Mary's musings

Mary Hoffman, author of over 90 children's books, including the Stravaganza series and Amazing Grace, has begun a web journal which will be updated roughly once a week. You can read more on

Monday, June 30, 2008

Home Sweet Siena

I can't believe I haven't blogged for a month!

My agent is crazy about Troubadour - still waiting for Bloomsbury's response. And the stravaganza website has had its re-vamp.

Am just back from my two weeks in Siena, which feels more like home every time - this is our fifth. Unfortunately not there for the Palio but I'm going to Florence on Thursday for another trip and will make it over to Siena again. I saw my Contrada friend from Valdimontone and there were lots of occasions of drinking prosecco in the Campo, or eating ice-cream and watching contrade practise their flag-work.

Before we went, I saw the Brilliant Women exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. And on the way into it admired Paula Rego's painting of Germaine Greer.

In Siena I saw the Duomo, Duccio's Maestà and loads of good stuff in the Pinacoteca, including three Simones!Also went into the Duomo and Sant'Agostino in San Gimignano.

I read all those books I bought to take on holiday. The Anne Enright was pretty good and the Florentine Death was terrible! Bill Bryson on Shakespeare was REALLy good - just very plain and clear. It was good preparation for reading The Shgakespeare Secret by J.L.Carrell. The scholarship in that was all good but the plot hopelessly sub-Dan Brown hokum.

I also read The Resurrection of the Body by Maggie Hamand, which was pretty disappointing,The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, which was highly amusing but had that old howler "flaunt" for "flout" again. Also Dissolution by C.J.Sansom. This was very readable - and reminded me of The Falconer's Knot - but I didn't absolutely love it, which I was hoping for.

Since coming back, I've finished reading Meerkat Manor - those adorable little mongooses can be really vicious. The females kill and eat other females' babies!

I'm going to take only Italaian books to Florence as I've had my assessment from my tutor and I need to keep up the good work.