Monthly Archives: March 2016

Penguin Little Black Classics – 46 New Titles

  

Hi everyone! 

Hope you’re all wonderful on this Thursday morning. 

I’ve kind of spoilt this post by the title – bit of a giveaway! Nevermind. But, Penguin have released 46 new titles to their Little Black Classic collection. Some of you may remember I bought all my year 11 students a copy of The Yellow Wallpaper from this collection last year. Therefore, I wanted investigate and to buy more of these to add to my original collection. I thought you’d all like to see too! (If you haven’t done so already of course.) 

I was very excited yesterday as I was able to pick up my latest titles from my local Waterstones. I’ve got one outstanding – Oscar Wilde’s Only Dull People Are Brilliant At Breakfast which I’m waiting patiently for. Oh Oscar. Anyway… 

I love the fact that they really are affordable fiction; small snapshots into a variety of literary worlds by a selection of fascinating writers. There’s a number of writers that I know nothing about, or have even heard of, and these little gems are a perfect way of reading new things you may be unsure of. 

The latest ones are a little more expensive than the original 80 at 80p (at £1-£2 each) but they are also a tad larger. Bonus: more reading material. 

  

I may set myself a challenge of reading them all, but this may be unrealistic. Some aren’t my cup of tea at all. Nevertheless, I may give it a bash. What do you think?

The complete collection of Little Black Classics are now as follows: 

  • Mrs Rosie and the Priest GIOVANNI BOCCACCIO
  • Bawdy tales of pimps, cuckolds, lovers and clever women from the fourteenth-century Florentine masterpiece The Decameron.
  • As kingfishers catch fire GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS
  • The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-tongue
  • On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts THOMAS DE QUINCEY
  • Aphorisms on Love and Hate FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE
  • Traffic JOHN RUSKIN
  • Wailing Ghosts PU SONGLING
  • A Modest Proposal JONATHAN SWIFT
  • Three Tang Dynasty Poets
  • On the Beach at Night Alone WALT WHITMAN
  • A Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Trees KENKO
  • How to Use Your Enemies BALTASAR GRACIÁN
  • The Eve of St Agnes JOHN KEATS
  • Woman Much Missed THOMAS HARDY
  • Femme Fatale GUY DE MAUPASSANT
  • Travels in the Land of Serpents and Pearls MARCO POLO
  • Caligula SUETONIUS
  • Jason and Medea APOLLONIUS OF RHODES
  • Olalla ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON
  • The Communist Manifesto KARL MARX & FRIEDRICH ENGELS
  • Trimalchio’s Feast PETRONIUS
  • How a Ghastly Story Was Brought to Light by a Common or Garden Butcher’s Dog JOHANN PETER HEBEL
  • The Tinder Box HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN
  • The Gate of the Hundred Sorrows RUDYARD KIPLING
  • Circles of Hell DANTE
  • Of Street Piemen HENRY MAYHEW
  • The nightingales are drunk HAFEZ
  • The Wife of Bath GEOFFREY CHAUCER
  • How We Weep and Laugh at the Same Thing MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE
  • The Terrors of the Night THOMAS NASHE
  • The Tell-Tale Heart EDGAR ALLAN POE
  • A Hippo Banquet MARY KINGSLEY
  • The Beautifull Cassandra JANE AUSTEN
  • Gooseberries ANTON CHEKHOV
  • Well, they are gone, and here must I remain SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE
  • Sketchy, Doubtful, Incomplete Jottings JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE
  • The Great Winglebury Duel CHARLES DICKENS
  • The Maldive Shark HERMAN MELVILLE
  • The Old Nurse’s Story ELIZABETH GASKELL
  • The Steel Flea NIKOLAY LESKOV
  • The Atheist’s Mass HONORÉ DE BALZAC
  • The Yellow Wall-Paper CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN
  • Remember, Body… C.P. CAVAFY
  • The Meek One FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY
  • A Simple Heart GUSTAVE FLAUBERT
  • The Nose NIKOLAI GOGOL
  • The Great Fire of London SAMUEL PEPYS
  • The Reckoning EDITH WHARTON
  • The Figure in the Carpet HENRY JAMES
  • Anthem for Doomed Youth WILFRED OWEN
  • My Dearest Father WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
  • Socrates’ Defence PLATO
  • Goblin Market CHRISTINA ROSSETTI
  • Sindbad the Sailor
  • Antigone SOPHOCLES
  • The Life of a Stupid Man RYŪNOSUKE AKUTAGAWA
  • How Much Land Does A Man Need? LEO TOLSTOY
  • Leonardo da Vinci GIORGIO VASARI
  • Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime OSCAR WILDE
  • The Old Man of the Moon SHEN FU
  • The Dolphins, the Whales and the Gudgeon AESOP
  • Lips too chilled MATSUO BASHŌ
  • The Night is Darkening Round Me EMILY BRONTË
  • To-morrow JOSEPH CONRAD
  • The Voyage of Sir Francis Drake Around the Whole Globe RICHARD HAKLUYT
  • A Pair of Silk Stockings KATE CHOPIN
  • It was snowing butterflies CHARLES DARWIN
  • The Robber Bridegroom BROTHERS GRIMM
  • I Hate and I Love CATULLUS
  • Circe and the Cyclops HOMER
  • Il Duro D. H. LAWRENCE
  • Miss Brill KATHERINE MANSFIELD
  • The Fall of Icarus OVID
  • Come Close SAPPHO
  • Kasyan from the Beautiful Lands IVAN TURGENEV
  • O Cruel Alexis VIRGIL
  • A Slip under the Microscope H. G. WELLS
  • The Madness of Cambyses HERODOTUS
  • Speaking of Śiva
  • The Dhammapada
  • Lady Susan JANE AUSTEN
  • The Body Politic JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU
  • The World is Full of Foolish Men JEAN DE LA FONTAINE
  • The Sea Raiders H.G. WELLS
  • Hannibal LIVY
  • To Be Read at Dusk CHARLES DICKENS
  • The Death of Ivan Ilyich LEO TOLSTOY
  • The Stolen White Elephant MARK TWAIN
  • Tyger, Tyger WILLIAM BLAKE
  • Green Tea SHERIDAN LE FANU
  • The Yellow Book
  • Kidnapped OLAUDAH EQUIANO
  • A Modern Detective EDGAR ALLAN POE
  • The Suffragettes
  • How To Be a Medieval Woman MARGERY KEMPE
  • Typhoon JOSEPH CONRAD
  • The Nun of Murano GIACOMO CASANOVA
  • A terrible beauty is born W.B. YEATS
  • The Withered Arm THOMAS HARDY
  • Nonsense EDWARD LEAR
  • The Frogs ARISTOPHANES
  • Why I Am so Clever FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE
  • Letters to a Young Poet RAINER MARIA RILKE
  • Seven Hanged LEONID ANDREYEV
  • Oroonoko APHRA BEHN
  • O frabjous day! LEWIS CARROLL
  • Trivia: or, the Art of Walking the Streets of London JOHN GAY
  • The Sandman E. T. A. HOFFMANN
  • Love that moves the sun and other stars DANTE
  • The Queen of Spades ALEXANDER PUSHKIN
  • A Nervous Breakdown ANTON CHEKHOV
  • The Book of Tea KAKUZO OKAKURA
  • Is this a dagger which I see before me? WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
  • My life had stood a loaded gun EMILY DICKINSON
  • Daphnis and Chloe LONGUS
  • Matilda MARY SHELLEY
  • The Lifted Veil GEORGE ELIOT
  • White Nights FYODOR DOSTOYEVSKY
  • Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast OSCAR WILDE
  • Flush VIRGINIA WOOLF
  • Lot No. 249 ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
  • The Rule of Benedict
  • Rip Van Winkle WASHINGTON IRVING
  • Anecdotes of the Cynics
  • Waterloo VICTOR HUGO
  • Stancliffe’s Hotel CHARLOTTE BRONTË

I’m off to enjoy my lovely little books. I may start with a little Nonsense from Edward Lear; perfect for a Thursday lunchtime. Thanks Penguin. 
  

Big love xx

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Happy Easter One & All! 

To all my friends and followers, may I wish you a lovely and peaceful Easter Sunday. 

Whatever you’re doing today, I hope it’s with the people you love. I know my thoughts will be with those who are no longer with us. 

One thing that has been lovely for me this morning is to see the children in my neighbourhood all excited. I stumbled across this humorous little poem, for the inner child in you all. 

The Easter Bunny

With a hip
and a hop,
kids don’t want
the Easter fun to ever stop!

Finding the brightly colored 
Easter eggs carefully hidden and lain
and eating all of the Easter goodies
that Grandma has made!

Did you happen to see
the big bunny with the pink and white ears?
That means
that Easter is finally here! 

To round off this Easter celebration, here’s a snap of my little Easter bunny. He’s very happy the sun is shining today! 

  
Big love to you all X

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Happy World Poetry Day 2016! 

 

Hey guys! 

Today is World Poetry Day and there’s nothing I’d like to do more than celebrate with you all by sharing some amazing and inspirational quotes about poetry. Images are from Google for this post! Thanks Google. 

Poetry brings us all together. It enables people to feel like we are all experiencing and living through similar events and emotions. It has a habit of unifying us all together. 

  

The aim of today is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry. Speaking as a teacher myself, I’m currently teaching Poetry From Other Cultures to my Year 8s and heavily promoting independent discovery and reading of poetry. There’s nothing more exciting than opening another world to them. We have a map on the wall, and we are pinning the different countries where the poems are from. Yet, we have learnt that the themes impact everyone, regardless of country. The language moves us to tap into our own emotions. 

  

Poetry is ever changing. Whilst perusing the internet today, I stumbled across an article about Robert Montgomery. He has been putting the written word out in a variety of physical public places in the form of poetry. This has become so popular, many are wanting his written word as tattoos. I found this image below. For some reason, deep within myself, this quote appealed to me. 

  

This is just one example of how poetry is being placed into the public eye in our own generation. Naturally, some won’t wish to have poetry so visibly in their eyesight. But, what we do need to acknowledge is the power of the written word. It can change your mood in an instant and it can ease some of the pain we may feel. 

  

To celebrate my love for World Poetry Day, I wanted to share with you one of my favourite poems. It makes me cry every time. It’s by Oscar Wilde. He wrote it during his time in prison for being a homosexual. Being the incredibly talented writer that he is, he wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol, to help channel and survive his experience in prison. This is one of my favourite parts:

‘Dear Christ! the very prison walls 
Suddenly seemed to reel, 
And the sky above my head became 
Like a casque of scorching steel; 
And, though I was a soul in pain, 
My pain I could not feel.
I only knew what hunted thought 
Quickened his step, and why 
He looked upon the garish day 
With such a wistful eye; 
The man had killed the thing he loved 
And so he had to die.
Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard, 
Some do it with a bitter look, 
Some with a flattering word, 
The coward does it with a kiss, 
The brave man with a sword!

Some kill their love when they are young, 
And some when they are old; 
Some strangle with the hands of Lust, 
Some with the hands of Gold: 
The kindest use a knife, because 
The dead so soon grow cold.
Some love too little, some too long, 
Some sell, and others buy; 
Some do the deed with many tears, 
And some without a sigh: 
For each man kills the thing he loves, 
Yet each man does not die.’

So let’s celebrate poetry and the effect it has on us all. We can all ready the same poem around the world, and in that instant we are all connected. I hope you’ve all have a magical and very poetic World Poetry Day. 

Big love xx

  

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A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway

  

Hey everyone! 

I’m so sorry I’ve vanished from the internet world for the past couple of weeks. I’ve been quite poorly with a throat infection, so it’s been a case of lots of broken sleep and liquids! But, I’ve recovered and I’m back to read through all my favourite blogs I’ve missed and post this review. I hope you can all forgive me and welcome me back with open arms. 

Today’s review: A Moveable Feast. A Movable Feast is a remarkable little book. I absolutely loved it. It was brought back into the headlines after the Paris terror attacks last November. The book, published in France as Paris est une fête (Paris Is A Celebration), struck a chord with the mood of defiance in the wake of the attacks. In all honesty, it was this that brought my attention to this book, and I’ve finally managed to read it. 


Overview:- 

This charming little book is a memoir by Hemmingway describing the years he spent in Paris with his wife, Hadley, and young son, Bumby, after World War 1. Each chapter provides a snapshot into Hemmingway’s life and experiences in Paris. During this period many artists and authors were living in Paris and Hemmingway writes about his encounters and friendships with Ezra Pound, Ford Madox Ford, Gertrude Stein and F. Scott Fitzgerald. I love the way all these amazing people were in the same place at the same time. I only wish that I could have been apart of it. The people, the food, are all brought to life by Hemmingway’s narration. 

“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.” 

Now, as some of you may know, I love Paris and Fizgerald, so this was another gripping factor to this book for me. A large proportion of this book is taken to describe Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda, more than any other person he meets. It was interesting to see how fellow Parisians viewed them and their relationship at this time. 

The book closes with the notion of change. He ends the book with his affair with a young woman, who he associates with the wave of ‘rich’ people entering Paris, and changing it for him forever. 

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” 


Summary:- 

The book opens with Hemmingway discussing bad weather and the different cafes in Paris where people go to escape the cold and where he goes to write. The weather wasn’t so delightful here when I started reading this, so in my mind I was in those little Parisian cafes, a part of all the action. Hemmingway is working as a journalist for a Canadian newspaper, trying to begin a career as a ‘straight’ writer of short stories. He describes losing himself within his own writing, as he works at the cafe tables, his only distraction a pretty girl or a boorish critic. 

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.”

Hemmingway offers the reader character sketches of the artists and authors he met and came to know in Paris. I’ve mentioned a couple above, but what is interesting was his sometime fraught relationship with Gertrude Stein, his upmost respect for Ezra Pound. He describes the ultimate kindness of Sylvia Beach, the proprietor of Shakespeare and Company, a bookstore where many of the expatriate community congregate, including writers like James Joyce. 

“He liked the works of his friends, which is beautiful as loyalty but can be disastrous as judgement.” 

The vivid descriptions bring Paris to life as well as the characters that inhabit it, such as the waiters he befriends and the fisherman along the Seine River. He openly discusses his own career as he struggles to make enough money to care for himself and his family by writing short stories. Hemmingway talks openly about his own personal writing technique throughout this book. He describes himself as a quiet but quick tempered, somewhat impatient youth. Yet, his recollections are told from the viewpoint of a confident young man. 

“There is never any ending to Paris and the memory of each person who has lived in it differs from that of any other. We always returned to it no matter who we were or how it was changed or with what difficulties, or ease, it could be reached. Paris was always worth it and you received return for whatever you brought to it. But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy.” 

Hemmingway’s first encounters with F. Scott Fizgerald are rather frustrating. Their relationship isn’t so great to begin with. However, he does later become a loyal friend and confidant. Hemmingway describes Fizgerald as a gifted but insecure writer. He describes Fizgerald’s drinking problem, and how it is made worse by his wife who was mentally ill. Zelda is dealt with critically because Hemmingway believed she only wanted to bring down Fitzgerald and destroy him. I only wish I knew what Fizgerlad thought about this. 

“Zelda was very beautiful and was tanned a lovely gold colour and her hair was a beautiful dark gold and she was very friendly. Her hawk’s eyes were clear and calm. I knew everything was all right and was going to turn out well in the end when she leaned forward and said to me, telling me her great secret, ‘Ernest, don’t you think Al Jolson is greater than Jesus?’

Nobody thought anything of it at the time. It was only Zelda’s secret that she shared with me, as a hawk might share something with a man. But hawks do not share. Scott did not write anything any more that was good until after he knew that she was insane.” 

The book closes with the pleasant reminiscence of spending winters with his wife, and sunshine in the Austrian mountains hiking and skiing as well as working on his writing. However, the pleasant, positive time ends when ‘the rich’ discover him as a promising young writer and thus invade his life. He then chooses to have an affair with one of these new wave ‘rich’ women, resulting in the end of his narration. 

“If the reader prefers, this book may be regarded as fiction. But there is always the chance that such a book of fiction may throw some light on what has been written as fact.”


Finally: 

If you love Paris and great figures in literature then this book is for you. It’s short and easy to read. It’s sheer joy from start to finish. The snapshot into Paris means you can imagine yourself there, a part of this moment in time. My only sadness is, I very much doubt these types of accounts are being written now by the great writers of our own generation. 

Big love xx

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World Book Day 2016

    

Happy World Book Day Everyone!!! 

World Book Day is a day that I absolutely love. It’s always a joy to spread the love of books, especially to young people and this is a really wonderful way of doing it. 

To celebrate this day, I designed a quiz for my school and my department are also holding competitions for the best ‘Shelfies’ (a selfie with your book case or favourite read) and Extreme Reading. This is where you’re reading in an interesting and ‘extreme place’. For example, one of my colleagues read their book on a tractor. We did have snow yesterday (as well as the three other seasons – crazy!) and three of my colleagues got wrapped up and did their extreme reading photos in the snow. I was even graced with a photo of extreme reading in a skip. All very exciting. For me, I did my extreme reading on the roof of my school. I was literally shaking; it was so high! I don’t think it helped that I had to climb a ladder to get there! 

   

What’s it for? Well, it’s for the love of books. It’s for the fact that we need to continue to inspire young people every day. The books for £1 or free with the tokens are a really lovely way of making reading accessible to all young people. 

There are also a number of titles available for a number of age groups. Despite being an adult, there’s a number I would love to read. I try and collect full sets as well because you never know when you’re going to need them.  

What’s on offer this year? 

 I’m loving the Roald Dahl book and I really like the sound of the David Baddiel one as well. Who cares about the suggested age? As long as we are reading, we are learning and escaping to new worlds. 

Thank you so much to the organisers of this. I have fond memories of my experiences as a child taking part in this, and I hope I’m passing this onto the next generation. 

How did you spend your World Book Day? I’d love to see your Extreme Reading and Shelfies if you’d like to get involved! I’m thinking a competition on here or something. 

Keep reading! 

Big love xx

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400 Followers – WHAT?! 

Hey guys! 

I’m super excited to notice that I’ve now reached 400 followers! (No WordPress notification again – what’s that about? If anyone can help with that I would appreciate it.) Thank you so much. I genuinely can’t believe it. I love the WordPress community and I’m really enjoying being a part of it. I know I say this all the time, but I really do mean it. 

Also, thank you for all putting up with me and for liking my posts! It’s always nerve wracking whenever you post anything about yourself or your opinions. You never quite know how people will react. But, I’m so lucky because I have you guys and you are all super lovely. Also, your patience is just honourable. I know I’m here, there and everywhere, usually with a set of books or a pile of coursework to mark, but you all genuinely are fabulous at putting up with me. 

To celebrate I’ve ordered a Chinese takeaway and for all you lovely people, a selfie in my favourite dress from my friends wedding. What more could you ask for on a Tuesday night?! 

Thank you again, you beautiful community. 

So much love to you all. X

  

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