Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone: January 2011

Monday, 31 January 2011

Meet Me On Monday #2

Hosted by Never Growing Old

1. What do you put on your hot dog?
I don't eat hotdogs, so this is a bit of a non-question for me. However, I imagine I'd put either tomato ketchup or sweet chilli sauce on it since I put one of those on everything else.

2.  Do you play Sudoku?

Very ocassionally, when I'm really bored and I've got a headache from too much reading. I hardly ever finished them though.

3.  What is your favorite vegetable?
Spinach. I think this is thanks to watching too much Popeye when I was little (it'll give you super-strength you know)

4.  Do you color your hair?


5.  What is your favorite brand of clothing?
I don't really have a favourite brand of clothing- I'm far too busy buying books when I go shopping. Generally, I just pop into a store and see if there's anything I need or really like at a decent price. 

It's Monday: What Are You Reading #2

Read last week (click on links for reviews)
The Memory Box by Margaret Forster
Mustn't Grumble by Terry Wogan
Smith of Wooton Major by J.R.R. Tolkein
Only Strange People Go To Church by Laura Marney

Currently reading
A Great Big Read

Up next (probably)
The Small Woman by Alan Burgess

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Only Strange People Go To Church by Laura Marney (A Review)

Despite some adult content (mostly sexual references) I really enjoyed this book. It dealt with difficult issues such as discrimination, social cohesion, disability, religion and relationships in a humorous way. It gave me a lot to think about, as well as quite a few laughs.

I plan to pass this on as a RABCK on BookCrossing!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

On My Wishlist #2

Hosted by Book Chick City

First of all, I'd like to thank ApoloniaX for passing the wishlist book 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' on to me- that's one more ticked off my wishlist.

I've been adding quite a lot to my wishlist recently now that I've started following more and more blogs. So I'd like to share with you my some of my most recent additions to my wishlist:

Magyk by Angie Sage
The Magyk Begins Here
Septimus Heap, the seventh son of the seventh son, disappears the night he is born, pronounced dead by the midwife. That same night, the baby's father, Silas Heap, comes across an abandoned child in the snow -- a newborn girl with violet eyes. The Heaps take her into their home, name her Jenna, and raise her as their own. But who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to their beloved son Septimus?

Leo the African by Amin Malouf
From his chlidhood in Fez, having fled the Christian Inquisition, through his many journeys to the East as an itinerant merhcant, Hasans story is a quixotic catalogue of pirates, slave girls and princesses, encompassing the complexities of a world in a state of religious flux. Hasan too is touched by the instability of the era, performing his hadj to Mecca, then converting to Christianity, only to relapse back to the Muslim faith later in life. In re-creating his extraordinary experiences, Amin Maalouf sketches an irrisistible portrait of the Mediterranea world as it was nearly five centuries ago - the fall of Granada, the Ottoman conquest of Egypt, Renaissance Rome under the Medicis: all contribute to a background of spectacular colour, matched only by the picaresque adventures of Hasan's life.

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
Keep Your Head Down.Don't Get Noticed.Or Else.I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my ownhellip;until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution. 

BookCrossing from Covent Garden to Whitehall

Met up with some lovely fellow bookcrossers today in London. Had lunch together amidst books that we had a brought. Then we went on a release walk- freeing books from their confines all the way from covent garden to whitehall. We left books for others to find, some in very interesting places (behind a living statue, in someones bike basket). The one I left on a pedestrian crossing signal box seemed to go quite quickly, so fingers crossed for a catch. We finished up at the Old Shades which has a small bookcrossing zone (or OBCZ) and left some more books there.
I went away with 3 new books to try out and knowing that 4 of my own books are now having travelling fun.

Friday, 28 January 2011

The Friday 56

Hosted by Freda's Voice

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link it

Only Strange People Go To Church by Laura Marney
The Madonna of the magazines does not always match the Madonna of her meditations.

Book Beginnings- 28th January 2011

Hosted by A Few More Pages

My current book is 'Only Strange People Go To Church' by Laura Marney:

'Look!' says Fiona, pointing, 'that man's got his thing out!' Although Maria would rather they didn't, everyone stares. 

OK, rather a surprising start. Everything is quickly explained though.

Book Blogger Hop #2

This week Crazy for Books wants to know:

"What book are you most looking forward to seeing published in 2011?  Why are you anticipating that book?"

The new Jasper Fforde book- One of Our Thursdays is Missing
I absolutely love Jasper Ffordes' books- they're funny and original. The Thursday Next series (of which this is the next book) are the best in my opinion. 

Follow Friday #1

Hosted by parajunkee

What is/was your favorite subject in school?
My favourite subject was music. I loved the opportunities I was given to explore the keyboard on my own at middle school and listen to a whole variety of music in secondary school. We also had some really wonderful teachers, full of enthusiasm and love of their subject.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Smith of Wootton Major by J.R.R. Tolkien (A Review)

A charming short(er) story of the fairy-tale ilk, this is an interesting read for Tolkien fans. Its not what I was expecting- nothing deep or complex- but I liked it all the same.

This book is part of a bookcrossing ring!


Hosted by Booking Through Thursday

What’s the largest, thickest, heaviest book you ever read? Was it because you had to? For pleasure? For school?

I had a post ready for this, but then my internet crashed and it got lost- ARRRRRGGGGHHHH!
What I basically said was that the size (or weight) of books rarely impinges on me. The best long books can seem short (I guess LOTR is one of these) and shorter books (like the Harry Potter ones) can seen longer because I don't enjoy them as much. So, I can't really answer this question properly.


Hosted by Booking Through Thursday

What’s the largest, thickest, heaviest book you ever read? Was it because you had to? For pleasure? For school?
I read a whole range if different sizes of books and generally the size doesn't impact much on me. The best 'heavy' books that I've ever read I've probably forgotten how long they were- I guess 'Lord of the Rings' is probably one of those. I remember trying to read some of the Harry Potter books once and finding that they were too long for the style- I started them simply because I thought I ought to know what everyone likes about them. I guess I've not really answered the question,but that's the best I can do.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Mustn't Grumble by Terry Wogan (A Review)

Full of Wogan's usual wit and rambles, this book is a must for any fan be them young or TOG. My only complaint is that its sometimes hard to follow when things are happening as the story jumps around.

I will be BookCrossing this book as a wild release- keep a watch to see if it turns up near you!

The perils of a family of readers

Like many of you (probably) I have shelves and shelves stacked full of books. Some of them are pilled several books deep and they're starting to collect on the floor as well. I've been very careful recently to buy no more books than I'm reading and to take into account books I receive from others in this. Slowly (alright very slowly) my TBR pile has been decreasing.

And then, this morning my Dad decided to have a book clearout. His shelves are worse than mine- 3 or 4 books deep nearly all the way across. He hasn't stopped buying new books really and he doesn't bookcross or let me bookcross them so they rarely go down in number. Fantastic- I thought- I may actually be able to see what he has on his shelves now and maybe I might want to read some of them.

Just before he too them down to the charity shop he asked if I wanted any of them. Big mistake- 19 books have now been added to my shelves, so they've only travelled through one doorway in effect. I now have an extra pile of books on my floor and parents who are bound to complain that they can't vacuum for all my books. The only solution- keep reading (what a pity!)

WoW Weekly 100 words #1

Hosted by Ruthi Reads

From Mustn't Grumble by Terry Wogan:

Charles wears his emotions on his sleeve- the British expect imperturbability, if not stoicism, from their once and future King. Charles expresses his emotions and opinioons freely: politics, architecture, farming, the environment. Nobody has elected him to speak on their behalf, and he has no qualifications, but he expects to be listened to. He wants to be one of us, but the first among equals. His problem, and indeed that of the siblings, is that nobody has ever disagreed with him. Surrounded, as he has been all his life by sycophants and courtiers, who has ever sayed him nay?

WWW Wednesdays #1

Hosted by Should Be Reading

• What are you currently reading?

Mustn't Grumble by Terry Wogan- its taking me quite a long time to finish this one, but then I have been reading other books at the same time.

• What did you recently finish reading?

The Memory Box by Margaret Forster- really good (see my review)
• What do you think you’ll read next?
Smith of Wootton Major by J.R.R.Tolkein- I have this book as part of a bookcrosser ray and it would be good to get it on the move asap.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Memory Box by Margaret Forster (A Review)

A sentimental journey of discovery. I got increasingly enthralled with this book as I read on, as well as identifying more and more with the main character. No major surprises, but lots of exploration which it is easy to feel a part of. I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would.

My Heavenly Buy

On Sunday I popped into one of my local churches that has a small bookshop and spotted a book at half price. Now reduced-price Christian reads are hard to find around here, so my interest was immediately caught. The book was 'The Heavenly Man'- the story of Brother Yun, one of China's house church leaders. Should be an interesting read.

Teaser Tuesday

Hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
I'm reading two books at the moment, so I'll give you a teaser from each of them.

Mustn't Grumble by Terry Wogan
'Not coming with your wife? Ha! Careful!' they admonished. 'The most beautiful women in Europe are Ukrainian!'

The Memory Box by Margaret Forster
This, I gather, was my own choice. My parents were none to happy about it, but apparently I pleaded with themand they were as indulgent over this as they were in everything

Monday, 24 January 2011

Musing Mondays #1

This weeks musing on 'Should be Reading' is courtesy of Squidoo

Is there a book you absolutely love, but for some reason, people never think it sounds interesting, or maybe they read it and don’t like it at all?

To be honest, I can't think of any. Its not that I tend to read 'popular' books, its just that most of the books I read come from recommendations nowadays. Therefore I know at least one other person who finds it interesting straight away. I read a whole range of books, however, so there are always going to be some people I know who don't like the books I read- you can never please everyone!

It's Monday: What Are You Reading #1

Hosted by Sheila from Book Journey

This is where I'll be summarising my reads during the past week and talking about what I plan to read in the following week.

Last weeks reads (links to my reviews)
The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde
A Christmas Carol and other Writings by Charles Dickens

Planning to read this week

Mustn't Grumble by Terry Wogan (already started and planning to wild release next weekend)
"Veteran broadcaster Terry Wogan, or 'Sir Terry' as he insists on his family calling him, knows very well that 'veteran' is just a euphemism for 'clapped out', and he'd be just as pleased if you'd pack it in!....."

The Memory Box by Margaret Forster (bookcrossing ray)
"A mother leaves her baby daughter a mysterious, sealed box before she dies. Years later, when Catherine opens her mother's box- the 'Memory Box'- she finds it full of strange, unexplained objects, carefully wrapped and numbered, like clues to a puzzle. Catherine never knew her mother, but her idealized images, as the 'perfect', beautiful and talented woman that the rest of her family remembers, has cast a long shadow over her life. As she tries to solve the mystery of the box of secrets, she is pulled into the past and yo her mother's story, which reveals a woman far more complex, surprising and dangerous than the family legend has allowed. And in turn Catherine, fiercely independent and self-absorbed, discovers unexpected truths about herself."

Smith of Wootten Major by J.R.R. Tolkein (bookcrossing ring)

Meet Me On Monday #1

Every Monday Never Growing Old posts some questions so that those of the blogging world can get to know each other better. I thought this was a great idea, so I've decided to join in.

This week's questions and my answers:

1.  What is your favorite kind of fudge?

I absolutely love fudge. If I go to a traditional sweet shop I almost always get some, especially if its on special offer. My favourite is either chocolate or coffee fudge.

2.  Is there snow outside your window?

Not at the moment. We had lovely snow at christmas time, althought it did make my road itself rather trecherous. I'd love to have a little scatter again, but it seems unlikely now.

3.  What is your favorite meal of the day?

Definatly dinner. Its usually better planned than lunch and had better puddings.

4.  Do you text on your cell phone?

I can text, but I don't do it very often. In fact I don't use my mobile much at all.

5.  Waffles or pancakes?
Pancakes, with either lemon, toffee and apple or chocolate spread depending on how healthy I'm feeling.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

A Christmas Carol and Other Writings (A Review)

My original intention was to read this over Christmas, having seen so many different adaptations over the years and wondering which were (or weren't) accurate. My conclusion, none of the ones I'd seen were 100% accurate and my christmas seems to have been extended (at least my christmas reading has been). The actual story 'A Christmas Carol' was only part of this book, but a part which was one of the better stories in my opinion. Since I knew the rough plot, it was easier to follow than the others and reassuringly familar. Other stories were sometimes familiar by their very similar stories- something which became a bit repetative at times. Others were hard to follow for someone like me who doesn't read much classic fiction. Having said that, I very much enjoyed 'A Christmas Tree'- a succinct and descriptive ramble through the contents of a period christmas tree and the associations they stirred within the Dickensian mind.
This book is a classic and I thoroughly recommend reading it purely for this reason.

Reading System

Have you read these books?

Danielle at A Work in Progress asked how many of these books we've read. So here's what I've read and not read:

The Bible (Old and New Testament--King James Version)
I've read most of the bible, but not all of it and only selected passages in the King James Version. Interestingly there are a lot of familiar passages which I've read in a whole range of editions, but never in the King James.

Bulfinch's Mythology (or any other accounts of the Greek, Roman, and Norse myths)
I love Greek, Roman and  Norse mythology (and any other mythology come to mention it). This has resulted in me having plenty of books retelling the stories or explaining the myths- most of these I have actually read. I also studied some of these during school or at university. However, I've never read Bulfinch's Mythology.

Homer, The Iliad and The Odyssey 
Yes, and I've studied both of these books as well- the Odyssey is more interesting than the Iliad in my opinion.

Plutarch, Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans
I think I may have this on my shelves, but I've only read selected passages during my studies

Dante, Inferno
No, but I've watched the movie

The Arabian Nights
Not in their original forms
Thomas Malory, Le Morte d'Arthur (tales of King Arthur and his knights)
I have a very old edition of the stories of King Arthur, but I must say that I found it most boring. The modern versions are much more interesting and 'chivalreous' in the modern sense. 

Shakespeare's major plays, especially Hamlet, Henry IV, Part One, King Lear, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest -- King Lear
At various points during school I've studied Shakespeare's plays. The one that sticks in my mind most is A Midsummer Night's Dream (we also studied Romeo and Juliet). I love Shakespeare when its performed well, but I find it very hard to read. 

Cervantes, Don Quixote

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
I have a children's version of this on my bookshelves, which probably means I read it a long time ago. Its on my TBR shelves because I can't remember reading it at all.

Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels
Same as Robinson Crusoe

The fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen
I have a bit volume of these on my TBR shelves. I have delved into it a few times after I enjoyed a performance at the theatre based on them. 

Any substantial collection of the world's major folktales
Not really, would be really interested in exploring these though

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Yes, not my cup of tea

Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Quite a while ago, another one I'm planning to re-read at some point

Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Yet another one that I have plans to get to at some stage

Sunday Story Starters

When I first set up this blog I had an idea of ocassionally putting up some story sections that I'd written myself. Somehow that idea seemed to fall by the way-side. However, I've unexpectedly found myself with more time once again and therefore the perfect opportunity to try once again. But how to start? Well, what about starting with what I'm reading?! This story starts with the same first sentence as the story I'd currently reading, but the rest is mine- first draft, no revisions. If this goes well I may do the same on future Sundays. Here goes:

Time was, with most of us, when Christmas Day encircling all our limited world like a magic ring, left nothing out for us to miss or seek; bound together all our home enjoyments, affections, and hopes; grouped every thing and every one around the Christmas fire, and made the little pictures shining in our bright young eyes, complete. Time was, for some of us, when those bright young eyes became dulled and yet looked upon those little pictures as realities. For others those bright eyes clouded over, dull and listless, looked back on those days with whistfullness and longing.
I was one of those others as I sat gazing upon the world which now encircled me. The turkey upon the table burnt and charred like the dreams of my youth. The christmas fire but a hearth without the heat. The christmas wreath set out for the enjoyment of other, a hard and deep door away from my room.
I brought the blanket to my face, the scratching wool my only comfort against the cold. My head sagged on a stem of a neck, stretched from years of such things. My eyes closed out the cruel sight as they longed for rest.
When I awoke the room had become light. The silence had been broken. For there infront of me were the fruits of my loins and theirs as well. And as those bright young eyes shone upon me my world became complete.
My limited world unfolded until it was able, once again, to encompass all  my enjoyments, affections and hopes. For infront of me was the future- that of mine and the world.

[OK, that certainly wasn't the easiest one to start with. And I'm not sure it really went anywhere, but at least I tried]

First sentence taken from 'What Christmas Is As We Grow Older' by Charles Dickens.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

My reading story

Sheila at Book Journey asked 'what is your [reading] story'?

Did you come from a family of readers?
My Dad used to be a librarian and very much enjoys reading. My house has always been full of bookshelves overflowing with books. These were mainly read by my Dad during holidays, and ocassionally at other times or by my Mum.

Do you have memories of being read to as a child?
Not really. I think its been so much part of my life that all those memories have sort of flowed together.

Did you find your way into the pages by some other way?
I remember being drawn into books so much that I would stay up and use a torch to read under the covers of my bed. I've certainly ending up loving books even more than my parents and now have shelves and shelves of books of my own. Plus my parents TBR pile keeps increasing as I pass when I've read (and think they'd enjoy) onto them. 

Saturday's Bargain Book Buy

Really please with myself over this one. I've had The World According to Clarkson: Volume 3 on my wishlist over at BookCrossing for quite a while now. I liked the first volume and already have the 2nd on my TBR shelf. Then, whilst doing the family shop, I spotted the hardback for £2 (brand new) in Sainsbury's. That's only a tenth of the retail price (originally £20). I think this has to be one of the best book bargains I've got in a while.

What was your most recent book bargain? Can you beat mine?

Book Blogger Hop #1

This weeks question is 'Why Do You Read the Genre that you do? What draws you to it?'
I tend to read a wide-variety of different genres, so I guess for me the question is more 'why do I read a wide variety of genres and what draws me to a certain genre at a particular time?'
My interest in books is mainly about discovering another world and becoming a part of it. This means that I'm mostly interested in how the author writes and the enthusiam with which they express their characters and settings. I used to really love Science Fiction novels just because they took you to such different places. This interest has continued with authors such as Ursula Le Guin. It has also expanded to include comic fantasy worlds such as those created by Terry Pratchett and Jasper Fforde. Book that can make you laugh are a great joy to me, as they allow a real escape from everyday life- its stress and worries.
As well as journeying to these fantasy worlds I enjoy reading historical novels, especially those by Christian Jacq. Again, this is about experiencing another culture- this time Ancient Egypt. I love knowing that these characters are based on reality and learning about real places through them.
The last genres that I read a lot of (but not so much recently) are books about people growing up in or escaping difficult situations. These can be autobiographies, biographies, based on reality or pure fiction. I think, for me, this is partly about appreciating how good my life really is and partly about the good feelings when their situation changes. These are often hard reads, however, so I have to be in the right mood to read them. The consequence- whilst I still have a large number of these reads on my wishlist I have an equally large number on my TBR shelves.
In summary, the genres that I read are varied. I'm drawn to them by the idea of going into another world. 

You can find out more about the Book Blogger Hop at Crazy-for-Books.com

On My Wishlist #1

Hosted by Book Chick City

I host my wishlist on a mixture of BookCrossing and BookMooch. The list is quite long, so I'll pick out a few that I'm particularly interested in each post. Today I'm going to feature some of the Ursual Le Guinn books on my wish list:

Planet of Exile
The Earth colony of Landin has been stranded on Werel for ten years, and ten of Werel's years are over 600 terrestrial years, and the lonely and dwindling human settlement is beginning to feel the strain. Every winter, a season that lasts for 15 years, the Earthmen have neighbors: the humanoid hilfs, a nomadic people who only settle down for the cruel cold spell. The hilfs fear the Earthmen, whom they think of as witches and call the farborns. But hilfs and farborns have common enemies: the hordes of ravaging barbarians called gaals and eerie preying snow ghouls. Will they join forces or be annihilated? 

A contemporary novel by the author of "The Left Hand of Darkness", "The Dispossessed" and the "Earthsea" books. Klatsand is a typical American beachside community in which small-town loyalties, betrayals and generations-old resentments combine to produce a powerful crescendo.

Four Ways To Forgiveness
Two planets, Werel, a slave-owning oligarchy, and Yeowe, its colony, are destined for revolution after contact with the sophisticated space-going civilization of the Ekumen. But one form of oppression and slavery can all too easily give way to another; and so a new, implacable fight for equality is born.
In these four linked novellas, freedom - for women, for slaves, for human beings - takes many forms. It can be learning or love, compassion or courage, created with a touch or killed with a blow.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Book Beginnings- 21st January 2011

Hosted by 'A Few More Pages'

Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol (and other writings)
"Christmas Time!"

Since this book is made up of several stories I'll also share the first line of the story I'm currently on called 'The Haunted Man and The Ghost's Bargain':
"Everybody said so"

These startings really intrigued me. They left me hanging and wondering what could be coming next since they'd not really given much away.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Reading Two Books At Once

In the past I've always dedicated myself to reading one book at a time, with only a few exceptions. Recently these exceptions seem to have become more and more often. The book I'm reading will be too big to take on holiday, or too complex to dip into for a few minutes break, or too likely to give me nightmares to read at bedtime. I don't want to read two books at once, but yet it is happening.

What's your view? Do you read two books (or more) at once? Do you want to?

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The Fourth Bear (A Review)

Pure Jasper Fforde! (As for what that means, you'll have to read his work yourself to find out).
Funny, surprising and a much more interesting who-dunnit than any real mystery I've read. Find out how dangerous porridge can be with Jack Spratt (two ts) and the Nursery Crime Division.
Highly recommended (and one more for my permenant collection)

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Personal (biblical) challenge

2011 is the 400th anniversary of the King James' bible. Across the UK (and around the world) many events are taking place to celebrate this event. Lots of these events are also about encouraging people to read the bible and making it easier to access.

As a Christian, I've been thinking about how I could link my interest with BookCrossing to this event. I've decided to set myself a challenge to read and release as much Christian literature as I can this year. This will mainly be in the form of bible study notes and Christian fiction.

If any other Christians out there would like to join me I would love to hear from you.

Holiday reading

First of all, apologies for the lack of recent updates. As often happens over the holidays, I've been so busy reading and spending time with my family that the blog has suffered.

So now, a quick list of wha I've read this christmas / new year. If anyone wants more info please feel free to ask:
  1. Your Next Door Neighbour is A Dog by Zack Parsons
  2. The Pirates An Adventure With Whaling by Gideon Defore
  3. Mrs Fry's iary by Mrs Stephen Fry
  4. The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde
  5. Anything Goes by John Barrowman
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