Monday, 14 November 2011

The Moving Finger

The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie and read by James Saxon...

I really enjoyed listening to the twists and turns within this Miss Marple mystery although in the novel she appears a lot less than she does in the BBC version starring Joan Hickson...

The sheer spitefulness of these malicious and venomous poison pen letters soon disturbs the peace and tranquility of this quiet English backwater... but beneath the surface there are depths of emotion just waiting to be revealed.

I don't want to spoil the plot for anyone who has not read the book, but two horrible murders are committed using the poison pen letters as a screen to hide behind.

The narrator telling the story is a young man called Jerry Burton who moves into a rented house with his sister Joanna.  He is recovering from a flying accident and has been told to go to live somewhere quiet to aid his recuperation.

While he becomes friends with the local doctor and helps the police to find the killer and author of the letters, he falls in love with the strange girlish step daughter of the local solicitor, whose wife has supposedly commited suicide, and initially, she refuses his offer of marriage.

Unfortunately for me...  I was listening to the book on a rather scratched library audio book and the story had bounced, stuttered and jumped through 5 CD's...  On the 6th CD it was pretty much okay until Chapter 19 where I discover who the murderer is, who the author of the letters was, and the rescue of the damsel in distress...  I am about to find out if the guy got the girl or not... when ... sputtering and making a nasty scratchy noise the CD ground to a halt...  argh!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Accidental Genius... meets Focus...

I have just finished listening to Accidental Genius by Mark Levy which I downloaded from Audible...

I have been reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron and am finding it inspiring in so many ways but as I wrote my morning pages... I find myself writing more than 3 pages... then I found myself wanting to look into other ways of working on freewriting...

On searching Amazon, I came across Accidental Genius and decided on the audio book...  I enjoy listening to books as well as reading them.  

The book was set out in 3 different sections, the first section was about 6 basic guidelines for freewriting, try easy, write fast and continuously, setting a time limit, writing my thoughts as they come to me, creating with the thoughts, then redirecting my attention and looking at my thoughts in a different way.  

The second section goes into refining the process...

But chapter 27 in the third section really caught my attention.  It is where Mr Levy talks about making a list of everything that has ever fascinated me...  to work on the list in my freewriting... to think about the list for several days...  to investigate anything I have ever felt passionate about...  or still feel passionate about...

This dovetails beautifully with the other book I am listening to at the moment, Focus by Steven Covey...  in this audio book of one of the Franklin Covey Focus Workshops, they state that for us to be able to really focus on and succeed in setting goals, it is essential that these goals are based on our own values...  what we truly believe in...  this idea comes from Benjamin Franklin's autobiography where at the age of 27 whilst feeling dissatisfied, he took time to reflect and came up with 12 virtues that he wanted to learn to live his life by...  Franklin's book is available for free download from Amazon for Kindle...  

So I am now working on a list of things that fascinate me, so that I can look at any themes that run through these passions of mine, past and present, to enable me to decide what my true values are...  Yes, I could easily come up with values that just come to my mind, but I want to work out what feel most true to me and my personality, so I am going to freewrite and work on my list and in a few days, I shall work through the list to decide what is most important to me...  What the themes have been throughout my life...  What gives me most joy in life...  What makes me feel inspired just thinking about it...

Monday, 31 October 2011

Mostly True...

I ordered Mostly True by Brian Andreas on a whim...  it arrived today...  I read it in about an hour...

Then I found myself picking it up and reading it again...  then flicking through it and reading the short and pictorial stories as they flashed by...

I think it is an enlightening book.  I love his short stories that he calls mostly true from his life but with some fantasy elements added in... and the reader can work out which while reading...

"A few said they'd be
horses.  Most said they'd 
be some sort of cat.
My friend said she'd 
like to come back as a

I don't like crowds,
she said."

Porcupine by Brian Andreas

This is not a long book and I read it initially very quickly, but it is a book that will live in the lounge on my coffee table so that when I relax with a cup of tea and want to see life through a very different kaleidoscope I shall pick it up and read the first pages that I open...  

Thursday, 8 September 2011

On my Birthday... A Kindle...

I have never known if I wanted an ereader...  I have always loved my books.  Everything about them.  I love the touch of the paper.  I love holding them.  Flicking through to see what is going to happen when I cannot bear to read further.  Flicking back to remind myself of something that has happened earlier in the story.  The beautiful cover art.   I would read blog posts about ebooks and ereaders with curiosity and mild scepticism that a gadget could give me what I love about books.  How, I thought to myself could an ereader take the part of my beautiful shelves full of books?

Not wanting to fall behind with technology... I decided that I wanted a kindle for my birthday.  I wanted to find out what all the fuss was about.   Initially, a few months ago, I downloaded the kindle for Mac so that I could see if I would like reading books in the kindle format.  I found I enjoyed the format but didn't really want the books clogging up my MacBook and that it was time for a kindle.

The kindle arrived.  Quickly followed by a beautiful green leather cover with a light in the corner.  The light is perfect for reading a night without disturbing Neil.

My kindle is beautiful and perfect.  I carry it everywhere.  It went over with me on the Belfast to Liverpool ferry.  It came back with me on a flight from Gatwick to Belfast.  While wandering around Gatwick, I bought a bottle of water and relaxed reading my kindle.  Horror of horrors... I didn't even go into to the WHSmith bookshop (a regular and rather heavy haunt of mine on previous journeys).

I love love love it.

I have had fun choosing books to put onto my kindle.  Lots of old favourites are free.  Others like the complete works of Thomas Hardy were only a couple of pounds.  In a few seconds I had downloaded the complete works.  Some of which I had previously spent years trawling around second hand bookshops looking for out of print less popular novels that he had written.

I cannot believe it... but I even find myself thinking about getting rid of classics that I have owned for a couple of decades... now that I have them downloaded onto my kindle.  I find myself thinking about how useful the space would be.

I do not know how this gadget has made such an impact on me in a little under a fortnight.  Since its arrival my view of books has been turned on its head.  I can see that for novels and information gathering this is amazing.  I can also see that it will not replace everything.  It wouldn't be so successful for me (even if it were in colour) for the beautiful knitting, patchwork, gardening or art books that I own.  With these types of books I love the large glossy colourful images which inspire and influence me.

I love the fact that I can sit in a public place... reading a children's book like The Enchanted Castle or a textbook... (or whispering this one... a self help book) and no one around me knows what I am reading.  For all the inquisitive passerby knows... I am reading Crime and Punishment...

Instapaper allows me to find an interesting article on a blog or a newspaper or a website and mark it Read Later and periodically it downloads all the articles to my kindle in the format of a downloaded newspaper for me to read at my leisure.

Oh... and did I mention... the gorgeous apple green leather cover?

This gadget is so impressive that my mum has also become the proud new owner of a kindle (hers arrived on Tuesday).

So... have I found anything that annoys me about my new kindle?  The only thing that frustrates me at this point is that I cannot yet buy all the books that I would like to read in the kindle format...

I want books kindalised...

No longer will I go on holiday barely able to lift my suitcase off the floor because I have 10 heavy books weighing it down.  Now I can carry one kindle weighing about the same as one paperback in my handbag...  The freedom is exhilarating.

Now I can relax in a coffee shop with 100+ books in my handbag.  It is extraordinary.  It is magical.

And what am I reading at the moment?  The Complete Father Brown Mysteries...

Sunday, 17 July 2011

In My Mailbox (3)...

The wonderful In My Mailbox meme run by the Story Siren which really appeals to me...

This weeks books thankfully retrieved from the Blue Bin... and a browsing trip around Bargain Books...

I know I have eclectic tastes and my book choices run through all sorts of genres and age groups but I hate to be pigeonholed and love to read everything from romance to fantasy, fiction and non-fiction...  I am not so good with really scary horror though...

The Iron King
by Julie Kagawa

A modern novel this time and another that I have read glowing reviews about...

"Meghan Chase has a secret destiny - one she could never have imagined...

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six.  She has never quite fitted in at school... or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar and her little brother is taken, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

She could never have guessed the truth.  Meghan is the daughter or a faery king and a pawn in a deadly war.  Now Meghan will have to choose between a normal life and her magical destiny - and between her best friend and a darkly dangerous prince.  

It's time for Meghan to enter the faery world..."

Death in the Cotswolds
by Rebecca Tope

Oh I do love a good murder mystery...

"Thea Osborne is thanking her lucky stars.  After two disastrous housesitting incidents in which she unwittingly became embroiled in murder and mayhem, she is only too happy to have a bit of time to concentrate on her blossoming relationship with DI Phil Hollis.  The couple has retreated to Phil's late aunt's cottage in Cold Aston, and other than the odd interruption from his childhood acquaintance, the eccentric Ariadne, they look forward to some peace and quiet.

But the bad luck that plagues the hapless Thea and her beloved spaniel Hepzibah is never far away.  With Autumn drawing in, preparations for Samhain, the pagan origin of Halloween, are well underway when Ariadne discovers a very tangible reminder of the season of death:  a body laid out like a sacrificial victim on Notgrove Barrow.

It soon becomes apparent that the cosy village has more than its share of secrets.  But just how far will some go to keep them hidden?"

The Kalevala
Translated by Keith Bosley

I started reading an extract from this very long epic poem on the web and just couldn't stop so I went looking for this book online...  It is a rather longer epic poem than I had realised...

"The Kalevala is the great Finnish epic which, like the Iliad and Odyssey, grew out of a rich oral tradition with prehistoric roots.  During the first millennium of our era, speakers of the Uralic languages (outside the Indo European group) who had settled in the Baltic region developed an oral poetry that was to last into the nineteenth century.  This poetry provided the basis of the Kalevala, assembled by the Finnish scholar Elias Lonnrot and published in its final form in 1849.  It played a central role in the process toward Finnish independence and inspired some of the greatest music of Sibelius.

This translation of the Kalevala... by the poet Keith Bosley... is the first to combine liveliness with accuracy in a way that reflects the richness of the original."

Sunday, 10 July 2011

In My Mailbox (2)

My second week taking part in the In My Mailbox meme run by the Story Siren which is such fun.

Delivered to the door by my ever friendly postman...

I know I have eclectic tastes and my book choices run through all sorts of genres...  This week:

A tale of Redwall by Brian Jacques

Oh so cool... how have I never come across this book before... rodents!!!

"As Redwall Abbey's creatures bask in the glorious Summer fo the Late Rose, all is quiet and peaceful.  But not for long.  Cluny the Scourge is coming! And the evil one-eyed rat warlord is prepared to do bloody battle to get exactly what he wants:  Redwall."

The Phoenix and the Carpet
by E. Nesbit

Oh a trip down memory lane with this one...

"The Phoenix and the Carpet is E. Nesbit's second fantasy novel and is the sequel to Five Children and It.  From Robert, Anthea, Jane and Cyril's new nursery carpet there falls a mysterious egg which is hatched in the fire to reveal a benevolent, resourceful and ingenious Phoenix who explains that the carpet is possessed of magic qualities.  And so begins a series of fantastic and bizarre adventures as the carpet transports the children and the Phoenix to places as diverse as a chilling French castle, a desert island and even the Phoenix Fire Insurance Company's offices, which the Phoenix believes to be a shrine for his followers."

The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

A modern novel this time.  I have read such thrilling reviews, about this book and the whole series, on blogs that I couldn't resist reading the first instalment any longer...

"Winning will make you famous.  Losing means certain death.  In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking pace.  Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games.  There is only one rule:  kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place int eh games, she sees it as a death sentence.  But Katniss has been close to death before.  For her, survival is second nature."

What Happened to Goodbye
by Sarah Dessen

I think this will be an interesting read... different to my usual choices...  This is the first book I have read by Sarah Dessen and I am looking forward to the experience.

"Mclean never lets herself get too attached...

After the scandal of her mother's affair, Mclean and her dad chose life on the road.  But since losing her family and home, Mclean has lost herself too; she's been Eliza, then Lisbet, then Beth - changing her name as often as she changes towns.

Until now.  Her neighbour, Dave, is like no one she's met before.  It's as if she's always known him, and just like that, she becomes Mclean again.  Is it finally time to stop reinventing?  Or will Mclean turn her back on the new life she loves, without even saying goodbye..."

Happy Reading...

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Dog Days...

What Animal-related books have I read?
Which do I love?
Do I have a favourite literary dog?

This has ended up as a rather long list of wonderful books...  I hadn't realised just how many animal characters I have really loved reading about over the years.  Some are real.  Some are toys who become real or real who become toys.  Some are magical in some way.  Some are cartoons.  But all I have truly adored.  I thought I should probably divide them into groups but they are in no order of preference.


The Wild Road (and the sequels in the series) by Gabriel King
Its a Magical World - Hobbes - Bill Watterson
Born Free - Joy Adamson
Gobbolino the Witch's Cat - Ursula Williams
The Cat in the Hat - Dr Seuss
Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats - T S Eliot
Garfield Whatever - Jim Davis
Adolphus Tips - Michael Morpurgo

Horses & Unicorns

Black Beauty - Anna Sewell
The Little White Horse - Elizabeth Goudge
The Last Unicorn - Peter S Beagle
The Black Unicorn - Terry Brooks
Moorland Mousie - Golden Gorse


Grey Friars Bobby - Eleanor Atkinson
Roverandom - J R R Tolkien
Lassie Come Home - Eric Knight
101 Dalmatians - Dodie Smith
The Call of the Wild - Jack London
White Fang - Jack London
The Incredible Journey - Sheila Burnford
Fantastic Mr Fox - Roald Dahl
Peanuts Jubilee - Snoopy - Charles M Shulz

Birds and Flying Beasts

The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark - Jill Tomlinson
The White Dragon (and other Pern books) - Anne McCaffrey
The Ice Dragon - George R R Martin
The Snow Goose - Paul Gallico


The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Graham
The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents - Terry Pratchett
Manx Mouse - Paul Gallico
Martin's Mice - Dick King Smith


Watership Down - Richard Adams
Velveteen Rabbit - Margery Williams
The Brer Rabbit Book - Enid Blyton


Ingo (And the others in the quartet) - Helen Dunmore
Charlottes Web - E B White
The Snow Spider Trilogy - Jenni Nimmo
Animal Farm - George Orwell
Elmer - David McKee
Tarka the Otter - Henry Williamson

With these novels I find that they are often heart wrenching in places and exciting in others.  A few of these books are particular personal favourites that I have read many times Velveteen Rabbit and Brer Rabbit were two of the rabbit stories I loved.  As a child we had many pets, particular favourites of mine were rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, dogs and cats.  

My favourite literary dog is a draw... two very different books, I love Bobby the loyal little dog in Grey Friar's Bobby and I adore Buck the stolen pet who ends up in the Yukon Territory working on a dog Sledge team in Call of the Wild.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Top 10 Rebels...

Oh wow, top 10 rebels in literature...  the Top Ten Meme by The Broke and the Bookish...  what an exciting list to think of.  I suppose my idea of a rebel who is someone who stands up for what they believe when everyone around them is following a different line...

1.  Harry, Hermione and Ron in J K Rowling's wonderful series.  When everything is against them, they still come back standing up for love, truth and dignity and fighting against evil and brutality.

2.  Lyra in Northern Lights, I just love how this child has the courage of her convictions to stand up against adults and to try to protect and save her friends and later to give up her own happiness to save the worlds.

3.  Mary in The Secret Garden.  She is an unhappy unwanted orphan who through her courage to do what is right, brings happiness back into a house and the lives of its very unhappy occupants.

4.  Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon...  well yes, I suppose I am a child at heart, but it is really cool the way he succeeds in changing his whole village from wanting to kill dragons to actually liking them.  What can I say, I like dragons!

5.  Toad from Wind in the Willows.  I know he is a complete scalliwag and gets everyone into trouble even ends up in jail but at the end of everything, his heart is in the right place.

6.  Anne in Anne of Greengables.  Oh I loved this strong minded girl with her clear views on life.

7.  Salander in the trilogy by Stieg Larsson.  I really enjoyed this wonderful woman.  She is so resilient and when things go wrong has the most amazing computer hacking skills and survival instincts.

8.  Snape in Harry Potter series... Oh I really loathed Snape, he was truly dispicable, and then my feelings for him were turned on their head as I read about his death and heard his story and his life long love for Lily Evans.

9.  Scarlett in Gone with the Wind.  A strong woman who is willing to do just about anything to succeed.

10.  Princess Mononoke in the Studio Ghibli film of the same name...  I know this is slightly rebellious as it is a movie not a book.  But she is truly amazing in her fight for justice and nature.

This was a great list to compile.  

Monday, 4 July 2011

On My Bookshelf (1)...

Having started joining in with the meme In My Mailbox... on a Sunday which is a lot of fun...  but it made me think... I have a large collection of books... many I have read... many I intend to read... many on the To Be Read pile... but others languish On My Bookshelf...  they may have been read or they may be patiently gathering dust while they wait...  some I hope to review over coming months... while others may not be reviewed (after all there are well over 4,000 titles to choose from)...

The House of the Wolfings
by William Morris
first published 1888, republished 2003

The Roots of the Mountains
by William Morris
first published 1889, republished 2003

"If you like Tolkien's Aragorn, if you admire the bravery of the Riders of Rohan, if you long for more adventure in an unspoiled wilderness, or if you wish Tolkien had more romances between men and women, then you will be delighted by this tale from William Morris."

Oh yes, yes, yes...  
Another pair of books on my forever wishlist arrived with me... well, umm, a while ago and yes, I fully intend to read them... just not quite sure when...  What a talented man William Morris was... an amazing designer, business man and author of some of the first fantasy novels...

Sunday, 3 July 2011

In my Mailbox (1)

I am new to In My Mailbox meme run by the Story Siren which is one that really appeals to me...

Oh I wish I had a pretty mailbox that would be able to hold my parcels... but in the event of not being at home to accept deliveries it is more likely to be In Blue Bin which is usually scrawled across the Royal Mail Card...  saves a trip down to the sorting office and a long queue waiting to collect the package...

I know I have eclectic tastes and my book choices run through all sorts of genres...  This week:

The Summer of the Bear 
by Bella Pollen

I saw an interview with the author on the Book Show and thought this would be an enjoyable read.

"In the summer of 1979, a tamed grizzly bear is tempted by the lure of freedom and the wild open sea...

Meanwhile, the sudden death of British diplomat Nicky Fleming has left his wife closed down with shock.  Relocated from Cold War - riven Germany to a remote Hebridean island, Letty Fleming is haunted by the unthinkable - was it an accident, murder or suicide?  And how can she ever begin to explain to her three children that their father may have betrayed his country?

As the family's secrets threaten to tear them apart, it is only the strange but brilliant Jamie who manages to hold on to the one thing he knows for sure:  his father has promised to return, and Nicky Fleming was a man who never broke a promise..."

The Man Whom the Trees Loved
by Algernon Blackwood
written in 1912 and republished by Dodo Press

Oh I am bouncing up and down with excitement about the arrival of this short book (only 70 pages).

"Algernon Blackwood was a master of tales of the supernatural.  His horror stories... seek to induce a sense of awe... and are masterpieces of atmosphere, construction and suggestion."

Between Shades of Gray
by Ruta Sepetys

"Between Shades of Gray is an extraordinary and haunting novel based on first hand family accounts and memories from survivors of Stalin's purges.  Its story will steal your breath and capture your heart."

The Leaping Hare
by George Ewart Evans & David Thomson

I have wanted this book for such a long time.  I really love books about folklore and myths and fairy tales.  I also just adore hares.  This book has been on my wishlist for such a long time.

"A reissue of a rare and remarkable book about every aspect of the life and legend of the wild hare - in nature, poetry, folklore, history and art.  Much of it is drawn from the oral testimony of countrymen (including poachers) still living when the book was written."

Friday, 1 July 2011

What's the best you can do?

What's the best you can do?  First-hand Recollections of a Second-hand Bookseller written by Derek Rowlinson

This was a hilarious read.  Mr Rowlinson, ran a second-hand bookshop in Bangor, Co Down, (Northern Ireland) for many years.  This book was an autobiographical glimpse into his experiences buying books, and selling books to the general book buying populace.  I don't know if I ever actually went into his bookshop before he closed it.  I do hope I did.  

I just have to mention a couple of quotes from the book to give a flavour of this unexpected page turner... 

in a chapter called "General Ignorance" on page 41...

"Coming up to Christmas I overheard one woman ask her friend in a broad Belfast accent "What d'ye want to buy him that for?  Sure he's already got a book.""

in a chapter entitled "Meanness" on page 63...

"I shall never forget the woman who stood at the bookshop window with a Chinese carry-out in one hand and armful of video rentals in the other, whilst her little daughter pointed at a fifty pence children's book I had on display.  "We haven't got money to waste on that," she told the girl peevishly, and shooed her along."

Late in the evening as I finished this short but pleasurable read I found myself thinking how lucky I was to have a mother who also loved reading and encouraged my brother, sister and I to read by using the "Teach Your Baby to Read" system that she bought in the late 1960's.  I can still remember the black and golden coloured box that it came in.

Fascinating to see the different perspective of a second-hand bookshop from the viewpoint of the bookseller in comparison to the person like me who loves to browse their shelves on wet afternoons looking for an out of print delight, although, I often find it easier to find the book online, a second-hand bookshop is an experience for all of the senses. 

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Hmmm... Book Numbers...

Booking Through Thursday

Size Matters

What's the largest your personal library has ever been?  What's the greatest number of books you've ever owned at one time?  (Estimates are fine.)

Is your collection NOW the biggest it's ever been?  Or have you down-sized?

What's the fewest number of books you've ever owned (not counting your pre-reading years)?

Gosh...  Tricky questions.  I have always preferred not to actually count all my books because that might make me realise I probably have more books than I actually need.  This is only an estimate because I didn't venture into the attic which also has shelving for books...  I have 10 large bookcases (6 shelves per book case and 1 metre wide).  The novels, autobiographies etc are packed fill their shelves at 2 books deep and averaging 15 books high...  approximately 30 shelves of these 2700 books... and about 30 shelves of non-fiction including recipe books, gardening, art, knitting, patchwork, historty etc...  Okay, that works out at approximately 4000 books in our house (I haven't included all the books that live on shelves in the attic nor all my books that have crept down to inhabit bookshelves in my mum's house... they would be another story for another day)...

I think I can quite honestly say that my book collection is the largest it has ever been.  Now and again, I try to send a few to the charity shop or I sell a few on Amazon but invariable a month later I am searching for the book that I thought I no longer wanted.  I do try periodically to get rid of books that I don't think I will read again or the odd book that I thought I would enjoy reading but never did.  No choice really because I am running out of space and do have piles of books sitting around in front of book cases and use the tops of the bookcases as additional bookcase shelving.

I cannot remember not having books.  My mum always had lots of books.  When we were in our early teens my brother and I used to love going around all the second hand bookshops in Smithfield Market looking for new interesting ones to read.  Then I went to university and continued working my way around the second hand bookshops in Leeds.  When I was travelling home...  (my mum had a friend of a friend who offered to put my stuff into the back of their lorry on their way back from dropping off a load)  I think he was a little shocked when my boxes of books started to come down the 4 flights of stairs...  I even got rid of half of my clothes as I knew I only had a certain amount of space... but the books all came home with me.

I suppose the thing that has changed is what I like to read...  I don't read the classics Hardy, Austen, Dickens etc quite as often as I should and find myself reaching for a fantasy novel more often...

Enjoying the process...

I am really enjoying reading The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle.  About one third of the way through the novel which is written from the Unicorn's point of view (and she has a wonderful personality).

As I sat in the garden in the shade of the lilac tree reading the novel...  I wondered how people read 5+ novels in a week.  Have they found a method of speed reading or do they never sleep?  

It was such a lovely warm day here.  A change from the rain that has pelted down for most of this summer.  One thing I've learned about wet Northern Irish summers is that we need to enjoy the sunshine when it comes out from behind the clouds as it will not last all that long until the next heavy downpour (which drove me, my book and my chair indoors again).

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Too many Choices...

After some thought I decided that I would like a to be read pile.  I think it will help to narrow down my choices of which books I want to read next and next and next...

I have chosen some old favourites as well as a few new books that I have been intending to read for a long time and have had sitting in a pile on the floor by the side of my bed.

Now I need to decide which to start with.  I think it will have to be The Last Unicorn written by Peter S. Beagle.  I first read this book when I was in my early teens and really loved it.  That copy has long since disintegrated and this book is the 4oth Anniversary Edition that I treated myself to a couple of years ago.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Top 10 Bookish Websites...

Top Ten Bookish Websites, Organizations, Apps, etc...  as organised by The Broke and Bookish

I had to really think about this one.  Some of these are relatively new to me and others I have been visiting and using for a much longer time.

1  Virtual Library - this is the online Northern Ireland library which allows me to renew books, search for books and to make reservations of books that I want to read.  Then all I need to do is actually visit the library to collect the book as they email me when it has arrived...  so cool...

2 - yep... I use this website all the time for tracking down out of print books especially when I have read most of the others in a series...

3  Goodreads - love this...  always helpful to read reviews when I am deciding what I want to read next especially if I haven't read anything by that author before.

4  Red Room - great site with information about authors and ideas for blogging.

5  Kindle App for Mac - handy now and again to be able to download a kindle book and read it.

6  The Leaky Cauldron - always enjoy this site...  yep I am a Harry Potter fan but then who isn't?

7  What Should I Read Next?  - useful ideas...  not that I don't already have a monster to be read pile...

8  Audible UK - I love listening to audio books when I am busy doing other things...

I was running out of ideas at this point... when I decided to look at other people's top 10's and immediately joined up for these two...

9  StumbleUpon - I love the whole concept of this site... going to be back lots of times...

10  Audiobooksync - cool... great to find out about these free audio book downloads now rather than at the end of the summer...  downloaded Shiver which has been sitting in my to be read pile for too long and now I shall listen to it instead.

Now, I think I shall start listening to Shiver while I get on with some work...

Reading - a passion...

I am coming a little late to this book blogger hop because I have just started my completely unadulterated book related blog as I have enjoyed reading book related blogs for such a long time and suddenly wondered why I did not have one of my own.  

This question was set by Books and Reviews...

"When did you realize reading was your passion and a truly important part of your life?"

This is a cool question.  Reading was important to me when I was very small and looked forward to the arrival of the library van.  That was so exciting.  Especially when they had changed the selection of books and there were lots of new titles to look through and choose from but I was probably too young to realise the extent of the addiction.  Then in my teenage years when I would doze off at 5am having spent the night propped up on my pillow under the duvet with a torch reading a book that I just couldn't put down.  Struggling through school the next day bleary eyed.  Signs of obsession were starting to show.  When I got married 13 years ago and the first thing that my new husband had to help me with was the re-assembly of all my bookcases that had lived around the walls of my bedroom along with the moving of countless boxes of books none of which I felt I could part with.  13 years on, bookcases line walls in all the 3 bedrooms, the lounge and snug on every topic that appeals to me - reading obsessions include gardening, patchwork, drawing, web design, photography, sewing, knitting, creative writing, biography, autobiography, natural history and history not to mention the thousands of novels from classics to fantasy that continue to draw me into their worlds like a magnet.  I don't think I ever really came to a realization that reading and books were important they  just gradually took over my life and my world.  
Afterall I can learn anything if I have the right book or 10.

Monday, 27 June 2011

How many books inhabit my To-Be-Read pile?...

Book Blogger Hop

I have never taken part in book memes because my blog Nicolette's Notebook is mainly devoted to photographs, walks and crafts, so I decided that I would like to start a separate book blog.  This will have thoughts about books I am reading.  Themes I am mulling over for my creative writing and inspiring quotes and links that I come across and find interesting.

The Book Blogger Hop often poses interesting and thought provoking questions.  However, this particular question made me laugh out loud.


How many books are currently in your To Be Read (TBR) pile?

After all, I live in a house that has at least one book case in every room including the attic (exceptions being the bathroom and kitchen where I find steam and paper do not go hand in hand).

Our small bedroom has been nicknamed the book room and has a lovely blue futon sofa bed (very comfy to lounge on when relaxing with a great book to read) but has long since ceased to be used as a spare bed as it cannot be opened out de to the number of bookshelves that now line the walls.

Now and again I ponder the issue of rehoming some books that I think I may no longer want but I invariably regret such rash actions.

I have books on many diverse topics both in fiction and non fiction but particular favourites are biographies, history, creative writing, fantasy novels, mythology, folklore, classics and the natural world.

So many books.  Many read.  Many more waiting to be read.

Imaginary and real worlds hidden between colourful covers.  All of which I fully intend to explore and lose myself in as I turn the pages and disappear into exciting and diverse emotional landscapes.

In answer to the question above

too many to be counted.

My mum taught me to read when I was 2 1/2 and by the time I started school the week before my 4th birthday I had already read al the reading books for primary 1.

The highlight of my world when I was tiny was the arrival of the mobile library van which pulled into the parking area just beyond our gates.  Climbing the steps to a peaceful retreat of bookshelves filled with books.  My excitement building for the books I would be able to read and choose from.  The impossible decision to be made on which books to borrow until the next time.