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January 2, 2023

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Brideshead Revisited

I’m very excited about this, the trailer looks brilliant. Can you tell if it is faithful to the book or not? I can’t really remember it at all. I think I’ll watch the movie before reading the book and then I’m less likely to be disappointed with the adaptation.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Looking For Alaska – Reviewed

Looking For Alaska – John Green

Rating 5/5

I can’t say Looking for Alaska had me at hello but it was pretty close. It was actually page three and this line,

“So this guy,” I said, standing in the doorway of the living room. “Francois Rabelais. He was this poet. And his last words were “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” That’s why I’m going. So I don’t have to wait until I die to start seeking a Great Perhaps.”

Miles, a sixteen year old from Florida heads off to his Father’s old boarding school in hope of finding himself and the great perhaps. Once there he gets rechristened Pudge and meets Chip (The Colonel), Takemi, Lara and Alaska. Most importantly funny, clever, messed up Alaska.

The First chapter is titled One Hundred and thirty Six days Before and subsequent chapters count down. So as Pudge relates his introduction to life at Culver Creek the readers sense of anticipation increases. The closer we get to day Zero the greater the tension and menace.

Green uses Pudge’s religion class and own experiences to explore issues of grief, growth, love and forgiveness. At times it feels like we are living though the story with Pudge and at times it feels like he is narrating what happened from a more adult perspective.

I really do think everyone should read this book it’s just perfect and I loved the end. It’s so hopeful. I didn’t see how John Green was going to leave me feeling satisfied after everything that happened but he did.

There is smoking, drinking, swearing and sex but there is in life and even if your aren’t partaking you’re aware of it. I wasn’t offended by anything in it and I thought it was pretty realistic but just a warning in case.

If you have read it I’d love to read your review so link away on Mr Linky. If you haven’t run out and buy a copy now!

Sunday Salon – The End of the World

I finished Life as we knew it. I was trying to stick to the schedule on Becky’s online reading group but then I got to chapter 14 yesterday and had to keep going. I loved this book, if you like end of the world scenarios then this book is for you. I think it will stay with me for a long time. I like to think in situations like this I would be brave and noble and good but you never know how you will react. I also keep making plans in my head, where would we go? how would we keep warm? find food? It’s very thought provoking as well as being a great read.

Becky is hosting an End of the World challenge. I don’t think I’m going to sign up as I have too many challenges going on already but some of her recommendation have made it on to my TBR list.

I also finished Looking for Alaska by John Green, which I can not recommend enough. Everyone really should read this book. I’m hoping to have more time this week to write a proper review of it and The Thirteenth Tale.

I’m really nervous to read John Green’s new book though as I heard it wasn’t as good. I hate being disappointed by second books. Have any of you read it?

Finally, Weekly Geeks is a good one this week. Choose a selection of books about a political or social issue that is important to you. This one needs some thought.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Weekly Geeks 3 – Childhood Revisited

The childhood books that really stand out for me are;

The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier

Back Home Michelle Magorian

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr.

These three books began my fascination with WW2. I will read anything set round this period, fiction or non-fiction. The main players Churchill, Hitler and Stalin and Mussolini are all fascinating but I really love reading stories about ordinary people living through the war.

The Silver Sword is the tale of Balicki children; Ruth, Edek and Bronia, who are separated form their parents when the Nazis invade Poland. Along with Jan, a boy they befriend, the children struggle to survive in occupied Poland. After the Nazi surrender they travel to Germany hoping to find their parents. The Silver Sword is their talisman; a paper knife in the shape of a sword. I remember being completely enraptured with this book, the ties between the siblings and the fact that children were surviving alone.

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is the story of Anna, a Jewish school girl, who’s parents have to flee Germany when Hitler comes to power. The story follows them as they move to France and then England trying to escape the Nazis. I remember the themes of being different and wanting to fit in were at the heart of this novel.

Back Home is the story of Rusty who was sent from England to the USA for five years during WW2. Apparently quite a few children were sent when it was feared Britain would be invaded. The story deals with her return and how difficult she finds it to readjust to her family, especially her mother. Again I liked this book because it dealt with the difficulties of growing up and feeling alienated from your home and the people around you.

Michelle Magorian also wrote the wonderful Goodnight Mr Tom which I did read as a child but much preferred when I re-read it a few years ago to a Year Four class. The BBC did a wonderful adaptation with John Thaw.

This was a really interesting post to write and I really want to re-read my childhood favourites now.

For more weekly geeks posts of childhood favourites go here.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Sunday Salon – Looking for Alaska

Just had to drop back in to say I am up to two days after and I adore this book. Everyone should read it, I’m going to be recommending it to everyone I know.

Favourite Quote so far

“There comes a time when we realise that our parents cannot save themselves or save us, that everyone who wades through time eventually gets dragged out to sea by the undertow – that, in short, we are all going.”

Sunday Salon – YA and Short Stories

I finally finished The Thirteenth Tale. While it did pick up towards the end I still found it quite dull and I never really cared about any of the characters. Which is a shame as I think it could have been wonderful. I’ll try and write a proper review this week.

I’ve returned to YA fiction. I’m reading Life as we knew it by Susan Beth Pfeffer as part of Becky’s online book group. I’m up to Chapter Four and I am loving it. It’s written in diary format by Miranda a 16 year old school girl. An asteroid hits the moon, knocking it off it’s axis which causes tsunami’s round the world. Pfeffer does a great job of capturing the panic and horror of a disaster.

As I am trying to read the book to the book group schedule, I also started Looking for Alaska by John Green. I’m still in the before part and really loving it. Lots of individual, well drawn characters all searching for something.

Finally I finished How to breathe under water by Julie Orringer. This is the first book of short stories I have read and I adored it. I found Julie Orringer after one of her stories was published in the Washington Post.

She writes so beautifully and I was amazed by how complete each story felt. She deals with growing up and changing and through ordinary situations really captures the pain, envy, fear and joy of that time.

Notes to My sixth grade self, was my favourite, it made a knot form in my stomach it was so powerful, moving and painful to read.

“Do not look at Patricia and Cara as they stick their tongue out at you. ignore Zachary Booth’s explicit hand gesture. Forget you weigh sixty-nine pounds; stop wanting breasts so badly. So what if you wear glasses? So what if your skirt is not Calvin Klein? For this one moment you have no hangnails, no bony knees, and there is a secret between you and Eric Cassio. When the others clear the floor, look him square in the eye and share that secret. The secret is, you know he likes to dance.”

That’s it for this week. I’m off to try and write my Weekly Geeks post about my favourite childhood books.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Weekly Geeks 2 – Linky Love – The Outcome

I’ve been super busy this week so I haven’t really had time look at people’s lists. I do love this idea though, so from now on I’ll be adding a Mr Linky (thanks Kristen!) to everything I review so people can link up to me if they want to.

If you want to be a Weeky Geek go here and sign up.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Manuel Labour

Writing guides, grammar books, punctuation how-tos . . . do you read them? Not read them? How many writing books, grammar books, dictionaries-if any-do you have in your library?

I have one!. Eats. shoots and leaves by Lynne Truss. Having just finished it I can see I should have many more. My grammar is appalling. I’m now spend ages writing my blog debating about semi colons and comma use.

I used to have a dictionary but it got lost on one of out many moves and we never replaced it.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Twilight – The Movie

Becky has the Twilight teaser trailer posted today.

I’m trying not to get too excited. I’m failing miserably because it does look really good. But The Golden Compass looked absolutely wonderful in the trailer and it was so disappointing. I still haven’t gotten over them cutting the end!

But I’m really hoping Twilight will be different. I think it will be hard to capture the feeling of the book though.

Also, not completely convinced by Edward.

Linky Love – Weekly Geeks 2

This weeks challenge from Dewey is to add links to other people’s reviews of the same book in your review post.

I love this idea I like reading lots of different reviews of the same book. So in future if you have reviewed a book I review just leave your link in my comments and I’ll add you on.

If you see a book in my side bar that you’d like me to link too, leave a comment on this post and I’ll add you in.

And if anyone know how I add a Mr lInky to the bottom of my posts it would be lovely of you to tell me. As I have NO idea!

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Sunday Salon – Struggling and Sailing

I haven’t managed much reading this Sunday as I have been on a weekend sailing course. A lot of fun but hard work, reading about it didn’t quite prepare me for doing it!

I have managed a couple of chapters of The Thirteeth Tale by Diane Setterfield. I was really excited about this book. It came highly recommended and had so many good reviews but I am really struggling with it. I love the writing but I’m not really engaged with the characters. It’s not so bad that I won’t finish but I’m not dying to pick it up either.

It’s especially hard to keep going as I got an Amazon delivery of the following;

Life as we know it – Susan Beth Pfeffer

Looking for Alaska – John Green

The Inheritance of Lost – Kiran Desai

All of which are crying out to be started.

Friday, 2 May 2008

April Books

Books (and their first lines) read in April. Lots of young adult this month. Think The Boy Book wins my vote for best opening line. You?

Best cover goes to The disreputable History as I have a weakness for red sealing wax and basset hounds (didn’t have the time/inclination to upload the covers though!).

“The snow in the mountains was melting and Bunny had been dead for several weeks before we came to understand the gravity of out situation”

The Secret History – Donna Tatt

“When I was little, my uncle Pete had a necktie with a porcupine painted on it.”

Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli

“Though not, in hindsight, so startling as the misdeeds she would perpetrate when she returned to boarding school as a sophomore, what happened to Frankie Landau-Banks the summer after her freshman year was a shock.

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landu-Banks – E.Lockhart

“The birth of Simon Arthur Fitzranulp Basset, Earl Clyvedon, was met with great celebration.”

The Duke and I – Julia Quinn

“My Mother is a wrench”

Scrambled Eggs at Midnight – Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler

“It was November.”

The Thirteenth Tale – Diane Setterfield

“Before anyone reading this thinks to call me a slut-or even just imagines that I am incredibly popular-let me point out that this list included absolutely every single boy I have ever had the slightest little any-kind-of-anything with.”

The Boyfriend List – E. Lockhart

The care and ownership of boobs (a subject important to our study of the male humanoid animal because the boobs, if deployed properly, are like giant boy magnets attached to your chest.”

The Boy Book – E. Lockhart

Thursday, 1 May 2008


Quick! It’s an emergency! You just got an urgent call about a family emergency and had to rush to the airport with barely time to grab your wallet and your passport. But now, you’re stuck at the airport with nothing to read. What do you do??

And, no, you did NOT have time to grab your bookbag, or the book next to your bed. You were . . . grocery shopping when you got the call and have nothing with you but your wallet and your passport (which you fortuitously brought with you in case they asked for ID in the ethnic food aisle). This is hypothetical, remember….
Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!

Oh Horrors! Are you sure I didn’t have my current book in my bag? Oh all right then! I guess I would buy an airport book, hoping they had something not too bad in store. Dan Brown has been known to distract me, even if the books are ridiculous! Actually this wouldn’t be a problem at Heathrow where they have several proper bookshops now. In Dulles though they just have a few bestsellers on a rack in the snack shop.

I would also buy magazines, which I rarely buy unless I am flying. Aeroplanes equals glossy pages full of how to have a better life in my world. I normally get Glamour and Self.

I’d also get nut bars and lifesavers – two more plane essentials.

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