Blog Snooze

Art by Moga

Art by Moga*

Hello followers and casual browsers.

I have had a couple of rather full weeks and as such my blog has been having a snooze. Some distractions have been lovely, others have come from shock and sadness. But I miss this place and as its Monday, that weekly chance to start again, I am dusting off the reviews and general book chatter.

Hopefully today I will get reviews done for What Milo Saw and Eat My Heart Out that I will post later this week.

* This lovely animation is by Moga, please visit her tumblr for more!

Mother Island – Bethan Roberts

mother island The Blurb:

“Maggie Wichelo, a lonely young woman, arrives at the comfortable Oxford house in which she works as a nanny. Everything appears normal. Her glamorous employer, Nula, also happens to be her cousin. Samuel, the two year old boy she looks after, is pleased to see Maggie. Dedicated, efficient, and fiercely protective of Samuel, Maggie considers herself an excellent nanny, and Nula and her over-confident husband Greg have had few complaints about her work. But this is the morning on which Maggie will abduct Samuel, loading him into a hired car, and driving him to a remote boathouse on the island where she spent her teenage years: Anglesey, known to the locals as Môn, Mam Cymru, or the Mother of Wales.
For Maggie, everything goes back to the island…”

Roberts uses the present and flashbacks to quietly unravel the relationship between Maggie and Nula. I was gripped from the first page, puzzled by their dynamic and intrigued by their shared history.

There were so many times in this book that I thought I had grasped the reasons behind the characters’ behaviour, only for Roberts to pull the rug out from under me.

The pacing and characterisations are brilliantly observed and I completely devoured this book! This is a tense and accomplished novel about motherhood, lost innocence, feelings of abandonment and loneliness. You will find yourself feeling a spectrum of emotions, and I challenge anyone to point out the bad guy.

Roberts writing is so tight you can almost feel yourself walking across it, definitely a title to get your teeth into and to have your emotions rocked by.

Book info:

  • ISBN: 9780701185855
  • Published by Chatto & Windus, July 2014
  • Sent proof copy through Netgalley, thank you very much!

 

 

Judge a Cover Thursday! – Penguin’s new Charlie and The Chocolate Factory design

As Twitter melted a bit yesterday over a cover reveal, I have decided to bring Judge a Cover forward a day!
charlie barred

On Wednesday, Penguin Books released an image for a new book in thier Modern Classics range. Grey strips censored the title and author and Penguin invited  followers to guess what the book could be.

The image showed a shockingly made-up pre-adolescent girl, a mane of gold hair backcombed into a rage. Almost offensively candy shades of orange and pink popped out at you. This hyperbolic image of girliness seemed to be chomping at the bit, teeth gritted against a too glossy mouth.  A featureless, but similarly bedecked, mother figure seemed to turn her face away from the girl with detached uninterest.

Penguin sat back and watched as, what I can only assume, were the answers they expected rolled in (well, from those like me that totally missed the “golden ticket” bit); Valley of The Dolls and Lolita being people’s best bets.

charlie full image

When it was revealed that the cover was for Roald Dahl’s classic, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, I applauded their chutzpah! Here we have a primped and clearly spoilt child, body straining at her Betty Draper-esque mother’s hip, eyes almost shooting out her head towards whatever new acquisition she has her sights on. Her eyes, though tranced, seem to betray the practiced focus of a child used to getting her own way, here are the flickers of self-centredness that will be her undoing.

I thought the cover was brilliant, perfectly pitched for the adult readership of Penguin Modern Classics. It sets the dark, unsettling tone of Dahl’s work that Penguin clearly hope will appeal to adults, a kind of “time to read this another way” incentive.

I told Twitter I thought it was “magnificent”.

It was only then that Lizzi from These Little Words informed me that I was the only one on her timeline who liked it!

I was surprised, my feed had been all for it, if a little taken aback to begin with. So I looked through some more comments and saw that, yes indeed, some people hated it! Some decried it for not depicting the hero of the piece (“Where’s Charlie? Where’s the chocolate?!“), while others seemed to find the Lolita-like qualities a bit inappropriate and a whole lot creepy (I’m not sure if this means they would like the design had it been created for Nabokov’s classic instead).

I can see where these people are coming from, it gives me the cold creeps too to see young girls made up to the nines, but vacousness and its gifting to children by adults, clearly gave Dahl the creeps too. You are meant to find it creepy.

I’ll admit it has been a LONG time since this was read to me at school, but I am assuming we are meant to see this girl as a representation of Veruca Salt, the fur coat wearing monster product of her parents’ grotesque wealth and believed entitlement. This image shows her writ large, as gargoylic and horrible as she is meant to be.

I can see how the image has put people’s teeth on edge, but I find it a fascinating decision, and as someone on Twitter suggested, it would be great to see a serious of adult Dahl covers, all with similar images of parents partly banished to the sidelines, leaving just the horrible (or divine) cartoon rendering of their offspring. This, for me, would be a fantastic start to such a series – a bone chilling picture of what could happen to children of adult readers should they give in too many times…

Moranthology – Caitlin Moran

photoThe last time I finished a Moran book I hardly slept.

I was so shaken up by not having really liked it, I felt like I’d had a massive falling out with a friend.

I wrote my review, sat back and wondered where we should go from here.

After a few days of cooling off, I felt it was time to make the first move and try to get our relationship back on track. So, I picked up the copy of Moranthology that had been sat on my shelf since it came out in paperback, and proceeded to the water closet. I figured it would probably be a title that would benefit from being dipped in and out of, and there isn’t a more perfect room in the house for books like this.

Unfortunately, it turns out I am rather regular and frequent (sorry) so was meeting up with Moran more often than I had anticipated. In hindsight, we should have taken more baby-sized steps to coming back together, perhaps one step a week. Meeting up with her one, often twice (sorry) a day, turned out to be too much.

As someone who doesn’t read The Times for moral reasons, I have to admit that I based most of my opinion on Moran from the occasional article I’d picked up here and there, her Twitter feed and (the still wonderful) How to Be a Woman. Now, having read this collection of columns, I can conclude that she only very occasionally writes about anything important (feminism included) and that I should applaud her for having made a career from writing about nothing very much at all.

I’m actually being  pretty serious here, men have gotten away with making a lot of money from writing about not much at all for ages, so its good that Moran exists – if only to prove that women are funny actually and can make money from it, thank you very much.

And she is, she is funny and from this day on I shall view her as a humourist before anything else.

I can’t see any evidence of “strident” or “militant” feminism in much of her writing though, she doesn’t appear to shed any light on any issues that don’t revolve around herself or western media. There is no world view, no powerful manifesto to act upon. Just lists of stuff she likes and lists of stuff she doesn’t like.  So, if you are hoping for something along the lines of How to Be a Woman, you’ll be disappointed.

And thats what clouded this for me, I was expecting rants, spot-on opinion, the world getting taken to task. But it was just a bit *points at funny thing*.  And most of those funny things are plucked out of Moran’s immediate orbit.

Moran is basically the friend that nods along as you tell her about this week’s piss-taking moments of horror, only to butt in at the sniff of a pause, to exclaim: “Weeeeelll, when that happened to Meeeeeeee…” and carry on talking about herself for the next 3 hours, as if the uniqueness of her life-experience is somehow key to your own. And these are the main reasons why I will now think of her as “humourist” and not “political feminist”. She talks about herself A LOT, and other things a little, and it can be as draining as those real life moments with spotlight hogging friends.

And she comes out with some odd stuff too (bit weird that you spent your Amy Winehouse obituary apparently confirming she had an eating disorder), and some stuff that is just dull (really, you kept that bit about meetings in? Really? Sorry, most of us DO unfortunately have to attend meetings regularly and we’ve made those gags a million times before). And when she’s not being dull or weird she’s incessantly referring to The Beatles as if liking them is somehow interesting and vital.

Other stuff just missed the target with me – I think the made-up interludes with her husband, where she pesters him with questions about herself as he tries to sleep (“what would you miss about me if I died young?”) are meant to be cute, but she just comes off as an utter pain in the arse.

Also, the bit where she’s talking about her trademark hair and how she somehow now has ownership of that style, what’s that all about? She reminded me of the time I was outraged that one of my friend’s had got The Great Escape for Christmas: “Oh, so you’re a Blur fan too now are you?” I scoffed. When I was TWELVE. According to Moran, if you have a grey-streak in your hair you are copying her and should stop:

“But Caitlin, those women suffer from poliosis”

“No, they are copying me.”

No, honestly they do, they have poliosis like Ed Miliband

“Nup, I totally remember them buying my book, didn’t have hair like that then”

“Maybe but, and I’m  just saying here, perhaps they are copying Caryn Franklin…”

“Nup, me. Franklin’s copying me too”

“But…”

“Nup.

I know I shouldn’t take it all so seriously, but she seems to gets paid an awful lot of money to write about liking The Beatles and last night’s telly. I WANT MORE MANIFESTO! MORANFESTO!

All in all I found this a pretty draining read (based on one or two articles a day). I just wanted to get her out of my house as quickly as possible by the end, but she tends to linger, and though I haven’t lost sleep this time, I do feel a bit like she’s going to shove her head through my window at any moment to tell me a hilarious, quirky tale about her last shop at Waitrose.

She is funny, and she does have a wonderful turn of phrase, but as when all relationships end, you have to weigh up whether you really knew the person in the first place. Personally, I got carried away by her – I was seduced by the image, the one-liners, the fight for female justice. But it feels like a smoke screen, and while I wait for the dust to settle on our relationship, I will reach out for the arms of other writers with a feminist bent.

Its over.

well, until the next time…

 

Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding

bridget tara mcpherson

The wonderful cover by Tara McPherson

I was inspired to pick this up during fellow book blogger Emma Louise’s recent #sunathon. I wanted something fun and lightweight, and after a couple of false starts, I decided to try Bridget Jones’s Diary.

As you may have read in my #Bookadayuk week four round-up post,I had spent the years between its release and now piling sloppy scorn on this book. I based my opinion purely on the film ( I know! I know!), Renee Zellweger’s beyond twee English accent, and the fact I felt a lot of women saw themselves as “Bridget Joneses”, wearing their sadness on their sleeves as a  self-mocking badge of honour, adding “self-scorn” to the pile of issues already damaging their self esteem. Not knowing Bridget yet, I wanted to shake them and scream:

“YOU ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN THIS CARICATURE! STOP POSTING PICTURES OF YOURSELF ON FACEBOOK EATING ICE CREAM IN YOUR PYJAMAS, CRYING! TAGGING IT “BRIDGET” DOESN’T MAKE IT CUTE! COME TO MY HOUSE AND LETS MAKE A COLLAGE ABOUT HOW EXCELLENT YOU ARE INSTEAD!”

It felt to me, that as long as they had their poster-girl for self-pity, they had the trendy excuse they needed to ignore their excellence.

But that was before I knew just how excellent Bridget is, and though some women may have taken the imagery from the film a little too far in the pursuit of endless “what’s up hun?”s on Facebook, I must now agree that she is totally heroine-worship worthy.

bridget 2 I had decided that maybe I could read this book without scowling when, another heroine-worship worthy woman, Hadley Freeman, listed it in her book Be Awesome as a must-read. It goes to show how utterly clueless I was when Freeman’s inclusion of Bridget made me laugh aloud: “err…what Hadley?! I was not expecting THAT nonsense to turn up at the end of your otherwise excellent and humourous book about modern feminism“.

Once I had scoffed myself dry, I went and had a cup of tea, and remembering the vow I made after reading The List,I decided to get over myself and pick up a copy as soon as one fell at me from a charity shop shelf.

I figured that Hadley knows what she’s talking about, all the other books in that list are just fine, she wouldn’t send me out to spend my hard-earned pennies on a book that wasn’t totally awesome.

It didn’t take long to find a copy, it seems to be perpetually passed on by, what I now know are excellent women re-distributing the wisdom. And once I’d started there was no putting it down!

Every page is hilarious, Bridget is completely vivid, alive and loveable. I mourned the fact she wasn’t real, that I was having to read about her over a latte in Cafe Nero alone, without her actual, physical presence. For me, she wasn’t the needy, sad-faced, puppy-woman that mourned at me from film posters, she was determined, dogged and hilarious!

Ok, so perhaps she didn’t recognise these things in herself and spent many calories, alcohol units and 1471 minutes trying to find solutions to her problems, but isn’t that just what I was talking about above? That the main issue women have is that they don’t see how great they are? That they spend too much time counting things and over-analysing things? Don’t we all just need to get over all the “fuckwittage” and get on with being awesome every day?

I applauded her each time she left a panting Daniel Cleaver, his respect for abandoned as quickly as his trousers. And I nodded along, recognising her struggle, as she tried to balance her overwhelming feelings with what she knew was right. I loved that though she may have stuffed her face under covers at home, outside her head was always up, no matter what humiliation or letdown she was currently enduring. bridget 3

All of this was lost on me before I’d read this. I thought she was a whinger, pining for a life she didn’t have, jealous of those around her that seemed to have what she wanted – those “smug-marrieds”. I thought I would hate her, that I would think she was pathetic and needy. What I didn’t know was her ability to cut these people down, that it was actually their eyes that were judging HER, that it was BRIDGET that was having to come up with the wise-cracks and the withering put-downs in order to survive another dinner party where her life was scrutinised and picked over along with the main course.

As Freeman says herself, the plot of this book is so very much secondary to Bridget, Fielding has written such a vivid, brilliant and very, very funny character, she could pretty much get up to anything and I wouldn’t blink – I just want to hear her tell me about it.

What I thought was a sad woman clad perpetually in Haagen-Daz splashed night wear and big pants, was actually a woman with a thick skin, unapologetic about her actions and undeniably her own person. She is a fantastic role model and I am glad that I have found her, and anyone that says anything else, probably hasn’t met her.

Book info:

  • ISBN: 9780330512176
  • My copy was published by Picador in 1998
  • Bought copy from charity shop

The illustrations I have used in this post are by the amazing Tara McPherson for Penguin. Once I have my hands on a copy with this cover I shall do my wise-woman duty and give my current copy away.

#Bookadayuk Doubleday final round-up

The topics for July 2014

The topics for July 2014

So this marks the end of Doubledays’ tenure at the helm of #BookofadayUK. I just want to thank them for a fun and really inspiring selection of questions! You really got me thinking!

In August #BookadayUK is being hosted by The Siobhan Dowd Trust and the questions look like corkers!

July 28th – Favourite animal character

Book cover design by Katharine O'Hara

Book cover design by Katharine O’Hara

I was going to go for Snoopy, but I have to go for Badger from Wind in The Willows. No other character for me personifies (badgerfies?) that belligerent, balloon-popping, wisdom that can only stem from love. A wonderful, brooding grump who seemed utterly indifferent to you, but would fight to the death to keep you safe.

July 29th – Favourite likeable villain

51a5813e05e7380745

I’m repeating myself again here, but I have to go for Hannibal Lecter. This character gets in your head and stays there, this ability to bore into your mind and linger there is far more disturbing than the bloods and guts. I find his relationship with Clarice Starling fascinating, and he becomes likeable to me by his seeming unwavering, twisted, protection of her.

July 30th – What have you been inspired to read?

As illustrated above, I have been slightly embarrassed by my very narrow answer base for these questions. I have definitely been inspired to look out from my Western world and read more books that aren’t set in the US or UK. I think I may also start trying to get through a couple of classics a year (its a start!).

July 31st – The book that reminds you of someone special

black arrow

My dad was a voracious reader and there were always books scattered about the house (all bookmarked with sheets of loo roll) all currently being read. I would often ask him what his favourite book was, and like all book lovers, he struggled to pin point just one, but The Black Arrow always seemed to be first on his list. When he was buried it was only right that he had a book to take with him, a copy of this was the book we packed.

Letter to an Unknown Soldier

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I have just added my letter to the remarkable Letter to an Unknown Soldier project. There is still time to send one, so what would you say to him if you had the chance?

I found this a really inspiring and moving project to take part in. We live in a world so self-centric that I think the time we take to stop and pause is rapidly getting eaten up.

I wrote about how the rest of the universe carried on whilst our planet went mad. How this soldier’s corpse was probably not cold before man found a way to bypass the massive and harness the tiny beauty of the atom to make everything seem deadlier.

I would really like to say a massive thank you to Emma who I poked and prodded for scientific history questions!

You can read my letter HERE.

stars

 

The book that reminds me of my English teacher, as pondered by #BookadayUK

Macbeth Theater Company poster by Daniel Warren Art http://www.danielwarrenart.com/

Macbeth Theater Company poster by Daniel Warren Art http://www.danielwarrenart.com/

Last week, #bookadayUK asked “What book reminds you of your English teacher?” I answered with the promise of an extended blog post on the matter, so here it is:

I had the horrible misfortune of being good at English at my Secondary school. This meant, that come GCSE time, I was hoiked into the top set.  Reward for all my effort and attainment leading up to this moment was leaving behind the warm sun-drenched, spider-planted world of Carrie’s War and a teacher who was a human being and entering the dark cornered world of, [lets call him] Mr Beckhead, Macbeth, and ritual humiliation.

Within minutes of entering Mr Beckhead’s class and finding a place, I was wishing I had left the dictionary alone a bit, used banned green ink more, or generally made a “not-done-me-‘omework-miss” nuisance of myself in the years leading up to my GCSE set-gradings. Your place in Mr Beckhead’s class was at the very bottom of the barrel and at the very end of his tongue lashing scorn.

Mr Beckhead was a horrible creature, strangely and constantly purple as though his Burberry shirt was buttoned up too far, or his Harris Tweed jacket was a little too tight about his port addled tummy. Though, attire aside, I think his Ribena berry complexion may have been drawn out by the fact he found himself teaching a bunch of  oiks in a nondescript comp and not quaffing lunchtime brandies at the Grammar school.

But, if that was the reason for such pent-up anger, it really was only up to him to sort that out. Why he decided to take his purple-faced shortcomings out on us I will never know.

From day one he made it very clear who was in charge, he strutted about his classroom with a Dracula-esque grin stretching the corners of his face, smelling blood and delighting in even the faintest flicker of  fear. He dripped with contempt, derision and temper. All of us who didn’t know any better (that teachers could be dicks) were immediately terrified. In the course of 50 minutes, English went from being my refuge at school – a place where I could equally shine and hide – to a place of nerve jangling angst.

I will always associate him with Macbeth in my mind. It was the first thing we studied under his tutoring, and having thought I’d got the cut of his gib, I spent my weekend pouring intensely over my essay. I wanted to sound as intelligent as I possibly could, I wanted to demonstrate all that “very good at English” I’d been getting since Primary school. I thought, if I can only show him that I got the play, that I could write an essay well, that I FELT the turmoil and suffering of these characters as if it were hitched to my own back, I would be ok. Those threats and insults he banded about during his bile-filled introductory welcome speech will be felt by others, I shall be safe from them.

I was delighted with the result, reading and rereading, convincing myself that my dazzling writing style had secured myself peace in his classes forevermore.

That wasn’t to be the case. As we filed into his classroom for the first time after handing in our efforts, his feelings towards them were clear. He leaned on his desk, legs crossed and stretched out in front of him, a tripping hazard he already knew not one of us would have the balls to ask him to remove. So having hopped over his brogues and sunken into my chair I let the horrible silence descend about us.

It seemed to go on forever, all of us twitching in our seats, some stifling nervous giggles, as his almost-smile crept from puzzled face to puzzled face. You could feel the whole room gulping.

“Well” he said, untangling his limbs and lifting himself to his feet, “what a terrible pile of essays you all managed to eek out over the weekend….just. Awful.”

I waited for the “except”: “except Hannah’s, whose insightful and reimagined exploration of the work I have already sent off to Cambridge”.

But none came.

In fact, he not only thought my essay was a debasement to his human rights to have to read, it was also one of a handful that he quoted from, just to illustrate how disgustingly illiterate, amoral and abhorrent we all clearly were.

I burned with embarrassment in my plastic chair, barely breathing and unable to tear my eyes from the table. Tears stung in the corners and the 45 minutes left of the class stretched out in front of me like death.

I would read all future set texts in a sweat – barely taking anything in, such was the blindness of my panic to make sure I got EVERYTHING right. Reading became something I fretted over and dreaded, something that could end in a very public tongue-lashing if I didn’t interpret stories in a way that was 100% acceptable to him.

Still, everytime I start to write anything I have to silence those quotes of mine that he spat out in front of everyone with strange delight. This was my first taste of rejection – public and bruising.

That is bad enough, but it is also impossible for me to untangle the genius of Macbeth from his clutches, he will always be a part of  any experience I have of The Scottish Play.

It just goes to show – you shouldn’t waste any of your time trying to impress A-holes.

In fact, the only time I can remember him giving me any praise was when I was awarded an A* in my Speaking and Listening GCSE (does that still exist?!) – I was arguing in defence of war….which says it all really.

I should say here that I have also had good English teachers too, but nobody earth-shatteringly inspiring enough to erase Mr Beckhead from my memory (his is the only name I can remember). It makes me sad for any other student who finds themselves in a classroom with someone of his ilk, shown-up and trodden-down, having all enthusiasm for books rung out of them. I was lucky, my love of books was already ingrained, and he wasn’t even enough to stop my desire to read (and god, how he tried), but this may not be the case for many students who never get to have a love of reading ignited in the first place.

That for me is more horrifying than anything the Weird Sisters could cook up.

 

I’m BACK! With a little late week four #BookadayUK round-up

Not sure what happened last week.

I didn’t publish a single post and left a writing project deserted on my desk.

It got quite hot.

My “actual work” days changed.

Other people happened.

This, it appears, is enough to completely throw me of my particulars and whereas other people would just cross and circle alternative days in their diary, I sat staring at my computer, worriedly twiddling my thumbs going:

“Ok, so I’m at work on Wednesday, which means I’m not writing on Wednesday like normal, which means I feel I have to do more than I can mentally handle on Monday. I’ve had adequate time to shuffle my mind around, but knowing this only makes the fact I haven’t even more looming and monstrous. It is very bright and strained outside and sunlight does appear to make me ill and pathetic. Think I might just work on nibbling my quicks instead this week…”

Deplorable quick nibbling

Deplorable quick nibbling

So, yeah – not great.

But this is a new week and even though the sun is still prodding at the corners of my eyes with its painfully sharp hate-sticks, everything else is as normal as it can be. So, onwards!

First things first, as I didn’t post my usual weekly #bookadayuk round-up yesterday here it is, all Monday-like instead:

The topics for July 2014

The topics for July 2014

July 21st – The novel you expected to hate, but turned out you loved

Bridget

A question I can answer easily as I am in fact still reading it – Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding. God, I thought I knew EVERYTHING there was to know about this book, so omnipresent was it when it (and then it’s film version) was released. I don’t want to say it was an age thing, as I’m sure women my age were picking it up and reading it when it came out, but I would roll my eyes at any mention of this “irritating, self-obsessed 30-something”.

What a tit.

So, inspired by its inclusion in Hadley Freeman’s “Ten Awesome Books” (Be Awesome) I picked it up in a charity shop in Aviemore. And I am ABSOLUTELY loving it! Bridget has been a complete revelation, and like with actual humans who exist, I guess the moral of this story is – base your opinions of fictional characters on your own experiences of them. I’ll definitely be blogging about this more when I’m finished, which will be in the next half hour if my current reading pace is anything to go by.

July 22nd – The novel you most like to give to friends

this is water

Not a novel as such, but a book that was given to me and restored my soul so much I have taken up the baton and started passing it on myself – This is Water by David Foster Wallace. Many people are terrified of those three names spoken together, uttering them can send people into shivering, sweating fits as they remember tangled hours trying to get through Infinite Jest.

But forget about that, get a copy of this (or become my friend, OR go here) and you will get a dazzling, rousing, deeply affecting taste of how exceptional a writer he was, and what an utter loss to words his death is.

The students in that hall must have walked out on air.

July 23rd – Favourite novel with an exotic background

lord of the flies

Now, I’m not entirely sure what “exotic” means in this context. Never really having been abroad a trip to Dumfries and Galloway can fill me with splendid feelings of exotica. Also, as I bibbled on about above, I’m not much of a sun-lover and this is reflected in my choice of reading materials which are usually set in cloudy places with a chance of torrential, emotional downpours.

When I hear “exotic” or “sun-kissed island” or “beach read”, my mind just takes me to Lord of The Flies by William Golding. Not a book you can enjoy with an umbrella-bedecked cocktail maybe, but about as exotic as I get.

July 24th – A book that reminds you of your English teacher

As I said on Twitter, I have a whole post brewing for this so I shall leave it for now and get back to you, needless to say, it’s a memory not exactly all Dead Poets Society.

July 25th – Book that is your guilty pleasure

The List

I probably will hand this one over to The List by Joanna Bolouri, even though “guilty pleasure” seems a harsh way to describe it! However, its not a book my friends would have expected in my paws that’s for sure (“Hannah’s reading a pink book…is she…happy?“) and it was only when I had finished it that I clapped over it for a while, bleating on about how much of a riot it is! Rude, raucous and hilarious!

July 26th – The novel you wished you written

As a very frustrated writer who barely makes it past Chapter One of ANYTHING she writes my answer to this is:

ALL OF THE BLIGHTERS!!!!!!

July 27th – For National Parents’ Day – the best/worst parents

You know what’s coming don’t you…

If you have been following my #bookadayUK round-ups you are probably almost certainly going to skip this selection and go back to reading about cats against women against feminism. So, with that in mind, I’ll just put up a picture and shuffle away on my completely unoriginal heels…

atticus-jem-and-scout

#BookadayUK July 2014 -week three round-up

Week three! Hello!

The topics for July 2014

The topics for July 2014

July 14th – For Bastille Day, your favourite novel about or set in France

this is life

Ok, so the author had to gently remind me of this book when I exclaimed on twitter that I had NEVER read a book set in or about France, but once that reminder was duly made I was delirious as:

1) I was beginning to fear I was some kind of  narrow-minded reader with a desperate need to cast my book net a bit wider (quelle horreur!)

and

2) I now have the opportunity to urge you all to get on This Is Life by Dan Rhodes. How I forgot about this book, I will never know, as I absolutely loved it! Hilarious, inventive, thoughtful – I ate up every page. I will add the overlook to the other pile of stuff I have forgotten this year – LIKE MY MUM’S BIRTHDAY (sorry mum).

If you weren’t quick enough to get a copy of When The Professor Got Stuck in The Snow you should definitely pick this up instead!

July 15th - I totally missed this! Argh! Sorry! Can anyone let me know what the topic was?

July 16th – Favourite book to take to the beach

under your skin

I am not much of a beach bunny. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the sea, but my beach days are usually chilly and involve walking along as much of the front as possible, prodding at stuff. There’s not too much time to read when you are prodding at stuff. However, as the sun is beating down and I can get to the seafront by bus, if I was to go down I would be taking Under Your Skin by Sabine Durrant as its my current book and I am really rather enjoying it!

July 17th – Novel that surprised you most

gone girl

For all the wrong reasons – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. If I had taken a pound from everyone who banged on about how brilliant this was I would be Scrooge McDucked by now. In fact, I should have taken a pound from all those who banged on about how brilliant it was as I feel like they owe me. I read it all, because I’m some kind of sadist, and you can read my review here.

July 18th – Favourite crime novel of all time

prime suspect

I don’t often read crime books, I don’t know why as I [mostly - see above] always enjoy them. Possibly not the greatest crime book ever written (in fact I believe it was adapted from the show’s screenplay), but simply for giving the world the remarkable and flawed Jane Tennison I have chosen Prime Suspect by Lynda La Plante.

July 19th – Most memorable plot twist

one day

Not so much a “twist” as a happening, but it has to be One Day by David Nicholls. I have never been punched so hard by a book, nor worried I might actually be ill over myself. A shocking, physical, moment the reader feels in the bones.

July 20th – Your Desert Island novel

tokill

It has to be To Kill a Mockingbird again! This novel has everything in it, I just wouldn’t need anything else and it would never bore me!