Life According to Literature 2010

I have seen this on a few blogs or in emails and it seemed a fun way to reflect on the year. A year where I did not write enough blog posts, but at least read lots of books.

Answer the following questions using titles of books you have read during 2010:

Describe yourself: Mostly Harmless (Douglas Adams)

How do you feel: Dying for Chocolate (Dianne Mott Davis)

Describe where you currently live: A Patchwork Planet (Anne Tyler)

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Douglas Adams) , or, if I have to pick an actual place When we were Romans (Matthew Kneale)

Your favorite form of transportation: Prince on a White Horse (Tanith Lee) ha ha, yes I know, that is not likely. So perhaps I had better go with: The Cloister Walk (Kathleen Norris)

Your best friend is: The Slayer of Shadows (Elana Bregin)

You and your friends are: Unseen Academicals (Terry Pratchett), or, Comeback : Poems in Conversation (Peter Esterhuysen and Paul Mason)

What’s the weather like: The Summer of Toffie and Grummer (Edyth Bulbring) -theoretically, but more accurately – Living with Contradiction (Esther de Waal)

You fear: Housekeeping (Marilynne Robinson)

What is the best advice you have to give: This Year you Write your Novel (William Mosley)

Thought for the day: Interesting Times (Terry Pratchett)

How I would like to die: One Magic Moment (Jenny Robson)

My soul’s present condition: Darkness Visible (William Styron)


World Book Day

23 April is World Book Day. I wanted to post something book related on that day. For various reasons I was not near a computer, but I did get to spend some time reading. Always a good thing, whatever day it is.

I thought I would add to the book celebrations by listing some of my favourite books as a child. This is a fairly random list, and I know I have left off a lot. I suspect the moment I hit the publish button I will think of another one I really should have included.

So this is really just a snapshot of some of the books which got me hooked, turning me into an avid reader.

Rebecca’s World by Terry Nation (science fiction for children, written for the author’s daughter, and one of my favourite books. And yes, this is the same Terry Nation who was a scriptwriter for Dr Who)

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue FishDr Seuss – for the love of words, the rhythm and rhyme, and the wonderful bizarreness of some of the words and images. I loved all of his books, but this was my favourite.

Enid Blyton –  How could I just pick one?  I worked my way through all the Secret Seven, Famous Five, Adventure series and others. I wasn’t that keen on the boarding school books (by Blyton or any other author) but loved the Magic Faraway Tree and the fairy tales and stories of talking toys.

Hilda Bosman’s Omnibus – a great tome of a book, with beautiful illustrations. It contained nursery rhymes, fairy tales, poems and extracts from classic children’s books. Many happy hours were spent with this book. And the extracts sent me searching for the rest of the story.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe C S Lewis – I read and enjoyed the whole Narnia series, but this was always my favourite.

Bears in the NightStan and Jan Berenstain. Naughty bears sneak out of bed, one at a time. Each page showed the progress of all the bears, eg Out  of bed. Out the window. Down the tree. This was a book to be read and recited, especially at the end when the bears get a fright and race back to bed. My sister and I used to see who could recited the route back to bed the fastest.

Winnie-the-Pooh by A A Milne – what more needs to be said about the bear of little brain and his friends. I loved (and still love) Pooh but my favourites were the insecure Piglet and melancholic Eeyore. Characters I can still relate to.

The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame The gentle adventures of Mole, Ratty, Mr Badger and the outrageous Mr Toad were a delight.

HeidiJohanna Spyri – a classic account of an orphan going to live with her grandfather on the Swiss Alps. I can’t think how many times I read this book and the sequels.

The Lion in the GatewayMary Renault – historical fiction for children. A simplified tale of the war between ancient Greece and Persia, and the sacrifice of Leonides and his Spartan soldiers, this inspired a love of history, of myth and legend.

So here you have a few of my favourite things. Which books would be on your list?

Poetry Recommendations – 2009

One of the blogs I read regularly is Peony Moon by Michelle McGrane. Michelle is a wonderful poet in her own right (or would that be write:) and knows an immense amount about poetry. Her blog is filled with interviews, reviews and other information about the poetry world.

So I was delighted and honoured when she emailed me asking for my participation in a poetry project. Michelle has got a large group of poets from around the world to list their three favourite poetry collections of 2009.  Here is the link to one of eight entries, which, taken together provide a large list of books to be read.  Favourite Poetry Collections of 2009

Choosing  just three books was quite a challenge. There were several more that I would have liked to have mentioned. Then there are all the books published before 2009 that I only got round to reading last year, or reread. So here is my longer list, noting my favourites of the poetry books I read in 2009.

Impredehora – Yvette Christansë

Flashes – Carol Leff

The State of Poetry- Roger McGough

Burnt Offering – Joan Metelerkamp

Rage against the Beast – Sonwabo Meyi

Strange Fruit – Helen Moffet

Thirst – Mary Oliver

Séance for the Body – Wendy Woodward

Tongues of their Mothers – Makhosazana Xaba

Oleander – Fiona Zerbst