Tuesday, 14 March 2017

My Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is Ten Books on My Spring TBR. I'm very much of a mood reader and usually not very good at sticking to lists, so there is a good chance my reading over the next few months will be completely different to what I've listed below! That said, I really do intend to read most of them soon - we'll see!


The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (my Classics Club Spin book)
Death on the Cherwell by Mavis Doriel Hay
The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien (after I finish The Two Towers, which will hopefully be this week)
Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery (for the Old School Kidlit reading challenge)
Once by various authors
A Man of Some Repute by Elizabeth Edmondson
The Sound of Diamonds by Rachelle Rea
A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle
Thalia by Frances Faviell
The Oxford Inklings by Colin Duriez
 
Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think of them? And what are you looking forward to reading soon?

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Classics Club Spin #15

It's time for another Classics Club Spin! I've quite enjoyed participating in these so far, and it's definitely a good incentive to get another book crossed off my list. The idea is that I list twenty unread books from my Classics Club list, and then on Friday a number will be announced, which is the book I have to read and post about by May 1st.
  1. The Watsons by Jane Austen
  2. Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore
  3. Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë
  4. My Antonia by Willa Cather
  5. The Wisdom of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton
  6. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  7. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
  8. Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell
  9. The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge
  10. Cotillion by Georgette Heyer
  11. Elizabeth Captive Princess by Margaret Irwin
  12. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
  13. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
  14. At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald
  15. Further Chronicles of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery
  16. Ivanhoe by Walter Scott
  17. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  18. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  19. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  20. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I'd like it if #8, #9 or #12 came up, but really I think I'd be quite happy with any of these ... although I am a little intimidated by several of them.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Quote of the Week



"It is the small temptations which undermine integrity, unless we watch and pray, and never think them too small to be resisted." - Rose in Bloom, Louisa May Alcott

Photo from Unsplash

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Book Review: The Tanglewoods' Secret (1948)

21310224
 
Summary (from Goodreads): Ruth and her beloved brother Philip find solace in the expanse of the Tanglewoods' property. There they escape into bird watching, climbing, and general misadventures with their friend Terry.

But life with their Aunt is harsh, and Ruth suffers from an incorrigible temper. Just when she thinks she can't take it anymore, she learns a very special secret about a very special Shepherd. When a dreadful accident hurts one they love, Ruth and Philip learn that the Tanglewoods' Secret isn't meant to be kept a secret.
 
I read this for the Old School Kidlit challenge: a book you loved in childhood. I read this at the age of about six or seven and enjoyed it, but had never revisited it, so I didn't remember much except for a few details. I found that it didn't quite live up on rereading.
 
I think my main problem was that it was just too simplistic. Of course it was written for quite young children, so that isn't necessarily a bad thing, but rereading it now as an adult I just didn't enjoy it as much. Admittedly, the book does make clear that becoming a Christian doesn't make all your troubles and suffering go away, but the issues faced by Ruth and others in the book (including a pretty major tragedy) seem to be got over pretty quickly. I also found myself getting pretty annoyed with Aunt Margaret in the first half of the book; I'm not surprised Ruth keeps being naughty when her aunt is always telling her how bad she is! I also felt that it was unfair that Ruth was often made to help with the housework whilst her older brother was allowed to go out and play, but I suppose that is a sign of when the book was written.
 
The sections I found most interesting were the parts about Ruth and Philip's lives, such as their interest in bird-watching, the games they play together and their schemes for making money so that they can save up to buy a camera, and I wish that there had been more of these in the book. I also liked their relationship - they have a strong friendship as well as being siblings which  always good to read about. I think the messages in the book were mostly good and I liked that it was pointed out that adults (such as Aunt Margaret) also need Jesus and don't necessarily always have it all figured out or do the right thing. I just found the whole story a bit simplistic and the Christian parts quite heavy-handed. But I still found things to enjoy about it, and I did enjoy it more as a child (although not as much as some of Patricia St. John's other books).

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Monthly Review: February 2017

 
What I Read
I re-read two books, Saffy's Angel by Hilary McKay and (for the Old School Kidlit challenge) The Tanglewoods' Secret by Patricia St. John. The first of these I enjoyed much more than I did the first time around, the second not as much.
 
I also read quite a lot of other books; mostly classics. I really enjoyed A World of Girls by L.T. Meade, The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, and Half Magic by Edward Eager, and also quite enjoyed The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne.
 
In terms of modern books, Alice-Miranda on Holiday by Jacqueline Harvey turned out to be just about as good as the first book in the series; St Grizzle's School for Girls, Goats and Random Boys was quite enjoyable, although a little bit silly, and I felt that A Quiet Kind of Thunder, although not in a genre I read much, presented a good representation of a character struggling with anxiety and selective mutism.
 
Reviews I've written are linked in book titles; reviews for some of the other books should appear soon.
 
Reading Challenge Progress
I've had a bit more success this month than last!
Old School Kidlit: This month's theme was a book you loved in childhood. I reread The Tanglewoods' Secret, the review of which should hopefully be up tomorrow.
Mount TBR: Two of the books I read this month counted for this: Saffy's Angel and The Tanglewoods' Secret. Both were rereads but fit the requirements for the challenge (books I read at least five years ago and bought after the first time I read them).
Back to the Classics: I've only just joined this challenge, but I've already managed to cross off one category; A Wrinkle in Time counts as my award-winning classic. My review should be up soon.
 
I re-read two books this month, which puts my total at four. I haven't read any non-fiction, but I read two books last month, so I'm still on track for twelve this year.
 
Posts
I participated in I Love Austen Week, hosted by Hamlette.
I listed Ten Books I Enjoyed More Than I Thought I Would, for Top Ten Tuesday.
I signed up for Back to the Classics 2017.
 
Currently Reading
I'm currently actively reading A College Girl by Mrs George de Horne Vaizey (which I'm really enjoying), A Wiltshire Diary by Francis Kilvert, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, And Both Were Young by Madeleine L'Engle, and I'm rereading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (so good!). I'm trying to make myself finish some of these before I start any more, but we'll see how that goes.


Thursday, 23 February 2017

Back to the Classics 2017

 
So I'm a little bit late to the party, but I've decided to sign up for Back to the Classics 2017, hosted by Books and Chocolate. The aim is to read (up to) twelve books from different categories. I'm not sure whether I'll get all twelve of them completed, but I'm going to give it a go! Below is my rough list of what I plan to read (which will probably change). I've left a couple blank as I'm not sure what I'm going to read for them (suggestions welcome). There's still a few days to sign up if you'd like to participate but haven't yet!
 
1. A 19th century classic: Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
2. A 20th century classic: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
3. A classic by a woman author: Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell
4. A classic in translation: The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne
5. A classic originally published before 1800: a Shakespeare play
6. A romance classic: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
7. A Gothic or horror classic: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
8. A classic with a number in the title: The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L. Sayers
9. A classic about an animal or which includes the name of an animal in the title
10. A classic set in a place you'd like to visit:
?
11. An award-winning classic: The Circus is Coming by Noel Streatfeild
12. A Russian classic: ?