Goodreads Monday: 23/01/2023

Goodreads Monday is now hosted by Budget Tales Book Club.  All you have to do is show off a book from your TBR that you’re looking forward to reading.

Happy Monday!

I hope everyone has had a good start to the week. I had an unexpected early finish today at school which was nice and I have a quiet day work wise tomorrow so I am hoping to go on a nice walk and catch up on some jobs.

This week I have chosen another book off my Classics Club list. I sadly didn’t read as many classics off my list as I had planned last year so this year I am really going to try and catch up and get a good load of books ticked off the list.

Candide is the story of a gentle man who, though pummelled and slapped in every direction by fate, clings desperately to the belief that he lives in “the best of all possible worlds.” On the surface a witty, bantering tale, this eighteenth-century classic is actually a savage, satiric thrust at the philosophical optimism that proclaims that all disaster and human suffering is part of a benevolent cosmic plan. Fast, funny, often outrageous, the French philosopher’s immortal narrative takes Candide around the world to discover that — contrary to the teachings of his distinguished tutor Dr. Pangloss — all is not always for the best. Alive with wit, brilliance, and graceful storytelling, Candide has become Voltaire’s most celebrated work.

Please drop me a comment if you have taken part in Goodreads Monday and I will head over for a visit.

Happy Reading

Etsy

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The Weekly Brief

Hello!

I hope everyone has had a nice weekend so far. I am still on track with my reading goals and my book reviews so I am quite pleased. I’m not sure if it will last but I will keep trying.

Posts this Week

Currently Reading

I have been really enjoying The Greek Myths by Richard Buxton and I have been really enjoying it. I am still reading a chapter a day of The Count of Monte Cristo.

Happy Reading

Etsy

Who Killed Jerusalem? by George Albert Brown (Review #4)

Who Killed Jerusalem? By George Albert Brown

Blurb

In 1977, Ickey Jerusalem, San Francisco’s golden-boy poet laureate, is found dead in a locked, first-class toilet on an arriving red-eye flight.

Ded Smith, a desperately unhappy, intelligent philistine with a highly developed philosophy to match, is called in to investigate the poet’s death. Thus begins a series of hilarious encounters with the members of Jerusalem’s coterie.

Ded soon realizes that to find out what happened, he must not only collect his usual detective’s clues but also, despite his own poetically challenged outlook, get into the dead poet’s mind. Fighting his way through blasphemous funerals, drug-induced dreams, poetry-charged love-making, offbeat philosophical discussions, and much, much more, he begins to piece together Jerusalem’s seductive, all-encompassing metaphysics.

But by then, the attempts to kill Ded and the others have begun.

Before Ded’s death-dodging luck runs out, will he be able to solve the case, and perhaps in the process, develop a new way of looking at the world that might allow him to replace his unhappiness with joy?

Review

Firstly, I would like to say a massive thank you to Mindbuck Media Book Publicity for sending me an advance copy of this book. 

I was really excited to get the opportunity to read this book because I went through a massive William Blake phase when I was at University. I even composed a four part choral piece to Blake’s poem The Tyger and went to several exhibitions of his art work. This knowledge did help me whilst reading this book but I will be honest even at times I had to do some research to make sense of certain things which makes me worry that people with no experience of Blake’s work and his metaphysics would struggle with this book. 

There are some great characters within this book and some characters that I really did not get along with. Sadly, the one character I really did not like was Ded. Ded is rather a sad character who has not had a very happy life so far. His childhood was sheltered and not happy and he has basically been just going through life working and just existing. Although I felt sorry for Ded I really did not like how he acted and found him painfully socially awkward. I also did not like his sexual habits very much. The other character I did not particularly like was Beulah. I found Beulah to be rather childish and very naive. At times I felt sorry for her but at the same time I just wanted her to get angry and react to things. 

Most of the members of Jerusalem’s coterie were hilarious and were the reason I kept reading the book. Ghostflea the chauffeur was definitely my favourite character. Ghostflea had an interesting upbringing and I love how he learnt to drive by reading a book. The image of an erratic driver who really can’t drive driving like a drunk person around San Fransisco in an English hearse was hilarious and had me laughing a great deal. 

The other character that had me laughing was Tharmas. Tharmas basically spends his life as high as a kite and going from one sexual encounter to the next. It was hard to imagine him as a business manager for Jerusalem. 

I will be honest I did find this book a hard slog and what made it worse was that I guessed who the killer was very early on and when I was right it felt like rather a let down and extremely predictable. The ending where Ded explains all his theories in the plane was in my opinion not needed and it felt like Brown was trying to imitate a Poirot book but not as successfully as Christie. Overall, if this book had been shorter I think I would have enjoyed it more but from about half way through it was becoming too much like hard work. I give this book 3 out of 5 Dragons. 

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Wordery

(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 ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

George Albert Brown, a graduate of Yale University and Stanford Law, started as a hippie in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury and retired at the age of 40 after having co-founded a successful international finance company. Following stints thereafter as a humorous author (The Airline Passenger’s Guerrilla Handbook) and an angel investor in over a score of high-tech university spinouts, he built a catamaran in Chile and for more than a decade, cruised it across the globe with his significant other. Today, as a father of three grown children, a grandfather of four not-yet-grown children, and an involuntary lover of stray cats, he continues her peripatetic lifestyle by other means.

Etsy

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Lyra’s Pawsome Books #6

Hello!

I thought it was time for another Etsy update as I have been quite busy putting new products on the website. I also have a 10% discount code available for my book bloggers. LADYBOOKDRAGON10.

Book A Month

I had been wanting to do this product for a long time and over Christmas I finally got enough time to wrap loads of books.

Blind Date with a Book Valentine’s edition

This Valentine’s edition Blind Date with a Book contains a heart themed chocolate lollipop and a brand new paperback book of a genre of your choice plus a lotus biscuit. There is also the option to send a personal message on a book themed postcard in the parcel. There is also an everyday themed Blind Date with a Book available.

TBR Jar Refills.

Celebration Cards

There are quite a few cards now available on the Etsy site as well.

Balloon Card

Cat Themed Card

Thank you for visiting my little shop. More products will be arriving soon!

WWW Wednesday: 18/01/2023

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!

I hope everyone is well. Reading hasn’t been going quite so well this week, I’ve still managed some reading everyday but not as much as I would like.

What I am Currently Reading

The more I read this book the more bizarre it gets. I like how the author has used creations by William Blake within this book but at the same time it is just to strange and I really don’t like the main character.

What I have Recently Finished Reading

I throughly enjoyed this book and it was great to get back into reading my classics again. Here is the review if you are interested.

What I Think I will Read Next

I have so many books I want to read this year and because of this I plan to be a lot more restrained with my book buying.

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

Happy Reading

Etsy

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Books I will Definitely Read in 2023

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

Hello!

I hope you are all having a good week so far. I am struggling with my current read but I am trying to get through it. If it wasn’t a book sent by the publisher I would DNF but I always like to try and finish a book that has been kindly given to me by a publisher.

There are so many books I intend to read this year so it has been hard to narrow the list down to 5 but here goes.

  1. The Cicero Trilogy by Robert Harris – I bought this last year and I have been eager to read it but I sadly ran out of time in 2022 so I am determined to make time for it this year.
  2. The Persephone Book of Short Stories – I have decided to read this book this year and to try and read one short story a day. I like dividing a substantial book up into manageable segments as it makes me see my progress whilst reading and not feeling bogged down with a book.
  3. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius – This is one of the books I plan to read for my challenge of reading an Ancient Greek or Roman book a month.
  4. Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski – I meant to start The Witcher series last year but again I ran out of time. This year I am determined to start the series but I probably won’t finish the series.
  5. The Woman Who Would be King by Kara Cooney – This book was on my wish list for ages and I finally had it as a Christmas present off my wonderful husband. Now I have the book I can’t wait to get reading it.

Please drop me a comment if you have taken part in Top 5 Tuesday this week and I will head over for look.

Happy Reading

Etsy

Goodreads Monday: 16/01/2023

Goodreads Monday is now hosted by Budget Tales Book Club.  All you have to do is show off a book from your TBR that you’re looking forward to reading.

Happy Monday!

I hope everyone has had a good start to the week so far. I have had an interesting day at school, recorders filled with polystyrene, sticky ukuleles and sticky practice diaries. I’m not sure what these children do with their instruments. Truthfully, I probably don’t want to know.

My chosen book this week is one that I really want to read and one that is from the Persephone Books publishers. Persephone books in Bath is possibly my absolute favourite bookshop.

Most of these stories focus on the small, quiet or unspoken intricacies of human relationships rather than grand dramas. The use of metaphor is delicate and subtle; often the women are strong and capable and the men less so; shallow and selfish motives are exposed.
The dates of these stories range from 1909 to 1986 and there are thirty in all. The ten stories which are already in print in Persephone editions of their work are by Katherine Mansfield, Irène Némirovsky, Mollie Panter-Downes (twice), Elizabeth Berridge, Dorothy Whipple, Frances Towers, Margaret Bonham, Diana Gardner and Diana Athill. The ten stories which have already been published in the Quarterly and Biannually are by EM Delafield; Dorothy Parker; Dorothy Whipple; Edith Wharton; Phyllis Bentley; Dorothy Canfield Fisher; Norah Hoult; Angelica Gibbs; Penelope Mortimer; and Georgina Hammick. And lastly the ten stories which are new are by Susan Glaspell, Pauline Smith, Malachi Whitaker, Betty Miller, Helen Hull, Kay Boyle, Shirley Jackson, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Elizabeth Spencer and Penelope Fitzgerald.

I plan on trying to read a short story a day.

Please drop me a comment if you have taken part in Goodreads Monday and I will head over for a visit.

Happy Reading

Etsy

The Weekly Brief

Hello!

I hope everyone has had a good weekend so far. I am feeling rather good about 2023 so far. Blogging and reading is going well and I up to date on all my book reviews. I actually feel organised with my blog for a change!

Anyway, here is what has been happening on the blog this week.

Posts this Week

Currently Reading

I’m nearly half way through with this and I must admit I am struggling. I suspect I have already worked out who the murderer is because the story is quite predictable but I am really struggling with the characters especially the main character. I will carry on till the end though as I am reading and reviewing it for the publishers but I am finding it all quite odd.

Happy Reading

Etsy

The Aeneid by Virgil (translated by by Frederick Ahl)(Review #3)

The Aeneid by Virgil (translated by by Frederick Ahl)

Blurb

After a century of civil strife in Rome and Italy, Virgil wrote the Aeneid to honour the emperor Augustus by praising his legendary ancestor Aeneas. As a patriotic epic imitating Homer, the Aeneid also set out to provide Rome with a literature equal to that of Greece. It tells of Aeneas, survivor of the sack of Troy, and of his seven-year journey: to Carthage, where he falls tragically in love with Queen Dido; then to the underworld,; and finally to Italy, where he founds Rome. It is a story of defeat and exile, of love and war, hailed by Tennyson as ‘the stateliest measure ever moulded by the lips of man’.

Review

I have finally finished this book! When I first started reading it I was in the middle of my Masters and this sadly had to fall by the way side. However, on the 1st January I decided to read one book a day of this book and yesterday (yes I know a day behind) I finally finished. 

The book begins in Carthage where Aeneas tells his journey to Queen Dido starting from  the fall of Troy where Aeneas and the survivors he manages to gather including his father and son flee Troy and begin their 7 year journey to find a new home. Their journey goes from Carthage, to the Underworld and finally Italy his final destination.  

My first thought about this book is what an amazing piece of propaganda. The amount of propaganda in this book really made me laugh but I think the pinnacle of it was in book 7. In book 7 Anchises shows Aeneas all the descendants that will come from his line and it is quite a list. Aeneas is basically the father of all the great leaders of Rome which seems highly improbable. 

My husband kindly treated me to see Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas opera for my birthday which I absolutely loved but I do think Purcell was rather kind to Aeneas. In truth I always found Aeneas to be a bit of an ass. Whilst he is fleeing Troy he accidentally loses his wife, he does go back and look for her but really he shouldn’t have lost her in the first place. Then what he does with Queen Dido is in my opinion absolutely awful. Yes, I know the gods had something to do with it but really the man did not show any remorse at all and was a complete b__.

The last 6 books of the book is where Aeneas and his men, and we presume some women and children as they are briefly mentioned, land in Italy and all hell breaks loose in war. I loved how all the gods get involved and even some nymphs as this really parallels with Homer’s depiction of the war of Troy. In fact Virgil is very clever with his direct links with Homer’s work. When studying my Masters it was always amazing how much the Romans wanted to be as good as the Ancient Greeks. The Romans copied their sculptures, their texts and much more but always keeping their Roman values. 

I really enjoyed this book and it was a great start to 2023 and my plan to read at least one Ancient Greek or Roman text a month. Virgil was a very talented writer who knew how to write an excellent piece of propaganda. I also loved Ahl’s translation but I knew it would be good as he is one of my favourite translators. I happily give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons. 

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Bookshop.org | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(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 ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Publius Vergilius Maro (October 15, 70 BCE – September 21, 19 BCE), usually called Virgil or Vergil /ˈvɜrdʒəl/ in English, was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues (or Bucolics), the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid. A number of minor poems, collected in the Appendix Vergiliana, are sometimes attributed to him.

Virgil is traditionally ranked as one of Rome’s greatest poets. His Aeneid has been considered the national epic of ancient Rome from the time of its composition to the present day. Modeled after Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, the Aeneid follows the Trojan refugee Aeneas as he struggles to fulfill his destiny and arrive on the shores of Italy—in Roman mythology the founding act of Rome. Virgil’s work has had wide and deep influence on Western literature, most notably the Divine Comedy of Dante, in which Virgil appears as Dante’s guide through hell and purgatory.

Etsy

Amours de Voyage by Arthur Hugh Clough (Review #2)

Amours de Voyage by Arthur Hugh Clough

Blurb

Amours de Voyage is a novel in verse and is arranged in five cantos, or chapters, as a sequence of letters. It is about a group of English travellers in Italy: Claude, and the Trevellyn family, are caught up in the 1849 political turmoil. The poem mixes the political (‘Sweet it may be, and decorous, perhaps, for the country to die; but,/On the whole, we conclude the Romans won’t do it, and I sha’n’t’) and the personal (‘After all, do I know that I really cared so about her?/Do whatever I will, I cannot call up her image’). The political is important but the personal dilemmas are the crucial ones.

Claude, about to declare himself, retreats, regrets. It is this retreat, his scruples and fastidiousness, that, like a conventional novel, is the core of Amours de Voyage. The poem thus contributed something important to the modern sensibility; it is a portrait of an anti-hero; it is about love and marriage (the difficulties of); and it is about Italy.

Review

I had never heard of Arthur Hugh Clough before but I was really intrigued when I saw this book in Persephone books so I bought it. I have been reading some pretty hefty books recently so last weekend I thought I would read a shorter book as a quick read and this was the book I chose. 

The first thing I loved about this book was the preface by Julian Barnes. Barnes gave a wonderful description of Clough’s life and the background behind this book. It really set the scene well. 

This was quite a different read for me but one that I flew through. I really loved Claude’s thoughts on Rome as he really was very unimpressed with the whole affair and I found his reactions to it quite amusing. The book is a novel in verse and made up of letters. Claude writes to his long suffering friend Eustace and I say long suffering because I think the poor man has a lot of letters of Claude. The other letters are from the Trevellyn sisters to their friend. 

I will be honest the character Claude was not my favourite. He found Rome boring, he was self centred, looked down on people and only found Mary interesting when she had gone. Personally I think Mary was better off without Claude in her life. Mary thought a lot more about Claude than Claude did about Mary. 

Overall, I loved Clough’s writing and I would love to read more of his work but what let it down for me was simply his main character Claude. I just could not deal with Claude’s selfish behaviour sadly. Due to this I give the book 3 out of 5 Dragons. 

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Bookshop.org | Waterstones | Wordery

(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 ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861) was an English poet, an educationalist, and the devoted assistant to Florence Nightingale. 

Etsy