The Henry Experiment by Sophie Radice

Description: A mother (Emma Fielding) fears that a child parenting expert (Matthew Marsh) is endangering his own seven year old son Henry by testing out his theories of early independence on him.

A thriller which asks whether our society bubble wraps children, whether we have the right to interfere in other people’s children’s lives and how we become parents with the spectres of our own childhoods still looming over our shoulders.

1 – When Anna finds a boy alone and barefoot on Hampstead Heath, she accompanies him home for his own safety. But she is horrified to discover that he was left there on purpose to develop his independence, by his father, the famous parenting expert Professor Horace Henderson.

2 – When Anna discovered that famous parenting expert Professor Horace Henderson had left his 7 year old son alone on Hampstead Heath, she reported him to to police. She now feels that she must start following Henry to keep an eye on him.

3 – Professor Henderson is becoming increasingly angry with Anna’s interference with his parenting and Anna’s own mother and grown up daughter make her question her own parenting.

4 – Anna felt sure that Professor Henderson’s son Henry was being exposed to real danger. But Anna’s mother seems to be taking Henderson’s side and she is beginning to doubt herself.

5 – Anna has been forced to question whether her own problems with empty nest syndrome and with the way she was raised have made her over-obsess about Professor Henderson’s son. But she finally meets Henry’s mother Nancy and is horrified to hear that Henderson and Henry are missing.

Mock helicopter-parents all you like but this is an extreme example of the opposite. I loved the way Anna ‘owned it’ in the last episode.

“the test is not for Henry anymore, it’s for me”

Life of Rebecca Jones by Angharad Price

bookshelves: britain-wales, hardback, giftee, published-2003, paper-read, spring-2015, under-50-ratings, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, translation

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Mimal
Read from January 22 to February 28, 2015
Maesglasau Valley

Translated from the Welsh by Lloyd Jones.
Introduction by Jane Aaron.

Description: A poetic work of fiction on the one hand, an autobiography on the other, ‘The Life of Rebecca Jones’ is about one family’s passage through the 20th century.

This volume is dedicated to Lewis Jones, and in memory of Olwen Jones (1917-1999)

Opening: I see my mother beside her husband in the cart, a handsome couple on their way to their new home at Tynybraich. They had just left the chapel at Dinas Mawddwy, a small village in Merionith which lies between two mountain passes.

The cover picture is The Convalescent by Gwen John

 photo IMG_0109_zpsi0sjsiyx.jpgThree-farthing and Dragonetta asked Flagon* which book should I read for St. David’s Day 2015 and he said ROARbecca Jones, so here we are!

* Flagon is Arbie‘s best friend:

Every year around this time folk get a little twitchy over the use of a spring shelf and I exact the argument that this is purely for my reading habits. The reading year is divided up into four three month segments for ease, where spring is March, April, May.

St Davids Day on March 1st, with its daff emblem endorses itself to this end and a quote used in this book expounds further this cusp of reawakening:

‘At Springtide, when weather is more temperate, and the earth begins to warm, and though a fine skin of snow may sometimes fall, it will not last long, and though frost may harden the ground overnight, it is seemly for the sun’s warmth to soften the day.’ – Hugh Lewis 1774

The African Queen by C.S. Forester

bookshelves: winter-20142015, published-1935, re-visit-2015, radio-4

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from January 01, 1968 to February 26, 2015

BBC description: Samantha Bond and Toby Jones star in a new dramatisation of C.S. Forester’s classic World War 1 novel.

Set in 1915, Rose Sayer’s work as a missionary comes to an abrupt end when the village she and her brother, Reverend Samuel Sayer, live in is invaded by the German army. Samuel dies of fever and Rose blames the ungodly Germans for having ground him down and frightened off the entire village.

Patriotically, but naively, Rose conceives of blowing up a German warship thus helping the war effort. She convinces cowardly Cockney Charlie Allnut to lend his rickety steam-powered boat, The African Queen, for the cause. He has offered to give Rose a lift in his boat to get away from the village and the Germans, so reluctantly goes along with her plan. If they manage to survive German attacks, rapids, malaria and mechanical mishaps will they be able to survive each other?

The novel, The African Queen by C.S. Forester, was of course the basis for the highly popular Hollywood movie of the same name. Paul Mendelson’s dramatisation goes back to the novel re-instating Forester’s original ending and giving Charlie his Cockney identity back!

I read this so many, many years ago, and now it come to the radio. Why not jump aboard! Also remember a film, that again must have been eons past because it was on our black and white TV. Hear the youngsters gasp at the concept of black and white TVs LOL

The Saint Overboard by Leslie Charteris

bookshelves: winter-20142015, a-questing-we-shall-go, radio-4x, series, published-1935, arch, under-500-ratings

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from February 18 to 26, 2015

Description: Murder and Mystery Ride the High Seas With The Saint and:

A BEAUTIFUL BLONDE IN A BATHING SUIT who climbs on board his boat one night — under a hail of bullets!

A MILLIONAIRE PIRATE whose fortune had been made looting sunken treasure ships — operating under the noses of the salvage companies.

PLUS A strange invention which leads the Saint to a death-struggle at the bottom of the English Channel — with a fortune in gold bullion awaiting the winner!

BBC synopsis: The haloed adventurer goes to sea in search of deliberately sunk bullion ships. Stars Paul Rhys and Geoffrey Whitehead.

The Saint Closes the Case (The Saint Series) by Leslie Charteris

bookshelves: winter-20142015, arch, published-1930, radio-4x, sciences, series, under-500-ratings, suicide

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from February 18 to 26, 2015

Description: When Simon and Patricia stumble upon a government scientist testing a weapon of mass destruction, the Saint decides to put a stop to it. But when the Saint’s arch-nemesis Rayt Marius turns up, the Saint’s plans go astray, leading one of his friends to make the ultimate sacrifice.

BBC synopsis: Simon Templar tackles arch-villain Dr Rayt Marius in a deadly struggle to save the world from an evil weapon. Stars Paul Rhys.

The one with the death of a goat!

In Certain Circles by Elizabeth Harrower

bookshelves: winter-20142015, radio-4, published-2014, newtome-author, sydney, australia

Read from February 13 to 26, 2015

Description: Internationally acclaimed Australian author Elizabeth Harrower’s novel was written in 1971 and is published for the first time now.

This tale of love, class and freedom, set set among the grand houses and lush gardens of Sydney Harbour just after WWII, follows the lives of Zoe and Russell Howard. Charismatic and confident, the children of affluent and loving parents, they welcome into their circle, Stephen and Anna, two orphans, whose lives until now have been very different from those of the Howards. But despite this, these four will spend the rest of their lives moving in and out of each other’s shadows.

‘Harrower evokes the waste and futility of a decadent class with all the bite and poignancy of F Scott Fitzgerald,’ Eimear McBride, New Statesman

Author: Elizabeth Harrower is regarded as one of Australia’s most important postwar writers, and is enjoying a recent literary revival. Born in Sydney in 1928, her first novel, Down in the City, was published in 1957 and was followed by The Long Prospect (1958) and The Catherine Wheel (1960). Her most well-known work, The Watch Tower, was published in 1966 to huge acclaim. Four years later she finished In Certain Circles , but withdrew it before publication for reasons she has never publicly spoken of. The manuscript was rediscovered recently by her publisher who felt it should be published immediately. Harrower has since received rave reviews, including comparisons with Emile Zola and F Scott Fitzgerald.
Reader: Penny Downie

1/10 ‘You only think of orphans in fairytales': over a tennis match, the two orphans, Anna and Stephen, are welcomed into the rarified world of the Howard family.

2/10 ‘Just don’t develop a social conscience now': Zoe struggles with her emotions when she discovers that Stephen is leaving.

3/10 ‘This is not my life': Anna strikes out on her own, and finds a new life.

4/10 ‘He’s not easy': after the death of her beloved mother, Zoe makes an unexpected choice.

5/10 ‘I’m marvellously happy': the unlikely marriage between Zoe and Stephen continues to raise eyebrows.

6/10: ‘It was enough that he existed': the bleakness of unrequited and of married love.

7/10 ‘No-one knows me': while Anna remains defiantly single, Zoe regrets her own defiance in marrying Stephen.

8/10 ‘It harmed him': Zoe realises that not everyone can bear to be loved.

9/10 ‘Something’s happened to Anna': the devastating fallout from the arrival of an unexpected letter.

10/10 ‘You must solve yourself': endings and new beginnings, as Anna and Zoe realise what love is.

The Saint plays with fire by Leslie Charteris

bookshelves: winter-20142015, published-1938, play-dramatisation, series, fascism, mystery-thriller, conflagration, radio-4x, arch

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from February 18 to 26, 2015

Story description: A peaceful moonlight drive in the English countryside is interrupted when Simon Templar and Patricia Holm listen to a disturbing radio broadcast from France by a would-be dictator who plans to make France the latest in a growing number of European dictatorships under a ruling party called the Sons of France. This broadcast disturbs Patricia, and Templar makes a dire (and, as events were to unfold in real life in the next few years, accurate) prediction that the future of Europe will be one of invasions and concentration camps.

The two adventurers are interrupted in their worries when they spot a house on fire in the distance. Rushing to help, Templar enters the burning building but is unable to rescue a man trapped inside. Later, he and Patricia learn that one of the occupants of the house is a known war profiteer who is expected to make millions off both sides should a new European war erupt.

BBC synopsis: Simon Templar uncovers a fascist conspiracy to seize power in France. Stars Paul Rhys, Kim Thomson and Fiona Fullerton.

My, what a camp matchstick saint! Arch fun!

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