The Classics Club: April Meme

April Meme

The start of April brings a new Classics Club meme question. After a gap of a few months I am keen to get back into doing these questions. My mind is split on this question as I could discuss my favourite class of all time or I could discuss my favourite I have read off my Classics Club list.

If I pick my favourite classic of all time I would probably be drawn to my childhood favourite The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien. The Hobbit is a fantasy child’s classic published in 1937; so in the grand scheme of things not that old. I think the character of Bilbo Baggins, the unlikely hero, and the beautiful descriptions of his adventures is what has made this book remain in the hearts of readers. When The Hobbit was first published adults reading fantasy wasn’t really that acceptable as it is today. Fantasy was resigned to just children’s fiction while today it is a big market for adults too. I think that means The Hobbit would be just as well received today as it was before but maybe by a larger market straight away.

It is easy for me to talk about The Hobbit though so I am also going to discuss one of my favourite reads from my time in The Classics Club. It took me a bit of thinking but I think the novel off my list I have enjoyed the most is Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Little Women was first published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869; I read the two volumes together as they are more commonly published together now. I think Little Women is a simple but charming tale of four sisters growing physically, emotionally, socially and in faith. While this is set in the past I think a lot of the emotions and issues raised are those that young women have faced through the ages which is why it is still much read and loved. I am not sure if Little Women would have been so well received if it was written in our own era because of its simplicity as life is far more busy and complicated now.

I’m not certain but I hope that both The Hobbit and Little Women will be treasured and respected in a 100 years to come.

What is your favourite classic of all time and why?

Monthly Reflection: March 2014

March 2014

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are happy and well? March has been another busy month for me with college work, college placement, agency work, drama workshops, belly dancing classes and pantomime performances. My reading was equal to February though, here is what I managed to finish:

Fiction: 2          Non-Fiction: 3          Poetry: 0

I started March off with the Queen of Hearts (volume 1) by Colleen Oakes an interesting and detailed reimagining of Lewis Carroll’s history and land of ‘Wonderland’. I really enjoyed this new read however with my work load I next reached for a familiar comfort read. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare is the fourth instalment in Clare’s urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments. I thought it was another fun adventure which was perfect for the mood I was in and the Once Upon a Time VIII event. And that’s all for fiction in March!

During March I appear to have been in a much more non-fiction mood as in this month I finished three non-fiction books. Excellent progress towards my continuing aim to read more non-fiction. First I finished History of the Christian Church in the First Century by Edward Burton a book with the blend of my two favourite non-fiction genres; faith and history. After that I finished off another faith non-fiction Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful by Laurie Wallin and a memoir The “Poor Me” Manual by Hunter Lewis. Thoughts on which are still to be posted.

Pick of the Month: Queen of Hearts

And those are just the books I finished in March. I won’t bore you with all the text books, articles and reports I’ve been reading for my course but needless to say there has been a lot. I have been dipping in and out of the epic collection Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales. I also started reading The Beautiful and Damned by F Scott Fitzgerald and 101 More Improv Games for Children and Adults by Bob Bedore.

What did you read in March?

New Books: March 2014

New Books

The Thieves of Stonewood by Jeremy Hayes
(Book 1 of the Stonewood Trilogy)

Only one new fiction for me this month. I was contacted and kindly offered a review copy of The Thieves of Stonewood from the author which I gladly accepted as this sounds like it could be an exciting read.

The Boy in the Book by Nathan Penlington

The Moor by William Atkins

The Rev. Diaries by the Reverend Adam Smallbones

Three new non-fictions from three new authors for me here. I received all three from the publishers via NetGalley. I was fascinated by the premise for all three but I am particularly looking forward to getting round to The Rev. Diaries as I found the BBC TV series very funny.

The World According to Bob by James Bowen

Another non-fiction here for me. One I have been really looking forward to getting my hands on! I read A Street Cat Named Bob last year and absolutely adored it. Actually many of my friends and family loved it too. So when my father spotted a paperback copy for the first time he instantly bought it for us both to read. I am sure they’ll be many we know queuing up to borrow it!

What new books are you excited about?

Challenge: Once Upon a Time VIII

Once Upon a Time 8

(Art by Melissa Nucera)

It has felt like a long winter but finally spring has arrived here in the UK and with it Once Upon a Time VIII. The Once Upon a Time event is hosted by Carl V @ Stainless Steal Droppings where participants are encouraged to read books and watch films that cover the broad categories of  Fairy Tale, Folklore, Fantasy and Mythology, including the seemingly countless sub-genres and blending of genres that fall within this spectrum. I always look forward to this event as the genres listed above are some of my favourites!

Books I could choose off my bookshelf:

All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness
A Discovery of Witches
Shadow of Night

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin
A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow
A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold
A Feast For Crows
A Dance with Dragons: Dreams and Dust
A Dance with Dragons: After the Feast

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
City of Fallen Angels (completed)
City of Lost Souls

Books I could choose off my Kindle:

A World Apart by David M Brown
The Amethyst Fairy Book by Michelle McLaughlin
The Diamond Fairy Book by Michelle McLaughlin
The Emerald Fairy Book by Michelle McLaughlin
Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales (currently reading)
The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum
World Below by Mike Phillips

Once Upon a Time VIII runs from 21st March to 21st June 2014. I have signed up for The Journey level which means I am aiming to read at least one book for the event. I usually end up reading more than one book but I like the freedom this level gives me especially with how much work I have on at the minute. I am look forward to seeing what I will end up reading.

Are you taking part in Once Upon a Time VIII?

Re-Read: The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia

On 21st January 2013 I set myself the mini-challenge of re-reading my way through The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis by the end of 2013. As a couple of years a go my mother bought me a beautiful set of these books (as pictured) and yet as an adult the only one I had re-read was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe the most famous of the set of course. Now a year and a bit later I have completed my re-read of the series.

1) The Magician’s Nephew
Digory and his friend Polly discover whilst exploring the attic that Uncle Andrew is in fact a magician working on some magic rings. After playing a cruel trick of them Digory and Polly discover Uncle Andrew’s magic rings have transported them to another world. I remembered fondly the children crawling through the attic tunnel but on re-reading The Magician’s Nephew I realised just how detailed and intricate this tale is.

2) The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
The Pevensie siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy during a game of hide-and-seek discover a magical wardrobe which is an entrance to the wonderful land of Narnia. The most well known and beloved  of the series. It was interesting to re-read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe as the second book not the first, this way round loses some of the surprise elements but non of the magic.

3) The Horse and His Boy
Shasta a young boy living in a small fishing village in Calormen befriend a magical talking horse called Bree together they set out on adventure across desert and mountains to find Bree’s homeland of Narnia. This is the only story completely set in Narnia and its neighbouring lands our world is not visited at all. The Horse and His Boy is the instalment of the series I remembered the least, with everything I rediscovered this was almost like a new read for me.

4) Prince Caspian
The Pevensie siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy return to Narnia to discover the capital Cair Paravel has been destroyed and that the land is now ruled by the aggressive Telmarines. With the help of Prince Caspian they set out to save the magical creatures and speaking beasts of Narnia. Prince Caspian due to the modern film adaptation is a pretty well known instalment in the series. I remembered it all and found it all just as charming as the first time I read it.

5) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The two youngest Pevensie siblings Edmund and Lucy return to Narnia with their rotten cousin Eustace Scrubb. King Caspian has set out on an adventure into unknown seas in search of the seven lost lords of his father. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader due to the modern film adaptation is a pretty well known instalment in the series. As a child this was my favourite instalment and I found that it had lost known of its charm for me.

6) The Silver Chair
Eustace Scrubb returns to Narnia with his school friend Jill Pole through a magical gate. With their companion Puddleglum they set off on a perilous journey into Giant country to seek Narnia’s lost prince and heir to the throne Rilian. The Silver Chair is another instalment in the series I remembered little of, with everything I rediscovered this was almost like a new read for me.

7) The Last Battle
King Tirian and his best friend Jewel the Unicorn face the last days of Narnia which see the return of the previous Kings and Queens of Narnia including the Pevensie siblings, Eustace Scrubb, Jill Pole and the magical creatures and talking beasts which joined them on their adventures. It was really lovely to work my way up through all the other books to The Last Battle. I felt like I had truly got to know Narnia and its inhabitants which made the end even more poignant.

When I first read The Chronicles of Narnia I read the books in publication order because I think for your first time nothing beats encountering ‘Narnia’ first through the most famous book The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. For this re-read I purposefully decided to read the series in chronological order. I believe reading the series in chronological order meant I got a full idea of the detail and history Lewis put into ‘Narnia’ and the characters that inhabit it.

Have you read The Chronicles of Narnia? Have a favourite book?

The Classics Club: Two Years Gone

The Classics Club

Start Date: 19th March 2012

End Date: 19th March 2017

As they say time flys by when you’re having fun and that definitely applies to The Classics Club. Part of me can’t believe I joined back in March 2012 which means two years have gone by! Here’s what I have read off my list in that year:

1) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2) Grimm’s Fairy Tales
3) Bleak House by Charles Dickens
4) The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
5) Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
6) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
7) Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
8) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
9) Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Read: 20/50

I am so pleased with my progress so far. 9 books is just under the average of 10 books I need to read to keep on track to manage to read 50 books altogether. As I read 11 the previous year though it means I am still bang on track. All of the books above I have posted my thoughts on, please click on the titles to be taken to my full posts. A list of books/links though isn’t that interesting so I decided to adapt the meme questions I use for my end of year posts to reflect on what classics I have been reading.

Most Anticipated: The Return of Sherlock Holmes
Most Beautifully Written: Northanger Abbey
Most Disappointing: The Great Gatsby
Most Surprising (In A Good Way!): Around the World in Eighty Days
Most Memorable Character/s: Ebenezer Scrooge and Sherlock Holmes
Most Recommended-to-Others: A Christmas Carol
Favourite New Authors Discovered: Lewis Carroll
Multiple Reads of an Author: Lewis Carroll (2) and Charles Dickens (2)

Ambitions for 2013/2014: Pretty much to continue as I am. I have been impressed with the amount I have read over the last two years. I am looking forward to reading more by Austen, Dickens, Doyle and Verne. Plus who knows what new authors I will fall in love with. Wish me luck!

What classics have you enjoyed over the last year? Any recommendations?

The Classics Club: March Meme

March Meme

March like every month brings another Classics Club meme question sadly however I haven’t taken part since last year. I would really like to get back into doing these questions.

I have found this question quite hard. My main reason for joining the club was the fact I felt I had missed out on reading some of the great classics at school. Thus I still see myself as quite a novice in the classic reading world therefore I’m not sure I’ve read enough to have a favourite “classics” literary period. The only way I think I can do this is to pick a period I have read the most from which is the 19th century better known as the Victorian era.

One of the greatest and probably most prolific authors of this period is Charles Dickens. Previous to joining the club I had only read Nicholas Nickleby. Since joining the club I have read A Christmas Carol, Bleak House, Great Expectations and Oliver Twist. All of which I have loved with the dark, twisting streets of the quintessential foggy and crowded Victorian London. I must also mention the 19th century literary Bronte sisters consisting of Charlotte, Emily and Anne. Previous to joining the club I had only read Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte a gothic, passionate and dark tale which I loved. Since joining the club I have read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte another gothic tale. I look forward to reading my first novel by Anne Bronte.

Do you have a favourite “classic” literary period?

New Books: March 2014

New Books

The Medea Complex by Rachel Florence Roberts

The Tenant of Wildfel Hall by Anne Bronte

Villette by Charlotte Bronte

Three new fiction reads for me. The Tenant of Wildfel Hall and Villette by the Bronte sisters are both English classics which are both on my Classics Club list. While The Medea Complex is a historical/psychological thriller which I accepted a review copy from the author.

101 More Improv Games for Children and Adults by Bob Bedore

The “Poor Me” Manual by Hunter Lewis

The Romanov Sisters by Helen Rappaport

Three new non-fiction reads from three new authors for me here and all three were received through NetGalley.

What new books are you excited about?

Monthly Reflection: February 2014

February 2014

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are happy and well? February was another busy month for me with college work, college placement, agency work, drama workshops, belly dancing classes and pantomime rehearsals. My reading was up on January though, here is what I managed to finish:

Fiction: 3          Non-Fiction: 2          Poetry: 0

I started February off with a comforting re-read of The Last Battle by C S Lewis the seventh and final instalment of The Chronicles of Narnia. Bringing my re-read of the complete series sadly to an end. Next I delved into the historic The Forbidden Queen by Anne O’Brien. A beautiful and sad tale of Katherine of Valois. Then my result from the fifth Classics Club spin was Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne. I had neither been dreading or excited to read Around the World in Eighty Days but I’m pleased I read it as I thought it was a fun adventure.

During February I also managed to finish two non-fiction books. Good progress towards my continuing aim to read more non-fiction. First I finished God Knows My Name by Beth Redman an inspirational piece of Christian non-fiction. Next I picked up Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson. A beautifully written, humorous and tragic memoir of Winterson’s childhood. My thoughts on this are still to be posted.

Pick of the Month: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal

And those I just the books I finished in February. I won’t bore you with all the text books, articles and reports I’ve been reading for my course but needless to say there has been a lot. I have been dipping in and out of the epic collection Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales.  I also started reading Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes and History of the Christian Church in the First Century by Edward Burton.

What did you read in February?

New Books: February 2014

New Books

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

May Bride by Suzannah Dunn

Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes (The Crown #1)

Three new fiction reads from three new authors for me here and all three were received through NetGalley.

The 7-Day Prayer Warrior Experience by Stormie Omartian

Why Your Weirdness is Wonderful by Laurie Wallin

Two new non-fiction for me here both on faith. Laurie Wallin is a new author but earlier this year I read my first book by Stormie Omartian and I am looking forward to reading more.

What new books are you excited about?