Monday, 30 July 2018

Book Reviews for July 2018

What I'm Reading


Morgan's Magic MoonMorgan's Magic Moon by Christopher Parry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fiction, 2016. A sweet wholesome story that flows easily and really lends itself to young readers following along. Check out my full review post HERE.



Man-Eater: The Life and Legend of an American CannibalMan-Eater: The Life and Legend of an American Cannibal by Harold Schechter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 2015. I found this one a bit of a slog. It's a very - perhaps overly - detailed account of the trials of and mythos surrounding 'Alferd' Packer, possible multiple murderer and certain cannibal.




The Golden and Ghoulish Age of the Gibbet in BritainThe Golden and Ghoulish Age of the Gibbet in Britain by Sarah Tarlow
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 2015. Fascinating subject and written in a very accessible manner.





Wicked Children: Murderous Tales from HistoryWicked Children: Murderous Tales from History by Karen Maitland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 2016. Interesting but very short essay on 'wicked children', followed by excerpts of research and writing from Maitland's novel.




Inside Broadmoor: Secrets of the Criminally Insane - Revealed by the Chief AttendantInside Broadmoor: Secrets of the Criminally Insane - Revealed by the Chief Attendant by Kim Forester
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 2016. Fascinating insight into the Broadmoor of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, built around recently rediscovered contemporary diaries and documents.




Memphis Vice, 1863: Sex for Sale and the Scandal that Rocked a Civil War CityMemphis Vice, 1863: Sex for Sale and the Scandal that Rocked a Civil War City by Tobin T Buhk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 2016. Interesting case studies of vice prosecutions in civil war era Memphis.




KrayologyKrayology by John Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 2016. Well written and balanced account of the rise and fall of the Krays. Bennett approached the task as a historian, and the neutral academic approach to the available sources makes for a very detailed and non-sensationalist book.




The Havant Boy Ripper: The Murder of Percy Knight SearleThe Havant Boy Ripper: The Murder of Percy Knight Searle by David Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 2018. Impressively researched and well written account of the 1888 murder of 8-year-old Percy Searle - and the subsequent murder trial of Robert Husband, aged just 11.




Hell's Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of MenHell's Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men by Harold Schechter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 2018. This was the first I'd heard of Belle Gunness, but I felt this was a well researched and comprehensive introduction to the case and the rumours surrounding it. I was especially impressed with the attractive way it was laid out for Kindle.



The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed AmericaThe Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Non-Fiction, 2004. Really enjoyable interweaving of two events - the Chicago world's fair and the series of murders committed by the infamous H. H. Holmes. Although I picked it up for the true crime element, it was the story of the fair which really captured my imagination.




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Saturday, 28 July 2018

What I'm Listening To In July

What I'm Listening To

My Top Ten tracks of the month!



Don't Play Nice - Verbalicious (2005)

Verbalicious, later going by Verse, Natalia Kills and then Teddy Sinclair, was best known at the time of this release for starring in the Jasper Carrott sitcom All About Me. I distinctly remember going out and buying trainers and knee high socks on the back of how cool I thought Natalia looked in this vid! The song peaked at #11 in the UK - her highest UK chart position to date and probably ever, given that her career kind of crashed and burned after being kicked off the judging panel of X-Factor New Zealand for bullying a contestant.




We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together - Taylor Swift (2012)

100% Marianna approved. Swifty peaked at #4 in the UK with this one back in 2012. For more Taylor Swift fun, check out THIS CLIP of Brit boyband Union J explaining to their junior member that Swifty's bearding doesn't involve facial hair... xD




The Model - Kraftwerk (1982)

I've been really into robot stuff this month and in the world of music it doesn't get much more robotic than Kraftwerk. Das Model was originally released in German in 1978, then an English translation was chosen as the B-side for 1981's 'Computer Love': it proved so popular EMI re-issued the single and it hit #1 in February '82. I like the original but the awkward - robotic - translation of the English version adds another element that just turns it into an instant classic.




What Are You Waiting For? - Nickelback (2014)

I've never understood the internet's hatred of Nickelback - if you're looking for inoffensive background noise it really doesn't come much better! What Are You Waiting For? may not have charted in the UK but YouTube keeps rotating onto it and I've had no real objection.




Sunset Jesus - Avicii (2015)

I love this track from the late Avicii's second album, Stories. I've played it way too much this month!




Underpass - John Foxx (1980)

Some more electro-pop! Underpass was Foxx's first solo release after leaving Ultravox, and went on to peak at #31 in the UK chart. I love how dark and menacing it sounds - it really does capture that creepy feeling of walking alone through an underpass at night...




This Is How We Do - Katy Perry (2013)

Katy Perry has been Marianna's favourite this month - probably because all of her videos are carefully constructed to be addictively appealing to kids and pester power - but as it's a step up from constant repeats of 'Shake It Off' I'll take it! This Is How We Do peaked at #33 in the UK and is my personal favourite of Perry's back catalogue.




Freaky Friday - Lil Dicky ft. Chris Brown (2018)

Freaky Friday is one of my favourite films - the Jodie Foster version, obvs - because I am a total sucker for body swap and general life swap stories. So this track just cracks me up every time I hear it; the first time I heard it I didn't even realize it was a serious release or that Brown was actually involved because, well, who would? (And because, let's face it, the reality of bodyswapping with a convicted domestic abuser is probably somewhat less glamorous...)




Frozen - Madonna (1998)

I was so obsessed with this song back in the day! Frozen hit the top spot in the UK, along with top ten positions across much of the western world, and remains one of my all time favourite Madonna tracks. There was a really cool fic based on it written for this year's Multifandom Drabble Exchange which hooked me right back in.




Gimme Ma Grammy - Katy Brand as Coldplay (2009)

My spoof track of the month is Katy Brand's take on Coldplay's smash hit Viva La Vida.

When I sing this song
You know its earnest, dull and long
And is there anything worse to hear
Than a popstar who's sincere?
...
So I sing this song as the band plays blandly on
But I'm singing it from the heart
like I'm a serious bloke and this is serious art.





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What I'm Listening To



Friday, 20 July 2018

Morgan's Magic Moon

Morgan's Magic Moon

Our new favourite bedtime story this month is 'Morgan's Magic Moon' by Christopher Parry. It is the super cute story of a little girl who searches high and low for the missing moon, all with the help of her faithful dog Cwtch - a Welsh word for which there is no literal translation, but is basically a cuddly, snuggly kind of a hug.

Morgan's Magic Moon by Christopher Parry

I absolutely love the stylized illustrations and the bright colour palette used by Jordan Brown. I am notoriously picky about the artwork in children's books - quietly swapping out books for editions with subjectively better illustrations is practically a fulltime hobby these days! - so that's no faint praise.

Marianna tells me the pictures are beautiful because Morgan has red hair just like her. Who am I to argue? :)

The whole book is beautifully laid out, and the text is clear and easy for little fingers to follow.

Morgan's Magic Moon Children's Story Book

What really makes this a firm favourite however is the story itself.

So many children's books fall down over awkward rhyme. Even some of the biggest names in the business have problems with sentences which don't quite flow, or inadvertent tongue twisters that have you stumbling over your words. No such problem here! It's a small thing, I know, but a nice even rhythm is an important thing when it comes to a bedtime story.

In conclusion: this is a sweet wholesome story that flows easily and really lends itself to young readers following along.

Marianna and Morgan's Magic Moon



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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

First Interracial Kisses on British TV

Hot Summer Night

Hot Summer Night

This play by Ted Willis premiered on the stage in November 1958. A few months later ABC (Associated British Corporation), an ITV franchise which broadcast to the Midlands and North of England on the weekends, adapted it for Armchair Theatre. Starring Lloyd Reckord and Andrée Melly, it aired on Feb 1st 1959.



You In Your Small Corner

You In Your Small Corner

Granada, another ITV franchise, adapted this play by Barry Reckord for Play of the Week. It aired on June 5th 1962 and again starred Barry’s brother Lloyd, alongside Elizabeth MacLennan.



Emergency Ward 10

Emergency Ward 10

The popular medical soap aired a kiss between surgeon Louise Mahler (Joan Hooley) and Dr. Giles Farmer (John White) in July 1964. This one resulted in lots of press interest and complaints, with Joan’s character being written out not long after.


A/N: repost from my now defunct Tumblr blog.
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