Tag Archives: classics

Birthday & Christmas Haul

I know that this up a bit late but I wanted to show you the beautiful books I was given for my birthday and then two weeks later, for Christmas. These are among the prettiest volumes I’ve ever owned and I’m very happy to have them on my shelves. I just need people to coo over them with me and nobody loves a good haul like you guys.

I Heart Christmas by Lindsey Kelk: The I Heart series is about a woman in her twenties called Angela who runs away to New York after the breakup of a relationship. This is the sixth in the series and I’m still lapping them up. Most of the I Heart series are more summer reads and I’ve read most of them on holidays but this one is obviously a bit different. I’ve really enjoyed seeing her New York life develop,

I actually read my sister’s copy last year and when she was given another copy this year she passed it along to me. Aren’t I lucky!

The Hundred and One Dalmatians  & The Town In Bloom by Dodie Smith: I’ve you’ve read this blog before then you’ll know that I’m a massive fan of I, Capture the Castle and so I thought it was about time I explored her other works. The former became the very famous Disney movie and is supposed to be a charming children’s story while the latter is another coming of age tale.

English As She Is Spoke: My boyfriend got me this as I’m an English Language nerd. It’s a quite famous book for being a genuine language guide that is completely useless and wrong. The entries are hilarious for example “Do not might one’s understand to speak.” I feel so bad for anyone who attempted to use this, it would be like if somebody tried to learn English from Google Translate.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery: This edition is part of the Puffin in Bloom series and it is beautiful. I’ve not read Anne before but I adore coming of age stories and I know that it is a lot of people’s favourite book growing up. I can’t wait to read it.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton: I’d wanted to read it anyway but when Waterstones released this edition after it won their book of the year I needed to have it as soon as possible. It’s gorgeous and as it’s clothbound it’s really nice to the touch. It looks stunning and really stands out next to my other books.

Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe and illustrated by Roc Upchurch: This year I would like to read more comics and have heard lots of good things about this so it should be a pretty good place to start. It seems to portray women really well too which is something that’s really important to me.

More Fool Me by Stephen Fry: I’m a big fan of his and have read his previous memoir The Fry Chronicles but not the one before that which is Moab is My Washpot. This volume follows the end of The Fry Chronicles and tells the story of the 80’s-90’s when his career was starting to take off. I’m hoping to read lots of tales of behind the scenes of Blackadder and A Bit of Fry and Laurie. There might even be a bit of QI in there too!

 

I’m extremely happy with these new additions to by bookcase and can’t wait to get stuck into them throughout the year. I would love to hear what you think of them and what you received under your tree.

 

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Top 10 Series’ I Want To Start But Haven’t Yet

I tend to only really read standalone novels because I buy most of my books second-hand. However, I do love series’ when they’ve been done well as the world building can be much more expansive and I would like to start reading more.

Most of the series’ I’ve read was when I was a child or in my early teens such as Harry Potter, A Series of Unfortunate Events and His Dark Materials. I did read the Hunger Games series a couple of years ago but I think that’s the only one I’ve picked up in a while.

So here is a list, in no particular order of ten book series’ that I would like to dig into:

1.

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A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R Martin

I’ve only shown the first three in the series because there are about seven and that would take up too much room. I’m sure you all know about this series and it’s t.v show adaptation so I don’t think I need to give you the synopsis.

This series has intrigued me for a while. I love fantasy and the world building is said to be exquisite. The only reason I don’t own them, really, is because there isn’t any room for them on my shelf. One day though. One day…

2.

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The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

This is the Completely Fantasical Edition. It’s a beautiful bind-up with the original illustrations in it and it would look gorgeous on my shelf. Each book in the series is only about one hundred pages so it’s not too time consuming which is a worry a lot of the time when it comes to embarking on a new series.

These books are about twin brothers; Jared and Simon who along with their older sister Mallory discover a Field Guide in the old mansion that they have just moved into. It turns out the guide shows them a parallel Faerie world in which they have many adventures!

3.

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Thursday Next by Jasper Fforde

As far as I’m aware this is a series of eight books split into two parts. It’s about a girl called Thursday Next who has to go and save kidnapped fictional characters such as Jane Eyre! It sounds so awesome and is said to be hilarious. Also who doesn’t love books about books?!

4.

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Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness

I actually own the first book in this trilogy already but I haven’t read it yet. This may sound silly but it is because I know that I’ll be addicted to it and immediately need to buy the next two when I’m trying to get through some of the many unread books that I already own. Hopefully when I get my bookshelf and have more room I’ll allow myself to get them. For now I’ll just have to stare longingly at it.

5.

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Ender Saga by Orson Scott Card

I’ve only shown the first three in the series but I believe that there are at least five. I actually don’t know that much about this series as it has more of a cult following so any information in the comments would be much appreciated.

I’ve been meaning to get into sci-fi novels and this is said to be the pinnacle so it seems like a great place to start!

6.

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Gemma Doyle by Libba Bray

I’ve heard good and bad about this series but I love the Victorian era, magic and boarding schools so hopefully I’ll enjoy it. I’ve not read anything by Libba Bray either and I think this was one of her first works so it might be interesting to see her writing develop.

7.

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

I received a bind-up of these for my birthday just before Christmas and I love the movies so I don’t have any excuses why I haven’t picked it up yet. These books are some of the best fantasy to ever exist and I can’t wait to dive in.

8.

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Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery

I’d not even heard of these before the last year or so but I know that they are beloved to those that grew up reading them. I love children’s books and Anne seems like a great strong, cheeky heroine and I know that I would have adored them if I had grown up with them too.

9.

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The Hitchhickers’ Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I’m contemplating getting a bind-up or these covers from Picador USA that I really like. These books are said to be really funny and they definitely seem like my cup of tea. I’ll have to hunt down the movie with Martin Freeman and Zooey Deschanel when I’m done too.

10.

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Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente

I believe that these are the only two out at the moment.

These books take on elements of Russian fairytales and folklore to produce a beautifully woven story of a girl called September who follows the Green Wind to Fairyland to help out.

I have several of this author’s books on my to-read list as her writing is just stunning.

Any of these series’ on your list? Let me know if you make a post like this or you could just tell me some you want to read in the comments. Also feel free to leave me some recommendations!

P.S. I’ve linked the first picture of each book series to it’s Goodreads page so that you can find out more if you so wish.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Recommend The Most

This is my first time participating in Top Ten Tuesday which is ran by BrokeandBookish over on Blogspot. It seems like a really fun way of thinking about your books in different ways so I look forward to making more of these posts in the future!

Okay, so I decided not to include any of the Harry Potter books because I assume that you will already have read them (if you haven’t, why not?) or any of John Green’s novels because The Fault in Our Stars is probably on everybody else’s lists already. I do highly recommend these though.

Moving on…

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1. I, Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (first published in 1948)

This is my all-time favourite stand-alone novel. I read it two summers ago in my back garden feeling the warm breeze around me, inhaling the lavender and brushing my toes in the grass. It was the perfect reading experience.

Cassandra Mortmain is a seventeen year old girl living in 1930’s England in a ruined castle with her sister, eccentric stepmother and her father who is suffering from crippling word block. We as the reader, get to read her precious journal and discover what happens when two American men arrive on the scene. It is a coming of age story of first love and growing up.

2. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (the first novel was first published in 1995)

This is a trilogy comprised of The Northern Lights (The Golden Compass in the USA), The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. 

I was given the books as a gift by my year six teacher who knew how much I loved Harry Potter and so he wanted me to read these too. At eleven, I was a little too young and so I didn’t get past the first few pages but when I picked it up again a couple of years later I was absolutely enthralled.

The first book depicts the journey that Lyra and her dæmon, Pantalaimon take from a parallel Oxford to the North in order to find her friend Rodger. Lots of kids keep going missing and she discovers that scientists are conducting terrible experiments on them. When she meets Will they team up and form an amazing bond determined to end all of the horrible things that are happening around them.

3. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (first published in 1817)

Most people are at least familiar with Austen’s most famous novel Pride and Prejudice but this is my favourite. I read it last year as part of Ariel Bissett’s (find her on youtube) Austen Adventure series and I adore it.

Catherine Morland gets invited by an older family friend to spend a couple of weeks in Bath. There she meets Isabella who may not be as great a friend as Catherine first thinks and John Thorpe who is most definitely not a welcome suit. She does, however, make friends with Eleanor Tilney and her dashing brother Henry.

When Catherine is invited to stay at Northanger Abbey which looks just like a setting from her gothic novels that she is obsessed with her wayward imagination sweeps her off into trouble.

This is a coming of age book about maturing into an adult without losing your special quirks, falling in love and not succumbing to peer pressure.

4. The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde (first published in 1890)

This is Oscar Wilde’s only novel which tells the tale of a man that destroys himself and those around him through vanity. It is a commentary on the lavish lifestyle of upperclass Victorians and the superficialness of it.

I went on a Wilde kick last year and read anything of his that I could get my hands on, I’m reading A Women of No Importance at the moment and still can’t get enough. His writing is so beaufitul, melancholy and superbly witty.

5. An Inspector Calls by J.B Priestley (first published as a text in 1987 but first performed in 1945)

This is a play set in 1912, just before the sink of the Titanic and takes place over the same day. The Birling family are questioned by Inspector Goole over the suicide of Eva Smith who is also known as Daisy Renton. As the play unfolds it transpires that they all knew this woman and so did they all have a part in her death?

I studied this play as part of my English Literature GCSE and enjoyed it immensely. The 1954 film is excellent as well.

6. The Faraway Tree Stories by Enid Blyton (first published in 1939)

My year three teacher used to take the class outside during the afternoon to read this to us under a big oak tree at the bottom of the playground. When we were done with it I made my Mum buy me a copy so that I could read it again myself. A few years ago I re-read it and enjoyed it just as much.

I still dream of adventures in the tree with Fanny, Jo, Bessie and Moonface.

7. Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo (first published in 1999)

This was read to both year six classes in the shared area by the other teacher. I became fully immersed in Michael’s world as he ended up stranded on a desert island and had to fend for himself. With the at first reluctant help of Kensuke, who has been on the island for years, he keeps himself going and learns lots of new skills whilst waiting for his parents to rescue him.

Again, I made my Mum buy it for me as soon as the teacher had finished and have read it several times since.

8. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger (first published in 1951)

I first read this when I was about fourteen or fifteen and hated it. Absolutely hated it. Every page felt like a chore and I found Holden Coulfield to be a whiny, ungrateful brat.

Then when I was eighteen I re-read it because it was a classic and so many people loved it that I felt the need to uncover what I was missing from it. I’m so glad I gave it that second chance because this time I did understand.

Holden was going through the same things I was and so I could relate this time. We both had good families, we never went without anything and we were smart but something was slipping. We couldn’t cope with the pressure of school or of growing up and the anxiety was draining us.

Holden, as a character, helped me a lot in that time of struggle and I hope that any young adults reading this who are seeing hints of themselves in this will pick it up.

9. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I was assigned this in my English Literature class at college but ended up spending most of my time reading this instead of actually doing my work.

Scout is an engaging narrator who navigates the world around her with curiosity and innocence. When her father, who is a lawyer, takes on the case of a black man accused of raping a white woman she must learn that doing the right thing is not always easy but should be done regardless.

Seeing a young girl’s perspective of living in a small southern American town in 1935 amongst racial hatred was very enlightening and her observations were profound without the author losing the integrity of Scout’s voice in terms of her age.

If you are getting into classics, are a history buff or you enjpy law then I would definitely recommend this.

10. The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (first published in 1890)

The protagonist has been sent to a mental institute (although she thinks it’s a quaint hotel) for a while by her husband who is a doctor. He thinks that she is suffering from hysteria but we now recognise it as being post-natal depression.

While she is there she keeps a secret journal in the room that she is locked in, the room with the horrid yellow wallpaper that seems to come alive at night and strangle her.

This is a feminist text that comments on the treatment of women as lesser and how the protagonist was never allowed to make her own decisions. I also studied this in English Literature and read it over and over again during class instead of paying attention.

It’s gripping, thought provoking and just… sad, really.

I hope you have enjoyed this post and I hope that it wasn’t too long!

Also, thank you to FlightyPig for helping me with the pictures 🙂