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Non-Fiction Highlights of 2018

Since this month is Nonfiction November, I decided to share some non-fiction books that I've enjoyed this year. These are all autobiographies/memoirs, which wasn't intentional, but that seems to be what a lot of my non-fiction reading has consisted of lately. The Family Nobody Wanted The story of a family who adopted 12 children, of various ethnicities, in the 1940s/50s. A light, but uplifting read. The Girl from Aleppo This is the story of a young girl with cerebral palsy who fled Syria with her sister, travelling along the refugee trail across Europe to Germany. It covers her life in Syria and on the journey, with a little about adapting to life on Germany at the end. I found it a really interesting read, and would recommend it to anyone who would like to understand more about the experiences of refugees. Too Marvellous for Words! Julie Welch writes about what life was really like at a girls' boarding school in 1960s England. (It wasn't quite
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Nonfiction November: Fiction/Non-Fiction Pairings

This month is Nonfiction November, hosted by Doing Dewey, Julz Reads, Sarah's Bookshelves, Sophisticated Dorkiness , and What's Nonfiction? This week we are invited to pair up fiction and non-fiction books. I struggled to do this with books that I've read, so have included some from my TBR. Sisters of the Quantock Hills by Ruth Elwin Harris /Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain The fiction selection here is a series of books about four sisters centred around World War I (the first is The Silent Shore , or Sarah's Story in the US). Testament of Youth is the true story of Vera Brittain's experience in WWI, which I'm currently reading. The Abbess of Whitby by Jill Dalladay/ Aiden , Bede, Cuthbert by David Adam The Abbess of Whitby is a fictionalized version of the story of Hilda of Whitby, which I found a very interesting read. The second book is one I have yet to read, but the three men whose lives it recounts lived also lived in Nor

Masquerade at the Wells by Lorna Hill

Masquerade at the Wells is the third book in Lorna Hill's series about Sadler's Wells Ballet School. This book shifts the focus from Veronica, the heroine of the first two books who is now a well-known dancer on the Covent Garden stage, to cousins Jane and Mariella Foster. Mariella's mother is a famous ballet dancer, and it is taken for granted that Mariella will follow in her footsteps - but truth be told, she would rather be riding horses than dancing. Jane's mother is convinced that she loves animals, especially horses, and after she is given a pony Jane doesn't want to seem ungrateful by admitting that she doesn't like horses very much, and is in fact a bit afraid of them. However, when she starts taking ballet lessons she finds that there is something she loves to do. How will Jane and Mariella manage to pursue their dreams, despite their families? When Mariella is offered an audition at Sadler's Wells, the famous ballet school, the

Journey to Jo'burg by Beverley Naidoo

Journey to Jo'burg tells the story of two children, Naledi and Tiro. When their baby sister becomes very ill, the children decide that they must go to fetch their mother, working in Johannesburg, even if they have to walk all the way there. The book was written in 1985, when apartheid was still in force in South Africa. One of the consequences of this was that many adults were forced to work a long way away from where their children lived, in jobs such as domestic service and mining. The movements of black people were controlled, who had to get permission to live in a certain city, so it wasn't easy to move around or go back home. Naledi and Tiro and their sister, Dinea, live with their aunt and grandmother and have always accepted that this is the way things are; however much they might miss their mother (and their father, who worked in the mines, but has died previous to the beginning of the story), she has to go away and work so that she can send them money f

4:50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie

Elspeth McGillicuddy saw a murder being committed - on a train as it passed by the one she was in. However, when no body is found, the police are inclined to disbelieve her story, assuming that it was merely due to an overactive imagination. Fortunately, however, Elspeth is a friend of Miss Marple's, a woman who is inclined to believe her. Now she has not only to solve the murder, but to prove that one happened in the first place... This was an enjoyable mystery, the second by Agatha Christie that I've read. Although it's a Miss Marple book, she plays only an incidental role, being too old to get involved in any proper detective work. Because of this she hires Lucy Eylesbarrow to help out; I found her a good character who I liked a lot. The other characters, who were involved in the mystery, were also well-drawn, and I liked some of them. The tension was built up well, when it seems as though the murderer could be one of several people; I didn't wan

Classics Club Spin

 It's time for another Classics Club Spin! You can find out about it here . My list: The Watsons by Jane Austen Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan My Antonia by Willa Cather The Wisdom of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton In the High Valley by Susan Coolidge A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald The Life of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell Cotillion by Georgette Heyer Elizabeth, Captive Princess by Margaret Irwin The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald Further Chronicles of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery Pat of Silver Bush by L.M. Montgomery Hamlet by William Shakespeare The Painted Garden by Noel Streatfeild Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson The Chaplet of Pearls by Charlotte Mary Yonge Hopefully, this will help me to make a bit of progress with my list, of which I've been rather

October Books

I haven't done a monthly recap post for a while, but I haven't posted much lately so I thought I'd do a summary of what I've read this month.     Firstly, I finally finished Lord of the Rings! I think it's been round about a year, perhaps just over, since I first picked up The Fellowship of the Ring. I tend to be very slow about reading long books - I need to take breaks to read other things in the middle - but I didn't quite expect to take so long to finish. I did enjoy it, and am partly tempted to start over again with FOTR, since it feels like an age since I read that. At any rate, I can now say that I have read it. I made some progress with Mount TBR this month; I'm still hopelessly behind my goal of 24 books, but I did get a few off: The Return of the King (as mentioned above), Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, and Forged in the Fire by Ann Turnbull. Scarlet was a disappointment - despite having really enjoyed Cinder (last year), I found this a bi