Saturday, 24 January 2015


This has been a poor week for reading. It would seem that life has been taken over by something else. Les Mis has been relegated from a book that I am reading to something else entirely. I supposed that one day its thickness would have a use, and lo, I was right.

For the past week or so I have been on a mission to turn the photograph below into a cross stitch patten and then to stitch it. While it means that I have not been reading, I have instead been watching the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, which in my opinion, is the best version ever. Poor Les Mis is being used as a stand to hold my thread, and that must be embarrassing for any sort of book but must be especially hard for one that is known as a classic. 

One day I will finish Les Mis and it can be released from its current position and restored to its classical glory on my bookshelf.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Books in the Snow

We had snow this week, not much, but enough to turn a half hour journey into a two hour journey. But the best place to be is inside watching the flakes flutter past the window - even better if they are big flakes!

Needless to say that I have been read Les Mis while all of this has been going on. And still haven't finished it. I did, however, find a part that made me laugh, which I tried to explain to EG who didn't get it. Right now though the mood has plummeted back to it's normal levels of sadness. I have to say that this was not unexpected, and I anticipate much more sadness will come before I have finished dragging myself to the end of this book!

I also stitched whilst watching the snow. This week I started a new project that I will tell you more about in future posts - if it works that is, otherwise we will just forget that it ever happened!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Will the misery ever end?

Once again I am having another bash at getting Les Mis finished. Everytime that I think that there can't be much more left to go it seems like another hundred pages are sneaked in at the back. It's not that I am not enjoying this book, it's just that, in my opinion, it wouldn't hurt if it was a little bit shorter. 

Also characters seem to be dropping like flies, and I was most unimpressed when my favourite character was mown down in the character killing frenzy that seems to be happening. At this rate, by the end of the book there won't be any characters left. I don't want to appoint a new favourite character just in case they too become victim to Hugo's murderous pen. There is only so much that I can emotionally invest in one book.

I think the most disturbing part of the book I have read so far was about the Parisian sewers. They were detailed, with perhaps a little too much detail. EG says that I could have avoided them if I had chosen to read the abridged version instead. But that just doesn't sounds as cool to me. If I'm going to conquer a book I want to do it properly.

No doubt my evenings this week will be spent in front of the fire plowing on through the never ending book that is Les Mis.

Friday, 9 January 2015

As One Challenge Ends...

For the past year EG and I have been attempting to read through a good proportion of our books. EG's challenge was to read 64 of her unread books and mine was to read 66. It went better for EG than it did for me. She managed to get through 57, while I only managed 31 - less than half!

I feel that I was hampered by my choice of books. I thought that I would have got through Les Mis sooner, as it happens I still haven't finished it. EG was smarter, and probably also a faster reader than me! At one stage our challenge was jeapodised by the loss of our stars for our star chart, a problem EG solved by buying smiley face stickers. 

Below is a picture of our chart at the close of our challenge. This year we are planning some different challenges - hopefully ones that are more doable. Will bring you more news of these new challenges soon.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Snug as a Bug on a Shelf?

It's cold and being cold is not conducive to good reading. Since the weekend I haven't done much reading, but what I have done has been good. Les Mis is no closer to ending, I have set myself a new goal of finishing it by the end of January. We will see how that goes. The biography of Dickens has been seeping into my dreams. Last night's dream involved the Russian royal family, the Tour de France and a bit of Edwin Drood all mixed together. I didn't eat cheese before bed, so I can't blame that. 

I have news of the book challenge, but right now it's too painful for me to talk about. I'll bring you that in a future post.

Of course I have been stitching, as seen below, but I have some exciting new projects in mind for this year. All the stuff I've stitched so far has been designed by someone else, but this year I want to start designing my own. It's another of my grand schemes, but I am determined for this one to succeed.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

My Reading Adventure of 2014

I've been continuing to look back over what I read last year. Below is a list of what I got through, if you want to relive a few moments you can find links to all these in the Authors section above:

The Well Beloved - Thomas Hardy

Compared to Her - Sophie de Witt

Wessex Tales - Thomas Hardy

Holiness - J. C. Ryle

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

Matthew - J. C. Ryle

The Woodlanders - Thomas Hardy

When Pierrot was Young - Alexandre Dumas

Walking with God - J. C. Ryle

The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown

Dig Even Deeper - Andrew Sach & Richard Alldritt

The House of the Seven Gables - Nathaniel Hawthorne

Iron Sharpens Iron - Orlando Saer

Mosses from an Old Manse - Nathaniel Hawthorne

Celebrated Crimes - Alexandre Dumas

Inferno - Dan Brown 

One Thousand and One Ghosts - Alexandre Dumas

The Life of God in the Soul of Man - Henry Scougal

The Scarlet Letter and Selected Tales - Nathaniel Hawthorne 

Deception Point - Dan Brown

Neil Gaiman's 'Make Good Art' Speech

Wonder book and Tanglewood Tales - Nathaniel Hawthorne 

Chosen by God - R. C. Sprout

No Guts No Glory - edited by Alan Stewart

Digital Fortress - Dan Brown

Marks of the Messenger - J. Mack Stiles

Tom Brown's Schooldays - Thomas Hughes

Basic Christianity - John Stott

Sweet Poison - David Gillespie

Possession - A. S. Byatt

The Cross of Christ - John Stott

A Book of Narrative Verse - compiled by V. H. Collins

The Real Jane Austen - Paula Byrne

The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith 

Friday, 2 January 2015

Book of the Year 2014

I have lost count of how many books I have read this year. I can remember marching through the Dan Brown books and working my through some of Nathaniel Hawthorne's works. Some of them have stuck with me more than others, and when I was thinking about what has stuck with me the most there was one book that kept coming back to me.

So my favourite book that I have read this year has to be The Well Beloved by Thomas Hardy. The story itself was a bit bizarre, one man falls in love with a girl he grew up with, then with her daughter, and finally with her granddaughter, but the way it is written was great. I can still see the scenes that he described and I think that is what I love about Hardy, he does a fantastic job of painting the scene in your mind.

You can check out what I thought about it here

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Book of the Month December '14

This month there actually is a book of the month! I finished two, but what makes it hard to choose one is that they were both ace. So I decided to choose by thinking about which one I raved about the most. Given that I annoyed EG so much by talking non stop about how much I enjoyed The Real Jane Austen, I felt that it should be my book of the month.

That isn't to say that The Cuckoo's Calling wasn't any good. It most defiantly was and I can't wait to read the sequels. But The Real Jane Austen made me want to read lots of books all at once and go visit grand houses. (Which may be a challenge for 2015, but you will have to wait and see. Although what a great way to use a National Trust membership!) For me what gave it the edge was that it was a book about a real person and it opened my eyes to what that person's life was like. I learnt so much more than I thought that I would, and as the writing style was so entertaining, it was fun learning!

Anyway check out what I thought of it here. I think that this would make a great present for any Jane Austen fan - it's never too early to start planning for Christmas!