This Week In Books #127

I am joining in with the lovely Lipsy from Lipsy’s Lost and Found’s feature which highlights our week in books. I shall be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next! I won’t be showcasing my new books as I do that on a Saturday. I’m really excited by this feature as I loved sharing my recent reads. My book reviews published on my blog are often WAY behind what I’m actually reading, so this is a good feature to keep you up to date!

Book images go to Goodreads!

Five Years From Now The Tattooist of Auschwitz I Believe in a Thing Called Love

NOWFive Years From NowPaige Toon– I’m currently around half way through this book. I really like Paige Toon’s writing. It’s so easy to read and is perfect for when I’m super busy! It’s about a relationship that’s discussed in 5 year intervals. It moves from 40 to 15 and then sometimes back again. It’s super easy to follow.

THENTattooist Of AuschwitzHeather Morris– This is the next book Beth and I will be reviewing as part of our ‘Talking About’ feature. I’m really looking forward to reviewing it with her. I think our review will be out next week, so keep an eye out!

NEXTI Believe In A Thing Called LoveMaurene Goo– I’ve had this book for so long now. I think it’s time to read it.

What are you reading this week? Let me know!

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Ten Of The Longest Books I’ve Read!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It’s all about love of lists, love of literature and bringing bookish people together. 

This week it’s all about the longest books we’ve read. I used Goodreads to find this out. Good old Goodreads! So here are mine…

Click on the image to take you to the Goodreads page for the book!

Gone With The Wind- Margaret Mitchell- 1,037 pages

Gone with the Wind

This took me a while to get through but I got there in the end!

Shantaram- Gregory David Roberts- 933 pages

Shantaram

This took me a while to get through as well. I do remember enjoying it, but it was quite heavy-going.

The Crimson Petal And The White- Michel Faber- 901 pages

The Crimson Petal and the White

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and really didn’t expect to!

Into The Wilderness- Sara Donati- 876 pages

Into the Wilderness (Wilderness, #1)

A wonderful story!

Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix- J.K. Rowling- 870 pages

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)

It didn’t feel like this book was as long as it is! I whizzed through it.

Outlander- Diana Gabaldan- 850 pages

Outlander (Outlander, #1)

I haven’t seen the show but I certainly enjoyed the books!

Winter- Marissa Meyer- 824 pages

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)

I love this series. I didn’t want it to end but Winter was a wonderful ending.

The Summer Garden- Paullina Simons- 776 pages

The Summer Garden (The Bronze Horseman, #3)

I love this trilogy! Again, when a book is good it doesn’t feel like a long read!

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows- J.K. Rowling- 759 pages

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)

Another book that I whizzed through! Although some parts of it irked me, on the whole I loved the ending!

Breaking Dawn- Stephenie Meyer-756 pages

Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4)

Yes, I read the Twilight books. I thought they were okay at the time but looking back… they’re not the best books in the world!

Tell me about the longest books you’ve read! Feel free to leave me a link and I’ll stop by!

 

 

Talking About ‘Three Things About Elsie’ with Bibliobeth!

Three Things About Elsie

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Trouble With Goats and Sheep

Synopsis:

There are three things you should know about Elsie.
The first thing is that she’s my best friend.
The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better.
And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining.

84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly like a man who died sixty years ago?

From the author of THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP, this book will teach you many things, but here are three of them:
1) The fine threads of humanity will connect us all forever.
2) There is so very much more to anyone than the worst thing they have ever done.
3) Even the smallest life can leave the loudest echo.

CHRISSI: We both read The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by the same author. How do you think this book compared?

BETH: I really enjoyed The Trouble With Goats and Sheep but for some reason, it wasn’t a five star read for me like I know it was for so many other readers. I wasn’t expecting to be completely blown away by Three Things About Elsie at all. I knew I would probably enjoy it as I thought with her first novel, Joanna Cannon had a very engaging writing style and wrote fantastic characters but I still wasn’t prepared for how much I would end up enjoying this. It was an emotional. poignant and stellar piece of fiction that had a huge impact on me.

BETH: Without spoilers, how fitting did you think the title of this book was?

CHRISSI: I thought it was a very fitting title to the story. Throughout the story, we know two things about Elsie and there’s something else about her too…which I can’t spoil. I think the title was a good match and there was lots of reference to it within the story which was a lovely touch.

CHRISSI: What feelings did this book evoke for you?

BETH: SO many feelings. In her first book, Joanna Cannon chose to focus on two young girls as protagonists, with Elsie she has gone to the other end of the spectrum and we see the lives of Florence, Elsie, Jack and many others in a retirement home. I loved the relationship between Florence and Elsie in particular but also liked that this novel had a hint of a mystery about it regarding the re-emergence of a character from their past and why it evokes such feelings of fear in Florence as a result. This novel also touches on memory loss and dementia which was quite hard to read about and heart-breaking in points but ultimately, I think the author handled it very sensitively and it was an intensely moving read for me.

BETH: Did Florence’s failing memory change your understanding of events at Cherry Tree? Does it make her a less reliable narrator?

CHRISSI: I do think that Florence’s failing memory did make her a less reliable narrator for sure. I wasn’t sure if she was talking to herself, remembering things wrong or hiding secrets that she wanted to keep locked away. The story really did unravel slowly, with a very mysterious element, it took me a while to understand what was going on.

CHRISSI: Did you feel engaged with the story all the way through?

BETH: I honestly did. I adored the way in which we got little throwbacks to Flo and Elsie’s past as the mystery of the new resident at the retirement home continues to unravel but I think my favourite parts about this novel were the little pearls of wisdom that Joanna Cannon throws in, some of which really spoke to me on a personal level and I even tweeted about, I felt so strongly at the time! For example: “Sometimes you go through an experience in life that slices into the very bones of who you are, and two different versions of yourself will always sit either side of it like bookends.”

BETH: What do you think makes Florence ultimately realise that she HAS lived an extraordinary life, in the end?

CHRISSI: I think when Florence is lying reminiscing about what she does remember of her life, her memories with Elsie make her realise that her life has been quite remarkable. She is forced to think of secrets that she’s kept hidden. It is her interactions with Elsie that makes her think about her life and all of the events that have happened to her.

CHRISSI: Did you have a favourite character? If so, who?

BETH: I loved all the characters to be honest, even the ones who were meant to have a more malevolent side to them! Obviously, I had a soft spot for our leading lady Florence and often wanted to be there having a chat, a cup of tea and some Battenberg cake with her but I also really enjoyed the character of Jack who is so supportive to Flo that it made my heart burst a little bit. Handy Simon is also a fabulous character and I found myself really rooting for him to find happiness all the way through the novel.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I’m not sure. Personally, I don’t think I gel with this author’s writing style. It’s nothing against Joanna Cannon’s writing. I can see and appreciate that she’s a talented writer. It just doesn’t work for me. I found this book to be a little drawn out and I lost interest in it. Don’t get me wrong, there were some lovely moments within this story and some very quotable moments. I was extremely busy when I was reading it (so may not have invested as much in it as I wanted to) and I enjoy a faster paced story. I feel really bad because I know so many people love this book. However, we can’t love them all and the blogosphere would be very boring if we all agreed.

Would WE recommend it?:

BETH: Without a doubt!

CHRISSI: Yes!

A Week In The Life Of A Primary School Teacher- This Is Why I Teach!

Every Sunday (hopefully) I shall be posting a personal post about my life as a primary school teacher. I currently work at a primary school teaching 7-9 year olds. I have worked for two years with 6-7 years, 1 year with 7-9 and now I’m returning to my favourite age! My training posts on this subject were really successful and so therapeutic for me, therefore I’ve decided to continue posting on the topic. I will not be naming any children, or the school where I work. If personal posts aren’t your thing then feel free to skip these posts. I won’t mind! Bookish goodness returns as normal Monday-Saturday!

I think this week’s post compared to last week’s just confirms why teaching is just such a roller-coaster of emotions.  I had a really good week, despite having to have an emergency wisdom tooth removal! That wasn’t a great start to the week and I really thought it was going to be a sign of a bad week, but it wasn’t. I was a bit of a grumpy teacher that day and I felt awful after. The next day, I gave a real talk to my class and explained that I was a bit grumpy because of the tooth pain. I gave them a little packet of Haribo to apologise! #teacherguilt

This week their behaviour has been so much better overall. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not been a magical cure. There are still some issues that we need to iron out. On the whole though, it’s been a great week. We’ve had a lot of laughs, started a new book for pleasure and I’ve had a successful and informative meeting with a family who are worried about their child’s education.

I had a wonderful moment when a child that was struggling with exchanging in subtraction with the column method completely nailed it. She wrote me a lovely comment about her getting the hang of it and it seriously made my day. I teared up whilst marking and realised moments like that, are moments that make all of the stress, worry and hard work totally worth it.

Another one of my school responsibilities this year is to run the School Council. Each class have a representative and we meet as a team to work on charity events and they help with some decisions to do with the running of the school. We had our first event on Friday which was a homemade biscuit sale after school to raise some funds for a local charity. It went so well. We’re meeting tomorrow to count all of the money and create a poster for our next event.

2 more working weeks until a week break! I’m hoping to finish up their writing, get some decent Maths completed and keep plugging my high expectations for behaviour.

Stacking The Shelves #197

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared!

Book images go to Goodreads!

Bought

Perfect Liars: Perfect for fans of HBO’s hit TV series Big Little Lies

I’ve heard good things about this book so I’m intrigued to see what it’s like!

The Dream Wife

I bought this on recommendation from other bloggers. Excited to see what it’s like!

Anatomy of a Scandal

I hear good things about this one too!

The Cactus

This book intrigues me. I’m reading it as part of a ‘Talking About’ feature that I do with my sister, Beth!

Sadie

I really like Courtney Summers. I have read so many wonderful reviews about this book so I’m excited to get to it.

What have you added to your shelves this week? Let me know!

Fairy Tale/Folk Tale Friday- The Raja And The Rice

This week’s tale is all about a Raja. He was content with his palace and never really stepped outside to see how his people lived. One year, the rice harvest was really bad. The farmers still brought rice to the palace storehouse so the Raja could enjoy his fine food, but there wasn’t enough to feed the people. People took to begging on the street.

One day, an old man came to the palace with a present for the Raja. He said it was a game of great skill that he called ‘chess’. The Raja was immediately intrigued because he loved games. The old man showed him the chess pieces and told him that the finest piece was His Highness himself riding on his favourite elephant. The Raja wanted the old man to teach him how to play.

Every day the old man went to the palace, through the streets crowded with starving people to teach the Raja how to play chess. It wasn’t long until the Raja was very skilled. The Raja asked the old man what he could possibly give him as a token of gratitude. The old man asked for some rice. The Raja laughed at the man and told him he could have anything he wanted. The old man humbly told the Raja that rice was all that he wanted, enough for the chess game.

The Raja thought this was odd. He was told to put one grain on one square, two on two and so on. The Raja did as he was told and soon enough the chess board was full, so he put some into a casket for the old man. The old man ended up with 32,868 grains by the end of the second row and for the next square twice as much. The next day, the servants brought the rice and the Raja counted. The Raja continued until the last grain had gone. He told the servants to fetch the grain from the farmers.

The old man informed the Raja that there was a famine in the land. He told the Raja that there isn’t enough rice to feed even the hungriest child. The Raja was troubled and realised he had neglected his people. He was troubled that he had given the rice to the old man. But the old man told him that he never wanted it for himself, he was putting a bowl of rice to every hungry person outside the palace doors.

Aww! 🙂

Next Fairy/Folk Tale- Why The Bananas Belong To The Monkey

This Is Not A Love Letter

This Is Not A Love Letter

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

One week. That’s all Jessie said. A one-week break to get some perspective before graduation, before she and her boyfriend, Chris, would have to make all the big, scary decisions about their future–decisions they had been fighting about for weeks.

Then, Chris vanishes. The police think he’s run away, but Jessie doesn’t believe it. Chris is popular and good-looking, about to head off to college on a full-ride baseball scholarship. And he disappeared while going for a run along the river–the same place where some boys from the rival high school beat him up just three weeks ago. Chris is one of the only black kids in a depressed paper mill town, and Jessie is terrified of what might have happened.

As the police are spurred to reluctant action, Jessie speaks up about the harassment Chris kept quiet about and the danger he could be in. But there are people in Jessie’s town who don’t like the story she tells, who are infuriated by the idea that a boy like Chris would be a target of violence. They smear Chris’s character and Jessie begins receiving frightening threats.

Every Friday since they started dating, Chris has written Jessie a love letter. Now Jessie is writing Chris a letter of her own to tell him everything that’s happening while he’s gone. As Jessie searches for answers, she must face her fears, her guilt, and a past more complicated than she would like to admit.

Thoughts:

I wanted to read this book after finding out about it at the end of last year. I loved its simple cover and the title made me wonder what it was going to be about. I found this book to be utterly gripping and I devoured it quickly, not expecting it to be as deep as it was.

This Is Not A Love Letter centres around Jessie. Her boyfriend Chris used to send her love letters every Friday since they started dating. Jessie never wrote back to him however much she appreciated them. Chris suddenly disappears after Jessie called for a week’s break on their relationship. Jessie starts to write letters to Chris detailing what happened whilst he was missing. Jessie has a lot of guilt over events that have happened or conversations that were said during their relationship. As the book progresses, Jessie starts to pour out more details. Could it be that Chris was a victim of racial hate crime?

As we read through the story, we learn more about the people in Chris’s life. We learn more about what he is like as a person. Little snippets of information about him start to come through during Jessie’s interactions with others. At the start of the story, we don’t learn much from the detectives. It is not until he had been missing for longer that they started to take notice. This book really is difficult to categorise. Is it a love story? Is it a mystery? It really has a slice of both genres.

It was interesting to see how the author slipped in the possibility that it could be a racial hate crime after Chris had experienced some hate from others in the community. Chris is the only black baseball player in the town and had achieved a full scholarship which made him resented by other baseball players. Kim Purcell has been very clever with this book as she created so many possibilities for what had happened to Chris. It is revealed that he has suffered with mental health problems in the past, so when that is revealed, you wonder if he could have done something to himself.

This book really was a pleasure to read and whilst very sad in points, I thought it was beautifully written. I really enjoyed reading Jessie’s letters to Chris which became more and more intimate and touching as the story progressed. I felt like she began to know herself better and become closer to those around her.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

An unexpected beautiful read. I didn’t expect to enjoy this book so much!