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Showing posts from 2014

Book A Day Challenge Day #25 - Under the Tree

23. Under the tree....Brave New World.

By the time this post is up the present will have been unwrapped so I feel no hesitation by posting about it here. I read this book some years ago and it has popped up on my partner's wish list so it is great joy that I will be gifting it!

And that is it! I have blogged for the full month of December which is a record for me! I have really enjoyed putting the contect together and I am going to keep going with more in the new year.  A Merry Christmas to those of you who have been reading!

Book A Day Challenge Day #24 - For Father Christmas

24. For Father Christmas.....The Night Before Christmas

I think this is the edition of the book I had as a child but I'll have to check. This short poem is such a classic describing a brief encounter with St Nicolas himself. The full text can be found here.

Book A Day Challenge Day #23 - The best present

23. The best present - The Poem That Changed America: Howl

I've posted about Allen Ginsburg's Howl before but this book was a present from a friend who knew I loved it. It discusses the poem, offers the context of the society to which it was released and the obscenity trial which followed.

Book A Day Challenge Day #22 - Favourite festive scene

22. Favourite festive scene.....The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E. T. A. Hoffman

This book just made to-read list! Ballet was a huge part of my life as a child and I remember the first time I saw The Nutcracker at the Birmingham Royal Ballet. There is something about the opulence of the show that just captures Christmas not just as it is can be; with lovely decorations, time with friends and family, getting dressed up but how it can exist in your mind. All the luxurious foods are there in dreamy colours and exotic flavours and the feeling of it being a party is overwhelming.

1/2/3  I've seen so many different versions but the one I return to is Matthew Bourne's as it is so colourful and sweet. It adds clarity to the plot and a great deal of contrast between the Christmas party by making it very stark to make the brightness of the fantasy world all the brighter.

I really want to read this book now to see how it was transformed from the page to such an iconic ballet.

Book A Day Challenge Day #21 - To be read

21. To be read.....Dream School by Blake Nelson

Where to start? I was very tempted to take a picture of my bookshelf for this! I'll choose Dream School by Blake Nelson because it is the one I am most curious about. I read the book 'Girl' as a teenager and loved it, mainly because Andrea Marr was everything I wasn't, although not necessarily who I wanted to be. The thing that lasts with me about the book is the sense that I knew her, as a whole and complete character, the good and the bad. Finding out this month that there is a sequel put it firmly on my to-read list although I am approaching it with a certain amount of trepidation. Will reading about her now I am an adult change how I feel about her? The book is about her student days at an elite university and from the sound of it she is as much searching for her identity as she ever was.

Also on the list are....
The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer
Prince Lestat by Anne Rice
Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Book A Day Challenge Day #20 - Set where I live

6. Set where I live....North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

I live in the north of England and take certain things for granted, I accepted the harsh and beautiful landscape, industrial buildings in odd places, the accents and the cold as normal. I've been for visits 'down south' but all of the places I have lived have been 'the North'. This book is a story follows two characters Margret Hale and John Thornton; it tells their story, moving from dislike to love, as much a story of misunderstandings as Pride and Predjudice. Their differences stem from their upbringing, their personal natures and their understanding of the world and it's people. I love this book, for each and every character, the story and it's setting. It's unsettling and doesn't sugar coat but is still delicate with how it treats the relationships, the friendships.

Book A Day Challenge Day #19 - Travelling home reading this

19. Travelling home reading this....Nutrition for Dummies by Nigel Denby, Sue Baic and Carol Ann Rinzler

I was not a big biology fan in school, I much preferred my English and History classes but the more I try to live a healthy life the more I find myself bamboozled by the diet industry gumpf.  I want to have a better grasp on the human digestive system and how and why food is used in our bodies. This book, so far, has been an excellent start, it is clear, concise and doesn't overwhelm with numbers. I love the image of intestinal villus as little fingers absorbing the nutrients from food and moving it down the line.

Book A Day Challenge Day #18 - Massive Tome

18. Massive Tome....The Stand by Stephen King

This is the first book that came to mind for this challenge as the original edition was 823 pages (King later added 400 more in an uncut edition). I read this before the coming of the kindle and it makes me laugh that now it sits on my book-storing machine along with The Lord of the Rings, all the Harry Potter books and about 200 others. I still love (and have) well stocked bookshelves but it does make travelling a little easier! This book is another apocalyptic adventure, starts the story with a virus that wipes out the majority of America's population and tells the story the survivors who travel and find each other along the way.

Book A Day Challenge Day #17 - Funny read

17. Funny read...Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

I started this in college and couldn't get into it, I tried again more recently and I love it. It has demons, angels, the Apocalypse and the Anti-Christ but in a fun way! It was a collaborative book between authors at a time when to send drafts to each other they had to send floppy discs through the post to each other.

Book A Day Challenge Day #16 - For someone I love

16. For someone I love.....Angela Carter's 

I came very close to getting this for my friend this Christmas, I know it's been on her to-read list for a long time. I ended up getting something different but then her birthday isn't long after Christmas so it remains on the list!

Book A Day Challenge Day #15 - Favourite colour cover

15. Favourite colour cover.......The Pocket Poets series, including Howl by Allen Ginsburg

I love the covers of these books, they are so iconic in their simplicity. It was, apparently, done to make the series affordable and was borrowed from a book published ten years prior. The result is an asethetic that pulls together a diverse variety of poets. Lawrence Ferlinghetti said 'From the beginning the aim was to publish across the board, avoiding the provincial and the academic...I had in mind rather an international, dissident, insurgent ferment.'

Book A Day Challenge Day #14 - Read at school

14. Read at school.....Jane Eyre.
I read this and absolutely loved Jane. She goes through so much heartache and trauma but she comes through it with such a strong sense of self and strength.
I got these images from the amazing resource that is Jane Eyre Illustrated 1/2

Book A Day Challenge Day #13 - Stocking filler

13. Stocking filler........Dash and Lily's Book of Dares
Nick and Nora was the first book by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan that I read and I really like the way they put their characters together. Dash and Lily has the same idea of chasing around New York but with some lovely Christmas imagery.

Book A Day Challenge Day #12 - Book of Poems

12. Book of Poems...Amber Tamblyn - Free Stallion
Amber Tamblyn is know an as an actress but I love her poetry. Free Stallion was her first collection, since then she has released another called 'Bang Ditto' and has another coming out next year. Tamblyn grew up surrounded by artists, directors, actors and writers and she has an incredibly strong, clear, passionate voice. There is an anger and a joy of words that pulls me in to her poetry and I look forward to her new book!

Book A Day Challenge Day #11 - Christmas Classic

11. Christmas Classics.....Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Although the book doesn't just take place around Christmas, this book always have strong connotations of Christmas for me.This is of course backed up by the imagery of the 1994 movie, which mashes Little Women and Good Wives together, which I have watched innumerable times. The book does mention Christmas with its very first line....
'Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents,' grumbled Jo, lying on the rug.'

Book A Day Challenge Day #10 - Latest purchase

10. Latest purchase......Make Your Own Diet Rules by Tara Stiles
I went for a wander round the new Foyles bookshop on Saturday and, unsurprisingly, I wanted to buy a number of books. I went for this one because it seems to set out an approach that I am eager to explore. I haven't really been a big trier of diets but there always seems to be a new miracle weight loss solution kicking about. I have been at extremes of eating but want to achieve the golden dream of sustainable weight loss/maintenance. Tara Stiles, from what I have read so far, seem to advocate listening to your body, enjoy live and take the time to take care of yourself through eating and action.

Book A Day Challenge Day #9 - I judged this by its cover

9. I judged this by it's cover.......Penelope by Rebecca Harrington

I read this based after seeing a recommendation by a reader who I trusted but it seems on this book we disagree. This book may have been a scathing look at the social hierarchy of ivy league education but I could not find an ounce of humour in it, Penelope was beyond socially awkward to the point of being a Mary-Sue like character who was a very frustrating filter by which we see the other characters who remained merely stereotypes. If it is supposed to be a social satire why do both covers that I've seen give the strong impression that it is so very light and amusing?

Book A Day Challenge Day #8 - It's a mystery!

8. It's a mystery........The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
I was given this as a gift many years ago and I read it with great trepidation. It was wonderful, all twisty and it made my then-young brain hurt. I really should re-read this soon...

Book A Day Challenge Day #7 - Childhood favourite

7. Childhood favourite......Drina Ballerina by Jean Estoril
I loved ballet books as a child; I danced constantly but I was never going to take to the stage. I enjoyed reading the stories that told me of children who did. Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild, the Cassie at the Ballet School series, the Lucy-Jane books, I loved them all! My favourite always was dark haired orphan Drina, who grows up in Birmingham. To be fair, for all she fights her staid but loving Grandmother, she has a weighted deck. She is genetically blessed and predestined for dancing but I love her and her anti-ballet friend, Rose.