In case you can’t tell from the dearth of posts, I’ve been busy over the past week or so. Busy doing what? I hear you cry. Well, let me tell you.

1. I’ve been reading. Reading, reading, reading. I’m in the middle of two books at the moment; Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein, which is the fantastic follow up to the brilliant Code Name Verity, and The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton, which is gripping but ridiculously long. I have just finished Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray for a school book club, which is a lovely novel about friendships amongst teenage boys. All of this reading, coupled with the plays I’m teaching at school, has made me feel rather overwhelmed with words. I’ll have to choose something mindless once I eventually reach the end of The Luminaries; perhaps the final volume in the Hunger Games series, as I’ll be in the mood after watching the latest film instalment this weekend.

2. I’ve been watching films! I adored Philomena, which gets the blend of laugh-out-loud comedy and throat-closing emotion perfectly right in its exploration of a cynical journalist’s fight to discover the truth about an elderly Irish woman’s stolen child. I also loved Now, Voyager, which is one of the films in a Bette Davis DVD box set I treated myself to. I keep meaning to watch more classics of cinema, and this hit the spot nicely. The costumes! The melodrama! The cigarette smoke! What’s not to love?

3. I’ve been planning days out for when I don’t have to spend my weekends marking. Top of my list is the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, which I’ve been meaning to visit since it was renovated. Next up is seeing Osterley House decorated for Christmas. I have only ever seen the outside, and I can imagine it must be gorgeous behind the stately exterior. I am also desperate to go to Nunhead Cemetery. It’s one of the string of cemeteries opened at the same time as my beloved Highgate, and I can think of no better place to spend a wintry afternoon than a dilapidated Victorian burial ground.

4. I’ve been walking in the countryside. The landscape is so beautiful here at the moment; the lanes are canopied in russet and gold, and the fields shimmer softly in the hazy late afternoon sunshine. When I lived in London, I never really understood the poetic descriptions of Autumn I read about in novels; woodsmoke, berries, harvests and so on didn’t apply to the concrete bound suburbs, where everything looked pretty barren all year round. Living in the country really does give you an appreciation and an understanding of how the natural world changes with each season, and I am loving our misty mornings, smoky evenings and the ever changing pallette of colours outside my window. Ode to Autumn indeed.


  1. Just got a note from my local library that Rose Under Fire is waiting for me! I love Now, Voyager; makes you want to take up smoking.

    1. bookssnob says:

      I hope you enjoy it, Linda! I don’t love it as much as I did Code Name Verity, but it’s still very gripping. Yes, doesn’t it? I want to perfect that two cigarettes at once trick!

  2. eatierney says:

    Ah, Now Voyager!! Best makeover movie ever!! If you haven’t seen Philadelphia Story, try that next. Very funny with gorgeous clothes and sets.

    1. bookssnob says:

      Oooh I’ve never seen that – will have to check it out, thank you!

  3. Martina says:

    Love the photo!
    I understand you feel sometimes overwhelmed with words – for me, it’s music. Since teaching so much, I only feel the need for silence and NO music when I come home. I even don’t listen to anything in the car anymore. My CD-collection is dusty… I think both of us should be a little alarmed: we have the great privilege to talk about what we love every day, to be surrounded by it, completely, but we have to take care that we love it still ten years from now. It’s all a question of the right balance. I try to enjoy great works slowly and consciously.
    Sorry if I imply something that’s only the case with myself, but maybe you understand what I mean?
    Your country walks sound lovely. Doing something completely different, clearing my mind by being outside and let my thoughts wander is a great way for me to recharge.
    Wishing you a lovely fall, inside and outside!

    1. bookssnob says:

      Yes, absolutely – I think for me it’s a case of still taking the time to read what I want rather than always reading what I ‘need’ to for work. That keeps things fresh. Finding a balance is so important! Hope you are enjoying the autumn and not working too hard!

  4. Blighty says:

    Thanks for the tip off about Ostrich Boys – shall try to get my son to read it. I realise I have a Bette Davis box set, with Now Voyager – must get on and watch it – only watched one so far Mrs Skeffington, and have had set for at least 2 years…

    1. bookssnob says:

      It’s a good one for boys – there is swearing in it though, just to warn you! I must have the same set as Mr Skeffington is in mine too. I need to get through the rest – it does have to be a Sunday afternoon activity for me, though – no other time will do!

  5. John and I spent a lovely July afternoon once napping under a tree at Osterley House. (And if I am not mistaken there is a secondhand bookshop between the Underground and the house.)

    1. bookssnob says:

      Where haven’t you been, Thomas?! I will have to look out for the bookshop when I go!

  6. joanhunterdunn says:

    Oh Rachel I found The Shooting Party in amongst the second hand book stalls of the Southbank on Sunday & thought of you. Plus I’ve just discovered Rosamond Lehmann – what do you think of her? Hope you have a good end of week xrachel

    1. bookssnob says:

      Oh fabulous! I hope you love it as much as me! It’s such a brilliant book. I like Rosamond Lehmann very much – I haven’t read anything of hers in ages but I have loads on my shelves. The Echoing Grove is particularly sublime. Enjoy! x

  7. Elena says:

    And reading your post your absence is 100% justified! I am also reading The Luminaries, so I know what it is like to sit down to read and totally forget about blogging 😉

    I hope you get to visit those galleries and you keep such a good organisation! Not spending your weekends marking is a major success.

    1. bookssnob says:

      Ha! I’m glad you know what I mean. Are you enjoying it? I am but it’s a slog!

      Thanks – it is tough to find the time but I am determined to get out and about more!

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