October is always my favourite month, but I especially adored it this year because it was a Big Birthday and therefore meant a big o’ knees-up was due.
30 friends and family converged on a converted schoolhouse bunkbarn in the Yorkshire Dales for an Old Skool Bunkhouse Bash, complete with ‘old skool’ costumes, 4 cakes and 198 pints of beer. Not everyone was able to take part in lots of booze and silliness, but thank you to all my friends for their best wishes, cards, presents and general friendship. You guys.
As well as the party, I also went to the theatre (twice!) to see an adaptation of Daphne Du Marier’s Rebecca and a National Theatre Encore screening of Hamlet starring old Benedict Cumberbatch. Both theatre trips were preceded by dinner, drinks and lots of cards and presents. And some of these were books of biography. (Hurrah!)
First, the latest biography of Tove Jansson. I had read Boel Westin’s Tove Jansson: Life, Art, Words in January 2014 (and blogged about my journey through delight to disappointment as it progressed here) and knew that there was a new Tove book on the market, so was very excited to receive Tuula Karjalainen‘s Tove Jansson: Work and Love from my good friend Stuck-In-A-Book, who followed this treat up with…
My Katherine Mansfield Project by Kirsty Gunn: a literary biography – sort of! SIaB loves KM, but (shush or he’ll hear) I’ve never read a word by her. This might well be my perfect introduction to a new-to-me author, as it combines Kirsty Gunn’s autobiographical exploration of Mansfield’s (and her own) home town of Wellington, NZ, along with ‘the profound influence of Mansfield’s work on [Gunn’s] own creative journey’.
Can’t wait to get stuck in to both of these beautiful books. Thanks SIaB, and happy birthday for yesterday yourself!