Book Reviews

#12Days of Christmas book game: day 9


On the ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me

Nine Ladies Dancing

Day 9 of the 12 Days of Christmas game and giveaway.

We only just completed the day of the maids, now we’re into presumably their mistresses. We need to find titles or images or author names reflecting the ninth day in which these ladies indulged in a little dance exercise.

Booker Talk Titles for Day 9

Now I wish I hadn’t chosen Margaret Forster’s Ladies’ Maid for day 8 since I can’t use it again.

My TBR came to my rescue fortunately, delivering   Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Devoted Ladies by Molly Keane (aka M.J. Farrell).

Lady Audley’s Secret was published in 1862 and became her most successful novel. The critic John Sutherland  described the novel as “the most sensationally successful of all the sensation novels”. Elements of the novel mirror the real-life case of Constance Kent upon which Kate Summerscale based The Suspicions of Mr Whicher. I’ve yet to read it though its been on my shelf for four years.

Devoted Ladies is one I have read. After a shaky start I warmed to this is as you see from my review.

For my last choice I’m indebted to my Goodreads wishlist which gave me Our Lady of the Flowers by Jean Genet which apparently is considered his seminal work. The first draft was written while Genet was incarcerated in a French prison; when the manuscript was discovered and destroyed by officials, Genet, still a prisoner, immediately set about writing it again.

Now over to you – here’s How to Play:

Come up with book titles or book images or anything book related (could be the name of a location mentioned in the book or a character) that matches with ladies or dancing.   Let’s see how creative you can be. I’m looking ideally for 3 titles/images etc. You can mix and match your nominations.

Put your titles into the comments field of that day’s post. Don’t just give me the name since you could easily get that from a Google search – tell us something about the book itself. Why did you choose these titles – are they from your TBR or ones you’ve seen mentioned on a blog. Please try not to just use lists from Goodreads etc.

Feel free to blog about this on your own site or via Twitter using the #12days hashtag

The Giveaway

There’s an incentive to play along with this which is a giveaway of a book up to the value of $20 USD from the Book Depository

To participate, your list of books must be in the comments field by 10pm GMT/5pm Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday Dec 14.

Day by Day Prompts

Day 1:   Partridge in a Pear Tree
Day 2:   Turtle Doves
Day 3:    French Hens
Day 4:   Calling Birds
Day 5:    Gold Rings
Day 6:   Geese a-Laying
Day 7:   Swans a-Swimming
Day 8:   Maids a-Milking
Day 9:   Ladies Dancing
Day 10:  Lords a-Leaping
Day 11:   Pipers Piping
Day 12:   Drummers Drumming

Rules of the Game

1.Each day a post will go live on booker matched to the task for that day. All you to do is post a comment with your list of books on the page

2. Each day try to come up with 3 titles. No need to think of 11 books featuring pipers or eight with maids in them. This is meant to be fun not mission impossible…..

3. Participants are encouraged to be creative with the names of titles matching each day. But the books do need to be in existence – no scope here for making up your own titles.

4. The number of contributions per person will be totalled and the one with the highest number will win the prize. So if you post three titles for day 6 and 5 on day 11, that gives a total of 8 points.

5. Contributions should be entered on the page within the time limit stated each day – typically I will give 48 hours between the time I post the day’s challenge and when comments will be closed.

6. You don’t need to play every day in order to be entered for the prize. Some days will be easier than others – and anyway you have all that shopping and packing still to do

7. There is only one prize – available internationally. The Prize winner will be announced on the blog around about the 15th of December.

6. The prize is that you get to choose a book up to the value of $20 USD from the Book Depository that I will arrange to ship to you. This will probably not arrive until next year given the last postage dates for international mail.



What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

14 thoughts on “#12Days of Christmas book game: day 9

  • Ok, I could repeat what others have said but let me think:

    Ah yes, there’s

    Alan Bennett’s The lady in the van, which I’ve read and seen as a movie.
    Catherine MacNamara’s short story collection The divorced lady’s companion to living in Italy
    Kim Scott’s wonderful Miles Franklin award winning novel That dead man dance

    Amazing what you can think if if you try.

  • 1) The Learned Ladies by Molière. Fantastic play as always with Molière.
    2) The Ladies’ Paradise by Emile Zola. One of the most optimistic books by Zola and a vivid description of the first department stores in Paris.
    3) The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. It was so much fun to read.

    And although it doesn’t have “dancing” in the title, I can’t help thinking of They Shoot Horses Don’t They by Horace McCoy. About these dance marathons in the 1930s. Terrific book.

  • Lady Susan by Jane Austen
    Twelve Dancing Princesses
    Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

  • 1. The Bridge Ladies by Betsy Lerner is a memoir I intend to pick up soon, about how a woman reconnected with her elderly mother and her mother’s longtime friends by taking up bridge playing.

    2. I’ve read The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories by Susanna Clarke but remember very little about it; it didn’t nearly live up to her novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

    3. Dancing Fish and Ammonites is Penelope Lively’s memoir about old age and memory. I reviewed it for The Bookbag in Nov. 2013.

    • Im behind the times with Penelope Lively. I kept mixing her up with another Penelope whom I read and didnt like which sort of put me off. it took a while before the confusion was cleaned up

  • Sarah

    My first choice is ‘No. 1 Ladies detective Agency’ by Alexander McCall Smith. I enjoyed it when I read it for my bookgroup, but not enough to read any more of the series.

    Moving on to dancing, I’ve picked Haruki Murakami’s ‘Dance, dance, dance’.This was the first of his novels I read and it blew my mind. I’ve never read anything else like his work and I absolutely love it.

    Another one based on dancing, this time Antony Powell’s ‘A Dance to the Music of Time’ – a series of 12 novels that I intend to read throughout 2017.

    • Good luck with that Antony Powell project… its going to take stamina

  • Top of the list is The Ladies Paradise by Emile Zola, and this was the book that started me off on my two year Zola project to read the whole Rougon-Macquart cycle. A rare example of a TV program enticing me to read the book, and what a great book it was. I still can’t walk into our major department stores without thinking of this book.
    I thought of The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency too. Actually I find Alexander McCall Smith’s books a bit twee, but my mother loved them so I’ve read quite a few of them at her house.
    Collecting Ladies, Ferdinand Muller and Female Botanical Artists by Penny Olsen. I love botanical art, but what was fascinating about this story of Melbourne’s first director of its Botanic Gardens (now a magnificent tourist attraction and a glorious place to be at any time of the year) was the way Muller gathered his specimens from women from all parts of Australia during the pioneer years. I am pleased to say that some of them now have biographies in their own right.

    A book that changed my way of thinking about things is Inga Clendinnen’s Dancing with Strangers. An anthropologist-historian, Clendinnen uses the available documents to interpret the First Contact between imperial Britain and Australia’s Indigenous people. It is brilliant, and also extremely readable.
    A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell: I loved this. It’s said to be Britain’s Proust, but although I don’t think it’s quite in that league, I do think it is a superb portrait of life from the immediate post WW1 period to the early 1970s.following the lives of the young men from Eton and onwards through life. (This was actually 4 volumes, but the original was written as 12 separate novels in the series.
    Finally The Town Grew Up Dancing, the life and art of Wenten Rubuntja. A fascinating book about life in the Australian desert, and the only trilingual book I’ve ever read: This book is his story, told in his mother tongue, Arrernte, and also in Aboriginal English, with accompanying translations into standard English.

  • I had lots of ladies on my ‘Books Read’ list but, alas, my ‘dance’ card was empty.

    I’ll start with Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield, originally published in 1931 and surely the inspiration for Bridget Jones Diary and like books. Wry, clever, and ultimately, more sophisticated than the current versions. I read it in July 2011.

    In 1997 I reread And Ladies of the Club. a novel by Helen Hooven Santmyer, about a group of women in the fictional town of Waynesboro, Ohio who begin a women’s literary club, which evolves through the years into a significant community service organization in the town. The U.S. politics eluded me on both readings.

    And, finally, in 2005, I was introduced to Mma Precious Ramotswe of Gabarone, Botswana, the owner of the #1 Ladies Detective Agency. This is the beginning of a charming series that is billed a “mystery”, but isn’t really.

    Not one of them dancing. ;-(


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