2019 in Review

Finally, I have time to sit down and reflect on 2019!

Firstly, I want to say a massive thank you to all of you who support me, read my blog, follow my blog and for just being amazing. Thank you!

I have been blogging for over a year! This is quite a shock to me and I am really impressed that I have managed to keep this blog going for over a year. I have also thoroughly enjoyed reading and following fellow book blogs.

Overall, I have read 71 books that equals approximately 15921 pages.

I have also read a lot more poetry and explored a lot of quotes. I have also tried to read different genres from my usual comfort zones.

I have discovered a new favourite author, Elly Griffiths and a new favourite poet Christina Rossetti.

I haven’t visited as many Waterstones stores as I would like but I am hoping to tick off more in 2020, especially in London.

I bought loads of books in 2019 and sadly have not read them all, so my TBR Pile has grown alarmingly large. I really can not help myself where buying books is concerned!

The other thing I learned in 2019 was that I really do not like reading challenges. I really struggled to keep to my Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge and really hated feeling confined to list. I found it useful whilst away on holiday to know I have a list of books to read on my Kindle but as soon as I was home surrounded my all my lovely books, I just wanted to pick and choose what I wanted. So inevitably I did not complete the challenge and have decided I will not attempt one again in the near future other than my Goodreads challenge of how many books I plan to read in a year.

The other thing learnt this year was how to switch off properly. For the first time ever I went on a resort holiday and to begin with I struggled at this relaxation business and kept thinking I needed to do things but then I realised I could just spend the day by the pool and read and not feel guilty. It was a wonderful experience and one that I hope to repeat. I managed to read a wonderful amount of books as an added bonus.

So I think that is a round up of my 2019.

lady book dragon signature 250w

 

Twelve Carols of Christmas: Seventh Carol

New Year’s Eve is here!

I hope everyone has some good plans for this evening.

For today’s chosen carol I have gone for a really upbeat one. I first came across this tune by hearing it on a Christmas album and it was played by Mike Oldfield. This carol is In Dulci Jubilo otherwise known as Good Christians all, rejoice.

 

Good Christians all, rejoice

Good Christians all, rejoice

with heart and soul and voice!

Listen now to what we say,

Jesus Christ is born today;

ox and ass before him bow,

and he is in the manger now!

Christ is born today;

Christ is born today!

 

Good Christians all, rejoice

with heart and soul and voice!

Hear the news of endless bliss,

Jesus Christ was born for this:

he has opened heaven’s door,

and we are blessed for evermore!

Christ was born for this;

Christ was born for this!

 

Good Christians all, rejoice

with heart and soul and voice!

Now you need not fear the grave;

Jesus Christ was born to save:

come at his most gracious call

to find salvation, one and all!

Christ was born to save;

Christ was born to save!

 

 

Latin and German, 14th Century

adapted by John Mason Neale (1818-1866)

 

lady book dragon signature 250w

Twelve Carols of Christmas: Sixth Carol

Well 2020 is approaching fast, I must admit I cannot believe how fast 2019 has gone!

My chosen carol for today is Gabriel’s Message which is based on The Magnificat and is believed to have been composed in the 13th century.

 

Gabriel’s Message

The Angel Gabriel from heaven came,

his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;

‘All hail,’ said he, ‘thou lowly maiden Mary,

most highly favoured lady.’

Gloria!

 

‘For known a blessed Mother thou shalt be,

all generations laud and honour thee,

thy son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold;

most highly favoured lady.’

Gloria!

 

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head,

‘To me be as it pleaseth God,’ she said,

‘My soul shall laud and magnify his holy name’:

most highly favoured lady.

Gloria!

 

Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ was born

in Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn,

and Christian folk throughout the world will ever say

‘Most highly favoured lady.’

Gloria!

 

Basque Carol

paraphrased by Sabine Baring-Gould

 

lady book dragon signature 250w

 

 

Twelve Carols of Christmas: Fifth Carol

I hope everyone has had a nice weekend so far.

Here is the next Carol.

This carol has several names Hymn for Christmas Day or The Hymn for Christmas but I know it as See, amid the winter’s snow. This carol was written by Edward Caswall (1814-1878) and the music was composed by Sir John Goss (1800-1880).

See, amid the winter’s snow

See, amid the winter’s snow,
Born for us on Earth below,
See, the tender Lamb appears,
Promised from eternal years.

Chorus:

Hail, thou ever blessed morn,
Hail redemption’s happy dawn,
Sing through all Jerusalem,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Lo, within a manger lies
He who built the starry skies;
He who, throned in height sublime,
Sits among the cherubim.

Chorus

Say, ye holy shepherds, say,
What your joyful news today;
Wherefore have ye left your sheep
On the lonely mountain steep?

Chorus

“As we watched at dead of night,
Lo, we saw a wondrous light:
Angels singing ‘Peace On Earth’
Told us of the Saviour’s birth.”

Chorus

Sacred Infant, all divine,
What a tender love was Thine,
Thus to come from highest bliss
Down to such a world as this.

Chorus

Teach, O teach us, Holy Child,
By Thy face so meek and mild,
Teach us to resemble Thee,
In Thy sweet humility.

Chorus

Edward Caswall.

lady book dragon signature 250w

Christmas Bookish Presents

Hello!

As promised here is my post showing my Christmas presents with a book theme. Thankfully, I had quite a few books and a very groovy book light that I love.

Here are the books I received:-

The Carpet People by Terry Pratchett

0552551058

Dreamcatcher by Stephen King

51jQMbGcGfL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

The Everyday Poet: Poems to Live By edited by Deborah Alma

51BP7Z9TJ4L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

Rossetti

51s-YlcDNTL._SX340_BO1,204,203,200_

Be More Cat by Alison Davies

41ElI5ZxzhL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

Then there is my amazing new light!

31gyoH9dJ1L._AC_

 

A lot of these books have been on my wish list for some time so I was really pleased to receive them. Drop me a comment with your thoughts.

lady book dragon signature 250w

 

Friday Poetry: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Happy Twixmas!

Yes, it is that time between Christmas and New Year where we have no clue what day of the week it is and living off leftovers and chocolate. I love it!

However, I have tried to be good and remembered it is Friday so I better do a poem. I have gone for a poem based on New Year.

 

The Year

What can be said in New Year rhymes,

That’s not been said a thousand times?

 

The new years come, the old years go,

We know we dream, we dream we know.

 

We rise up laughing with the light,

We lie down weeping with the night.

 

We hug the world until it stings,

We curse it then and sigh for wings.

 

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,

We wrestle our prides, we sheet our dead.

 

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,

And that’s the burden of a year.

 

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

 

lady book dragon signature 250w

Twelve Carols of Christmas: Second Carol

Hello!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas yesterday and a fantastic Boxing Day today.

I am pleased to say I have had quite a few books for Christmas, I will share more later in the week.

Here is my second carol of my Twelve Carols of Christmas. This is a personal favourite of mine but this year sadly was the first year my church did not sing it, since I have been there.

This is a 15th Century English carol but sadly I do not know who wrote the words.

 

Coventry Carol

Lully, lulla,

thou little tiny child,

by by, lully lullay.

 

O sisters too,

how may we do

for to preserve this day

this poor youngling,

for whom we do sing

by by, lully lullay?

 

Herod the king,

in his raging,

charged he hath this day

his men of might,

in his own sight,

all young children to slay.

 

That woe is me,

poor child for thee!

and ever morn and day,

for thy parting

neither say nor sing

by by, lully lullay!

 

Lully, lulla,

thou little tiny child,

by by, lully lullay,

 

Happy Reading!

lady book dragon signature 250w

Twelve Carols of Christmas: First Carol

Hello!

Today is officially the first day of Christmas and the twelfth day of Christmas is the 5th January.

I have decided to celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas with a Christmas Carol each day. So here is my first Carol. This Carol is traditionally sung to the tune Sussex Carol, this tune is special to me because my husband and myself had it at our wedding, so this carol will always have a special place in my heart.

 

On Christmas night all Christians sing

On Christmas night all Christians sing

To hear the news the angels bring,

On Christmas night all Christians sing

To hear the news the angels bring,

News of great joy, news of great mirth,

News of our merciful King’s birth.

 

Then why should we on earth be sad,

Since our Redeemer made us glad,

Then why should we on earth be so sad,

Since our Redeemer made us glad,

When from sin He set us free,

All for gain our liberty.

 

When sin departs before His grace,

Then life and health come in its place;

When sin departs before His grace,

Then life and health come in its place;

Angels and we with joy may sing,

All for to see the new-born King.

 

All out of darkness we have light,

Which made the angels sing this night;

All out of darkness we have light,

Which made the angels sing this night;

‘Glory to God and peace to men,

Now and for evermore. Amen.’

 

Traditional

 

lady book dragon signature 250w

Tidings: A Christmas Journey by Ruth Padel (Book Review)

Tidings: A Christmas Journey by Ruth Padel

9781784741068

About the author

8895.jpg

Ruth Padel is a prize-winning poet, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and Reader in Poetry at King’s College London. Her most recent collections include Darwin: A Life in Poems on her great-great-grandfather Charles Darwin, The Mara Crossing on migration and immigration, and Learning to Make an Out in Nazareth on the Middle East. She lives in London, the place where she was born.

Blurb

It’s Christmas Eve and on this enchanted night Charoum, the Angel of Silence, can speak. As night turns to day, he unfolds a resonant story of a little girl, a homeless man and a fox…

In the tradition of Charles Dickens and Dylan Thomas, Tidings takes us on a journey into the heart of Christmas, showing us celebrations down the ages and across the globe – as dawn sweeps from East Australia to Bethlehem, from London to the Statue of Liberty in New York.

This is Christmas in all its magic, reminding us that it is a time not only of good tidings, but of loneliness and longing, compassion and connection.

Beautifully illustrated and exquisitely musical, Tidings is a poem to be read out loud and cherished.

Review

Wow, what a beautiful book, I am so pleased I bought this book. This book is absolutely stunning and I think it will be become a Christmas tradition to read it every Christmas in my house. It took me less than an hour to read and I could not put it down and afterwards I could not wait to tell my husband about this beautiful book I had just finished.

This is the first work by Ruth Padel that I have ever read and it will not be my last. I loved how it used the carols from the children’s church service in the poem and it was beautifully entwined together. I also loved how reminiscent of Charles Dickens the poem’s story is, it reminds us that Christmas is not just about celebrating but also about remembering that there are people out there that do not find Christmas a time of celebration but of loneliness, hunger, fear and bad memories.

The contrast between the homeless man and the little girl is brilliant. The little girl is wondering if Father Christmas got her letter about the puppy she wants, her life is full of safety, happiness, love and wanting for nothing. The homeless man is full of memories he wishes to forget. He’s hungry, unwashed, unloved and only has one friend in the world, a little fox.

This book is beautiful and if you only want to read one festive book this year or next year I fully recommend this one. I have already been recommending it to friends and family. It is definitely a festive 5 out of 5 Dragons.

Purchase Links

Waterstones

Book Depository

 

lady book dragon signature 250w

JppSB0RjRXWCOgvyrbXGHA.jpg