Anna Campbell

 

August 2018 – Get Set for Sunrise!

I’m going to let the pictures do the talking this month on My Favorite Things. As many of you know, I live in a beautiful seaside town on the east coast of Australia called Caloundra. I often go for a walk first thing in the morning to get the creative juices flowing and to remind my body that there’s a world away from the office. And when I say first thing in the morning, I mean it! Most days when I’m up on the walkway along the Pumicestone Passage where Moreton Bay joins the sea just north of the Bribie Island National Park, the sun is only just peeping over the horizon. As a result, I’ve got lots and lots of gorgeous sunrise pictures. Read more…

July 2018 – Please Look After This Bear

As many of you know, I recently returned from a four-month trip to Europe (I’ll post some of my photos in the Favorite Things column in due course, so keep an eye out for those). I took advantage of the long, long flight back to Australia to catch up with a couple of movies I’d missed. One was the absolutely delightful Paddington 2, and given I enjoyed Paddington 1 too, I thought the two films made an ideal subject for this month’s My Favorite Things. Read more…

June 2018 – Serious about Series Part 2

Last month, I talked about a couple of mystery series that I’m really enjoying. This month I thought I’d wrap up my recommendations with a couple of real humdingers that you’d be a mug to miss out on. So far, I’ve only read two books in Frank Tallis’s wonderful Liebermann Papers series set in Imperial Vienna in 1902 but I’ve absolutely loved both of them. The first book, Mortal Mischief (published in the U.S. as A Death in Vienna – isn’t that a flat title in comparison?), introduces us to clever, sensitive, courageous Max Liebermann, a young psychiatrist in at the birth of the science. Max is a fabulous hero, principled and stalwart, but out of synch with his world. Vienna in this era is full of people wanting to look away from trouble, and even worse, Max is a Jew in a city where anti-Semitism is casting an increasingly long shadow. One of the fascinations of reading these books is noting trends that end up leading to the catastrophe of World War II. Read more…

May 2018 – Serious about Series Part 1

Last month, when I picked my favorite reading from 2017, I mentioned that most of my reading lately has been books in series. So I thought it seemed like a good opportunity to mention a few of the series that I’m enjoying. These aren’t exhaustive reviews and some of these series have been or will be covered in the My Favorite Things column at greater length. And I’ve realized that they’re pretty much all mystery series of one sort or another, although most of them have an ongoing romantic subplot to keep the hearts and flowers gal inside me happy. But if you like mysteries, it might be worth checking out my recommendations and you may find something you’d like to try for yourself. Read more…

April 2018 – 2017 Reading Roundup

This is actually a little bit late, given it’s April, 2018, but I was having such a nice time with my series on the old houses in the UK I’d visited last year that I couldn’t bear to interrupt it. And let’s face it, a book recommendation is never untimely, is it? Those eager beavers at GoodReads send out a bulletin at the end of every year telling me what I’ve read – very useful. And as I looked down over all the books I read last year, it confirmed a sneaking feeling that 2017 hasn’t been a really outstanding reading year for me. Read more…

March 2018 – The Stately Homes of England Part 5

I visited Stowe on a perfect spring day in May 2017. I’d long wanted to see this masterpiece of English landscape design and I wasn’t at all disappointed. It’s a place that more than justifies all the hype about being the perfect romantic landscape. The gardens were created by those geniuses of English design, William Kent and Capability Brown, and feature a wonderful array of exotic temples and follies, including a Temple of British Worthies (honoring people like Shakespeare and Alexander Pope), a Palladian bridge, and a charming Chinese pavilion. Read more…

February 2018 – The Stately Homes of England Part 4

Three stately homes to tell you about today. Well, one is actually a ruin and it was never actually meant to be a home as such, but it’s still very beautiful so I hope you won’t mind me including it.The first is the beautiful and historic Lydiard House and Park near Swindon in Oxfordshire. I didn’t take many pictures inside, perhaps because I was so busy talking to my companion in crime on the tour. But I hope you enjoy the picture of the 16th century glass above the desk of an earlier Lady Diana Spencer who married Viscount Bolingbroke after falling in love with him at first sight in 1757. Sadly, his lordship was a dissolute fortune hunter and immersed Diana and her children in debt and scandal, including a notorious divorce. One of the things I admired about this earlier Lady Di was that when she was forced to earn a living, she did, working as a designer for various people, including Josiah Wedgwood. Read more…

January 2018 – The Stately Homes of England Part 3

I hope you’re enjoying this series of monthly visits to some of the beautiful old houses in Great Britain that I visited on my trip to the UK in spring of 2017. I say Great Britain advisedly, because this month we’re going to a place just south of the Isle of Skye, to visit the haunting (and I suspect haunted!) Kinloch Castle on the Isle of Rum in Scotland.Actually I’m not going to give you the best stories about Kinloch because they’re going to pop up in a work or two over time – but I hope what I do say and the pictures will persuade you that this odd (very odd!) building is well worth a visit. Although if you’re thinking of going, my advice is to get your skates on. The place is literally falling down about our ears as we speak. Read more…