Thursday, October 27, 2011

Margaret Thatcher certainly played a vital part in the history of the United Kingdom.  As Prime Minister all throughout the 1980s, she steered Britain toward a more conservative course.  Gain insight into the life of the controversial and inspiring woman who led the United Kingdom for more than ten years. The BBC released The Rise and Fall of Margaret Thatcher on DVD October 18.  Here is a synopsis of the program:

Synopsis:
Gain insight into the life of the controversial and inspiring woman who led the United Kingdom for more than ten years as the BBC releases The Rise and Fall of Margaret Thatcher on DVD this October. Featuring three outstanding productions - The Long Walk to Finchley, The Falkland’s Play and Margaret - on two discs, this fascinating collection follows the political career of the former Prime Minister. Andrea Riseborough (Made in Dagenham, Happy Go Lucky), Patricia Hodge (The Legacy of Reginald Perrin, Miranda) and Lindsay Duncan (Doctor Who, Rome) respectively tackle the role of the Iron Lady in these films. Arriving at retail on October 18, The Rise and Fall of Margaret Thatcher is a must-own DVD set for all history buffs and Anglophiles alike.
Riseborough’s portrayal of a young Margaret Roberts in The Long Walk to Finchley, was hailed as “breathtaking, giving Thatcher humor, drive and real sex appeal” by the London Evening Standard. The intriguing film reveals her steely determination as an ambitious twenty-something research chemist on the first rungs of the ladder to Parliament.  Eager to speak her mind and be selected to a “winnable” Tory seat in the 1950s, The Long Walk to Finchley imagines what might have gone on behind the scenes during Thatcher’s ten-year struggle to gain a seat in Parliament.


Lauded by The Guardian as, “a thrilling piece of drama which challenged prejudices and preconceptions,” The Falkland’s Play chronicles the backroom story of Margaret Thatcher’s war. Once deemed too controversial to produce, this compelling production depicts a gripping account of how the leaders at 10 Downing Street faced one of their biggest crises in foreign affairs.

Finally, Margaret examines the downfall of the Prime Minister after her election to a third term. One of the most formidable figures in British politics, the film ultimately reveals that the very aspects of her character that helped her secure power were also the ones that ensured her decline. The Daily Express praised the film as “riveting viewing…Lindsay Duncan plays her as sharp as a ferret, with the eyes of a lynx and the manner of an aged, furious tiger.

One of the defining crises of Thatcher's tenure occurred during the Falklands crisis. Here is a video showing some "behind the scenes" discussions just as the action was beginning to heat up:

Check out the Official Site and then Own it on Blu-ray!

I have one copy of the DVD of The Rise and Fall of Margaret Thatcher to give awayTo enter, just leave me a comment telling me your favorite leader of all time -- doesn't have to be the leader of a country, just someone who is a strong and inspirational leader!  Be sure and leave your email address so I'll have a way to contact you if you should be the winner.  I'll choose the winner randomly using random.org on Nov. 4.  The winner will have 72 hours to get back to me with their mailing address, or I'll have to choose another winner.  Due to mailing restrictions, the giveaway is only valid for US entries.

Good luck!

Disclaimer:  I was provided a giveaway copy of The Rise and Fall of Margaret Thatcher.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Although I've never written a book, I am well-aware of the difficulties new writers have in attracting the attention of publishers. The 3rd edition of How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen offers many great tips and examples to help new writers stand out from the crowd and gain the attention of publishers.  The book is extremely thorough and gives plenty of advice on how to make the proposal stand out from the crowd.  The chapters in the book include such topics as how to create a "hook," how to plan a promotion and marketing campaign and how to create an outline.  There is also a style guide included to help focus the attention of the writer onto "action" words and active voice constructions that will help make the proposal more dynamic.  The appendices in the back of the book are helpful, if somewhat intimidating.  The examples of proposals seem to be almost as long and involved as the books themselves!  For instance, a sample proposal includes a table of contents, an overview of the work, outlines of chapters and selections from the proposed book.  The proposals also include suggested markets for the work, overviews of competing book, a mission statement and suggestions for future "spin-offs."  I really had no idea that so much had to be included on a proposal, or that the finished product was so involved!  One thing I liked about the book was that each chapter began with a "Golden Rule" which offered a short snippet of advice from the chapter, and each chapter has relevant "Hot Tips" scattered throughout.  One thing I found odd with the book is that in several places cartoons were described in detail (including where it appeared and who the author was) -- why not just include the cartoon itself?  But that's a minor quibble!  Overall the book was packed with advice and the examples of proposals included will give budding writers an extremely detailed model to follow when preparing their own proposals.

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I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

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