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, September 14, 2009

All things Venetian

Well, all my plans for getting six chapters written before Athens were thrown into confusion. Because of late arrival of review books I had only a week to read and review two books about Venice - around 550 pages together. It meant I had to spend five days just reading - which felt very odd and I had to keep telling myself I was actually working.

I've written only one more chapter and my hopes to complete two more will probably be scuppered by the "final" copyedits on City of Ships, which I won't get till after tomorrow.

Last Thursday I went to the launch of Michelle Lovric's The Undrowned Child at the Italian Bookshop. It is set in Venice, where Michelle lives when not in London. I now have the book and will look forward to reading it, since the extracts read by actors Claire Bloom and Geraldine Paige were very enticing.

There have been social occasions every weekend! Two family birthday celebrated with a feast at middle daughter's home in London and then the naming ceremony of my two little nephews the next week. Both very happy events.

And then this weekend we had a friend staying. We took her to Compton Verney,which is a real haven of civilisation, in Warwickshire. Among the pictures in its art gallery were several of Naples and Vesuvius which, despite being the wrong city also had a Venetian quality - or perhaps by then I was just obsessed.

There has been so much good TV - a lot of it clashing. Peter Ackroyd's Venice, Joanna Lumley Catwoman, Stephen Fry's Last Chance to See - even a new Miss Marple. But basically when not working I have been glued to the US Open tennis Grand Slam. The loss of Andy Murray now seems so last week, since we have had the rise of Del Potro, the victory of Kim Clijsters, the collapse of Nadal and the tantrum of Serena Williams. I am poised to stay up late to see the men's final, which I hope Federer will win, though I think Del Potro will give him a good run.

I didn't stay up for the semi-final last night and missed that phenomenal shot of Federer backwards through his legs at match point. But I've seen the clip. What a player!

I am now reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which has been an unaccountable omission up till now.

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