Some Of My Favourite Bookish Feelings

Friday, 17 November 2017

Receiving the 'order dispatched' email.
When you reread an old favourite and you still love the book, but you gain another perspective or a better understanding of it.
Following and interacting with authors on social media.
The sense of accomplishment you feel after finishing a 'difficult' book.
When a twist changes everything.
Reading a book with a friend.
Falling into an endless bookish rabbit-hole (podcasts, newsletters, book lists, upcoming releases, taking 'which Jane Austen heroine are you?' quizzes).
Learning something new.
Authors reading their audiobooks.
Coming out of a reading slump.
Loving a book you were reluctant to read.
Missing sleep and meal times (maybe not) to finish your current read.
Reading with a cosy blanket on a rainy day.
Passionately loving or hating a book.
Discovering inscriptions in previously owned books.
Reading a picture book as an adult.
Spending hours with a book.
When a TV/film adaptation has the perfect casting.
Tidying library bookshelves (I've done this since I was a child).
Listening to author interviews.
The scent of a freshly printed or old book.
Using your favourite bookmark.
Seeing an overflowing bookshelf.

What are some of your favourite bookish feelings?

Finally Fall Book Tag | TBR Edition

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

The Finally Fall book tag was created by Alina at Tall Tales and just like her, I am an autumn person. I love autumnal colours, clothes and crunchy leaves, but most of all, books. These questions can be answered with books you've read or books you're yet to read, and I've decided to go with the latter. Here are my answers.

In fall, the air is crisp and clear: name a book with a vivid setting!
Okay, I'm cheating already, I'm going with an author instead of one particular book. Catherynne M. Valente is known for her bestselling Fairyland series, said to be full of magical world-building, whimsy and delight. I'm especially drawn to her most recent release, The Glass Town.
As children, the Brontë siblings created fantastical stories and worlds, and this novel is inspired by their imaginings. The cover is gorgeous, too!

Nature is beautiful… but also dying: name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald follows the author after the sudden passing of her father. As a means of coping with her loss, she turns to one of the 'most vicious predators', the goshawk. I think this will be an informative and inspiring read.

Fall is back to school season: share a non-fiction book that taught you something new.
After listening to this episode of the Tea and Tattle podcast, I'm eager to read The Greedy Queen: Eating with Victoria by Annie Gray. The author is a food historian and discusses Queen Victoria and the food of her time. I adored listening to her engaging storytelling and witty voice throughout the podcast, and have also enjoyed her documentaries. Annie has a wonderful way of bringing history to life and I can't wait to read her book. 

In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love: name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of.
I know I'm going to be an emotional wreck after reading Penguin Bloom by Cameron Bloom, but the friendship between Penguin the magpie and his human family sounds beautiful. I love stories about the connection between animals and humans, and I believe animals can be the greatest of friends.

The colourful leaves are piling up on the ground: show us a pile of fall-colored spines!

Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside: share a book wherein somebody is telling a story.
I'm so eager to read Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb (and the entire Realms of the Elderlings series, for that matter). In the first book, Fitz introduces the reader to his life - which I assume includes many trials and adventures - and has captured the hearts of many with his narrative. This fantasy series is heading for my favourites shelf, I can feel it!

The nights are getting darker: share a dark, creepy read.
I could have chosen any book by Sarah Waters since she is known for her dark, historical novels, but for the sake of the question, I've chosen The Little Stranger.

The days are getting colder: name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day.
I'm going with The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, because it's about books and the power of reading and what's more heartwarming than books?! I rarely reach for humorous reads, but this one sounds lovely.

Fall (luckily, it’s my favourite season) returns every year: name an old favourite that you’d like to return to soon.
Harry Potter!

Fall is the perfect time for cozy reading nights: share your favourite cozy reading “accessories”!
My fluffy dressing gown, a cup of tea or hot chocolate and a book lamp.

Spread the autumn appreciation and tag some people!

Do you like autumn? Let me know your favourite books for this season. Happy reading!

Small Happy Things | Autumn Edition

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Hearty meals on a rainy day.
Walking on crunchy leaves.
Berry coloured lipstick.
Knitted cardigans, jumpers and mittens.
Scented candles.
Opening the window to hear the birds chattering.
Spotting a red squirrel.
Freshly baked bread.
Woodland walks.
Returning home to warm blanket and cup of tea.
Thick socks and ankle boots.
Handwritten recipes.
Reading a classic novel.
Home-baked chocolate chip cookies.
Historical dramas.
The first page of a notebook.
Mashed potatoes.
Scouring the web for the perfect winter coat.
Salted caramel.
Harry Potter.
Listening to a podcast whilst decluttering.
Jam on toast cut into quarters.
Planning my autumn/winter reads.
Autumnal scents.
Quiet mornings.
Embroidered clothing.
Bike rides in the countryside
Collecting natures treasures.
Roasted vegetables.
Pain au chocolat for breakfast.
Bursts of motivation.
The early arrival of christmas chocolate.
Shortbread biscuits.
Warm milk.
Reflecting on the past year.

What are your autumnal small happy things?

Book Review: Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

'Closer to the bank, the current dragged lengths of weed along with it so it seemed that long-haired women swam just under the surface, never coming up for air.' 

Eight year old Peggy is taken to 'die Hütte' - a rundown cabin in an unnamed European forest - by her survivalist father, James. Peggy is raised to believe they are the only two survivor's after the rest of the world has been wiped out. As readers, we know from the first chapter that Peggy has returned to her family home, aged seventeen. Part coming of age story, part mystery, this is the tale of Peggy's survival.

We spend the majority of the novel in the remote forest, as Peggy and her father adapt to their surroundings and find ways to occupy their time. Each season causes a change to their lives; they go through periods of abundance - edibles, water, good weather - but quickly fall into utter desperation, as the weather and mood turns bleak. We often romanticize the idea of living in the wilderness, completely relying on nature. It's something I daydream about a lot. However, this story made me realize the reality wouldn't be as wonderful as I imagine. Nature is beautiful but also harsh. The author's vivid descriptions of the natural environment pulled me into the world; I could feel the bitter coldness of winter and taste the sour berries (thankfully, not the squirrels!). The story never felt bogged down by details of daily life, as the writing was so lovely and evocative. Throughout reading the novel, I stopped numerous times to dog-ear the page and reread particular quotes or paragraphs. The characters are also brought fully alive, even through the smallest of gestures. We hear stories of Peggy's childhood and we see her father's mental stability slipping further away. 

Peggy is upfront about her wavering memory, leaving us with an unreliable narrator. Despite knowing this, I still wanted to believe every word and easily fell into her story. I felt nothing but sympathy for her. Growing up without proper nourishment leaves Peggy with physical and psychological scars. Her life demonstrates how the mind and body cope with such abuse. One particular line - “Your teeth are really rotten.” - almost made me tear up; the imagery is simple but so powerful. Though she is now back in the 'real world', Peggy's neglected teeth are a constant reminder of her time spent at 'die Hütte'.

Despite the changing seasons, it was quite difficult to gauge how much time had passed. Was it two years, five, ten? At first, I thought this could be a downside of the novel but quickly remembered Peggy's father rejecting the notion of time. As soon as they reached the forest, he proclaimed 'Our days will be endless.' We are supposed to feel confused and disorientated, this is exactly how Peggy and even her father must have felt. Humans love the idea of being 'wild and free', but actually, we do need structure and time in our lives.  In this case, both the reader and the characters are stuck in a sense of timelessness.

All throughout the story, I discovered little nods to fairy tales - the most obvious being Peggy's nickname, 'Punzel'. Others are interwoven into the actual setting and plot, recognizable to those who are readers of folklore - a hut, watchful trees, breadcrumbs, mermaids and the general eerie atmosphere. There was also an emphasis on the senses - taste, sight, smell - something I associate with fairy tales.

Only once I'd finished the story did I realize I'd been lulled into a false sense of security, feeling as if I knew how the plot would pan out. Whilst I was unnerved, I didn't think I could be surprised (I was wrong). I'm so impressed with the author, who chose to take the story to unexpected depths, rather than the most obvious route. 

Please let me know your thoughts if you have read this book, I'd love to discuss spoilers!

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