The Classics Club: Monthly Meme #40

The Classics Club

Each month The Classics Club releases a question to get club members thinking, discussing and sharing; either on the official site or their own. This month’s question is a new one contributed by club member, Joseph @ The Once Lost Wanderer (who joined in May 2014):

“What is your most ‘treasured’ book…not the story…the physical book? Maybe a valuable first or early edition, or an autographed copy, or a family heirloom, or a gift, or maybe just the favorite binding or cover art.”

This one is easy for me, my most treasured book has to be this 1979 Unwin paperback copy of the fantasy, children’s classic The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien:

Friday Face-Off #2

This battered and well-loved 1979 Unwin copy of The Hobbit, illustrated with ‘Conversation with Smaug’ by J R R Tolkien, is the copy my father has owned since he was a child. It has, probably not the most attractive, brown background, creases, bent corners and yellowed pages but I love it! While I own a newer, shinier and golden, hardback edition of The Hobbit, it is this old copy I find myself turning to time and time again. Most of the appeal of this copy is the fond memories I have of my father reading this to me, a chapter a night, when I was about 5 or 6 years old. And for that reason this old 1979 Unwin copy will always have a place in my heart and home.

What is your most treasured book?

New Books: April 2016

New Books - April #1

Hello my fellow bookworms, here’s the goodies I’ve managed to add to my bookshelf and Kindle recently:

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

The lovely, wonderful, amazing, book blogging friend Lynn really kindly sent me her copy of Jane Steele because she thought I’d love it – I am super excited to read this.

Glorious Apollo by E Barrington

Eleanor of Aquitaine by Christopher Nicole

I received these 2 historical fictions from Endeavour Press; the first through their newsletter and the second off Netgalley. Glorious Apollo is about the notorious poet Byron while Eleanor of Aquitaine is the future wife of Henry V and Queen of England. I have not read anything by either author but both books sound interesting.

New Books - April #3

Indiana Belle by John A Heldt
(American Journey #3)

Resthaven by Erik Therme

I was kindly contacted and offered copies of young adult, thriller Resthaven and historical fiction Indiana Belle by their authors. Erik Therme is a new author for me while I have previously enjoyed The Mine (Northwest Passage #1) by John A Heldt.

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier

Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett

I am always on the look out for new-to-me books by Daphne du Maurier and Terry Pratchett. On my last trawl through my two favourite charity bookshops I struck gold: with Lords and Ladies from Pratchett’s hilarious epic Discworld series and du Maurier’s modern classic My Cousin Rachel.

New Books - April #2

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

Tunnels by Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams

On the same visit to my favourite charity bookshops, I also spotted these lovely copies of fantasy The Lies of Locke Lamora and young adult, fantasy Tunnels. I previously read both but lost my copies! I am looking forward to rediscovery these gems and continuing the series.

The Indian Fairy Book edited by Cornelius Mathews

Stories of King Arthur and His Knights edited by Sir Thomas Malory

30 Days of Daal by Pragati Bidkar

Then finally but not least, I picked up, from Amazon, these two short story collections and Indian cookbook free!

Have you read any of these? What new books are you excited about?

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Funny Books

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is:

Ten Books That Will Make You Laugh (or at least chuckle)’

Creating this week’s top 10 has made me realise what an eclectic selection of books I have read, that have cheered me up, made me chuckle and some have even made me laugh out loud.

~ 1 ~

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Dull and regulated Arthur Dent is thrust into a colourful, raucous and hilarious adventure through space; after the destruction of Earth to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. I highly recommend this classic, science-fiction, laugh-out-loud delight.

(This was so funny for my dad as a teenager he was banned from reading it in his school common room because he was laughing too loud!)

~ 2 ~

Emma by Jane Austen

I think all of Austen’s novels contain wonderful wit which helps to make her work so timeless and universal. I have picked Emma because I couldn’t help chuckling at her delusional, hapless but well-meant matchmaking throughout the book.

~ 3 ~

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Young Flora Poste comes to live with her distant relatives at the isolated Cold Comfort Farm, and turns their world upside down with her cheery and persistent outlook. Gibbons wrote this as a parody to the romanticised, doom-laden accounts of rural life popular at the time.

~ 4 ~

The Killing Joke by Anthony Horowitz

Guy Fletcher, an actor, overhears a joke…and wonders where do jokes come from? Which leads to a crazy mission, with multiple paths, dead ends and stereotypical joke characters. It is literally a joke from start to finish.

~ 5 ~

The Little Village School by Gervase Phinn

A new, younger head teacher in red high heels breezes into the school to shake things up and hopefully save it from closure. Perhaps not the humour for everyone, however working in a school myself I know exactly what funny things children can say or do!

~ 6 ~

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

A collaboration of two well-loved fantasy authors, that sees the angel Aziraphale and the demon Crowley, so comfortable in their current lives on Earth, coming together to try to stop the coming of the End Times. A quirky dark comedy.

~ 7 ~

Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

I could have pick any of Pratchett’s fantastical Discworld series that I’ve read and I know many of you will have your own favourites – however mine has to be this madcap and hilarious take on Macbeth; it always has me chuckling.

~ 8 ~

Harry Potter by J K Rowling

Slightly cheating but I couldn’t pick one book from this series as the humour continues throughout. When there are wonderful characters like Ron Weasley, Luna Lovegood and Professor Slughorn, even in the dark times, there is bound to still be some laughs.

~ 9 ~

The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien

Bilbo Baggins is swept away from his comfortable hobbit hole on an adventure to retrieve a home and treasure from a deadly dragon. The humour in this charming fantasy adventure comes from the mischievous and dry witted wizard, Gandalf. I particularly love when he tricks Bilbo into inviting him and the dwarves for tea.

~ 10 ~

The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde

A raucous Victorian tale of society, love, identity and who is Ernest?! This is funny enough to read however after taking part in a play reading I have no idea how actors in the play keep a straight face!

Have you read any of these? What books make you smile, chuckle, laugh, giggle or even laugh out loud?

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Classic Books

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is:

“Ten Books Every Classic Lover Should Read”

This week’s topic was one we could personalise. Being a member of The Classics Club, I decided to look back over my favourite reads from my list and share 10 that I think other classic lovers should try.

~ 1 ~

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women

An utterly charming novel that chronicles the struggles, tribulations and joys of the March sisters as they grow from children into women; back dropped by the American Civil War.

~ 2 ~

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice

This is perhaps Austen’s most famous and well-loved novel. A Regency tale of young women trying to find their way in the world; full of universal truths that do not change during the ages.

~ 3 ~

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Probably the best known and my current favourite Sherlock and Watson tale. A creepy and atmospheric mystery at the isolated Baskerville Hall out on foggy lonely moors.

~ 4 ~

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

I also had to have one of Doyle’s fascinating collections of Sherlock and Watson shorter mysteries on this list. This collection includes A Scandal in Bohemia which introduces the infamous Irene Adler.

~ 5 ~

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas Carol

An atmospheric, creepy but warm-hearted tale that sees miserly Ebenezer Scrooge offered redemption through the visits of three ghosts.

~ 6 ~

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

The Three Musketeers

A sweeping historic and romantic adventure that follows the young, poor and hot headed D’Artagnan, who hopes to obtain a commission in the King’s Musketeers.

~ 7 ~

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden

An utterly charming children’s classic. Spoilt, sickly and rude orphan Mary Lennox comes to Misselthwaite Manor, where she discovers nature, work, friendship and love.

~ 8 ~

The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit

The Railway Children

Another charming children’s classic that sweeps you back in time to meet middle-class siblings Roberta, Phyllis and Peter, as they have their world turned upside down.

~ 9 ~

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island

Young Jim Hawkins, the crew of the Hispaniola, and a band of a buccaneers go on a rip-roaring adventure on the sea; in search of treasure!

~ 10 ~

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Around the World in 80 Days

Delightful and eccentric adventure around the world with Phileas Fogg and his loyal servant Passepartout.

Have you read any of these? What classics would you recommend?

Challenge: Women’s Classic Literature Event (April)

Women's Classic Literature EventHello my fellow bookworms and classic lovers, it is time for the second check-in for The Women’s Classic Literature Event. Since the January check-in I have read:

Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit

Five Children and It

A magical children’s classic that follows 5 children in their adventures after meeting ‘It’, a cantankerous Psammead (sand fairy).


I am little disappointed I only finished 1 more book for this event in the last 3 months – I was also hoping to finish Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell, which I am currently reading. However that does bring my total so far up to 3 books which seems reasonable enough. That does lead me on nicely to April’s group question:

‘Share an interesting fact about the life of the author you’re currently reading for this event. This might take some research.’

Well as I have already mentioned, I am currently reading Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell. On the 29th September 1810 Elizabeth Cleghorn Stevenson was born. In 1832 Elizabeth married an Unitarian minister, William Gaskell, and they spent their honeymoon staying with Elizabeth’s uncle, Samuel Holland, near Porthmadog, North Wales. Great choice – I still have very fond memories of my own childhood holidays at Aberdunant caravan park, near Porthmadog.

What classic female authors and their works have you been reading recently?

Goodbye March, Hello April 2016

March 2016

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? The weather has been rather hit-and-miss here in the UK, my sinuses have played up and I gave meat up for Lent, however I have hardly noticed because there has been so much to celebrate in March!

First we had Mothers Day (spent with family on the south coast), then my father’s 50th birthday, World Book Day (we went as characters from Alice in Wonderland), and finally but not least Easter! Plus the England rugby union squad won the Six Nations, Formula 1 returned with the Australian Grand Prix, and after our big Easter feast we were able to settle down to watch The Boat Race. Phew! And I still found some time to read these books:

Fiction: 5     Non-Fiction: 1     Poetry: 0

I had quite a classic time in March. First I read the charming, British children’s classic; The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. A colourful adventure along the river, chock full of eccentric, furry talking animals – that put a smile on my face. After enjoying that so much I moved onto another children’s classic, Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit. A magical tale of 5 siblings and a grumpy sand fairy which I just flew through. So that’s 2 books off my Classics Club list in one month and Nesbit will also go towards the Women’s Classic Literature Event.

I spent the largest part of the month reading the epic, final instalment in the paranormal romance All Souls series: The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness. For a change of pace, I then dived into the Mediterranean suspense The Villa in Italy by Elizabeth Edmondson. I then kept the pace up with fantasy novella Broken Banners by Mark Gelineau and Joe King; book 2 in the Reaper of Stone series. My full thoughts on these 3 books is still to come.

Alongside these fictions I also read Christian non-fiction The Salvation of Doctor Who by Matt Rawle; a quick, fun and interesting read for a Christian, Doctor Who fan.

Pick of the Month: The Villa in Italy

That is 6 books completed which is a really good amount for; I am happy. During the month I have also been reading Christian non-fiction Girl Meets Change by Kristen Strong, and I started reading Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell off my Classics Club list.

I am currently half way through the schools’ Easter break, in April I can look forward to another week off work and then starting a new term on Monday 11th.

What did you do and read in March? Do have any plans for April?

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Great Books

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is: ’10 Of My Most Recent 5 Star Reads (Or Ten Of The Best Books I’ve Read Recently if you don’t 5 star stuff)’. So here are the last 10 books I rated as great reads:

~ 1 ~

The Romanovs by Virginia Cowles

The Romanovs

This was a fascinating, colourful and educational read for me; which chronicles the ups, downs, dreams, disasters and extreme personalities of the Romanov dynasty in Russia.

~ 2 ~

 Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley

Named of the Dragon

An immersive and gripping mystery in the beautiful, ancient coastal town of Angle, Pembrokeshire. Full of history, Arthurian legend, stunning settings, and a touch of romance, magic and the paranormal.

~ 3 ~

Out of Darkness by Stormie Omartian

Out of Darkness

A powerful and inspiring Christian memoir, that allowed me to glimpse within the life of Stormie Omartian; a woman, wife, mother and writer.

~ 4 ~

Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

Jamaica Inn

Out on the cold, isolated Bodmin Moors, Cornwall comes this dark and gothic tale which had me gripped, fascinated and repulsed in equal measure from the start.

~ 5 ~

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant

A taut, fast and immersive adventure which was a shocking but refreshing ending to the popular dystopian, young adult Divergent series.

~ 6 ~

Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart

Airs Above the Ground

Another nostalgic mystery from Stewart full of intrigue, secrets, suspicion, lies, betrayal, twists and turns; set in the beautiful Austrian mountains.

~ 7 ~

The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley

The Shadowy Horses

This time Kearsley swept me away to Eyemouth, a small fishing community, on the rugged and windswept coast of Scotland. For a tale full of history with an archaeological dig and the mystery of the lost Ninth Legion.

~ 8 ~

The King’s Sister by Anne O’Brien

The King's Sister

An emotional charged read which took me back to 1382 to meet Elizabeth of Lancaster; the youngest daughter of John of Gaunt and sister to the future Henry IV.

~ 9 ~

Elizabeth I and Her Circle by Susan Doran

Elizabeth I and Her Circle

A fascinating and gripping non-fiction that explores Elizabeth, her court and those advisors she chose to surround herself with.

~ 10 ~

The Praying Woman’s Devotional by Stormie Omartian

The Praying Woman's Devotional

Inspiring Christian non-fiction which suggests themes, prayers and scripture that can help women to make prayer a keystone in their lives.

What great books have you read recently? Have you read any of my choices?