Mid Week Quote: Chinese Proverb

Happy Wednesday

Now there is nothing I love more than going for a walk and looking at trees, especially old trees. Yesterday we went for an explore and saw this amazing tree that was clearly very old, it was dead straight and amazing to see. This tree had been trimmed at one point due to the important ruins next to it but it made me wonder just how impressive that tree had been before it was trimmed and also what history that tree had seen. As you can see, I like trees. So here is a tree related quote.

 

“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

 

Chinese Proverb

 

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WWW Wednesday: 21/10/2020

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The rules are answer the questions below and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you will read next?

 

Hello and Happy Wednesday!

Well today is another wet and horrible day but that is ok because I have plenty of studying to do and a big pile of books to read oh and a huge supply of tea.

What I am Currently Reading

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I am absolutely loving this so far which is good as I loved the first one. I do wish I had reread the first one before reading this though.

 

What I have Recently Finished

Finished these two this week. Anna of Kleve was excellent, Piranesi was rather disappointing sadly, review will follow shortly.

 

What I Plan to Read Next

Well as per usual this could be anything so here are a few ideas.

 

So there is my WWW Wednesday. Please drop me a link with your WWW Wednesday and I will head over for a visit.

Happy reading my fellow book dragons.

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The Weekly Brief

I am back into my reading! Finally, I have managed to balance things better so I can get reading back in and that has made me more relaxed. I have managed to finish two books!

So here is my week in the blogging world.

Posts this Week

 

Book I am Currently Reading

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Books Acquired

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Happy Reading

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Anna of Kleve: Queen of Secrets by Alison Weir (Review)

Anna of Kleve: Queen of Secrets by Alison Weir

Blurb

Newly widowed and the father of an infant son, Henry VIII realizes he must marry again to insure the royal succession. Now forty-six, overweight and unwell, Henry is soundly rejected by some of Europe’s most eligible princesses, but Anna of Kleve—a small German duchy—is twenty-four and eager to wed. Henry requests Anna’s portrait from his court painter, who enhances her looks, painting her straight-on in order not to emphasize her rather long nose. Henry is entranced by the lovely image, only to be bitterly surprised when Anna arrives in England and he sees her in the flesh. She is pleasant looking, just not the lady that Henry had expected.

Review

I will be honest I was not looking forward to this book as I have always felt really sorry for Anna of Kleve and thought this story would be hard to read. Poor Anna arranged to marry a much older man who is obese, and who hasn’t looked after himself and really does not have the best reputation with his past wives. She must have been terrified when she first met the King.

Anna has led a sheltered life controlled by her mother. She has not been allowed to learn music and her education has been limited because she has only been allowed to learn what is needed for a woman whose duty is to marry and be a good wife. This was always going to be a problem for Henry who liked his women to know music and be educated and then poor Anna could never live up to the portrait that had been painted of her. Henry had fallen in love with the portrait and was disappointed by Anna in real life.

Weir had embellished the story of Anna slightly which I can understand why because of what Henry had supposedly said but I am not sure I was fully onboard with it. I won’t say more as I don’t want to spoil it for you. Weir had made Anna a beautiful character, although she was horrified by Henry to start with she endeavoured to be the best wife she could be and when sadly the marriage was dissolved she endeavoured to be the best friend she could be to Henry and his children.

I loved Anna’s character, she was full of love and kindness and always wanted to do the best she could for everyone although she did have a bit of a wine problem and I will be honest I had a good giggle whenever she was drinking wine in the book. It would be a good drinking game to be honest, every time you read that Anna has a glass of wine you take a sip of your drink. Although Anna is left a good settlement I can’t help but wonder if she was been swindled out of her money.

This book is a beautiful story but it did pull at the heart strings and I did avoid reading it sometimes when I knew what was coming up. Another triumph by Weir but I have only given the book 4 out of 5 Dragons because I did not entirely agree with the one storyline.

Purchase Links

Book DepositoryFoylesWaterstonesWordery 

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you)

About the author

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Alison Weir was born in 1951 and is a British writer of history books, and latterly historical novels, mostly in the form of biographies about British Royalty.

 

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Friday Poetry: William Shakespeare

Happy Friday!

I have gone for another Shakespeare Sonnet and this one I think is perfect for Autumn.

Sonnet 73

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see’st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death’s second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consum’d with that which it was nourish’d by.
This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
William Shakespeare
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This and That Thursday

Hello!

Well this week has been full of studying, reading and Christmas shopping! Yes I have started Christmas shopping, please don’t hate me. I never usually start this early but I took advantage of the double stamps at Waterstones. I always love giving books for presents, I always find it magical.

So here is what else I have been up to.

Walking

We had a lovely walk on Tuesday after I had finished teaching in the morning. I really needed a change of scene and it was just the tonic I needed as the sun was shining and it was wonderful.

Cat Pictures

Also this week my phone decided to form a video of the recent cat photos I have taken which has made me realise just how many cat photos I am taking.

 

I will be honest my week has mainly involved studying and binge watching Criminal Minds. I did however get a new desk this week which was very exciting as it is yellow!

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WWW Wednesday: 13/10/2020

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The rules are answer the questions below and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you will read next?

 

Yay! Finally I have finished a book and can take part in WWW Wednesday. I have tried to read too many books at once and got a bit overwhelmed and so my reading has suffered.

What I am Currently Reading

Still plodding with the Aeneid but going on really well with Anna of Kleve.

 

What I Have Recently Finished Reading

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Really enjoyed this, click the picture for the review.

 

What I Plan to Read Next

It could be any of these or none of these, it all depends on what mood I’m in.

 

Please drop me a link with your WWW Wednesday and I will head over for a visit.

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Top 5 Tuesday: What are your favourite books that have ghosts.

Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm, and now being hosted by Meeghan reads.

This is tricky one for me as I tend to not be that fond of Ghost stories as I find them a bit silly but here are the ones I like.

 

Dead Men by Richard Pierce

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Fireside Gothic by Andrew Taylor

The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

 

Drop me a link with your Top 5 Tuesday and I will head over for a visit.

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Mantel Pieces: Royal Bodies and Other Writing from the London Review of Books by Hilary Mantel (Review)

Mantel Pieces: Royal Bodies and Other Writing from the London Review of Books by Hilary Mantel.

Blurb

In 1987, when Hilary Mantel was first published in the London Review of Books, she wrote to the editor, Karl Miller, ‘I have no critical training whatsoever, so I am forced to be more brisk and breezy than scholarly.’ This collection of twenty reviews, essays and pieces of memoir from the next three decades, tells the story of what happened next.

Her subjects range far and wide: Robespierre and Danton, the Hite report, Saudi Arabia where she lived for four years in the 1980s, the Bulger case, John Osborne, the Virgin Mary as well as the pop icon Madonna, a brilliant examination of Helen Duncan, Britain’s last witch. There are essays about Jane Boleyn, Charles Brandon, Christopher Marlowe and Margaret Pole, which display the astonishing insight into the Tudor mind we are familiar with from the bestselling Wolf Hall Trilogy. Her famous lecture, ‘Royal Bodies’, which caused a media frenzy, explores the place of royal women in society and our imagination. Here too are some of her LRB diaries, including her first meeting with her stepfather and a confrontation with a circus strongman.

Review

I was really excited when this arrived in my parcel box and thought it would be the ideal book to just dip in and out of when I felt like it. How wrong was I? I began reading it and could not put it down so my other books had to sit on the bedside table for a while.

I loved this glimpse into Mantel’s career as a reviewer and some of her reviews have made me desperately want to read the books. I wasn’t terribly interested in the notes to and from her editor to be honest and really did not like her entry from her diary after her operation but the rest of the book I loved.

As a reviewer Mantel is brilliant. She clearly does a great deal of research around the subject of the book she is reviewing and reads other connecting works and quotes these in her reviews. Mantel’s reviews are also not short but weighty chapters all on their own. This all means that the reader gets a thorough briefing about the book they might want to read and whether it is worth spending the money on the book.

I will be honest I did find Mantel rather anti Catholic in her writing and she isn’t the kindest to the royal family either. I particularly felt sorry for the Queen in her one item. Mantel is an excellent writer though and this definitely comes across in her collection of reviews and essays. Some of my favourite pieces included In Bed with Madonna 1992, On Marie Antoinette 1999 and Jane Boleyn.

I thoroughly recommend this book to all Mantel fans and to those who have never read her work before. It is a perfect book to dip in and out of or just read from cover to cover like I did. I give this book 4 out of 5 Dragons.

About the Author

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Hilary Mantel was born in 1952 and is an English writer. Mantel was the first woman to receive the Booker Prize twice for her books Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Mantel published her first book Every Day is Mother’s Day in 1985 and began reviewing films and books for a number of magazines and papers.

 

Purchase Links

Book DepositoryFoylesWaterstonesWordery 

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you)

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