The Phraser – an apology and an explanation

My desk - it's been busy

My desk – it’s been busy

Dear Reader,

In case you’re there, and wondering where I might be, this is an apology for the silence, and an explanation … two explanations. The first is sad, and the second is hopeful.

  1. I’ve just been to Scotland for the funeral of a wonderful lady and friend; and
  2. I’m tidying up The Phraser to make it easier to navigate, and to prepare for a new focus on all things to do with books.

The site should be ready and gleaming by the end of the month. Meanwhile, I hope you have the time to do some browsing – The Phraser is open for that.

I look forward to getting back to you, and wish you good reading and good company … always!

Georgie

In search of a book in Naples, Italy

A look back: this piece was first published on 12 February 2016. I can still feel the sunshine of that walk, and the satisfaction of being able to ask for help in simple Italian. The embarrassing part is that, a year on, the book I took such trouble to hunt down is still not finished … plus I’ve discovered my weary dictionary isn’t big enough for Enzo Striano.

The Phraser

Books and Naples, Italy are old friends Books and Napoli are old friends

Step in amongst the books in this ancient city and it’s hard to avoid the big names on almost every corner. My search for just one novel was busy enough.

Start on the Lungomare and there’s the castle known, thanks to Virgil, as the Castel dell’Ovo (Castle of the Egg).

View original post 937 more words

Herculaneum Papyri in the National Library in Naples

A look back (this was first published on 30 March 2015): I’m new to papyrology but I’ve never seen anything as brain-crackingly slow or detailed as the work being done by these academics.

The Phraser

Herculaneum papyrus Naples A papyrus scroll – not quite destroyed by Vesuvius

The photograph above is of a papyrus scroll from a private library buried by Vesuvius in AD 79.

There are hundreds of scrolls like it, all scarred keepers of ancient thought.  So far it has taken almost two thousand years to unpick a fraction of their secrets.

View original post 457 more words

Burned, buried and brought back to life

A look back (first published 17 February 2015): discovering the secrets of the papyrus scrolls of Herculaneum, now in the National Library in Naples, Italy.

The Phraser

Library of Naples Library of Naples
Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli

It’s never a good idea to judge anything by appearances.  Here’s an example.

Mid-autumn of last year I was new in Naples.  The language was a challenge and I still didn’t know my way around.  The city seemed hectic and disheveled.

Then, on a wet Wednesday in November, I was invited on a trip to the Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli.

View original post 597 more words

Planning and pitching non-fiction: 10 tips for beginners

Our host for the day in London

Our host for the day in London

I had the idea, I had the material, but I couldn’t see the shape … and I didn’t have a clue about what to do next with my fragile bubble of a plan. That was until last Saturday when my confusion switched suddenly to focus.

The ‘I-think-I-get-it’ moment was thanks to a Guardian masterclass programme on planning and pitching non-fiction.  There were 14 of us in the class, all adrift with various book ideas.  Our trainer was Jenny Rogers who has published seventy non-fiction books – here’s some of the advice she passed on.

Continue reading

Herculaneum Papyri in the National Library in Naples

Herculaneum papyrus Naples

A papyrus scroll – not quite destroyed by Vesuvius

The photograph above is of a papyrus scroll from a private library buried by Vesuvius in AD 79.

There are hundreds of scrolls like it, all scarred keepers of ancient thought.  So far it has taken almost two thousand years to unpick a fraction of their secrets.

Continue reading

Burned, buried and brought back to life

Library of Naples

Library of Naples
Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli

It’s never a good idea to judge anything by appearances.  Here’s an example.

Mid-autumn of last year I was new in Naples.  The language was a challenge and I still didn’t know my way around.  The city seemed hectic and disheveled.

Then, on a wet Wednesday in November, I was invited on a trip to the Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli.

Continue reading