The Classics Club: Monthly Meme #44

The Classics Club Meme

Each month The Classics Club releases a question to get club members thinking, discussing and sharing; either on the official site or on their own sites. This month’s question is a rewind from November 2012:

What classic piece of literature most intimidates you, and why? (Or, are you intimidated by the classics, and why? And has your view changed at all since you joined our club?)

The classic piece of literature that intimidates me the most is an easy one, it has to be the epic, Russian classic War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy! I love the idea of the Russian setting but I am totally intimated by the fact it is a translation, it is a whopping 1,200+ pages and I’ve heard that there are whole swaths of philosophical discussion rather than narrative and an overwhelming amount of names, many of which are very similar, and titles to pick your way through. Overall the cons are out-weighing the pros for me.

Since joining The Classics Club I have managed to read these translated works: The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, Around the World in Eighty Days and Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne; all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. So the fact it is a translation is not so much of an issue anymore, as I know I can read and enjoy them. However this hasn’t really changed my mind about reading this book, especially when there are so many other books I would prefer to try first – at the end of the day, for me, reading is to be a pleasure not a chore.

With that in mind, I decided to watch the BBC’s sumptuous TV adaptation earlier this year – slightly cheating, I know, but as I said I feel it is very unlikely I will ever read this book. It was a beautiful production with a stellar ensemble cast but I didn’t love it enough to run out and get the book!

What classic piece of literature most intimidates you? Also, please let me know and link in the comments below if you have taken part in this month’s Classic Club meme too.

New Books: August 2016

New Books - Aug #3

Hello my fellow bookworms, after being so good in July I am now bringing you my second new books post in August, oops! Here are more goodies I have added to my bookshelf:

Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson

Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett

On a recent trip to my hair dressers I had the chance to browse in some of my favourite bookshops. First, in the St. Giles hospice books shop I was pleased to find these two books. I am always looking to add to my Pratchett collection and this is a new-to-me story. And, after enjoying Ibbotson’s lovely young adults novel I have been keeping my eyes peeled for her children’s novels to try.

New Books - Aug #4

Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

The Adventures & Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Next, on the same trip I went in the Oxfam bookshop and found another two books. First, I found a nice compilation of Sherlock Holmes stories – I have previously read and loved these but that was on my Kindle; I am now pleased to have a physical copy for my bookshelf. Then, I was thrilled to find Moon Over Soho the second book in Ben Aaronovitch’s fantasy, crime series, because I already have book one and five on my TBR pile.

New Books - Aug #5

Surprised by Hope by Hope by Tom Wright

Finally, in the post arrived a second-hand copy of this Christian non-fiction which is the October required book for my church’s new book club. I am currently reading The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson for our first meeting in September.

Do you fancy any of these? What new book purchases have you made recently?

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books with a Fantasy Setting

Blog - Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. If you love books and making lists, this is the meme for you! This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Books With X Setting

This week’s topic is one we can personalise – we could go with books set near the beach, books set in boarding school, books set in England, etc. I am a big fan of fantasy books and fairy tales, so I have decided to share my top ten books set in a fantasy world (ordered alphabetically):

~ 1 ~

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum

Set in the merry old land of Oz, where we travel the yellow brick road to the shining Emerald City.

~ 2 ~

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Set in Wonderland – a surreal, dream like place reached through a rabbit hole.

~ 3 ~

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Set in the brutal, dystopian state of Panem where people are separated into strict districts.

~ 4 ~

The Dark Tower by Stephen King

Set across All-World – a collection of parallel worlds which have started to bleed into each other as the old magic dies.

~ 5 ~

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis

Set in the magical, winter-bound land of Narnia; discovered at the back of an old wardrobe.

~ 6 ~

A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin

Set across the epic Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.

~ 7 ~

Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

Set on the magical Discworld which rides on the backs of four elephants, who in turn stand on the back of a giant turtle.

~ 8 ~

Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Set in Camp Half-Blood – a secret refuse for the children of the Ancient Greek Gods from us mundane mortals.

~ 9 ~

Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban by J K Rowling

Set in the Wizarding World which secretly coincides alongside us muggles (non-magical folk).

~ 10 ~

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

Set across the epic, diverse and old Middle-Earth.

What are your favourite books with a fantasy setting? Also, please let me know and link in the comments if you have taken part in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday rewind.

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Favourite Film Adaptations

Blog - Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. If you love books and making lists, this is the meme for you! This week’s topic is:

REWIND – go back and do a topic missed over the years or recently or a topic you really want to revisit.

I started joining in with this meme earlier this year, so I have plenty of topics I’ve missed. Looking back at the extensive list of previous topics, I have decided to rewind back to Tuesday 9th July 2013 for: Top Ten Best/Worst Book To Movie Adaptations. I love watching adaptations and here are ten of my favourite film adaptations (ordered alphabetically):

~ 1 ~

Blade Runner (1982)

Science-fiction, cult classic based on Philip K Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. While the film deviates widely from the original story it sticks closely to the theme of what it means to be human. It is also visually stunning with strong characterisation and some wonderful dialogue. I think I slightly prefer it to the book.

~ 2 ~

Harry Potter (2001-2011)

A highly successful film franchise, with 8 films in total, based on J K Rowling’s magical children’s books. I understand that some of the films are better than others, but for me they are all fun, magical and comforting watches with a wonderful, largely British, cast. Of the films, my personal favourite is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

~ 3 ~

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005)

A charming family adventure based on C S Lewis’ classic, children’s fantasy book. For me another magical and comforting watch with a wonderful cast and beautiful visuals. They made adaptations of Prince Caspian (2008) and Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010) too, but I don’t think they are quite as good.

~ 4 ~

The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003)

Ambitious and highly successful film trilogy based on JRR Tolkien’s classic, high fantasy trilogy. These films still blow me away! Gorgeous cinematography, stunning visuals, stellar cast and you can just tell they were made with some real love.

~ 5 ~

Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

Romantic comedy based on William Shakespeare’s famous play and directed by Kenneth Branagh. A colourful, farcical romp completely made by Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh’s hilarious chemistry.

~ 6 ~

The Railway Children (1970)

A charming family adventure based on Edith Nesbit’s classic children’s book. I grew up watching this wonderful film – it was pretty much shown on television every Christmas holiday! While I enjoyed the later 2000 film too, it just isn’t the same without Bernard Cribbins!

~ 7 ~

The Secret Garden (1993)

A charming family adventure based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic children’s book. This is another wonderful, touching film, starring the legendary Maggie Smith, which I grew up watching and was again pretty much shown on television every Christmas holiday!

~ 8 ~

Sense and Sensibility (1995)

A sumptuous period drama based on Jane Austen’s classic novel; starring the wonderful Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. A beautiful, romantic and touching film that I don’t think I will ever tire of.

~ 9 ~

The Three Musketeers (1973)

A classic, swashbuckling adventure based on Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel. This is another film I grew up watching and while I’ve enjoyed newer adaptations, I still keep coming back to this one. For me you can’t beat Oliver Reed as Athos.

~ 10 ~

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Finally, we have what is probably the best known and most successful adaptation ever made! The epic, colourful and magical musical based on L Frank Baum’s classic, children’s fantasy book. Need I say more?!

What are your favourite film adaptations? Also, please let me know and link in the comments if you have taken part in this week’s Top Ten Tuesday rewind.

New Books: June – August 2016

New Books - Aug #1

Hello my fellow bookworms, since my splurge in June I have been rather good and new books have come in slowly. Here are the goodies I have been adding to my bookshelf and Kindle over the last couple of months:

Lirael by Garth Nix

Abhorsen by Garth Nix

At the end of June, in one of my favourite charity bookshops I was thrilled to find copies of Lirael and Abhorsen; the second and third books in the Old Kingdom trilogy. I have previously read Sabriel and Lirael but not Abhorsen, so I am looking forward to re-reading and finishing this trilogy.

S5 Uncovered by James Durose-Rayner

Also in June, I was contacted and accepted a review copy from the publicist of S5 Uncovered; a new, dark crime novel.

New Books - Aug #2

Wendy Darling, Volume II: Seas by Colleen Oakes

Fast forward to this month, where I couldn’t resist requesting a copy of Wendy Darling, Volume II: Seas from Netgalley, as at the time I was reading Volume I: Stars. I am looking forward to continuing the series.

Sandlands by Rosy Thornton

This month, I was also thrilled to be contacted by the author Rosy Thornton about receiving a review copy of her short story collection Sandlands which I have been hearing such wonderful things about.

The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears by Mark Batterson

And finally this month, I purchased a digital copy of The Circle Maker for my Kindle in eager anticipation of a book club that is starting at my church in September.

Do you fancy any of these? What new book purchases have you made recently?

Goodbye July, Hello August 2016

Month - July 2016

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? July has been a hot, busy and emotional month for me. Working in a school I have been clearing out cupboards and folders, sending work home or to secondary schools, preparing the children for the move, rehearsing Year 6 performance and finally saying goodbye to the children I have worked with for the last 2 years!

And, looking to the future I have been planning, gathering resources and moving to a new classroom (I will be working in Year 5 again from September). As you can imagine during that I didn’t get a lot of reading done, however I have made up for that in just my first week of the long summer holiday:

Fiction: 4     Non-Fiction: 2     Poetry: 0

In July, I am pleased to say I have made more progress on my list for the 10 Books of Summer challenge; finishing 3 books. First, I read historical fiction Master of Shadows by Neil Oliver which swept me back to the bloody downfall of Constantinople. Next, I wanted something lighter and  comforting so I read Trouble at the Little Village School by Gervase Phinn, the second book in the Barton-in-the-Dale series. Finally, at the end of the month I read Volume 1: Stars of Colleen Oakes’ new young adult series Wendy Darling; a re-imaging of J M Barrie’s Peter Pan and Neverland. My thoughts on these last two books are still to be posted.

That means I have now read 5 of my 10 Books of Summer and I have already started reading my 6th! During July, I have also read the science-fiction, classic Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne, my result for the last Spin feature for The Classics Club. My thoughts on this book is still to be posted.

Alongside these fictions I also read two non-fictions. First, I read the thought-provoking, Christian devotional Let God’s Word Empower Your Prayers by Stormie Omartian. Then I really enjoyed mooching through Save With Jamie a recipe book by Jamie Oliver, which was full of yummy food ideas and tips on how to be a savvy shopper. Look out for me trying out these new yummy recipes in my cookbooks update posts.

Pick of the Month: Save with Jamie

That is 6 books finished in July which I am really pleased about. Throughout the month I have now and again dipped into The Secret Poisoner by Linda Stratmann; a history of poison and murder. And I started reading The School Inspector Calls! by Gervase Phinn and Mr Harrison’s Confessions by Elizabeth Gaskell.

In August, I am looking forward to my best friend’s birthday, visiting my mother on the south coast, helping with our church’s summer club, and taking advantage of the rest of the long summer holiday to read lots of lovely books.

What did you do and read in July? Do you have any plans for August?

The Classics Club: Monthly Meme #43

The Classics Club Meme

Each month The Classics Club releases a question to get club members thinking, discussing and sharing; either on the official site or on their own sites. This month’s question is a rewind from February 2015, originally contributed by club member Teresa (who joined in 2012):

“What about modern classics? Pick a book published since 2000 and say why you think it will be considered as a “classic” in the future.”

This year, I have read many wonderful children’s books off my Classics Club list, so for the rewind of this meme question I’ve decided to discuss children’s books I think will/should become classics.

First up has to be the Harry Potter series by J K Rowling – bestselling books that spawned a highly successful film franchise too. This series actually straddles the year 2000, as the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was published in 1997 and the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was published in 2007. Like C S Lewis’ classic The Chronicles of Narnia, the Harry Potter books are set in a magical world, full of colourful characters and tap into the almost innate wish of children for magic to be real. Lewis had us checking inside wardrobes while Rowling had us wishing our Hogwarts letter would arrive! One became a classic so why not the other?!

My next choice, His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, only just fits into this questions time frame as the final book of the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass, was published in 2000. Another bestselling series which sadly only spawned one film. These are beautifully written books with a brilliant young female protagonist which should surely help to make this trilogy classic reads for future children – plus the religious controversy surrounding the final book should keep people talking about these books for many more years to come.

My final choice, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, is the newest and most relevant choice for this question as the trilogy was published between 2008 – 2010. A bestselling young adult series which also spawned a highly successful film franchise (yes, if you hadn’t noticed I love film adaptations). While the love triangle isn’t for everyone, I think this is a great dystopian trilogy with a gripping storyline, dark future setting, a kick-ass female protagonist and which gets us thinking about the value of life.

What modern children’s books and series do you think will become classics? Also, please let me know and link in the comments below if you have taken part in this month’s Classic Club meme too.