The Weird Sisters – Eleanor Brown

The Weird Sisters

This is the tenth book I read for the Pay It Sideways Challenge. I was hesitant to read The Weird Sisters, but this review at Reading with Tea persuaded me to give it a go.

Ever since I studied it at school, Macbeth has been the only Shakespeare play that I’ve felt I can get on with, (not that I’ve given his others much of a chance) and the three weird sisters were immediately my favourite characters. That’s why I was slightly reluctant to read this book, I didn’t want my idea of them to be turned into something sappy. Continue reading

Just Kids – Patti Smith


I’m not too familiar with Patti Smith’s work, so I probably never would have thought about reading Just Kids if it weren’t for this short but intriguing review at bluntsbookblog. This is the ninth book I’ve read for the Pay It Sideways Challenge.

Just Kids is the fulfillment of a promise Patti Smith made to Robert Mapplethorpe in their last ever conversation before he died, “Will you write our story? … no one but you can write it”. When I sat down one lazy (and slightly hungover) Sunday morning to read it, I had no idea how much of an effect the book would have on me. I spent the rest of that day with my eyes glued to the pages and my mind in 1970’s New York. Continue reading

A Knitter’s Home Companion – Michelle Edwards

This is the eighth book I read for the Pay It Sideways Challenge. I’ve been knitting on and off since I was a teenager and have been looking for a book about knitting for a long time. I have a number of knitting manuals and pattern books, some with a bit of history mixed in, but what I really wanted was a more personal, warm and fuzzy book that would induce the same feeling I get from sitting down with a nice long pattern. When I read this review by Book Snob, I knew I had finally found what I wanted!

To start with, this is a very beautiful book, filled with simple but lovely illustrations by Michelle Edwards herself. Straight away, you can tell that it’s going to be a heart-warming and relaxing experience reading through the pages. It’s a collection of short stories and essays, with the odd recipe, book recommendation and of course, knitting pattern dotted between them. Continue reading

The Summer Book – Tove Jansson

This is the seventh book I read for the Pay It Sideways Challenge. I really enjoyed reading the thoughts of Iris on Books and couldn’t wait to get stuck in.

Jansson is most famous for being the creator of The Moomins. I liked the cartoons when I was younger but never really thought much about the books they had come from or the author who had written them. I’m glad this fantastic and talented author has finally been brought to my attention!

Reading The Summer Book filled me with a peaceful calm. The writing is unhurried and there are no huge climatic scenes. It’s a beautiful, thoughtful book with a clear simplicity that matches the isolation and fresh breezes of the setting. Continue reading

The Sugar Queen – Sarah Addison Allen

This is the sixth book I read for the Pay It Sideways Challenge. I doubt I would ever have picked The Sugar Queen up if it weren’t for this review at Trees and Ink, which makes the story sound  intriguing, magical and ‘sweet’.

Unfortunately, I don’t have many good things to say. I should have listened to my gut instinct because this is really not my sort of book. I was hoping for a subtle magic in the storyline, but instead just got silly magic – a lucky cardigan that mostly works to attract a man that the main character has fallen in love with. It’s the sort of magic that you would read about in a romance novel for teenagers, and indeed everything about the storyline felt childish and naive. Continue reading

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

I was so excited when The Night Circus dropped through my letterbox. This review at Top Floor Corner was the first of many that intrigued me. This is the fifth book that I read for the Pay It Sideways Challenge.

I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but there’s something about this simple yet elegant front cover that made me want to start The Night Circus immediately. And it turned out to be the perfect book to read as autumn approached.

The Night Circus is everything that I had been promised. It’s enchanting, bewitching and all sorts of other magical words. The book is long and detailed enough for the reader to fully lose themselves in the world of  the circus and the main characters. In fact, I could quite happily have carried on reading forever… or even better, ran off and joined the circus!  Continue reading

One Day – David Nicholls

What a brilliant idea for a book! One Day dips in and out of the lives of two people on the same day every year over the period of twenty years. At first, I was unsure whether the concept would work, but it does – at least for the first half of the book. I have to admit, I had been avoiding this book until I read this review at Lit Addicted Brit. This is the third book that I have read for the Pay it Sideways Challenge.

It’s June 15th 1988, the day after Emma and Dexter’s graduation. As they lie in bed, smelling of cigarettes and alcohol, they talk of the future. It stretches before them, filled with hopes, dreams and endless possibilities. Little do they know that their lives will not go as planned and the age of forty, which seems so far away and unimaginable now, will come along much quicker than they would like. Continue reading

Gigi and The Cat – Colette

I can’t believe I had never heard of Colette until a couple of months ago! Of course I recognised the film posters for the musical of Gigi, but had never seen it and wasn’t even aware that it was based on a book. I feel as though I have been living on another planet!

As soon as I read this review of The Cat at Literary Relish, I knew I had to give Colette a go. This is the second book that I have read for the Pay It Sideways Challenge.

This book is made up of two short stories and is the perfect introduction to this brand spanking new (for me, anyway) author. In a short amount of pages, Colette manages to show off her power over the written word. She sets the scene, creates an atmosphere and then whisks you through bizarre situations with some witty dialogue to keep things interesting. 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