Meme: Top 10 Childhood Books

Blog Post #2

This week over at the Broke and Bookish the theme for Top Ten Tuesday is ‘Top 10 Books From My Childhood (Or teen years) That I Would Love To Revisit’ . I liked this topic and had to give it a go. Here are my choices:

1. The Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton
While I read The Famous Five and some of The Secret Seven it was definitely this less well known fantasy series that caught my attention as a child.

2.The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks

3. The Elfstones of Shannara by Terry Brooks
My father has copies of these which are from Brooks’ Original Shannara trilogy. While I enjoyed them as a child I spent too much time comparing them to Lord of the Rings. I would like to see if I would enjoy them even more now, and perhaps want to read more of the Shannara series.

4. What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge
I remember in primary school dressing up as Katy Carr for World Book Day but other than snippets I don’t have the greatest memory of this novel and it’s sequels which so captured me.

5. Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
An eccentric and delightful short story collection. I have found a real love for short stories recently so this could be a great re-read for me.

6. Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce
I have fond memories of my favourite primary school teacher reading this delightful novel to my class.

7. Johnny Maxwell trilogy by Terry Pratchett
My love for Pratchett started young. I believe this was the first series by Pratchett I read which includes my favourite Johnny and the Bomb. I loved the mixture of family drama, fantasy, science fiction and history.

8. The Nome trilogy by Terry Pratchett
I loved the funny adventures of Truckers, Diggers and Wings. This is the series which most reminds me of Pratchett’s adult Discworld series. I borrowed both these trilogies from the library as a child. I would love to re-read and own my own copies of them now.

9. Village School by Miss Read
I have fond memories of my mother reading this to me at bedtime. A simple and detailed tale of day-to-day life which was wonderfully comforting before bed. I have read other novels from this series as an adult but I haven’t revisited this one.

10. Harry Potter series by J K Rowling
I have read all the instalments of this series as they came out, and while I have watched the films many times and even listened to some of the audiobooks I haven’t re-read any of the novels. I think this is because I adore the stories and characters but didn’t love Rowling’s writing style. I definitely will re-read them perhaps just need a bit more time.

Honourable mentions must go to The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis, and The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien. I loved all of these as a child but I have also regularly re-read them as an adult too.

Do you love some of my choices too? What childhood favourite would you like to revisit?

Challenge: Once Upon a Time IX

Once Upon a Time 9

(Art by Kimberly Kincaid. Used with Permission)

Hello my fellow bookworms I am pleased to announce the return of the Once Upon a Time event which is hosted by Carl V @ Stainless Steal Droppings. Participants in this event 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 (currently reading)
Shadow of Night

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin
A Feast For Crows
A Dance with Dragons: Dreams and Dust
A Dance with Dragons: After the Feast

Books I could choose off my Kindle:

The Curse Keepers Collection by Denise Grover Swank
The Curse Keepers
The Curse Breakers
The Curse Defiers

All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness
The Book of Life

The Wanderers by Cheryl Mahoney
The Storyteller and Her Sister by Cheryl Mahoney
The Raven’s Head by Karen Maitland
The Amethyst Fairy Book by Michelle McLaughlin
The Diamond Fairy Book by Michelle McLaughlin
The Emerald Fairy Book by Michelle McLaughlin
Victorian Fairy Tales edited by Michael Newton

Once Upon a Time IX officially runs from 21st March to 21st June 2015. 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 IX?

New Books: March 2015

New Books - March 2015 #1

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

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

I picked up these lovely copies of these classics in a recent trip to my favourite charity bookshop. I have read Little Women and A Study in Scarlet before, and I am looking forward to reading The Hound of the Baskervilles for The Classics Club.

New Books - March #2

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

Bringing Narnia Home by Devin Brown

The Rise of Thomas Cromwell by Michael Everett

I received paranormal fiction The Book of Life, non-fiction Bringing Narnia Home and historical non-fiction The Rise of Thomas Cromwell for my Kindle from Netgalley. I am really looking forward to all three. Especially the latter as I have not long finished watching the BBC’s Wolf Hall series which has wetted my appetite to find out more about Thomas Cromwell.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J K Rowling

Then last but certainly not least I picked up this Harry Potter first edition with original cover art from another antique shop. I just couldn’t believe my luck when I spotted it. I now have a full set of the series with the original cover art, sadly not all first editions but they do look great on my bookshelf.

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

Goodbye February, Hello March

February 2015

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are all well? February has been another cold month here in the UK, with some extreme days of rain and days of bright sunshine. Did mean it was another good month for me tucking myself in bed early with a good book though. Here is what I have managed to finish:

Fiction: 4     Non-Fiction: 2     Poetry: 0

I started the month off by finishing Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald, my 28th read off my Classics Club list. A slow read about the glitzy and gritty lives of 1920’s American socialites in Europe. In parallel to Tender is the Night I read The Book of Jonah by Joshua Max Feldman. An often dark and sad contemporary fiction with an Old Testament twist.

Next for a change of pace and mood I re-read The Fellowship of the Ring by J R R Tolkien. An intricate, epic, and enchanting tale that brought magic and comfort into the recent cold days. Still in a comfort read mood I next read the children’s classic The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, my 29th read off my Classics Club list. Another delightful read for the recent cold days; my full thoughts still to be posted.

Alongside these fictions I also read two non-fictions. First the memoir Our Zoo by June Mottershead. A nostalgic, touching and inspiring memoir which I was inspired to read after watching the BBC drama. Then faith non-fiction The Ancient Path by John Michael Talbot an interesting look into the founding fathers of Christianity; my full thoughts still to be posted.

Pick of the Month: The Fellowship of the Ring

And those are just the books I finished. A new aim for 2015 for me is to always have a classic on the go so after finishing The Secret Garden I returned to my favourite sleuth in The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. I have also not quite finished urban fantasy World Below by Mike Phillips yet (although by the time this post goes out I am hoping I will have finished).

I am looking forward to more good reading, Mother’s day, and my father’s birthday in March.

What did you do and read in February?

Re-Read: The Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring

With the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014) Peter Jackson’s epic film franchise based on J R R Tolkien’s novels has sadly now come to an end. While I regularly re-read The Hobbit I haven’t read The Lord of the Rings in over 10 years! So the start of February saw me reaching for The Fellowship of the Ring as I thought it was high time for a re-read.

The Fellowship of the Ring takes us back to Middle-Earth 60 years after Bilbo Baggins’s original adventure to the Lonely Mountain. In the quiet and beautiful Shire, Bilbo and his heir Frodo are celebrating landmark birthdays. Frodo now comes into his inheritance which includes Bilbo’s magic ring. Some troubling information has come to light about the ring though that sets Frodo on a dangerous mission in a fellowship with men, hobbits, elf, dwarf and wizard. Bilbo didn’t just find any old ring he has in fact found the one ring of power that Sauron himself forged in Mount Doom, and only there can it be destroyed.

What I particularly love about Tolkien’s work is the unlikely protagonists of hobbits. Small creatures with curly hair, pointy ears, large hairy feet and brightly coloured clothes; who live comfortable lives full of food, walks and routine. In The Fellowship of the Ring we have 4 hobbits Frodo, his gardener Sam, and his cousins Merry and Pippin. They are joined later on by Gandalf the Wizard, Legolas a woodland elf, Gimli a dwarf, and two men Boromir and Aragorn. I love the mixture and diversity of the members of the fellowship, and find it compelling how they journey and interact with each other.

The Hobbit is my favourite book from childhood and I have read it more times than I can count! However I have only previously read The Lord of the Rings trilogy twice and while I have enjoyed them they don’t quite hold the same sort of place in my heart. On re-reading The Fellowship of the Ring I found it to be an intricate and enchanting tale. Every word is precious to Tolkien and again he uses them here perfectly to really bring Middle-Earth alive. The Fellowship of the Ring is probably the longest of the reads from the trilogy because there is a lot of characters to introduce, history to relay, and adventure to establish. I found on this re-read though the slowness and familiarity of it to be very comforting.

The Fellowship of the Ring is a slow but intricate, epic, and enchanting tale. I highly recommend to those who enjoy epic fantasy. I look forward to re-reading The Two Towers next. Great read.

Have you read this? Have you watched the films?

Adaptations: January 2015 (1)

Adaptations #2

I absolutely love adaptations. I know this can sometimes be a controversial subject with book lovers but not for me. I think my real love of them came from my time studying performance at university. There I became fascinated with taking a story and telling it through a different medium; whether that be book, film, TV, or on the stage.

Here are the adaptations I have been watching during the Christmas holiday and January:

Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)         Read     Film     Television
Fantasy adventure based on L. Frank Baum’s Oz series of novels and a prequel to the classic film The Wizard of Oz (1939). This takes us back to when Oscar Diggs a sideshow magician is swept into a magical land. A nice storyline, stunning special effects and vistas, and a good ensemble cast. Good watch.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)         Not Read     Film     Television
The sixth James Bond thriller, starring George Lazenby, based on Ian Fleming’s tenth Bond novel. There’s a slightly ridiculous toboggan fight but other than that I enjoyed the 1960’s setting, the beautiful Diana Rigg, and the bittersweet ending. Good watch.

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)          Not Read     Film     Television
The seventh James Bond thriller, starring Sean Connery, based on Ian Fleming’s fourth Bond novel. I enjoyed the early 1970s setting,  the humorous tone and the return of Connery to the role, he’s definitely one of my favourite Bonds. Good watch.

Atlantis (2014)          Read     TV Series     Television
First half of series 2 of the BBC’s fantasy adventure inspired by Greek Mythology; including Jason, Hercules, Ariadne, Pasiphae and the Grey Sisters. A fun and exciting show as before but this 2nd series seemed to be darker than the previous. I particularly love Mark Addy as the over weight and washed up hero Hercules. I am looking forward to the rest of this series. Good watch.

Ivanhoe (1982)          Read     Film     Television
A sweeping historical TV film based on Sir Walter Scott’s classic novel. A colourful and romantic adaptation with a good ensemble cast including Anthony Andrews, San Neill, John Rhys-Davies, and Olivia Hussey as the beautiful Rebecca. Good watch.

Live and Let Die (1973)          Not Read     Film     Television
The eighth James Bond thriller, starring Roger Moore, based on Ian Fleming’s second Bond novel. Moore isn’t my favourite Bond however I did find him rather amusing in this film. I also liked the mystic/exotic elements, the beautiful Jane Seymour, and the cool theme song. Good watch.

Another good adaptation filled month for me, I can’t actually believe how much I’ve watched and we’re not even technically at the end of January yet. My numbers have been considerably increased by ITV’s showing of the Bond films every Sunday afternoon. They’ve been perfect watches for all the family after our big dinner. I look forward to more Bond next weekend and many more adaptations I have recorded.

Watched any of these? What have you been watching recently?

Top 10 Adaptations of 2014

Blog 2014

I absolutely love adaptations. I know this can sometimes be a controversial subject with book lovers but not for me. I think my real love of them came from my time studying performance at university. There I became fascinated with taking a story and telling it through a different medium; whether that be book, film, TV, or on the stage.

Hello my fellow bookworms and adaptations watchers. 2014 was a great adaptation watching year for me so I thought I would do my first top 10 list for it. This is a list of adaptations I watched in 2014 not that were necessarily released in 2014. After much thought here are my choices (ordered alphabetically by title):

1. Captain Phillips (2013)          Not Read     Film     Television
A heart-racing thriller based on a true life account; recounted in A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips (with help from Stephan Talty). The amazing Tom Hanks takes the title role of Captain Richard Phillips who is willing to sacrifice himself when he finds his ship and crew under attack from Somali pirates. Great performances from the whole cast and an all round beautifully made film.

2. Death Comes to Pemberley (2013)          Read     TV Mini-Series     Television
BBC period drama adapted from P D James’ novel which continues Darcy and Elizabeth’s life on after Pride and Prejudice. With beautiful scenery, lavish costumes, a great cast and a good murder mystery, what wasn’t there to enjoy here? I only wish I had watched this mini-series sooner

3. Endeavour (2014)          Not Read     TV Series     Television
A second series of ITV crime drama series based on the characters of Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse novels and prequel to the ITV Inspector Morse (1987-2000) TV series. Endeavour takes us back to the Oxford of 1960s where we see the young detective constable Endeavour Morse solve some of his earliest cases. Mysterious, clever and Shaun Evans does a wonderful job of portraying young Morse.

4. Game of Thrones (2014)          Read      TV Series      Television
Lavish fourth series of the epic fantasy drama based on George R R Martin’s epic A Song of Ice and Fire series. Another gripping series of war, intrigue, family, politics, love, lust, lies and dragons! What’s not to love? Again though not for everyone it is jam packed with violence, sex and foul language. (Since watching this I have caught up with the books).

5. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)          Not Read     Film     Cinema
A action-packed superhero adventure set in space based on Guardians of the Galaxy created by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning which is featured in Marvel Comics. A gang of extra-terrestrial misfits fighting and stealing their way around the galaxy in hopes of saving it from Ronan the Accuser. An exciting and fast paced film with great special effects and a cool soundtrack. I enjoyed this even more than I thought I would.

6. Noah (2014)          Read      Film      Cinema
An epic biblically inspired Hollywood film inspired by Noah’s Ark from the Old Testament of The Bible and other similar ancient tales from around the world. Whether you believe in these tales or not I thought this was a stunning and innovative film with a cool science fiction twist. With great performances from Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson and more.

7. Sherlock (2014)          Read     TV Mini-Series     Television
The third series of the BBC’s popular show inspired by the tales of Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous private detective Sherlock Holmes. An excellent modern interpretation of Doyle’s characters and mysteries which has been highly anticipated for a return since 2012! As before. All I can say is I hope it won’t be long till there is more..

8. Shetland (2014)          Not Read     TV Series     Television
A second series of BBC crime drama series based on Ann Cleeve’s novels Raven Black, Dead Water and Blue Lightning featuring Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez each novel was covered over three two-part episodes. I thought this series was mysterious and well performed with the isolated, lonely and beautiful setting of the islands of Shetland. I hope there will be more.

9. Thor: The Dark World (2013)          Not Read     Film     Television
An action-packed superhero adventure set in space based on Thor created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby who features in Marvel Comics. I thought The Dark World was another fun and action packed adventure this time set in part on Earth and Asgard, which I loved, as Thor, Jane and Loki battle across the universe with the Dark Elves. I was totally sold on this film.

10. X-Men: Days of the Future Past (2014)          Not Read     Film      Cinema
A Hollywood blockbuster about The X-Men superheroes featured in Marvel Comics with a plot loosely based on a story by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. Exciting, fast-paced, amazing special effects and great performances from the ensemble cast.

It was hard to dwindle my list down to just 10. Honourable mentions must also go out to TV series Fleming (2014), Hannibal (2014), and Inspector George Gently (2014), and films Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014), and my re-watch of Pride & Prejudice (2005).

What were your favourite films and TV shows you watched in 2014?