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Amaryllis Wins the Day

I suppose the world is waiting to hear from Amaryllis about the Man Booker Winner but actually, after being disappointed with first the longlist and then the shortlist, I have lost the will. I am sure many people will think it a worthy winner – among them CE from the shop – and obviously the judges did (although it did take them about 4 hours to decide), but it is just not my sort of book and so I think I will just leave it there. Fortunately, there are enough wonderful books arriving to make the Booker old news, such as the fabulous Autumn by Ali Smith, Days Without End by Sebastian Barry and the Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam.
It is not my week for winners. I do watch the Bake Off programme, because Mel and Sue make the world a better place, but I was very disappointed that Selasi didn’t win. I’m sure he would have done if we had the same sort of voting scheme that the dancing programme has so that the viewers choose the winner each week. I know purists would say we can’t do that because the decision depends on the eating – obviously! But we have Mary and Paul to do that, a sort of modern day praegustator for the rest of us. If they start clutching their throats and stomachs and groaning, we know it’s not great, but otherwise we can make our choice on how entertaining the baker is and what the finished bake looks like. And, really, Mary and Paul are just a little bit fussy: I have always preferred uncooked mixture to the real thing,so see no problem in a little raw batter. Anyway, it’s all idle conjecture as that was the last series in the current format and, as far as I’m concerned, no Mel and Sue, no programme!
I arrived at work yesterday to an email from my elder daughter entitled “kitten”. We lost our two beloved cats over the past year and K has decided that the period of mourning is over and it is time to cast aside the black crepe and find a kitten, preferably two, maybe even three… So she has scoured the net searching for kittens in our vicinity and has found some. I had always maintained that I didn’t want to get them before Christmas but foreseeing my objection, she cunningly attached photographs to her email and, of course, I am un(wo)manned. So, we are off to see them tomorrow and, so confident are my daughter and colleagues that our visit will result in an addition to our family, that they are already coming up with possible names… Being a bookshop, the names obviously have a bit of a literary slant: FD suggested Behemoth after the cat in The Master and Marguerita; I quite like Dinah after Alice’s cat or Jellylorum from Old Possum’s Tales but Gobbolino is very apt if we get one on Halloween weekend but not great if shortened… Speaking of cats (Jess) reminds me of a great joke: 
“What do you call Postman Pat when he retires?…….Pat”!! Hysterical! 
So, it is Halloween on Monday and we have decked our window in pitch and blood, well, red and black books. As the clocks go back and darkness falls in the middle of the afternoon, what better way to dispel the murk and gloominess than snuggling up with a good horror story. I am currently re-reading Dark Matter by Michelle Paver for our bookclub which happens to fall on Halloween and it is genuinely scary, set in the Arctic when it is dark all day… I also recommend The Monkey’s Paw by W.W Jacobs which will make your spine tingle in a very satisfying way.

About Amaryllis


Amaryllis is our bookshop blogger.


Her pen name is taken from Alice Thomas Ellis’ Other Side of the Fire, which is unfortunately and scandalously out of print. One of the funniest bits in the book is the bodice-ripper that one of the characters is writing and the female - who slays the men with one toss of her raven locks and one glance from her fiery green eyes as she strides among the glens, faithful wolfhound by her side - is Amaryllis! And the name just seemed to suit so here we are.

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