That’s a Wrap!

Well it is the last day of 2018! So what bookish things have I done in a year?

I set up this blog and have now been blogging for just over two months and I love it! I’m reading more books and blogs and discovering so many new books I would never have dreamed of reading before. Plus I’m talking about books on a daily basis, what is not to like?

I have read more books in a year than I have ever read before, 74 in total and I have enjoyed it immensely.

I have smashed my Goodreads reading challenge, my aim was only 60! Still undecided what 2019’s should be.

I have discovered some new authors I have never read before but definitely want to read more of:-

Neil Gaiman

Rosamunde Pilcher

Veronica Henry

Jeffrey Archer

Peter May

Mary Higgins Clark

 

My favourite books that I read in 2018:-

Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Watermelon Snow by William A Liggett

The Blackhouse by Peter May

My worst books of 2018:-

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by Anita Loos

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

The Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov

 

Newly discovered genres:-

Climate fiction

Favourite Poem:-

The Tyger by William Blake

Favourite Quote:-

“A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.”

Italo Calvino

 

I believe that is a wrap.

I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year’s Eve whether it is partying, reading, sleeping or whatever you prefer.

See you in 2019.

Lady Book Dragon.

 

 

 

 

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Review 22: Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien

Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien, illustrated by J. R. R. Tolkien

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About the author and illustrator

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John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on the 3rd January 1892 in Bloemfontein. He moved to England when he was three years old and was home schooled with his younger brother and taught by his mother. Tolkien served in the First World War and after the war he established a distinguished academic career and was recognised as one of the finest philologists in the world. He is best known as the creator of Middle Earth and the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He was awarded a CBE and an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Oxford University in 1972. He died on 2nd September 1973 at the age of 81.

Blurb

Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J. R. R. Tolkien’s children. Inside would be a letter in a strange spidery handwriting and a beautiful colour drawing. They were from Father Christmas, telling wonderful tales of life at the North Pole.

  • How all the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place.
  • How the accident-prone Polar Bear climbed the North Pole climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of father Christmas’s house into the dining-room.
  • How he broke the Moon into four pieces and made age Man in it fall into the back garden.
  • How there were wars with the troublesome horse of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house!

Sometimes the Polar Bear would scrawl a note, and sometimes Ilbereth the Elf would write in his elegant flowing script, adding yet more life and humour to the stories.

Review

I got this book off my best friend for my birthday as she knows I love all things Tolkien and she knew I had not got this book. I am so pleased I saved this book for Christmas as it really put me in a Festive mood and made me smile from ear to ear.

The first letter in the book is sent in 1920 to John, Tolkien’s oldest child and we meet Father Christmas, the letter is only short but there is a beautiful drawing of Father Christmas that could easily be made into a Christmas card. There is then a gap and the next letter is in 1923, then basically from then on there is a letter until 1943 when Tolkien’s children are all too old for Father Christmas.

The first letters are sent to just John and then Michael and Christopher are added and finally Priscilla, although as each child reaches a certain age and they stop writing to Father Christmas they are dropped off the letters. Although good old Father Christmas always asks after the older children and pets in the house, so they are not forgotten.

Some letters are very short if Father Christmas is busy that year and some are very long, especially if Father Christmas has a tale to tell the children. Father Christmas has a helper called Polar Bear who is in fact a Polar Bear, a very special bear who does not age and is very strong but also rather clumsy and causes poor Father Christmas a great deal of extra work. Eventually Father Christmas also gets some Elves to help him get everything ready for Christmas.

The effort Tolkien put into the letters is amazing, the handwriting is unique to Father Christmas and is shaky like a very old man is writing and the illustrations are stunning. I loved reading all the letters and I can imagine how Tolkien’s children must have been so excited when the letters arrived each year. It really is like magic, Tolkien made sure his children believed in the wonder of magic and fairytales, the things all children should believe in and let their imaginations run wild.

This edition of the book is beautiful, it has all the pictures of the original letters so we can see all the handwriting Tolkien created and opposite is a typed up version so the reader can read the text with ease. Then there are also all the illustrations in colour with the letters. The fact that the book is also printed on excellent quality shiny paper is perfect for showing off Tolkien’s work.

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I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars because of the magic and beauty it had but it did not get the full 5 stars because it made me sad at the end when the children were too old for letters off Father Christmas. In my opinion you are never too old for Father Christmas and believing in the magic.

Lady Book Dragon.

Review 21: Magic Windows by Ernest Nister

Magic Windows: An Antique Revolving Picture Book by Ernest Nister

About the Author

Ernest Nister was a born in 1841 in Germany and was a publisher and printer of movable books for children, he also printed greetings cards, post cards and calendars. He refined the techniques used in the design of pop up books, magic windows and dissolving pictures. He published all his books from a toy-making centre based in Nuremberg in the nineteenth century.

Review

As some of you know from my Christmas Eve Traditions post, I read this book ever year, but I have never reviewed it before, so I thought it was time to have a review.

This book has a very dear place in my heart so I am afraid I am rather biased but I will try to give a non biased review.

This book is essentially a picture book, on each double page you have a poem on the left page and a relating image on the right that when you slide the ribbon across changes image. An example of the changing image is below.

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The book only has 7 poems and relating pictures so it is only small but because of how the moving pictures are built the pages are double thickness so the book is thicker than expected for so few poems and pictures. However the illustrations are beautiful and you do get two per page instead of one due to the magic window element. The poems are very cute and simple and perfect for children, but for today’s modern children I am not sure they would hold a child’s attention but I am sure the moving pictures would have them hooked.

I’m not sure I appreciated this book as a child but as an adult I love it. I love the beauty of the illustrations and the simplicity of the moving images which work so well and the little poems that are so easy to understand and just make you smile.

This book is a reproduction of the original which came out in the Victorian period and for this reason I do think most children would sadly find the book boring but for the older reader I think they would appreciate the skill and beauty of the book and find enjoyment from reading it.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars purely because I love it to bits but when I was a child I would have probably given it a 3 out of 5 because I did not appreciate the poetry but enjoyed the pictures.

Lady Book Dragon.

Friday Poetry

Happy Fourth Day of Christmas!

I’m sticking with Christmas themed poetry as we are officially in the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Christmas Song

Above the wearey waiting world.

Asleep in chill despair,

There breaks a sound of joyous bells

Upon the frosted air.

And o’er the humblest rooftree, lo,

A star is dancing on the snow.

 

What makes the yellow star to dance

Upon the brink of night?

What makes the breaking dawn to glow

So magically bright, – 

And all the earth to be renewed

With infinite beatitude?

 

The singing bells, the throbbing star,

The sunbeams on the snow,

And the awakening heart that leaps

New ecstasy to know, – 

They all are dancing in the morn

Because a little child is born.

 

Bliss Carman.

 

Lady Book Dragon.

Christmas Book Related Gifts

Well it is the third day of Christmas today and my husband and myself are having a relaxing day to recover from a busy Christmas and Boxing Day. So I thought I would show my readers the bookish presents I received from family and friends.

The Penguin Classics Book was on my wish list and my wonderful husband bought it me for Christmas. I can not wait to look through all the books Penguin has published over the years and see what books I should read next.

Tequila Mockingbird is a literary themed cocktail book that I am very keen to try out.

My Best friend bought me the 100 Books Scratch off Bucket List Poster, that has quite a few books on that I have never read. I would love to get this framed once I have completed it. I think my 2019 will have some fun reading based on this list. My friend also bought me a very cute tea strainer in the shape of a book, I love tea and I love books so this combination is amazing!

My sister in laws got me the bag, reading log and Bronte book. I love keeping a book log so I am very excited to start this log in 2019.

Finally my sister got me the Gino cookbook so hopefully 2019 will be filled full of yummy food!

I hope everyone got good presents this Christmas and that you are still enjoying the festive spirit.

Happy Reading!

Lady Book Dragon.

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas Everyone!

I hope everyone has had lots of books for Christmas! I thought I would post a little Christmas poem for everyone!

 

I Saw a Stable

I saw a stable, low and very bare,

A little child in the manger

The oxen knew Him, had Him in their care,

To men He was a stranger.

The safety of the world was lying there,

And the world’s danger.

 

Mary Coleridge

 

I hope everyone has a wonderful day full of happiness and festive spirit.

 

Lady Book Dragon.

Christmas Eve Traditions

Christmas Eve is here!

My main little tradition for Christmas Eve is after Midnight Mass before I go to bed I read Magic Windows by Ernest Nister. This book is very special to me, I remember when I was about 5 or 6 and sitting on my parents bedroom floor and opening my stocking and getting this book. I instantly loved it and ever since I read it after Midnight Mass, I know technically it is Christmas morning but in my mind it is still Christmas Eve.

Some how as I have got older this book has gained more meaning for me, yes it is basically a picture book with some poems in and is definitely for children but after all the stress that can come with Christmas prep this calms me down and reminds me of the magic of Christmas. Last year was my first Christmas in my new house with my husband, the first Christmas not spent with my parents and the first time I would cook Christmas dinner and to be honest it was all a bit daunting as well as exciting. Reading this book before sleep really helped me and I got a good nights sleep and woke up excited for Christmas. Amazing what a little book can mean to one person. I do not think my parents ever imagined the significance this book would have in my life.

Anyway this is one of my little traditions, do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

Good Night and I hope Father Christmas is generous to you all.

Lady Book Dragon