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Top 10 Tuesday: Books with Ghosts and Ghouls and Scary Things


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It’s Tuesday which means it’s time for ‘Top Ten Tuesday’ from  The Broke and the Bookish. I wasn’t sure I would manage the Halloween Freebie but I had a look through the books I’ve read and I have enough for a post, just maybe not 10.

As always, in no particular order. Links are to reviews, pictures are affiliate links to amazon.

The Historian- Elizabeth Kostova

I read this modern day Dracula story when I was at uni. At the time a lived in a house where my room had lots of fitted cupboards, I used to wake-up after having funny dreams and check all the cupboards before I could go back to sleep. Despite (or maybe because of) this it remains a favourite of mine.

After Dark- Haruki Murakami

Probably any of Murakami’s books could fit here (except maybe Norwegian Wood which is sort of…normal). I chose ‘After Dark’ because of the storyline with the girl who gets transported to a sort of parallel universe inside the TV, it’s a bit hard to explain which is why I skipped reviewing it, but it’s pretty classic Murakami style which I love

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2)- J.K Rowling

I could probably have put any of the Potter books too, but I chose Chamber because of the voice in the walls, it’s just spooky. (Half-Blood Prince was a close second with the inferi)

 

Clovenhoof- Heide Goody and Iain Grant

What would happen if the devil was sent to Earth to live as a human? This humorous book answers this question


The Radleys- Matt Haig

A family of recovering vampires are trying to fit in in a normal neighbourhood. Can it work?

 

The Glass Guardian- Linda Gillard

Is the old house haunted? And is it possible to fall in love with a ghost?

 


Bellman and Black- Diane Setterfield

I read Bellman and Black before Setterfield’s much loved ‘The Thirteenth Tale’ and I remember it better. It concerns Mr Bellman and his strange and mysterious business partner ‘Black’

 

Cauldstane- Linda Gillard

A more classic ghost story than ‘The Glass Guardian’. I somehow missed reviewing this one

 

 

Her Fearful Symmetry- Audrey Niffenegger

When two teenage twins move into the flat left to them in their aunt’s will they find she hasn’t quite managed to leave yet

 

 

The Lucifer Effect- Philip Zimbardo

This one is scary because it’s true. It chronicles Zimbardo’s famous ‘Stanford Prison Experiment’ where students were randomly assigned roles as ‘prisoners’ or ‘guards’

 

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Top 10 Tuesday: Books Read in the Lifetime of this Blog


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It’s Tuesday which means it’s time for ‘Top Ten Tuesday’ from  The Broke and the Bookish is back today, this is a freebie week looking back, so I’ve decided to do the best books read in the lifetime of this blog

These books were top of my review of the year lists for the years I read them.

As always, in no particular order.

Living Dolls- Natasha Walters

This was my top non-fiction book which I read in 2011. It is still one of my most recommended books and it got me into feminist reading.

About how society breeds girls.

 

The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts- Louis de Bernieres

After years of searching I found a book by de Berniere’s which met up to (and suppassed) Captain Correlli’s.

This story about a fictional latin American country going through civil war is one of my favourite ever and was my best fiction read of 2011
Pop Co.- Scarlett Thomas

This was my favourite fiction read of 2010.

About code breaking, advertising, mystery, and a little political

 

Handle With Care- Jodi Picoult

This 2009 read is still my favourite Picoult as it has a theme which I really connect with. About a girl with brittle bones and how her mother is suing the midwife who missed the signs in scans



Life After Life- Kate Atkinson

This story of reliving lives is still a favourite of mine since being my favourite read in 2013


How to Be a Woman- Caitlin Moran

This is the funny, feminist book by Caitlin Moran which made me want to be her friend. I read it back in 2012

Brooklyn Bites Series- Scott Stabile

Oh it’s been so long since I’ve got to rave about Brooklyn Bites. These beautiful short stories are so perfectly descriptive of food that you can almost taste it.

Texts From Jane Eyre- Mallory Ortberg

This funny little book suggests how texts from famous literary characters would be like

Yes Means Yes- Various

An important and interesting feminist book which I read earlier this year and wrote lots of posts about.

 

How to Be a Heroine- Samantha Ellis

In this great book Ellis looks back at previously loved books with a new perspective

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Top 10 Tuesday: Books I’ve Given Up On


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It’s Tuesday which means it’s time for ‘Top Ten Tuesday’ from  The Broke and the Bookish is back today, this week is about books we’ve given up on.

I have a special rule after I almost gave up on Harry Potter the first time, I have to read at least 50 pages before I allow myself to give up, and often I do end up deciding it may not be the right time.

I’ve tried to pick books/authors which are well known, maybe you can convince me to try again?!

As always, in no particular order.

A Suitable Boy- Vikram Seth

I tried to read this very popular book when I was at uni. I persevered for a long time, and still have it on my shelves in the hope I will one day be able to find out what it is that made so many love it. I found it slow, and pretty hard going. I finally gave up on in when I spent a whole train journey picking it up only to shortly decide staring out a window was better entertainment.
The Hunchback of Notredame- Victor Hugo

I tried to read this one for The Rory List. Getting to 50 pages was difficult. It was rambling and mainly seemed to be complaining about Parisian architecture. I finally started getting interested in the story just before 50 pages, then Hugo went off on another waffling ramble and I threw the book across the room. It’s half the reason that Les Mis is still on my kindle unstarted.

Birds Without Wings- Louis de Bernieres

I have a strange relationship with Louis de Bernieres books. I found the first chapter of ‘Captain Correlli’s Mandolin’ really difficult but loved the rest of the book, I didn’t really like  ‘The Partisan’s Daughter’ until I’d finished it, ‘The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts‘ is one of my favourite books of all time, but the sequel I recently put to the side. ‘Birds Without Wings’ I technically put to the side, it’s still on my shelves, but I doubt I’m going to finish it as it’s not been touched since uni.

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights- Salman Rushdie

I was really excited when I got accepted to read ‘Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights’ on netgalley after I’d loved ‘Midnight’s Children’, and I really persevered with it. There were some elements that I liked but it just didn’t click and I found I was picking it up less and less.

Vanity Fair- William Makepeace Thackery

Another classic picked up from ‘The Rory List’. I do often find classics a struggle. With this one I didnt even manage my 50 page rule with this one because I had in my bag when a water bottle leaked, and I decided I was kind of glad so didn’t try and save it. I swear I usually look after my books better!

J- Howard Jacobson

I must admit I requested this one from netgalley because The Finkler Question had recently won The Booker. I’d never read any Jacobson before, and this one just didn’t click with me

Suite Française-Irène Némirovsky

This one sounds like it would be right up my alley. A book set in wartime, by a person who had actually lived it. Loads of people seem to have loved it, so it isn’t completely abandoned yet but it’s been sitting on my shelves waiting for me to pick it back up for years. When I did first try to read it I found it just a bit too long for the story to get started


The Colour Of Magic- Terry Pratchett

I really loved Pratchett’s Johnny books, and I’ve tried a few of his discworld novels over time but only ‘Mort’ really clicked with me. I tried Colour of Magic most recently so that’s why I picked it for this list.

 

The Loney- Andrew Mitchell Hurley

This is so recently abandoned that it’s still sitting by my bed. I probably will pick it back up as mainly I stopped reading it because whenever I look at it I get this song (below) stuck in my head (yes even though it’s Loney not lonely). Yeah it was getting annoying so I made sure I put down the book facedown and then just sort of didn’t pick it up again…yet.

Oh no! Now it’s in my head again!

 

Have you seen my giveaway of the awesome book ‘Yes Means Yes’? Click here to enter.

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Top 10 Tuesday: Lesser Known War Books


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It’s Tuesday which means it’s time for ‘Top Ten Tuesday’ from  The Broke and the Bookish is back today, this week is about lesser known genre books

I’m not really a genre reader, but I do read a lot of books set during war time so I decided to do Top 10 Lesser Known War Books.

As always, in no particular order and links are to my own reviews

Pegasus Falling- William E. Thomas

‘Pegasus Falling’ is an indie story written with Thomas’ own memories of fighting in WW2 as part of a parachute regiment, and including elements of stories about prisoners of war and those who spent time in concentration camps. ‘Pegasus Falling’ is the first in a series which continues with ‘It Never Was You’

The Shouting Wind- Linda Newberry

‘The Shouting Wind’ is a story of a woman who joins the WAAF during WW2. It was one of my favourite books as a teenager.

A Little Love Song- Michelle Magorian

Michelle Mogorian is better known as the author of ‘Goodnight Mister Tom’ (another good war novel) but ‘A Little Love Song’ is more grown-up. It is about a teenager who moves to the country during WW2 and falls in love. It’s probably more of a love story than a war story but some of the issues in it are to do with the war

The Almond Tree- Michelle Cohen Corasanti

‘The Almond Tree’ is an indie novel and is honestly one of the best war novels I’ve read. It takes part in occupied Israel and concerns the Israel-Palestine conflict. It follows a boy living in the area whose Father is arrested and has to become the man of the house overnight


Kommandant’s Girl- Pam Jenoff

Pam Jenoff is quite well known in some circles, and Kommandant’s Girl is probably her most famous, but I don’t think I’ve seen it reviewed on any other blogs. I was umming and ahhing over whether to include it. I decided to because it is marketed more as a romance book than a war book (which I disagree with). It’s about a woman in the resistance who has a mission which involves creating a relationship with a German Kommandant.


Remembrance- Theresa Breslin

Remembrance is about a woman who becomes a nurse during WW1


Goodbye Marianne- Irene N. Watts

‘Goodbye Marianne’ is the story of a Jew growing up in Nazi Germany and how she escapes on the Kindertransport. The Kindertransport is reason for the title, but it’s not the part of the book I remember the most

I didn’t quite make it to 10 this time (so many war books are well known!) but you can see more of my war book recommendations here

I’m always looking for new war books, any to recommend?

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Top 10 Tuesday: Important Books for Teens


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It’s Tuesday which means it’s time for ‘Top Ten Tuesday’ from  The Broke and the Bookish is back today, this week is a ‘back to school’ freebit

When I went to my most recent bookclub meet-up one of the women there said she wanted to give the book we were reading (The Power) to the first teenage girl she saw, so I decided to do Top 10 Important Books For Teens, these books are books which would teach a lesson, but hopefully in a fun way. They are not all designed for teenagers, but I think they would generally be appropriate. I also tried to pick books which would appeal to a wide range of teenagers not just ones with certain issues

As always, in no particular order

How to Build a Girl- Caitlin Moran

This one for teenage girls (most of them probably are as I was one once). It’s a bit like How to be a Woman but in fiction form. So a good feminist novel which teaches things you might not learn in school. I would probably like to introduce girls to How to be a Woman too, but this is probably more accessible.

Eleanor & Park- Rainbow Rowell

It’s a fairly decent representation of a relationship, not perfect and about accepting people for who they are, and thinking of others before yourself

The Storyteller- Jodi Picoult

A good one to learn about the holocaust, but also about forgiveness and remorse, and how it still has an impact on people today.

Look Who’s Back- Timur Vermes

A comic story, but with a serious message about how history can repeat itself, probably best read after learning about Hitler

 

Animal- Sara Pascoe

Teaches about feminism and sex ed in a way that school won’t and contains some really important information. As soon as I read this I wanted to share it with every teenage girl


Furiously Happy- Jenny Lawson

A somewhat comic look at depression which is good for showing that mental health is important and should be talked about


The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Summers of the Sisterhood)- Ann Brashares

The first one on my list that I read as a teenager. About the importance of friends, and growing up. When I read it there was only one book in the series but I did read the second (and I think the third too). The first is probably the best but there is a lot of important emotional stuff in the second.

Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret- Judy Blume

I think Judy Blume’s teenage books are pretty much essential reading for teenage girls. Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret is probably the best place to start. The issues are fairly ordinary issues for most teenage girls and deal with becoming a woman.


Anything by Paula Danziger

Like Judy Blume Paula Danziger writes about typical teenage issues. If amazon is anything to go by not many of her books are still being published which is sad, they were one of my teenage staples. The photo is one of the few I could find new from amazon, and it’s aimed at boys(!)

Angus, Thongs and Full-frontal Snogging- Louise Rennison

Another typical teenager book, but one which is set in the UK. Not always the most serious of topics but it is good in terms of talking about independence and dating

Special mentions: The Girl’s Series- Jacqueline Wilson, Speak- Laurie Halse Anderson, Noughts and Crosses- Malorie Blackman

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Top 10 Tuesday: Non-Fiction


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I realised a bit late that ‘Top Ten Tuesday’ from  The Broke and the Bookish is back today, but it’s a freebie week so easy enough to join in with

As it’s a freebie week I’ve decided to do Top 10 Non-fiction books. I’ve been on a bit of a non-fiction kick lately so I’ve got plenty to choose from.

As always, in no particular order

The Etymologicon- Mark Forsyth

I mention Forsyth’s interesting and entertaining books about language frequently (and they have even featured on two previous Top 10 Tuesday posts). The Etymologicon is my favourite, but The Horologicon, and The Elements of Eloquence are also fantastic

Yes Means Yes- Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti

A series of essays about women’s sexuality, rape and feminism. Very thought provoking and because the essayists have different views it’s interesting to see how different people view feminism. I haven’t fully reviewed this one yet but I have written a series of posts about various essays. Not one for the faint hearted, but I think it’s an important book

How to Be a Woman- Caitlin Moran

Part autobiography, part feminist anthem. Caitlin Moran’s first book is one I recommend frequently, and one which left me wishing I could be her friend. A more accessible form of feminism than the more serious feminist tomes. I genuinely think this should be read by every teenage girl (I also think this of Animal, but I didn’t like that as much)

Do No Harm- Henry Marsh

An interesting personal look at neurosurgery and the NHS by neurosurgeon Henry Marsh. I found this to be a real page turner (or maybe button presser as I read it on kindle), and easy to understand as someone who knows relatively little about neurology (maybe a little more than others from my psychology degree). I even managed to read it when in hospital for surgery.



The Lucifer Effect- Phillip Zimbardo

This is a book that I think is really important, but it isn’t the easiest read- emotionally or in terms of readability. It’s Zimbardo’s own account of his famous prison experiment on authority. An experiment which had to be cancelled because it was going too far

The Complete Polysyllabic Spree- Nick Hornby

When I read Nick Hornby’s book about books I added so many books to my wishlist. It is a collection of his columns from The Believer, and is featured on The Rory List.

Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure- Dave Gorman

Dave Gorman’s second book is a part travel part comedy book. His journey starts with one googlewhack; a phrase which elicits only one response when searched on google. He contacts the owner of the site and visits them to ask them to find another googlewhack who he also visits and so on. It’s mainly funny but also interesting to see which websites he sees and where he goes.

How to be a Heroine- Samantha Ellis

In ‘How to Be a Heroine’ Ellis revisits books which have shaped her. Will she still have to same opinions or will something have changed? A perfect blend of bookishness and feminism.

 Living Dolls- Natasha Walter

Living Dolls is the book which introduced me to feminist non-fiction. It looks at how society is creating a new type of sexism which teaches girls that they have to be ‘girly’ and boys that they have to be ‘tough’.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened- Jenny Lawson

Jenny Lawson talks about her life and depression with humour and honesty. A fun read with more meaning than it may originally seem.

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Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Books Santa Should Leave Under my Tree


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It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s 10 Books Santa (or Father Christmas if I’m being English) should leave under my tree. My wishlist is over 180 items long, most of them are book, because every time I see a book I want to read I add it to my list, but then when I’m shopping I see other books I want, so I only tend to get books from my list as presents. Some things have been on there a long time, the oldest item was added in 2006, the oldest book in 2009. So my problem isn’t pickig 10 things but narrowing it down to 10!

As always in o particular order

1) Where My Heart Used to Beat- Sebastian Faulks

I have been a bit disappointed by the last few Sebastian Faulks novels, but I also have loved past novels, so I shall keep going, this one sounds like it will be a good ‘un.

A man looking back on his life which includes some of the biggest events of the 20th century

 

 

2) Yes Means Yes- Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti

Maybe not really a present book, but one I am really interested in all the same.

It’s about approaches to women’s sexuality and rape. How approach to a woman’s sexuality leads to the type of victim blaming which is often seen in rape cases, and how things need to change.

 

3) Moranifesto- Caitlin Moran

What can I say, I love Caitlin Moran. Another collection of her columns, and a few unique to the book pieces.


 

 

4) The Lake House- Kate Morton

Another favourite author. I’ve loved everything my Kate Morton. With all the usual intrigue, a missing person, an abandoned house, and an old woman with secrets The Lake House promises to be no different.



5) Career of Evil- Robert Galbraith

 I have somehow yet to get my hands on this third Cormoran Strike book.

 

 

6) Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Years of Pilgrimage- Haruki Murakami

 

It’s been too long since I read any Murakami (I read Sputnik Sweetheart a few months ago) and I really like the sound of this one. Tsukuru had four best friends in school, but one day they decide they don’t want to be his friends anymore. Since then Tsukuru has been adrift.

7) Migraine- Oliver Saks

 A psychology one, always high on my non-fiction lists. This one is about migraine, and manly interests me because I get the

8) The Closed Circle- Jonathan Coe

I mainly want this one because it’s a sequel to The Rotter’s Club. This time about the characters who were teenagers in The Rotter’s Club now living in the Britain of ‘New Labour’

9) A Recipe for Bees- Gail Anderson-Dargatz

I read A Cure for Death By Lightening a few years ago and really loved it. This book, by the same author is about a normal woman with gifts she can’t quite cope with. I very much doubt this will be under the tree, it doesn’t appear to be in print anymore

10) A new Kindle.

 

I haven’t even asked for this because I don’t know what kindle I want. I just know my current one is getting tired and I could really do with a new one before it completely conks out on me.

 

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Top 10 Tuesday: Books to Sink Into


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It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s freebie week so I’ve decided to do Ten Books to Sink Into. That is books which swallow you up. Books you can’t put down. Books you read above other things (which for me would be netflix, Hearthstone, and getting off the bus at the right stop!) .Books where you have to read ‘just one more chapter’. Books you don’t want to end.

They might not be literary greats. They are rarely growers (although a grower may become a book to sink into, it’s not a complete book to sink into). They may not even be books you remember, but they are books that at the time really hooked you

The Shell Collector- Hugh Howey

I finished this one yesterday, and considering how my reading has been of late I read it really quickly. It’s an easy read but involving. It is about a journalist who is writing an expose on a family of oil tycoons who she blames for wreaking the world.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)- Mindy Kaling

I had to watch the American version of the office after reading Mindy’s first autobiography just so I wouldn’t loose her. Why isn’t The Mindy Project back yet?

Fangirl- Rainbow Rowell

I have a history of reading Rainbow Rowell on the bus and then sitting at the bus stop because I have to finish the last little bit (it happened with Landline too). This one about a fanfiction writer and her twin starting university is my favourite though

The Rosie Project- Graeme Simison

This funny and quirky book really drew me in. It’s about a man, Don who is trying to find the perfect women, although going about it in maybe too much of a scientific manner. I’ve recently read the sequel, The Rosie Effect which I enjoyed but didn’t quite have the same hook

Charlotte Street- Danny Wallace

I remember little real content of this book, other than that it was a sort-of romance and involved a lost camera. I do remember that it left me buzzing though, and that I devoured it

Handle With Care- Jodi Picoult

I pretty much devour any Picoult, but this is my favourite. About a mother suing her midwife who missed a birth defect in her daughter.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin- Louis de Bernieres

Although as a whole I preferred The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts to de Bernieres more well known novel, Captain Corelli’s was more compelling to read (if you ignore the first chapter). It tells the story of an Italian army captain billeted to a Greek island during WW2 and how he falls in love with a woman who should be his enemy.

Harry Potter Series- J.K. Rowling

Well if you’ve been a visitor for a while you probably know how much of a Potter nut I am

Shades of Grey- Jasper Fforde

There is meant to be a sequel to this fantastic dystopian book book coming out, but will Fforde ever finish it (George R,R Martin fans may think they have it bad but I’ve been waiting  almost a decade for the next Shades of Grey book)

Texts From Jane Eyre- Mallory Ortberg

This funny little book of texts literary characters and authors might write is great for flicking through and quickly digestible.

 

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Top 10 Books Set in War Time


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It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s Top 10 Books set for… my old post on books set in wartime has been one of the most popular in the lifetime of my blog, so I’ve decided to update it. Some of the books are the same, some have changed.

Links lead to reviews, pictures lead to amazon. In no particular order.
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Judith Kerr, book, book cover

1) When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit- Judith Kerr is a semi-autobiographical book which features a Jewish family fleeing from Nazi Germany. It’s one of the first World War novels I can remember reading, although I read a lot around the same time (most notably Carrie’s War, Goodbye Marriane, Goodnight Mister Tom, The Peppermint Pig), and it’s the first of a series of three books.

 

Regeneration, Pat Barker, book, book cover

 

2) Regeneration- Pat Baker Pat Baker has written a fair few war novels (I’ve reviewed Double Vision on the blog, which is more modern) but the Regeneration trilogy is by far her best (of what I’ve read, anyway). It is set in a hospital where shell-shock victims are treated, with the aim of sending them back to the trenches

 

Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks, book, book cover
3) Birdsong- Sebastian Faulks this love and war story was a favourite of mine for a long time.

 

 

 

The shouting wind, linda newbery, book, book cover
4) The Shouting Wind- Linda Newbery, a favourite of mine as a teenager. All about a girl working for the RAF (as a sort of air controller) during WW2 who falls in love with one of the pilots. It’s the first of a series which follows three generations of a family, but it’s the best.

 

5) A God in Ruins- Kate Atkinson follows the life of Teddy, a significant part of which includes him being in the RAF. Very emotive.

 

 

 

Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet, Jamie Ford, book, book cover
6) Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet- Jamie Ford tells the story of a Chinese boy, with a Japanese best friend who lives in America during the time of Pearl Harbour. It’s a side of the war which is more rarely covered. When I wrote the original version of this post I said that this was one of the best books set during wartime which I’d read recently, it still remains a firm favourite

 

Sarah's Key, Tatiana de Rosnay, book, book cover

7) Sarah’s Key- Tatiana de Rosnay As with The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Sarah’s Key is based on a less covered side of the war. This time in occupied Paris, and with rounding up of Jews there. It is heart wrenching. Since writing the original version of this post I think I’ve come to appreciate Sarah’s key more, certainly parts of it stick rather significantly in my memory.

 

 

Remembrance, Teresa Breslin, book, book cover
8) Remembrance- Teresa Breslin another book I read as a teenager, and it remains one of the best war novels I’ve read. Follows five young people through WW1, the most memorable scenes for me were with the young woman who became a nurse.

 

 


9) The Book Thief- Markus Zusak sad bit also beautiful story of a girl living in Germany during WW2. The story is narrated by death and includes a hidden Jewish man amongst other things. The film is well worth watching too

the almond tree, book, book cover

10) The Almond Tree- Michelle Cohen Corasanti the only one on my list which is not set during the world wars. This one is about the Israel/Palestine conflict, and it’s my recommendation of the moment.

Special mentions:Pegasus Falling: indie book about a paratrooper who ends up in a concentration camp, and his life afterwards.

Gone With the Wind: not strictly a war book, although it does feature the war of independence.

– Captain Correli’s Mandolin: More of a love story set during the war really.

The Kommandant’s Girl: about a Jewish woman in Poland during Nazi occupation who is hidden in plain sight and become the girlfriend of a Nzi Kommandant to help the resistance.

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Top 10 Tuesday: Toddler’s Top 10 Books


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It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s a free choice so I decided to do The Toddler’s Top 10 Books. That is books which the toddlers that I’ve worked with over the years have loved. I started working with the pre-schoolers a couple of weeks ago so I thought this would be a nice way to close that period of time.

In no particular order.

I’m Not Cute- Jonathan Allen

I’m Not Cute is about Baby Owl who everyone thinks is cute, but he says he isn’t. It’s consistently popular with the toddlers, even as the groups change. We also love ‘I’m not Reading’ and ‘I’m Not Sleepy’ which are about Baby Owl

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt- Michael Rosen

A sort of modern classic. A poem in essence about going on a bear hunt and the obstacles encountered

 

Cock-a-Moo-Moo- Juliet Dallas-Conte

Another that has been popular with different groups. A funny little story about a cockerel who forgets how to crow.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

This one has been popular for a long time, and it’s popular with the babies too. Very simple. Each animal being asked what they see. The kids can ‘read’ it to themselves. Special mention to ‘Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?’ which is similar but about sounds and the kids also love.

Shh! We Have a Plan- Chris Haughton

This one is a current favourite, the kids ask for ‘The blue book’. It’s about some men trying to catch a bird. The pictures are key

Don’t Wake the Bear, Hare!

This is an old favourite, but stayed popular for a long time. The animals are having a party, bt they don’t want to wake the sleeping bear.

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Monkey Puzzle- Julia Donaldson

A personal favourite. About a monkey trying to find his Mum. Of course Julia Donaldson is basically queen of picture books.

The Animal Boogie- Debbie Harter

A favourite singing book. Complete with CD. Special mention for ‘Walking Through the Jungle’ another song book we’ve loved

Some Dogs Do- Jez Alborough

About a year ago the kids always asked for this book which is about a dog who finds he can fly. I really disliked it.


Painter Bear- Vivianne French

The kids loved the way my collegue used to read this story- telling painter bear off.

What books do you like to read to your kids? Or which picture books did you like growing up

 

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Top 10 Tuesday: Food in Literature 101


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It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101 .

Welcome to Food in Literature 101. In this course we will be looking at books and scenes in books where food is important. Eating in this class is not only allowed but encouraged. This is your required reading:

Chocolat- Joanne Harris

The descriptions of chocolate in this book are graphic enough to mean you need a bar of chocolate to hand when reading it

Great Expectations- Charles Dickens

Specifically the scene where Pip meets Miss Havisham in her decaying wedding reception.

 

A Little Princes- Frances Hodgeson Burnett

Again specifically the scene where Sara and Becky are really hungry so they imagine a magnificent feast.


The Book Unholy Mischief- Ellie Newmark

When a homeless boy is caught stealing a pomegranate by a chef the chef takes this as showing the superior taste of the boy so he takes him in to be a chef’s apprentice.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- Roald Dahl

Food plays a role in a lot of Roald Dahl work (the cake in Matilda, the peach in James and the Giant Peach, for example), but Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has the most feed in it. For a more full look at food in Roald Dahl take my second year class.



Like Water For Chocolate- Laura Esquivel.

This book has recipes as part of the story.One at the begginning of each chapter

Brooklyn Bites Short Stories- Scott Stabile

These short stories have food as a pivotal part of the plot. Technically 3 books, but they’re all very short.

 

 

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Top 10 Tuesday: Top Ten Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s Top Ten Authors I’ve Read The Most Books From I’m using my Goodreads so not sure this is 100% correct, but more or less. Title links are for reviews. Most books read is first:

Enid Blyton

27 books read. It wasn’t until I started counting until I realised how many Enid Byton books I’ve read. All the Adventure series, all the Secret Seven, 1 Famous Five, 3 Twins at Saint Clare’s. Mostly borrowed from the library as a child. I feel  I should do better.

Jodi Picoult

25 books read. All her solo written books and kindle shorts except Wonder Woman and Leaving Home.

Jaqueline Wilson

21 books read. For a few years in junior school (and the beginning of secondary school) I read all of the Jaqueline Wlson books I could get my hands on. I may still have one somewhere, and I still want to call my child Lottie after The Lottie Project.

Roald Dahl

15 books read. Most of his children’s ones, as a child. I intend to try out his adult stories at some point


J.K. Rowling.

13 books read. All the Harry Potter’s plus Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Quidditch Through the Ages and Tales of Beedle the Bard. The Casual Vacancy and her books as Robert Galbraith.

Judy Blume

13 books read. A good chunk of her YA novels. I should really try one of her adult novels at some point.

Paula Danziger

13 books read. Around about the same time I was reading Judy Blume.

Noel Streatfeild.

13 books read. Again in childhood.

Jasper Fforde

10 books read. 7 Thursday Next, 2 Nursery Crimes, 1 Shades of Grey (when oh when will that second one come out!)He’s got a new one coming out next year too, a stand-alone novel, how exciting!

Charlaine Harris

19 books read. First 10 Sookie Stackhouse books. I was in a bookring on the Bookclub Forum, but it stopped at book 10 and I was never that bothered to seek out the last 3.

I think my list is pretty telling about how my reading habits have changed. When I was younger I used to find a book I liked then try and read everything by that author. Now I read more eclectically meaning that it’s only favourite authors who I keep returning too, or if I’m reading a series I will read a lot by one author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Top 10 Tuesday: Last 10 Books I Acquired.


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s The Last 10 Books I Acquired. I’m using my Goodreads so not sure this is 100% correct, but more or less. Title links are for reviews. Newest acquistion is first:

The Ocean at The End of the Lane- Neil Gaiman

This book which I bought on kindle was really cheap (I presume it still is, I bought it on the weekend). In it dark creatures are after our narrator, and he only has 3 women at the end of the lane to protect him.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)- Mindy Kaling

This one is in the kindle monthly deals. I’ve been wanting to read Mindy’s autobiographical book for ages, and I love her show The Mindy Project.

 

A Tale For the Time Being- Ruth Ozeki

Another kindle one which had been on my wishlist for a while. It’s the story of a diary which is found washed up on the beach. I wanted to start this the other day but found it had been sent to the cloud reader rather than direct to my kindle, gah.


Tigers in Red Weather- Lisa Klaussmann

This one was recommended to be by Rory, it was in the kindle’s monthly deals last month so I bought it (do I actually save any money on kindle monthly deals or end up spending more?). It tells the story of two cousins and a Summer which changes them. It’s my current kindle read.

A God in Ruins- Kate Atkinson

I actually bought this companion to ‘Life After Life’ in hardback, in a real shop. I’ve already read and reviewed it (see the link above), and I loved it.


Satan’s Shorts- Heide Goody and Iain Grant

This set of short stories was free on kindle. I hadn’t read it before as it was more a companion than part of the Clovenhoof series, but I heard it bridged some of the gaps between Pigeonwings and Godsquad

Stardust- Neil Gaiman

Another previous kindle monthly deal. I am in the middle of writing a review of Stardust as I’m writing this post (in fact I may end up publishing it before this as I’m preparing this on the Sunday). It’s the story of Tristan who goes into another land to find a fallen star.

The Apple- Michael Faber

The Apple is a series of short stories which link to The Crimson Petal and the White. Again a previous kindle monthly deal.

The Winter Guest- Pam Jenoff

You guessed it, another previous kindle monthly deal. This is about two sister’s living in Poland during WW2 one of whom finds and helps a crashed American paratrooper.

Ajax Penumbra: 1969

Another kindle book. This one is a prequel to Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore and is all about Mr Penumbra before he became the owner of the store.

I sort of wish more of these were ‘real’ books. I suppose it’s easier to buy kindle books though, and I have a tendency to buy them when they’re cheap.

 

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Top 10 Books for Feminist Readers


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s Ten Books For Readers Who Like _________ as it was International Woman’s Day over the weekend I’ve decided to look at books with feminist messages (whether it’s because it has a strong female character, or because it’s a book written to do with feminism)

In no particular order…

How to Be a Woman- Caitlin Moran. 

Feminist, and funny. Talks about lots of feminist issues but easy to read and not in your face.

How to Be a Heroine- Samantha Ellis

Talks about female heroines in books, very entertaining.

We Should All Be Feminists- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I read this a few weeks ago but haven’t reviewed it yet. It’s about being a feminist in Nigeria and the US, and why feminism is important. It’s a short book and I highly recommend it.

The Thursday Next Series- Jasper Fforde

Thursday is pretty awesome. she helps save not just one world but two!

His Dark Materials- Philip Pullman

Lyra is only a kid when she goes to save her friend Roger, but she doesn’t care about her age. She’s one powerful kid

Living Dolls- Natasha Walter

About modern day sexism, very thought provoking. One of my most frequently recommended books.

 

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Top 10 Books of the Last 3 Years


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s Top Ten Books You Would Classify As ALL TIME FAVOURITE BOOKS from the past 3 years. I like this topic, gives me a good chance to look back on some of my favourites

In no particular order…

How to Be a Woman- Caitlin Moran. 

Made me pretty much gave me a girl crush on Caitlin Moran. Very funny, and clever.

Texts From Jane Eyre- Mallory Ortberg

Funny, and clever. Must read for literary people. I’ve been recommending this one all over the place.

Brooklyn Bites Series- Scott Stabile

A little bit of a cheat here since there are technically 3 books (Truffle Fries and a Little Taste of Chocolate, A Pickle and Carrot Cake, and, Meatball Sandwich and Cream Crumb), but they are short, each containing two short stories with a food as the starting point. They’re beautifully written and you wouldn’t think you could get so much thought and emotion into such short stories. These are probably my most championed indie books.
Life After Life- Kate Atkinson

Still remains the only Atkinson I’ve ever read (but I am eagerly awaiting the parallel novel due to come out in May) but it is one of my favourite books. It’s a little hard to describe without it sounding gimmicky, so I usually just tell people they must read it!

 The Crimson Petal and the White- Michael Faber. 

Another one I’ve forced on a few people! It takes a fair amount of energy to read, but it’s well worth it. I wanted to recommend this to my Mum‘s book group, but they weren’t impressed with the sex in The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts so I decided they probably wouldn’t take to a book in which the main character was a prostitute.

How to Be a Heroine- Samantha Ellis

Another must read for bibliophiles. This one is more thoughtful, and also funny. Gets you thinking about old favourites.

The Storyteller- Jodi Picoult

The Storyteller is a bit different from other books by Picoult, but it still is very moving.

The Horologicon- Mark Forsyth

Great, entertaining, and witty book all about words. I just wish I could remember more of them

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Top 10 Books I Really Want To Read But Don’t Own Yet


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s Top 10 Books I Really want To Read But Don’t Own Yet. I’m really bad at impulse buying when it comes to books, so my wishlist is 122 books long (on amazon alone), that made it quite hard to choose just 10 books. The list is in no specific order, title links are to amazon, and synopses come from amazon too.

Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord– Louis de Bernières

Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord is the sequel to The War of Don Emmanual’s Nether Parts which is one of my favourite books.

“Dionisio Vivo, a South American lecturer in philosophy, is puzzled by the hideously mutilated corpses that keep turning up outside his front door. To his friend, Ramon, one of the few honest policemen in town, the message is all too clear: Dionisio’s letters to the press, exposing the drug barons, must stop; and although Dionisio manages to escape the hit-men sent to get him, he soon realises that others are more vulnerable, and his love for them leads him to take a colossal revenge.”

Moranthology-Caitlin Moran

I basically fell in love with Caitlin Moran when I read How To Be A Woman, so of course I want to read Moranology

“In MORANTHOLOGY Caitlin ‘gets quite chatty’ about many subjects, including cultural, social and political issues which are usually left to hot-shot wonks and not a woman who sometimes keeps a falafel in her handbag. These other subjects include…

Caffeine | Ghostbusters | Being Poor | Twitter | Caravans | Obama | Wales | Paul McCartney | The Welfare State | Sherlock | David Cameron Looking Like Ham | Amy Winehouse | ‘The Big Society’ | Big Hair | Nutter-letters | Michael Jackson’s funeral | Failed Nicknames | Wolverhampton | Squirrels’ Testicles | Sexy Tax | Binge-drinking | Chivalry | Rihanna’s Cardigan | Party Bags | Hot People| Transsexuals | The Gay Moon Landings”


A Recipe for Bees– Gail Anderson-Dargatz

I want to read this one after rather enjoying The Cure For Death By Lightening, although it doesn’t appear to be in print in the UK

“Augusta Olsen is a woman with passions and desires who has inherited three things from her mother: a wayward heart, a talent for beekeeping and the very dubious gift of second sight. These are legacies just too big for a young wife who finds life on a remote farm with shy, awkward Karl and his detestable father almost unbearable. But farming husbands and wives are married to their land as much as to each other. From that kind of necessity, a different sort of love is made – and remade…”


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close– Jonathan Safran Foer

Again this is one where I have enjoyed a different book by the same author, in this case Everything is Illuminated

 “Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, computer consultant, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, amateur astronomer, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweller, origamist, detective, vegan and collector of butterflies.

When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father’s closet. It is a search which leads him into the lives of strangers, through the five boroughs of New York, into history, to the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima, and on an inward journey which brings him ever closer to some kind of peace…”

Ape House– Sara Gruen

I will probably actually like Ape House more than I enjoyed Water for Elephants, because monkeys are my favourite animals.

“These bonobos are no ordinary apes. Like others of their species, they are capable of reason and carrying on deep relationships – but, unlike most bonobos, they also know American Sign Language.

Isabel Duncan, a scientist at the Great Ape Language Lab, doesn’t understand people, but animals she gets, especially the bonobos. Isabel feels more comfortable in their world than she’s ever felt among humans . . . until she meets John Thigpen, a very married reporter who braves the ever-present animal rights protesters outside the lab to see what’s really going on inside.

When an explosion tears apart the lab, severely injuring Isabel and ‘liberating’ the apes to an unknown destination, John’s human interest piece turns into the story of a lifetime.”


Record Collecting for Girls: Unleashing Your Inner Music Nerd, One Album at a Time– Courtney E. Smith

I read about this one on another blog (don’t ask me where, it was several years ago). I always like to find new music.

“Mariner Books Record Collecting for Girls is an invitation for all of you stereophiles (who happen to be female) to make your own top-five lists. and then. witharmed and ready with the book’s fun facts. to argue their merits to the ever-present boys’ club of music snobs in your life.”

Night– Elie Wiesel

“Born into a Jewish ghetto in Hungary, as a child, Elie Wiesel was sent to the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. This is his account of that atrocity: the ever-increasing horrors he endured, the loss of his family and his struggle to survive in a world that stripped him of humanity, dignity and faith. Describing in simple terms the tragic murder of a people from a survivor’s perspective, Night is among the most personal, intimate and poignant of all accounts of the Holocaust.”

Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults– Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale

I read an article by one of the writers of this book which made me add it to my wishlist, although I’m not sure which author it was

“Two best friends document their post-college life in a hilarious and relatable epistolary memoir. Friends since they met at Brown University freshman year, Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale vowed to keep in touch after senior year through in-depth and brutally honest weekly e-mails. After graduation, Jess moves to Beijing while Rachel heads to New York. Each spends the next few years tumbling through adulthood and reinventing themselves in various countries, including France, China, and Australia. Through their messages, they swap tales of teaching classes of military men, running a magazine, and flirting in foreign languages, along with the hard stuff: from near-death run-ins, breakups, and breakdowns.”


Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage– Haruki Murakami

Yay, Murakami!

“Tsukuru Tazaki had four best friends at school. By chance all of their names contained a colour. The two boys were called Akamatsu, meaning ‘red pine’, and Oumi, ‘blue sea’, while the girls’ names were Shirane, ‘white root’, and Kurono, ‘black field’. Tazaki was the only last name with no colour in it.

One day Tsukuru Tazaki’s friends announced that they didn’t want to see him, or talk to him, ever again.

Since that day Tsukuru has been floating through life, unable to form intimate connections with anyone. But then he meets Sara, who tells him that the time has come to find out what happened all those years ago.”

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Top 10 Character Names


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s Top 10 Character Names… I’m really the sort of person who would name my kids after book characters, and I’m even named after a book character myself (Lucy from Lucy and Tom’s Day), so I’m going to enjoy this one.

Links lead to reviews (where they exist), pictures are fanart- click the images for original versions. In no particular order.

lily evans, lily potter

Image by Viria13

1) Lily from the Harry Potter Series. I couldn’t get away without a Harry Potter name, could I? I like the name Lily, and it’s less obviously a Potter name (plus Lily Potter is a pretty amazing woman, so it’s nice to dedicate a name to her). Lily is a bit too popular at the moment though which slightly puts me off naming a child that.

Lyra_and_Iorek_by_aimeekitty

Image by aimeekitty

2) Lyra from His Dark Materials. Lyra is a beautiful name, and I love the character. She’s strong, principled, and fights for others and what she believes in. Good traits for a child I think.

lisbeth_salander_by_maxicarry-d5u85hr

Image by Maxicarry

3) Lisabeth from The Millennium Trilogy. I like this as an alternative to Elizabeth, although I’m not actually the biggest fan of the books.

4) Charlotte/Lottie from The Lottie Project. Lottie has been on my list for ages. I would have it short for Charlotte though

Rosalind_and_Celia_by_Punchinello_Punch

Image by punchinello-punch

5) Rosalind from As You Like It. My first Shakespeare name. Technically I got this from one of Noel Streatfeild’s Gemma books, I haven’t actually read the original play, so I imagine Gemma as Rosalind, rather than Rosalind herself

Romeo_and_Juliet_by_Delight046

Image by Delight046

6) Juliet from Romeo and Juliet. A Shakespeare I have read, and seen (want to see the new one actually). I don’t like any ways of shortening Juliet though, so would probably not use it

Hermione_by_briarthorn

Image by Joshcmartin

7) Hermione from Harry Potter. You know what I just love Hermione

8) Viola from Mother, Mother. I prefer Viola’s given name to her adaptation, Violet. It helps that she’s the most likeable character in Mother, Mother too.

I think that’s it. I realise they’re all girl’s names, but boys names in books don’t tend to be as good or interesting in my experience

 

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Top 10 Sequels


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s Top 10 Sequels. I’m not a big series reader so might not make it to 10, but surely that means the series I read are really good…or possibly I can’t leave a series unfinished…errr…yeah.

Links lead to reviews, pictures lead to amazon. In no particular order.


1) The Harry Potter books I could have cheated and done each one as a top ten (that would get rid of 6!) but that’s cheating really! My favourites are Chamber of Secrets and Half-Blood Prince, can you see the connection?


2) The Subtle Knife I love Northern Lights (The Golden Compass- if you insist), and I do think it’s the best of the series, but The Subtle Knife is my favourite of the sequels.

3) Dearly Devoted Dexter again I prefered the first, but I enjoyed Dearly Devoted Dexter a lot too, it’s the only other book of the series I’ve read so far

4) Teacher Man, I just loved seeing how far McCourt had come since Angela’s Ashes. Rather an inspiring sequel.

5) Meatball Sandwich and Cream Crumb it’s been a while since I’ve raved about Scott Stabile’s Brooklyn Bites series, but it remains the best indie fiction I’ve read. I urge you all to read it

6) Catching Fire yeah maybe a bit of a stretch (err we need to carry on this series…what shall we do…?) but still actually awesome

7) 1Q84 Book 2 the best is the trilogy as far as I’m concerned (I was intending to write my review of book 3 today, but ended up doing this instead)

8) Birdsong yes, it is a sequel! After The Girl at The Lion d’Or and Charlotte Grey. Both good, just not as good as Birdsong.

9) The Cliff Path second of the Shouting Wind trilogy. And second best.

10) I had just signed off and I realised I didn’t mention Thursday Next? But do I really have to pick a best sequel?!

If you haven’t visited recently go and have a look at my giveaway!

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Top 10 Books Set in War Time


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s Top 10 Books set in… I’ve chosen to do top 10 books set in wartime because it’s something I read a lot of, and, it’s something I’ve been reading since childhood.

Links lead to reviews, pictures lead to amazon. In no particular order.
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, Judith Kerr, book, book cover

1) When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit- Judith Kerr is a semi-autobiographical book which features a Jewish family fleeing from Nazi Germany. It’s one of the first World War novels I can remember reading, although I read a lot around the same time (most notably Carrie’s War, Goodbye Marriane, Goodnight Mister Tom, The Peppermint Pig), and it’s the first of a series of three books.

 

Regeneration, Pat Barker, book, book cover

 

2) Regeneration- Pat Baker Pat Baker has written a fair few war novels (I’ve reviewed Double Vision on the blog, which is more modern) but the Regeneration trilogy is by far her best (of what I’ve read, anyway). It is set in a hospital where shell-shock victims are treated, with the aim of sending them back to the trenches

 

Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks, book, book cover
3) Birdsong- Sebastian Faulks this love and war story was a favourite of mine for a long time.

 

 

 

The shouting wind, linda newbery, book, book cover
4) The Shouting Wind- Linda Newbery, a favourite of mine as a teenager. All about a girl working for the RAF (as a sort of air controller) during WW2 who falls in love with one of the pilots. It’s the first of a series which follows three generations of a family, but it’s the best.

 

 

Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, book, book cover
5) Captain Correli’s Mandolin- Louis de Bernières this is another former favourite (The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts blew it out of the water). Not so much a war story as a story of love set in the time of war, beautiful.

 

 

 

Hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet, Jamie Ford, book, book cover
6) Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet- Jamie Ford. This is one of the best war novels I’ve read recently, a recommendation from Judith. It tells the story of a Chinese boy, with a Japanese best friend who lives in America during the time of Pearl Harbour. It’s a side of the war which is more rarely covered.

Sarah's Key, Tatiana de Rosnay, book, book cover

7) Sarah’s Key- Tatiana de Rosnay As with The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Sarah’s Key is based on a less covered side of the war. This time in occupied Paris, and with rounding up of Jews there. It is heart wrenching.

 

 

Remembrance, Teresa Breslin, book, book cover
8) Remembrance- Teresa Breslin another book I read as a teenager, and it remains one of the best war novels I’ve read. Follows five young people through WW1, the most memorable scenes for me were with the young woman who became a nurse.

 

 

City of Women, David Gilham, book, book cover

9) City of Women- David Gillham is another one set outside the normal path. It’s all about resistance in Germany.

the almond tree, book, book cover

10) The Almond Tree- Michelle Cohen Corasanti the only one on my list which is not set during the world wars. This one is about the Israel/Palestine conflict, and it’s my recommendation of the moment.

Special mentions:Pegasus Falling: indie book about a paratrooper who ends up in a concentration camp, and his life afterwards.

Gone With the Wind: not strictly a war book, although it does feature the war of independence.

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Top 10 best and worst film adaptations


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It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s top 10 best and worst film adaptations. I’m going to do a few of each. With links where I’ve reviewed them.

Best


Pride and Prejudice (link to book review) I really like both the BBC adaptation and the film version of this book. I probably prefer the BBC version, just because I grew up with it. I first saw the film with my Mum at the cinema, we were the only ones laughing for some reason.

 

 



The Lord of the Rings. Ok so I’ve never managed to finish the books yet. The furthest I’ve got is the founding of the fellowship. I don’t know why but I find them really difficult to get into. However I love the films, they’re much easier to digest.

 



The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy– I love this film, and the book. Both are funny and witty. They are rather different which means you can almost separate them. Douglas Adams actually did most of the work on the film script before he died, and you can tell.

 



The Hunger Games (book review) I think the film is a pretty good representation of a book I also enjoyed a lot. The tender moments were not as well done maybe, but I think it got the essence of the book. Can’t wait to see the next one.

 

 



Slumdog Millionaire/Q&A As with the Hitchhiker’s Guide, the film and book of Slumdog Millionaire are so different that it’s easy to separate them. The book is great, the film is great, but they don’t take anything away from one another

 

 

Twilight (book reviews of New Moon and Eclipse) this could easily have gone in either category. I have some sort of weird relationship with the Twilight books in that I hate them, I shout at them, I throw them across the room, I constantly complain about how horrible they are, yet I still read them, and there’s still a part of me that wants to finish the series (I haven’t yet read, or seen, Breaking Dawn). The films are bad, bad adaptations, and bad films fullstop, but they are so bad that they make me laugh (if I didn’t laugh I would probably cry at wasting my life on them!). So yeah, I enjoy them, but not for the reasons you’re meant to enjoy films.

Worst


The Hobbit. I love this book. My Mum read it to me as a child and I read it to myself as an adult. The film was just so long, and slow, why on earth they thought it would be a good idea to split it into 3 I do not know.


P.S I Love You My friend says it best about this film, they turn Holly into some crazy person who sees her dead husband everywhere, rather than a woman who finds comfort in the letters that he has sent her. Plus for some unknown reason they move the setting from Ireland to America.


The Harry Potter films (film 7 & 8, books 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 7) The Harry Potter books were such an important part of my life for such a long time that it would have been very hard for me to accept a film which was less than perfect. I hate the changes, even the smallest ones. And Daniel Radcliffe has no emotion.


My Sister’s Keeper. They completely changed the outlook of the story, the book was about Ana, the film was about Kate. It went from emotional to syrupy.  Lots was cut, and the ending was changed (even though Picoult expressed the wish that it shouldn’t be)

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Top Ten Book Covers


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About BooksThis week on Top Ten Tuesday The Broke and the Bookish are looking at the top 10 covers of books that we have read. I’m just putting images as it’s an image based top ten, but I will put links to any relevant reviews at the bottom.

2413657

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Mockingjay

Kafka on the Shore

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Top 10 books dealing with tough issues


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It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s top 10 books which deal with tough issues.

1) Handle with Care- Jodi Picoult. In this book a mother is suing her midwife believing that she should have been told that her daughter would be born with brittle bones. It’s difficult because it suggests that if the mother had known she would not have continued with the pregnancy. It also follows her daughter and the issues she has. All of Picoult’s books deal with tough issues but this one hits harder to home because I have a similar (though less severe) condition. Which I talked about in my review

2) Eva- Peter Dickinson I read this as a teenager and it’s still one of my most recommended books. It’s a strange sort of animal rights book. It’s set in the future and a girl who was in a major accident has her brain transplanted into a chimpanzee. She finds herslef in a sort of limbo between the world of the chimps and the human world.

3) Night Waking- Sarah Moss at time of writing this is my current read (although I’ll probably have posted the review before this post goes up). The story focuses on a mother and all her issues with being a mother. She finds a baby’s skeleton in her garden and becomes obsessed with finding out who it was. There are quite a few issues covered, working parents,  child abuse, death, infanticide, anorexia. It’s a tough read emotionally but worth it I think.

4) Reservation Road- John Burnham Schwartz This novel follows a family after their child is killed by a hit and run driver, and follows the driver of the car.

5) Bad Girls- Jacqueline Wilson until I was about 14 I used to read every single one of Jacqueline Wilson’s books, all of which deal with issues faced by children. Bad Girls, which talks about bullying, peer pressure, and friends was one of my favourites. It was the story of Mandy who is bullied by her classmates. One day she meets Tanya and they become friends, but is Tanya more trouble that she’s worth.

6) Deenie- Judy Blume Another author, one read by most teenagers, who deals with teenage issues this time. Deenie is a popular girl then she finds out she has a curved spine and will have to wear a back brace. Basically tragedy to a teenager.

7) Speak- Laurie Halse Anderson is another I read as a teenager. A teenage girl starts high school after an event at a party led her to call the police. She’s basically a social outcast, and she still can’t talk about what happened.

8) Room- Emma Donoghue is the story of a woman who was kipnapped and had her abductor’s child. Hard hitting but fantastically written.

9) Mockingbird- Kathryn Erkskien is the story of an autistic girl who looses her brother. We see her life and her brother’s death thorough her eyes.

10) Middlesex- Jeffrey Eugenides follows Cal as she grows up. Cal knows she is different but doesn’t realise that she is actually neither female or male.

 

Special mentions go to The Help, The Virgin Suicides, books by Paula Danziger, and Kerb Crawling

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Top 10 Indie


Top 10 Tuesday is a meme hosted every Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish where bloggers compile lists of different top 10s. This week it’s free choice

Top Ten Indie Authors/Books

I think as bloggers we are in a great position to promote indie authors. Unlike professional reviewers we can read whatever we want and that means we can more easily review lesser known authors and books. I have read some great indie authors (and let’s face it, some not so great ones!). I’m not sure if I can make 10 but for once they are sot of in an order of preference, 1 being first of course!

1) Scott StabileIf you’re a regular reader of this blog you may well know how much I love Scott Stabile’s Brooklyn Bites series of short stories. I’m not a big reader of short stories but I adored these. The descriptions of food and sense of relationships are particularly good. Read my reviews 1, 2, 3. Stabile has also co-written some children’s stories, a children’s film, a crime show, has a full length novel in the works, and plans for a further volume of Brooklyn Bites (does this guy ever sleep?).

2) Linda Gillard I first encountered Gillard as a published writer but she now self-publishes as she often find publishers want to pigeon-hole her books a bit. Her last 2 (possibly 3, although I have a feeling one had been published before?) novels were completely self-published (House of Silence, The Glass Guardian, possibly Untying the Knot), and her first three (A Lifetime Burning, Emotional Geology, Star Gazing) were ‘professionally’ published in the past. My favourite is A Lifetime Burning, closely followed by House of Silence.

3) That Day in September- Artie Van Why  this 9/11ir is incredibly moving without a shred of self-pity. It’s not easy to read in an emotional sense but it’s one of those types of books you should really give a try to. That Day in September was originally written as a play (which has been preformed off-Broadway) before it became a book.

4) My Dead Friend Sarah- Peter Rosch A crime/mystery novel with a bit of a twist, My Dead Friend Sarah follows a man who attempts to prevent the abduction and murder of a woman he has dreamt about. It’s a novel I can see appealing to a wide variety of readers and is one of the most professional self-published novels I have come across.

5) Pegasus Falling- William E. Thomas: essentially Pegasus Falling is a war novel, however it is more of a novel about the effects of war than about the war itself. There is also a love story element which has some messages about love. Pegasus Falling is the first book in The Cyprus Branches Trilogy, the second part It Never Was You is due out later this year.

6) 27- R.J. Heald This novel has an air of One Day around it which could make it very popular, but I actually preferred it. A perfect one for 20-somethings.

 

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Top 10 Children’s Books


Top 10 Tuesday is a meme hosted every Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish where bloggers compile lists of different top 10s. This week it’s a rewind where we pick any previous top 10 we missed. I’ve chosen:

Top Ten Children’s Books

1) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- Roald Dahl Who doesn’t love a good Roald Dahl book? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is my favourite, I only wish Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory really existed, it would be tons better than Cadbury World. I just found out there’s a pop-up version of this too, how awesome.

2) Not Now Bernard- David McKee I found this book very funny as a child, the idea that a parent might not notice that their son has become a monster! As an adult I can appreciate things about it which I didn’t as a child.

3) A Squash and a Squeeze- Julia Donaldson This is one I discovered working in the nursery. I love how dramatic the old lady is.

4) Special Powers- Mary Hoffman This was my favourite book for years and years. I used to borrow it from the library again, and again, and again. I probably should have saved up my pocket money and bought it. I would quite like to own it now but I have a feeling it wouldn’t meet up to my memories.

5) His Dark Materials- Phillip Pullman It’s been a few years since I last read about Lyra and her adventures, but I have re-read Northern Lights (or The Golden Compass if you live across the pond) more times than I can count. It was my favourite book for years. Even though it didn’t have such a big significance in my life I do actually prefer it to Harry Potter (Shock! Horror!).

6) Harry Potter 1-7- J.K. Rowling I’m sure it won’t take much browsing of my blog to realise how much I love Harry, and what an impact J.K’s books have had on my life. This blog probably wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t read Harry Potter.

7) Tom and Pippo- Helen Oxenbury another one I borrowed from the library again and again, this time when I was a pre-schooler. The tales of Tom and his toy monkey are cute and funny, and possibly where my obsession with monkeys came from.

8) The Alfie Stories- Shirley Hughes I loved the Alfie stories when I was little. I tried to share them with the toddlers at work recently, but I think maybe they were a little to young.

9) Bad Girls- Jacqueline Wilson I read a lot of Jacqueline Wilson books at the end of primary/beginning of secondary school. I think it was when I really started getting into ‘issue’ books. Bad Girls was my favourite.

10) Remembrance- Theresa Breslin was my favourite of a series of war books I read in my early teen years. I still have it on my shelves, and I’ve re-read it a few times. It still beats some of the adult war books I have since read.

11) (oops) The Hobbit- J.R.R. Tolkien I thought I had finished my list then I thought of this one. I’ve never managed to finish Lord of the Rings but I loved The Hobbit. My Mum read it to my sisters and I when we were younger and I still associate it with snuggling up on my parent’s bed.

If you have enjoyed this post you may enjoy my Children’s Hour feature.

 

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Top 10 ‘Older’ Books Not to be Forgotten


Top 10 Tuesday is a meme hosted every Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish where bloggers compile lists of different top 10s. This week it’s

Top Ten “Older” Books You Don’t Want People To Forget About

I’m trying to use books which I think may end up being forgotten. Not sure if I can make it to 10 but I will try my best.

1) Pop Co.- Scarlet Thomas Scarlett Thomas is probably better known as the writer of The End of Mr Y but I preferred this one. Her more recent releases haven’t quite met up to standard so I hope this one doesn’t get lost because of them.

2) Random Acts of Heroic Love- Danny Scheinmann I read this book before I started my blog. It had been very popular for a while but I haven’t seen a review of it in a long time. When I read it I adored it and wanted to share it with everybody.

3) An Equal Music- Vikram Seth This is another one I read in my pre-blog days. I read it when A Suitable Boy (which I have never managed to finish) was at the height of its popularity, and it’s probably overshadowed by A Suitable Boy. The descriptions of music and playing made me want to pick up my violin again.

4) The Historian- Elisabeth Kostova Beware about this vampire novel, it gave me funny dreams! I was in half a mind whether to include this one or not. It still seems to be quite well know, but it didn’t have the greatest amount of hype so I thought I would add it just in case.

5) The Lover’s Dictionary- David Levithan Considering this wonderful little novel is written by a traditionally YA author I worry that it will be drowned out, or will be seen as a book for teenagers, rather than the adult novel it actually is.

6) The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts- Louis de Bernieres: when I read the review which put me onto this book I didn’t even know it existed. Louis de Bernieres is best known for Captain Correli’s Mandolin, and a lot of his work prior to that is given little notice. The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts, however, is the best I have read by him.

Yup 6 is my limit.

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Top 10 Books Read in the Lifetime of this Blog


It’s time for another Top 10 Tuesday (which is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish). I only occasionally join in with this meme but I really liked the look of this week’s topic.

Top Ten Books Read in the Lifetime of Your Blog.

Well my blog is almost 3 years old (in fact my blogiversary is at the end of this month) and in that time I’ve red and reviewed almost 200 books. So it’s a bit difficult to pick just 10…I shall see what I can do. In no particular order…

1) Pop Co.- Scarlet Thomas This is the story of a woman who creates spy kits for kids as part of a large toy company- Pop Co. One day she receives a strange coded message, who is it from and what do they want?

I really enjoyed this book. It made me think about things like the morality of corporations, and see more everyday things in a different light.

2) Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism- Natasha Walter. This book is basically feminism for the modern world. It’s one that I recommend all women read, whether you consider yourself a feminist or not.

3) Brooklyn Bites Series- Scott Stabile. These are a series of short stories set in Brooklyn and all have a connection to food. The descriptions are especially good. I’m not usually a reader of short stories but I loved these, plus they show that just because something is self-published doesn’t mean it’s no good!

4) The Lucifer Effect- Phillip Zimbardo: I studied psychology at uni and this means that a large proportion of my non-fiction reading is psychology related. The Lucifer Effect is the book written about Zimbardo’s famous Stanford Prison Experiment which studied how a person’s authority would effect their behaviour. The experiment had to be cancelled because of some of the effects, and it took a long time for Zimbardo to feel he could write this book. This meant he could apply his findings to new world events and actually means it was published at a time when people were looking for answers. It’s a scary book to read because it suggests there are things we could all be capable of but I think it’s important too.

5) Handle with Care- Jodi Picoult: I’m quite a fan of Picoult and this one is my favourite, probably because I connect with it personally. It’s a story about a woman suing her midwife because her daughter was born with severely brittle bones which should have been picked up on her scan. Well really, no, it’s more about her daughter.

6) How to be a Woman- Caitlin Moran: This book is basically Caitlin Moran’s biography, with a bit of a feminist kick. It pretty much made me fall in love with her.

7) The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts- Louis de Bernieres: since reading Captain Correli’s Mandolin I had been looking for a Louis de Bernieres’ book as good. The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts does that and more. It’s basically about a South American country with dodgy politics and the goings on of different groups and people

8) Kafka on the Shore- Haruki Murakami: I discovered Murakami thanks to the bookish community online and Kafka on the Shore is my favourite of his that I have read.  I can’t really adequately describe it, and I had trouble reviewing it, but it is fantastic.

9) Mockingbird- Kathryn Erskien: is the story of Caitlin, a girl with Asperger’s Syndrome whose brother has just died. It is a story about grief but ultimately it’s a story about Asperger’s, and Caitlin is portrayed wonderfully.

10) Middlesex- Jeffery Eugenides: Is the story of Cal, who is a hermaphrodite, about her growing up, and about his family. It’s one of those books that you can’t really tell people why they need to read it, just that they have to.

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