My first book giveaway!

I’ve decided to host my first ever book giveaway! I’m going to give away a copy of one of my favourite reads of last year: Random Acts of Heroic Love, by Danny Scheinmann. It is an emotional story about love and loss, which I think is unmissable. See my full review here.



As I’ve discovered with my two little boys bribery works! I’d like to encourage more comments on my blog, so if you’d like to win a copy of this amazing book, please leave a comment on this post AND somewhere else on my blog before the end of February.

This is an INTERNATIONAL giveaway, and as this book has not yet been released in paperback in the US, it is well worth winning!


1910s Books in Translation

The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes) – Alain Fournier

Translated from the French by Robin Buss

Le Grand Meaulnes was first published in 1913 and is one of the most well known, and most loved classics in France today. It is, essentially, a fairy tale; the main character, Meaulnes, finds a mysterious house, with a beautiful girl hidden within it, but when he tries to return to the house, he cannot find it. For the rest of the book Meaulnes tries to discover what happened to him during his visit to the ‘Lost Estate’.

I read this book for Cornflower’s book group and I’m afraid I wasn’t very impressed by it.

My Penguin classic copy of the book has a note on the translation which I think sums up some of my frustration:

“…the typical Fournier sentence, with its subordinate clauses separated by commas, giving a nervous feel to the writing..”

I’m not sure “nervous” is the right word, I found it annoying! The writing just didn’t flow very well. I don’t know enough about the French language to know if this is a more natural way of writing things in French, but I found it very off putting.

It has been described by many as a book which is “untranslatable” and for many reasons I feel this is probably the case. Translation from French to English loses the subtle double meanings for many of the words. The most obvious being the ‘grand’ of the title which can mean, big, tall, great, daring, noble….etc.

I thought the quality of the writing was also very patchy. Some scenes were quite good, but others seemed to have been thrown in randomly and didn’t seem very well thought out.

Overall, I got little pleasure from reading this book. I think it is probably best read in French, preferably at a young age. Some of the other members of the book group really enjoyed this book. If you have a vast knowledge of French culture, and enjoy reading individual dream like sequences then this may be a book for you, but I didn’t enjoy it.


I’ve completed Blog Post Bingo!

In the third week of the Blog Improvement Project. We were challenged to add ten different types of post to our blog. I’m really happy, because I managed to do it. I have created a poll here, so that you can let me know which of my post types you liked the best. It would be really helpful to know which are the most popular, so I can concentrate on them in the future. Thank you!

I’ve completed Blog Post Bingo!

  •  A Link Post – share a series of links your readers might find interesting

Links to book related news this week.

  • A Short Post – less than 200 words

I just included a picture of me and my little boy in the snow.

  • A List Post – simple as it sounds, a list of some sort

A list of 10 blogs with great layouts.

  • An Opinion Post – take an event, news, or another blog post and share your opinion on it

For Friday 13th I wrote a short post about my superstitions.

  • A Poll or Question Post – post a poll or ask your readers a specific question for feedback

As well as my ususal weekly ‘Can you judge a book by it’s cover?‘ quiz. I have also added a poll, so you can let me know which of these post types you prefer.

  • A How-To Post – You’re an expert in something; big or small, share how to do it

I wrote a guide on how to search for books on the Internet.

  • A Long Post – more than 700 words

My Weekly Geek look at different book covers is more than 700 words long. You can read it here.

  • A Review Post – self-explanatory, I think :)

With all the other posting I didn’t have much time for book reviews, but I did manage to squeeze a review of David Ebershoff’s 19th Wife in here.

I’d never heard of a BLOOK before. Have you?

  • FREE SPACE – a type of post of your choice (that is not the same as one of the previous posts)

I interviewed Sandy from You’ve Gotta Read This.

This has been a real challenge for me. I have enjoyed researching all the different posting types, and will make sure that I include more in future, but it has been very time consuming, and I haven’t been able to read as much as I’d like, so I’m off to read a good book!


Which posts do you prefer?

I have now completed the Blog Improvement Project ‘Blog Post Bingo’ It would be really helpful if you could fill in the poll below, to let me know which of my posts you have enjoyed the most over the past two weeks. Hopefully, I’ll then be able to get a feel for which types of posts are the most popular, and will be able to include more posts like them in the future.

You are able to vote more than once, so please vote for two or three if you’d like to see similar ones in future.

Thank you!


Unlucky for some?

Today it’s Friday 13th. Some people are really scared of today. I find it quite strange; although my head tells me that it is all superstitious nonsense, there is a part of me touching a piece of wood – just in case!

I guess the reason I’m touching the wood is because my Grandma is incredibly superstitious. I have often fallen foul of superstitions that I didn’t even know existed. For example, a few years ago someone gave me a set of kitchen knives as a birthday present. My Grandma informed me that this was as good as a death threat! I had to calm the situation by giving my friend a silver coin, so that I was ‘paying’ for the present, and not accepting knives as gifts!

I try to avoid doing things like walking under ladders, but don’t worry if I end up doing so (I worry more about my Grandma finding out I did it!) Are you superstitious?  Do you avoid doing certain things, particularly on Friday 13th? I’d love to hear your stories!

Meme Uncategorized

Lets Be Friends Award

I’m really pleased to have been given this award by Lou and Sandy. I love their blogs, and would return the award to them if I was allowed!
The award says: “These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers.
I have been really slow in putting this post up (sorry Lou and Sandy!), so everyone who I was thinking of awarding seems to have one already. Instead of naming people I’ll reward my favourite blogs by posting a few comments on their sites instead!