Festive favourites #1: Christmas Stories by Charles Dickens

I rescued this book from my parents attic a few years back. When I say rescued I mean borrowed. When I say borrowed, I mean stole. I don’t really remember being read it, but I do remember the cover and the smell of it. It’s one of my favourite books on my shelves.

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Synopsis:
“A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, and The Cricket on the Hearth” contains three of Charles Dickens most popular Christmas-time stories. In “A Christmas Carol” we have the classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old man who is visited by ghosts prior to Christmas to show him the error of his ways. In “The Chimes” we have the story of Toby Veck, a poor working-class man who has lost his faith in human nature. On New Year’s Eve he is visited by spirits who show him that nobody is born evil, but rather that crime and poverty are constructs of man. In “The Cricket on the Hearth” we have the story of John Peerybingle and his family who have a guardian angel in the form of a cricket who is constantly chirping on the hearth. These classic holiday tales will delight readers of all ages.

Favourites Friday #18 :The Magician’s Nephew by C. S Lewis

Today is the 50th anniversary of the death of C.S Lewis so what better day to do a Narnia FF post. I’ve loved the Narnia books ever since I saw the BBC’s adaptation of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (yes I saw it before I read the books cut me some slack, I was like 8!) and immediately begged for the books.

As much as I love The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, it’s always between The Magician’s Nephew and The Horse and His Boy for my ultimate favourite.

For the purpose of this post, I’m going to go for The Magician’s Nephew simply because you get to see the creation of Narnia itself.

The Magician’s Nephew was actually the 6th book in the series that Lewis wrote but was a prequel to the rest. In modern editions, the books are sequenced according to Narnian History and so The Magician’s Nephew is usually listed as book one.

narnia I’ll always remember the first time I read this; I was amazed by the Wood Between Worlds. It’s quite a bit darker than some of the other books (Uncle Andrew is proper sinister), and the idea of being able to visit different worlds – some nicer than others – by going through the different puddles is pretty awesome. Also, watch out for “Queen” Jadis. You aint no Queen of Narnia!

Synopsis:
When Digory and Polly are tricked by Digory’s peculiar Uncle Andrew into becoming part of an experiment, they set off on the adventure of a lifetime. What happens to the children when they touch Uncle Andrew’s magic rings is far beyond anything even the old magician could have imagined.
Hurtled into the Wood between the Worlds, the children soon find that they can enter many worlds through the mysterious pools there. In one world they encounter the evil Queen Jadis, who wreaks havoc in the streets of London when she is accidentally brought back with them. When they finally manage to pull her out of London, unintentionally taking along Uncle Andrew and a coachman with his horse, they find themselves in what will come to be known as the land of Narnia.

Favourites Friday #11: Peter Pan (curse you, Peter!)

Peter Pan was probably the first book I really loved and I generally read it at least once a year. I don’t even know what it is that I love about it so much, it’s just such a comforting read. It warms me up in winter.

A few years ago the lovely Dianne over at Icefloe gave me this amazing copy for my birthday (or maybe Christmas) and I love love love it.

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We are also both big fans of the 2003 live action adaptation mainly because Jeremy Sumpter is the perfect Peter and nailed the arrogant ‘oh the cleverness of me’ side to the character. Leading to the inscription below which cracks me up every time I see it.

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Curse you Peter. You totally led poor Wendy on. And put some clothes on!

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August on Lipsyy Lost & Found

Monthly Round-Up

August 2013

Total Posts: 20

New Followers: 27

Books Read & Reviewed (4):

  • The Black Dragon (The Mysterium #1) – Julian Sedgwick, 3/5 (Review)
  • Water (Akasha #1) – Terra Harmony,   3/5 (Review)
  • Throne of Glass (ToG #1) – Sarah J. Maas, 4/5 (Review)
  • The Secret Keeper – Kate Morton, 4/5 (Review)

Read; Yet to Review
Frost Hollow Hall – Emma Carroll
Hemlock Grove – Brian McGreevy

Favourites Fridays:
Most Fridays I have been posting about my favourite books or authors

Most Viewed Posts:

  1. WWW Wednesday 21/08/2013 (View Post)
  2. WWW Wednesday 07/08/203 (View Post)
  3. TTT #2 (Things that make life as a reader/blogger easier) (View Post)

Books Purchased: 
I’ve been really good this month. And when I say good, I mean broke.

1. Pollen by Aaron Lamb (Kindle Edition) A friend of a friend of mine wrote this. Amazon £4.11
2. Fearless – The Story of Samantha Smith by Devon Hartford (Kindle Edition). Currently only £0.74 on Amazon
3. Beginning of a Hero (Legends of Windmere) by Charles E. Yallowitz (Kindle Edition) This was free on Amazon but is now just £0.77

ARCs/Giveaways:
Frost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll via NetGalley

* MY BOOK OF THE MONTH*
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*MY COVER OF THE MONTH*

*MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT MONTH*

This was released on the 29th August, but I haven’t been able buy a copy yet so it’s the one I’m most looking forward to in September.

Favourites Friday #9: Mystery Man (and Laughing So Much You Get Funny Looks In Public)

Click Images for Goodreads.
Click Images for Goodreads.

Colin Bateman is a legend. He has a huge amount of books in his back catalogue and the Mystery Man books are my absolute favourite. The first time I read this, I remember being on the tube and finding myself in fits of laughter and getting some very funny looks from the other passengers. I think The Bookseller With No Name is possibly one of the best fictional characters I have read (big statement – I know!).

If you’ve ever seen Black Books, imagine Bernard Black trying to solve a mystery…That!

Blurb: A superbly gripping and blackly funny mystery by the king of the comic crime caper.

He’s the Man With No Name and the owner of No Alibis, a mystery bookshop in Belfast. But when a detective agency next door goes bust, the agency’s clients start calling into his shop asking him to solve their cases. It’s not as if there’s any danger involved. It’s an easy way to sell books to his gullible customers and Alison, the beautiful girl in the jewellery shop across the road, will surely be impressed. Except she’s not – because she can see the bigger picture. And when they break into the shuttered shop next door on a dare, they have their answer. Suddenly they’re catapulted along a murder trail which leads them from small-time publishing to Nazi concentration camps and serial killers…

Many of Bateman’s characters are hilariously inept yet tenacious but Mystery Man is so perfect with his Irish wit and eccentricities. He’s a complete eejit, but you have to love him. He gets himself into the most ridiculous situations, and does some awful things, but y’know, his heart’s in the right place.

There are so many great lines in this book it’s hard to choose, but I have managed it, just for you:

“Bookselling is like prostitution, you sell your wares, you close your eyes, and you never fall in love with the clients. You also keep your fingers crossed that they won’t ask for anything perverted.”

“I gave her my hard look, which is like my normal look but harder. At this point, if she’d had any sense, she should have asked for ID, and I could have shown her my Xtravision card and my kidney donor card and dribbled off into the distance ranting about this or that, but as it happened my hard look proved more than adequate”

He was the type of man women said they hated, they absolutely hated, they absolutely and categorically hated, and then they went to bed with him. I was the type of man women said they hated, and then they went home.”

“Serial Killer Week got off to an inauspicious start when the opening wine and bean evening was invaded by a former prisoner who misinterpreted the poster, but he was at least able to give us the professional’s view of the genre.”

Also, I have a morbid fear of rates, and mice, and nettles and wasps and jagged cans and rotting food and damp newspapers and the unemployed.”

About Colin Bateman
Colin Bateman was a journalist in Northern Ireland before becoming a full-time writer. His first novel, DIVORCING JACK, won the Betty Trask Prize, and all his novels have been critically acclaimed. His book Murphy’s Law was adapted for the BBC television series Murphy’s Law (2001–2007), featuring James Nesbitt.

This post has also reminded me that this should be arriving sometime soon- completely funded by Kickstarter.
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Colin Bateman’s first collection of short fiction and drama. Dublin Express is a collection of five rare short stories from one of Ireland’s most acclaimed novelists, together with the complete script of his hugely successful first play, National Anthem.

Also in the Mystery Man Series:
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Favourites Friday #8: Under The Dome and those pesky trust issues!

I’ve read some pretty bad reviews of the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s Under the Dome but I’m really intrigued to see it. I used to be a fan of his when I was a teenager but I feel like I kind of grew out of it or something (which is hilarious when you consider which books I love to read now *cough* Twilight *cough* The Selection). So I was surprised by how much I loved Under the Dome. Here’s a review I wrote some time ago for some website or other.

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As far as Stephen King fans go, I’d say I’m barely on even the spectrum. I’ve never really trusted him as an author since that part of It when it just goes batshit, (you know the one…right?) or the end of Cell which was such a let-down I wanted to throw the book out of a window and demand the twelve hours of my life back that it took me to read it. He seems to have a problem with endings, that or I just have a problem with his endings.

So when it came to UTD – a mammoth tome even by King’s standard – coming in at over 1000 pages, I was understandably hesitant. I’d given him a wide berth since Cell but one trusted friend plus one enthusiastic book seller convinced me to give it a go, and once I’d got past the quite frankly daunting list of characters that would give George RR Martin a run for his money, the opening chapter had me hooked with a capital H.

UTD is the story of Chester’s Mill, Maine; a small, relatively normal town which is suddenly enveloped by an invisible and seemingly indestructible dome. The dome not only cuts the inhabitants off from the rest of the world but also hacks off a few body parts and slices a woodchuck in two in a suitably bloody fashion as it slams down. As you’d expect, panic ensues and the pages actually fly by.

At its core, UTD is a story about a community and its power struggles, and I almost hate to say it – politics. Like all good microcosms of society there are good guys and bad guys and their varied reactions to the bizarre situation leads to incidents of rape, arson, murder, even a bit of Necrophilia, and thanks to King’s stunning characterisation it’s all entirely believable, enthralling, and disturbing.

I might have to rethink my trust issues; I even enjoyed the ending. A lot.

I’ve only read this once, because y’know- long! but I’ve been longing to read it again ever since I finished it which is a sign of a true favourite.

Favourites Friday #7: Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson

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The first ten lies they tell you in high school. “Speak up for yourself–we want to know what you have to say.” From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party.

In Laurie Halse Anderson’s powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.

Speak was a 1999 National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature. Image & Synopsis from Goodreads.

Speak is one of those books that doesn’t blow you away at first. It’s a slow burner but once you have read the final word you are left speechless. It is a dark and frank portrayal of the high-school experience that will speak to many, and move most. It’s harrowing and depressing but also intensely funny.

Anyone who has ever felt like an outcast or a victim can find solace in Speak, and all can learn from it. Pay attention to your kids, World.

Favourite Lines:
Opening line: ‘It is my first morning of high school. I have seven new notebooks, a skirt I hate, and a stomach ache’.

OUR TEACHERS ARE THE BEST… My English teacher has no face. She has stringy hair that droops on her shoulders. The hair is black from her parting to her ears and then neon orange to its frizzy ends. I can’t decide if she has pissed off her hairdresser or is morphing into a monarch butterfly. I call her Hairwoman.

‘Sometimes I think high school is one long hazy activity: if you are tough enough to survive this, they’ll let you become an adult. I hope it’s worth it.’

When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time. You’d be shocked at how many adults are really dead inside—walking through their days with no idea who they are, just waiting for a heart attack or cancer or a Mack truck to come along and finish the job. It’s the saddest thing I know’

You should probably read the book before you watch this video, just sayin.