I remember loving this as a child, so I was shocked to find how creepy I found it on rereading it. The parts where Ram Dass, the Indian servant, is es...moreI remember loving this as a child, so I was shocked to find how creepy I found it on rereading it. The parts where Ram Dass, the Indian servant, is essentially stalking Sara Crewe, spying on her and crawling across the roof to enter her room while she's sleeping in it at night made me very uncomfortable - it didn't occur to me as a kid, but now these parts seem deeply troubling. The treatment of Indians, by the way, is also dodgy in the extreme...Sara remembers with fondness her old life in India where she had an ayah that worshipped her, servants to do her bidding...and slaves! I keep telling myself it was the worldview at the time, and that it was written in 1905, but that doesn't make it any easier to read. A pity, because parts of it justified my childhood love; the celebration of love and empathy over brutal circumstance, and the power of imagination to distract from drab surroundings and grinding poverty.(less)
A wonderful, wonderful book...so playful and imaginative, and really exploring the nature of reality and creativity - this goes over very well at Stor...moreA wonderful, wonderful book...so playful and imaginative, and really exploring the nature of reality and creativity - this goes over very well at Storytime in the shop. The children really enjoy the fact that Harold is the creator of his own journey - with the help of his big purple crayon - but even still, is often taken by surprise by his own creations, finding himself literally out of his depth and falling into the unknown... I love the simple but effective puns and the way it ends, as all good fairy tales do, with the understanding that his dilemma is resolved by acknowledging something he already knew to lead him safely home to bed. (less)
'Real isn't how you are made. It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves...more'Real isn't how you are made. It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real' as the wise old Skin Horse informs the Velveteen Rabbit. Sure enough, after an initial period of being neglected by the Boy, the Rabbit becomes his bosom companion - becoming shabby and shapeless with the amount of love and hugging he receives - until the Boy becomes very sick and drastic measures are threatened... A much loved classic tale of how love matters far more than appearances, with the most beautifully evocative drawings sensitively illustrating the text.(less)
Simple yet elegant recipes that place vegetables in the starring role, with delicious dishes like ratatouille, onion tart, tomatoes with rice and waln...moreSimple yet elegant recipes that place vegetables in the starring role, with delicious dishes like ratatouille, onion tart, tomatoes with rice and walnut stuffing, pesto, celeriac remoulade, onions braised with wine, courgettes with tomatoes and black olives... from soups to salads, gratins to grills, vegetables as a main dish to desserts and breads, this book covers all the bases. There are tempting recipes for pasta, rice and pulse dishes – the risotto with mushrooms, chickpeas with Turkish dressing and spinach gnocchi all look particularly good - and while this is not a purely vegetarian book, it is a must have for anyone who would like to give non-meat eating a greater role in their diet. Studded throughout the dishes are some of Elizabeth's short essays - acerbic, informed, and often very funny, they are a joy to read and range from topics like why garlic presses are a waste of time to how potatoes were seen as an aphrodisiac (no, really). They are collected from France, Italy, Spain and bring a welcome blast of their sunshine to our rainy shores, and is the first time her vegetable recipes have been collected together. Published to coincide with the centenary of Elizabeth David's birth, this sumptuous volume is liberally supplied with photographs that evoke a suitably rustic feel. (less)
Beautifully written, atmospheric setting in the English countryside, acid sharp pen portraits of some of the most grotesque specimens of rural humanti...moreBeautifully written, atmospheric setting in the English countryside, acid sharp pen portraits of some of the most grotesque specimens of rural humantiy known to man...
It's weird, though, reading about 'spinsters' who everyone around them think are dotty because of their age, to realise that what everyone actually means is the menopause. Both 'spinsters' are in their late forties, and it was a shock when I heard their ages; they really aren't that old. The things people could get away with saying back then!(less)
Enjoyable enough, especially as it was a non Poirot or Marple book. You always know with Agatha Christie that you're in for a good dollop of snobbishn...moreEnjoyable enough, especially as it was a non Poirot or Marple book. You always know with Agatha Christie that you're in for a good dollop of snobbishness and anti-semitism as a matter of course; in that regard, she was utterly of her time and class. This is in a category of it's own when it comes to racism, though. It's when the main character is on a cruise ship to South Africa that things really start to jar; the women are questioning the knowledgeable Colonel Race about diamonds and mining in South Africa, here's a quote -
What were the mines like? Was it true that the natives were kept shut up in compounds? And so on. Race answered their questions and showed a good knowledge of his subject. he described the methods of housing the natives, the searches instituted, and the various precautions that De Beers took.
The fact that this quote is such a throwaway, casual bit of the story makes the racism even more stupefying.
I still read it to the end - but it does leave a rather nasty taste in the mouth. It was first published in 1924, and this edition was 1957; the first time 15 years before WWII began, the second time 13 years after it ended. The parallels of treating people like livestock are shiver inducing.(less)