Songs from a Blue Pencil

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This is all done so naturally that it feels as though one were actually living at the time of all these events. Through this method the main character grows, becoming a person that the reader relates to, and knows on an almost personal level. At the same time we are made aware of the way Roger feels, his terror and disgust, and the emotional exhaustion he felt upon returning to England.

I spent a lot more time with Jane. Overall I would rate The Blue Pencil very highly, it was comprehensible and interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.


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My one slight gripe is that there are multiple grammatical errors and spelling mistakes throughout the text, which is a shame. That said the mistakes were not so frequent as to ruin the book for me, and I would definitely still recommend it to others. Originally posted on Jade the Obscure Aug 10, Michael Cayley rated it it was ok Shelves: historical-fiction.

Told from the viewpoint of a young left-wing journalist, this novel is about Britain's attitude to Germany during the years leading up to WW2. It could have been a very good novel, but in my view it suffers from two substantial defects. First, I think there is too much undigested history and not enough fiction.

Second, I found the writing style rather flat, and as a result the book never really drew me in.

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View 1 comment. Jan 20, Gerry O'Sullivan rated it it was amazing. I really enjoyed this novel, set in Britain and Europe between and I am have a huge interest in that period and am a great fan of the novels of Alan Furst. The looming danger, the suspicion, the refugees, the ever threat of war on the horizon. He is trying to find his place in the world. The Spanish civil war awakens his political leanings and he enters the profession of journalism primarily with the purpose of shining a light on the evils of fascism.

He gains employment with a liberal minded newspaper on Fleet Street. As he begins to cover the major events of the period; Hitler's takeover of the Rhineland, then Austria, then Czechoslovakia, he becomes determined to bring his reader's attention to Chamberlain's appeasement.


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  • His writings make him an enemy of Chamberlain's government and he becomes a target of political dirty tricks. The novel exposed a slice of history that I was completely unaware of despite being a serious history buff. Specifically Chamberlain's attempts to silence his critics by fair means or foul.

    Echoes of the current NSA spying crisis abound. Anyone interested in the origins of WWII will find this book fascinating.

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    The period is very well researched. The young journalist, when he is not covering politics is also reviewing movies and covering sports events such as the Aussie cricket team at Lords with Don Bradman playing. The author casually drops in the names of the movies of the time, and the current sports events of the time, as well as every details of the time, and it is done is such a way that the reader is taken back. It is easy to forget that it is not when you are within the pages of 'The Blue Pencil'.

    Sep 29, Michael Angliss rated it it was amazing. In his charismatic autobiographical style, Lowther captures the clean, fluent side of narrative, set in a time of worldwide vacillation about just where the world's future lies: either with Hitler or with the Free World. It is rare for me to read anything but Alistair MacLean but I found Lowther's style and characters eminently readable and this book had me visualising it alongside the likes of McCourt's 'Angela's Ashes'. Lowther is a veteran journalist in his style, conveying historical facts t In his charismatic autobiographical style, Lowther captures the clean, fluent side of narrative, set in a time of worldwide vacillation about just where the world's future lies: either with Hitler or with the Free World.

    Lowther is a veteran journalist in his style, conveying historical facts throughout, with liberal quantities of apt opinion neatly rendered in.

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    The author has achieved in this book an effectively entertaining account of life and politics in the secretive and uncertain era of World War II. It is Lowther's mature-minded approach that keeps you reading. A captivating and even-weighted analytical of warfare, tragedy, conspiracy and heroism, set in the time when the world might have become an anti-Semitic purgatory under Hitler. Lowther is thankful that it didn't. Meg Gilley rated it really liked it Mar 17, Matt Boyd rated it it was amazing Mar 23, Thomasball rated it it was amazing Feb 22, Nathan Kirsch rated it it was amazing Mar 17, Avril Goodwin rated it did not like it Mar 05, Tony Whipp rated it it was amazing Feb 04, Greg Clarke rated it liked it Jan 11, Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez rated it it was amazing Sep 26, Alexandra Barnett rated it liked it Feb 09, Hadenmaiden rated it it was ok Feb 14, Darlene Howard marked it as to-read Feb 27, Sarah marked it as to-read Feb 27, Mia Bridle marked it as to-read Feb 27, Christina Browne marked it as to-read Feb 27, Sasha marked it as to-read Feb 27, Lisa Ann marked it as to-read Feb 27, Cindy Gates marked it as to-read Feb 27, Cmgren marked it as to-read Feb 27, Jack marked it as to-read Feb 27, Teresa Lavender marked it as to-read Feb 27, John marked it as to-read Feb 27, Halagan marked it as to-read Feb 27, Eileen Johnson marked it as to-read Feb 27, Julie Hutchinson marked it as to-read Feb 27, Lianne added it Feb 27, Cheryl marked it as to-read Feb 27, Sue marked it as to-read Feb 27, Violet marked it as to-read Feb 27, Gordon Bingham marked it as to-read Feb 27, Even when I'm not animating, I draw with them because they are so nice and I'm used to them.

    This has become the "long version" answer, so I'm gonna let this end here. I hope this answers more questions than it creates! Best to you, Tom B. Add a Comment:.

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    Load All Images. I knew that about the blue pencils, but this raises a question that I've always had. Why does The Aristocats look so much different from the rest of the Disney films? It has that dirty, charcoal, "ghost" image look. If I'm even using the term in the right sense They may not be ghost images at all.

    This I have always wondered. Actually, its in Dalmations and a few others too.


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    • Its because those were the first of the xerox style of photocopying right onto the cels. The animators liked how the pencil tests looked and wanted some of that to make it to the final film.

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      I love knowing a guy who has all the answers! Now that I think about it, I do remeber it in Dalmations. I really like the way that the construction lines look. Phil Young got me into the habit of drawing with blue, and since then, I draw with blue everywhere I go, even on PS. He's the one that inspired me to stick to traditional. The mastery of the traditional animators can't be topped, I tell ya! Yeh, I guess the colored pencils ARE better. The graphite penciles I have smear badly, are hard to sharpen, and have hard granules in the lead that make them scratchy on the paper.

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      You know a good source of Col-Erase pencils? Kecky Featured By Owner Dec 18, I wasn't a fan of Col-Erase pencils when I had to use them in animation class my first year, because they don't erase completely, and some of my more problematic drawings would get this halo of erased smudges.

      But then I started scanning in my animation drawings instead of just running them through the pencil test machine, and I fell in love with the beautiful, beautiful smoothness of the line you can get once you bump up the contrast a bit. SO much nicer than graphite!!!

      Great to know a piece of history. LOVE them. In the just-ended era of paper storyboards, the Blue Col-Erase was king. If you nailed the rough drawing in blue, you could set the Xerox machine to a very dark setting, and it would Xerox black. But if you wanted a second chance, you went over your blue drawing with graphite, then you could set the Xerox to a very light setting and the graphite line xeroxed black, and the blue almost vanished.

      I really want to get my hands on some col-erase pencils but I can't find them on amazon.

      Where's the best place to get them? Failing that, I'll just use normal blue pencils, they work almost as well, I expect. Notthinktwiceabout Featured By Owner Dec 18, You can get col-erase on Chromacolour UK website. I LOVE col-erase pencils. I had never heard of them before I started studying animation, but now I use them all the time I tell everyone that I know to try them.

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