Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the PhilWith the recent release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the world has gone Harry Potter mad again, so I thought it a good time to revisit the magical memories of my childhood.

I was almost eleven when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published in June 1997, so I’m one of the lucky ones that has literally grown up with Harry Potter. I, like Harry, was making the big leap from primary to secondary school when I first started reading the series.

A young muggle’s experiences at school aren’t really that different from a young wizard’s; Horrible teachers, too much homework, making friends and enemies, fighting mountain trolls (OK, maybe not that last one). Continue reading

Eats, Shoots & Leaves – Lynne Truss

Eats Shoots LeavesEats, Shoots & Leaves is a humorous “zero tolerance guide” to punctuation, and every writer (or blogger) should have a copy. In fact I’m not sure how I survived for so long without it.

I recently finished a proofreading course and this guide, along with the comprehensive Practical English Usage by Michael Swan, was never far from reach. But even when not in need of punctuation advice, Eats, Shoots & Leaves is very readable (and especially enjoyable with homemade cookies and a cuppa, as pictured). Continue reading

White – Rosie Thomas

White RosieAt 464 pages White seemed like a good choice for my 24 hour journey home after my travels in Asia. And with the promise of Mount Everest as a backdrop, I thought it would hold my attention.

However White was not the nail-biting adventure that I had been hoping for. It is first and foremost a romance novel with a rather dull and predictable plot. The most thrilling chapters were rushed and overshadowed by a tedious love triangle.

Rosie Thomas is  a climber herself and clearly understands the hardships and dangers an Everest expedition would entail. She also writes about the ego-driven climbers, with their obsessions of finally scaling the mountain. Continue reading

Top 5 Bookish Instagram Profiles

Instagram is fast becoming my favourite form of social media. In a world that has felt increasingly dark and uncertain in recent weeks, it’s been the perfect place to turn when news broadcasts get me down. I particularly like following fellow #bookstagrammers. They are a lovely bunch from all over the world, sharing their current reads and having civilised bookish chats. Here are a few of my favourites.

The Guy with the Book

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Packing My Bags Again

I’ve been back from my travels for almost three months and already life has thrown another adventure my way. I’m very happy to announce that I am moving to Prague in July! It’s been one of my favourite cities since living there for nine months back in 2008 and I can’t wait to get back.

Praha

I’ll miss London, especially my local area and, of course, my local bookshop, but I am looking forward to spending lazy days in beer gardens and getting to know new people and places. I also can’t wait to have some more space. The new flat will have a sofa, bedside tables and a dining table – items of furniture my boyfriend and I have missed a lot. We’ll also have room for some bookshelves so I don’t have to squash my reading pile on to half broken shelves like this… Continue reading

The Lie – Helen Dunmore

The Lie (2)I received The Lie from a book swap with a couple of friends in Indonesia. Although not a light holiday read (as you can probably tell from the cover), The Lie had an absorbing storyline and structure. I wouldn’t describe it as a memorable book, but I do have fond memories of reading it while sipping on a refreshing papaya juice on Gili Trawangan (ah, those were the days!).

However The Lie is as far from sunshine and fruit juices as you could imagine. Set just after the First World War, it follows Daniel, a returned soldier struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and trying to come to terms with life back in his home town.

From the very first page Dunmore sets the bleak tone which never ceases. Whether it’s the harsh reality of the small patch of land Daniel lives on in Cornwall, or the overpowering stink of thick mud from his flashbacks, the horror of war is never far away. Continue reading

Paper Towns – John Green

Paper TownsJohn Green has been on my radar for a while, and not just because of the popularity of The Fault in Our Stars. It was through Twitter that I discovered the CrashCourse YouTube channel where Green and his friends upload informative bite-sized videos about subjects such as literature, history, science and philosophy. They are definitely worth checking out.

I picked up Paper Towns at a guest house on the Thai island of Koh Lanta and then, because it was such a page-turner, read it in only two wonderful sittings on the beach.

Quentin, known to his friends as ‘Q’, is the likeable protagonist. One night his old childhood friend Margo shows up at his window to drag him out of bed and on a crazy quest of vengeance. When she doesn’t turn up at school the next day, and Quentin discovers a cryptic clue, he becomes determined to unravel the mystery of Margo and find out where she has run off to. Continue reading