#FF Poem of the Week

Loud Without the Wind Was Roaring by Emily Bronte Selected poems

Loud without the wind was roaring

Through th’autumnal sky;

Drenching wet, the cold rain pouring,

Spoke of winter nigh.

All too like that dreary eve,

Did my exiled spirit grieve.

Grieved at first, but grieved not long,

Sweet–how softly sweet!–it came;

Wild words of an ancient song,

Undefined, without a name.

 

“It was spring, and the skylark was singing:”

Those words they awakened a spell;

They unlocked a deep fountain, whose springing,

Nor absence, nor distance can quell.

 

In the gloom of a cloudy November

They uttered the music of May ;

They kindled the perishing ember

Into fervour that could not decay.

 

Awaken, o’er all my dear moorland,

West-wind, in thy glory and pride!

Oh! call me from valley and lowland,

To walk by the hill-torrent’s side!

 

It is swelled with the first snowy weather;

The rocks they are icy and hoar,

And sullenly waves the long heather,

And the fern leaves are sunny no more.

 

There are no yellow stars on the mountain

The bluebells have long died away

From the brink of the moss-bedded fountain–

From the side of the wintry brae.

 

But lovelier than corn-fields all waving

In emerald, and vermeil, and gold,

Are the heights where the north-wind is raving,

And the crags where I wandered of old.

 

It was morning: the bright sun was beaming;

How sweetly it brought back to me

The time when nor labour nor dreaming

Broke the sleep of the happy and free!

 

But blithely we rose as the dawn-heaven

Was melting to amber and blue,

And swift were the wings to our feet given,

As we traversed the meadows of dew.

 

For the moors! For the moors, where the short grass

Like velvet beneath us should lie!

For the moors! For the moors, where each high pass

Rose sunny against the clear sky!

 

For the moors, where the linnet was trilling

Its song on the old granite stone;

Where the lark, the wild sky-lark, was filling

Every breast with delight like its own!

 

What language can utter the feeling

Which rose, when in exile afar,

On the brow of a lonely hill kneeling,

I saw the brown heath growing there?

 

It was scattered and stunted, and told me

That soon even that would be gone:

It whispered, “The grim walls enfold me,

I have bloomed in my last summer’s sun.”

 

But not the loved music, whose waking

Makes the soul of the Swiss die away,

Has a spell more adored and heartbreaking

Than, for me, in that blighted heath lay.

 

The spirit which bent ‘neath its power,

How it longed–how it burned to be free!

If I could have wept in that hour,

Those tears had been heaven to me.

 

Well–well; the sad minutes are moving,

Though loaded with trouble and pain;

And some time the loved and the loving

Shall meet on the mountains again!

Calling all budding crime writers

How to write crime fictionNew book this week, How to write crime fiction by Sarah Williams

This book provides a comprehensive overview of all the different kinds of crime fiction, with examples from successful contemporary writers in each of the different genres, and clear explanations and exercises to help the beginning writer hone their craft, and discover the kind of crime fiction, the plots, the themes, the language, that work best for them

 And find out how the experts do it Talking about detective fiction by P. D James

Dealing with the craft of detective writing and sharing her personal thoughts and observations on one of the most popular and enduring forms of literature, the author examines the challenges, achievements, and potential of this genre.

The crime writer’s guide to police practice and procedure by Michael O’Byrne – ‘The Crime Writer’s Guide To Police Practice And Procedure’ is the detective in your pocket – something you can reach for when you feel your writing needs that short sharp shock of real-life investigating

 

 

 

#10 Books set in Myanmar (Burma)

Burma chroniclesThe river of lost footsteps: a personal history of Burma by Thant Myint-U – A story of modern Burma, in part through a telling of his own family’s history, in an interwoven narrative by turns lyrical, dramatic and appalling.

 Burmese Days by George Orwell. Classic novel set in Burma in the 20and 30’s

The art of hearing heartbeats: a novel by Jan-Philipp Sendker -A suspenseful love story set in the exotic Burmese countryside, where a young American woman discovers the secret that lived in her father’s heart for over fifty years

Return to Mandalay by  Rosanna Ley A woman’s search to find the truth about her grandfather’s past, her family origins and the red-eyed chinthe itself – enigmatic symbol of the riches of Mandalay.

Elephant moon by John Sweeney – Based on a little-known WW2 true story when a herd of 53 elephants was used by a young English schoolteacher to rescue a band of orphans in Burma and transport them to the safety of India. An incredible journey filled with adventure, tragedy and love.

 Return to MandalayThe road to Wanting by Wendy Law-Yone – In the new Chinese economy in the late ’80s, the frontier at Wanting is a magnet for outcasts & the desperate. To Na Ga it represents not the beginning of a new life, but the end of the road. Will, her American lover, has thrown her out leaving her with painful memories, a dollar bank account & a ticket back to Burma.

 From the land of green ghosts: a Burmese odyssey by Pascal Khoo Thwe – The autobiographical story of a young man’s upbringing in a remote tribal village in Burma and his subsequent journey from his strife-torn country to the tranquil quads of Cambridge

Freedom from fear and other writings by Aung San Suu Kyi – Reflects Suu Kyi’s greatest hopes and fears for her people, her concern about the need for international cooperation and gives poignant reminiscences of her role in politics

 Burma chronicles by  Guy Delisle - presents a personal and distinctively humorous glimpse into a political hotspot, putting a popular spin on current affairs.

A well-tempered heart by Jan-Philipp Sendker – Julia, a successful lawyer’s story is interwoven with that of a Burmese woman named Nu Nu who finds her world turned upside down when Burma goes to war and calls on her two young sons to be child soldiers

#FF Poem of the Week

Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs

About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,

The night above the dingle starry,

Time let me hail and climb

Golden in the heydays of his eyes,

And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns

And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves

Trail with daisies and barley

Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns

About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,

In the sun that is young once only,

Time let me play and be

Golden in the mercy of his means,

And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves

Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,

And the sabbath rang slowly

In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay

Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air

And playing, lovely and watery

And fire green as grass.

And nightly under the simple stars

As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,

All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars

Flying with the ricks, and the horses

Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white

With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all

Shining, it was Adam and maiden,

The sky gathered again

And the sun grew round that very day.

So it must have been after the birth of the simple light

In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm

Out of the whinnying green stable

On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house

Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,

In the sun born over and over,

I ran my heedless ways,

My wishes raced through the house high hay

And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows

In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs

Before the children green and golden

Follow him out of grace,

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me

Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,

In the moon that is always rising,

Nor that riding to sleep

I should hear him fly with the high fields

And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.

Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,

Time held me green and dying

Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

Anyone fancy a bit of True Crime

Murder at the inn: a history of crime in Britain's pubs and hotelsNew this week - Murder at the inn: a history of crime in Britain’s pubs and hotels by James Moore’ is a treasure  trove of dark tales linked to the best drinking haunts and historic hotels across the land

In which pub was the notorious murder that led to the Kray twins becoming Britain’s most feared gangsters? Where is the hostelry in which Jack the Ripper’s victims drank? How did Burke and Hare befriend their victims in a Scottish watering hole before luring them to their deaths? What is the name of the pub where the Lord Lucan mystery first came to light? And how did a pub become the scene of the murder that led to Ruth Ellis going to the gallows? For centuries, the history of beer and pubs has gone hand in hand with some of the nation’s most despicable and fascinating crimes. Packed with grizzly murders – including fascinating little-known cases – as well as sinister stories of smuggling, robbery and sexual intrigue, Murder at the Inn is a treasure trove of dark tales linked to the best drinking haunts and historic hotels across the land.

Lady Bette and the murder of Mr ThynnLady Bette and the murder of Mr Thynn by Nigel Pickford

Lady Bette, the 14-year-old heiress to the vast Northumberland estates, becomes the victim of a plot by her grandmother, the Countess Howard, to marry her to the dissolute fortune-hunter Thomas Thynn, a man three times her age with an evil reputation. Revolted by her new husband, Lady Bette flees to Holland. Within weeks, Thynn is gunned down in the street by three hired assassins. Who is behind the contract killing? Is it the Swedish Count Konigsmark, young and glamorous with blond hair down to his waist? Or is it a political assassination, as the anti-Catholic press maintains?

 

Whatever next – clean up your ebooks

Clean Reader‘Do you like your books as they come, clean, or squeaky clean?’ A new app lets you state your preference, remove profanities from the text of your ebook, and replace them with “clean” alternatives.

Clean Reader – “the only e-reader that gives you the power to hide swear words” – sells more than a million ebooks from its online book store. Its app allows users to search the text, and “put a non-transparent ‘highlight’” over anything potentially offensive. The blanked-out word is replaced, when it is tapped, with one judged suitably safe. So in a passage from its online demonstration – “‘Don’t tempt me, you little bastard,’ growled Vyder” – bastard becomes jerk. In a slice of a David Baldacci novel, “Pick up your damn game, Bobby”, becomes “Pick up your darn game, Bobby”.

The creators say: “If there are books you’ve put off reading because you’ve heard they’re full of curse words, chosen to stop reading some books because you weren’t comfortable with the bad language in them, or if you worry about what’s in the books your children read … then Clean Reader is for you!”

 “Will some authors be offended that some of their consumers use Clean Reader to pick out most of the profanity in their books? Perhaps. Should the reader feel bad about it? Nope. They’ve paid good money for the book, they can consume it how they want.”  

Not everyone is convinced- “Edits inappropriately, doesn’t understand context. [Removes] words that have multiple uses and aren’t necessarily curse words, destroying context in written works. Worthless,” wrote a third user.

 

 

 

Fiction this week – lots of blockbusters

 

The Museum of Extraordinary ThingsThe new fiction this week includes lots of paperback copies of blockbusters

‘Silken Bonds’, ‘Love Match’ and ‘The First Rebellion’ by M. C. Beaton, ‘The Bootlegger’ by Clive Cussler and ‘By its Cover’ by Donna Leon, to name but a few.

Thriller lovers there’s loads of copies of ‘Wolf’ by Mo Hader, or try ‘The Dead in the Vaulted Arches’ by  C Alan Bradley or ‘The Skeleton Road’ by Val McDermid. – When a skeleton is discovered hidden at the top of a gothic Victorian building in Edinburgh, cold case squad detective Karen Pirie is given the task of identifying the decades-old bones. However, her investigation leads her back to past conflicts, false identities and buried secrets

Something coming through‘Something coming through’ is scifi by Paul J McAuley The Jackaroo have given humanity 15 worlds and the means to reach them. They’re a chance to start over, but they’re also littered with ruins and artifacts left by the Jackaroo’s previous clients.

‘The Museum of Extraordinary Things’ by Alice Hoffman, Alice is set in New York City, 1911. Meet Coralie Sardie, circus girl, web-fingered mermaid, shy only daughter of Professor Sardie and raised in the bizarre surroundings of his Museum of Extraordinary Things. And meet Eddie Cohen, a handsome young immigrant who has run away from his painful past and his Orthodox family to become a photographer, documenting life on the teeming city streets. One night by the freezing waters of the Hudson River, Coralie stumbles across Eddie, who has become enmeshed in the case of a missing girl, and the fates of these two hopeful outcasts collide as they search for truth, beauty, love and freedom in tumultuous times.

Just want a relaxing read – ‘A lesson in love’ by Gervaise Phinn fits the bill