The Year in Books :: December 2016

Better late than never – right??

I thought I would pop by to tell you what I read in November – October seemed to be a bit of a lull in reading and I didn’t really read anything at all.  November got me back on track though, so here we go;

hygge

First up was the gorgeous The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking.  This was delightful – beautifully presented with some wonderful ideas to put into practice to make your like a little more hygge.  I can’t wait for Christmas, as I think it will be easier to be a little more hygge then than at any other time of the year.  I am looking forward to hunkering down with some good books, films, food and (hopefully) no internet for a while.  Bliss.

witches

Next I dipped into Accused: British Witches Throughout History by Willow Winsham which was fairly interesting.  I did find the style a little disjointed and confusing at times, but a lot of the cases discussed were really absorbing.  I knew very little about any of them, and I was so interested to see such recent cases – going right up to the 1940s.  Well worth a dip into if witches are your thing.

murder

After that, I fancied a little lighthearted murder!  So I picked up the first in a series, Murder at the Brightwell by Ashley Weaver.  I enjoyed this one a lot – it is a lighthearted murder mystery set in the 1930s.  It was very fluffy and there were lots of small descriptions of dresses (which I found slightly annoying after a while) and some fun characters.  I would recommend it for light escapism, and I would certainly read the next in the series if I came across it on my travels.

December might see me reading Christmassy things – including my annual rereads of A Christmas Carol by Dickens and Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien.  I am hoping that I can fit in some more wintery feel good reads too – what they will be, only time will tell!

What have you been reading lately?

Organdie. x

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The Year in Books :: May 2016

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Hello May! How lovely that you seem to have brought some sunshine with you! ‘Bout time too!

Anyway, to the books!

I started off this month by reading The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett which was very amusing and a book that I enjoyed a lot.  I often find that the books I stumble across in second hand (or new) bookshops to be ones that I like a whole lot more than those that have been shouted about everywhere.  Does everyone else find that too?

Anyway, Terry Pratchett is very funny, and exactly what I needed at the time that I read it – something silly and fun to cheer up a slightly miserable April!

I seem to have been on a little reading binge this month without really meaning to as well – I read all three of the Cormoran Strike books by Robert Galbraith (AKA JK Rowling) back to back…

The series starts with The Cuckoo’s Calling, continues with The Silkworm and finishes (so far) with Career of Evil.

I enjoyed the first much more that I thought I would – for some reason I was not overly excited about JK Rowling’s adult fiction – I tried and failed at The Casual Vacancy – so I had slightly low hopes for the crime series.

The first and second books were brilliant – the third not so great, but still very good – and I am really enjoying the characters of Strike and Robin, and I am looking forward to seeing where things go in their lives.  I am not always so fussed in crime novels with the crimes or the conclusions – I much prefer the main characters lives and the relationships between them.

I am currently reading Song of the Rolling Earth by John Lister-Kaye and loving the writing so far – although it jumps around a little bit which I wasn’t expecting.  I am looking forward to carrying on with the adventures in the Scottish Highlands.

I am also about to start Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens as part of Katie from Books and Things’ readalong – there is a goodreads group here if you would like to join in too.  We are reading it in the way it was published originally, so May sees us read the first 4 chapters.  I am looking forward to seeing what it is like to reading something in serial form – I am hoping that I can stick to the schedule without being tempted to rush ahead because the pages are there!

What are you reading at the moment?

Organdie. x

PS – As always this project was started by Laura over at Circle of Pine Trees– go and say hi, her blog is gorgeous!  You can find more information about The Year in Books project by visiting the page on her blog here.

The Year in Books :: January 2016

December is always a rereading kind of month for me, and this year was no exception.  I reread A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens as well as Letters From Father Christmas by J.R.R Tolkien.

I love these two books an awful lot – so I do look forward to December so I can curl up with them again!

Does anyone else reread a lot in winter, but December in particular?

I also had a little dip into the new illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone which I was lucky enough to receive for Christmas, and it is stunning.   I am really enjoying going back and reading a familiar story with unfamiliar elements added!

I am not sure what I will start 2016 off with yet – I am going to let it be a surprise!  Who knows what will grab my attention first.

What have you got lined up for 2016 reading wise?

Organdie. x

PS – As always this project was started by Laura over at Circle of Pine Trees– go and say hi, her blog is gorgeous!  You can find more information about The Year in Books project by visiting the page on her blog here.

 

The Year in Books :: December 2015

Wow! Hello December, where did you spring from?!

Things here have just been a bit manic and time seems to have completely slipped away from me.  When things get busy or fragmented, my attention span seems to do likewise, so my reading slowed down again in November.

I still managed to read two books, but they were both read right at the beginning of the month!

First up was Kate Morton’s The Lake House.

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This was exactly the kind of book I was in the mood for once the clocks went back and the weather turned distinctly autumnal verging on wintery.

I love Kate Morton’s books, they wrap you up in their family saga and there is enough suspense and intrigue to keep you wanting one chapter more!  Perfect!

I then read The Penguin Lesssons by Tom Michell (and illustrated by my talented friend Neil Baker – you can find him over here)

image

This was a lovely heart-warming tale of Tom’s experiences in Argentina in the 70s after rescuing a penguin from an oil slick.  I thoroughly enjoyed this little book – I think it would be a smashing gift for anyone who loves animals (especially penguins, obviously) and who likes to read things that warm the cockles of their hearts!

December always sees me read (or attempt to get to) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien.  I have no reason to think that I won’t try them again this year because I love them both dearly.

As for anything extra?  We’ll have to see…

What have you got lined up for your December reading?

Organdie. x

PS – As always this project was started by Laura over at Circle of Pine Trees– go and say hi, her blog is gorgeous!  You can find more information about The Year in Books project by visiting the page on her blog here.

The Classics Book Tag

Something a little bit different for you today.  I thought I would try out another tag which I stumbled upon on Youtube the other day – The Classics Book Tag.  This one is slightly different as it originated in blog form (you can check out the original post here), so I thought it would be a great one to pop on my blog too.

I am not a huge reader of classics, but the ones that I have read I seem to have enjoyed and there are a few lurking on my TBR pile, so I thought I would give it a go anyway, here goes…

1) An overhyped classic that you really didn’t like.

This would have to be Animal Farm by George Orwell.  I am not sure if this is because we had to (over) study it at school, or whether I genuinely didn’t like the book, but it either case, it is the one that I thought of first.

Animal Farm

2) Favourite time period to read about.

This would have to be Victorian England.  I am a bit of a sucker for the Brontes and some Dickens (although as you know I did not really enjoy Oliver Twist recently) so I am all for getting lost in the gothic-ness of Victorian England!

IMG_0606

3) Favourite Fairy Tale.

This is a little tricky for me, as I have to admit to not having read an awful lot (actually next to no) fairy tales.  It might be a bit of an obvious answer, but I do like Beauty and the Beast…

4) Most embarrassing classic you have not read yet.

 This accolade would probably have to go to Jane Austen – I have only read Pride and Prejudice and probably should have read more.  I hate that ‘should’ though – I am really quite happy to read what I want when I want as a general rule.

Pride and prejudice

5) Top five classics you would like to read soon.

I have chosen these mainly because I already own physical copies of the books, and really should get round to reading them soon!

  • Persuasion – Jane Austen
  • Emma – Jane Austen
  • A Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde
  • Bleak House – Charles Dickens
  • The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

6) Favourite modern book/TV series based on a classic.

Um… probably Bridget Jones’ Diary.  Quite possibly because that is the only one I can think of right now.  I did really enjoy both the book and the film though.

BJ diary

7) Favourite movie/TV series adaptation of a classic.

Obviously the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice!

8) Worst movie/TV series adaptation of a classic.

The film version of Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley – bleurgh…

9) Favourite editions you would like to collect.

I have a few!

I love the Persephone editions of forgotten classics;

miss p

 

I also really like the Penguin English Library editions;

whThe World Cloud Classics editions;

dracula

There are loads of beautiful classic editions out there – very tempting and no good at all for the wallet!

10) An underhyped classic you would recommend to everyone.

This is a tricky one for me, because I think the classics that I have read, most other people will have also read… My absolute favourite is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, so if by some chance you have not yet picked that one up, I highly recommend that you do so!

How about you – are you a lover or loather of classic books?  Have you got any recommendations for me?  If you join in with the tag, let me know in the comments, I would love to see what books you came up with too!

Organdie. x

 

 

The Year in Books :: April 2015

It’s that time again!  As part of Laura’s The Year in Books project over at Circle of Pine Trees I am going to share with you what I have been reading and what’s on my reading horizons for next month.

March seemed to be a slightly slower month – not just in terms of reading, but everything seems to have slowed down for me lately.  (I am sure that mindless internet browsing is partly, if not solely, to blame – so I have a little experiment to share with you later this week.)

I managed to read one book in March;

Oliver Twist

 

I am afraid to say that I found it quite hard going, and I actually much preferred the musical (is that even allowed!? I am going with HELL YES!)

I found myself picking the book up, getting a page or two read and then feeling bored and distracted and putting it down again.  Not great.  But I am not going to beat myself up about it too much.  Some books just don’t click do they?  So let’s move on…

What does April have in store?

I’m not overly sure again to be honest – I seem to have gone back into a slight reading slump of sorts again – but that could be down to my magpie eyes and brain not letting me truly settle on any task at hand at the moment.

I am going to try and read The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield for Book Club this coming month;

The Celestine Prophecy

I am trying to leave it as long as possible to read so I can at least try and retain some information about it for discussion on the night!  And of course I am continuing on with my journey through Middle Earth and The Lord of the Rings too.

What are your reading plans for April – are you joining in with Laura’s Year in Books too?

Organdie. x

 

The Books That Made Me

I have been following some people on YouTube who talk about books (if you are not familiar with BookTube – have a look, it is addictive…) and there are a lot of tag videos out there on a variety of subjects.  A tag is a set of questions normally that you answer, usually involving a lot of books.  Now, as I don’t have a channel on YouTube (and am not very likely to start one!) I thought I would adapt a few of the tags on the blog instead.

The first on that caught my eye was on Victoria Harris’ channel and it dealt with the books of her life.  She has just turned 20 and chose 19 (as the 20th has to be decided this year) books that have defined her years so far.  She challenged others to do a response to this by choosing the books of their years so far.  This means for me, having just turned 31, I need to choose 30 books that made me.

What fun!

Victoria kind of matched her books to each year of her life, but I can’t seem to do that so well, so I am going to just list them instead… Here goes, in no particular order my 30 books and why they are so important to me;

1 The Very Hungry Caterpillar

 1 – The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

I have a sneaky suspicion that this one might be on a lot of peoples lists.  I remember this one from very early on in my childhood, and I loved it!

2 Meg and Mog

2 – Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll

Another early childhood favourite – I love Jan Pienkowski’s illustrations, so vibrant and fun.  Another firm favourite to be read over and over again.

Mog The Forgetful Cat

3 – Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr

Apparently I was very fond of cats called Mog as a young child.  This one was a firm favourite along with The Tiger who came to Tea.  Brilliant.

3 First thousand words in french

4 – The Usborne First Thousand Word in French

I loved the Usborne books when I was younger, the illustrations were wonderful (sense a theme here…) and I adored finding all the hidden ducks on the pages.

4 Janet and John

5 – The Janet and John books

I remember these books from my Grandma’s house, there were only a couple and they were really outdated even then, but they do bring back strong memories of learning to read for myself.

6 Miffy in the Hospital

6 – Miffy in the Hospital by Dick Bruna

I got this gorgeous little book when I went into hospital as a child and I fell in love with Miffy instantly.  Simple, lovely stories and simple, lovely illustrations.  I still have a Miffy lunchbag.

5 Ginger's Adventures

7 – Ginger’s Adventures

Another find at Grandma’s house, this series of books all had the same pattern of rhymes and I remember my Dad reading from two books at the same time so they still rhymed but made no sense.  We thought it was hilarious.

7 a necklace of raindrops

8 – A Necklace of Raindrops by Joan Aiken

I have to confess to remembering this one for the illustrations rather than the stories themselves.  Another stunner from Jan Pienkowski!

8 The Folk of the Faraway Tree

9 – The Folk of the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

I still have my mum’s copy of this book, a little tatty now but very well loved.  I didn’t realise until really quite recently that this is actually the third book in the series, and now I can’t read the other two as an adult – this one on the other hand I can happily reread.

9 Wheres Wally

10 – Where’s Wally by Martin Handford

Yes!  Where’s Wally?  There he is!  I could spend hours looking at those intricate drawings and trying to find all the things listed in the back of the book.  I am not sure I ever completed any of the books if I am honest, but it was great fun trying.

10 Beatrix Potter

11 – Anything by Beatrix Potter

Who doesn’t love a bit of Beatrix Potter?  These were a big part of my childhood, I think I may even have been lucky enough to have the whole set.  I don’t know where they are anymore which is quite sad.

11 The Island of Adventure

12 – The Island of Adventure by Enid Blyton

This one was part of a three volume bind up that I had when I was about 9 or 10 I think.  I remember taking it on holiday and rereading the three books quite a lot.  This book was my favourite of the three though, and I think it may even have been the first in the series!

12 Biff chip and kipper

12 – The Biff, Chip and Kipper books

Learning to read at school in England means the Biff, Chip and Kipper books.  Not much more to say about those really, but they brought back so many memories when I saw them in the bookshop I worked at a few years ago – I didn’t know that kids still used them.  Brilliant.

14 Finn Family Moomintroll

14 – The Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson

Another book that my mum introduced me to as a child.  I remember this book (which I no longer own in it’s original guise which is a real shame as it had a much nicer cover than the reprint I have) and the TV series that went along with it.  The book was enough to instil a life long love of the Moomins in me.  Started a little bit of a collection now…

15 Matilda

15 – Matilda by Roald Dahl

My absolute favourite Roald Dahl as a child.  I think that most kids have some experience of Dahl during their reading lives, and I really can’t imagine that many of them don’t like him in one way or another!

16 Charlottes web

16 – Charlotte’s Web by E.B.White

Another Grandma special!  A lovely, although sad, story – I really much reread this one again soon to reacquaint myself with Wilbur and Charlotte and the others.

17 Winnie the Pooh

17 – The Winnie the Pooh books by A.A.Milne

Need I say more? I could read the Winnie the Pooh stories all the time.  These were a huge part of my childhood and I remember both my dad and also Alan Bennett (via cassette of course) reading these books to me over and over again.  Very comforting.  We still recite certain parts of the books to each other on occasion.

18 goodnight mister tom

18 – Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

This book was wonderful – I remember reading this when I was about 12 or 13 I think and being absolutely blown away by it.  Sad in parts, but ultimately uplifting.  I am scared to reread this one in case I don’t find it as amazing as a grown up.

19 Harry Potter

19 – The Harry Potter Series

No words necessary surely?

20 The Hobbit

20 – The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

I read this when I was fairly young – it is a kids book after all – and quite enjoyed it.  I enjoyed it far more as an adult though, I read this and The Lord of the Rings just before the films started to come out – I can’t really bring myself to watch a film without reading the book first – and absolutely adored them.

21 The Lord of the Rings

21 – The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien

One of my all time favourite books.  At one time I reread this book every year, but in recent times I have slipped a bit.  I am rectifying that now by journeying into Middle Earth again this year.  I am thoroughly enjoying meeting old friends again!

22 Jane Eyre

22 – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I read this one on the beach in Majorca on my first proper grown up holiday when I left high school.  I got quite a lot of stick for reading it actually – I suppose it is not standard beach reading material.  I am so glad that I did though, it has stuck with me ever since and reread it numerous times since.  A treasured favourite.

23 Letter's from father christmas

23 – Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

Love it love it love it.  Another book I try and read every year.  It is enchanting and I really enjoy it every time I read it.

24 A christmas carol

24 – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I sound a bit like a broken record, but this is one I try to read every year.  I have loved this story in various forms (from Muppets to the amateur dramatics production I was in when I was about 11) for years, and it is a joy to read it leading up to Christmas.

25 I capture the castle

25 – I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

A recent reread for me as you might know, and it was an instant 5 star read for me.  I love the writing and the story and could happily imagine myself living with the Mortmains.

26 A year of mornings

26 – A Year of Mornings by Maria Alexandra Vettese and Stephanie Congdon Barnes

A book that showed me that not all photography needs to be “special” or of something “spectacular” – there are lots of moments and objects in your everyday life that are just as stunning and meaningful as a beautiful sunset or landscape.  (It inspired me to write my own online photography course which you can find more information about here if you are interested.)

27 You can buy happiness

27 – You Can Buy Happiness and it’s Cheap by Tammy Strobel

This one was a recent find for me, it has added a lot of fuel to my “trying to be a minimalist” fire.  It is a slow burning fire I have to say, and there is a lot that I need to learn, but one day I will have a tiny house and feel a bit freer from all this stuff that I don’t actually need!

28 The legend of Elizabeth siddal

28 – The Legend of Elizabeth Siddal by Jan Marsh

This book was so important to me at University – I wrote my dissertation on Lizzie Siddal and absolutely fell in love with The Pre Raphalites.  Even writing that sentence has made me want to dig out all my Pre Raphaelite books and get stuck into them all again.

29 the story of at

29 – The Story of Art by E.H. Gombrich

Another very important book to me.  I was struggling at Uni with my original Psychology and English degree choice, and this chance purchase made me realise that there might be more options for me.  So I swapped courses just after starting my third year at Uni (Nuts? Maybe.  Did it make me happy? Yes!) and started to study The History of Art and Design instead.

30 The Principles of Druidry

30 – The Principles of Druidry by Emma Restall Orr

I was recommended this book by my piano teacher when I was about 16 years old.  I have always been interested in alternative ways of life for want of a better phrase and this one was the beginning for me of finding out more.

What books have made you?  I would love to read or watch your take on this one!

Organdie. x