Friday Poetry, 21st June 2019

So tomorrow is meant to be the longest day of the year so I have chosen something suitable and also something close to my heart as I studied the play for my Drama A Level.

I’m not entirely sure whether this counts as a poem but I am going for it.

This chosen piece is from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare and is the meditation that Duke Theseus delivers on what it means to dream.

 

More strange than true! I never may believe

These antique fables, nor these fairy toys.

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,

Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend

More than cool reason ever comprehends.

The lunatic, the lover and the poet

Are of imagination all compact.

One sees more devils than vast hell can hold:

That is the madman. The lover, all as frantic,

Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt.

The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,

Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven,

And as imagination bodies forth

The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen

Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing

A local habitation and a name.

Such tricks hath strong imagination,

That if it would but apprehend some joy,

It comprehends some bringer of that joy;

Or in the night, imagining some fear,

How easy is a bush suppos’d a bear!

 

William Shakespeare

 

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Summer Reading Challenge: In the friend zone.

I am very behind on this list so far but tomorrow I will start reading the books I have already decided on.

The List so far:-

Good as Gold:- The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

The Book is Better:- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Short and Sweet:- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

On the Bandwagon:- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood

Actually Want to Read:- Jaws by Peter Benchley

Not from around here:- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

 

The next prompt for the list is In the friend zone: Read a book that a friend has recommended.

So as usual I have a few options to consider. The first contender is a book recommended to me by my husband.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

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When newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge, what greets her is far from the life of wealth and privilege she was expecting . . .

When Elsie married handsome young heir Rupert Bainbridge, she believed she was destined for a life of luxury. But with her husband dead just weeks after their marriage, her new servants resentful, and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie has only her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. Inside her new home lies a locked door, beyond which is a painted wooden figure–a silent companion–that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself. The residents of The Bridge are terrified of the figure, but Elsie tries to shrug this off as simple superstition–that is, until she notices the figure’s eyes following her.

A Victorian ghost story that evokes a most unsettling kind of fear, this is a tale that creeps its way through the consciousness in ways you least expect–much like the silent companions themselves.

 

The next book was recommended to me by my best friend Charlotte.

Tom Brown’s Schooldays by Thomas Hughes

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One of the classics of English children’s literature, and one of the earliest books written specifically for boys, this novel’s steady popularity has given it an influence well beyond the upper middle-class world that it describes. It tells a story central to an understanding of Victorian life, but its freshness helps to distinguish it from the narrow schoolboy adventures that it later inspired. The book includes an introduction and notes by Andrew Sanders.

 

 

 

 

The final option was recommended to me by a friend and a student.

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

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Pulitzer Prize winner and American master Anne Tyler brings us an inspired, witty and irresistible contemporary take on one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies.

Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but their parents don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.

Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost.

When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around?

 

So these are the options, if you have any thoughts or recommendations please drop me a comment.

Happy reading!

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WWW Wednesday, 19th June 2019

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The rules are answer the questions below and a 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?

 

What I’m reading now:-

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No One is too Small to Make A Difference by Greta Thunberg

Literally just started reading this and only one chapter down. So far so good.

Awakens the Darkness by Dianne Duvall

Have been meaning to read this for ages as I do love all of Dianne Duvall’s books. Just started it this morning, fingers crossed I like it.

 

What I recently finished reading:-

 

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Literally finished this last night and I could not put it down. A really thrilling read with a lot of twists.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

I finished this on Monday and I really enjoyed it, although I wasn’t so keen on the short stories at the end.

 

What I plan on reading next:-

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The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

This is my first planned read on my Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge, I plan on starting it on Friday.

 

I would love to hear if anybody else is taking part in this meme, please drop me a comment with your blog link below.

Happy reading.

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Charity Begins at Home by Jeffrey Archer (Review)

Charity Begins at Home by Jeffrey Archer

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About the author

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Jeffrey Archer was born in England in 1940, he is a former politician and author. Archer was a member of parliament from 1969-1974 but did not seek re-election due to a financial scandal that almost bankrupt him. Facing bankruptcy Archer began to write and in so doing revived his fortunes. Archer’s political career has been filled with scandal and in 2001 he was sent to jail for perjury and perverting the course of justice, in 2003 he was released. All his life experiences influence his writing and make for interesting reading.

Blurb

By all estimates Henry Preston lives an uneventful existence – an accountant with no prospect of making partner and single with a sedate home life. That is until he meets Angela Forster, a fundraiser who specializes in charity events. As he begins overseeing Angela’s accounts, Henry spots an opportunity to live a life he previously thought impossible. With everything at stake, does Henry have the nerve to gamble with their futures for the chance of a better life . . .

Review

Another little short story that I read last week during a gap I had between teaching piano. People who read my blog will know by now that I am a massive fan of Jeffrey Archer’s short stories.

This short story was a nice little read but not spectacular, it just filled some time and kept me amused for twenty minutes, but I could have easily not bothered with the story as well. Basically it did not have me riveted to the story.

I really liked the character of Henry and felt rather sorry for him, he has always been Mr Average and does not expect anything spectacular with his life. However, he may have finally found an opportunity to correct his life from average to good. The problem is can he get away with it?

The character of Angela Forster is of a hard working woman who has not had the best of lives so far, her husband leaving her and she having to start her own business to make ends meet. Otherwise she comes across as a hard working average woman with a good business. Not Archer’s usual striking women who turn all men’s heads.

I’m not sure I entirely agree with this story line as it does seem to push the line of crime pays and if you want a better life crime is the way forward.  Overall I could take it or leave it as a story and so have only given the story 3 out of 5 Dragons. A good little read to fill a spare twenty minutes.

Purchase links

Kindle

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Summer Reading Challenge: Not From Around Here

Another instalment of the Summer Reading Challenge. I am slowly getting a list assembled and I am really looking forward to reading all these new books over the summer.

The List so far:-

Good as Gold:- The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

The Book is Better:- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Short and Sweet:- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

On the Bandwagon:- The handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood

Actually Want to Read:- Jaws by Peter Benchley

 

The next prompt is Not from around here:- Read a book set in a different culture from your own. This one I must admit I am rather struggling with but I have tried to come up with a few ideas.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

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Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry Rasheed. Nearly two decades later, a friendship grows between Mariam and a local teenager, Laila, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. When the Taliban take over, life becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear. Yet love can move a person to act in unexpected ways, and lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with a startling heroism.

 

 

 

 

 

A strong contender as I do enjoy the work of Khaled Hosseini.

 

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

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A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel presents with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan’s most celebrated geisha.

In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction – at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful – and completely unforgettable.

 

 

A returner to the line up as this has already been on the list of possibles. Maybe it is a sign to definitely read the book.

 

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

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The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it — from garden seeds to Scripture — is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

 

 

 

This has been highly recommended to me by several family members so I do believe I should give it a read.

 

I’m sticking with just the three options. If anybody has any recommendations please drop me a message.

Happy reading.

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Friday Poetry

Happy Friday my wonderful Book Dragons!

I hope you all have an amazing weekend planned.

My chosen poem this week is by Tony Mitton. Mitton is a children’s author and poet.

 

Days

Old day, gold day,

where did you go?

 

Over the skyline,

sinking low.

Into the arms

of the waiting night

to nestle myself

in its dark delight.

 

New day, blue day,

what will you bring?

 

Light in the sky

and a song to sing.

Sun bobs brightly

up with the dawn,

spreading warmth

as the day is born.

 

Tony Mitton

 

Have a good day everyone.

Happy reading.

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Summer Reading Challenge: On the Bandwagon

Hello my fellow Book Dragons!

I am currently sat here listening to the rain, waiting for the BT engineer to come and fix our internet, as the BT engineer who was working in our road yesterday very kindly gave us somebody else’s phone line and we lost our lovely fibre broadband. Thankfully, I can use all my lovely phone data to blog with.

Summer is fast approaching and I still haven’t planned my reading list for the challenge. The challenge will start on the 21st June and finish on 23rd September 2019, also if by any chance I finish the beginner list early I will try and do some of the expert level reading prompts.

The chosen books so far:-

Good as Gold:- The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling

The Book is Better:- The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Short and Sweet:- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

 

Just another 9 books to choose!

This prompt, On the Bandwagon, is to read one of the ‘most read’ books right now on Goodreads.

I have been having a look at the list and have chosen two likely targets that appeal to me.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

 

This has been on my TBR pile for a very long time and to honest is a very strong contender.

The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

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Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed… again.

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

Another strong contender that has been on my TBR pile for way too long. This is going to be hard choice I feel.

 

To be honest looking at the list these are the only two that jump out at me, the others I have either read or just do not fancy reading. Hopefully only having two to choose from will make the choice easier. I am really starting to look forward to this challenge, I just hope I can stay on track and complete it.

Please let me know your thoughts on the two books and help me decide.

Happy reading.

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