Posted by: Kirsty | December 29, 2008


blackeststreetsWell, I hope you all had a lovely festive holiday. Santa was exceptionally good to me, not least on the book front.

Dear Boyfriend bought me three pieces of booky joy: The Victorians (Illustrated Edition) by A.N. Wilson, Bedlam: London and its Mad by Catharine Arnold, and the graphic novel version of A Christmas Carol. From others I received Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life by Lyndall Gordon, The Blackest Streets: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum by Sarah Wise, Thou Art the Man by M.E. Braddon (thank you Catherine!), and The Pillars of the Earth and A World Without End by Ken Follet.

Last but not least, from one of my brothers I received The Seance: A Novel by John Harwood. The next best thing to a Victorian ghost story is surely a ghost story set in Victorian London.

Now, between all of these and the DVDs of the second series of The Wire, and No Country for Old Men, just when exactly am I going to write that essay?



  1. Thanks for mentioning this book (The Blackest Streets); it looks really interesting. I’ve been doing some research on Liverpool slums in the last few years–my interest was piqued when I was working on a book about the Cains brewery–and it turns out that the extent and depth of the misery in places like The Nichol (and in Vauxhall in Liverpool) is not widely understood. One thing I discovered is that the drinking water in Liverpool in the 1860s and 1870s was so high in nitrates (from sewage and rotting corpses, presumably) that it would have been fatal to infants even without the bacteria it carried.

  2. Dear Boyfriend has very good taste – I love the Victorians by AN Wilson and already have a copy; the Lydall Gordon on Bronte is excellent (heard here give a talk on this and totally fascinating) and I, too, have the graphic novel of A Christmas Carol.

    I am not an afficionada of The Wire but I adore 24 and daughter number one bought me the two hour special film, redemption which follows on from the end of Series 6 and also contained a segment of series 7 which was terrific but SO frustrating when it finished!


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