Posted tagged ‘parchment poll’

Parchment Poll May 2017

1 May, 2017

It’s been rather a long time since I published a Parchment Poll! So, here we are with the first one for 2017!
STAR READ
I first read The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in my early teens, when I borrowed this very large volume from the library. Now, thirty years later I have my own hard back copy and it has been a delight to re-read! As a teenager, I don’t think I really appreciated Holmes’ sarcasm and wit. Conan Doyle’s writing is incredible. I remembered a lot of the tales, others I couldn’t recall at all. My favourites are still The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Valley of Fear. If you’ve only seen the films or series about Sherlock Holmes, you should read this – it is far better than any of the visual productions! Though, I have to say that Jeremy Brett was nearly 100% Holmes and the modern Sherlock series is an excellent modern take on these tales.
I’m afraid I had to give up reading The Golden Bough by Sir James George Frazer. I got about three quarters of the way through it and just stopped reading. It is very interesting but extremely repetitive. In the end, I wasn’t reading anything at all, feeling I had to finish the book. But then, my friend Libby also admitted she’d once started it and never finished it either – I think her comment was “life is too short to read books I’ve lost interest in”. So, I gave up! And started reading some other books instead …
Magic meets a forgotten technology in Fire & Ice by Patty Jansen. Jansen writes in a high fantasy style with plenty of intrigue and sexual tensions to keep the reader fascinated until the end.
Having been told in the past that Ian Fleming’s books were badly written, I picked up Diamonds Are Forever and was hooked by the opening paragraphs. I’m wondering now if the person who put me off the books just didn’t like that particular genre? I actually preferred the book to the film. (The film bears no resemblance to the book whatsoever). It’s gritty, fast-paced and Bond comes across as a real person. I’ll definitely read more!
Cloud Nine And Other Poems by Elaine Patricia Morris is a treasure box of being and observing with a good helping of humour. Morris fluctuates between blank verse and traditional poetry with ease and the images she conveys are beautiful, often rural, but never sentimental. The collection is available direct from the author.
A friend gave me Honour by Elif Shafik. This is not the kind of thing I usually read but the way the book is written held me enthralled. The author shows the double-standards in how men and women are treated in some Islamic societies. She doesn’t provide any remedies, but enables her characters to find some peace within themselves at the end. I did guess the outcome, I have to admit! But it didn’t spoil the story!
Books that left no impression on me …
Midnight in St Petersburg by Vanora Bennett Nothing much really happened even though it was one of the most dramatic times in Russian history!
Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?
A word of warning – this could be my only Parchment Poll in 2017! I have moved house and am starting up a new enterprise and haven’t got much time to read at all at the moment!
© Freya Pickard 2017
I’ve started making some videos about my writing! Please check them out at YouTube

Parchment Poll October 2016

24 October, 2016

Here is my last Parchment Poll for 2016…
The Golden Bough by Sir James George Frazer
This is hard going but fascinating! (Yes, I’m still reading it!) I’m learning the differences between sympathetic and homeopathic magic and how they’ve influenced modern day superstitions. I think this is a “must read” for any fantasy / speculative writer because it shows you the variety and similarities of many magical practices. The reason I’ve struggled to read it is that it is definitely “research” rather than a story. My concentration is low still, but if there is a good plot and fascinating characters, I read the book very quickly!
I needed a break from such intense research and decided to read Catweazle by Richard Carpenter (a children’s book based on the TV series that my soulmate grew up with). It’s really funny! But, ironically, it’s all about sympathetic magic – lots of things I’d been reading about in TGB, are in Catweazle! It made me laugh!
I’ve also read Patchwork An Anthology of Poetry from The Christie Autumn 1994. Unfortunately it’s no longer available in print. A friend gave me a copy as it is written by and about people who have experienced cancer. I found this slim volume very encouraging and uplifting, even though many of the poems talk about death or the person’s imminent demise. The one that really struck a chord was Tamar Hodes’ “For My Father-in-Law” which was so positive, amidst the sorrow.
I read Selected Cautionary Verses by Hilaire Belloc in about 30 minutes, whilst waiting in the doctor’s surgery for a blood test. I have to say it was an hilarious read – had to stop myself laughing out loud because English people don’t do that in public places in front of strangers! These verses are timeless, cruel sometimes, but excellent entertainment.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?
© Freya Pickard 2016
I’ve started making some videos about my writing! Please check them out at YouTube

Parchment Poll – August 2016

15 August, 2016

Here I am again with my second Parchment Poll of 2016…
STAR READ
The Dark Citadel by Jane Dougherty If you want something different to read, buy this. If you love Celtic symbols and arch types, you’ll love this story. I even discovered a few Norse myths creeping in as well! Although Dougherty writes about arch types in her monsters and angels, nothing about her writing is stereotypical.
Brilliant prose – will re-read
The Nutmeg of Consolation by Patrick O’Brian Continuing on from The Thirteen Gun Salute, this story also leaves the reader on another cliff-hanger! Full of action and intrigue from the high seas to the prison colonies in Australia, the observations of flora and fauna are fascinating.
The Subtle Fiend by Jane Dougherty This is the second book in The Green Woman Series. It’s dark but full of hope. Terrible things happen but the main characters survive…
Brilliant poetry – will re-read
Blue Moon by Claudia Messelodi A bi-lingual poetry collection! Not only does Claudia write about blue moons, the blood moon makes several appearances too. Her writing is fecund and passionate. When The Clouds Dance by Sharmishtha Basu Proverbial without being preachy. This collection is easy to read and is one that you can dip and and out of. Refreshing and inspiring. Versions of the Self by Christy Birmingham This is a poet being honest and unpretentious. Challenging but not disturbing. Inspiring even in the sorrowful verses.
Current Read
Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?
© Freya Pickard 2016
I’ve started making some videos about my writing! Please check them out at The Essence of Thyme and Patreon

Elfje…

19 June, 2016
I’ve recently been blogging over at Pure Haiku where my guests and I explored the theme of Cancer… It’s been very inspiring and encouraging. Why not take a quick look?
And this week I’ve been blogging about my first ever e-book – The Essence of Thyme! What do you think of it? My Books
I’m going to be here at this blog for a while. I have changed a few things around including the way I’m blogging. From now on I will be blogging on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Monday’s blog will be a longer blog, such as a Freyan Verse or a Parchment Poll. On a Tuesday and Wednesday I will be posting smaller items such as clippings or short poetry. First of all I’m going to post elfje…
My good friend, Libby, introduced me to the Dutch form of poetry called Elfje. She set up a blog purely for the form over at Simply Elfje. Unfortunately she has now closed the blog, but you can still read her posts and find out all about the form. She is currently blogging at The Wobbly Dum Dum Tree…
My elfje vary in theme but I try to keep to the rules as much as possible. I have been accumulating elfje for a while and some that I will be posting over the next weeks date back several years. Why don’t you have a go at writing your own?
© Freya Pickard 2016
I’ve started making some videos about my writing! Please check them out at The Essence of Thyme and Patreon

Wednesday Words – Parchment Poll April 2016

20 April, 2016
Here I am again with the first Parchment Poll of 2016…
STAR READ
Scifaikuest November 2015 Exciting, chilling and entertaining. If you don’t yet subscribe to it, try it! (And one of my haiku appears on page 7…!)
Brilliant books – will re-read
The Little Book of Yorkshire Customs & Folklore A funny little book of quaint tales and lore. It will be useful for basing stories/poems on when I have no inspiration myself…
Wordplay by Gyles Brandreth Brilliantly written. Fascinating discussions. I learnt so much about my mother tongue. This is going on the shelf beside the dictionary and thesaurus.
Dial 174 #105 A beautiful spring and Easter read. A plethora of poetry and some interesting stories and anecdotes. The 2 poems that really spoke to me were Easter Sunday by L Grinter and Words by A Coleman for their use of language, rhythm and flow. Oh, and 2 of my poems, The King Must Die and Nymph Song appear in it!
The Servant Queen by M Green & C Butcher I was really fortunate to be given this booklet as a present. It is heart-warming and inspiring insight into our monarch. She truly is a servant to our nation.
The Thirteen Gun Salute by P O’Brian Another swash-buckling tale of Aubery & Maturin. I love the way the author tells his tale – he breaks all the creative writing rules! But he leaves the reader on such a cliff-hanger…
Interesting but probably won’t re-read
Dragonrider by Cornelia Funke Good pace to this story but I found the characters a little flat. Odd blend of folklore too that for me, didn’t quite gel.
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke Very difficult to get into. I liked the ideas but it was hard-going…Inkspell by Cornelia Funke Maybe slightly easier to read – perhaps I am getting used to her style. It’s not easy though. The ideas are brilliant but the language is clumsy. Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke Again it was a struggle to read this book. The author’s ideas are really brilliant but the story is such a slog to get through…
Mslexia 69 I like the new style and layout. The articles are worth reading. But oh dear! The stories and poems are just awful…
Current Read
The Nutmeg of Consolation by Patrick O’Brian
Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?
© Freya Pickard 2016

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