Friday Poetry

Happy Friday!

I am very sorry this post is a little late today, I’ve fallen rather behind with my blogging and reading but plan on getting back on form in June.

With all the lovely sunshine we have been having I decided on an appropriate poem to celebrate and what better poet to choose but the longest serving Poet Laureate in history. Can you guess who it is? He served as Poet Laureate from 1850 to his death in 1892. He was also a favourite poet of Queen Victoria, who found his poems soothing after the death of her husband Prince Albert.

Lets see if you can work out who it is by the end of the poem.

 

The Throstle

‘Summer is coming, summer is coming.

I know it, I know it, I know it.

Light again, leaf again, life again, love again,’

Yes, my wild little Poet.

 

Sing the new year in under the blue.

Last year you sang it as gladly.

‘New, new, new, new! Is it then so new

That you should carol so madly?

 

‘Love again, song again, nest again, young again,’

Never a prophet so crazy!

And hardly a daisy as yet, little friend,

See, there is hardly a daisy.

 

‘Here again, here, here, here, happy year!’

O warble unchidden, unbidden!

Summer is coming, is coming, my dear,

And all the winters are hidden.

 

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

 

Hope you managed to work it out.

Have a good weekend everyone and I hope you all have some wonderful sunshine to sit and read in.

Photo was taken at a recent day out at Daniel’s Mill Bridgnorth.

 

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Waterstones Challenge: Birmingham

Hello everyone.

I have finally managed to get to a Waterstones this month, it was very overdue.

This Waterstones was the one in Birmingham, I love this store as I always go there just before Christmas when I visit the German Market. I usually go to buy Christmas presents but I must admit I usually end up spending a lot of money on Christmas books for myself. Very naughty I know.

So I bought two books from Waterstones and strangely enough they both have yellow covers. Although yellow is one of my favourite colours I promise I didn’t get the books just because they have yellow covers.

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Six Tudor Queens: Anna of Kleve Queen of Secrets by Alison Weir

I have been getting the full series of these books so I was quite happy to see the next one was out in the shops.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

This has been on my TBR list for while so now I own it I hope to read it soon.

I love this store because it has so many books in it and it is well spaced out. I highly recommend this Waterstones if you are taking a trip to Birmingham.

Happy Reading!

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Mid Week Quote: Claude Debussy

This weeks quote is attributed to one of my favourite composers Claude Debussy.

Debussy was a child prodigy, and his talent as a pianist meant that he won a place at the Paris Conservatoire at only ten years old. Early on he started to develop his own style and characteristic composing style. He studied for eleven years at the Conservatoire but for the rest of his life he pioneered groundbreaking methods of composition and was never afraid to break a few rules.

“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.”

 

attributed: Claude Debussy

Circa. 1910

 

Happy Wednesday.

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Summer Reading Challenge: Good as Gold

Hello everyone.

I hope you all had a wonderful bank holiday weekend.

I am now trying to work out what books to read for my first ever reading challenge The Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge: Beginner level and today I am looking at the prompt Good as Gold. This means a book that has won the Goodreads Choice Award, so I have had a look at the options and come up with two winners that take my fancy. I have discarded the winners that I have already read because I want to read new books. I must admit every year I vote in the choice awards and my choices have never won. I also find not many of the books I read are nominated, perhaps I just don’t read the right books.

2012 Winner

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When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils … Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

 

2013 Winner

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So, then. You want a story and I will tell you one…Afghanistan, 1952. Abdullah and his sister Pari live with their father and stepmother in the small village of Shadbagh. Their father, Saboor, is constantly in search of work and they struggle together through poverty and brutal winters. To Abdullah, Pari – as beautiful and sweet-natured as the fairy for which she was named – is everything. More like a parent than a brother, Abdullah will do anything for her, even trading his only pair of shoes for a feather for her treasured collection. Each night they sleep together in their cot, their heads touching, their limbs tangled. One day the siblings journey across the desert to Kabul with their father. Pari and Abdullah have no sense of the fate that awaits them there, for the event which unfolds will tear their lives apart; sometimes a finger must be cut to save the hand. Crossing generations and continents, moving from Kabul, to Paris, to San Francisco, to the Greek island of Tinos, with profound wisdom, depth, insight and compassion, Khaled Hosseini writes about the bonds that define us and shape our lives, the ways in which we help our loved ones in need, how the choices we make resonate through history and how we are often surprised by the people closest to us.

 

These are the two books I have chosen out of the winners and now I just have to decide which one to go for. I own ‘The Casual Vacancy’ so that is one advantage but I don’t mind buying ‘And The Mountains Echoed’. I love both authors but I am a bit worried about ‘And The Mountains Echoed’ as Khaled Hosseini can be a rather sad read and I’m not sure I want to be crying whilst on holiday. 

I would be happy to hear your thoughts on the two books, as I would love to have some help with my choice.

Happy reading!

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Down the TBR Hole #9

Down the TBR Hole was the brain child of Lost In A Story. The idea is to reduce the length of your Goodreads TBR.

How it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads want to read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added
  • Take the first 5 or 10 books.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go

 

Hello everyone, I’m back again with the ongoing challenge of reducing me TBR pile. The list is currently at 474, lets see if this week we can get it smaller.

If you would like to check out my previous Down the TBR Hole posts please click on the following links.

#1 | #2 | #3 | #4 | #5 | #6| #7 | #8 |

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
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Fitz is a royal bastard, cast out into the world with only his magical link with animals for solace and companionship.
But when Fitz is adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and learn a new life: weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly. Meanwhile, raiders ravage the coasts, leaving the people Forged and soulless. As Fitz grows towards manhood, he will have to face his first terrifying mission, a task that poses as much a risk to himself as it does to his target: Fitz is a threat to the throne… but he may also be the key to the future of the kingdom.

I must admit I have never read anything by Robin Hobb but have always liked the look of her books. However, as I have mentioned in previous posts I’m really off reading series at the moment so I think I will remove this book from the list as it is a beginning of a series.

GO

Belgarath the Sorcerer
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Bestselling authors David and Leigh Eddings welcome readers back to the time before The Belgariad and The Malloreon series. Join them as they chronicle that fateful conflict between two mortally opposed Destinies, in a monumental war of men and kings and Gods.

When the world was young and Gods still walked among their mortal children, a headstrong orphan boy set out to explore the world. Thus began the extraordinary adventures that would mold that youthful vagabond into a man, and the man into the finely honed instrument of Prophecy known to all the world as Belgarath the Sorcerer.
Then came the dark day when the Dark God Torak split the world asunder, and the God Aldur and his disciples began their monumental labor to set Destiny aright. Foremost among their number was Belgarath. His ceaseless devotion was foredoomed to cost him that which he held most dear–even as his loyal service would extend through echoing centuries of loss, of struggle, and of ultimate triumph.

I think this is another book to come off the list, I do really enjoy David Eddings books but the sheer volume in the series is rather scary for me and I just do not have the energy at the moment.

GO

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
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The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

This definitely stays on the list and I am very ashamed to say I have never read it before. I own a lovely copy of this I bought from a favourite bookshop in Scotland that I always visit when I go and stay with my sister.

KEEP

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
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A novel that chronicles the lives of two women who could not be more different: Becky Sharp, an orphan whose only resources are her vast ambitions, her native wit, and her loose morals; and her schoolmate Amelia Sedley, a typically naive Victorian heroine, the pampered daughter of a wealthy family.

This is a total mystery to me as I could swear I have read this book but I can’t find it anywhere in my reading journals and I have kept a reading journal since I was ten years old, so it would be in there if I had read it. Due to this I will keep it in the TBR pile and hope to read it soon.

KEEP

The Trumpet-Major by Thomas Hardy
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Hardy distrusted the application of nineteenth-century empiricism to history because he felt it marginalized important human elements. In The Trumpet-Major, the tale of a woman courted by three competing suitors during the Napoleonic wars, he explores the subversive effects of ordinary human desire and conflicting loyalties on systematized versions of history. This edition restores Hardy’s original punctuation and removes the bowdlerisms forced upon the text on its initial publication.

This definitely stays as it is my beloved Thomas Hardy and I want to read all of his novels eventually.

KEEP

This week I have only done 5 books because the new WordPress set up with blocks is exhausting to me, I obviously don’t like change, so will see if I can change it back to classic editor. I have managed to get the TBR pile down to 472 but must improve this, over the summer I plan on reading some off there as well, so fingers crossed.

Please drop me a comment if you are also doing the Down the TBR Hole Book Tag as I would love to visit your blog. Also if you have read any of the above books please feel free to let me know your thoughts.

Happy Bank Holiday Weekend!

Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge

Hello my fellow Book Dragons!

I have a confession to make.

I have never done a reading challenge before, other than setting myself a certain number of books to read every year on Goodreads. So this year I have decided to give this a go as I have a very long flight coming up in the summer to go on my holibobs and sadly come home back to work. Will also probably be doing quite a bit of reading whilst on holiday as we have a beach right next to our hotel.

There are two challenges, the beginner one and the expert level one. I will be sticking with the beginner one as it is my first challenge and do not want to set myself up for a fall.

The Beginner Challenge has the following prompts:-

  •  Good as gold: Read a book that won a Goodreads Choice Award.
  •  The book is better: Read a book being adapted for TV or film this year.
  •  Short & sweet: Read a book with less than 100 pages (or a book you can finish in one sitting).
  •  On the bandwagon: Read one of the “most read” books right now on Goodreads.
  •  Actually want to read: Read a book that’s been on your Want to Read shelf for more than a year.
  •  Not from around here: Read a book set in a different culture from your own.
  •  In the friend zone: Read a book that a friend has recommended.
  •  It takes two: Read a coauthored book.
  •  Wheel of format: Read a book in a format that you don’t normally read in (a graphic novel, poetry, a play,
    an audiobook, etc.).
  •  New voices: Read a debut novel.
  •  Past love: Reread a book you loved when you were younger.
  •  Armchair traveler: Read a book set in a destination you want to visit.

I must admit I am excited to start the challenge and also rather nervous, I really want to complete the challenge and not let myself down. The first day of summer is Friday 21st June but I am not entirely sure I can wait that long to start but I will try, I will plan my books to read on the run up. I think I will most likely do most of this challenge whilst on holiday, the question is do I do the challenge in order?

I would love to hear about the reading challenges my fellow book dragons have completed or attempted, please let me know. Also any advice would be most welcome on my challenge.

I will keep you posted.

Happy Reading and have a glorious bank holiday weekend.

Friday Poetry

Today’s chosen poem was chosen because I have always been interested in the mystery of Mary Celeste. The Mary Celeste washed up on the shores of the Azores islands on the 5th December 1872, the crew were nowhere to be seen, the cargo was undisturbed and the ship was completely unscathed and still able to sail. The mystery still remains unsolved.

Mary Celeste

Only the wind sings
in the riggings,
the hull creaks a lullaby;
a sail lifts gently
like a message
pinned to a vacant sky.
The wheel turns
over bare decks,
shirts flap on a line;
only the song of the lapping waves
beats steady time…


First mate,
off-duty from
the long dawn watch, begins
a letter to his wife, daydreams
of home.

The Captain’s wife is late;
the child did not sleep
and breakfast has passed…
She, too, is missing home;
sits down at last to eat,
but can’t quite force
the porridge down.
She swallows hard,
slices the top from her egg.

The second mate
is happy
A four-hour sleep,
full stomach
and a quiet sea
are all he craves

The child now sleeps, at last,
head firmly pressed into her pillow
in a deep sea-dream.

Then why are the gulls wheeling
like vultures in the sky?
Why was the child snatched
from her sleep? What drew
the Captain’s cry?


Only the wind replies
in the rigging,
and the hull creaks and sighs,
a sail spells out its message
over silent skies.
The wheel still turns
over bare decks,
shirts blow on the line;
the siren-song of lapping waves
still echoes over time.

Judith Nicholls

Happy Friday! I hope everyone has a fab weekend planned.