Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone: May 2011

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

The Shape of Things To Come by H.G. Wells

This is a re-posting of a review (for those who missed it). Please feel free to ignore if you've already seen it.

I started this book hoping to find some interesting futuristic inventions and to see how accurate H.G. Wells' predictions were. There were certainly some interesting insights into the 1940s, as well as the general progressioon of society in our own time (if with very widely different happenings inbetween). However, this was less a prediction of the future as a warning of what could happen under capitalism and a social commentary of changing times. It was interesting to read different views of capitalism and socialism than my own, as well as to hear arguments for social control. It certainly wasn't a quick read, but it was well worth the effort to understand this 'text book of the future'.

Tuesday Intros- One Of Our Thursdays is Missing

Hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea

One of Our Thusdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde
The Remaking was one of those moments when one felt part of literature, and not just being carried along with it. In less than ten minutes, the entire fabric of the BookWorld was radically altered. The old system was swept away, and everything was changed for ever. But the group of people to whom it was ultimately beneficial remained gloriously unaware: the readers. To most of them, books were simply books. If only it were that simple...

Monday, 30 May 2011

It's Monday: What Are You Reading #14

Hosted by Book Journey

Read last week:
Phantastes by George MacDonald
Secret Believers by Brother Andrew & Al Janssen

Currently reading:
One of Our Thursdays is Missing by Jasper Fforde

To read next week:
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (as decided by blog readers' vote)
The Restaurant at the End of The Universe by Douglas Adams
Safely Home by Randy Alcorn

Do consider helping me to decide what I should read next week by voting in the poll on this blog's main page.  I really appreciated all last week's votes and am llooking forwad to reading Fahrenheit 451.

Secret Believers by Brother Andrew & Al Janssen (A Review)

An interesting and engaging book about trying to be a Christian within a mainly Muslim country. I found Brother Andrew's outlook on the whole situation very compelling and several others mentioned had a truly inspiring faith. I learnt a lot about the complexities of Islam, as well as different ways in which religions can interact. It was never too full-on, but just stated things as the authors see them. I would recommend this to all Christians.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

At My Mother's Knee By Paul O'Grady

Ocassionally, I'll be reposting reviews (usually at the same time as real-time literary events off-line). These are incase you missed them the first time- please feel free to ignore if you've already read them

At My Mother's Knee by Paul O'Grady

From the blurb:

"At My Mother's Knee is a book which really does contain something for everyone and which reminds usthat, when all's said and done, there's a bit of savage in all of us..."

My review:

A sometimes hilarious account of Paul O'Grady's upbringing and escapades. It was easy to see how his experiences made him the person that is loved by TV viewers. 

Action Readers

Want to use your reading to make a difference? Then join Action Readers. There you can pledge what you're going to do to make a difference, chat to others who feel the same way and soon you'll also be able to join the site's first boookgroup read. I'm already a member, would you like to be one too?

Fforde Ffiesta Weekend

This weekend is the weekend of the Fforde Ffiesta, when Jasper Fforde fans gather to celebrate, have fun and do silly things together. If you don't know about Jasper Fforde (or you want to know which book series to read) then check out my reviews below:

The Thursday Next Series
Lost in A Good Book
The Well of Lost Plots

The Nursery Crime Series
The Fourth Bear

Shades of Grey

Coming soon- review of 'One of Our Thursdays is Missing'.
To be sure not to miss this, do consider becoming a follower!

Half Term Giveaway (UK only)- The Wise Woman


Following the success of the Armchair BEA Giveaway, I'd like to announce a giveaway for The Wise Woman by Christian Jacq.

From the back cover:
Since the death of Ramses the Great, the villagers of the Palace of Truth must produce their best work to honour Egypt's greatest Pharaoh. And as the new master of work, Nefer the Silent bears the ultimate responsibility for all he oversees. But he is in mortal danger; Mehy, Chief Treasurer of Thebes and leader of the armed forces, continues to plot Nefer's downfall and to try to steal the Stone of Light. For Ubekhet, Nefer's wife, newly endowed with knowledge of the supernatural, the time has come to prove that she is worthy of the title she has been given- Wise Woman- and to protect her beloved husband from the evil that is haunting the Place of Truth.
I really love Christian Jacq's work. It is not just an historical novel, it is a journey into another world. The stories are interesting and the characters well developed. Plus, since the author is an Egyptologist, you are guaranteed that they will be pretty historically accurate.

  • To enter this giveaway simply fill in the form below.
  • Unfortunatly, due to monetary constraints, this giveaway is UK only. If you live outside the UK, but have someone who can post this book to you then you are welcome to enter.
  • The book provided is second-hand, but in a new condition. It is registered with bookcrossing.com (you do not have to be a member of bookcrossing to enter this giveaway)
  • The giveaway will close on the 6th June and the winner will be chosen using random.org.

Good luck!

The End of Armchair BEA

I don't know about you, but I've really enjoyed linking with everyone taking part in the Armchair BEA this week. It was lovely to have such a variety of comments about my posts and to see other's takes on the topics provided. I've also been really pleased about the response to my giveaway.

I'd like to take this opportunity to say thankyou to all of you who have visited my blog, but particularly to those who took the time to comment- I really appreciated it. I hope that you will keep in touch and consider following (if you haven't done so already).

I'm looking forward to joining in with the next Armchair BEA, as well as other blogger events during the year. I hope to 'see' you all again soon.

Armchair BEA Giveaway Winner!

Firstly, I'd like to thank all the people who entered by Armchair BEA Giveaway. It was lovely to have so many responses! I hope you'll consider entering again in the future.

And the winner of 'Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett (chosen by random.org) is #20 Birdie.

You have been e-mailed to ask for your address (if you do have not received this e-mail please check your spam folder). You have 1 week to respond, otherwise I will pick a new winner!

Later today I will be launching a new giveaway to celebrate the Half Term Holiday here in the UK. Do keep an eye out for more details!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Follow Friday #3

Hosted by Parajunkee's View

Q. How many books do you read in a week? And in what format do you read them, or listen to them?

I really only read actual (hard-) books. I try to get through as many of these as possible, usually managing between 2 and 4 each week.

Phantastes by George MacDonald (A Review)

A tale that can be taken on many levels- from a simple fairytale to a thelogical expose. Despite the slightly archaic language, I was enchanted with this book. In fact, I liked it so much that its going to go on my bookshelf for a while so that I can explore it again in more depth another time.

Blogging about blogging

Today the Armchair BEA's focus is on blogging. I'd like to share with you a little about why and how I blog.

The thing I love the most about blogging is the community. All the book bloggers I've come across have seemed to be really nice people who care about reading and sharing their love of reading with others. I love getting comments which show me that others are really reading my posts. However, blogging itself is a great activity. I love simply jotting down how I feel about a book or something that's gone on in my life- its really quite a liberating feeling. Another super thing is visiting other bloggers- sure you don't need your own blog for this, but I feel that I understand others posts more when I make my own. Plus, I'm able to share my opinions on topics that others posts (I mainly do this through memes).

I don't always post every day, but I aim to do posts fairly regularly. Those of you who follow my blog will know that most of these consist of book reviews. However, I also like to join in with memes and events such as readathons that allow me to make links with other bloggers. I also host competitions, usually to celebrate landmark points on the blog, or other special ocassions. These posts are (almost) always written and then posted straight away, so you're certain that its up to date and what I'm feeling at the time.

How and why do you blog? Or, if you're not a blogger, what sort of blogging style do you prefer?

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Theme Thursdays- Conversation

Theme Thursdays

Hosted by Reading Between Pages

Phantastes by George MacDonald
....the two ladies, who sat beside her, spoke in the gentlest tones of subdued sorrow. 'She has lain so for an hour.' 'This cannot last long I fear.' 'How much thinner she has grown within the last few weeks! If only she would speak and explain what she suffers, it would be better for her. 

Publicising independent and new authors

I must admit that I'm often (slightly) jealous of those book-bloggers who are over-whelmed by requests to review ARCs or regularly have interviews with authors. I'd love to have that sort of thing in my blog. Unfortunatly, though, I just don't have to time to spend writing to authors and publicists. So, I relie on those that read my website.

There are plusses to this, however. One of the main ones is that those most likely to talk to me are independent and new authors looking to get their work 'out-there'. I was lucky enough to see a request on GoodReads for a review of 'King of Might By Blood and Right' by Anna L. Wallis. Knowing that this book was less known was actually an attraction to me, as I love the excitement on new book discoveries.

And this brings me to my request- if you're an independent author then I'd really love to hear from you. I've heard that there are some blogs who don't accept these, but I'm keen as long as you're looking for an honest review. Physical books only though please, as I don't like reading on-screen very much.
I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Networking Through the Armchair

I'd like to introduce you to Serena of Savvy Verse and Wit. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Serena as part of the Armchair BEA. Here are the results:

1. Why did you decide to start a blog?

I started a couple blogs at once just to keep in touch with friends, talk about books, and talk about writing experiences and hardships.  Eventually, one of my blogs was closing as Yahoo revamped its systems and the other was just too limited in terms of design and access to outside readers.  I started a blog on blogger, Savvy Verse & Wit, and talked mostly about poems from literary magazines when I started and about my writing.  The blog has since grown in the last 3-4 years to be mostly reviews, with a sprinkling of interviews, event recaps, and guest posts, among other things.

2. Do you have a favourite book genre?

I love love love poetry and want more people to read it.  Like other genres, there is something in poetry for everyone.  You just have to try some different poets out and you'll find what interests you.  Other than poetry, I really enjoy literary fiction, historical fiction, mystery/crime, and many other genres.  It would probably be easiest for me to tell you what I'm not too crazy about reading.

3. What are your top tips for writing poetry?

I have no tips for writing poetry.  Just write what comes to you and in any form that it takes.  It's a poem.  If you want to write in a particular form, i.e. sonnet, pick up some of the greats, like Shakespeare, and start copying the style.  Wash and repeat and you will make it your own at some point.  Reading poetry on a regular basis can help improve your own as well.

4. How do you decide what challenges and memes to take part in?

I take part in only those challenges and memes that interest me or the ones I enjoy most.  Mailbox Monday/In My Mailbox is one I enjoy because I get to see what other new books are coming to the market even if they aren't in my inbox.  I've found some great titles to buy at the bookstore that way.  Challenges are fun, but I tend to get too overwhelmed sometimes, so I really have to be careful with how many I take on, plus I'm running two of my own -- the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge and the Fearless Poetry Reading Challenge -- this year.

5. Can you tell readers some more about how you use social networks in relation to your blog.

Social media networks for me are a take em or leave em opportunity.  I've got the Facebook and Twitter accounts linked to the feed of my blog, so new posts, giveaways, etc. are automatically posted with little work on my part. Facebook is where I am more often than not because I connect with other bloggers and writers there on a more personal level, as well as keep in touch with family.  Twitter is something I only check once a month, though sometimes more depending on if I have the time.  I know a lot of other bloggers are more avid social media users than I am.  I use them as much or as little as I want because I honestly have other job and home obligations that need my attention, especially my newborn daughter.

Do check out Serena's blog- I'm sure she'd love you to visit.

If you'd like to read the interview that I was interviewee in then click here

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Cultivating cacti

After my 'Who I Am and How I Armchair Post' I had many comments asking me about my cacti. One of these asked me to show pictures. Well, I try to respond to my reader's wishes so here they are. Unfortunatly they have now stopped flowering, so they're not at they're best. I've taken pictures of the three main pots, but there are a few others as well including one tray of cuttings and one that needs a little more tender love and care before I'm willing to share it.

These two are both highly prickly, and I have a nightmare every time I have to repot them.

As you can see, most of these have started to lean over quite badly. I've tried to prop them up, but I'm expecting that they will fall over completly quite soon.

Apologies for the slight mis-aim of this photo- its hard to take them on a webcam facing into the sun. The ones in the middle are a round spiky one and another taller straight one. The red spiky one is actualy quite soft as its covered in soft white 'hair'.

If you keep cacti I'd love to see pictures of them.
Also, if anyone has any tips on keeping them upright then I'd be ever so grateful.

Arnchair BEA Giveaway- Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett (International)

One of the things I love best about blogging is being able to share my favourite authors with my readers and followers. And so I thought it was about time that I introduced you to my love of Terry Pratchett. And what better way to do that than to give away one of  his books?!

The book is question is a good-as-new copy of Terry Pratchett's discworld book 'Guards! Guards!'. As usual, it comes registered with BookCrossing, the free service where you can track a book's travels (you do not need be registered to enter this giveaway, or leave a journal entry on BC)

In honour of the Armchair BEA, this giveaway is international and will last for the duration that I'm participating in the event (i.e. until I wake up on Saturday morning). You do not have to be a follower, or leave a comment to enter this giveaway (although both would be appreciated).


Armchair BEA- Best of 2011

I'd like to share with you a list of some of my favourite books so far this year. You can click on the titles to see my reviews:

The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde
The Small Woman by Alan Burgess
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Monday, 23 May 2011

Who I Am and How I Armchair

Hello :)
I'm Abigail and I'm a blogger. OK that's not my real job, but it's what I enjoy doing alongside reading, making music and sewing tapestries.

Armchair BEA has asked us to post a random fact about ourselves. So here's mine: I have a living room full of cacti. Bet you didn't see that one coming! But its true! When I was a child I started collecting cacti when I went on holiday. I realised that they were easy to look after and enjoyed the success of that fact that they didn't (generally) die on me. Over the years they've grown and I've had to replant them several times. To my pleasure, this year I finally worked out how to water them so that they had a growth spurt and several of them flowered. Now, maybe someday I'll be able to carry out my childhood dream of opening a cacti greenhouse to the public (lol).

I'll be armchairing from my armchair all week, so I'd love it if you'd pop by and share you thoughts. See you later!

Armchair BEA- Welcome to The Story Factory Reading Zone

Welcome to those joining me this week for the Armchair BEA. I'm greatly looking forward to my first venture into this community. If you have time, please do say hello in the comments.

My name is Abigail (also known as neeuqfonafamai) and I run this blog, as well as several others about my various other interests. This blog is dedicated to my reading interests. I large proportion of my posts take the form of reviews that I've read, whilst others are memes or about books and reading in general. I also let my readers know about books that I've bought. My aim  is simply to spread the love of reading and let anyone who might be interested know about books that they might enjoy. The most recent addition to my blog has been a weekly vote on which book should make up part of my reading in the following week- set up to help readers feel more in touch with my blog.

Later this week I'll be sharing with you an interview with a fellow book blogger, as well as the link to an interview with me. I'll also be doing a givaway where you can win one of the books I've read- keep an eye out to find out which one it will be.

In the meantime, please feel free to look around my blog. You can navigate using the most recent posts, or search bar in the right-hand column. If you're interested in particular types of posts then you can find them using the tags cloud, also in the right-hand bar. I love to receive comments, so if you find anything interesting then please let me know about it.

Are you taking part in Armchair BEA? Do leave a link to your welcome post so that I can say hello.

It's Monday: What Are You Reading #13

Hosted by Book Journey

Read last week
Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart
Aesop's Fables by Aesop
The World is Not For Sale by Jose Bove and Francois Dufour

What I plan to read this week
Phantasies by George MacDonald
Secret Believers by Brother Andrew & Al Janssen
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams (to celebrate Towel Day)
One of Our Thursdays is Missing byy Jasper Fford (to celebrate the Fforde Ffiesta)

You get to choose next week's read!
Starting this week, I'm introducing a new feature where you can choose one of the book for me to read during the next week. Visit the homepage to vote now on which 'futuristic' book I should read next week.
The choice is yours!

The World is Not For Sale (A Review)

Written in the style of persuasive interviews, this book contains a wealth of information about the arguments against GM crops and intensive farming. The bias of this account is clear (we only really hear one side of the debate), however I believe that I still learnt a lot from it. It is well-written annd engaging, despite being translated from the French. An explanation of the principles of sustainable farming in the appendices act as a useful companion to the text. Worth a read if you're interested in such issues.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

I'm an Armchair BEA Participant

When I saw about BEA, my first thought was that it was a pity I'd never get to go. Then I saw armchair BEA nd knew that I just had to take part. So, you can look forward to a variety of posts this week, including an interview with another fellow armchair BEAer.

Are you an armchair BEA participant, or are you going to be at BEA? I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Book Beginnings- 20th May 2011

Hosted by A Few More Pages

The World is Not For Sale by Jose Bove and Francois Dufour
When Jose Bove first came to world attention after the symbolic dismantling of a McDonald's in Millau, the action was widely misrepresented as anti-American and protectionist, or sometimes simply as French food snobbery. 

TGIF at GReads #2

Hosted by GReads

This Friday's Question:

Back to the Beginning: 
What was the first book you reviewed on your blog?

My first review was 'Random Acts of Heroic Love' by Danny Scheinman.This was back in  February 2010, soon after I started my blog. Here's a re-post of the review for anyone who's interested:
'Random Acts of Heroic Love' is a compelling and thorough look at love through two men's eyes and how love can act as a driving force. The two stories are weaved and interlinked expertly, interrupted only by notebook style extracts showing quotes about love and pictures of animals in love. The more I read this book the more hooked I became. I was particularly impressed with the wide scope approach taken by the author.

The Friday 56 #8- The World is Not For Sale

Hosted by Freda's Voice

The World is Not For Sale by Jose Bove and Francois Dufour
They invite people who live in an area, or tenants of a building, to make and exchange dishes native to their country or region. 

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Third Sentence Thursday #9- The World is Not For Sale

Third Sentence Thursday

Hosted by Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books

The World is Not For Sale by Jose Bove and Francous Dufour
With Mad Cow and foot-and-mouth disease ravaging the world agricultural markets, seemingly abstract debates about the centralisation, medicalisation and genetic manipulation of food production have become both pressing and personal. 

Aesops' Fables by Aesop (A Brief Review)

A real classic, Aesop's fables are brief but truly thought-provoking. They tell of a wide-variety of morals, some of which are even contradictory in places.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Driving Over Lemons by Chris Stewart (A Review)

This memoir takes the reader into the idealic, but sometimes challenging, world of rural Andalucia. This is a work of pure escapism and a totally different way of living. A gentle, but enjoyable read. You almost feel as if you are there!

Teaser Tuesday #11- Aesop's Fables

Hosted by Should Be Reading

Aesop's Fables by Aesop
Hearing that a hen was laid up sick in her nest, a cat paid a visit out of sympathy.

Tuesday Intros

Hosted by Biblophile by the Sea

Aesop's Fables by Aesop
A famished fox crept into a vineyard where ripe, luscious grapes were draped high upon arbors in a most temping display. In his effort to win a juicy prize, the fox jumped and sprang many times but failed in his attempts. When he finally had to admit defeat, he retreated snd muttered to himself, "Well, what does it matter anyway? The grapes are sour!"

Monday, 16 May 2011

Musing Mondays #7

Hosted by Should Be Reading

This week’s musing asks…
The local Catholic school board is closing its school libraries, and parents and teachers –and even the students– are in an uproar. Budget cuts demanded that the board choose something to get rid of… they choose libraries. As such, many librarians have lost their jobs. And, the board is moving the books to the classrooms, instead. They feel that it is a good solution.
What do you think? Should the schools be without an actual “library” room? Is this a good solution?
In my experience, schools use library rooms for a whole range of different things, not just reading. They can be a place for children to take a safe (and supervised) 'time-out', for small groups to meet, for those who can't do PE or play outside to go and sometimes even double-up as IT suites. When I was in primary school the library was a place which I could take responsibility for, get away from the playground bullying and learn how to be systematic in my approach to sorting.

Now, presuming that the actual room still exists, some of these things can still be done. There will still be a place for small groups, the IT suite will still be there and there is still a quiet space. But without the librarian another adult would have to be in there and so could this mean another teaching assistant is needed?

Pupils could take responsibility for their classroom libraries but, realistically, this is never going to be such an important responsibility. Plus, many schools already have this in addition to the school library! And the books will presumably be sent to classrooms according to average reading ability. So what will happen to those children who are not reading at the 'average' level? Presumably they will have to go and look for their bookss in other classes, meaning that eithers pupils are all over the school or staff have to spend valuable time going around trying to find the right levels of books for all their pupils.

In short, I think that it is a bad idea to get rid of school libraries. Having said that, it is important to consider what would be got rid of if not the libraries. Could it be teaching assistants, computers, heating, teachers, textbooks, healthy snacks or music lessons? All these are just as essential surely- in these economic times these are hard decisions to make!

It's Monday: What Are You Reading #12

Hosted by Book Journey

Its been a bit of a slow reading week. Having a cold (possibly hayfever?) which made it hard to concentrate hasn't helped, neither has being out doing things most days. I've almost been more busy buying books than reading them!

Last week I read: A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor (click for review)

This week I plan to read:
Aesop's Fables by Aesop (bookcrossing ring)
The World is Not For Sale by Jose Bove and Francois Dufour
Phantastes by George MacDonald

Reading by Numbers

Not satisfied with the 9 books I've gained over the last week, yesterday I decided to buy a 10th. My brass band has its own secondhand bookstall for band funds and from there I bought:

The Man Who Loved Only Numbers by Paul Hoffman
The Bestselling Story of Paul Erdos and the Search for Mathematical Truth

Have you bought any biographies recently?

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Reading from an Exhibition

I visited the Christian Resources Exhibition last week and, faced with an enormous number of bookstalls, couldn't resist buying 9 books (I say buying but, actually, a few of them were free):

Behind the Sofa by Anthony Thacker
Hold on tight for a trip thrrough the scary, the thrilling and the just plain difficult issues raised by TVs most popular time-traveller. The return of Doctor Who to our screens has been one of the most dramatic resurrections in TV history. A huge fan base, a brilliant script editor, a great cast and aa budget for special effects that the old series could scarcely dream of.... all this and more has contributed to the dazzing sucess of the series that has had repeated generations diving behind their sofa. Anthony Thacker is a dedicated fan and a church minister. In his exploration of th spiritual and moral issues raised by the programme- the old series no less than the new- he gives us both happy memories and a wealth of new insight. For, alongside the Whovian trivia, we are invited to consider such weighty issues as: how we solve conflict, what it is to be truly human, regeneration and reincarnation, occult phenomena, religion and violence, sexuality, the consequences of our actions. Questions in each chapter make this an ideal volume for discussion groups or personal reflection.
 No flowers... just lots of joy by Fiona Castle with Jan Greenough
Roy had always been fit and healthy. So when he woke one night with a headache, Fiona's first thought was 'nothing serious'. She was wrong, Roy had cancer. The events that followed threw the whole family into a battle against despair, doubt and the fear of death. As life went up and down again, Fiona had to find stability from outside her own resources. Fiona found the strength she needed, both before and after Roy's death, in her Christian faith. She tells her story in the hope that it will help many others who are bereaved by sickness and death.
In Pursuit of the Miraculous by Roy Todd
Do miracles still happen today? In this highly readable book, Roy Todd shows that they not only can occur, but should be actively expected. In Pursuit of the Miraculous is a book that inspires greater expectancy of a God who can do 'immeasurably more than we can as, think or imagine'. Miracles were intrinsic to the ministry of Jesus. Matthew actually invests 44 per cent of his gospel referring to them. Around 27 per cent of the book of Acts refers to supernatural actiivity in the early church too. Using biblical examples as well as modern-day illustrations, Roy challenges the idea that God ceased working miracles thousand of years ago. Instead  he encourages the Church to develop greater faith and expectancy to see more of God's power today. Combining a strong sense of faith with the down-to-earth realities of life, his honest and genuine approach to the subject reflects many of the questions people might ask, whilst still ecouraging them to believe for the impossible. This book is written out of Roy Todd's own pursuit, during which he has seen many remarkable instances of what can only be described as the miraculous.
 Just: Imagine by Danielle Strickland and Campbell Roberts
Just imagine is a call to action. The authors, both Christians and activee proponents of social justice, remind us of the world-changers who shaped our Christian heritage and equipped us with the tools we need to follow in their footsteps. Just Imagine is a thorough explanation of the biblical and Christian foundationsof social justice, and a practical guide to applying them in our lives, in our local and ultimately in our global communities. Filled with inspiring examples, stimulating advice and helpful resources, Just Imagine encourages us to live out the dream of God's world in our waking lives, and help it to become a reality.
Crusade of Tears by C.D. Baker
It's the Year 1212- Jerusalem is occupied by Islam. Thousands of Christian knights in armor have failed to liberate the Holy City. Who else will the church send to fight for the faith? More knights? Peasant laborers? Or... their children? Crusade of Tears will tansport you back to the 13th Century- the dark era of the Children's Crusade, when 50,000 French and German children were falsely inspired to reclaim the Holy City. Author C.D. Baker masterfully paints an unforgettable portrait that blends thoroughly researched historical acounts with a compelling personal plot that focuses on a small band of pilgrims, led by stout-hearted Wil, his eager brother Karl, and their gentle sister Maria. This realitic story of faith in the midst of extraordinary hardships will speak to you from across the centuries and far into the future.
Winterflight by Joseph Bayly
Imagine an America not too many years distant. An America that seems perfect on the surface, but whose ethical under-pinnings have totaly collapsed. An America where abortion is the rule for imperfect fetuses and euthanasia is mandatory at age75. Jon and Grace Stanton's allegience to God is put to the ultimate test in this future society. As they struggle to protect two members of ther family from the law of the land, they must rely on each other and their faith as they never have before.
Q by Paul Nigro
The Scribe. In 70 A.D., a scribe who was a witness to the life and teachings of Jesus, leaves his notes in the safekeeping of the Qumran community. He once asked Jesus if he coould become one of he Twelve- but was told no. He is the author of ... Q. The Society. No one has heard of the Society of St. Matthew, an intensely secretive band of men whose sole purpose is to study, and more importantly, guard the existence of an ancient manuscript. But has one of their own members betrayed their cause? They are the guardians of ... Q. The Media Mongul. This billionaire illegally takes possession of a first-century manuscript that he plans to use as a tool to undermine confidence in Christian scripture and faith. He beliees this will behis singular contribution to the world. The name of hs scheme is ... Q. The Student. Gigi Vaughn is a seminary student and a volunteer at a homeless shelter in Ft. Worth, Texas. Her life is turned upside down when she fids an injured man in the alley behind the shelter- an Englishman who mumbles something about ... Q. The Thief. Jeremy Croft has the aristocratic bearing of an English Lor, but plies a trade that's not quite as lofty. The Society of St. Matthew has hired him to steal back from the media baron something they treasure. The teasure is ... Q. Q. A simple manuscript, purporting to tell about the life of Jesus, is about to create a web of violence and intrigue ... and touch the lives of all those who are people of faith!
 Once Blind by Kay Marshall Strom
From a troubled childhoodm to enforced service in the Royal Navy where he was such a blasphemous troublemaker that he was traded to a slave ship, God pursued John Newton with relentless love and amazing grace. John Newton, the worst of the worst who became a ringing voice for God, testified of his transformation in his stirring hymn "Amazing Grace". His cry for abolition, along with the work of his friend William Wilberforce, helped turn the heart of a nation against the African slave trade to bring it to an end.
 Foundations in the Dust by Adrian and Bridget Plass and Angela Murray
Foundations of Dust is a Latin American adventure in a book. Tracking the highs and lows of the journey which Adrian and Bridget Plass and Angela Murray made through Peru and Bolivia, this book takes you to some of the world's most forgotten locations. From prisons and parks to churches and projects, our travellers get right to the heart of some of the places where the charity Toybox currently works. Filled with photographs, poems and stories, and brought together by the typical Plass mix of humour and hard-hitting truth, this is the unforgettable story of hope for the real foundations in the dust- the street children of Latin America.

Beginning with Books

As some of you may know, this week is Christian Aid week. The event is probably most known for its door-to-door colletions, but my town's fundraising began yesterday with a market place bring and buy event. There were several stalls- plants, garden tools, board games and jigsaws, cakes, bottle raffle, and (of course) a bookstall.

I was, to be honest, quite amazed by the number of books that people donated. Somehow, despite manning the bookstall all morning, I managed to only come away with one book:

Born to be Riled by Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson, it has to be said, sometimes finds the world a maddening place. And nowhere more so than from behind the wheel of a car, where you can see any number of people acting like lunatics while in control (or not) of a ton of metal. In this collection of classic columns, first published in 1999, Jeremy takes a look at the world through his windscreen, shakes his head at what he sees- and the puts the boot in. Among other things, he explains: why Surrey is worse than Wales, how crossing your legs in America can lead to arrest, the reason cable TV salesmen must be punched, that divorce can be blamed on the birth of Jesus. Raving politicians, pointless celebrities, ridiculous 'personalilties' and the Germans all ge it in the neck, together with the stupid, the daft and the ludicrous, in a tour de force of comic writing guaranteed to have Jeremy's postman wheezing under sackfuls of letters from the easily offended.
All for only 20p!
Yes, 20p! That's how much we were selling the paperbacks for. And 50p for the hardbacks. To be honest, I thought that was maybe a little bit too cheap. But then we didn't really want to be lugging back more books than we needed to.

I was wondering- what do you tink is a fair price for 2nd hand books? Does it make any difference if the money's going to charity?

Interestingly enough, amongst the pile of  books were 4 World Book Day books-originally given away for free. Now, I wasn't really sure if we should be selling these, but since it was for charity I wasn't going to be the one to complain.

How do you feel aout 'free book' being sold by charities?

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Booking A Good Cause

What do you do with your finished books?

Regular readers will know that I'm a member of both BookCrossing and BookMooch. But today I'd like to share with you some ways in which charities can benefit from your used books.

BookAid is a charity which sends Christian books abroad. They have collection points all around the UK whereyou can leave books. Check out there website for more details. (Not to be confused with BookAid international which sends books using monetary donations).

If you have non-Christian books then bookbanks or charity shops are a good way to go. Some bookbanks send books to charity shops or good causes, whilst others recycle them for money. Before you donate to charity shops its a good idea too check out if they are in need of books- some advertise that they are desperate for them whilst I've seen others actually advertising that their shelves are full! In the UK Cancer Research shops seem to encourage donations, whilst Oxfam have dedicated bookshops where they send their rarier books to be sold at a good price.

A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor

Unusually for me, I did not manage to review this book straight after reading it. It is however still fairly fresh in my mind, so here's a short review.

This was a very interesting travel-log book, telling of the time just before the 2nd War including life in Nazi occupied countries. Wha struck me the most was the reaction to a travelling student, very different to what I imagine it would be today. The only thing that let the book down, in my opinion, was the few German words which were not translated.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Musing Mondays #6

Hosted by Should Be Reading

Do you ever find scenes from previous books you’ve read popping into your head at random times? If so, does it bother you? If it doesn’t happen to you, why do you think that is?
I ca't say this has ever happened to me. I do occassionally thik of other book, but mostly when they're very similar to what I'm reading (ie not random)- this does annoy me because it makes me disappointed that the author of my current read doesn't seem to be having original ideas. Its more likely however, that random music will pop into my head.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Book Beginnings- 6th May 2011

Hosted by A Few More Pages

A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor
Dear Xan, As I have only just finished piercing these travels together, the times dealt with are fresh in my mind and later events seem more recent still; so it is hard to believe that 1942 in Crete, when we first met- both of us black-turbaned, booted and sashed and appropriately silver-daggered  and cloaked in white goats' hair, and deep in grime- was more than three decades ago.
Wow, does this man ever finish a sentence!


So many people have been posting good things about Delirium by Lauren Oliver! I added it to my wishlist from the moment  heard about it- such an ingenious idea. So imagine my surprise when, whilst browsing a second-hand church booksale, I came across not only a copy - but an ARC! Inside I was jumping up and down for joy! And all for ony £1!

Have you had any good book-finds recently?

TGIF at GReads

Hosted by GReads

Book Blogger Identity: 
What occupies your time when you are not reading and/or blogging?
My main hobby, apart from reading, is making music. I play the Eb Tenor Horn in a brass band and also enjoy playing keyboard and guitar in my spare time. I love singing, whether it be for fun, at church or in casual choir activities (I'd actually love to be able to find the time to do more of this). 
Other hobbies include sewing, writing, watching TV and going on short walks. If you'd like to find out more about any of my hobbies please check my profile where you'll find details of my other blogs.  

The Friday 56 #7- A Time of Gifts

Hosted by Freda's Voice

A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor
The evening ended for me with the crowning delight of a bath, the first since London

Check out Blogger Quesion #5

If you could share any thoughts or feelings with authors, what would you like to tell them? 

Pop over to Confessions of a Bookaholic to check out mine and other bloggers' answers. 

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Finding the Sahara in Claydon

Popped into a National Trust secondhand bookshop on Monday and, somehow, managed to leave with only one book.

Sahara by Michael Palin
I loved watching this series on TV and am very much looking forward to reading about it.
Michael Palin's epic voyages have seen him circumnavigate the globe, travel from the North to the South Pole and circle the countries of the Pacific Ocean. This was perhaps the greatest challenge yet: to cross the vast and merciless Sahara desert.

My new blogs

I'm enjoying the process of  blogging so much that I've decided to expand my bloggosphere and set up different specialised blogs, dedicated to the things I do and like. This will allow me to dedicate this blog much more to the proccess of reading, reviewing, and connecting with other book-lovers.

I'd love it if you'd check out and consider following one or more of my new projects:

Whatcha Reading Wednesday

Hosted by Busy Moms Who Love To Read

What book are you currently working on?

I'm currently reading 'A Time of Gifts' by Patrick Leigh Fermor.

What's your absolutely favourite part about blogging?

Well, what is it?

Find my answer, and many more, over at Confessions of a Bookaholic
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