Liebster Award

Last week Jessica at The Bookworm Chronicles nominated me and my little blog for the Liebster Award. This is the first chance I have had to respond to the nomination and update my blog due to a very hectic, but lovely half term week. An award designed to highlight blogs you love but you feel aren’t getting enough attention. Now the rules to take part are as follows 1. share 11 things about yourself, 2. answer 11 questions and 3. nominate 11 blogs and pose them 11 questions. So here goes:

1. I’m a 26 year old English teacher.
2. If I go more than two days without reading I become very cranky.
3. I love cookbooks and cooking/baking.
4. My family have two gorgeous dogs (a lab and a pug) who I love walking when I visit home.
5. I’m seriously considering buying a tortoise as I miss having a pet at home.
6. Ever since I read Roald Dahl’ s Boy I have wanted to visit Norway.
7. I have a strong hatred of socks.
8. I’m addicted to macaroons; they are the quickest way to win my heart.
9. I love buying random furniture and painting and reupholstering it in my spare time.
10. In the two years I have been blogging, Pride and Prejudice is the only book I have reread…and I know this because I am currently reading it.
11. I have started attending Pilates classes and I wish my local gym did Yoga classes instead as I cannot understand the breathing for the life of me.

Instead of 11 questions, Jessica asked us to list 11 of our favourite literary characters, so here goes:
1. Rupert Campbell-Black for Jilly Cooper’s Rutshire Chronicles (of course I was going to put at least one Jilly Cooper novel on here)
2. Bertie Wooster by P.G.Wodehouse, for sheer hilarity
3. Poirot by Agatha Christie because I love a good detective novel
4. Tyrion Lannister from George R.R.Martin’s Game of Thrones
5. Paddington Bear by Michael Bond
6. Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
7. Marianne Dashwood from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, although maybe that should be Willoughby as it is their ‘romance’ that I like.
8. Darrell from Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers because I wanted to be her when I was younger.
9. Georgia Nicholson by Louise Rennison, another childhood favourite
10. Bridget Jones by Helen Fielding, before the most recent book
11. Mr Darcy from Austen’s Pride and Prejudice because who doesn’t?

11 Blogs You Enjoy

1. Adam’s Bibliomania
2. Old Fashioned Girls
3. Thoughts on my Bookshelf
4. The Book Jotter
5. The History of Love
6. the Captive Reader
7. Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings
8. Yasmine Rose’s Book Blog
9. Reading in Bed
10. Secret Victorianist
11. Stuckinabook

I am going to follow Jessica’s lead and just ask one question. I would like to know your favourite childhood reads.

Please don’t feel you have to take part and apologies for this not being the most exciting post ever. It has been a long day and it is only 4pm!

Patience

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I have become addicted to Persephone Books and am very much looking forward to a visit to the shop when I visit London next week. I love their beautiful dove grey covers; they match my DIY painted dining room table and chairs perfectly and they just look so beautiful. To get me all excited about my bookshop trip I picked up Patience by John Coates. It is a book I was given for Christmas 2012 and one I added it to my TBR Pile 2014 to ensure I definitely picked it up this year.

Patience is the story of Patience Gathorne-Galley, a 28 year old woman married to Edward, living in a beautiful house in London with three young girls. Set after the Second World War, Patience is an innocent, somewhat naive wife, who despite having children, finds no pleasure in intimacy with her husband and sees it as more of a wifely duty than an enjoyable act. Patience can be seen as a product of her time in this sense, but at a time when women were arguably beginning to explore their freedom, she is also hindered by her religion and the strong sense of Catholic guilt; a guilt that is fuelled by her sanctimonious brother, Lionel. Patience’s sister, Helen is much more liberal, living in sin with her new husband and it is through Helen that Patience meets Philip and is awakened to what her life could be like.

I loved Patience. In the modern day when novels are often action, action, action, it is always refreshing to read something that goes at a leisurely pace, yet still grabs your attention. It is a novel that explores the difficulties of marriage and divorce, especially for women. and how these can be made so much more difficult when religion and social expectations are thrown into the mix. I enjoyed how quickly I become engaged with the characters’ lives, even though their problems could be seen as slightly trivial in comparison to some of the complicated plots and romances you find in modern literature. I liked the innocence and naivety of the novel, even though the subjects it dealt with weren’t necessarily innocent, Patience certainly was and I found this made her more endearing.

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One of the main reasons I love Persephone Books, and no I’m not back to the beautiful physical aspect again, is how nostalgic and innocent they seem. Yes, people have affairs and marriages end, but it is not the sordid and outrageous controversy that it can become in some fiction. It seems a much simpler time, without the evils of social networking and pointless celebrities to rule the lives of our characters.

Overall a lovely read and one that I thoroughly enjoyed, especially as I have been off work ill for the past few days and was in need of comfort. If this post makes very little sense I will blame the medication I’m taking!

The Classics Club Spin #5

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I am in two minds about joining The Classics Club Spin #5, but I missed the last one and I didn’t complete #3, so with a renewed energy I am determined to join again. Due to the fact I am planning to reread a few classics to prepare for teaching after half term, I have gone easy on myself and mainly picked novels I have read before and ones that I already own. Therefore I have one number spare which I am allocating as a free choice, meaning I can pick any other book on the list to read. So below, in a slightly jumbled order is my list.

Books I have studied

1. Northanger Abbey

2. Jane Eyre

3. Lady Audley’s Secret

4. The Moonstone

5. The Hound of the Baskervilles

6. Great Expectations

7. North and South

8. Midnight’ Children

9. East Lynne

10. Free Choice

Pre 1900

11. Persuasion

12. The Woman in White

13. Emma

14. Oliver Twist

15. Sense and Sensibility

16. Far From the Madding Crowd

Post 1900

17. The Great Gatsby

18. The Thirty-Nine Steps

19. The Beautiful and the Damned

20. Howard’s End

The number will be revealed on Monday 10th February and the aim is to have read that book by April 2nd. I’m hoping for a Jane Austen as I am teaching Pride and Prejudice so it would be lovely to have reread another one to support my teaching.

Happy Spinning to all!

January Round Up

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January has drawn to a close and as I sit here on this bright and sunny February morning, I can almost see the change from winter into spring. I’ve bought tulips to brighten up the flat and it might be my imagination but I even think it is beginning to get lighter in the evenings. Unfortunately, I might be getting a tad optimistic as more torrential rain and high winds are forecast for Britain and I don’t have to drive back to Somerset to see the impact the flooding has had on the countryside. Yes, it has certainly been a strange month, but then I’m British, we like to talk about the weather!

I’ve had a fairly good start to the year in terms of reading, having read five books. I have only posted about three of them, but more about the other two later.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence. Reading this ticked off a book on both my Classics Club List and my TBR Pile 2014.

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings by J.R.R.Tolkien. Again another read for both my Classics Club List and my TBR Pile 2014, although it is technically the reserve on the latter list.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Chrisite. The first Poirot novel has certainly started off another year of various Chrisite related activities well.

I also read two books from the History in an Hour series; one on Queen Victoria and one on the Titanic. I was inspired to begin with this series after reading various reviews by Jessica at The Bookworm Chronicles. I will blog about them eventually, maybe when I have read a few more.

Perhaps my favourite reading related activity of the month is one where I don’t read anything and I don’t even choose what’s being read. I have begun taking a small group of students from school to a local care home to read to the residents. I know it is an incredible cliche to say this, but not only is it rewarding, but it is also so much fun. Yes sometimes the ladies don’t listen to the reading, or fall asleep, but spending time with them and enjoying a chat over tea and cake is a great way to spend an hour a week and I always leave feeling very happy. I think it is going to become one of my favourite school based activities.