PSA

23 Jun 2017 02:35 pm
lost_spook: (Default)
I'm still tired from yesterday, but a head's up (via a genealogy news feed I follow) in case it's of any use to other people:

Find My Past (one of the big online genealogy sites for the UK) are allowing free access to their main UK collections till 26th June. (No strings attached for this one, not even fake-orders to get it; only registering if you haven't already.)

Some more details & instructions on the site's blog: https://blog.findmypast.com/free-british-irish-records-2445715211.html


*skuttles off to collapse somewhere again*
lost_spook: (Northanger reading)
What I've Just finished Reading

Frances Brody's Dying in the Wool, the first of the Kate Shackleton mysteries. I did like this, but the title, cover and first person narration promise a lighter tone than is actually the case - they seem quite serious so far. Kate Shackleton is another ex-VAD detective, and they're set in Yorkshire, which is a nice bonus, and seem pretty well-researched. (In the case of the first one, I'd say maybe too well-researched or too inclined to share it here and there, but it's better than the more common alternative.)

I also finished note-taking from Maureen Waller's The English Marriage, which was very readable, with plenty of examples and quotes from letters, diaries and court cases from the middle ages to the twentieth century, mostly of terrible marriages (but not always).

I think maybe one highlight is the super-sarcastic sentence of a 1845 Judge (Mr Justice Maule) on a labourer convicted of bigamy:Cut for lengthy sarcastic summing up )

And then I also went back through The Rise and Fall of the Victorian Servant by Pamela Horn and now I have notes from it, too. Not magically, but not too painfully either.

I also finished reading Alison Light's Common People, her history of her very 'ordinary' family. It was very interesting. I think the best bit was the Road to Netherne section, following a maternal line (which had a narrower, more distinct focus) but it was very good overall.


What I'm Reading Now

Still not really read much more of HMS Surprise. I tried the other night, but they went on about eating rats, the same day as next door's rats came back, and I was also stressed so I had my Doomwatch-inspired evil rats nightmare and when I woke I knew there actually were rats nearby (even if not irrationally terrifying dream rats; it doesn't help at 4am). I am now eyeing it warily, and instead reading:

A Medal for Murder, the second Kate Shackleton mystery. It is still not light, but it is interesting. (The misleading covers and titles are very misleading! I am not able to shake them off and accept its seriousness yet. I will persevere, because they are otherwise good and it's not Frances Brody's fault if the publishers set about misleading people. Mind, I think I resent the flashbacks. It's a detective story, I'm supposed to have it unravel courtesy of the detective; don't give me flashbacks!)

For note-taking, I have now returned to Jerry White's London in the 19th Century: A Human Awful Wonder of God, which I was forced to abandon six years ago due to illness. I triumph at last! Also, it's very readable and interesting as well as useful. (I have the 20th C and 18th C ones, too, which I am now looking forward to as well, at some point.)


What I'm Reading Next

Who knows? Possibly the collection of Gothic novels I picked up in the free bookshop. Otherwise, I have mostly just started things, so it's a bit early to say.
lost_spook: (Northanger reading)
(I found I already had a title for this sort of not-too-belated post).

May was a month full of rl tirednesses and causes of being ill, so inevitably my reading suffered, or at least the precarious novel-reading part of it, did, so there are a lot of started non-fiction books, some of which will undoubtedly fall by the wayside presently, plus those I was doggedly note-taking from. There was not much reading for three weeks, and then I had a sort of burst of birthday books!


What I've Finished Reading

I finally finished In These Times: Living in Britain Through Napoleon's Wars 1793-1815 by Jenny Uglow! I was reading it for family history note-taking purposes, but it was very good and readable and I was sorry to come to the end. (If she wanted to do the previous twenty years or next twenty years in a book, I would read that as well!)

I also re-read my birthday Chalet School books, Jo to the Rescue and Joey Goes to the Oberland - always easy reads. I liked the second one best, and was reminded how much I'm not so keen on the holiday books in general, though. But, yay, collection completed! \o/

Having finished In These Times, I then realised that perhaps it was about time I went back through The Workhouse by Norman Longmate for family history note-taking. I read it quite a few years back, and realised after reading it and Pamela Horn's Rise and Fall of the Victorian Servant, that I should probably note-take from things. I always intended to go back and do those two, except I sort of thought it would magically happen somehow, or the power of having read it once would suffice? Anyway, it is an account of the Workhouse system and the lives of people working and living in it and so interesting, appalling and angry-making by turns. And now I have notes from it instead of just being permanently unable to understand why notes from it aren't in my notebook.

Also on a family history theme, I read My Family and Other Strangers by Jeremy Hardy, which is a humorous book about Jeremy Hardy (who is on the radio show I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue) doing his family history. The problem with this is that it's not all that funny (there's a lot about death in family history and this leads Jeremy to think about other deaths; also he wrote it while his mother was suffering from Alzheimers and Humphrey Lyttleton died), and he's also fairly hopeless at doing his family tree. He doesn't know what he's doing. He doesn't really ask relatives about stuff till the end, and then sort of looks someone up on the census, drives off to visit their house if he can, gets lost because he has no map, finds a map, eventually hopefully finds the house (or grave) often with further assistance, and then wonders why on earth he bothered, for which you can't really blame him. He also discovers that he hates archives and gets immediately lonely, oppressed and depressed in them and runs away from them as soon as possible if he's not accompanied by a more useful friend or relative. The bits that come alive are when he's talking to other people, visiting archives with people (and therefore actually finding stuff and understanding what he's finding) and by the end, he's got the hang of it and might have written a better book.

I still enjoyed reading it anyway, because I only know of two books that are actually about people family detective-ing and this is one of them. The other is also flawed, but very enthusiastic and obsessed. If you mushed them together, you'd get a perfect chatty genealogist's journey in print. Maybe one day someone will write it.


What I'm Reading Now

I keep sort of starting things, so I am currently at least a few pages into about six books: I haven't really read any more of H.M.S. Surprise since last time, because reading fiction is hard. I need another terrible Regency to rescue me again!

I am now note-taking from the also very readable and interesting The English Marriage by Maureen Waller and reading another birthday purchase, Common People by Alison Light, an academic's account of her family history (with a framework of her researches, but mainly a history of her family), which is, as the title suggests, full of working-class people who left little behind them, and it's very good and (to me) inspiring.

The others can wait till I see which of them stick and which don't.


What I'm Reading Next

I probably really do need another Regency to rescue me, alas, but I have none. Maybe the library will oblige again. I am planning to note-take from either London in the 19th Century or the aforementioned Rise & Fall of the Victorian Servant by Pamela Horn, because that didn't magically get into my note-book either & will have to be done, as with The Workhouse.

WIP Meme

23 May 2017 01:24 pm
lost_spook: (pg - lynda)
The return of that meme where you post random lines from any WIPs you have at the moment, because I felt like it.

(I see that I last did it in Jan 2016, which reminds me, I never did post that AAL! snippet as it stands. I should do that.)


More bondage, vampires, and fatal disasters under here )


That's four out of eight which are still the same old WIPs (and three from the previous post which I did complete in the meantime), but, to be fair, I keep writing and finishing other things in the meantime. I mean, I have [community profile] trope_bingo to finish and then I can destroy worlds for [community profile] tic_tac_woe! (I won't say nothing in the world can stop me, because some days it seems that just about anything in the world can stop me, especially in summer.)
lost_spook: (Northanger reading)
(Gosh, bi-monthly. Look at me. :-D)

What I've Just Finished Reading

The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz, which a friend gave me for Christmas. This was the book that looked liked the easiest going off my to read when spoons pile, and it was. It was a recent Sherlock Holmes 'missing adventure' type novel and ticked all the boxes and was fun.

I then happened upon three more actual Sherlock Holmes books in a charity shop soon after and got them, so I've been re-reading for the first time in years The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles, all of which were perfectly readable, yay. (I feel v proud of myself). Interestingly, with the actual books it is very easy to hear Douglas Wilmer and Nigel Stock, which helps, but not so much with the 'new' one. (Anthony Horowitz was imagining Jeremy Brett, he said. I wouldn't have supposed it would make much difference which classic Holmes model you used but maybe it does.)

I also read and took notes from Barnstaple's Vanished Lace Industry by Peter Christie & Deborah Gahan. Obviously, this was a very specific local history book for family history purposes, so not likely to be of general interest, but it was useful (and not as dull as the title sounds). It did, however, reinforce my feeling from reading the North Devon Journal entries that Barnstaple is very possibly not a real place, although I don't know what that says about me or my Granny's relatives. It could explain a lot...


What I'm Reading Now

The Return of Sherlock Holmes (I got to the bit where Holmes reappeared, as you do; priceless), and in NF note-taking the very light and readable Eavesdropping on Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adkins. I would recommend it to all Regency Romance authors as it included a short section on naming and how most people didn't have middle names. (I know I'm mean about names, but the "What's your middle name?" question is a particularly head!deskworthy point every time it occurs.)


What I'm Reading Next

I don't know, meme! I'm only on the first few pages of "The Empty House", honestly. It depends on my mood and my spoons and what I find next in a charity shop or library to distract me from the to be read pile. But I do feel reasonably sure that there will be a next book now, and that's a good feeling. (Tomorrow, the world, people! \o/)


ETA: I'm still taking questions/topics for the Talking Meme *looks around hopefully*
lost_spook: (dw - eleven reading knitting book)
You won't be surprised to hear that I have a few books on family history and how to and all that. I have two that I like on how to write a family history. One is a UK work, the other US. I picked them up and glanced at them recently, and got rather amused by their respective opening paragraphs once I had them out side-by-side:

Cut for some quotes )


They are both helpful books, (and I think both authors are starting off slightly tongue-in-cheek,), but I couldn't help sniggering at how much they conformed to cultural type once I looked at them so close together...

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