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Through the Wardrobe – March Books

The evenings are lighter, daffodils and crocuses are blossoming and the weather has finally turned – I love springtime! March went by SO quickly, being an incredibly busy month for me filled with festivals, a long weekend break with my sister to Paris and turning one year older. It’s just all go!

I had so much fun stewarding at the Bath Literature Festival again this month, seeing fantastic events from Joanna Trollope on her modern revision of Sense and Sensibility (almost persuaded to try but not a fan of Austen reworked generally), Kate Williams on the phenomenal life of Josephine Bonaparte (an amazingly interesting character), a brilliant discussion on a modern woman’s place in society led by Kirsty Wark and many more! The time I spend stewarding at Bath Lit festivals, despite being hard on the feet, is one I absolutely treasure because you get to see events you wouldn’t necessarily have chosen to see and meet people from all walks of literary life.

As you might expect discussing literature all day does whet the appetite somewhat and, despite being very good and (on request) not receiving any books for my birthday, I did indulge when in Bath. In my defence, it was always going to happen! So here are my springtime treats…

Half Bad by Sally Green
One of the great things about bookshops is you get to overhear some great conversations about books – I picked this one up because two parents were vehemently trying to persuade their teen into buying this title after hearing a radio interview from the author and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about!

Heartburn by Nora Ephron
What could be more delicious than Nora Ephron (superstar screenwriter of When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle) and her wit combined with a novel focussed on love, loss, revenge and recipes?!

The Princess Bride by William Goldman
A colleague at work has been trying to get me to watch the film of this for an absolute age! There was something stopping me and I think it might be to do with my impulse to read the book first before watching the film – no excuses now.

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell
I am about halfway through this book and have already selected about 5 quotes from it to live by – I love it! Recent winner of the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Award and shortlisted for the Carnegie, it’s easy to see why.

I, Coriander by Sally Gardner
Another book already devoured pre-monthly round up (review coming soon)! The purchase of I, Coriander was for wider reading and possibly subject matter for my end of term MA essay on time and history in children’s literature. I absolutely adored Gardner’s story-telling, it is just effortlessly magical.

 

Review or complimentary copies

Thirteen by Tom Hoyle
Those of you may remember that I bought this title in eBook form last month and commented on the effectiveness of the striking cover. Having then proceeded to win a hard copy on Goodreads nigh on two days later I can tell you, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Brilliant piece of book production.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
I have very recently become part of Bookbridgr, a new resource offered to book bloggers by Headline to post reviews, see author interviews, request copies of upcoming titles etc. This new one by Matthew Quick is my first bookbridgr title.

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Through the Wardrobe – February Books

Digital doesn’t count…right?! Ok I admit it, I’m broken! I can’t physically manage to go 4 months without purchasing a book but…to be fair…

  1. 4 months is a very long time (though I did ace it through January!), and
  2. Amazon was especially mean in having some of my book wishlist in their Kindle monthly deals last month.

Conclusion – Amazon’s fault.

Looking at this with perspective (and shameless self-justification), I have actually saved money by taking advantage of the 99p eBook sales, as well as saving both bookshelf space and my postman’s back by purchasing digitally – yes those are my very tenuous excuses and I’m sticking to them! So on to the books…

February eBooks

I am actually gutted that these books will be sheltered in my Kindle as they all have such striking covers!

The starkness of the yellow and black of new release Thirteen, a YA novel based in London about one boy’s attempts to escape a cult’s sacrificial rampage, is particularly effective. I love how the tally marks compliment the blurb!

As I’m currently studying time and history at university, I must be receptive to similar books as this Barbara Eskine found its way onto my radar. Hiding from the Light plays with the memory of the 1644 witch hunts within a modern day setting – gothic hauntings abound!

The Kingdom of Childhood  is one of those novels with an infamous reputation as it tackles on of the more taboo societal relationships, that between a teacher and pupil. I’m intrigued to see how such tricky subject matter is tackled.

As you now know, Rainbow Rowell is a new author for me but one I already love, having devoured Fangirl last month! I really love the incredibly stylish cover almost as much as I loved the story so a hard copy may find its way onto my bookshelf at some point… (see my review here)

Barbara Kingsolver is one of those authors who I feel I should have read. She’s been recommended to me by at least five people so with Flight Behaviour down to 99p, I am embarking on an education.

Despite holding the accolade of winner of the Costa First Novel Award in 2011, it was the cover of Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away that pulled me in – the words entwined with the graphics flow beautifully. For some unknown reason, and completely unintentionally, I don’t really read a lot of novels set in Africa so Tiny Sunbirds will be something different.

I meant to read this book before the film came out but I did the usual ‘oh its popular and everyone’s reading it so I won’t’ thing – really don’t know why I do that! I think enough time has passed now for The Silver Lining’s Playbook to come into my life.

There’s something about the title and pastelised cover of The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp that reminds me of films I love like An Education, Cemetery Junction and Tamara Drewe.

And that’s February done! I’m off to Bath Literature Festival this week so I shall try (but probably won’t succeed) to curb any book temptations…

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Through the Wardrobe – December Books and a very Happy New Year!

2014

So the Christmas decs are down, the uni assignment has been successfully submitted and my joyous commute has once again got me up at 6.30am – it’s officially January people! With a new university module on the horizon and hyped up on festive cheer, December’s book buying went a little into overdrive (ok, a lot into it!) so I’m only going to share with you the non-university related reads in this round up.

I have also made a little New Year’s resolution to refrain from any further purchases until April…I hope! It is going to be really tough! And yet I am determined to use the first 4 months of 2014 to get into a better balanced reading routine with uni books as well as exploring all the other lovelies that currently reside on my shelves (and under the bed, and in my bedside table, and in my study etc. etc.)

Now onto the December delights and only new titles that will grace my shelves until March (I know I said April but books for my birthday don’t count as my purchases!)…

Dec '13

In Bloom – How can anyone fail to want to pick up a book with such a fab cover?! There have been a lot of comparisons made between this debut from Matthew Crow and the massive 2013 hit The Fault in Our Stars. I hope In Bloom emulates the same kind of beauty that I found in Green’s novel, rather than shamelessly trying to replicate it – we shall see!

Amity & Sorrow – I read the blurb of this title and it immediately grabbed me. As a clear audience divider on Goodreads, I’m really looking forward to finding out which side of the fence I sit with this one.

The Round House – This book inexplicably found its way onto my radar, I hadn’t heard of Louise Erdrich before and this book wasn’t one recommended to me and yet I kept seeing it everywhere. Temptation and curiosity was clearly too much…

How I Live Now – Heralded as one of the YA greats, I have to admit that it wasn’t until a wise ex-teacher of mine suggested dipping into some of Rosoff that I decided to take the plunge. This one’s for you Schoey!

The Diary of A Young Girl – The definitive World War II story and one I haven’t ever properly visited. We did some small sections on Anne Frank at school but as I now read a lot of novels based in the Second World War, I think I should probably dedicate some proper time to read this iconic diary.

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, The Other Way Round, A Small Person Far Away – This semi-autobiographical, Second World War trilogy from the legendary Judith Kerr is finally mine!

Emily of New Moon – Having finished an emotional reread of Anne of Green Gables recently (I love that book so much!), I looked into more hunting down some more un-Anne L.M. Montgomery as it was a territory unventured. Enter Emily Starr and New Moon Farm – I’m sorry but you do have a lot to live up to, no pressure.

The Complete Maus – I really want to read more graphic novels and Maus is one that I have been desperate to start my adventure with.

And yet that little haul was still not enough! The Amazon Daily Deals for the Kindle over Christmas were unbelievably tempting but I think I was fairly restrained and managed to cross three more titles off my wish-list at only 99p a pop:

The Universe versus Alex Woods
Divergent
Angelfall

Last year saw some amazingly popular YA trilogies hitting the crossover market – three certainly seems to be the magic number to crowd-please at the moment and I’m starting the year revisiting one of my favourites. As such I am really looking forward to dipping into the opening gambit to Veronica Roth’s Divergent series and have many more trilogies in line for 2014. Watch this space.

Happy New Year all!

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Through the Wardrobe – Christmas Books

I’ve decided to do a pre-‘December Books’ book haul as I was thoroughly spoilt at Christmas! I hope you all had a fabby Christmas – it really is my favourite time of year with the spending time with friends and family, decorations, copious amounts of drink and turkey (who knew a small crown could last so long!), carols, pub times and pressies. I’ve been hauled up in Shropshire the past week, curled up by the fire – it has been bliss! – but thought I’d do a quick round-up of the books Father Christmas so kindly bestowed upon me (apparently he really does listen to requests!).

Christmas '13

White Truffles in Winter The imagined life of chef Auguste Escoffier (of Ritz and Savoy fame) isn’t my usual read but with food tv programmes being a major guilty pleasure of mine and having heard a little of this legendary French chef I thought 2014 was the year to break usual reading habits. Having skimmed the opening page, I’m expecting MAJOR bouts of food envy from this read!

Shadow and Bone The Grisha is the major YA trilogy doing the rounds at the moment and though the final instalment is yet to be published (something I usually wait for when embarking on a new series/trilogy) I have been hearing nothing but excitement and recommendations about Bardugo’s opening gambit so here goes!

The Tiger in the Smoke I don’t know if it’s just me but there seems to have been a resurgence in the interest in Allingham’s books – either that or they are just everywhere at the moment! I had never heard of Margery Allingham or her main character Albert Campion before this winter but I’m really excited to discover, hopefully, a great new crime/thriller writer.

Moranthology How to be a Woman is one of my rereads planned for next year, I absolutely loved Moran’s frank wit and hilariously honest sense of humour. As an anthology (you see what she did with the title now?! Wit.) of her articles and POV, I can’t wait for Caitlin to cheer up my miserable January.

The Night Circus As one of the most memorable covers of 2012 this title has finally caught up to me! Having finished Water for Elephants last month, I was on the lookout for another circus-related title that could fill the void and so, after many recommendations for this book, succumbed to the popular reputation of Morgenstern’s award-winning title and it’s deliciously gothic cover.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir Father Christmas read my Christmas Cracker post! So unbelievably excited to read Jenny Lawson’s tales from her strangely bizarre Texan childhood, The Bloggess is on my bookshelf!

And then to finish off the Christmas spoilings, my Auntie bought me the most beautiful bookends! Though my room is FULL to the brim with books, both read and unread, I’m sure I can find a place for this beautiful chap (these beautiful chaps? Not sure of the plurality of one owl in half…) to cuddle a few books.

Bookshelves restocked with Christmas goodies? Any festive reads over the holidays you’d recommend? (Planning ahead for my March birthday!)

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Through the Wardrobe – October Books

This month I finally got my hands on one of the Books Are My Bag bags! It’s part of the nationwide campaign to raise awareness and support for indie bookshops and I am so happy and proud to use mine to and from uni (that, and I love a pun)! I got mine from the wonderfully named Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights situated in the beautiful Bath, along with a few of this month’s book purchases.

For me, absolutely NOTHING beats searching the shelves for a new book, discovering authors and novels you would never have found otherwise. No matter how convenient or cheaper online shopping is, you lose the spontaneity of book purchases when you click so we really need to support our local bookshops. See the campaign’s website for more info and participating bookshops.

Now, off my soapbox and into my October book purchases…

Oct '13

Capital by John Lanchester [Kindle] – Lanchester’s brilliant yellow cover has been a coveted read for me for a while now. Focussed on a cross-section of London society, I can’t wait to discover all Lanchester’s city has to offer.

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein – after reading the amazing Code Name Verity earlier this year I am really looking forward to exploring Wein’s stellar storytelling again.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine – I read this book years and years ago and with fairytales a big part of my MA this term, I really wanted to get back and discover this reimagining of Cinderella once more.

Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes [Kindle] – another author whose previous work I’ve loved. I absolutely devoured her Me Before You which had me bursting into tears on a Sunday evening train home (a book totally worth looking like a crazy lady for though!). She creates characters you can’t help but love and, despite the overly chick lit/holiday read covers, you will remember them long afterwards.

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood – one of my main bugbears of eReaders is that it prevents nosiness when you commute (and I do love to be nosy)! However, in this case, was sat opposite a woman who was reading a hardcopy of this Atwood, looking so engrossed in it that I was intrigued to have a look myself.

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys – As you can see in my review of Sepetys’ debut Between Shades of Gray, I fell in love with her writing style and can’t wait to dive back into it with this second offering.

Nothing by Janne Teller – I hadn’t heard anything about this book before I stewarded at an event at Bath Children’s Literature Festival. It is a translated YA novel with a controversial reputation and I can’t wait to see what comes from Nothing.

The Shining and Salem’s Lot by Stephen King [Kindle] – inspired by my Spectacular Spooktacular feature, I’ve bitten the bullet and bought my first two SKs (both on offer for Halloween). I may wait for the evenings to brighten up a bit before starting these though so my overactive imagination doesn’t go into total overdrive on walks home in the dark!

With the night’s drawing in and the wind picking up (hurricanes galore…!), nothing says winter to me more than curling up in a chair with a good book. What will you choose this month?

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Through the Wardrobe – September Books

I thought I had been really good this month in terms book buying restraint but when I came to collect the books together for the September Book Haul ‘family’ photo, I realised I was wrong! Apparently in celebration of the fact that I only purchased one eBook this month I rewarded myself with lots of hardcopies…my internal logic astounds me sometimes?!

I started my MA in Children’s Literature last month which is already unbelievably interesting but quite a challenge, particularly as I’m working full time as well. I want to keep reading other books as much as can and reviewing my discoveries for your delectation but they may be posted in an irregular manner until I get used to balancing my new workload – you have been warned!

I’ve also been back up in one of my favourite cities, Bath, for my second Children’s Literature Festival. I worked last Sunday and going back again this weekend for a full timetable of literary delights and I absolutely love my time there! Stewarding is so much fun – you get to see authors speak that you wouldn’t have heard from otherwise, see how excited children get about books and just have a great time generally. There are still tickets available for this weekend so if you fancy Go[ing] West, please do!

Now you’re all caught up on little me, here are my September books:Sept '13

Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan [Kindle]
This book has been doing the rounds in the blogosphere and I’ve finally got round to downloading it on the Kindle. As a former bookshop worker, I’m really interested to read about someone discovering the bookshop world, particularly in the mysterious sounding Mr Penumbra’s.

Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
I bought this book in the beautiful Bath indie bookshop Mr B’s Emporium last weekend. I have heard so many good things about Tell the Wolves I’m Home that I just couldn’t resist.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I never read this as a child but have always been aware of it as a ‘classic, must read’, a book that sells a million copies a year since publication must be a worthy read! I’m not entirely sure what finally made me bite the bullet to purchase but I’m really excited to finally meet the little prince and see if reputation meets expectation.

Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy
The fabulous Hot Key Books recently revealed that they are publishing the follow up novel to Looking for JJ in February 2014, nearly a decade after the original. I had never heard of Anne Cassidy’s novel before this announcement but immediately looked it up and liked what I found. It seems to be along very similar lines to Channel 4’s Boy A and I’m really looking forward to seeing how she tackles the subject of new identity and hidden pasts.

Someone Like You by Roald Dahl
As a lifelong fan of Dahl, I have only ever really read his novels for children – fearing that if I venture too far from the stories I adore, that I will discover something other than genius! However, in light of Roald Dahl Day last month (13th September) I decided to change this course and venture into the world of his short stories. Wish me luck!

Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
I was having a chat with my Uncle about mystery and crime novels and he immediately recommended Scott Turow’s legal thriller. Unfortunately it is the case (pun a little bit intended) that I have already seen the film adaptation but I’m hoping it was long enough ago that it won’t ruin the novel – fingers crossed!

Mystic River by Dennis Lehane
Dennis Lehane’s novels have been the base for many successful films with Mystic River being a particular example as Clint Eastwood’s version was nominated Best Film in the 2004 Academy Awards. His proven reputation for creating stories that translate so well to film is what drew me to purchasing my first Lehane.

Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
I absolutely loved my first dip into Hemingway with The Old Man and the Sea [review]. I was initially absolutely terrified of his gravitas as an author, with visions of convoluted writing and confusing phrasings, but he proved me wrong and I couldn’t wait to dip into his work again. I chose Fiesta for my second foray because the premise is so different to The Old Man… and I can’t wait to dip into the American expatriate life in 1920s Paris.

The Classic Fairy Tales edited by Maria Tatar
and
My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me edited by Kate Bernheimer
I’ve got both of these for my MA – the Tatar anthology is one of our core texts for our theory module this term and the Bernheimer is a collection of new fairy stories written by modern authors that I picked up at Mr B’s in Bath for personal interest. I was warned by the sales assistant that some of the new fairy stories are quite dark so I’m really looking forward to making comparisons between the two books.

Happy October reading everyone!