Christmas Book Haul

Hello!

Today I have had a wonderful day off, as I spent the morning reading and then went and spent the day in Birmingham book shopping and exploring the German Christmas Market.

I had a lot of fun in Waterstones and bought quite a few books and my husband also got some as well so the lady on the check out was quite surprised at the varied selection. I also had a lot of fun looking at the children’s section.

 

Here are my lovely books:-

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I bought this book because my best friend, nicknamed Tufty Seal highly recommends Adam Kay as a writer so I am really looking forward to reading this book.

 

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I saw this today and just had to buy it as I absolutely love the film!

 

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I must admit I got this because the cover was pretty, I know very shallow, but sometimes a pretty cover is all you need to buy a book.

 

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I bought this because I loved the last book with Murder Christmas stories I hope this one does not disappoint.

 

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Another book from the Christmas table at Waterstones. I hope it does not disappoint.

 

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This book I got in the children’s section. I always get a version of The Nutcracker each year and this year I got this little one with a pop up surprise at the end!

 

I also got two very pretty decorations from the German Market.

 

Please drop me a comment if you have read any of the books.

Happy Reading.

 

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Christmas Reading list: Update

Hello!

So yesterday after spending a great deal of time reading and note taking for my Masters, I decided I would check out Amazon and see if they had any super cheap Christmas books. To be honest I do not usually buy books off Amazon unless it is for my Kindle but yesterday I felt like a treat.

So the list has grown again, I just hope the new books prove to be good. I have also read one of the books on the list and a review will be posted shortly.

The List

A Very Murderous Christmas by various authors

The Night I Met Father Christmas by Ben Miller

Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye

A Very Country Christmas by Zara Stonely

A Literary Christmas: An Anthology

Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles by Phillipa Ashley

 

Please drop me a comment if you have any Christmas book recommendations, as I would love to add to the list.

Happy Reading!

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Christmas Reading List: Update

I am getting so excited for Christmas that I have started reading my Christmas reading list! I will be adding to this list, as at the moment it is way too short. I always go to the German Market in Birmingham to do some Christmas shopping and I always spend a lot of time in Waterstones and that is usually when I get most of my Christmas books, so watch this space!

 

So here is the list in no particular order:-

The Night I Met Father Christmas by Ben Miller

Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye

A Very Murderous Christmas by various authors

A Very Country Christmas by Zara Stonely

A Literary Christmas: An Anthology

 

I have just started reading A Very Murderous Christmas and so far it is proving to be very good.

 

If you have any Christmas books to recommend to me please drop me a comment.

 

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Christmas Reading List

Hello everyone!

I have started to think of my Christmas reading list. I usually begin my Christmas reading on the 1st December but this year I am very tempted to begin earlier because usually I am so busy during the month of December. Also I just want to get into the Christmas spirit!

The first on the list is a book recommended to me by my best friend, who sent me a very excited text yesterday telling me I just had to read it.

The Night I Met Father Christmas by Ben Miller

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The second book will be a new copy of The Nutcracker which as you know I read every year and every year I get a new edition, the prettier the better.

So let the planning and Christmas book buying commence. Any suggestions would be gratefully received.

Happy reading.

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The Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffmann (Review)

The Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffmann, illustrated by Robert Ingpen, translated by Anthea Bell

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About the author

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Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann was born in 1776 in Konigsbarg, Prussia (which is now Kaliningrad, Russia). His educational background was law, but his real love was music. As a young man he moved to Germany hoping to begin a musical career, he went on to become a composer, director and conductor. As a way to help his income he took up writing in his thirties. He wrote four novels and approximately fifty stories and novellas and was possibly one of the most influential writers of his time. He passed away in 1822.

About the illustrator

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Robert Ingpen was born in 1936 in Geelong, Australia. He studied illustration art and book design at The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. In 1986 he was awarded the Hans Christian Anderson Medal for his contributions to children’s literature and he has been honoured with Membership of the Order of Australia.

About the translator

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Anthea Bell was born in 1936 and was an English translator of literary works, her speciality was children’s literature. She translated French, German and Danish into English. She is best known for translating the Astrix comics into English. She past away on the 18th October 2018.

Blurb

The Nutcracker is well-loved by many, and is perhaps best known as the inspiration for Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet, performed as a favourite Christmas spectacle the world over. The ballet was based on a French retelling of the story, and Hoffmann’s German original is rarely translated in its entirety. This version includes the familiar tale of the gentle young girl and her love for the enchanted Nutcracker – a Christmas gift from her enigmatic Godfather Drosselmeier – who leads the toy soldiers in a dramatic battle against the sinister Mouse King, and whisks her away to the Kingdom of Toys. But it also retains the original ‘story within the story’, told to Marie by Drosselmeier when she is ill in bed: The Tale of the Hard Nut, about the cursed Princess Pirlipat, which explains the background of how the poor Nutcracker came to be.

Review

I do love reading Christmas stories on the run up to Christmas as amongst the chaos of preparing for Christmas they provide some calm. Very sorry this review is rather late. I actually forgot to do this review with the chaos of Christmas and New Year and it was only when I started sorting and tidying up books that I realised I had not written the review.

Anyway back to The Nutcracker by E.T.A Hoffmann and translated by Anthea Bell with the wonderful illustrations by Robert Ingpen. I love the story of the Nutcracker and have previously read the translated versions by Alexander Dumas and Joachim Neugroschel. However I found Dumas’ translation very difficult to follow as it lacked fluency and did not have the story within a story. I believe the ballet is based on Dumas’ translation. Bell’s translation however flows beautifully and made the book a joy to read, including The Tale of the Hard Nut also helps the story make sense and helps the reader understand how the Nutcracker came to be.

The Nutcracker is a wonderful fairytale story for all ages young and old with some very subtle morals hidden in there. I loved Marie’s young innocence and Godfather Drosselmeir’s kindness with a hidden layer of something sinister. Fritz, Marie’s brother however is a little trying for me and is clearly just a spoilt child, who probably due to being the only son has been allowed to get away with a lot more than his older and younger sisters. Luise the older sister I feel for, as she is not mentioned much and her character is not greatly expanded and she seems to be rather ignored by her siblings and parents.

The beautiful illustrations in the book are stunning and really aid your imagination in visualising the story. And of course the main lesson that you learn from Marie at the end is a lovely ending to the story. It really is a timeless story that can not help bring a smile to your face and make you look forward to Christmas.

I highly recommend this book and translation and look forward to reading it again on a future Christmas. I have given this book a very fiery 5 Dragons out of 5 Dragons.

Lady Book Dragon.

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Enid Blyton: Five at the Office Christmas Party by Bruno Vincent (Review)

Enid Blyton: Five at the Office Christmas Party by Bruno Vincent

About the author

Bruno Vincent is the author of several humour titles, including The Famous Five Series, he has also written two volumes of gothic horror stories for children which were adapted for the stage.

Blurb

Join Julian, George, Dick, Anne and Timmy the dog as they try to prepare the perfect office Christmas Party, with no budget at all. Will they succeed, and make everyone happy? Or will all the emergency services be called before the night is out?

Review

I have read most of the Famous Five parodies by Bruno Vincent but I had been saving this one to read over the Christmas holidays and I was pleased I did. I read most of the Famous Five series when I was a child and have always enjoyed reading about the five’s adventures, especially George as I was also a tomboy when I was young.

The four children are now adults and are blundering along trying to get adult life correct. Timmy is now very mature and does not take such an active role in the adventures although he is still present, watching over the four. The story begins with Julian getting fired from his job and managing to get another job working with Dick, George and Anne at the business that their rogue cousin Rupert owns. None of them particularly enjoy their work apart from Julian who finds the simple data input work a lot better than his previous job as he used to over think that job.

Just before Christmas Rupert pulls the four into his office and asks them to organise the Christmas party to help raise morale in the company. This does not end well, especially when the workers sample Julian’s punch.

The story is hilariously funny and well written, Vincent has obviously done his homework and read a great deal of the original Famous Five books because he has each of the five perfect, their childhood characters come through in their adult life. Anne is still homely, petite and pretty, George is still stubborn, bad tempered and boyish, Julian a know it all but now has a drink problem, Dick who is always happy to follow everyone’s lead and is happy to just potter around playing Pokemon Go. Vincent has been nothing but respectful to Enid Blyton’s work and legacy and I think she would have rather enjoyed his version of the adult five.

The only reason this book did not get 5 dragons was because the ending was a little bit disappointing for me and it finished a bit too soon on a cliffhanger no less. This book was a brilliant read I would recommend for anyone who wants a good laugh over Christmas and who enjoyed the Famous Five series as a child. A big 4 out of 5 dragons from me.

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Lady Book Dragon

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.