Category Archives: New Books

Bye 2019! Hello 2020!

Hello Loves!

I can’t believe it’s New Years Eve. I think I say this every single year but I’ve no idea where the time has gone. I’m sure as I’m getting older, time is going quicker. Is that just me?

Besides, I’m not really a fan of New Year. I’m not really sure why either. It’s always been an evening well spent with family and a glass of fizz. I guess one thing I’m not such a fan of is the fact that New Year seems to be a time when people tend to make bold statements about how they’re going to change and they usually fail by the second week of January. For me, I wanted to try and read 100 books again this year. Amazingly, I succeeded! I read a total of 105 books.📚

My 2019 reading list:

Abrahamson, Emmy: How To Fall In Love With a Man Who Lives in a Bush
Ahern, Cecelia: Postscript
Alderton, Dolly: Everything I Know About Love
Anderson, Sophie: The House with Chicken Legs
Beckerman, Hannah: If Only I Could Tell You
Blake, Sarah: The Postmistress
Brahmachari, Sita: Where the River Runs Gold
Braithwaite, Oyinkan: My Sister, The Serial Killer
Buchan, Elizabeth: The Museum of Broken Promises
Bythell, Shaun: Confessions of a Bookseller
Campbell, Jen: Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops
Campbell, Jen: The Bookshop Book
Candlish, Louise: Our House
Candlish, Louise: Those People
Child, Lee: The Midnight Line
Child, Lee: Gone Tomorrow
Chirovici, E.O.: The Book of Mirrors
Clanchy, Kate: Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me
Coelho, Paulo: Manuscript Found in Accra
Coleman, Alistair: Angry People in Local Newspapers
Cooper, Roxie: The Day We Met
Cormier, Robert: Heroes
Coules, Bert: Flowers for Algernon
Cumming, Laura: On Chapel Sands
Dashner, James: The 13th Reality Journal of Curious Letters
Dickens, Charles: A Christmas Carol
Didierlaurent, Jean-Paul: The Reader on the 6.27
Eliot, T.S.: Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats
Fargher, Anna: The Umbrella Mouse
Feret-Fleury, Christine: The Girl Who Reads on the Metro
Fforde, Katie: A French Affair
Fletcher, Carrie Hope: All That She Can See
French, Kat: A Summer Scandal
French, Nicci: The Lying Room
George, Nina: The Book of Dreams
Greene, Jayson: Once More We Saw Stars
Greer, Andrew Sean: Less
Griffin, Anne: When All is Said
Griffin, Kate: Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders
Gustafson, Michael & Uberti, Oliver: Notes from a Public Typewriter
Han, Jenny: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Han, Jenny: P.S. I Still Love You
Han, Jenny: Always and Forever, Lara Jean
Hanks, Tom: Uncommon Type
Harris, Anstey: The Truths and Triumps of Grace Atherton
Hazard, Leah: Hard Pushed: A Midwife’s Story
Hislop, Victoria: The Return
Hislop, Victoria: The Island
Hislop, Victoria: The Sunrise
Hislop, Victoria: Those Who Are Loved
Jakobse, Mette: The Vanishing Act
Johns, Ana: The Woman in the White Kimono
Kawaguchi, Toshikazu: Before The Coffee Gets Cold
Kay, Adam: Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas – read twice – October when published and December.
Kerr, Judith: The Tiger Who Came to Tea
Kinney, Jeff: Diary of a Wimpy Kid The Getaway
Kinsella, Sophie: I’ve Got Your Number
Kinsella, Sophie: I Owe You One
Kinsella, Sophie: Christmas Shopaholic
Kirby, Carolyn: The Conviction of Cora Burns
Koch, Emily: If I Die Before I Wake
Lane, Andrew: Young Sherlock: Death Cloud
Mackesy, Charlie: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
Maguire, Gregory : Wicked
Meehan, Thomas: Annie
Mercer, Jeremy: Books, Baguettes & Bedbugs
Morpurgo, Michael: Pinocchio by Pinocchio
Murata, Sayaka: Convenience Store Woman
Noble, Elizabeth: Letters to Iris
Norton, Graham: A Keeper
Parry, Ambrose: The Way of all Flesh
Pentland, Louise: Wilde Women
Priestley, J.B: An Inspector Calls
Rauf, Onjali Q: The Boy at the Back of the Class
Rauf, Onjali Q: The Star Outside My Window
Roper, Richard: Something to Live For
Rowling, J.K, Tiffany, John & Thorne, Jack: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
RuPaul: Guru
Salisbury, Martin: The Illustrated Dust Jacket 1920-1970
Samader, Rhik: I Never Said I Love You
Shaw, Dale: Painfully British Haikus
Shepherd, Andy: The Boy Who Grew Dragons
Sims, Gill: Why Mummy Doesn’t Give a F***
Smith, Alex T: How Winston Delivered Christmas
Sorosiak, Carlie: I, Cosmo
Steadman, Catherine: Something in the Water
Stempel, John Lewis: Still Water: The Deep Life of the Pond
Stempel, John Lewis: The Glorious Life of the Oak
Stempel, John Lewis: Meadowland: The Private Life of an English Field
Tate, June: Born to Dance
Thomas, Angie: The Hate You Give
Tyce, Harriet: Blood Orange
Valentino, Serena: The Beast Within
Walliams, David: Fing
Walliams, David: Bad Dad
Walliams, David: The Boy in the Dress
Walliams, David: The World’s Worst Teachers
Walsh, Rosie: The Man Who Didn’t Call
Watson, Christie: The Language of Kindness – A Nurses Story
Wilkinson, Sheena: Star by Star
Williams, Beatriz: A Hundred Summers
Williams, Laura Jane: Our Stop
Wood, Laura: Under a Dancing Star
Zouroudi, Anne: The Messenger of Athens

Looking back, this list brings me so much joy. I started the year with The Language of Kindness and I ended the year with rereading Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas, both of which are about the NHS. I have such amazing memories of my holiday reads from my summer break in Cyprus, Hislop being a firm favourite of mine.

Another thing I’m really pleased about is the mixture of fiction and non fiction. Surprisingly, non fiction has been something I’ve read more of over the past two years so I’d like to keep that going into the next decade. Finally, there’s a few titles here that are Children’s Literature. I’m really proud of the fact that 2019 was the year I set up and successfully ran the Accelerated Reader Programme in my school. Getting boys into reading is so important so there’s some titles here, namely Walliams, that make me smile because of the conversations I’ve had with various students about it.

So, what is on the agenda for 2020? Post more! (Hopefully…) Another 100 books – or try to! I’m going to make sure I jot down what I read in each month too so I remember the journey rather than just one big list. I did try and complete another reading challenge this year, picking one of the titles from the Waterstones Book of the Month list but I missed a couple of months. I’d like to complete another reading challenge but I need to research more. Any ideas? I’ll keep you posted on this! The current pile looks like this:

Also, personally, 2020 brings me a promotion at work to Head of Department which I’m super excited about. AND, after a lot of hard work and time at the gym, 3 stone lighter. Let’s hope I can keep this up.

Lastly, just a shout out to you all, my faithful blogging friends. Thank you for being there every step of the way, for sending me messages when I’ve vanished off the face of the year and checking I’m alright. I wish you all a Happy New Year and a peaceful 2020. Let’s do this!

Big love xx

18 Comments

Filed under Blog, Books, Follows, Friends, New Books, New Year

Notes from a Public Typewriter – Michael Gustafson & Oliver Uberti

Hello Beautiful People!

I hope all you beautiful people are well and enjoying the much deserved and wanted sunshine. August is here, though I’ve no idea where June and July went.

So, you may have realised I’ve done a bit of a vanishing act. I always find the end of the school year utterly exhausting so I wanted a bit of underground time to recover. We all need a break from everything sometimes, so I knew you’d all be supportive of that. Also, rather amazingly, I have been on holiday to Cyprus. Two weeks of sun, sleeping, reading and eating. It was everything I needed and more. I had the BEST time. I’ll share some snaps and experiences in future blog posts. I’ve got a bit of a backlog of writing that needs to happen – May, June, July and August book reviews based on the Waterstones Book of the Month, other reviews of books I’ve read and loved, some glorious Picture Perfect Posts to share with you all and explorations from Cyprus I cannot wait to show you all. Likewise, I hope you all are having a well deserved break. Today’s post: a book I spotted, bought and read all in one afternoon: Notes from a Public Typewriter.

As wonderful as the modern world is, I think there is something quite special about a typewriter. I personally love the fact that there is no ‘delete’ button. Whatever is typed, remains; a piece of history forever. This is even one of the comments left by the typewriter. I remember watching my lovely Grandma on her typewriter. I was allowed to try it once – it is harder than it looks but I loved everything about it: the shapes of letters, the font, the slight smearing. Therefore, as I was shopping yesterday, this book naturally jumped off the table to me. I had to get it and boy, it did not disappoint. Let’s do this!

What’s it all about?

Told through the eyes of Michael Gustafson and his wife, Hilary, this is a tale of a bookshop, typewriters and the people who leave messages on them. Like me, Gustafson saw a 1930s Smith Corona typewriter on his grandfather’s writing desk. This typewriter became a gift from his grandmother when he was struggling to write.

In 2013, the pair decided to leave their jobs in New York City and open the Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This was the perfect setting for their next project as Ann Arbor has a proud tradition of independent bookshops. In 1971, the original Borders was opened there but only survived until 2011. They weren’t worried. They both knew they offered something unique. Their logo is a typewriter and his grandfather’s Smith Corona is proudly on display by the cash till. The two decided they would leave a light blue Olivetti Lettera 32 on the lower level of the shop with a clear, fresh piece of writer paper. They left it to see what would happen with arguably low expectations. At the end of the first day, there were messages. This really was going to be something special.

“The world’s smallest publishing house, waiting for an author.”

Since then the public typewriter has become part of the shop’s identity. People use it every day to propose, admit feats, to apologise, to joke, to love and to philosophise. The best ones have been used to be a part of the fabric of the shop – painted onto the wall behind the typewriter, scraps of paper stuck around the typewriter, sharing these messages of the world. The artist, Oliver Uberti, the book’s designer, copied perfectly these messages to the wall, using the exact font from the old Smith Corona.

“smudgy e’s, q’s, and all.”

This beautiful book contains a range of these anonymous notes showing how successful the typewriter is. I for one am now desperate to see it and add my own part of history. One day.

Without spoiling the whole book, I’ve selected three that I want to share with you. They each resonated with me for different reasons really. They made me think of family and new friends, love, life, loss and everything in between. It is perfect because it is anonymous. Each and any of us could have written those words. We’ve probably all thought them, or will do in the future. It is universal.

Final Thoughts

It is my personal belief that the best books make you think. They evoke an emotional response, whether that be happy or sad etc. This little book did exactly that for me. It is beautiful in every sense of the word. It was by pure chance that I spotted it so for me it feels like a real gift. It was meant to be; I was meant to read it. It moved me, it made me smile and it will absolutely be a book I shall treasure on my bookcase forever. I urge all of you, each and every one of you, to read this. You will hopefully see why I think it is an inspirational piece of our living history.

Finally, I am going to be a better blogger and catch up with you all. Stay tuned for more posts as I slowly but surely catch up. Thank you for sticking around. You’re all awesome in so many ways.

Big love to you all. xx

22 Comments

Filed under Book review, Books, New Books

Sea Prayer – Khaled Hosseini

Hello Loves!

Hope you’re all well and enjoying kicking up the leaves that Autumn is kindly offering us.

Today, I want to share with you a book I saw, bought and read after work yesterday. After a really long, difficult week, I decided to treat myself to a hot chocolate and a little read so headed to my sanctuary: Waterstones. I saw this book in the window and decided it was time to read it. Thank goodness I did. I soon realised that my long and difficult week was just that, only a week, a moment. Not a lifetime.

What’s it all about?

In less than fifty pages, this book has made me question so many things: life, attitudes, the world. This poignant and powerful book is a collaborative piece between Hosseini and Dan Williams. The illustrations are stunning and harrowing, just like the words within.

Written as a response to the refugee crisis, Hosseini has given a voice to the thousands of people who made the same journey from war torn Syria across the Mediterranean Sea to safety. Unfortunately, as we all know too well, thousands did not survive.

Structured as a letter from a father to his son, the night before their journey, this book starts with memories of their past, safe life in Homs. Memories of family members, the animals, the sounds of the city are all shared, creating this beautiful homage to their old life. However, this is something the son, Marwan, cannot remember.

‘But that life, that time, seems like a dream now, even to me…’

The illustrations then become much darker in hue, the words more troubled to show that life has changed. References to the protests, the siege and bombs dropping on their beloved city. Sadly, this is what Marwan knows; what he has grown up seeing on a daily basis. He and many other innocent children.

‘You have learned dark blood is better news than light.’

It is the night before their journey and on a moonlit beach people agonisingly and nervously wait for the morning. Yet, fear of what is waiting for them at the other side is also on their minds. Hosseini references the attitudes reported, the fact that they are ‘unwelcome’ and ‘uninvited’. Sadly, I too have heard reactions like this. It is answered from the words of the mother, making it, in my opinion, all the more heart breaking. The role of the mother is to nurture and protect, to understand.

‘Oh, but if they saw, my darling, even half of what you have. If only they saw. They would say kinder things, surely.’

Everyone prays for their safety, well aware of how deep and large the sea is. Everyone knows the risk they are taking. But it’s the only option. The Sea Prayer is exactly that, a prayer to keep them safe at sea. As parents, they are powerless, their protection cannot deter great seas. But they need safety.

‘Because you, you are precious cargo, Marwan, the most precious there ever was.’

The final two pages, blank and harshly white, are where Hosseini declares what inspired this moving book.

‘Alan Kurdi, the three year old Syrian refugee who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea trying to reach safety in Europe in September 2015.’

Yet, it wasn’t just this little boy. It was 4,176 other lives that were taken in that same year.

Overview

It is when I stop and think about that statistic that I really consider the world we live in today. Nobody should have to live in a place where they don’t feel safe. That little boy, like the many other little boys and girls deserve to know the good of the world like we do.

This book is easily the most beautiful in so many ways. Firstly, the illustrations are sublime. But it is so much more than that. It book shows life before the hell, it shows people’s strength and it teaches us all a lesson. We must care more about each other.

With that, I’m off to hug someone I care about because we are so lucky we have the lives we do.

Big love to you all. Xx

29 Comments

Filed under Book review, Books, New Books, Reading

Matilda At 30 – Roald Dahl & Quentin Blake

Hey Everyone!

Welcome to October! The leaves are changing, it’s definitely getting colder and Autumn is fast upon us. What is perfect about this time of year is it’s the right time to get cosy on the sofa, in a chunky blanket with a book.

Before my Read The Year post for September, I wanted to share with you the news that Roald Dahl’s Matilda was published 30 years ago today. Happy birthday Matilda!!

I can’t believe it’s 30 years old – only two years older than me! It’s fascinating how it’s stood the test of time. That’s because it’s absolutely brilliant!! I have so much love for Matilda in my heart. The message that good will always conquer evil is one to remember, even when we feel most defeated. Also, the comfort and joy we can get from a good book cannot be understated. For Matilda, it’s all she has at some points in her life.

By pure coincidence, I’ve had a really Matilda orientated weekend. I went to Manchester to see the touring cast of Matilda the Musical. It was awesome! Just as amazing as when I went to see it in London. (see here for information!) I have a huge swell of pride about this as it started in my beloved Stratford upon Avon. It’s grown into this incredible production which is now being shared across England. Go and see it if you get chance, you won’t be disappointed!

To celebrate 30 years, Quentin Blake has released a number of drawings and illustrations which reimagine Matilda as an adult. Blake shows Matilda as a poet laureate, an astrophysicist, a special FX artist, a world traveller and the CEO of the British Library. I chose the latter cover to buy to mark this special occasion. Also, in my opinion, it’s the most likely career I think Matilda would have. Also, how beautiful is this cover?!

In true Quentin Blake style, the illustrations are just awesome. It’s so clever to be able to see the potential lives Matilda could have had. The opportunities are indeed endless. Regardless, it’s a beautiful book with the original story and illustrations within. What a relief this has been republished for the world to consider where the incredible little girl would be now.

So, happy birthday Matilda! I hope this novel continues to give hope to those who need it, shows that good will conquer evil and shares the love of learning. Matilda, you are a beauty.

Happy reading everyone!

Big love.

24 Comments

Filed under Books, Children's Literature, New Books, Weekend Trips

National Book Lovers Day 2017


Hey everyone!! 

Happy National Book Lovers Day! Being as so many of us on here are united by the love of books and reading, I wanted to send you my love and blessings for this wonderful day. To be honest, I didn’t actually know this existed until I saw something online. Nevertheless, we learn something new every day. Today I learnt this. 

According to the National Days Calendar, today is the day we are encouraged to spend the day with a good book. As if by fate, I finished my book yesterday which means that I can start a new book today, especially for this occasion. 

I did pick up some new books yesterday whilst on a day out. These miniature anthologies are super cute. As you know, I always keep my eyes open for new books. 


I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a Bibliophile. 

Bibliophile Definition: a person who has a great appreciation for or collects books. 

Hmm. This sounds about right! Not that I want to shoehorn myself into a stereotype…

To observe this day I am doing two things: look for new books and read. The rain has been pouring all day so it’s the perfect weather to snuggle down with a good book. My next read is In A Strange Room by Damon Galgut. Again, I picked this up in a second hand book shop knowing absolutely nothing about it. However, I was taken in my the blurb. I’ll let you all know how it goes. If anyone has read it, let me know what it’s like please! 

So, Happy National Book Lovers Day, to all of you wonderful people out there! I hope you have a lovely day reading and absorbing yourself into another world. 

Big love to you all! Xx

10 Comments

Filed under Books, National Book Lovers Day, New Books

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – News! 

  
Hey everyone! 

Hope you’re all well and are having a productive week. 

I couldn’t contain my squeal of excitement when this pinged into my inbox today. The new Harry Potter text. Naturally, I’ve preordered my copy. Without even thinking. I’m a die hard Potter fan. I must have a copy. 

However, I’m also a tad worried. I love Harry Potter. I grew up with it, like millions of others. What if this doesn’t live up to my expectations? What am I even expecting, come to that point? How would I feel if, and I say this as almost a whisper, I don’t like it? What if I love it too much and have to suffer the ‘come down’ of a lack of Harry and co in my life? 

I know the marvellous J.K Rowling is working on the play with its writer and director, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany respectfully. This is a really exciting prospect. I’ve missed her magical writing, this feeling only to be heightened by the fact that I’m re-reading the books. Ah the nostalgia. That feeling to be taken away, where good overcomes evil, where you can do anything if you put your mind to it. 

It has been stated in the press release today that it is an official sequel to the original seven books. It will be set 19 years after the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. A LOT can happen in 19 years. I wonder what exactly. 

Harry is now an “overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school age children” with the particular focus on the youngest child, Albus Severus (based on a synopsis from Pottermore.) Poor Harry… 

This is all too exciting for a Potter fan like me. I don’t know why I was questioning everything before. It will be amazing. The magic will live on…

Finally, the release date is also very special: Harry’s birthday and the day after the London production opens. Harry has had many eventful birthdays in previous novels and this one fits perfectly. 

So, what are you waiting for? Get your order in. You’re guaranteed to be enthralled, excited and gripped. It is Harry Potter after all. I’m SO excited. 

Big love xx

21 Comments

Filed under Harry Potter, New Books