Fever Dreams – Yahia Lababidi

I have to admit that I am not the world’s greatest fan of poetry. In fact, I haven’t opened a poetry book since I studied Philip Larkin seven years ago (a brilliant poet by the way!) So when I received Yahia Lababidi’s email with the offer of a free copy of his latest book, Fever Dreams, I was both excited and a little nervous at the prospect.

I chose a peaceful Saturday morning to read through the poems, with only the occasional sip at my tea to disturb me. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the quiet time I spent with Fever Dreams, away from the rush and bustle of the modern world.

Words, the appropriate opening poem of Fever Dreams is, as you might have guessed, all about the importance of words. For a poet and aphorist, words are the tools of the trade, along with a creative flare. Lababidi believes strongly in the careful use and placement of certain words. This is demonstrated in his aphorisms, which are widely read.

‘Certain words must be earned

Just as emotions are suffered

Before they can be uttered

-clean as a kept promise.’

Words Continue reading

Top 12 Book Recommendations (from 2011)

So I’ve swapped my usual Top 5 post for a Top 12 post. But I have a very good reason…

I was pleasantly surprised the other day to find my review of Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe linked on Bookzilla’s website for the Pay It Sideways Challenge from What She Read. It is such a wonderful idea! It encourages people to read books they wouldn’t normally try, hopefully opening their lives up to new authors and genres. Also, it is a lovely way to show appreciation to fellow book bloggers and spread the bookish love!

I have opted to go for the interesting challenge of choosing six books I wouldn’t normally read and six that I would. All the books below have been chosen because of fabulous and intriguing reviews. Who knows, maybe you will find something different to read too! As I go along, I will link my own reviews, so you can see how I got on. Continue reading

Other People’s Shelves – Mr. and Mrs. S and their Book Heaven

Now I don’t have a bookshelf at the moment. Instead, I have books lying around in bundles everywhere, tottering towers waiting to be read and ever growing ‘finished’ piles. So when I get a chance to browse through other people’s books on their accessible and easy to view shelves, I get quite excited! A particular house I like to visit, belonging to Mr. and Mrs. S gets me particularly excited – it’s my version of Book Heaven.

Staying with this friendly couple is a real treat for book lovers. As two voracious readers, with a huge collection and variety of books, you could spend hours wondering around the house, browsing the shelves. You also get the added bonus of book recommendations with your morning coffee and mild debates about Charles Dickens over dinner.

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The Distant Hours – Kate Morton

At 670 pages, The Distant Hours is a daunting and hefty book. But once you have opened it, it is easy to lose yourself inside the wonderful world that Morton has created. The book begins with the prologue of ‘The True History of the Mud Man’, a children’s story by the fictional author Raymond Blythe. This story is mentioned time and again throughout the book and is one of the many threads holding the plots together. Although we never actually get a chance to read the whole of The Mud Man, it is soon clear that it is vital to the storyline and to the lives of all the characters.

The main narrator of The Distant Hours is thirty year old editor, Edie Burchill. When a long-lost letter is received in the post, half a century late, an interest in her mother’s past is awakened. Curiosity and coincidence bring Edie to the very place where the letter came from.  One thing leads to another and soon Edie is drawn into the spellbinding mystery of the Sisters Blythe and Milderhurst Castle.  Continue reading

Mansfield Park – Jane Austen

This is the fourth book that I read for Advent with Austen. Unfortunately, I did not finish it in time! Christmas is always a distraction, but this isn’t the only excuse I have for taking so long to read Mansfield Park. I think I was just feeling a bit tired of Jane Austen. However sharp and witty her writing is, and however engaging the storyline, there is only so much romance and society that I can take – even when Austen is poking fun.

Mansfield Park is different from the other Austen books I have read. It is mostly set in the home of Sir Thomas Bertram, where he lives with his docile wife, two sons and two daughters. Living nearby is the unforgettable Mrs. Norris, Lady Bertram’s pushy, money saving sister who seems to be included in all of the family’s decision making. Continue reading

The Globe – Prague

This  year I was lucky enough to celebrate Christmas in one of my favourite cities: Prague. It is a beautiful city in any season, but at Christmas it is simply wonderful! Whether you enjoy the hustle and bustle of the festive market in Old Town Square, an evening stroll along the river, where the lit up castle twinkles on the skyline or if you like to escape the cold and have a hot drink in one of the many cafés and tea rooms; Prague has something for everyone.

I lived in Prague for eight months in 2008 and one thing that I loved to do, was to grab a book and find a comfortable place to sit while disappearing in its pages. In the summer, I would usually make my way to a park or a café with a garden, and in more chilly weather, I could sit for hours in many of Prague’s lovely tea rooms. There is one place in particular which combines my hobbies very well, and I always make sure to visit when I am in town. Continue reading