A Bookish Confession

A few days ago on the 12th March marked the anniversary of  Sir Terry Pratchett’s death in 2015. I still remember the day, I had been teaching all day and my best friend knew I had probably not seen the news so she sent me a text to break the news. Although I knew he was ill and it was going to happen, it was still like a kick in the stomach and I am not ashamed to admit I shed a tear. Sir Terry Pratchett meant so much to me, his Discworld novels were my absolute favourites, that I always relied on to cheer me up and make me laugh. I could not believe there would be no more, that the world of Discworld was over.

I first discovered the Discworld series at the age of 12, when my cousin’s partner recommended them to me, I then persuaded my mom to join a Sci-fi and Fantasy book club to order me a few of the books and from then I got a couple each month on offer. In year 9 at school during quiet reading, my teacher attempted to confiscate my copy of The Colour of Magic because he thought it an inappropriate book for a girl of my age, happily my mom intervened and I was allowed to continue reading them.

In 2013 I decided to read all the Discworld novels in order of them being written and it was wonderful. During this time they helped me cope with a particularly harrowing two-week session on jury duty and it was comforting to know that in my handbag there was always a Terry Pratchett novel.

Anyway, that’s a brief description of my history with Discworld, now on to my confession. The very last Discworld novel The Shepherd’s Crown I have never read! I pre-ordered it, I even got the special edition that Waterstones did so I have two copies but I have never read either. The reason, I just could not bring myself to read it, because in my mind once I read it I would know for sure that there would never be another Discworld book and that Sir Terry Pratchett was gone for good.

Over the last few days I have been thinking of The Shepherd’s Crown and yesterday I collected both copies from my parents house and brought them home. Now they are sat in my living room looking at me and I think I have made a decision. Sir Terry Pratchett wrote this book for people to read and the fact that I have not read it yet is not what he would have wanted. So on Terry Pratchett’s birthday on the 28th April I plan on starting to read The Shepherd’s Crown and I must admit that thought scares me a little, as I do not want to be disappointed and I know I will not want the book to end. Even just writing this brings all those memories back from 2015 and the sadness.

That is my bookish confession and I hope I can go through with my plan. Apologies to Sir Terry Pratchett for not having read your last Discworld novel sooner.

Lady Book Dragon.

 

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Happy Birthday Charles Dickens!

Happy Birthday to you.

Happy Birthday to you.

Happy Birthday dear Charles Dickens!

Happy Birthday to YOU!

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Another of my favourite authors was born on this day and that is the great Charles Dickens. Charles Dickens was born on this day in 1812 in Portsmouth. Dickens left school to work in a factory when his father was incarcerated in debtors prison. Despite his lack of education Dickens went on to write 15 novels, five novellas, hundreds of short stories and non fiction articles, lectured and performed readings, he also edited a weekly journal for 20 years. He was also a campaigner for children’s rights, education and social reforms.

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was the first Dickens novel I read and also the first classic book I read at the young age of 9 years old. Later I fell in love with A Tale of Two Cities and have since read it many times. I have not read all Dickens’ novels though sadly but hope to remedy that soon. I do own a beautiful set of old Dickens’ novels that are a joy to behold and read and a complete set of Vintage Classics that are paperback. I tend to read the paperbacks though as I do not like to take the old antique ones out of the house. Sadly as we are trying to get our library room finished my Dickens collection is stacked up in the living room, but I have included a few snaps of my antique Dickens books.

So Charles Dickens, happy birthday and thank you for your wonderful work, you truly were a literary genius.

Lady Book Dragon.

 

The Dickens’ novels that I have read are as follows:-

The Pickwick Papers

A Christmas Carol

A Tale of Two Cities

Our Mutual Friend

The Old Curiosity Shop

Great Expectations.

Which one do you think I should read next? I would love to hear what your favourite Dickens novel is.

 

 

January 2019 Wrap up

Well it is finally the last day of January, the snow drops have started to appear and all of a sudden the weather has gone very cold. Thank you to my new followers, the blog has now got 40 followers, which I am very happy about as I have only been blogging for 3 months.

This month I managed to read 6 books! To be honest getting back to work after Christmas I was not expecting to have read 6 books this month so I am very chuffed with myself.

If you click on the books you will be diected to the reviews I have written for the for books.

What I read…

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5/5 Dragons and on my favourites list! 

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3/5 Dragons

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5/5 Dragons

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4/5 Dragons

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5/5 Dragons

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3/5 Dragons

As you can see January was a good month as 3 out of the 6 books are rated 5 Dragons. I also discovered a new author I would like to read more of which is Juliet Ashton, I have already bought one more book written by her and added some more to my wish list. I have also added Coming Home to my favourites list as I loved it so much and plan on reading it again. I hope the rest of year proves to be as good reading wise because January was certainly an excellent start to 2019.

I would love to hear your thoughts if you have read any of these book?

Thank you.

Lady Book Dragon

P.s I leave you with Lyra our book loving cat, I hope you can find her in the photo!

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The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne

The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne

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About the author

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Paula Byrne is a British author and biographer with a PHD from the University of Liverpool. Byrne is married to the Shakespeare scholar Sir Jonathan Bate.

Blurb

Who was the real Jane Austen? A retiring spinster content with quiet village life? Or a strong-minded woman who chose to remain unmarried and to fashion herself as a professional writer?

Bestselling biographer Paula Byrne uses objects that conjure up a key moment in Austen’s life and work – a vellum notebook, a topaz cross, a writing box and a bathing machine – to unlock the biography of this most beloved author. The woman who emerges is far tougher, more socially and politically aware, and altogether more modern than the conventional picture of ‘dear aunt Jane’ allows. Byrne’s lively book explores the many forces that shaped Austen’s life and her long struggle to become a published author, and brings Miss Austen dazzlingly into the twenty-first century.

Review

As I think I have mentioned before I discovered this book in the hotel room where I was staying in Bath over New Year and I began reading it there and bought a copy of my own from the Waterstones in Bath. I must confess that I am not the best at reading non-fiction but this book read really easily and did not seem like a biography. Whilst reading it, I have been using the lovely card we had on New Year from the hotel as a book mark as shown in the picture below.

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From the first chapter of this book I was hooked, I loved the the way it was laid out, each chapter focusing on an object owned by Jane Austen. I enjoyed how Byrne linked everything together with Austen’s life, her letters, her adventures, and her novels. Byrne has quite clearly spent a great deal of time researching Jane Austen and reading all of Jane Austen’s novels.

I found this biography to be quite an easy read that did not require too much brain power to get through. I find some biographies of famous authors quite in-depth and difficult to read and I have to dip in and out of the book. This book flowed easily and I read it fairly quickly. The only thing I disliked was how Byrne put across Austen’s opinions, when really nobody knows for sure what her opinions were and Byrne is clearly making educated guesses. I would much rather she had kept to the cold hard facts and opinions that Austen expressed in her letters.

I did find Byrne was rather obsessed with Mansfield Park but I did not mind this too much as it has encouraged me to read it again, as it has been some time since I have read it. I would also like to read Lady Susan as I have never got round to reading it but own two copies of it.

My favourite chapters were actually the last two chapters The Royalty Cheque and The Bathing Machine. The Royalty Cheque I enjoyed because it showed Austen making a living from her novels and enjoying some of her own success. I also did not realise that the Prince Regent was such a fan of Austen’s novels and that Emma was dedicated to him and Austen paid for and had a special three volume set of Emma given to the Prince Regent which is still today in the Royal Collection. It is the little facts like this in the biography which makes the book such a joy to read. The Bathing Machine made me giggle quite a bit I must confess, the idea of ladies being fully covered in clothes and going for a swim or a paddle around if they could not swim to be quite funny but also dangerous. I do not think the freezing temperatures would have done the bathers any good at all.

I truly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to any Jane Austen fan, I have already recommended it to my sister, who introduced me to the works of Jane Austen when I was little. It is an excellently put together biography which links together beautifully and the illustrations and photos are excellent. I have given this book 4 out of 5 Dragons.

Lady Book Dragon

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday!

A Big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Jane Austen!

Born this day in 1775.

I love Jane Austen. I have read and reread all her books numerous times. She is my comfort blanket, when I feel down or stressed or just need a bit of reassurance I turn to Jane Austen. Each time I read one of her books I see it in a new light and discover new things.

The first book I read was Sense and Sensibility which I read on a 9 hour car journey to visit my sister in Scotland. I think I was about 9 or 10 years old at the time and I was hooked. I then went on to read Pride and Prejudice and her other works but I must admit I only read Mansfield Park in the last couple of years.

My favourite Jane Austen read has changed over the years it was Sense and Sensibility, then it was Pride and Prejudice for a very long time but I must admit in the last couple of years it has been Persuasion. I think it must be an age thing and how my reading and tastes have developed. Although, I openly admit my least favourite book is Emma because I struggle with the heroine but I have decided in 2019 I will give Emma another go.

I will also be paying my traditional Jane Austen pilgrimage to Bath next year as well. I know she did not particularly like Bath but I just love it and love thinking about how she used Bath for part of the backdrop of Persuasion.

Anyway Happy Birthday Jane Austen and thank you for writing such amazing books, which mean so much to me.

“If a book is well written. I always find it too short.”

Jane Austen

I could not agree more Jane Austen, as your books are way too short for my liking.

Do you have a favourite Jane Austen novel? Please drop me a comment with your favourites and why. Thank you.

Lady Book Dragon.