Monday, December 16, 2013

Big Bumper Book Post!

Hi!

I don't know about you, but Christmas isn't Christmas without some new books. As a child, my favourite part of Christmas Day was after dinner, when I'd curl up on the armchair with my newest Babysitters Club, Sweet Valley High, and Point Horror books. This would continue well into Christmas week, until I'd devoured them all. I thought I'd take the chance to talk books while this is happening:


A while back, I was sent two beautiful books from the amazing Designer Classics series from the publishing division of ROADS, an amazing new Irish lifestyle company. There are ten books in the series, and while the stories haven't changed, the books have evolved into contemporary, stylish, beautiful publications - almost design pieces in themselves. The amount of thought and care that has gone into each one is amazing - I was sent The Great Gatsby and Notes From Underground.


The others in the series are Frankenstein, Wuthering Heights, The Scarlet Letter, Madam Bovary, To The Lighthouse, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Hound of the Baskervilles and Heart of Darkness. They cost €12.50/£9.99 each and are available from all good bookshops - they make a beautiful present, I know I certainly wouldn't object to finding a couple under the Christmas tree.


Next up is a relatively new avenue for me - the e-book. I was adamant that I was not going to enter the world of e-reading, making many speeches about how I need to touch and feel a book to enjoy it - but I have been proven wrong! While I will never stop buying actual books (as the ROADS books above demonstrate - they are things of beauty) I am really enjoying the whole e-book experience and am enjoying adding to my arsenal of literature.

I was blessed with a great husband but alas one who is afraid of chemists and with no interest in online shopping, so he gives me money every Christmas and tells me to go and treat myself. Usually I end up doing more Christmas shopping but this year, I did treat myself - among the things I picked up was a Kobo touch e-reader. I got mine on Littlewoods for the very reasonable price of €64 incl. delivery.


My reasons for buying the Kobo were twofold - firstly, I haven't a whole lot of free time to read anymore. I usually end up reading while I'm feeding one of the babies, and it's really difficult to turn a page and feed a baby at the same time. Enter Kobo!! All I have to do to turn the page is tap the screen, with the result that I'm really enjoying reading again. Secondly, Alex Marwood, the author of the best book I read this year released her second novel, The Killer Next Door on December 5th. For some unknown reason, it won't be available in this neck of the woods until June next year, meaning I had to get it as an e-book. I got it on Amazon, delivered to Kindle to PC, then used a great free programme called Calibre to convert it to e-pub and put it onto the Kobo.

I also bought some other e-books, a selection of which I have here (all images from amazon):


Sharon Osbourne - Unbreakable. I really enjoyed this. It covers the period from the year Sharon appeared on the X factor with Dannii Minogue right up until the beginning of this year's series. Her honesty in describing her problems in her marriage is admirable and at times heartbreaking. Her love for her children and grandchild is evident in every sentence she writes about them - she just seems like someone I would love in my corner.

Helen Fielding - Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy. Oh Helen. I hated this book with a fiery passion. It actually felt like I was reading fanfic - it's laughable. The lines "what colour are your knickers, Jones?" and "It's raining men" are in here. Bridget is in her fifties - by no means over the hill, but she is acting even sillier than she did in the first two books. I read over a hundred pages and then had to stop, I couldn't take any more. I've reviewed it in full over on Goodreads, but it's not pretty. Quite obviously made for film, not for the enjoyment of any reader.

Stephen King - Doctor Sleep. The sequel to The Shining. I haven't read this yet, but I'm looking forward to it. If you've ever wondered what became of young Danny Torrance, then you need to pick this up!

Elizabeth Smart - My Story. In 2002, 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped by a religious fanatic where she endured horrific abuse for over a year until she managed to escape. This book has received mixed reviews, but I want to give it a go anyway.

Stephen King - The Shining. I wanted to re-read this book before starting Doctor Sleep. I haven't read it since I was in my teens, and even though I know what happens, it's not spoiling my reading experience. If anything, I think I'm enjoying it more because I'm not rushing to see what happens. If you haven't read it, you should give it a go. It's the wonderfully written story of a man slowly going insane while he and his family are the sole occupants of a creepy hotel, The Overlook. Jack Torrance, former alcoholic with an anger problem, thinks that taking the job as Winter caretaker will be the ideal opportunity to finish writing his play and reconnect with his wife and young son after some troublesome times. Instead, he truly discovers the meaning of the words "cabin fever" and comes face-to-face with demons in every sense of the word.

Jojo Moyes - The Girl You Left Behind. Jojo Moyes didn't feature highly on my radar before I read Me Before You and The Last Letter From Your Lover (reviewed here) this year. The Girl You Left Behind is a crossover between a French artist's wife in 1916 and a young woman in the present day, both experiencing love and loss.

Cecelia Ahern - How to Fall in Love. I didn't like this. I do tend to switch my brain off when I read a Cecelia Ahern book - that's not me being nasty, I find her books really good when I can't find the energy to tackle a big tome and want to dive into a world of love, humour and friendship - but this was unrealistic and silly. I couldn't get past the fact that this supposedly sensible woman took a huge risk with her safety by inviting someone into her life so soon and so intensely. It attempts to deal with serious mental issues but in reality the main female lead comes off as unhinged and obsessive. Reviewed here.

Liane Moriarty - The Husband's Secret. I'm really looking forward to reading this one. Imagine if your husband wrote you a letter containing his deepest, darkest secrets. A letter only to be read after his death. Now imagine that you've just found it - while your husband is still alive. I'm not familiar with the writing of Liane Moriarty, but I find the premise really intriguing and I can't wait to get stuck in!

Finally, I want to focus on a couple of children's books - I never wanted to force the issue of reading on to my eldest son, but I'm delighted that he has turned out to be a huge reader. This year, as always, I've picked up a couple of books for him including:


Jeff Kinney - Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Hard Luck. My son is a huge fan of this series, so I had to pick up the latest installment in the series about young Greg and his experiences at school. I find these books great for encouraging chats about what's going on with my own boy at school.

The Lego Ideas Book. I've lost count of the amount of lego sets I've bought only for them to be made and left to one side. This is a deadly book that has loads of illustrations and ideas on how to make new and exciting things without having to buy specific kits. I can see this one being a huge favourite!

Olympic & World Records. I picked this one up in Heatons for under a tenner. While not a major fan of sports, my boy is a huge fan of facts and really enjoyed watching the Olympics last year. This is a great big hardback book full of Olympic related statistics.

Emer Stamp - The Top Secret Diary of Pig. This is a really funny story, it's essentially the tale of a pig who loves his farmer - why wouldn't he? Farmer calls him sausage, feeds him slops, and makes sure he's getting nice and fat.........written in a diary form, in "pig-style", this will go down a storm with  6-9 year olds.

Please buy at least one book as a present this year. Even if it's just a picture book - books are such a great present and it's so nice to encourage reading. You'll never be alone as long as you have a book. If you have any book suggestions, fire ahead in the comments!

The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read - Mark Twain.




14 comments:

  1. Love that quote at the end and love buying a good book for everyone at Christmas!! Your babas look super cute:)

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    1. That's one of my favourite quotes, I horse it out whenever I can! Thank you x

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  2. Omg Sharon, I still have those Point Horror books on my shelf! I loved them. Same goes for the Babysitters club (Pretty sure I still have those- I'm a hoarder apparently) I completely agree with you on giving books as a gift. Getting lost in a good book cannot be beaten. I always buy a book for someone, as well as a few fir myself :P I'd be lost without them. x (Babies are getting so big!!! I love little baldy :P Bless him! You could almost do a plait in the other fellas hair it's that long :P )

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    1. Ahh Point Horror were brilliant, I found The Babysitter & The Yearbook in a charity shop a while back, was made up!! I always buy myself a few books too, it's not Christmas without one! x

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  3. oh i do love a good read, some great recs here, i am still not on the ereader bandwagon, i really do love the feel of a book!!! that dead husband letter one sounds good :) great post and the babs are gorg x

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    1. I'm with you on the feel of a book, it started as a purely practical issue, I couldn't physically turn a page, hold a book down, and feed a baby at the same time & I was getting really bored during night feeds! Love it now, although still not ready to give my precious books up :-)

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  4. Aw i love a good book, the husbands secret sounds very good. your little two are angels! x

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    1. Thanks so much Christina :) If you read it please let me know what you thought of it, it'll be a while before I get to it! x

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  5. Love this post! The shining and doctor sleep are both so great! Interested to read the husband's secret and the Elizabeth smart book. So disappointed to hear Bridget Jones was such a let down, thought your goodreads review of it was excellent though! Love the photo of the little ones x

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    1. I've just finished The Shining for the first time in years and I'd forgotten how great it was, it's absolutely brilliant, makes me want to re-read all Stephen King's books!! I was so disappointed with Bridget Jones too, it really wasn't up to the standard of the other two. Thank you x

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  6. Sharon look how much your baby boys have grown they are gorgeous and I say big bro is teaching them loads already ;) I am an avid reader and you have given me idea now for some new books! I asked Santa for a Kindle Fire even after saying I would never go for an e-book EVER, I have given in so hope Santa finds it in his heart to leave me one xx

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    1. Ah thanks so much D, he definitely is, he's so good with them, turning into a proper little Mammy, getting bottles for them & all! I swore blind I'd never go near an ereader either but I think it's one of my favourite things already.........shhhh don't tell the books! xx

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  7. Oooh, how are you liking your Kobo? I recently got a NOOK and I absolutely love it!! It's really gotten me back into reading again and I've been catching up on so many books that have been on my "to read" list for years! I'm a total eReader convert now! Never leave home without it!

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    1. I have to say I love it, it's one of my most favourite things at the moment - I'm not sure if the novelty will wear off but I find myself picking it up several times a day and like that, I'm getting through more books than I have in years! It's such a great little gadget x

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