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Showing posts from July, 2016

Happy Birthday, Emily Brontë!


Today marks what would be the 198th birthday of Emily Brontë, She is of course most famous as the author of Wuthering Heights,which I've yet to read, but I have read and enjoyed several of her poems, so I decided that today would be a good day to share one of them:
            No coward soul is mine
No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere I see Heaven's glories shine And Faith shines equal arming me from Fear
O God within my breast Almighty ever-present Deity Life, that in me hast rest, As I Undying Life, have power in Thee
Vain are the thousand creeds That move men's hearts, unutterably vain, Worthless as withered weeds Or idlest froth amid the boundless main
To waken doubt in one Holding so fast by thy infinity, So surely anchored on The steadfast rock of Immortality.
With wide-embracing love Thy spirit animates eternal years Pervades and broods above, Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates and rears
Though earth and moon were gone And suns and universes ceas…

A Cathedral Courtship by Kate Douglas Wiggin

I've wanted to read this book for quite a while - I read Rose o' the River by the same author last summer and really enjoyed it, and this one sounded quite interesting, but somehow it has taken me a year to get around to reading it. In the end, being a very short book, it only took an hour or so to read, but I'm glad that I finally got around to it. Kitty Schuyler is (somewhat reluctantly) taken to England by her aunt to tour various cathedrals - a trip which is supposed to be "improving", which Kitty is not especially thrilled about. In the first cathedral, they come across a young man, another American visitor who is making a sketching tour of cathedrals. Finding the itinerary which Kitty and her aunt have mislaid, and having fallen in love with Kitty at first sight, he decides that since both he and they are making the same tour, he may as well go along with them. So follows a series of meetings in various places around the country; romance ensues. The story …

Miriam by Mesu Andrews

Summary (from Goodreads): The Hebrews call me prophetess, the Egyptians a seer.
But I am neither. I am simply a watcher of Israel and the messenger of El Shaddai.
When He speaks to me in dreams, I interpret. When He whispers a melody, I sing.

At eighty-six, Miriam had devoted her entire life to loving El Shaddai and serving His people as both midwife and messenger. Yet when her brother Moses returns to Egypt from exile, he brings a disruptive message. God has a new name – Yahweh – and has declared a radical deliverance for the Israelites.

Miriam and her beloved family face an impossible choice: cling to familiar bondage or embrace uncharted freedom at an unimaginable cost. Even if the Hebrews survive the plagues set to turn the Nile to blood and unleash a maelstrom of frogs and locusts, can they weather the resulting fury of the Pharaoh?

Enter an exotic land where a cruel Pharaoh reigns, pagan priests wield black arts, and the Israelites cry out to a God they only think they know.
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Gatty's Tale by Kevin Crossley-Holland

I first read this book back in November 2011. Although I know I really enjoyed it, I'd forgotten most of what happened in the story. This was probably a good thing from a re-reading point of view, since I was surprised by some of the twists the story took, although I remembered the main plot points. I think overall my feelings are not much changed from the first time I read it (so it has stood the test of time for me fairly well so far).
The heroine of this story is Gatty, a fifteen-year-old field-girl living in the year 1203. After her father's death, she is given the opportunity to become a chamber-servant to Lady Gwyneth de Ewloe, raising her position in the world. This leads to the chance for her to travel to Jerusalem when Lady Gwyneth decides to go on a pilgrimage there. (Although I have described it as an opportunity, Gatty isn't given much choice in any of these matters; she has to go along with what is decided for her by her superiors.) In the Middle Ages, journe…

To Kill a Mockingbird

This isn't really a review, as such, because I don't think there could be anything I could say about this book that hasn't been said a million times before. Instead, I'm just going to talk about my general impressions of this book. I have to say, going in, I was a little apprehensive. Although I did expect to enjoy it, at least part of me thought I would find it boring, and thought that if I did enjoy it, it would only be in a sort of admiring, appreciative way, and I didn't expect to find it especially readable. Despite having read and enjoyed lots of classics this is how I often feel when approaching a classic author for the first time. However, this time (as I mostly am) I was proved wrong! I didn't actually know that much about this book before I read it. I vaguely knew that it was about racism and centred around a trial of a black man (and I knew what the outcome was), but that was about all. So I was surprised that there was quite a bit more to the story…

Ten Books Set Outside the US and UK

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is Books Set Outside the US. I live in the UK so I wasn't expecting my reading list to be quite as dominated by American books as other people's, but I was quite surprised to find that only 3 (and a half) of the books I've read so far this year were set in the US (compared to 20 set at least partly in the UK)! I was expecting the split to be fairly equal (I think it is a lot more so most years, I just seem to have picked up a lot of books set over here this year). So I've decided to modify the topic to include only books not set in the US or the UK. I've selected all of the books from different countries too to make it more interesting. All of them are books that I would recommend.
Suite Françaiseby Irène Némirovsky (France) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Germany) Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (Canada) Creature of the Night by Kate Thompson (Ireland) Nothing Else Matters by Patricia St. John (Lebanon)
Sophie's World b…

It's Monday! July 18th

 It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by The Book Date. This is my first time participating in it! This week was a reasonably good one for reading; although I only finished one book I've made a fair amount of progress on several others. I was also away over the weekend so didn't get much of a chance for reading then. I also managed to pick up a few books that I've been wanting to read for a while at a second-hand bookshop and The Works, so it's been a successful week for book buying as well :)


Books finished this week:
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This was on my Classics Club list. I really really liked this book (and can't quite believe I waited so long to read it). I should have a review of it up sometime this week.
Currently reading:
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. I've just started this but am enjoying it pretty well so far. The Children Who Lived in a Barn by Eleanor Graham. This is going OK. It's quite a quick read so I'll…

Six in Six

Six in Six is hosted by Jo at The Book Jotter. It sounded like a fun way of summarising my reading for the first half of the year. Basically the idea is that you choose six categories and list six books in each category. (If you want to take part you can still do so until the end of July.)
Choosing the categories was quite difficult - there were quite a few I could find five books for, but not six! However, I've eventually manage to choose six categories: Six new authors that I now want to read more of Paula Byrne (Belle) G.K. Chesterton (The Innocence of Father Brown) Jacqueline Harvey (Alice-Miranda at School) Robert Lacey (Great Tales from English History) Stephanie Ricker (Five Glass Slippers, The Battle of Castle Nebula, The Star Bell) Suzannah Rowntree (The Rakshasa's Bride) Six books I have enjoyed the most Escape from Rome by Caroline Lawrence One Corpse Too Many by Ellis Peters The Battle of Castle Nebula by Stephanie Ricker Lila by Marilynne Robinson The Bard's Daughter

Ten Bookish Facts About Me

This week's Top Ten Tuesday theme is: Ten Facts About Me. I've opted for bookish facts, so here they are:
I've read 41 books so far this year. Last year I read 80 in total, so I'm pretty much on track to hit the same total this year.I read a fairly wide range of stuff: although I gravitate towards classics, historical fiction and non-fiction I also read fantasy, contemporary fiction and occasionally sci-fi or poetry. I'm also a fan of mystery novels (mostly historical ones).Although I prefer to read books in physical format, I also read quite a lot on my Kindle.The book I've read the most times (that I've kept track of) is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which I've read nine times. Second place goes to Anne of Green Gables with six.The first chapter book I read by myself was called The Chocolate Monster. It was about a girl who is always getting into trouble for losing things but then finds out that there's a (friendly) monster who lives u…

Weekly Recap - July 11th

I've finished three books this week, which makes it a pretty good reading week! Admittedly two of them were pretty short, but it still feels good :)


Finished this week:
Gatty's Tale by Kevin Crossley-Holland (re-read) (review to come)
Rivals of the Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
Practically Perfect by Hilary McKay


Currently Reading:
Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber
Miriam by Mesu Andrews
Watership Down by Richard Adams
Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson
Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe


To Read Next:
I'm reading quite a few fairly long books at the moment and I feel like I probably have enough to be going on with! But I have several library books I want to get to soon:
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The Children Who Lived in a Barn by Eleanor Graham

Blog Posts This Week:
Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Under 2000 Goodreads Ratings

I haven't been posting that much lately, but I'm hoping to post a bit more often over the next few weeks.

Ten Really Under-Rated Books I Enjoyed

This week's Top Ten Tuesday theme is Top Ten Books We Enjoyed That Have Under 2000 Ratings On Goodreads. I have a lot to choose from this week since more than half of the books I have listed as read on Goodreads fit into this category! So, I've narrowed it down to ten books (or, at least, ten series) that I really enjoyed.

Prisoner of the Inquisition by Theresa Breslin I read this book quite a few years ago, but I really enjoyed it. It's the story of two young people living very different lives who get caught up in the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition.
Gatty's Tale by Kevin Crossley-Holland The story of a young English girl going on pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the Middle Ages. It's beautifully written and an interesting coming-of-age story. This is a spin-off of the author's Arthur trilogy, although you don't have to have read that to read this book. (Also published as Crossing to Paradise.) Read my review here.

A Humble Companion by Laurie Graham This was a…