Memoranda Turns Ten

Ten years ago today, I started this blog with a post about how I learned to hate poetry. Three hundred and twenty-one posts and about two hundred thousand words later, here I am, still blogging, although far less frequently than at the start.

Here’s a selection of Memoranda posts from the past decade.

'Friday's Tunnel' by John Verney

First, ten discussions about children’s books, in no particular order:

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

Friday’s Tunnel by John Verney

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay

Autumn Term by Antonia Forest

The Years of Grace and Growing Up Gracefully by Noel Streatfeild

Peter’s Room by Antonia Forest

Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kästner

End of Term by Antonia Forest

The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard

And ten discussions about favourite novels and novelists:

The Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard

Anne Tyler And Her Novels

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

The Mapp and Lucia Novels by E. F. Benson

The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

What I’ve Been Reading: Muriel Spark

Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead by Paula Byrne

Careful, He Might Hear You by Sumner Locke Elliott

Dear Dodie: The Life of Dodie Smith by Valerie Grove

Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford and Meet the Mitfords

The lost art of letter writing

Here are ten posts about writing:

How To Write a Novel, about writing advice

Same Book, But Different, on editing books for different countries

Book Banned, Author Bemused – my book got banned in the US!

Five Ways in Which Writing a Novel is Like Making a Quilt

Writing About Place

The Creative Vision Versus the Marketing Department

Goatbusters, or How The Writerly Mind Works

The ‘Aha!’ Moment and Three Things That Didn’t Happen In The Montmaray Journals

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Mrs Hawkins Provides Some Advice For Writers

William-Adolphe Bouguereau's La leçon difficule (The Difficult Lesson)

And ten rants about book-related topics:

Just a Girls’ Book, followed by Just A Girls’ Book, Redux and Girls and Boys and Books, Yet Again

That Gay YA Thing

Some Thoughts On Reading

Looking for a Good, Clean Book

I Hate Your Characters, So Your Book Stinks

Regarding Internet Piracy


A Public Service Announcement: Smoking Is Bad For You

Here’s to another ten years of Memoranda. Hopefully I’ll be blogging a bit more from now on, because I’ve just deleted my Twitter account.

14 thoughts on “Memoranda Turns Ten”

  1. Huzzah, I have some catching up to do. Though I think I’ve read most of these posts, there are definitely a few I’ve missed.

    I do so prefer blogs to Twitter. I think I have a low speed brain. Counterintuitively, blogs feel more like a conversation; there is something performative about Twitter that puts me off… is that it? I’m not sure.

    1. Thanks, Kate!

      Yes, I’m definitely more of a blog person than a Twitter person. I did give Twitter a go for more than three years, but I found the bad things far outweighed the good.

      Twitter worked best for me as a digital noticeboard (an invitation to a book launch, a link to an interesting article, a photo of a bird) or to co-ordinate charity events like the #AuthorsForFireys auction.

      Unfortunately, most people use it differently – to have ‘conversations’, which are really just people shouting slogans at one another, because how can you have a meaningful discussion about a complex subject in 240-character tweets? Also, a lot of local context is missing when you have people from all over the world tweeting about a topic, so it’s no wonder there’s so much miscommunication and anger and abuse. I found it really depressing. It’s a relief not to be a part of it anymore. I hope to use all that time I spent doom-scrolling on Twitter more productively now.

  2. I have found some intereesting links and articles etc via Twitter that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise, but usually I limit myself to a 5-10 minute scroll in the morning and then get off it. It can be a useful reminder that not everyone thinks the same as I do about everything, but I don’t need to be reminded of that every day!

  3. Happy Anniversary! This is a neat way to celebrate and I look forward to revisiting your entries.

    Good on you for breaking up with Twitter. I contemplate that option every day. Why do I continue to hold on?

    1. Thanks, Sonia! And thank you for contributing to the discussions here over the past few years.

      Did you know you can deactivate your Twitter account, then reactivate it at any time within 30 days (or choose to delete it permanently)? You can also get Twitter to email you all your account data, in case you have tweets/photos you want to keep. You can still read other people’s tweets (assuming they have public accounts), you just can’t respond to their tweets. Maybe try shutting down your account for a week or two, and see how that goes for you?

  4. A decade is a long time!

    I check in periodically; any chance you are doing the next Marlow book sometime soon?

    1. Hi Vee. I’ve had The Cricket Term sitting on my bookshelf since March, but haven’t had the time or energy to pick it up. My Day Job is in a hospital and this year has been exhausting. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to read and blog about it in the Christmas holidays!

  5. Hello Michelle,

    I want to compliment you on your compulsively readable blog.

    I’ve landed here for the first time, directed by Google, following a search for reviews of ‘The Light Years’ (which I’m half way through reading). I’m struggling with this novel : torn between letting myself float along with the well drawn depiction of 1930s England and a fascinating family…. and the frustration that nothing seems to be happening!! 🙂

    Anyway, I’ve spent an hour of sneaky work time reading many of your excellent reviews and going into some lovely rabbit holes on your blog. You really know how to nail a sentiment 🙂

    I’m still after a book to read because the Cazalets may need to go. I’m hoping a title will fall into my lap: well written, not soap opera-ish, not too dark, no thrillers, but some good forward momentum and strong plot. The holy grail. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Alana and welcome to Memoranda! I agree that The Light Years is not particularly strong on plot, but things do become more eventful in the following Cazalet books. Ultimately, they’re more about character and setting, I think. Hopefully there are some other novels I’ve discussed here that might meet your needs. (I also feel obliged to mention that I’ve written a trilogy set in 1930s and 1940s Europe…)

  6. Hi Michelle,
    Thanks again for blogging- you have given me lots of good suggestions for reading over the years. And I reread the Montmoray books annualy. As I reread your comments on Swallows and Amazons I thought of something I meant to send you at the time but somehow did not. When I first read the book I thought the word native was code for grownups. It takes a child to be an explorer ( or perhaps a pirate) . Now I see there are racist and classist implications but when I was 8 I did not. Still. I think that some of the time native simply meant grownup.

  7. I wouldn’t normally comment on older posts but as you’ve recently linked to Howl’s Moving Castle perhaps it doesn’t count as old? If you haven’t yet seen the film I would recommend it. Before making it Hayao Miyazaki met DWJ. It sounds as though they had a real Mutual Admiration Society going on, because they loved each other’s work, and DWJ said that he understood her work in a way no-one else had. (This is all on DWJ’s website, where she talks about the film and other things at length.) DWJ was amused by the changes to Howl’s character in the film – quoting from memory, she said something about, that’s the way Howl probably sees himself anyway. I love the film, (and all Studio Ghibli, I’d very much recommend their version of When Marnie Was There) and that’s how I originally discovered DWJ. Can I also recommend reading the rest of the Chrestomanci books, especially The Pinhoe Egg, which is funny, has a prominent female character and some truly brilliant animals!

    1. You’re welcome to comment on old posts – I leave the comments open, because sometimes people comment years later and it’s all interesting for anyone reading that post.

      I haven’t seen the film of Howl’s Moving Castle – I just re-watched the trailer and my reaction was the same as the first time! It really doesn’t look like my cup of tea, although I know it’s a great favourite of a lot of people. Hmm, I’m not sure about the Chrestomanci books. I have read a few more of DWJ’s books and I especially liked Archer’s Goon, but I have to be in the right frame of mind to read fantasy, even well-written, funny fantasy – it’s just not my favourite genre.

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