Friday, 15 October 2010

An Autumn Evening by Lucy Maud Montgomery

An Autumn Evening

Dark hills against a hollow crocus sky
Scarfed with its crimson pennons, and below
The dome of sunset long, hushed valleys lie
Cradling the twilight, where the lone winds blow
And wake among the harps of leafless trees
Fantastic runes and mournful melodies.

The chilly purple air is threaded through
With silver from the rising moon afar,
And from a gulf of clear, unfathomed blue
In the southwest glimmers a great gold star
Above the darkening druid glens of fir
Where beckoning boughs and elfin voices stir.

And so I wander through the shadows still,
And look and listen with a rapt delight,
Pausing again and yet again at will
To drink the elusive beauty of the night,
Until my soul is filled, as some deep cup,
That with divine enchantment is brimmed up.

Lucy Maud Montgomery

Monday, 11 October 2010


Every man's memory is his private literature.

Aldous Huxley

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Blogging absence

OK - so I haven't blogged for ages...
I've stopped doing challenges as they are driving me insane!
I'm also stopping doing individual book reviews, as I just haven't got the time!!

So ... new plan...
Monday literary quote - keep
Friday poem - keep
Sunday sonnet - keep
Saturday - weekly round up and review of books I really like!

Will add books read recently later today!!

Friday, 9 July 2010

The Dead by Sylvia Plath

The Dead

Revolving in oval loops of solar speed,
Couched in cauls of clay as in holy robes,
Dead men render love and war no heed,
Lulled in the ample womb of the full-tilt globe.

No spiritual Caesars are these dead;
They want no proud paternal kingdom come;
And when at last they blunder into bed
World-wrecked, they seek only oblivion.

Rolled round with goodly loam and cradled deep,
These bone shanks will not wake immaculate
To trumpet-toppling dawn of doomstruck day :
They loll forever in colossal sleep;
Nor can God's stern, shocked angels cry them up
From their fond, final, infamous decay.

Sylvia Plath

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Medea and Other Plays : Medea; Hecabe; Electra by Euripides

Genre: poet plays - classic Greek
Rating: Excellent *****

I'd forgotten how much I loved reading Greek tragedies until I re picked up this book to read.
Loved Medea the best - the story of Jason's spurred wife and mooter of his two she enacts revenge on him and all those who have wronged her.
As a feminist I'm on her side!!!

'These plays show Euripides transforming the awesome figures of Greek mythology into recognizable, fallible human beings.'

Plays 2010: 5
Challenges: Great Books Challenge 2010,

A thousand Suns - Alex Scarrow

Genre: fiction
Rating: Very Good ****

Photographic journalist Chris Roland is sent to cover the story of a WW2 American B17 bomber plane discovered off the coast of the USA
What he discovers is not what he expected.
Chris finds himself embroiled in a historic conspiracy that the US have tried to keep under wraps.
Dead bodies, disappearing locals after the war, and a WW2 plot by Hitler to go ahead with his atomic programme, put his life at risk.... (it's difficult not to give the plot away too much here).

My thoughts:
Really good book using actual historical evidence of Germany's atomic programme to cleverly weave a plot of events that could potentially have occurred.
Once again well researched, written with style and a convincing plot.
Characters are believable and the WW2 Germany pilots are engaging - your sympathies lie with them.


novels 2010: 76
Challenges: Support your local Library reading challenge 2010, Thriller and Suspense Challenge 2010,

Afterlight - Alex Scarrow

Afterlight - Alex Scarrow

Genre: fiction
Rating: Excellent *****

Follow up to the excellent Last Light, the novel is set 10 years after the oil crisis that effectively shut down the world.
Society has broken down and only small groups of survivors remain, fighting against disease and starvation, and the hoards of roaming thugs who kill and rape anyone for fun.
Jenny Sutherland heads a small group of survivors, fashioning a new way of life on a a series of decaying offshore oil-rigs, recycling water, growing food and fishing.
Yet there is unrest in the community, those who want to try to exist on the mainland again, unaware that dangers still exist.
For there is trouble coming, and once again it will be a fight for survival....

My thoughts:
A realistic look at what the world might be like if the oil does stop pumping.
A terrifying glimpse at how society breaks down, and a dog eat dog world comes into being.
Well written, with engaging characters, this book is not one for the squeamish, but definitely one to read!
You can read this novel alone, or read it after reading Last Light
A great thriller. Recommended.

A warning of what our lives may be like if we don't rethink and stop our reliance on oil consumption.
All hail renewable energy ....

Novels 2010: 75
Challeneges: Support your local Library reading challenge 2010, Part III of The End of the World Challenge.,

Monday, 3 May 2010

Spring Rain

Spring rain
leaking through the roof
dripping from the wasps' nest.

Matsuo Basho

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Prey by Thomas Emson

Prey by Thomas Emson

Genre: fiction - werewolf
Rating: Very Good *****

In Russia a mysterious animal brutally kills gangster Vasili Kolodenko.
Police officer Lev Dasaev follows the trail to the US, where he finds himself caught up in a family feud...a feud that runs blood deep - werewolf blood deep!

My Thoughts
This book is the follow on to Maneater, and I really think you need to have read the first one to be able to understand this one fully.
Laura Greenacre is now living in New York,trying to stay out of trouble, but knows she is being looked for. John Thorn and his daughter are still hiding in Wales. Ruth Templeton is after them both, seeking revenge for the loss of her son and family in the Trafalgar Square incident.
A good plot and well written - I just think it doesn't stand alone. You need to read Maneater first.
Still - I recommend these novels - so read them BOTH!

fiction 2010 # 58
Challenges:what an animal challenge III, 100+ Books Reading Challenge 2010, Support your local Library reading challenge 2010, iWere Challenge.,

Arctic Chill by Arnaldur Indridason

Arctic Chill by Arnaldur Indridason

Genre: fiction - crime
Rating: Very Good ****

In Iceland Detective Erlendur and his colleagues Sigurdur Oli and Elinborg, investigate the fatal stabbing on a young 10 year old half-Thai boy. Left on the frozen ground outside his flat, no one seems to know what happened.
With his older brother missing, the search is on to find the the killing racially motivated?
For Erlendur the killing brings back painful memories of the traumatic death of his own young brother, lost in the winter snow.

My thoughts
I enjoyed this novel.
Although the main characters are hard to get to know, you find yourself drawn to them, especially Erlendur, a man struggling with his own demons.
The plot is crafted well, and the Icelandic landscape and culture are vividly portrayed,
Have ordered the next installment in the series - Hypothermia - from my library

novels 2010 # 57
Challenges: 100+ Books Reading Challenge 2010, Support your local Library reading challenge 2010, scandinavian challenge,

Venice Challenge

Venice Challenge

dates - May 1st, 2010-May 1st, 2011
host - heidenkind of Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Books
Read 6 books set in the city of Venice, or about Venice. .. fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, YA, or whatever.

How could I resist this challenge as I love Venice and reading books about her.

I'm going to read:
Gleanings from Venetian History v1 - F. Marion Crawford
Gleanings from Venetian History v2 - F. Marion Crawford
Brunetti's Venice: Walks Through the Novels by Toni Sepeda
The City of Falling Angels by John Berendt
Francesco's Kitchen by Francesco Da Mosto
The Merchant of Venice
A Question of Belief by Donna Leon

Friday, 30 April 2010

The Village by RS Thomas

The Village

Scarcely a street, too few houses
To merit the title; just a way between
The one tavern and the one shop
That leads nowhere and fails at the top
Of the short hill, eaten away
By long erosion of the green tide
Of grass creeping perpetually nearer
This last outpost of time past.

So little happens; the black dog
Cracking his fleas in the hot sun
Is history. Yet the girl who crosses
From door to door moves to a scale
Beyond the bland day's two dimensions.

Stay, then, village, for round you spins
On a slow axis a world as vast
And meaningful as any posed
By great Plato's solitary mind.

R S Thomas

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Booking Through Thursday - Restrictions

Restrictions April 29, 2010

God* comes to you and tells you that, from this day forward, you may only read ONE type of book–one genre–period, but you get to choose what it is. Classics, Science-Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Cookbooks, History, Business … you can choose, but you only get ONE.
What genre do you pick, and why?
*Whether you believe in God or not, pretend for the purposes of this discussion that He is real.

Oh my Goodness - heartbreak - just one type of book!!
Torn between women's 19th century classics or modern thrillers.
Do I go with classic writting or new stories.

OK I'd have to abandon the classic which I love to re-read and go for 21st century thrillers!

Good job I'm a Buddhist - so I wouldn't have to choose!!!!

Thursday Tea

Thursday Tea
Thursday Tea is hosted by Anastasia at
Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog.
Here's how it works:
Tell us what tea you are drinking (and if you like it).
And then tell us what book are you reading (and if you like it).
Finally, tell us if they go together

Tea: La Tisaniere - Verveine (violet) tea

Taste: Really does taste and smell of violets - lovely, light and refreshing.
Only had one sachet in a swap parcel, must get more of this one too.
FYI: trivia about violet tea and Victorian violet tea parties here

Book : Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet by Mark Lynas
Just started this book about climate change.
Lots of evidence .. anyone who is not convinced it is happening must be mad!
See previous post for another book on the subject.

Do They Go Together: no! This beautiful tea is too delicate for such a strong subject.
Yet I fear that if we continue the way we are going, one day there will be no violets left.

Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Climate Change - Is Time Running Out? by Elizabeth Kolbert

Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Climate Change - Is Time Running Out? by Elizabeth Kolbert

Genre: non-fiction - ecological / climate change
Rating: very Good ****

Kolbert presents a variety of essays which show convincing evidence for global warming, from changes in the Arctic ice to the loss of spices of toads.
The science is kept to a minimum, while the real life examples are thoroughly presented.
A frightening book that shows how we are heading for a disaster if we don't act NOW.

Why more governments and more people don't do something is beyond me.
Everyone who cares about our future should read this book.

non-fiction 2010 #26
Challenges: 100+ Books Reading Challenge 2010, Support your local Library reading challenge 2010,

Far North by Marcel Theroux

Far North by Marcel Theroux

Genre: fiction - post-apocalypse
Rating: Very Good

In the Far North of Russia, after an unstated disaster has devastated the planet, Makepeace patrols the ruins of a dying city.
Once an official peacekeeper, now long since left without orders in this cold, vast isolated world.
Struggling to survive and starved of company, Makepeace find evidence of 'civilisation' somewhere beyond the hills.
Undertaking a grueling journey, what Makepeace discovers is not as hoped.
instead is an even harsher wold, forced labour camps, terrible conditions, and a mysterious 'zone' where old technology is thought to be the answer to all problems.

My Thoughts
A disturbing, moving novel which leaves you hoping that civilisation never comes to this.
The central question of the novel is 'What is it to be human?' - what makes life worth living for.
Loving written with a feel for the remote sub-arctic landscape.
If you can read this sort of fiction without becoming depressed, you will enjoy this novel.

fiction 2010 #57
Challenges: 100+ Books Reading Challenge 2010, Part III of The End of the World Challenge., Support your local Library reading challenge 2010, A to Z Challenge 2010,

Chosen Prey by John Sandford

Chosen Prey by John Sandford

Genre: fiction - thriller / crime
Rating: Very Good ****

Lucas Davenport is called on to help investigate a body found in a shallow grave in Minnesota, that of a young woman who appears to have been strangled.
Connecting the murder to a series of pornographic drawings that have been sent to numerous women, they come across more victims of this serial killer, buried together in a woodland site.
Lucas begins investigating the connection to the art world, while the killer stalks his next victim...

My thoughts
I enjoy the Prey series, although I didn't find this one as gritty as the other ones I've read.
Still, it's nice to see how the characters are progressing.
I just hope Lucas is more hard-nosed in the next one!

fiction 2010 # 56
Challenges: 100+ Books Reading Challenge 2010, Support your local Library reading challenge 2010, Prey Challenge,

Friday, 19 February 2010

The Apothecary's House by Adrian Mathews

The Apothecary's House by Adrian Mathews

Genre: fiction - mystery, art,
Rating: OK **

In modern day Amsterdam, an old lady lays claim to a rather strange painting she says was stolen from her family by the Nazi's during WWII. However, there is another claimant and it soon becomes obvious that the two know each other.
Art historian Ruth soon gets dragged into the old lady's life and after helping her with her claim, finds herself the target of someone who seems determined to get her off the case.
So what is the relevance of this painting? And who is threatening her?

I started this book with high hopes and, while I must admit I found the art theft background quite interesting, I felt that the book was too long and drawn out.
The main characters were unsympathetic and unbelievable.
The dialogue was too stilted and over the top at times.
At no point did the novel grip me and make me want to stay up and read it.
The whole novel could have been so much shorter that it's 720 pages!
For me a tedious read.

Fiction 2010 # 15
Challenges: 100+ Books Reading Challenge 2010, Support your local Library reading challenge 2010, New Authors Challenge 2010, western europe challenge, 2010 global challenge,

Have You Seen Her? by Karen Rose

Have You Seen Her? by Karen Rose

Genre: fiction - thriller
Rating: Very Good ****

A serial killer is abducting girls form their beds in a small town in North Carolina. They seem to have nothing in common apart from being all of them being cheerleaders and all of them having long dark hair.
Special Agent Steven Thatcher is eager to catch the killer, while at the same time dealing with his own family problems...

I love Karen Rose...her novels are always well crafted and gripping to read.
This one was no exception.
Immediately you get involved with the characters and carried along by the plot, eager to find out who and why.

I recommend her books.

fiction 2010 # 14
Challenges: Support your local Library reading challenge 2010, 100+ Books Reading Challenge 2010,
a-z challenge

Friday, 12 February 2010

COMING UP ROSES: Stories for the Green Fingered by Caroline Oakley

COMING UP ROSES: Stories for the Green Fingered by Caroline Oakley

Genre: short stories - gardening
Rating: Excellent *****

From back cover:
Every thing's coming up roses...but not all of these roses are beautiful or sweet smelling - some have a touch of frost. Our gardens reflect our lives, from the regimented to the artfully dishevelled, the pristine to the neglected, and this collection of bittersweet stories is uprising in it's variety.

Another lovely collection from Honno - Welsh women's' press.
A variety of stories all with a gardening theme.
Crime, romance, loss, haunted tales... this collection has it all.
20 great ideal present for the gardener in your life.

Short story collections 2010 # 5
challenges: 100+ Books Reading Challenge 2010, Support your local Library reading challenge 2010, New Authors Challenge 2010, typically British challenge, welsh reading challenge,