Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone: September 2011

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Inside Prince Caspian by Devin Brown (A Review)

An insightful and though-provoking exploration of the world within C.S. Lewis' Prince Caspian. Devin Brown uses comparisons with other works by the same author, as well as considering those he would have been familiar with to good effect. However, this also makes the book much better for those already versed with Lewis' books than those who are new to them. I would recommend this to anyone loves the world of Narnia (preferably straight after reading the story which it is about).

The Darwin Awards by Wendy Northcutt (A Review)

Worrying, sad and yet (mostly) hilarious exploits of those who have removed themselves from the human gene pool. I wasn't sure that I should have enjoyed this book, yet I'm forced to admit that I did. Some of the tales carry clear warnings, others are totally unbelievable, An easy book to dip in and out of, in fact it is probably better taken in smal doses.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Four Meals for Fourpence by Grace Foakes (A Review)

An interesting and revealing look into the life of a East London family in the 1900s. I found this a fascinating read, especially since I knew some of the places mentioned in thhe text. It was very striking how different Grace's childhood was from that of most today.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Bonnes Vacances' by Rosie Millard (A Review)

I'm really looking forward to checking out the footage of The Millard's journey on YouTube after reading this book. What a brave (and ambitious) woman to take such a young family to such remote places! Finding out how France's 'Dom-Toms' relate to what most consider to be France was very interesting- especially since I read this book whilst in the said country. The family's trials and tribulations made good reading and the style of writing made you feel almost like you were there. I particularly enjoyed the extracts from the kids' diary entries which reallt brought it home. A good piece of light reading.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

WWW Wednesdays #7

Hosted by Should Be Reading

What are you currently reading?
Four Meals for Fourpence by Grace Foakes

What did you recently finish reading?

Rut by Scott Philips (click for review)

What do you think you’ll read next?
Anasi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Teaser Tuesday #18 Four Meals for Fourpence

Hosted by Should Be Reading

Four Meals for Fourpence by Grace Foakes
If a woman was big at the bust it could be very painful, for the top of the board reached to the bust. Each woman pinned a square of mackintosh to her front in an effort to keep her chest dry, but with so much rubbing up and down, the whole morning, they were all usually very wet by the time they had finished. 

Artie Van Why: Guest Post and UK Giveaway

I'm pleased to be able to welcome 'Artie Van Why', author of 'That Day in September', to talk about what the anniverary of 9/11 meant to him. I'll also be giving away my review copy of his book (see end of the post for details).

As a 9/11 survivor, no longer living in New York City, each anniversary of that dreadful day in September is problematic for me.  By my choice, I live in a city where there is no one else who knows what it was like to be in New York that day, let alone knowing what it was like to be in front of the twin towers.

The weeks leading up to each year’s anniversary are fraught with a self-imposed strict expectation to honor the day, and the lives lost, in a proper way.  There is no Ground Zero to go to here in Lancaster, PA.  (Up until this past April I had not been able to go back to New York).  For some of the anniversaries I have figuratively just held my breath and anxiously waited for the day to come and go.  For most of them, the apprehension and depression start weeks before.  From the beginning of this year I was thinking ahead to this year’s 10th anniversary.  What could I possibly do that would sufficiently bring the proper remembrance to such a significant day?

And now, a week after the anniversary, I am grateful for the opportunities I was given to publicly remember and recognize that both day and my place in it.  I shared my story through newspaper and television interviews.  Radio listeners in both Singapore and Australia heard it in my own words.  I was given the honor of having a reporter and photographer from the BBC spend the day with me here in Lancaster; that resulted in my story being on the BBC’s website.  I spoke to 1,800 high school students and a local Rotary Club. I was able to bear witness of that day during the three worship services at my church on the day of the anniversary; as well as at a memorial ceremony held in Lancaster.

The attention, though, is somewhat bittersweet.  On the one hand, I’m glad that people want to know what it was like to personally live through the terrorist attack.  Even after ten years, it is still so important to me to tell my story; by any means.  That is why I wrote a play and a book.  I feel it is the least I can do to help assure that we, as a country, never forget; especially for the generations to come.  I also feel that, as a survivor, it is the least I can do.  It is what I’m called to do.

The most fulfilling moment this year was speaking to the teenagers who were mere children in 2001; who have vague memories that “something bad” happened that day.  They were so respectful and attentive as they listened to me.  Teachers told me they had never seen the students that quiet at an assembly.  You literally could “hear a pin drop.”  When I finished speaking, they stood and offered their applause; which moved me to tears.  As I came down from the stage some of them came up to thank me; a few with tears in their eyes; all with true sincerity on their faces.  I will never forget this one boy, blond, short and husky, who could barely get the words “thank you” out.  I hugged him and he just cried.  I realized, then, that they truly wanted to know about the day that was to change their world before they were even old enough to know it.

But now that the anniversary is over, the attention has ceased.  There are no more questions being asked.  No more tributes being held.  Life goes on; as it should and must.  I, myself, have gone back to my usual routine.  The one difference, perhaps, between most others and myself (and other 9/11 survivors) is that I will still be thinking of 9/11 every day.  I expect it will continue this way throughout the rest of my life.  I will still have moments when I feel the extreme sadness from a grief that lingers.  The images of that day will still come to mind unexpectedly.  The memories remain vivid.  I am moving forward with my life but that doesn’t mean I can forget.

I write all this just to ask that you be aware that we, the 9/11 survivors, are still healing.  We were drawn onto a battlefield that day and so many of us are still rebuilding the lives that were shattered because of it.  There are the families that will always grief over the loved ones they lost that day and we should be ever mindful of them.  But we survivors also grief; for our lives, as we knew them, that were taken from us that day.  Luckily, for most people, they respectfully and consciously will only have to remember 9/11 once a year.  For those of us who were there we remember every day.

I'd like to thank Artie for being willing to write such a personal guest post for us. 

If you'd like to read Artie's account of the events of 9/11 for yourself then fill in the following rafflecopter form for your chance to win a copy. 

First Chapter, First Paragraph #2

Hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea

Four Meals for Fourpence by Grace Foakes
We lived in Wapping High Steet. Now 'High Street' today sualy means a street where there are shops of all kinds, but our High Street had very few shops. It stretched from one end of Wapping to the other, with the dock bridges in between. On each side were wharves and warehouses. The roads were made of cobblestones, with a narrow path on one side only. All traffic was pulled by horses for there were no motor cars. The drivers of these horses had great whips, with which they beat them to encourage them to pull faster. Sometimes two horses would be harnessed to one cart if the load was heavy. In winter the roads would be in a very slippery state and sometimes the poor creatures would stumble and fall. Then the driver would dismount and whip them until they struggled to their feet again. This was very cruel, for in most cases the load was far too heavy. My sister and I would watch while this went on. It was an everyday sight and nobody seemed to care, but we would hold hands and cry in sympathy for the poor creatures.

A BBAW Apology

I had good intentions for Book Blogger Appreciation Week, but unfortunatly life got in the way of them (hence only posting on the first day). Apologies to those of you who were looking forward to my posts- hopefully next year will be more successful on my part.

Rut (A Review)

I loved the concept behind the publication of this book- a book that is passed around free in return for its readers making a donation to a charity of their choice. However, the fact that this was a free book showed in the quality of the reading experience.
The setting was good, a future world similar to ours but different enough to make an interesting world. Unfortunatly there seemed to be s much happening that it was hard to find a clear plot amongst all the different characters. Every time I became intrigued by one set of events a new set would appear to taake everything off briefly in a different direction, before returning back again. This made the book confusing at points and it took me a while to get used to the characters.
In summary this was an OK read, but not one that I would have paid for to experience.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Austenland by Shannon Hale (A Review)

A very clever book, reflecting on the world of Jane Austen's writing but appealing to more than just her fans. It was witty and amusing, as well as being a good social commentary on the modern world's views of romance and fantasy. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Welcome to Book Blogger Appreciation Week

This year I'm taking part for the first time in 'Book Blogger Appreciation Week'. Every day the official site has set us a post that will help both us and our readers explore the book blogging community and what it means to be part of it.

I'd like to start by saying that I've discovered that this is such a wonderful community. Most of the bloggers I have had e-mail / comments contact with have been lovely, generous people. And I think its great to have so many people that I can discuss books with all round the world.

Today's topic is:
While the awards are a fun part of BBAW, they can never accurately represent the depth and breadth of diversity in the book blogging community. Today you are encouraged to highlight a couple of bloggers that have made book blogging a unique experience for you. They can be your mentors, a blogger that encouraged you to try a different kind of book, opened your eyes to a new issue, made you laugh when you needed it, or left the first comment you ever got on your blog. Stay positive and give back to the people who make the community work for you!
Its so hard to highlight only a few people that have helped me with my blogging. I don't want to leave anyone out, and I'm sure I will (being the forgetful person I am), so please don't feel offended if I don't mention you here.

Firstly, thankyou to all those people who put the work into setting up memes. I just love joining in with these and they're wonderful for when I get stuck on what to post.
Special thanks go to (in no particular order):
  1. There's A Book 
  2. A Few More Pages
  3. Crazy For Books
  4. Booking Through Thursday
  5. Parajunkee's View
  6. Freda's Voice
  7. Book Journey
  8. Never Growing Old
  9. Should Be Reading
  10. Reading Between Pages
  11. Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books
Thankyou to those people who've set up reading challenges or readathons. Thankyou for giving me an excuse to read (not that I really need one). These include those at:
  1. Dewey's Readathon
  2. Pure Imagination
  3. Reading Angel
  4. Candace's Book Blog
And, also, thanks to those that helped out during my recent 'Summer Special' event, particularly:
  1. Mozette at My Reading List
  2. Hilde at Turn of the Page
Finally, thankyou to all you bloggers that visit my site. I wish I had the time to get to know you all properly but, in the absence of this, please accept my thanks.

In Pursuit of the Miraculous by Roy Todd (A Review)

An easy-to-read, but challenging book containing many personal experiences of miracles happening today, as well as biblical reasons why Christians should believe in them. I found this book really interesting and thought-provoking. I would recommend it to any Christian, whether they usually enjoy reading or not.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

That Day in September by Artie Van Why

Artie's real-life story told a very personal account. It was amazing to read about what he went through and how it affected him in what came across as a very brave and down-to-earth tale. Sometimes bland and stark, it tells things in a factual way. It was almost impossible to believe that these things that really happened at times. Never have I heard the story of one so close to the events of this day.

I was asked to review this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

I've been interviewed!

Check out Heidi's interview with me over at her blog- 'Just A Girl'. Thanks ever so much for asking me to answer some questions Heidi- I really enjoyed the experience!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Third Sentence Thursday #14 Austenland

Hosted by Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books

Austenland by Shannon Hale
There were boyfriends, and if they came and went in a regular stream of mutual dissatisfaction- well, that was the way of things, wasn't it?

Theme Thursday- Health

Hosted by Reading Between Pages

This week's theme is:

HEALTH (Health / Wellbeing / Illness / Disease/ etc )

Austenland by Shannon Hale
 "Wait, I don't feel right.... all that dancing..." Miss Charming put a hand to her forehead and fainted dead into his arms. He was forced to carry her to her chamber.

International Reading Day

Today is International Reading Day!

If you're reading this then you're already participating in that important activity which this day promotes. But why not use this day to encourage others?! Maybe you could introduce your favourite childhood book to the young people in your life, bookcross your favourite book, or give some money to your local library.

I'd love to know if you decide to do anything special today!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

WWW Wednesdays #6

Hosted by Should Be Reading

• What are you currently reading?

Austenland by Shannon Hale

"Jane is a young New York woman who can never seem to find the right man- perhaps because of her secret obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths to her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-obsessed women, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly becomes more real than she could ever have imagined. Is this total immersion in a fake Austenland enough to make Jane kick the Austen obsession for good, or could all her dreams actually culminate in a Mr Darcy of her own?"
• What did you recently finish reading?

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (click title for review)
• What do you think you’ll read next?
In Persuit of the Miraculous by Roy Todd- finally getting back to my TBR shelves after all the rings, rays and review books.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly (A Review)

I loved the way that this book took classic stories and twisted and turned them into something else. A classic children's tale in many respects, this story turned into much more. It reminded me to some extent of Jasper Fforde, only less humourous and more scary. I'd never have picked it up if I'd seen it in a store, but I'm definatly glad that the description on the bookcrossing ray grabbed me.

First Chapter, First Paragraph

Hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea

Austenland by Shannon Hale
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a thirty-something woman in possession of a satisfying career and a fabulous hairdo must be in want of very little, and Jane Hayes, pretty enough and clever enough, was certainly thought to have little to distress her. There was no husband, but those weren't necessary anymore. There were boyfriends, and if they came and went in a regular stream of mutual dissatisfaction- well, that was the way of things, wasn't it?

Teaser Tuesday #17 Austenland

Hosted by Should Be Reading

Austenland by Shannon Hale
"The End," said Hannah. She shut the brochure, squirmed off Jane's lap, and set off searching for something more interesting while chanting, "Hippo, hippo."

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Don't Tell Mum by Simon Hoggart and Emily Monk (A Review)

What a weird and wonderful account of the exploits if a (mostly) teenage community. Some of the most entertaining tales of gap years rgar I have ever come across, collected together in one book. Almost made me wish that I had something worth including.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Book Beginnings- 2nd September 2011

Hosted by A Few More Pages

The Book of Lost Things By John Connolly
Once upon a time- for that is how all stories should begin- there was a boy who had lost his mother. 

The Friday 56 #12 The Book of Lost Things

Hosted by Freda's Voice

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
It was darker than the first, its shape unclear, and it was dominated by a single great tower that pointed like a finger towards the sky. 
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