May 2022 Wrap Up

Hello!

May has been a good month for me reading wise as I managed another 6 books. I was hoping to manage more but some of the books were rather large.

Statistics

Books

Pages: 128

Format Read: Paperback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲

Review

Pages: 144

Format Read: Paperback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲

Review

Pages: 688

Format Read: Paperback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲

Review

Pages: 307

Format Read: Paperback

Dragon Reading: 🐲🐲🐲🐲

Review

Pages: 96

Format Read: Hardback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲🐲

Review

Pages: 512

Format Read: Kindle

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲

Review

Goodreads Challenge: 23/60

Happy Reading

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Goodreads Monday: 30/05/2022

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.

Hello!

I hope everyone has had a good start to the week. I have had a lovely day off with an adventure as well. My chosen book this week for Goodreads Monday is by a favourite author of mine and one I hope to eventually read all of his books.

In this classically simple tale of the disastrous impact of outside life on a secluded community in Dorset, now in a new edition, Hardy narrates the rivalry for the hand of Grace Melbury between a simple and loyal woodlander and an exotic and sophisticated outsider. Betrayal, adultery, disillusion, and moral compromise are all worked out in a setting evoked as both beautiful and treacherous. The Woodlanders, with its thematic portrayal of the role of social class, gender, and evolutionary survival, as well as its insights into the capacities and limitations of language, exhibits Hardy’s acute awareness of his era’s most troubling dilemmas.

Purchase Links

Book Depository | 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.)

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

Happy Reading

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

The Weekly Brief

Hello!

Another week of reading and blogging is complete. I can’t believe we will be in June on Wednesday! The year is flying by.

Posts this Week

Currently Reading

I’m going quite slowly with Dombey and Son but I am still really enjoying it.

Happy Reading

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Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (Review)

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Blurb

This is a seductive and evocative epic on an intimate scale, which tells the extraordinary story of a geisha girl. Summoning up more than twenty years of Japan’s most dramatic history, it uncovers a hidden world of eroticism and enchantment, exploitation and degradation. From a small fishing village in 1929, the tale moves to the glamorous and decadent heart of Kyoto in the 1930s, where a young peasant girl is sold as servant and apprentice to a renowned geisha house. She tells her story many years later from the Waldorf Astoria in New York; it exquisitely evokes another culture, a different time and the details of an extraordinary way of life. It conjures up the perfection and the ugliness of life behind rice-paper screens, where young girls learn the arts of geisha – dancing and singing, how to wind the kimono, how to walk and pour tea, and how to beguile the most powerful men.

Review

This book has been sat on my TBR list since 2019 and due to an unexpected hour long break at work where I found myself without a book I fired up the Kindle app on my phone and began reading this book and then found I couldn’t put it down. 

This book begins in a small fishing village in a shack where there live two sisters and their parents. The father is a poor fisherman and when the mother falls sick a local successful businessman suggests sending the two daughters to the city for a new life which the father eventually agrees to. The story then moves to a geisha house in Kyoto where the youngest of the two sisters starts her new life. 

The story is told from the first person perspective of the younger sister who is called Chiyo. Chiyo begins her life in the Okiya as a servant where she must win the approval of those who now own her who she knows as Mother and Granny. If Mother and Granny approve of her she will be trained as a Geisha. However, there is someone who stands in her way and that is the Geisha who currently lives in the Okiya called Hatsumomo. Hatsumomo is an evil woman who has taken a dislike to Chiyo and through the story Hatsumomo works her hardest to stop Chiyo from advancing in anything. 

As the story goes on we learn how Chiyo becomes a Geisha and gets her Geisha name of Sayuri and what her life entails. We also learn how and who helps her to get to her life as a Geisha. Sayuri is telling us her story from her home in New York many years later. She shows us how the life of a Geisha isn’t all luxury but it is hard work and dominated by the world of men. A Geisha spends her whole existence trying to beguile and please men. 

This book is so full on and really informative and that is one of the main reasons I could not put it down. It is also beautifully written and a joy to read. The main reason that I did not give the book a full 5 Dragons was because I didn’t really like the ending. I just didn’t like what Sayuri was willing to do to get her own way and it involved hurting the one man who always tried his hardest to keep her safe and be kind to her. It is for that reason I give the book 4 out of 5 Dragons. 

🐲🐲🐲🐲

Purchase Links

Book Depository | 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

Arthur Golden was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and was educated at Harvard College, where he received a degree in art history, specialising in Japanese art. In 1980 he earned an M.A. in Japanese history from Columbia University, where he also learned Mandarin Chinese. Following a summer in Beijing University, he worked in Tokyo, and, after returning to the United States, earned an M.A. in English from Boston University. He resides in Brookline, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children. 

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Friday Poetry: Anon

Happy Friday!

My chosen poem for today is by an anonymous author but one that I think is rather amusing.

Bookworm

A worm ate words. I thought that wonderfully 
Strange - a miracle - when they told me a crawling
Insect had swallowed noble songs,
I night-time thief had stolen writing
So famous, so weighty. But the bug was foolish
Still, though its belly was full of thought. 

Anon

Happy Reading

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This and That Thursday

Hello!

I thought it was time for a non bookish update. My husband and I have really been trying to make the most of our days off together over the last few weeks and this has led to more adventures.

Lord of the Rings Conqueror Challenge

We signed up to the Lord of the Rings Conqueror Challenge with the aim to walk 10 miles a week. Some weeks we have fallen a little behind because of work but overall we are getting more walking in. It has been so good to get outside for a nice walk most days.

Severn Valley Railway

A couple of weeks ago we went on the Severn Valley Railway. We spent a lovely day on the train and exploring one of the stations and the museum there. We haven’t been on the steam trains since Christmas so it was so good to be back.

Coughton Court

Last week we went to the National Trust property Coughton Court. It isn’t the first time we have been there but it has been a few years since we last visited so it was good to be back. The Court is a really beautiful building with a fascinating history and lovely grounds. We spent all day there exploring and I even bought a book in the second hand book shop.

Cinema

Tonight we went to the cinema for the first time in at least three years. We went to see the new Downton Abbey film and we really enjoyed it. The cinema was very quiet when we went and we shared the screen with only another 3 people.

So there are our most recent adventures. Hopefully we will manage some more very soon.

Happy Reading

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Mid Week Quote: Berthold Auerbach

Hello!

These past few weeks have been full on with music teaching and performing so I thought I would go for a music related quote this week.

My chosen quote this week is by the German-Jewish poet and author Berthold Auerbach (1812-1882).

“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

Berthold Auerbach

Happy Reading

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

WWW Wednesday: 25/05/2022

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 has been having a good week so far.

What I am Currently Reading

I took a little break from this over the weekend as I was completely hooked on Memoirs of a Geisha but now I am back full time to Dombey and Son and throughly enjoying it.

What I have Recently Finished Reading

I just finished this today. I really enjoyed this and could not stop reading it but I was a little disappointed with the ending.

What I Think I will Read Next

I think I will be reading Dombey and Son for quite a while and will need some light relief once finished.

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

Happy Reading

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

The Windsor Knot by S. J. Bennett (Review)

The Windsor Knot by S. J. Bennett

Blurb

The morning after a dinner party at Windsor Castle, eighty-nine-year-old Queen Elizabeth is shocked to discover that one of her guests has been found murdered in his room, with a rope around his neck.

When the police begin to suspect her loyal servants, Her Majesty knows they’re looking in the wrong place.

For the Queen has been living an extraordinary double life since her coronation. Away from the public eye, she has a brilliant knack for solving crimes.

With her household’s happiness on the line, her secret must not get out. Can the Queen and her trusted secretary Rozie catch the killer, without getting caught themselves?

Review

My husband read the second book from this series before realising that there was a first so we promptly bought the first one but I got to read it first. I now can’t wait to read the next one. 

I really enjoyed this book and just loved the idea of the Queen solving crimes and what a crime to solve. A guest has been found murdered in his bedroom with a rope around his neck. A murder in the Queen’s favourite residence and whilst she was in the building. I think my favourite person’s reaction to the crime is Prince Philip’s as it is such a contrast to his wife’s and very funny. 

As the story progresses it soon becomes apparent that the people investigating the murder are on completely the wrong track so the Queen decides she must solve the crime but without anybody knowing. This means she must enlist the help of her secretary Rozie. 

The Queen gets Rozie to gather the information she requires which means poor Rozie has to jump through quite a few hoops to make sure nobody knows what she is up to. Rozie also helps the Queen look after the staff who have fallen victim to the questioning. The Queen cares about her staff and wants to make sure that they are happy and safe so she enlists Rozie to make sure they know the Queen is thinking about them. 

I really enjoyed this book and loved how the Queen judges people by how her dogs react to them. The Queen has a sharp mind but a lot of the men around her believe she is a little old lady who needs to be protected from the harshness of the murder investigation but instead of putting them right she smiles and holds her tongue and bests them all without them knowing. My favourite character was definitely Prince Philip even though he wasn’t in the book much. Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 Dragons. 

🐲🐲🐲🐲

Purchase Links

Book Depository | 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

SJ Bennett was born in Yorkshire, England in 1966, and lives in London. An army child, she grew up travelling around the world. Her first novel was published when she was 42, after a varied career and lots of procrastination. She is the award-winning author of several books for children and teaches and podcasts about writing.

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

Goodreads Monday: 23/05/2022

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. My chosen book this week is by one of my favourite authors Charlotte Bronte.

The Shirley of the title is a woman of independent means; her friend Caroline is not. Both struggle with what a woman’s role is and can be. Their male counterparts – Louis, the powerless tutor, and Robert, his cloth-manufacturing brother – also stand at odds to society’s expectations. The novel is set in a period of social and political ferment, featuring class disenfranchisement, the drama of Luddite machine-breaking, and the divisive effects of the Napoleonic Wars.

But Charlotte Brontës particular strength lies in exploring the hidden psychological drama of love, loss and the quest for identity. Personal and public agitation are brought together against the dramatic backdrop of her native Yorkshire. As always, Brontë challenges convention, exploring the limitations of social justice whilst telling not one but two love stories.

Purchase Links

Book Depository | 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.)

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

Happy Reading

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