290Y: A lady starts a diary

I read this book in London in 1992. It was a used paperback. The writer was a woman.

The heroine is a (rather dislikable) single, English woman of a certain age; she considers herself “on the shelf” and not a success in life. She has a small world.

Then she decides to reinvent herself and starts a diary. She writes her diary entry for the day at the start of the day and then forces whatever she wrote to happen. She writes that she meets a man and that day she forces a quiet dude into becoming her suitor, etc.

It was a recent novel: probably the 80s.

290T: The colours mix and all is well (Solved)

A book bought in late 70s Australia (possibly UK published) picture book about a kingdom in black & white & wizard. Under the direction from the king who decides to make it colourful,  first turns blue and everyone is miserable, then red and everyone is angry, then yellow everyone becomes ill. Eventually the magic goes crazy and the colours mix to give full pallet and all ends well.


290Q: YA historical novel about the Biblical matriarchs ca. 1980

The book was divided into several sections, most or all narrated in first person and each about one of the Biblical matriarchs: Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, etc. Along the lines of “The Red Tent” but young adult and published somewhere around 1980, give or take a couple of years. The author was female, and I think it was published in US (though possibly UK or other British Commonwealth, since I got it out of a Canadian library).

241E: Scottish Boy and a Castle

I don’t have a title for the book I’m looking for. I read it when I was in 8th grade around 1962. It was a historical novel about a Scottish boy and involved a castle with secret passages and an uncle (maybe grandfather) who was locked up in the dungeon without light for 10 years. Believe the boy gets him out. Hope you can help me find this book!!

241C: A Boy and a Witch Named Gherkin

The book in question is an older British book, I remember finding it around the mid-to-late 90s, about a young boy being raised by his “aunt” (I clearly remember that she loved taking baths with the Purple People Eater fragrance, which was used later in the book by a sewer-comber who knew where her house was because of the smell) who is approached by a young witch who thinks she’s an outcast because she isn’t ugly, whose name is Gherkin, along with a few other strange characters – including an animal from the island each of them is from that looks like a soft white seal, loves music more than anything, and emits a thick fog when happy. The boy is the lost son of the king and queen of the island, and is the only one who can help save them from some calamity.

238A: Benjamin B., who is he?

Taught myself to read in first grade with a book of forgotten title. The main character is Benjamin B. (or Benjamin B––) (not Bee or any other variation). The book was published before 1966, which is when I read it. The book was not new when I read it, so possibly published before 1960. It is my faint impression (which could be incorrect) that he was a British boy, so perhaps written by a British author. I’m sorry, but that’s all I have. I have been looking for this book for about a decade, so any help appreciated.

231B: A young woman decides to be a book illustrator

I’m trying to locate a short story I read years ago. The protagonist is a young woman who decides she will set herself up as a book illustrator. She advertises her services and her first client pays her a call. The author describes the scene he wants as the cover to his book, full of contradictory requirements: show the moon behind the young lovers and the rising sun in their faces, the reflection of the young lady in the eyes of her beaux, and the glorious sweep of the landscape behind them, etc., etc.. The young woman is so hopelessly overwhelmed by the client’s demands that she retires from the business, having never painted a single cover.

My memory is that it was Edwardian or Victorian short story, and written in a typically late-19th/early-20th century light, satirical tone. It was in a collection of short stories, but possibly may have originally appeared in a British periodical like “Punch” or “The Idler”.

Can anyone identify the story?