Top Ten Tuesday – Halloween

This week’s theme for Top Ten Tuesday brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish is all about Halloween. I’m not really a huge fan of scary books, so I’ll be splitting this week’s Top Ten into two Top Fives.

Today’s theme is: Books to Read to get into the Halloween Spirit and Characters I Would Want to be for Halloween.
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The Snow Goose – Paul Gallico

Snow GoosePaul Gallico tells a simple tale in this novella about friendship, love and loss. In the opening pages we are introduced to the ‘desolate and utterly lonely’ Great Marsh on the Essex coast. Like an artist, Gallico paints a picture of the scenery, making it seem both beautiful and sad; ‘Greys and blues and soft greens are the colours, for when the skies are dark in the long winters, the many waters of the beaches and marshes reflect the cold and sombre colour. But sometimes, with the sunrise and sunset, sky and land are aflame with red and golden fire’.

It’s not a great surprise to learn that the protagonist of The Snow Goose is a painter living and working quietly in an abandoned lighthouse. Rhayader, who shies away from public life because of his hunched back and clawed hand, lives a solitary life but is not alone – he is surrounded by nature, and the birds are his friends. Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – Places Books Have Made Me Want to Visit

I’ve been a fan of the weekly Top Ten Tuesday feature over at The Broke and the Bookish ever since I started Bundle of Books and have been considering joining in for a while. I’ve been a bit too busy to blog a lot recently, so something like this will be a fun way to get back into the swing of things!

Today’s theme is: Places Books Have Made Me Want to Visit.
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Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens

our-mutual-friend

Our Mutual Friend opens in true Dickens’ fashion with a grizzled man and a young woman rowing on the murky waters of the Thames. A repulsed Lizzie Hexam and her father have just found a corpse in the river.

In a sudden change of environment in the next chapter, we head over to Mr and Mrs Veneerings’ ‘bran-new house in a bran-new quarter of London’. I’m not sure what’s more horrifying, the grimy scene we just left or the shiny, well polished world of the Veneerings with their extravagant dinner parties and ‘bran-new’ artificial friends.

What brings these characters together in one book is an old miser’s will, and the body of his son John Harmon, found in the Thames. As always, Dickens’ mix of characters is a delight and his settings range from the gaudy dinner table of the Veneerings to my favourite, the dark and peculiar taxidermy shop owned by the gloomy Mr Venus. Continue reading