Sunday, 27 December 2020

Book Bingo update number 3


What Nanny Read

Poor nanny really lost her reading mojo this year. The pandemic and initial lockdowns all started while she and the Kentishbookboy's grandad were enjoying a holiday in Australia and the very stressful end to that, and the libraries being closed, really impacted on reading.

It didn't help that with visiting from family also limited there were less physical copies of books to share around. 

All of this allowing Nanny J still ticked off the following books from the bingo sheet:

A book set pre 1950: The Habit of Murder

A non-fiction book: The Private Life of the Hare

A book recommended by a friend: Secrets of Santorini

A book with animals as the main characters: The Umbrella Mouse

A Book chosen by Norfolkbookworm: The Night of the Flood*

A book from the school list: Clockwork

A Book set in another country: Umbrella Mouse to the Rescue

Free choice: The Uncommon Reader 

I am sure that Nanny J has read more than this in total but in a year as crazy as 2020 managing one book from each row seems an achievement to me! It also shows how good books written for children can be as all of us really recommend the Umbrella Mouse books.

*The eagle-eyed reader will notice that I (Norfolkbookworm) picked this as the book that nanny recommended to me - this can be explained in that Nanny J heard people talking about this and pointed it out to me, I then bought it, read it and afterwards passed it on as one to definitely bump to the top of the pile!

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Book Bingo update 2 (Norfolkbookworm's sheet)



Unlike the Kentishbookboy I've not been ticking my sheet off as I've been reading - which was a huge mistake. However as I do keep a full reading diary I have gone through that today and discovered that, pretty much by accident, I can tick off every square too!

This isn't necessarily a reflection of the books that will be in my top reads of the year but I am pleased that I haven't let the side down!

Kentishbookboy's choice: Harry Potter rereads

Non-fiction: Limitless (Tim Peake's autobiography)

Set in another country: The Cat and the City (Japan)

Norfolkbookworm's Choice: Girl, Woman, Other

Set pre 1950 - Hamnet

A book from the school list: Clockwork

A book with magic in: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

A graphic novel or comic: March vols 1-3

Recommended by a friend: Mudlarking

A funny book: Why Mummy's Sloshed

A book from the school list: A Bear Called Paddington

A book with animals in: The Travelling Cat Chronicles

A book recommended by nanny or grandad: The Night of the Flood

Free choice: The Island & the sequel One August Night

A poetry book: White Ink Stains

A book recommended by mum or dad: Umbrella Mouse to the Rescue

Some of these are likely to make lists at the end of the month/start of January but even subconsciously I think I've been picking books that tick the bingo boxes!

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

What the Kentishbookboy read 2020


Book Bingo 2020

I stand in awe of my nephew, with everything that 2020 has thrown at him he's just one square away from completing his bingo chart from the start of the year!

I'm not 100% sure I can say the same about my sheet and Nanny has already said that she's totally lost her reading mojo this year. 

Although he had ticked off some of the squares at the start of the challenge the definitive list of what books he'd like to count for each square are:

  • Kentishbookboy's choice: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Non-fiction: Sharks and other deadly ocean creatures
  • Set in another country: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  • Norfolkbookworm's choice: The Highland Falcon Thief
  • Set pre 1950 - Carrie's War
  • A book from the School list - Varjak Paw
  • A book with magic in: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • A graphic novel: The 13 Storey Treehouse series
  • A book recommended by a friend: The Train to Impossible Places
  • A funny book: 117-Storey Treehouse
  • A book from the school list - The Lion and the Unicorn
  • A book with animals in - The Umbrella Mouse to the Rescue
  • A book recommended by Nanny or Grandad - to be confirmed, possibly Wind in the Willows
  • Free choice: The Umbrella Mouse
  • A poetry book: A Poem a  Day
  • A book picked by mum or dad: Wonderscape
As well as this list of books Kentishbookboy has also shared his reading log with us, although none of us are convinced that this is 100% accurate as we suspect that there has been some rereading and sneak reading after lights out that isn't accounted for here! Well if he's anything like the Norfolkbookworm was as a child this is definitely the case!

As things stand, with just over a week of the year to go the Kentishbookboy is calling Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as his top book of the year.

Friday, 11 December 2020

World Book Night 2021


World Book Night 2021

I can't believe that World Book Night is 10 years old - time really does speed up as you get older. Back then I set myself the challenge of reading all the books that were to be given out before the big day.

Unlike so many reading challenges I set myself this was one that I actually managed to finish, mostly - I still have to go back to A Fine Balance and actually finish it! It also helped me to find one of the best books I've ever read - Half  of a Yellow Sun.

I've dipped in and out of WBN since the first one, both reading books and running events, but it seems fitting that to celebrate the 10th anniversary I set myself the challenge of reading all the books again. There's 21 titles that are already available and one new anthology being written specially for the date.

As ever there is a wide mix of styles and genres to read through and a lot of books I'd probably never pick up without a challenge like this. A quick look at the list, and cross referencing to my book journals, shows that I've recently (within the past 3 years) read 3 of the titles and there's one I remember reading a long time ago and look forward to revisiting. I have also read some of the authors before, but not the specifically the book on this list...

A Dutiful Boy by Mohsin Zaidi (Vintage)

Common People: An Anthology of Working-Class Writers by various authors, edited by Kit de Waal (Unbound)

Ask a Footballer by James Milner (Quercus)

Elevation by Stephen King (Hodder)

Emma by Jane Austen, narrated by Tanya Reynolds (Penguin Random House Audio)

Faking Friends by Jane Fallon (Michael Joseph)

Good Food for Bad Days by Jack Monroe (Pan Macmillan)

“I Will Not Be Erased”: Our Stories About Growing Up as People of Colour by gal-dem (Walker Books)

Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare, narrated by David Tennant and Samantha Spiro (BBC Audio)

Pocket Book of Happiness (Trigger Publishing)

Reasons to be Cheerful by Nina Stibbe (Penguin General)

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (Penguin Random House Children’s)

Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square by Heidi Swain (Simon & Schuster)

Stories to Make You Smile by various authors, ed. by Fanny Blake (Simon & Schuster)

Taking Up Space: The Black Girl’s Manifesto for Change by Chelsea Kwakye and Ọrẹ Ogunbiyi (Cornerstone)

The Anxiety Survival Guide by Bridie Gallagher, Sue Knowles and Phoebe McEwan (Jessica Kingsley Publishers)

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary (Quercus)

The Kindness Method written and narrated by Shahroo Izadi (Pan Macmillan)

To Sir With Love by E.R. Braithwaite (Vintage)

Up in the Attic by Pam Ayres (Ebury)

We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen (Andersen Press)

Where Are We Now? by Glenn Patterson (Head of Zeus)

To find out more about the books for 2021 then the World Book Night page is great, here's hoping that the pandemic has receded enough that some events manage to happen...

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Micro Review 18


A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Having read and enjoyed Obama's previous two books I was very keen to read this one, and as it came out just after the "interesting" 2020 American election (but before the results are confirmed) I wanted to read it as a reminder that American politics haven't always been quite so crazy. It has taken me a while to get through this 700+ page memoir - hence the lack of recent blog posts!

The first part was very definitely a retelling some of Dreams From My Father but quickly went on beyond this point and covered the selection and then election process that lead to Obama's 2008 victory.

After this we get a much more detailed look at the major events from Obama's first term - good and bad, wins and losses, many are gone through in quite some detail and for me this was a little beyond my knowledge of American politics. There were so many people mentioned, often by nickname, that I did lose track a little too often. I also got to appreciate the sentiments expressed in the phrase "laws are like sausages, its best not to see them being made."

I'm pleased that I read this, but I confess to skipping some of the political detail while searching for the insights into the bigger feelings of being president. The writing is so good, and the candid thoughts often so amusing that I can over look the bits that didn't capture my interest. 

I do think that for a simpler insight into the broader presidency I'd recommend To Obama: With Love, Joy, Hate, and Despair by Jeanne Marie Laskas

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Micro Reviews 16 & 17


The Island & One August Night by Victoria Hislop

I read The Island years ago, possibly not that long after it came out and absolutely loved it. Novels in set in Greece are always going to catch my eye and then to discover that this one was set somewhere I'd visited was even better. 

Mr Norfolkbookworm & I visited Spinalonga (and stayed in the village near by) on our very first holiday together back in the late 1990s, although on returning a few years ago we didn't go back to Spinalonga, it was far too windy & rough! As an aside the one thing I don't think that Hislop did capture was just how darned cold it can get in Crete out of tourist season - we had snow!

Although parts of The Island had stuck in my mind since I read it when I heard there was a sequel coming I knew that I had to reread it first - and again I discovered that it was actually the book shadow that had stuck. I remembered the broad sweep of the story but very little of the detail, but as soon as I started reading I felt relaxed and happy to be back with an old friend.

I moved straight on to One August Night and unlike the curse of many sequels I'm pleased to say that I loved this book as much as the first one. It was like the feeling I always get when I step off a plane in Greece and take that first breath of warm air - scented with aviation fuel and herbs - knowing that I am back in my happy place.

The sequel touches very briefly on one of the plot strands from The Island but is definitely a new story, that being said I am glad I reread The Island first as I am not sure that it would work quite so well as a stand alone but it was a great book and just what was needed in the autumn of 2020.