The back-to-blogging giveaway!

Happy New Year everyone and once again, thanks for following!

For those of you who do follow Little Interpretations, this update will be the first you’ve happened across in recent weeks. Maybe (well, probably) months. In November, I finished working as an Assistant Editor and started work as a Copywriter. And instead of reading and reviewing novels, I’ve been buried in the likes of Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Power of Persuasion – yawn, right? You could say I’ve been busy. At least, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

But with Christmas and New Year now over, I’m back to blogging. And what better way to kick off 2012 than with a giveaway!

Today, Royal Mail is celebrating the magic of Roald Dahl, with its first stamp issue of 2012. I’ll be giving away FOURpresentation packs.  Details of how to enter the giveaway will follow soon – so stay tuned! In the meantime, here’s one to whet your appetite…

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The Scottish Book Awards 2011: The Breakfast Room by Stewart Conn

Stewart Conn’s poetry collection, The Breakfast Room, has been shortlisted for the 2011 Scottish Book Awards (you can vote for it here!). The book is inspired by and titled after the Bonnard painting of the same name (which features on the book cover).

I thouroughly enjoyed The Breakfast Room, and visual inspiration really helps to create an atmosphere: it’s humorous, warm, moving, and above all, extremely clever. For a taste of the collection, who better to intorduce and read The Brekfast Room than Stewart Conn himself: Continue reading

The Scottish Book Awards 2011: Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay

The Scottish Book Awards 2011So let’s kick things off! In July I will be giving away the four titles that have been shortlisted for The Scottish Book Awards 2011 – find out how to enter the giveaway here! In the non-fiction category, Jackie Kay’s Red Dust Road is one of these titles and I reviewed it a couple of months ago…

Jackie Kay‘s writing oozes ‘normality’, it’s unashamedly honest and at times unapologetically simple. But her personal life has been neither normal nor simple, and her identity has very much influenced her work; a Scottish poet and writer, Kay was born in Edinburgh to a Nigerian father and a Scottish mother. She was adopted at birth by a communist white couple and was brought up in Glasgow.

In Red Dust Road: An Autobiographical Journey, Kay tells us about the journey she took to trace her birth parents. Her journey is a metaphorical and physical one: from Glasgow to Milton Keynes to Aberdeen to Nigeria and back again, to the forked roads and the roads not taken and the long winding roads. Emotionally, the journey is a difficult one, and Kay doesn’t take the easy route. Continue reading

World Book Night Giveaway & Review: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

There’s something about Brodie! She is perhaps one of the most complex literary characters that I have come across; she is neither likeable (her admiration of Hitler and Mussolini assures this) nor unlikeable, both heroine and villain, controlling, and “held in great suspicion”. But she is also a woman celebrating her “prime”; she’s enchanting, glamorous, obsessed with romantic love and yet aware that “the age of chivalry is past”. “Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life”, says Brodie early on in the novel. It is this far-reaching and manipulative influence on her selected pupils, the Brodie set, the ‘creme de la creme’, which forms the basis for the story.

Set in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the 1930’s, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie focuses on schoolmistress Jean Brodie and her Brodie set: Monica Douglas, “famous mostly for mathematics… and for her anger”; Rose Stanley, “famous for sex”; Eunice Gardiner, “famous for her spritely gymnastics and glamorous swimming”; Sandy Stranger, “notorious for her small, almost non-existent, eyes, but she was famous for her vowel sounds”; Jenny Gray, the “most graceful girl of the set”; and Mary Macgregor, “whose fame rested on her being a silent lump, a nobody whom everybody could blame”. World Boko Night

Admittedly, I didn’t fall in love with any of these characters, yet they all enthralled me. Their comic naivety is their redeeming feature (“Mr Lloyd had a baby last week. He must have committed sex with his wife.”), but they become increasingly more selfish, shrewd and cliquey under the tutelage of Miss Jean Brodie at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls. Continue reading