Synopsis: It's the beginning of the 20th century; the age of scientific progress. But for Venice the future looks bleak. A conference of scientists assembles to address the problems, among whose delegates are the parents of twelve-year-old Teodora. Within days of her arrival, she is subsumed into the secret life of Venice: a world in which salty-tongued mermaids run subversive printing presses, ghosts good and bad patrol the streets and librarians turn fluidly into cats. A battle against forces determined to destroy the city once and for all quickly ensues. Only Teo, the undrowned child who survived a tragic accident as a baby, can go 'between the linings' to subvert evil and restore order.
In 2011 An Awfully Big Blog Adventure ran an online writing conference. They didn't do it again last year, or if they did it was during one of those long periods when I was off line, but the point is that the year before I won this book. And I took a really long time to get round to reading it.
If you would like to know what I thought of the book, A Wanderer near Paris has moved. You can read the whole review here.
First time I heard it: No idea. Alison is one of those songs I grew up with. Obviously, once it appeared on The Man (The best of Elvis Costello) then it became a staple favourite at every single drunken student evening and had to be belted out at the top of my voice.
A wanderer near Paris has moved. If you would like to read more about Elvis Costello's Alison then please click here.
Synopsis: Michelangelo's statue of David is renowned all over the world. Thousands flock to Florence to admire the artistry behind this Renaissance masterpiece, and to admire the beauty of the human form captured in the marble. But the identity of the model for this statue that has been so revered for over five hundred years has been lost . . .
In this epic story Mary Hoffman uses her persuasive narrative skills to imagine the story of Gabriele, an eighteen-year-old who, by becoming Michelangelo's model, finds himself drawn into a world of spies, politicking, sabotage and murder. Set against the backdrop of Florence, this is a rich, colourful and thrilling tale.
As a young adult, when fridge magnets were in I bought a David set for my friends. You could dress him up in different outfits including an Elvis one. My parents visited Florence at some point and were also blown away and finally about five years ago, I finally got to go to Florence myself. After announcing to the Frog that I could live solely on Italian food FOREVER, I arrived and discovered I couldn't eat the damn stuff for love or money. Still, the little monster growing inside of me didn't affect my appetite for art and we visited the Ufizi, Academia and wondered the back corridors of the Medici Palace. I loved Florence, and was curious when I discovered that Mary Hoffman had written a book about quite possibly the most iconic statue in the world.
A Wanderer near Paris has moved. If you would like to read more of this review, please click here.
On the 14th October just before 8pm, I was casting a quick glance at my twitter feed when I noticed a recurring hashtag: #livejump #redbullstratos. The tweets were a mixture of awe, enthusiasm and total fear. A quick google search led me to the livestream and before long I too became caught up in the excitement, and then the 8 o’clock news was ignored as the Frog and I watched history in the making. Felix Baumgartner became the first man to freefall from the stratosphere and break the sound barrier.
To be perfectly honest I have no wish to jump off anything high (I jumped out a plane once and still bear the scar the alto-meter left under my chin), but I do have a goal. I want to write a book, not in that ‘everyone has a book in them’ kind of way, but in a ‘I am going to write a book’ kind of way. So, I find people like Baumgartner inspiring, because let’s face it, if someone goes to the edge of the Earth and risks death it kind of makes writing a book easy. I’m not saying writing a book is easy, I’m just saying that I don’t need a special suit, I don’t need to travel anywhere, I don’t need a special team of scientists, I just need me and my desk.
So here’s my resolution number one:
This isn't the resolution. This is just to say that A wanderer near Paris has moved. If you would like to read more, click here