Learning new words

Aloha!

I just thought I would share with you something that has really brought a smile to my face whilst being in Maui.

Everyday when our room is done the housekeeper leaves a card with a Hawaiian word on it and its meaning. I have loved learning the new words each day and have been collecting them in my Kindle case. I was quite upset when the one day we had a double because it meant I did not learn a new word!

So because this blog is essentially about a love of words I thought I would share the words I have learnt with you all.

Ho’okipa (hoe-oh-kee-pah)

To entertain and welcome with gracious hospitality, a spirit of generosity and Aloha.

Kapa (kah-pah)

Traditional cloth made from Wauke or Mamaki bark, and decorated with patterns or watermarks.

Mahalo (mah-ha-low)

Thanks, gratitude, and to have appreciation.

Ho’omau (Ho-oh-maow)

To continue, persist, renew, perpetuate and persevere.

Nalu (nah-loo)

Waves or surf, wavy; as in wood grain.

‘Ohana (OH-hah-nah)

Family, relative, extended family.

There we have our new words. I would have loved to have known how many cards there were to collect in all. So many new words to learn.

Also the dragons made a new friend today, her name is Maui.

Happy reading.

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Mini update

Hello my fellow book dragons.

I just thought I would do a little update on what I have read so far whilst on my holibobs.

Some are on the summer reading challenge list some are not.

Awaken the Darkness by Dianne Duvall

I read this on the plane and really enjoyed it.

Jaws by Peter Benchley

Loved this so much!

Fireside Gothic by Andrew Taylor

This one I borrowed off Lord Book Dragon and it was a nice discovery. I definitely plan on reading more by Andrew Taylor

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Hmm still not sure on this one. Just could not get on with Henry James’ writing style.

I’m about to start reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

Reviews will follow next week when I’m home and back to my laptop.

Happy Reading.

Maui

Hello my fellow book dragons!

It might be a little quiet at the moment because Lord and Lady Book Dragon are currently on holiday in Maui.

The good news is that Lady Book Dragon is doing a lot of reading by the pool and on the beach. There will be a lot of book reviews going up once we are safely back home. Lady Book Dragon has even had to borrow one of Lord Book Dragon’s books to read as she was struggling to find reading material!

But for now enjoy a few snaps of our hols.

Happy reading.

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.

The Nutcracker

It’s nearly Christmas!!!

Last night I finally started The Nutcracker. I must admit I usually start this a lot earlier in December but due to being ill for a week and catching up with work and Christmas decorating, my reading has fallen a big behind but I hope I will be back on track soon.

Yesterday I had a lovely day spent with my husband and parents. It began with my husband and I performing a recital for a Christmas Tree Festival at the church my husband plays organ at. Then we came home for a quick breather, I even managed to do a bit of reading. I finished one book and read another very short book. Then we picked my parents up and went to see the new Mary Poppins film, followed by dinner out. The film was fantastic and it was wonderful to spend time with my husband and parents and not be having to rush off somewhere. It was a chance to relax, smile and share a laugh.

I have two reviews waiting to be written but I promise they will be up soon. I decided to watch Father Ted last night instead of writing reviews. Apologies but it was the first ever episode and I had never seen it before.

I hope you all have a wonderful day and are all ready for Christmas.

Lady Book Dragon.