it had any impact in bringing in new faces, though, but there were certainly plenty there.

I was happy to note quite a few people who usually only go to weekday sessions coming along to a Saturday morning talk, so that was good.

The celebrity-studded audience included Women's Weekly astrologer Jessica Adams, Lindfield Bookshop owner Scott Whitmont, lecturer and literary historian Joanna Penglase and writer and guru Maggie Hamilton.

The talk went seamlessly, except for one slip-up where I showed a slide and said it was Greta Garbo when it was in fact Katharine Hepburn. Embarrassing :-) But they were a forgiving crowd, and I soon got over that little slip up.

These talks take  up a lot of time and requires hours and hours of reading a research, so I am glad that people come along and enjoy them. These kinds of activities are an increasingly important part of the public service that libraries offer their communities, but they can only continue if people actually support them. To see so many there yesterday was heartening indeed. The program at Ashfield Library is particularly good, rich and varied - do check it out, and do schedule in all of the amazing talks and activities you can.

On that note, here are some of my upcoming activities at Ashfield Library:

Hope to see you there!