Down the TBR Hole #8

Hello, I hope everyone has had a good weekend. I myself haven’t got quite as much reading as I would of liked but I did get to see Detective Pikachu in the cinema!

Down the TBR Hole was the brain child of Lost In A Story. The idea is to reduce the length of your Goodreads TBR.

How it works:

  • Go to your Goodreads want to read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added
  • Take the first 5 or 10 books.
  • Read the synopses of the books.
  • Decide: keep it or should it go

The TBR pile is currently at 477, as I noticed a few books on it that I had actually read so I have since sorted them onto the correct shelves on Goodreads.

 

So here goes…

1. The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope

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Trollope’s 1875 tale of a great financier’s fraudulent machinations in the railway business, and his daughter’s ill-use at the hands of a grasping lover is a classic in the literature of money and a ripping good read as well.

 

I will keep this on the list as I keep meaning to read some books by Anthony Trollope and I do own quite a few of his books. Must get back into reading my classics!

 

KEEP

 

 

2. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

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When Arthur Clennam returns to England after many years abroad, he takes a kindly interest in Amy Dorrit, his mother’s seamstress, and in the affairs of Amy’s father, William Dorrit, a man of shabby grandeur, long imprisoned for debt in Marshalsea prison. As Arthur soon discovers, the dark shadow of the prison stretches far beyond its walls to affect the lives of many, from the kindly Mr Panks, the reluctant rent-collector of Bleeding Heart Yard, and the tipsily garrulous Flora Finching, to Merdle, an unscrupulous financier, and the bureaucratic Barnacles in the Circumlocution Office. A masterly evocation of the state and psychology of imprisonment, Little Dorrit is one of the supreme works of Dickens’s maturity.

 

I love all works by Dickens and I am slowly working through all of his novels, so this definitely stays on the list.

KEEP

 

3. Shirley by Charlotte Brontë

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Following the tremendous popular success of Jane Eyre, which earned her lifelong notoriety as a moral revolutionary, Charlotte Brontë vowed to write a sweeping social chronicle that focused on “something real and unromantic as Monday morning.” Set in the industrializing England of the Napoleonic wars and Luddite revolts of 1811-12, Shirley (1849) is the story of two contrasting heroines. One is the shy Caroline Helstone, who is trapped in the oppressive atmosphere of a Yorkshire rectory and whose bare life symbolizes the plight of single women in the nineteenth century. The other is the vivacious Shirley Keeldar, who inherits a local estate and whose wealth liberates her from convention.

A work that combines social commentary with the more private preoccupations of Jane Eyre, Shirley demonstrates the full range of Brontë’s literary talent. “Shirley is a revolutionary novel,” wrote Brontë biographer Lyndall Gordon. “Shirley follows Jane Eyre as a new exemplar but so much a forerunner of the feminist of the later twentieth century that it is hard to believe in her actual existence in 1811-12. She is a theoretic possibility: what a woman might be if she combined independence and means of her own with intellect. Charlotte Brontë imagined a new form of power, equal to that of men, in a confident young woman [whose] extraordinary freedom has accustomed her to think for herself….Shirley [is] Brontë’s most feminist novel.”

This definitely stays on the list and I have moved it to the top of my TBR pile, hoping to read it in the next few weeks.

KEEP

 

4. The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy

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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.

 

 

Another author I adore! This is another book to keep on the list, at the moment I am really enjoying Hardy’s poetry and have read several of his novels in the past, so it has to stay. The list is not shrinking much this week!

KEEP

 

5. Scenes of Clerical Life by George Eliot

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When Scenes of Clerical Life, George Eliot’s first novel, was published anonymously in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine in 1857, it was immediately recognized, in the words of Saturday Review, as ‘the production of a peculiar and remarkable writer’. The first readers, including Dickens and Thackeray, were struck by its humorous irony, the truthfulness of its presentation of the lives of ordinary men and women, and its compassionate acceptance of human weakness.

The three stories that make up the Scenes, ‘The Sad Fortunes of the Reverend Amos Barton’, ‘Mr Gilfil’s Love Story’, and ‘Janet’s Repentance’, foreshadow George Eliot’s major work, and their success gave her the confidence to become one of the greatest English novelists.

Well this is another keep, I have been reading a lot about Eliot recently and have decided to have a go at reading her books again, as when I first tried I struggled because I think I was too young at the time.

KEEP

 

6. James Herriot’s Treasury for Children

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James Herriot’s Treasury for Children collects all of the beloved veterinarian’s delightful tales for young readers. From the springtime frolic of Oscar, Cat-About-Town to the yuletide warmth of The Christmas Day Kitten, these stories-radiantly illustrated by Peter Barrett and Ruth Brown-are perennial favorites, and this new complete edition will make a wonderful gift for all readers, great and small.

I have read a lot of James Herriot’s books in the past as he is a firm favourite with my dad and niece and we frequently lend each other books. I find a lot of the stories are copied into different books so you tend to read the same story in more than one book, so I think I will remove this one from the list.

GO

 

7. The Atlas of Middle-Earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad’s

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Karen Wynn Fonstad’s THE ATLAS OF MIDDLE-EARTH is an essential volume that will enchant all Tolkien fans. Here is the definitive guide to the geography of Middle-earth, from its founding in the Elder Days through the Third Age, including the journeys of Bilbo, Frodo, and the Fellowship of the Ring. Authentic and updated — nearly one third of the maps are new, and the text is fully revised — the atlas illuminates the enchanted world created in THE SILMARILLION, THE HOBBIT, and THE LORD OF THE RINGS.
Hundreds of two-color maps and diagrams survey the journeys of the principal characters day by day — including all the battles and key locations of the First, Second, and Third Ages. Plans and descriptions of castles, buildings, and distinctive landforms are given, along with thematic maps describing the climate, vegetation, languages, and population distribution of Middle-earth throughout its history. An extensive appendix and an index help readers correlate the maps with Tolkien’s novels.

I cannot honestly remember why I added this book, yes I love all things Tolkien but I don’t think the blurb altogether appeals to me. So I am afraid it is bye-bye.

GO

 

8. 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.

This is another book I am ashamed to say that I have never read. I do have several copies and I should really get rid of the extras and get round to reading it!

KEEP

 

9. Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

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Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother’s tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night. All that’s true enough, but there’s something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse.

From being a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg has the ability to master the living and the dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father’s castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him.

Mark Lawrence’s debut novel tells a tale of blood and treachery, magic and brotherhood and paints a compelling and brutal, and sometimes beautiful, picture of an exceptional boy on his journey toward manhood and the throne.

Hmm… this is a series and to be honest at the moment I just cannot stick with series in books or TV to be honest. This just doesn’t appeal to me either and I usually like the sound of Mark Lawrence’s books. Sadly a discard.

GO

 

10. Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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This book contains all the investigations and adventures of the world’s most popular detective. Follow the illustrious career of this quintessential British hero from his university days to his final case. His efforts to uncover the truth take him all over the world and into conflict with all manner of devious criminals.

This stays as I have read several of Sherlock Holmes’ short stories and I love them. Plus when I was at university my best friend and myself were Holmes and Watson!

KEEP

 

YES! I managed to go through ten books! I have also managed to get my list down to 474, a small improvement. One thing I am learning from this so far is that I am missing my classics and want to start reading them again. Hopefully I will start this soon, maybe when I go on holiday.

I would love to hear if anybody has read these books and their opinions. Also please drop me your link if you are also doing this challenge.

Happy Reading!

Lady Book Dragon

 

 

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Birthday Treats

For my birthday my wonderful husband bought us both tickets to see The Cursed Child parts 1 & 2 with a one night stay in a very posh hotel.

So this weekend found us both in London at the Palace Theatre.

I remember reading the script as soon as the book came out in 2016 after waiting and waiting for the book to arrive. I will be honest the story was a slight disappointment however the actual play was amazing! On Goodreads I only rated the book as 2 stars, my husband gave the same rating.

I am so pleased the script did not put me off as I would have missed out on an amazing stage production.

The first thing that struck me was the amazing stage effects, how they did all the magic was just wonderful and the choreography that went with it was the icing on the cake. The second part was the music, there was no hint of the music from all the Harry Potter films in it. The music stood on its own and was just stunning, it really helped back and move the storyline forward. The only thing I would say is that sometimes the music was a little on the loud side.

Finally there was the acting. The actors were phenomenal, how they kept their energy up for the two parts was unbelievable. The star of the show in my opinion was the actor who played Scorpius. He was amazingly talented and his energy was electric. I think the actors who played Harry, Ron and Hermione were excellent, as they had hard acts to follow from the three actors we know so well from the films. Ron in particular was my favourite, he was just as fun and as happy as he always was and I am happy that did not change.

All in all I loved the play even though I still can not get used to the storyline, it was an amazing day and I can not recommend it enough.

I also visited a new book store during the gap between the two parts. I went to Foyle’s bookshop and I loved it! Sadly I did not buy anything from there as I did not want to be carrying lots of books in to the theatre but I had a good explore. I really loved the layout so open and brightly lit, and the sheet music selection was incredible! I was completely overwhelmed but I desperately want to go back (another trip to London in the planning I think).

Sunday was a relaxing day exploring The Natural History Museum and I might have bought a T-Rex toy wearing a Christmas jumper because dinosaurs are awesome and even better in Christmas jumpers.

Lady Book Dragon

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A Surprise Dragon

So I’ve had another busy weekend, not quite finished yet but I promise I will update you on it all tomorrow. It has a literary theme!

I just had to share with you this lovely surprise in the hotel room.

It’s a Dragon mug! So I had to have a calming peppermint tea and a read of my new Kindle book before bed.

Weekend Adventures

This weekend I went to London for a couple of days, I needed to get my flute serviced and that has to be done in Croydon so I used this as an excuse to spend some time in London.

My husband and I did not really have a plan of what we wanted to do in London but we came up with the idea of visiting the National Gallery and having a good wander around London. I was also determined to go to London’s biggest bookshop which is the Waterstones by Piccadilly.

The word overwhelmed comes to mind. As a book dragon and self confessed book hoarder being confronted with that many books in one building was rather daunting. I had set myself a budget and was determined to get a diary for next year. Well I got the diary, but the budget got broken, I was doing ok till I got to the till and the man behind the counter suggested a certain book to me and I could not say no, so the budget was broken. I promise I will try harder next time.

I bought five books and one diary.

My book haul is as follows:-

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Heart of a Dog by Mikhail Bulgakov

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

The Librarian by Salley Vickers

The Death of the Fronsac by Neal Ascherson

And my wonderful Sloth diary! I can not wait to get started putting things in my new diary. I love diaries and notebooks, does anybody else share my love?

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Hopefully my new books will keep me busy for a while.

Oh also my husband bought me a limited edition Eeyore! I was one very happy Dragon, books and Eeyore in one day!

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Lady Book Dragon