The House on the Strand – Daphne du Maurier

At the beginning of July, I went on a not-so-summery holiday to Cornwall. We were a lovely half-hour coastal walk from St. Ives, where I found plenty of delightful tea shops and brilliant bookshops to keep me more than happy on the rainy and windy days when others braved the beach. It was in a very friendly Oxfam Bookshop that I found The House on the Strand. I was about half way through the week, struggling with a book that I wasn’t really in the mood for, and had a sudden craving for Daphne du Maurier. Is there a better place to read her books than Cornwall?

When I tried to explain the plot, I was simply laughed at: The narrator, Richard Young is going through a bit of a mid-life crisis and after quitting his job as a publisher, escapes to his old university friend Magnus’ house in Cornwall. He has one week until his wife and step children turn up and his dear friend has asked a rather odd favour. Magnus, a biophysicist, has created a secret drug that can take you back in time by 600 years (that’s the bit where people start laughing) and asks Richard to be his guinea pig. My biggest problem with this book is that it’s just too unrealistic. But however silly the storyline sounds, Daphne du Maurier manages to make it a chillingly serious tale.  Continue reading

Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood

When I saw this in the Oxfam bookshop at only £2.49, I simply had to grab it before someone else did! I was told by a fellow volunteer that Alias Grace was ‘the most accessible Atwood book’. Not that I was worried – I’ve never had a problem getting stuck into one of her books before, in fact it’s always been the opposite. So, I was quite confused with how long it took me to start enjoying this book. Was it me? Alias Grace has all the ingredients for an unputdownable, thrilling read – a real life, infamous Canadian murder, a woman incarcerated for years, while her supposed paramour is hanged – so why was I finding it so hard to get into? Continue reading

Au Bout du Monde – Amsterdam

A couple of months ago, my boyfriend and I went to Amsterdam for a five day holiday to get away from work stress and flat-searching problems. Amsterdam certainly did the trick to take our minds off worries back in England. For me, it was mostly because, without realising, we had stumbled upon bookshop heaven!

In the middle of the week we took a walk along the Singel canal and to my pleasure found THREE bookshops in a row. I could not believe my luck! We walked up the stairs to the first bookshop to find a very calming atmosphere – the perfect shop to put all our worries behind!

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Tales of the Greek Heroes – Roger Lancelyn Green

Over the past year, when reading certain books, I’ve felt as though I am missing something. The feeling first started when I read Donna Tartt’s The Secret History a few years ago, but I always assumed that I was just too young to fully understand the book. But more recently, when reading Ali Smith’s Girl Meets Boy, The Magus by John Fowles and many other novels which hint at or are inspired by Greek mythology, I have felt completely out of my depth. References that other people seem to fully understand fly right over my head.

I don’t remember learning much about Greek mythology when I was at school, which I find quite shocking seeing as it plays such a vital role in our culture – especially art and literature; two subjects I have an interest in. Wanting to catch up, I immediately researched and decided to buy a well-respected translation of Ovid’s MetamorphosisContinue reading

Top 5 Favourite Oxfam Finds

As you may be aware, in the last few months I have started volunteering at Oxfam Books and Music. So far it’s been great. I get to sort through, price and sell books. I even quite like that musty, old book smell. But most exciting of all; I get first pick of the books! Another thing that I love about used books is finding unexpected items inside. I can completely understand these bookworms that accidentally leave postcards, train tickets and scraps of paper between the pages of their books because I do exactly the same thing. I usually grab the nearest thing to mark my place and often these can become nice memories when I find them months or years later hidden in an old read. I’ve found some pretty weird and wonderful things that people have used for bookmarks. Here are a few of my favourite!

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Sorry for the Silence…

Hi everyone!

Just a very quick post to apologise for the lack of posts recently! I’ve had a lot of very exciting things going on and a few less interesting but equally as important things to sort out. I haven’t even picked up a book in about THREE WEEKS! Shock, horror! I’m about four book reviews, three bookshop reviews and a couple of Top Fives behind so have a lot to catch up on!

Thankfully, I’m off on holiday tomorrow and am choosing my reading material carefully. I’ll also try and get some reviews done, but not sure I’ll have the Internet. So I’m asking you to bear with me a little longer!

Thanks guys and see you soon!