Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

bookshelves: radio-4, summer-2012, cover-hate, chick-lit, epistolatory-diary-blog, amusing, published-2012, women, abandoned

Read from June 30 to July 07, 2012

blurb – Maria Semple’s brilliantly comic debut novel about misplaced genius and mother-daughter love, starring Miranda Richardson, Lydia Wilson, Richard Laing and Madeleine Potter.

When 15 year old Bee wins perfect grades, she calls in her parents’ promise of a graduation present of ‘anything she wants’. This turns out to be a family trip to Antarctica – a prospect that will challenge her mother Bernadette’s agoraphobia and social reclusiveness.

Bernadette ….. Miranda Richardson
Bee …. Lydia Wilson
Elgin …. Richard Laing
Audrey …. Madeleine Potter
Adapted by Miranda Davies Produced/ directed by Emma Harding

About the author: Maria Semple has written for television shows including Arrested Development, Mad About You, and Ellen. She lives with her family on an island off Seattle. This is her first novel.

Opening music: ‘My Wandering Days Are Over’, from the album ‘Tigermilk’ by Belle & Sebastian, Jeepster Recordings Ltd, 1999

Closing music: ‘Expectations’, from the album ‘Tigermilk’ by Belle & Sebastian, Jeepster Recordings Ltd, 1999

What chaos – not for me.

Sir Thursday

bookshelves: adventure, fantasy, fraudio, published-2006, young-adult

Read in September, 2009

It’s been a good couple of years since I read Mister Monday, Grim Tuesday and Drowned Wednesday that I was a little worried that I would have to skim re-reads but it’s panning out quite well. Of course, I have since read Bartimaeus and Skulduggery so now this Key to the Kingdom series seems mediocre in comparison but fine enough to accompany on my walking and working regime.

Donovan’s Reef by John Wayne

bookshelves: film-only, autumn-2014, published-1989

Read on September 29, 2014

Description: ‘Guns’ Donovan prefers carousing with his pals Doc Dedham and ‘Boats’ Gilhooley, until Dedham’s high-society daughter Amelia shows up in their South Seas paradise.

John Wayne as Michael Patrick “Guns” Donovan
Elizabeth Allen as Amelia Dedham
Jacqueline Malouf as Lelani Dedham, Dr. Dedham’s second daughter, hereditary ruler of the island
Lee Marvin as Thomas Aloysius “Boats” Gilhooley
Jack Warden as Dr. William Dedham
Cesar Romero as Marquis Andre de Lage, the French governor of the island
Dorothy Lamour as Miss Lafleur, Gilhooley’s sometime girlfriend
Cherylene Lee as Sally Dedham, Dr. Dedham’s younger daughter
Jeffrey Byron as Luke Dedham, the doctor’s son and youngest child
Marcel Dalio as Father Cluzeot
Mike Mazurki as the Police Constable

Denmark Hill by Alan Bennett

bookshelves: autumn-2014, play-dramatisation, willsphernalia

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Read from September 27 to 28, 2014


Description: Alan Bennett’s idiosyncratic take on the Hamlet story adapted for radio. Seen largely through the beady eyes of a 15 year old schoolgirl, this is Bennett in black comedy mode.

The play is set in a leafy south London suburb, in the year of an election. Gwen’s husband, Frank, lies ill in bed upstairs while downstairs Harriet, her daughter, is struggling with an essay on “Shakespeare’s view of the family”. In the aftermath of Frank’s death we slowly realise we are being drawn into a strangely familiar story – a suburban Hamlet. In different guises here come Claudius, Gertrude, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Polonius and Ophelia. Even the players play their part.

Denmark Hill was originally written as an uncommissioned TV/film screenplay in 1981/2. For whatever reasons, Bennett can’t remember, he kept it in a drawer until it went with all his papers to the Bodleian library for archival storage. Honor Borwick urged Tristram Powell, with Bennett’s permission, to search the archives. At last Powell unearthed the hand typed script.

Denmark Hill is Bennett’s own kind of observational comedy, the Hamlet connections are never heavy, just lightly touched on. It is narrated by Alan Bennett, directed by Tristram Powell, adapted for radio by Honor Borwick and produced by Marilyn Imrie.
Produced by Marilyn Imrie
A Catherine Bailey Production for BBC Radio 4

We Are Watching Something Terrible Happening by Lavinia Greenlaw

bookshelves: autumn-2014, published-2013, radio-4, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, sciences

Read on September 26, 2014


Description: Claire Skinner reads the fifth story in contention for this prestigious award. Love and science collide in this haunting story about the chaos of a disintegrating relationship, a civil war and the trajectory of meteorites.
Written by Lavinia Greenlaw
Produced by Elizabeth Allard.


2.5* Bad Dreams by Tessa Hadley
3* The American Lover by Rose Tremain
3.5* The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Francesca Rhydderch
4* Miss Adele amidst the Corsets by Zadie Smith
3.5* Kilifi Creek by Lionel Shriver


2* Preposition by Lionel Shriver
3* Barmouth by Lisa Blower
4* Mrs Fox by Sarah Hall
3* Notes From the House Spirits by Lucy Wood
3* We Are Watching Something Terrible Happening by Lavinia Greenlaw

Kilifi Creek by Lionel Shriver

bookshelves: autumn-2014, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, afr-kenya, published-2014, adventure

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Read from September 23 to 26, 2014


Description: In Lionel Shriver’s shortlisted story a naïve, freeloading, young woman makes her first trip abroad and finds herself in peril. Nancy Crane reads the next contender for this prestigious award for a single short story.

Abridged and produced by Elizabeth Allard.

Now in its ninth year, the BBC National Short Story Award continues to be one of the most prestigious and established awards for a single short story. The 2014 short list crowns a year which has seen short story writers scoop many of the major literary awards including the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Man Booker International Prize.

The shortlist for this year’s BBC National Short Story Award in partnership with Booktrust comprises five beguiling and compelling stories from a mix of terrifically acclaimed writers in the genre and exciting up-and-coming writers, all vying for the top award of £15,000. Pivoting on transformative moments in people’s lives, the stories are intimate explorations and reflections of coming of age, the attritions of time, love and betrayal. They take listeners across the globe from Wales and Kenya to London and New York.

Much better story for 2014 than the horrible Shriver 2013 entry. Looks like it should be Zadie Smith for this year’s award if my ratings count for owt.


2.5* Bad Dreams by Tessa Hadley
3* The American Lover by Rose Tremain
3.5* The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Francesca Rhydderch
4* Miss Adele amidst the Corsets by Zadie Smith
3.5* Kilifi Creek by Lionel Shriver


2* Preposition by Lionel Shriver
3* Barmouth by Lisa Blower
4* Mrs Fox by Sarah Hall
3* Notes From the House Spirits by Lucy Wood

Father and Son by Edmund Gosse

bookshelves: published-1907, autumn-2014, autobiography-memoir, newtome-author, radio-4x, victorian, nonfiction, religion, christian, classic

Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from September 17 to 26, 2014
Philip Henry Gosse en Edmund Gosse (1857)


Description: “This book is the record of a struggle between two temperaments, two consciences, and almost two epochs. It ended, as was inevitable, in disruption. Of the two being here described, one was born to fly backward, the other could not help being carried forward…” Thus begins this remarkable chronicle of the division between generations. Gosse was born in 1849 into a deeply religious household; both parents were pious member of the Plymouth Brethren, a narrow sect. This book, Gosse’s masterpiece, was anonymously published in 1907.

Episode 1/2 Memoir of Edmund Gosse’s Victorian childhood, raised in a strictly non-conformist Plymouth Brethren home. Stars Derek Jacobi and Roger Allam.

2/2 Baptised at the age of ten, lonely Edmund is torn between his father and a terrible secret. Stars Derek Jacobi and Roger Allam.

Philip Henry Gosse 1810 – 1888 was an English naturalist and popularizer of natural science, virtually the inventor of the sea-water aquarium.

Thomas Hardy and Sir Edmund Gosse at Max Gate, Dorchester, 1927, photograph from The Times.

Edmund Gosse, by John Singer Sargent, 1886