Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts

Friday, November 08, 2013

SUYL: Book Lists

This week for 'Show Us Your Life', Kelly is having us all share our current book lists.  This is one of my favourite link ups, as I am always on the lookout for a new book to read.  Last ear I challenged myself to read 52 books and did so with gusto....this year I aimed for 62 and will fall short by quite a margin!  A combination of ill health, the excitement of getting engaged earlier this year and the many distractions of modern life have conspired to have me reading less than I would have hoped.  No matter, I am still at one of my happiest points when you find me with a book in my hand!

Two books I am reading at the moment are MWF seeks BFF and The Shining Girls.  The former is frothy and sweet, and is the perfect chicklit to dive into after a busy day.  The Shining Girls was suggested to me by a friend who knew how I raved about Gone Girl last year, but so far it has failed to impress.  I have seventy pages left to go - I'm hoping for a big switch up to move this book from a decent read to a real showstopper.

Next on my list are Sharp Objects and We Are All Leaders - a thriller and a bit of non-fiction.  I like to be wide in the range of what I read (except when I get submerged in a series, naturally!).  Speaking of series, I'm hoping to reread Catching Fire before the movie comes out!

Once that's all read I'll be looking through my Kindle and my bookshelves to find the many, many books I have yet to read!  I am a fiend for buying books and then not reading them for too long.  That being said, I have my eye on a few new purchases - I'm intrigued by The Child Catchers by Kathryn Joyce; my inner history nerd wants to spend a dozen winter's evenings reading Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel, Victim by John Guy; Practice Perfect is just the kind of part-educational, part-pop-psychology book I enjoy reading on my commute; The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan looks like a good saga to dive into; and I'm super excited to read Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin - I very much enjoyed The Happiness Project so I have high hopes for the next book!

So that's what I'm reading, about to read, or am looking forward to reading.  How about you?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Great books for Little Folk!

Hi there if you've found this through Kelly's 'Favourite Children's Books' link up!  I wrote this post originally last month wearing my Junior Leaguer and teacher of small folks hats, and it just seemed like a good fit for the link up!  I adore children's lit. (I'm working on some stories of my own just now - an exciting, at-times-challenging, fun and interesting journey) and am so looking forward to this link up to find some fresh inspiration and some new books to enjoy with my classes! 

I love reading.  I rarely, if ever, am without a book on the go, and more often than not will be reading two or three at the same time.  I find reading soothing and enthusing, and an evening or afternoon spent in the company of a good book is always a pleasure.

I've always been this way, since I can remember.  My mother is a born reader, devouring books at a pace I don't think I'll ever meet! We read very different types of books and read them in radically different ways, but we're both addicted to the black-and-white magic of words on a page.  If and when I finally sit down and write a book, it'll be thanks to the love of reading and words I inherited directly from my mum.

I love teaching young readers too and encouraging them to read widely and wildly.  I love sharing books with my class, listening to them read, hearing their tales and stories.  It's one of the greatest joys of my job (and there are many joys in teaching!) to see young ones getting excited about the written word.

In my work with the lovely ladies of the Junior League of London, we support a variety of projects helping families, individuals and children who are suffering the effects of poverty.  And some of these projects involve books and reading - we partner with a fabulous primary school, work alongside Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.  This spring we are doing a collection of books to make into tote bags for needy families with toddlers and little ones, and I am so excited about this project.  Below I thought I'd talk about a few of my favourite books for teeny tinies (the 0-3-year-olds we're collecting for).  I'd love to hear what books you might recommend!

At the bottom of this post is a link to the amazon wishlist I have set up for this drive.  If you'd like to help us meet our goal of giving each family a bundle of books, please do send a book along - I'd love my friends and readers to be involved too!  Of course, I know times are tight for many of us, so if you can't afford to donate a book, please do just keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we work towards our goal!  The book bundles will be going to families the last weekend in April.  If any arrive too late, I'll happily set them by (Lord bless the box room!) until Holiday Hampers time in November/December!


Great books for Little Folk!



I love sharing traditional rhymes and stories with tinies, and five little ducks is a perennial favourite!  "Mother duck said, quack-quack-quack-quack..."  There's actually a cute little song with hand actions which is great fun on the bus or in the car!


I think most mummy's can empathise with the mummy in this book as she sets out on her quest for five minutes peace!  I remember reading this book to all the little loves I babysat for back in my teens.  Precious, with beautiful illustrations.


A perfect book for bed time.  And perhaps why I still wish far too many things goodnight!


This book is beautiful for a parent, grandparent, sibling, aunt or uncle to share with a little one.  This video gives a lovely reading.


Oh, Hairy Maclary - a classic children's book from New Zealand.  I loved him especially because his name sounds a little like mine, and because I too have mad hair.  This series chronicles the many adventures and escapades of the titular hound.


Will Doublas find the hug he needs?  This book is such fun, and is great for children to interact with - giggles ensue as Douglas hugs a parade of incorrect items!


I very much enjoy the Charlie and Lola stories.  They are a bit nutty, and I love that in a book.  I have read a fair few of them and have been given several as gifts (I Am Absolutely Too Small For School, But Excuse Me That Is My Book) and enjoy reading them with children.  They are fun to read with toddlers or preschoolers, but also grand for more confident readers to attempt on their own later.


Stories about a witch and her cat that have been entertaining children for generations.


I discovered this book a few weeks ago while shopping for a friend's new baby (I love to give books as a new baby present).  I'm a big fan of Donaldson's books, and this one is just as lovely as books like The Gruffalo.  Plus, cats!


The 'That's not my....' books are such fun for the toddler and teeny crowds - they are sturdy and tactile and such fun to play and interact with.  And who can resist a dinosaur?


Another classic!  And like the caterpillar, I am very hungry, so it's time to wrap this post up....


Many more books are on our wishlist (which I seem to be adding to daily!).  If you're looking for book suggestions for your little ones or if you'd like to donate, please do pop over there.  Likewise, if you think of books I haven't mentioned that would suit the teeny/toddler crowd, do please let me know in the comments below.


Have a great week!

Friday, March 08, 2013

Why I think libraries are important (a slightly belated by a matter of minutes World Book Day post)

As I start this post it's 11.59pm on World Book Day 2013.  I should really be curling up, but lack of sleep earlier in the week and nerves about an event tomorrow have me restless, so writing is as ever a solace.  And I knew exactly what I wanted to write about this evening.

Today, we've been celebrating World Book Day, along with most of the schools in the UK.  The kids in the Junior Department dressed up (so many cute little Tintins, Robin Hoods and Harry Potters!) and in the MS and SS we read books, shared books, and generally got quite excited about books!  Then, somewhat ironically, I couldn't make it to my own book group due to a diary pile up.  Ah, London.

For WBD, I realy got to thinking about libraries and the very special place they hold in my heart.  The public libraries of this country are an absolute treasure, and without them I could say with 100% certainty I would never have made it to university, let alone be a teacher.  I grew up with ambitious and hardworking parents who definitely wanted the best for me and who encouraged me in my endeavours, but when I was small money for new books just wasn't there.  We'd pick up a few here and there from charity shops and thrift stores, or hand-me-downs from families moving base, but new books rarely came into the house.  I remember one that did, Disney's Treasury of Fairy Tales, and how proud I was to keep its pages pristine, its cover buffed and shiny.  I loved that book, with all the fierce passion of a little girls' heart.

Imagine then the effect that a whole library of books had.  Books.  Everywhere.  To touch and read and take away and share and return and renew and love.  A whole room of my favourite things, of stories that would take me far away, of characters that to this day are as familiar as friends - Jo, Darryl, Elisaveta, Mallory, Elizabeth & Jessica.  I remember watching Beauty and the Beast and seeing that finally in Belle there was a Disney heroine I could get on board with - a girl of books and words, a girl who would be more likely to disappear into the attic with a beloved book and a passel of apples (a la Jo March) than get distracted by dresses or boys.

Our house growing up was lovely, but often busy and noisy, and a little transient in the way that military homes can often be (we had a whole range of homes in our RAF years!).  But all the libraries, whether on camp or in a village, down near my boarding school or attached to my primary school in Germany, had certain things in common - the smell, the soothing beep of returns, the muffled clearing of throats.  And oh my goodness, the books.

Those books taught me how to live.  How to learn.  How to love.  A regular Matilda, I read anything I could get my hands on - fiction (of every type and class), history, biographies, plays, poems.  Those Saturdays when mum took me to the library, the libraries visited while waiting for siblings after clubs, the long summer holidays spent poring over the shelves to find new reads...they made me who I am today.  They showed me another way of life; so many different ways of life.  The libraries I visited as a toddler and a child and a teenager gave me a chance at a different life, the chance to learn and find my path.

And that's why I think libraries are important.  I'm so glad that there are libraries here in East London where little girls (and boys) just like I was - bright and keen and interested - can always find new books to read, new trips to take to far off lands, new futures to dream of.  Without libraries my life would have been poorer, because when I was little the money wasn't there to buy books - just as is the case in many, many families today.  But in the library we are all equal - once you've paid that 50p the card is yours and a world of books is now yours.  Even when I went to a couple of - how shall I put this? - rubbish primary schools, the library was always there at the end of the day, the glimmering light at the end of the tunnel. As it is today.

Libraries offer hope and light and comfort.  I pray they can continue to do so for a very long time.

Happy World Book Day, all.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Recent Reads

I am doing pretty well with my reading this year - it's been such a joy over the past few years to get back into the swing of reading regularly and searching for new and interesting books!  My daily commute is a real treat.  Here are a few of my recent reads: as ever, a bit of a range!

Return - Karen Kingsbury

I'm really enjoying the Baxter family saga.  It's frothy and pleasant, and Kingsbury conjures up the Midwestern niceness of her characters in a sweet and engaging way.  It's a fun read, and this is the third book in a five book arc.

Dear Fatty - Dawn French

Loved this book and love Dawn French even more than I originally did (which was buckets!) having read it.  Made me giggle and snicker like a schoolgirl, and also left me in tears.  I enjoyed this as much as I did Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, which was one of my favourite books of last year. Highly recommended.

Left Behind, Tribulation Force, Nicolae - LaHaye & Jenkins

I'd heard about this (thirteen(!) book) series before, but when it was featured on Glee I just had to take a gander.  Oh my.  Way to turn theology into a strange mix of biblical referencing, repetition, banal dialogue, gore, and more repetition.  Despite this, it's a good trashy read - I swooped through the first three books and quite enjoyed the shock horror tone and the incongruous plotting mixed with actual moments of pathos and suspense.  Not great literature by any means, but pretty entertaining.  However, I think after three installments I am done!

The Seamstress - Maria Duennas

This was our bookclub novel last month and it wasn't half bad!  Spanning a huge swathe of history, it evokes a time and place beautifully and was written well.  I quite liked it, but others in my book group adored it - definitely worth a read!

Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea - Chelsea Handler

I loathed this book.  As I'd enjoyed Bossypants so much, someone suggested this as a similar read.  I really didn't like Handler's 'voice' and found it a dull read, peppered with crass anecdotes and attempts to shock in place of actual interest.  Boo.

Fireproof - Eric Wilson

Loads of my friends had enjoyed this book, and the film of the book, so I gave it a read.  It's very much like the Baxter books mentioned above - good, clean fun; easy to read; a brain break after a long day!

So, what have you been reading?



Monday, January 21, 2013

Recent Reads


The House of Silk ~ Anthony Horowitz

Believe it or not, the first Sherlock Holmes novel I've ever read in it's entirety...and a really great read at that.   Many of my pupils adore Horowitz, so I was excited to read a book of his for myself.  Really good, pacey, well-written and full of twists and turns - I heartily recommend!


The Power of Habit ~ Charles Durigg

I love a good pop-science book, especially when it contains ideas and thinking I can apply to my everyday life!  This was a dense book but a thoroughly worthwhile read.  I found the idea of how habits are used in industry absolutely fascinating!


What The Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast ~ Laura Vanderkam

A very quick read right at the tail end of last year and really interesting.  Funnily enough, this book was a lot to do with habits also - there were a few pieces of research which were cited in both books.  This was the ideal book to read before embarking on some lifestyle changes and really crystallised my thinking.  Definitely helped ease my initial horror at the 5 am starts!


I Can Make You Hate ~ Charlie Brooker

Charlie Brooker is such a dark writer, but totally compelling and intelligent with it, so I tend to very much enjoy his books.  This collection of his writings for The Guardian, The Ten O'Clock Show and other endeavours was the perfect post-Christmas read.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

New Year's Ambitions Update...the good, the bad, the so-so and the disasters!

Those of you who've been reading the blog for a while will know that last year I set myself 14 little (ha!) ambitions for 2012.  And now I get to let you know how I did.  Some I aced....some I failed utterly....so landed somewhere in the middle.  In order of success (ascending!), here are the abject failures....the misses....and the successes!

Disasters.

Image Source.

Swim twice a week. So far: 2/104.

I left my gym that had a pool in mid-January, so this just didn't happen.

Give blood. So far: 0/1

This one I am cross with myself about.  I left it too late and let fear (of needles :() and busy-ness get in the way!  On the happier side, I have registered as a blood donor and am hoping to get to Walthamstow for an donation this month (much simpler than schlepping across town feeling woozy).

Image source.

Become 'overweight' rather than 'obese'. So far: 7/66.

My weight yoyoed throughout 2012, by a margin of 22 pounds.  I'm happy to end the year a little lighter but now know that in 2013 absolutely top of my list has to be weight loss.  I've joined Weight Watchers and am determined to make some big changes before being this big starts to impact my life in a negative way.  More on which, soon.

Misses.

Write a 10,000 word children's story. So far: 6,255/10,000.

I made a decent attempt on this, but ultimately couldn't quite get the thing done.  I have a few nice chapters though and hope to write some more of it this year.  I have also started writing notes for a couple of non-fiction ebooks I'm toying with the idea of, so while I did fail on this score, it definitely go me being more organised about writing and taking the time to create.

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Go for three months with no alcoholic beverages (January, March, and May). This should help with #10 and #13 too! So far: 70/93.

This went fairly well....but girls' nights with wine are hard to resist. I have majorly changed how I drink alcohol in 2012 though - apart from very special occasions (weddings, Christmas, new year's), I am back to being a two glasses of wine then on to the water kind of drinker.  Far more enjoyable than what had started creeping in during 2010/2011 - several people around me are bigger drinkers and I'm afraid it had started to seep into my behaviour too.  Yay for a reset!

Successes.

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Write 200 letters/ cards / notes / postcards. So far: 292/200.

Done, completely and utterly.  It was so nice to get back to writing this year and I'm keen to keep it going this year!

Go for three months without buying anything from Starbucks (June, July and August). This should help with #10 and #13 too! So far: 92/92.

Refreshingly easy.

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Write a blog post a day for the whole of 2012. 382/366.

This one has been challenging but also incredibly fun!  Having this blog as an outlet is such a joy, and posting more often and being more involved with comments, reading the blogs of others, etc. has been just super.  Thank you for all of your encouragement with this!

Complete all 52 weeks of a Project Life book and send it off to be published. So far: 52/52.

Deliciously fun.  And done.

Image source


Read 52 books in the 52 weeks of 2012. So far: 52/52.

I'm still no Christy (54 books last year, what a LEGEND!), but I'm so happy I made this happen.  It's great to feel like a reader again!

Volunteer for 3 hours per months (or equivalent of). So far: 53/36.

I love being a Junior League-er!

Image Source


Walk 500 Miles. So far: 505/500.

Romping around the city is such fun!

Have the equivalent of 2 months salary saved up for a rainy day. So far: 0%/100%

RESET: As the money I was saving has been invested into our first home together, I've set a new target, to have £1,000 saved by the end of the year.  So far: 150%/100%

It's so nice to have a wee nest egg saved.  Not least because it means that things like holidays, Christmas, unexpected bills are far easier to deal with.  This year I'm going to be focusing a lot on saving, being more frugal, budgeting and stretching money, and will certainly let you know how I fare!

Go out and have fun, do things (parties, movies, gigs, theatre etc.) at least 4 times a month. So far: 97/48.

I'm so glad I included this and made time for socialising and friends.  Long may it continue!


All in all I'm pretty happy with how the year went.  I set myself a LOT of challenges, and while there are a few big blips, I'm also very proud of the achievements I made.  This year I'm going smaller and bigger scale - while there are several little silly girl projects on the go (please see 32 in 32 for more details), the two big areas I'm going to be working on are health and money.  I'd love to write this start-of-year post at the start of 2014 at least 30 pounds lighter and with a chunk of my student loan paid off!

What are your new year's resolutions/aims/ambitions/dreams, friends?

Things I Like

1. I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift.  It's wrong how much I like her music, but I'm cool with it!  The video's a tad pretentious (skip to about the two minute mark for the cheesey pop goodness!), but there's very few things I won't forgive T.Swizzle.  I hope she tours in London again soon.


Every single song gets stuck in my head!

2. On the subject of music, this came up on my iPod the other day and made me smile.  It reminds me of the seminal cheesey teen film Get Over It; listening to indie music on grey, rainy, northern days; and my lovely friends Matthew and Siobhán, who had it as part of their wedding last year. :)


3. The fact that there's still a decent whack of holiday time left - time to read and relax and plan and prepare ahead of the return of the littles.

4. Taking time to exercise.  From today I'm doing a 100 day challenge where every day I have to exercise, even if it's just a 15 minute bimble during a non teaching period.

5. Planning new and fun lessons and tasks for the gang!

6. Books.  My reading challenge last year really reinvigorated me and I'm looking forward to lots of fun reading in the next few months.

7. Being back on Weight Watchers.  I hope I can keep my motivation up through January, because by then I think it will be a habit, and easier to do!

8. Long bracing walks listening to some of the cheesiest and most fabulous music ever created!

9. Thank you notes.  Fun to write, fun to receive.

10. Looking forward to trips and girldates and holidays as this year unfolds.

How about you?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas Books for Little People

...here in school we are getting very excited for Christmas and the lead up to the holiday season.  There are some really great books to share during this season, so I put together this short video, in case you're seeking inspiration!


All of the books are available at bookstores around town, and on Amazon, too! I've linked below, should you wish to research further:

Grumpy Badger's Christmas
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: Yellow Back Book (Dr Seuss - Yellow Back Book)
On This Special Night
One Winter's Night
The Puffin Book of Christmas Stories
Letters from Father Christmas
The Best Christmas Present in the World

Miss T

Note: Associate links used.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

New Year's Ambitions

Ooooops.

Maybe it's being busy.

Maybe it's running out of steam.

Maybe it's trying to do too many things at once - if I ever set myself FOURTEEN targets at once again, please feel free to give me a cyber smack upside the head....

1. Write a 10,000 word children's story. So far: 3,911/10,000.

Poor abandoned story.

2. Write 200 letters/ cards / notes / postcards. So far: 187/200.

Almost there, with two months to go and Christmas ahead :)

3. Swim twice a week. So far: 2/104.

Oh dear.

4. Go for three months without buying anything from Starbucks (June, July and August). This should help with #10 and #13 too! So far: 92/92.

In the bag!

5. Write a blog post a day for the whole of 2012. 297/366.

I have blogged a lot this year!  Not quite managing every day, but should make target with a few more double-days :)

6. Go for three months with no alcoholic beverages (January, March, and May). This should help with #10 and #13 too! So far: 70/93.

7. Complete all 52 weeks of a Project Life book and send it off to be published. So far: 42/52.

I probably won't make 52....but should have the majority of the year done!

8. Give blood. So far: 0/1

This is irking me now.  However, I know my docs have a Christmas blood drive, so I'll be able to get this done last minute if ness.

9. Read 52 books in the 52 weeks of 2012. So far: 41/52.




October was not a good reading month.  Hopefully the bad weather of November will help me to get back on the horse!

10. Become 'overweight' rather than 'obese'. So far: 18/66.



The 66 became impossible when I messed up earlier this year, but I'd love to lose maybe half a stone more by end of year, to make it a nice 25 pound loss.

11. Volunteer for 3 hours per months (or equivalent of). So far: 40/36.

Yay! And with Holiday Hampers being such a focus this month, should spike up hugely.

12. Walk 500 Miles.** So far: 420/500.

Getting there - I'd love to reach my target :)

13. Have the equivalent of 2 months salary saved up for a rainy day. So far: 0%/100%

RESET: As the money I was saving has been invested into our first home together, I've set a new target, to have £1,000 saved by the end of the year.  So far: 95%/100% 

:)

14. Go out and have fun, do things (parties, movies, gigs, theatre etc.) at least 4 times a month. So far: 80/48.

Such fun!


Edited 1/10/12

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Good Book....

Is there anything better than a good book?  Curling up cosy on the couch, reading before bed, whiling away a commute...there's always a time to crack open a book.  Here are a few of my recent favourites - I thought I'd share!  I always get great tips from other bloggers (hat-tip especially to Christy and Shan), so I thought I'd join the party :)


Source: google.co.uk via Claire on Pinterest


This was one of my favourite books as a child, and now I have it as one of my class readers with my Year 5s each year. I reread it at the start of term, and it's just as good as ever. Do you enjoy the Narnia series?

Source: google.co.uk via Claire on Pinterest


This was a really fun read! I love Go Fug Yourself (Fug Nation represent!), and this book has just as much warmth and silliness as the blog does. So much fun.

Source: google.co.uk via Claire on Pinterest


This book was a great read! Absolutely facsinating and definitely made me think more about how I use the internet. I love reading books on the brain.

Source: google.co.uk via Claire on Pinterest


I *love* Caitlin Moran. I want to have tea/wine/dinner with her and put the world to rights. This collection of her writings is wonderful - funny, silly, moving. Brilliant.

Source: amazon.co.uk via Claire on Pinterest


Nora Ephron was such a dame. Such a dame. This collection of essays is like a masterclass in the form, while still hugely entertaining. I strongly reccommend!

So friends, what have you been reading? I am always up for some new suggestions!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Social: Books!


Sunday Social

1. Favorite childhood book:

Oh, I loved to read as a child (still do, of course!).  Little Women, Ballet Shoes, Judy Blume, Dr Seuss, The Chalet School, Enid Blyton, Each Peach Pear Plum, myths and legends.  I still read quite a few kids' books now - it's great to know what my pupils are reading!

2 . Favorite Book lately:

Moranthology by Caitlin Moran was super.  Touching, strident, funny and silly.  Great stuff.

3. Book you wish you could live in:

Probably an Austen - the manners!  The wit!  The gentle amusements of country society!

4. If you could be any character from a book who would it be and why?

Either Meg March (Little Women), Lizzie Bennett (Pride and Prejudice) or Scarlett O'Hara (Gone With The Wind).  As much as I admire Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games), I'd be far too much of a fraidy cat to do the stuff she does!

5. Favorite Book turned Movie?

Gone With The Wind, or The Help.  I should also give an honourable mention to Anna Karenina, as I found the book a real chore but loved the recent film!

6. Favorite Magazines:

I'm not the biggest magazine reader, but enjoy them from time to time.  Matthew subscribes to The Economist, which always teaches me something, and I take SELF, which is full of great healthy eats.  When we travel I'll often treat myself to a magazine for the journey, in which case it's usually Grazia, O, Vanity Fair or Tatler.
 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be Matilda...


Yesterday I watched a great webcast on Roald Dahl with my class (teacher friends, I'll link to it when the video becomes available).  I'm a huge fan of his work, having grown up reading his books avidly.  I've grown out of a few of them now, but some are still well worth a read.  None more than Matilda.  Is there a book better suited to a bookworm?

I don't think so.

I think I still want to be Matilda when I grow up!

Who is your favouriteDahl character?

Monday, August 27, 2012

My current reads

Bizarrely, over the summer my reading has slowed a little - it's like my brain wants to relax and play, and save the reading for termtime!  It may also be the fact that my 90 minute commute roundtrip has been missing....

Now, however, it's nearly back to work and I have lots of lovely reads on my pile awaiting my attention, including:

All That is Bitter and Sweet: A Memoir

The lovely Christielli read this over the summer and said she thought it would be very much my kind of book, so I've ordered it to dive into. It sounds like a pretty fascinating read, I must say!

 Charlotte Street

The latest book by Danny Wallace, he of Join Me fame/infamy.  I tend to really like his books - they are fun and zippy and hard to put down, so this should be a treat.
 
The House of Silk: The New Sherlock Holmes Novel (Sherlock Holmes Novel 1)

Confession: I've never read an actual Sherlock Holmes novel.  Excerpts like you wouldn't believe, but never a whole book.  I'm not the greatest fan of whodunnits and I genuinely think I just haven't ever felt compelled to pick the series up.  I'm excited to read Horowitz's treatment of the series though - maybe this will ignite a new passion?

The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health

I saw this book in Whole Foods the other day and thought it looked very interesting.  I've been making some pretty big changes to my approach to food and health over the last couple of months, and I thought a little reading on the subject would be helpful!

A Wrinkle in Time (Puffin Modern Classics)

A book I can't believe I haven't read yet.  On it.

So they are my reads for September - I am really going to have to work to achieve my goal of 52 books this year!  What are you all reading?

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Saturday, August 04, 2012

On Austen



Oh, Mr Darcy.

What is it about Pride and Prejudice that pulls me in each and every time?

Now, it's one of my favourite books, and I very much enjoy it, but why do I find myself coming back to it time and time again?

Part of it's affection, I think, and a healthy dash of nostalgia.  I've read this book curled up on the couch of our little house in Gilesgate, while a Durham winter rages outside.  I've read this book on the beach in Findhorn, basking in the pale and golden Scottish sunshine.  I've read this on planes, trains, deckchairs, under blankets, in a classroom.  It's a part of my own personal history.

I have affection for the characters too.  Oh, to be witty and admired like Elizabeth, or beautiful and kind like Jane! Lydia, Mrs Bennet, Caroline Bingley, Mr Collins - they are all annoying, to be sure, but knowing them and their little ways and foibles just serves to feed into the cosiness and familiarity of the text.

I think the book has a great plot.  Essentially, it's a romcom for the Regency period, but I love the subtle details of class, elegance and manners that flow through Austen's books effortlessly.  It's a story that we have heard many, many times, and yet P&P fizzes with wit and joy.

And oh, what wit.  As lovely as Austen makes her main characters, she pulls no punches when describing the ill-mannered, the unkind, or the stupid.   And her wit is all the sweeter because she only deploys it when necessary, and does so with deadly aim.  Thus, Kitty and Lydia, who are incredibly silly, are ripe for ridicule; whereas Charlotte Lucas, who is good and noble, is commented on, but not parodied or made fun of in the same way.

By gosh, I love this book.  So glad I chose (once again) to reread it this summer!

What are your favourite books, lovelies?  Are there any which you keep coming back to, again and again?

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Things I Like Thursday, July 26th

Now not just with a linky (see below. I'd love to have you join in, either in the comments or by linking up a post!), but also with a button!   Just copy and paste the code to link up.  I'd love to read what's making you smile this week!




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And now, onto my 'Things I Like....'

1. Making budget spreadsheets, and being sure to build in occasional treats (books, PJs, fun), while keeping eyes firmly on the prize(s) - topping up mortgage, paying off student loan and building a wee nest egg!

2. Lunches with kittens.  "What's this?  What're you eating?  Where's mine?  Ooooooh, socks!"

Never a dull moment!

3.Plans to catch up with some of my favourite folk, and further plans to get other meet-ups in the diary. :)

4. Catching up on my blog reading and commenting.  June's always a crazy busy month workwise, so it's so nice to be feeling back in the loop!

5. The kitties little faces when they get little treats.  Biggest hits so far were tiny pieces of cheese and pieces of tuna (spring water stuff).

6. Getting out and about in town.  London is so busy due to the Olympics, but it's still lovely to get out and about.

Regents Park, Tuesday.


7. Watching chickflicks while working out.  Reese Witherspoon is great workout viewing!

8. Having time to read and write and think.

9. Feeling lucky and blessed with my silly, busy, pretty life.  So much to be grateful for!

10. The return of sunshine!  Yes, 30 degrees is a little discomfiting, but it's so great to be feeling summery at long last.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Things I Like Thursday, Thursday 17th May

1. Leyton mess - my lower fat version of Eton Mess.  Very simple recipe to follow soon!

2. Chilled beer and unpacking, listening to tunes (some current faves at the end of this post).

3. My boy being home, and not due to go away again for ages.  I love that he's all talented and busy and in demand and all, but I prefer him here :-).

4. Smiling at people on the tube/in the street/at the store.  I've decided to embrace my innate 'good-at-happy' nature and put it to good use, London protocol be dashed.

5. Sunshine + comfy bed in a south facing bedroom + good book = lazy perfection.

6. Having a bath again.  Now I just need to find and unpack my good bath oils!

7. Daydreaming about what to do with the top three rooms (which are currently filled with junk, ha!).

8. Ben and Jerry's Phish Food Froyo.  Even better when it's half off!

9. Finding a new skill - I'm fast becoming quite the Ikea furniture building pro!

10. Planning for kittens!  Pet insurance is way more fun to organise than any other kind of insurance, it seems.

What's making you super happy right now?  I'd love to hear in the comments!

As promised, here are a few of my current unpacking tunes:
My boys are very into this song at the moment, and now I seem to really like it! Warning, the next video contains some swears. But it's also hilarious and totally makes my English major self laugh! First heard it a while back but still love it. I like Jason Mraz's latest: Love this too: Et finallement, a song I've liked for ages...but only figured out the name of last month.
 

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Books Read in 2012: 11-20

Of all my New Year's Ambitions, I think my plan to read 52 books in the 52 weeks of this year is the one I'm enjoying the most.  I'd lost my groove a bit, reading wise, but now I'm back to devouring books whenever possible.  Here are a few brief words on numbers 11-20 on the list!

 I thought this was an interesting look at ex-pat life.  As a military brat, I know what it's like to live somewhere different, and I thought Combe captured well the feeling of being part of somewhere, but not really belonging.  An innovative look at life in the Gulf.

 Classic cheesy chicklit.  Not big, not clever, but very easy to read before bed!

 I found this book absolutely fascinating - all the more so as I read in in a US election year!  Totally reminded me of an awful lot of American political processes I'd studied way back in sophomore year!  Beautifully written, balanced, fair and intriguing.  Highly recommended.
 
 Such a fun book!  Charming, witty and wise, the prose zips along and is effervescent and easy to read.  Love Rushing Tomlinson's take on manners and modern life!

 I found the premise for this book challenging and interesting.  In a world where it often feels like possessions end up possessing us and we're all busy and stressed (seemingly all the time), this call to downsize, simplify and re-assess was thought-provoking and really made me think about changes I might want to make in my own life.

 A funny, charming read.

 My friend Amber recommended this to me (she's really into her running - such an inspiration!) and I really enjoyed it.  Well written, full of great facts and interesting characters.  Once I'm back to health a little more (belly be gone!) I hope to use some of the wisdom of this book in a practical way.  A fantastic book.


I read all three of the Millennium trilogy.  I wouldn't say I enjoyed them (they are very dark and unsettling!), but they were written well, suspenseful, and they are such a part of the wider culture I'm glad I've experienced them.  Won't be watching the movies though - I'd be terrified to see some of the scenes from these books acted out!

What books are you reading?
 
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