Category Archives: For the love of Books

Book A Day: Favourite Book from Childhood #bookaday

My favourite book from childhood is a tough question. The books that stand out the most are Enid Blyton books – the Secret Seven and the Faraway Tree books. I had a few copies of my Dads from when he was little, they smelt fusty and damp and I can almost smell the pages now. I loved the fact my dad had read these books too.

The adventures that all the characters had within the books was such a great source of imagination. I loved the faraway tree and the different worlds it visited. It was a source of wonder and excitement to read and find out more. I was awe struck.

Other books I enjoyed were Roald Dhal. I read Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, The Twits, Matilda – they were engaging and amusing and very clever. I think I have read them all, I’ve even read his short stories for adults (when I was about 14) and his autobiographies when I was younger too.

The lion, the witch and the wardrobe was also a book I loved. I have always liked the inscription inside:

“My dear Lucy,
I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realised that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Even as a child I thought about this, how could you not want to read fairy tales? I sort of got it then. But I really understand now.

Michael Rosen has also been a big influence in my life. Going on a Bear Hunt was something we read and sang in school, the thrill of the squelchy mud and the wavy grass.

My favourite poem from Michel Rosen is Chocolate Cake. It used to make me smile, and laugh, and the anticipation got me every time. You can see Michael Rosen reading his poem here

What’s your favourite book from childhood? Take part in #bookaday and tell everyone!

Baby Says What? Baby’s first words and communication

Communication is amazing, isn’t it. Being able to express yourself, and also understand others is pretty immense.

Seeing Bubs working out language is fascinating if also a little terrifying.

One day last week, I was withering on to her whilst she had her dinner. I said something like ‘this time last year you were in mummy’s tummy’ and you know what she did?

SHE PUT HER HANDS ON HER TUMMY.

If we talk about going out, she will find her shoes.

If I ask her where her head is, she will put her hands on it.

If I ask her what noise a dog makes, she sometimes makes a ‘woof’ sound.

It’s pretty weird. She’s growing up she becoming one of US.

SHE UNDERSTANDS WHAT I SAY!

The revelation is akin to Frankenstein’s monster: it’s alive!

She understands so much. Much more than we give her credit for. She can say a few words but she still can’t say Mummy yet which I find a bit disheartening. Closest I get is “yddad”which sounds like daddy backwards. It’s almost like she doesn’t need a name for me as I’m her Gofer.

She says bye, daddy, hello, doggy, yes and woof. Sometimes she points and makes an “ahhhhhh!” Sound quite loudly if she wants something, or wants you to do something. I say sometimes, it’s quite a lot actually. I frantically pick items up around the house whilst she ‘AHHHHHHS’ – hair brushes, toothpaste, a shoe, until I get a ‘ess’ and a nod and we know she wants the ballpoint pen which we then have to hide and distract her from.

One night last week, she woke up at 4am and started gesturing to me to go down the stairs. It was far too early to do that, and I was just totally bowled over by the fact she even did it. I was preparing to get into a heated debate, her wildly gesturing to her bedroom door, when I realised I had to take control here. So I told her we had to sleep and luckily she believed me.

It’s made me think about what I say around her. Unfortunately I do swear a bit so I’m trying my best not to teach her any. Although by now the damage could be done….

She is a true delight to be with now. Dare I say much more than she was when she was a baby. I am enjoying this time much more, I don’t really know what’s in store and it’s exciting.

If a little creepy and terrifying.

What I’ve Read in December

This Month I’ve Read (December)

This month I have managed to read 3 books, I am very pleased with this considering it was Christmas! I try my best not to give away any major plot spoilers!

So, onto what I have read in December:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

When Nick’s wife goes missing on their 5th Wedding Anniversary, questions are asked. The blame is pointing at him. He is keeping things from the Police, and his wife’s diaries are indicating not all was well within his marriage. Did Nick kill his wife? This is the major question in this book.

I had heard good things about this book, and sometimes when that happens it can be a little disappointing. I hadn’t heard anything about the plot, thankfully, so I was drawn into the saga straight away. The book is split into different parts, which I think is a very clever twist. I was totally convinced I knew who had done what, and then it was completely turned onto its head: This book has twists and turns, and although I had a faint idea I knew what may happen, I kept questioning myself. I found this book to be very clever, engaging and it’s a very good thriller. The ending is something I hadn’t considered, and in a way, quite an eery ending. The dialogue at times can be a little corny, but if you can get over that, then you will really enjoy this psychological thriller. Can definitely see why it has had rave reviews.

Her Fearful Symmetry Audrey Niffenegger

Julia and Valentina, mirror twins, inherit a flat in London from their aunt Elspeth. The flat overlooks highgate cemetery. The problem is, they had never met her, due to an incident between their mother and her twin sister years before. They move to London to find out what mysteries lie in the past. One of the conditions of the inhertiance is that they live in the flat for a year, and their Mother, Edie, must never step foot in it. People who have been in the flat feel that Elspeth’s ghost remains. Moving to London means they meet people in their Aunt’s life, such as Robert, her lover who works as a guide at the cemetery, and Martin, a man with OCD upstairs. Family secrets are revealed, as well as the twins finding out more about themseleves, in the process.

I was very keen to read this book as I loved The Time Traveller’s Wife. This book is totally different to that, but it is the same well written books, about modern day, with an unbelievable, suspend the thoughts of reality, twist. Just like travelling through time, you have to believe something that is completely ludicrous, and Niffenegger’s skill is making you do that. The book starts a little slowly, and I felt a few chapters probably could have been missed out, especially at the beginning. The relationship of the twins is very well written, and you can feel their frustrations, their bond and their emotions. I sort of felt I knew what was going to happen, but again there was a twist in this book that I hadn’t considered, or seen coming, right up until it happened. The book is full of ghosts, emotions, and the past, present and future. It is about what you want, and what you get. The ending to the book is just as haunting. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it. A great, spooky, eery tale.

Clare Balding: My Animals and Other Family

This is a brilliant, heart-warming book. I didn’t realise what a fascinating life Clare has had so far, and that her family had so many connections – including the Queen! If you’ve ever loved a pet, ever confided in them, ever felt they were your best friend, you will understand Clare’s love for her animals and pets, and how they teach her lessons about her life, and make her realise how to be herself and get on in life. I love the way her life is mapped out through the pets she had at the time and who won the Derby or the Grand National. You can learn so much about her life through her tales, she doesn’t need to spell it all out for you. It’s an easy to read book, perfect for this time of year.

So that’s what I read this month! I am starting off the New Year with a classic – To Kill A Mockingbird. I am also going to try and read at least 3 books every month in 2014 – what’s your book reading target, if you have one?

Parragon Book Buddy’s Books Round Up

We love being Parragon Book Buddy’s. These last few months have been so busy we haven’t had time to tell you all about the books we have been trying, but I have really enjoyed them and so I thought I would do a round up for you about them all.

A Little Goodnight Book

A little goodnight book is a lovely set of a dog shaped soother, and a lovely little book in rhyme,that is perfect for when youse getting read for bed. The dog is so soft and lovely and cuddly, Bubs loved him straight away. She loves looking at books, and hearing me read them to her. She was fascinated by this book. It is lovely, and not too long so hold her attention. I love the style of the lullaby within the book, it is so calming and soothing. It’s a definite bedtime favourite in our house.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Five Little Monkeys and Old McDonald Puppet Books

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

These books are fantastic. We reviewed the Incy Wincy Spider puppet book earlier this year and we loved it. These books follow the same pattern: they go through the words of the songs, and the puppet is the character in the book – a monkey and a cow for old McDonald. The puppets have really appeal for bubs, she finds them very entertaining and will giggle and smile when I am reading the book to her.

All these books have even really well reviewed by bubs, she love looking at books, trying to turn pages, looking at the pictures, and really gets excited about the interaction she can have through the puppet books. So, all in all these books have become firm favourites in this house.

I think any of these fab books would make great Christmas presents as well, since we are nearing that festive time!

The Books of My Life

Books have played a big part of my life. My Mum always told me that you always have a friend with a book. Some books I read, and they fly out of my brain as soon as I’ve read the page. Others stay with me a long time. I wanted to write about a few of these books, these books that have stayed with me through my life. Books that have made me think and have given me hope or opened up my mind. So here are the first four books:

The Woman in White, Wilkie Collins.

This book has stayed with me since I was about 14 years old. I don’t know how I came across this book, but I loved it from the moment I turned the page. If you want a thriller, a mystery, a suspense filled story, then this book is for you. The book has so many twists and turns, has so many ups and downs. The book is told from different perspectives, and the story begins when Walter Hartright becomes an art tutor to two young ladies at Limmeridge House. On the way, he meets a mysterious Woman in White, who has come from the asylum.

The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger

I love this book so much, I can’t tell you how many times I have read it. I even wrote about it for my English A Level. This book, about a boy called Holden Caulfield, and what happened to him for a few days the year before, is a book about adolensence, about coming of age, about relaising that life sucks, and there’s not much you can do about it. I identified so much with Holden, and I feel he sums up how I felt about my teenage years pretty well.

Bird Song, Sebastian Faulks

I love books that surprise you. I wasn’t hoping for much with this book, as I was reading it as part of my Top 100 Books Challenge. I thought it was a boring ‘war’ book. Oh how wrong I was. The first part of the book is bright, vibrant, passionate whereas the book progresses and this changes, the tone changes – the war changes everything. The running theme through the book of the birdong, of birds, is haunting. The story itself is so good, and gripping. I became very engrossed with the history of world war 1 after reading this book. You feel you are there in the trenches with them.

Tess of the d’urbervilles Thomas hardy

I love Thomas hardy. I grew up very near to Dorset and within ‘Wessex’ and whether it was how he so accurately describes the scenery, or just because he had written about places I had been, he soon became a firm favourite with me. Tess is a book full of sadness and despair. Yes, it’s quite depressing. When Tess meets Alec d’Urberville her life changes forever. I love this book because it shows how clever Hardy is; his use of imagery is brilliant and they way he gets his message across I think is well constructed. When Tess meets Alec, the tension is built up so well, and you want to scream at her to run away. It looks at how people viewed women, what stigma and shame there was on women. Most of this book I read thinking ‘that’s not fair’ – but then that was what life was like back then. I love the way the characters in this book change, the good aren’t always good at heart; you can like a character, and then see a different side to them, which changes your mind. I love his style of writing, and the fact that he doesn’t always write about happy endings.

So these are the first of my books that have stayed with me throughout my life. I will write another post soon. What books have stayed with you throughout your life, and why?

If you read any of these books, let me know what you think!

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