Friday, 28 October 2016

The Autumn Reading TAG

 
1) Are there any books you plan on reading over the Autumn season?
Even though we are now in the middle of Autumn, there still are some books I'd like to read during the season. The most anticipated one is certainly a series His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman that I've just received from Everyman's Library in their beautiful hardback edition. I've heard so many great things about it that I just can't believe I still haven't read it yet...

2) September brings back to school memories: what book did you most enjoy studying? And what were your favourite and least favourite school subjects?
I loved studying literature at school and I remember that I have read almost everything that our teacher put on the list of recommended books. I used to go to a library by that time and it was great. I have so many beautiful memories about reading classic books and carrying them with me everywhere I went. There was something extremely romantic about reading those type of books that were written such a long time ago. But I hadn't been so clear-cut on terms of literature, and I remember I liked nearly every single book I read. Most particularly, though, I remember myself loving books by Ernest Hemingway and Erich M. Remarque. More specificaly A Farewells to Arms and Three Comrades. They stayed my favourites till these days...

3) October means Halloween: do you enjoy scary books and films? If so what are some of your favourites?
Well, I have to admit that I am so not a fan of scary movies and I've never really tend to read frightening books either. I'm more like a reader who dabbles in peacefully flowing books, you know. I think that the most eerie book I've ever read was Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. It was rather creepy story about this girl who was supposed to write an article about a murder that had happened in her native village, and eventually it turned out that she engraved various words all over her body. You can see that it was kind of a hard core but I hadn't had nightmeres or something during the reading so it was okay, but still, I don't really crave to read it again. And the only horor movie I've ever seen was The Woman in Black based on novel written by Susan Hill. I thought it was really great scene but I never watched it again, even though Daniel Radcliffe played the major role. And he's like one of my my all time favourite actors...


4) With November it's time for bonfire night & firework displays. What's the most exciting book you've read that really kept you gripped?
This might or might not be very surprising for you, but the only book that really kept me gripped like throughout the night was the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I mean, of course that I have read loads of other books that I found thrilling and exciting, but honestly, the only one that made my heart race with adrenaline in late night was the story about Bella and Edward. Call me silly or whatever, but I just really loved the book. I actually happened to be re-reading it right now after ten years, and I still enjoy it a lot.

5) What book is your favorite cosy comfort read?
That would be Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I simply can't imagine any other book that would warm up my heart right from the beginning. I love the story to pieces. Of course there are some parts that always makes me upset, but in the end, I just can't help but be immensely happy for all the characters. It is a book I can read again and again with the same pleasure as for the first time...

6) Curled up with a good book, what is your hot drink of choice?
I am hopeless coffee and tea lover. So it's always either this or that. It's truth, though, that the Autumn season calls for something more fancy like a hot chocolate with marshmallows or a mulled wine.
 
7) Any plans you're looking forward to over the next few months?
Duh, reading. I really don't have that much time for books during any other season so I am going to enjoy it as much as I can. But of course there are some other things I like to do during the season, like baking and decorating around the house. Also, I'd like to visit a graveyard in a village where my grandparents used to live. Then I am looking forward to a wine event that traditionally takes place in the center of my city every year on 11th November. And moreover I am going to have a movie night at home every weekend. (Because why not?)

PS: I used the original questions from here.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Charlotte's Web

Author: E. B. White
Illustrations: Garth Williams
Publisher: Puffin Books
Publishing date: 2016
Pages: 186

Charlotte's Web is a story about little white pig that is saved by a girl called Fern from being killed with an axe. She gets up early that fatal morning and persuades her dad to let her look after the little pig. And because he loves his daughter very much, he eventually consents. And so Fern gains a little friend that she can take care of. She names him Wilbur and loves him dearly. But when he grows up, her dad decides to sales him to Fern's uncle. And that's when Wilbur starts to experience life of his own...

"Life is always a rich and steady time 
when you are waiting for something to happen or to hatch."

I am very fond of children books, and I found that my weakness for them is increasing with my advancing age even more and more. The thing is that I usually like to read stories I know already, like my beloved Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne. There is just something extremely comforting about returning to the Hundred Acre Wood and reading about those characters who I experienced loads of adventures with. However, by his work Mr. White proved that it is always great to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Strange as it may seem, I had actually never read Charlotte's Web before. And I haven't even seen the movie yet. But now I know that I had been missing truly much. It was such a heartwarming story which deeply appealed to me. I loved the characters. They were so real with all of their faults and afflictions yet with greatness of their hearts that were open to each other. It was rather lovely and highly inspirational book that I am looking forward to read to my children one day to make sure that they wouldn't miss it for as long as I did.

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Dewey's Read-a-Thon (#2)

Hello, dear readers!
So a year has reunited and I am here again all prepared and excited to start another Dewey's Read-a-Thon. I've been looking forward to this particular weekend for so long, and I can't even explain how happy I am that I have a chance to participate in this event. I hadn't been able to join in during the April's one, for I was at work, but the more I am intend to enjoy this one. Anyway, back to the plans of what I am going to read. To start with I choose a children classic Charlotte's Web by E. B. White, then I would like to continue with an epic fantasy story The Princess Bride written by William Goldman, and at last, but by no means least, I am looking forward to read The Awakening by Kate Chopin that has been so kindly sent to me by Everyman's Library. Well, I know that three books could be quite all right to read during 24 hours for some readers, but for me it's actually rather ambitious, nevertheless, I am determined to at least try. Wish me luck. And also, stay tuned because I am going to share photos, my opinions and other bits and peaces with you in this very post along the whole day. You can also find me on Instagram. Hope we'll have fun during the reading together...

14:00 - Let's get started. I've just came back home from a little walk around our block. It's so beautiful weather outside. All sunny and colourful that I just couldn't resist to go to get a breath of fresh air before I put my nose between the pages of a book. Alright then, I prepared some homemade cookies within my reach as well as a hot tea, and I am going to unplug and read the first chapter of Charlotte's Web.

15:15 - I've read 33 pages so far and I am in love with the story about little pig named Wilbur. The writing style of Mr. White is just enchanting and so touching. I am now quickly going to eat my lunch, for I haven't eaten anything but a few candy bears, and then I'll be back to reading...

16:34 -  I've just finished a nineth chapter and I've read 66 pages during two hours of reading. Well, I guess I am quite a slow reader, but am still hoping I could at least start to read even the third book I've prepared. We will see. By all odds, I couldn't have chosen a better book to start with than Charlotte's Web. It is rather lovely and extremely smart read, and I grew fond of Fern and all the animal friends of hers...


19:00 - I am almost finishing up the first story and have to say that the winsome pig and he is shrewd a friend spider called Charlotte are really getting into my heart. So lovable little creatures they are that I really don't want to part with them...

20:20 - Just finished the first book, and now, I am off to watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on TV. See you later. Till then, you can watch a little video I've made. Enjoy!

23:30 - I am back ready to start another book which is The Princess Bride by William Goldman. I reckon this will be just the right read to cheer me up a little bit after so beautifully melting an end of Charlotte's Web.

01:00 - My candle is running low, ale everybody at our house has fallen asleep. It's finally quiet and so very dark, but I am still reading in my bed under the light of my little lamp. I don't feel that much tired which is rather surprising but I shall continue reading till I can...

9:30 - Good morning, dear readers. I've just woken up. I was reading till very late night yesterday. I think it was actually 4am when I had fallen asleep. And I read half of The Princess Bride. It was really so good that I just couldn't stop reading. The writing style of William Goldman is extremely captivating and entertaining. I am so glad I picked up this book to read during the read-a-thon. And I am looking forward to finish it soon, but for now, I am going to take a try and read The Awakening by Kate Chopin. We still have at least four hours of reading...

14:00 - 24h Dewey's Read-a-thon just finished, and I put down The Awakening by Kate Chopin only half finished on my table. So basicly I have read one whole book and two halves. I know it is not that great a result, but for me it's actually pretty good. I think there is something quite alright to force yourself to read more during the weekend. Because I have to admit that I sometime waste my time unreasonably. So thank you very much for your support and nice words. It was a great pleasure to read with all of you together...

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Spongy Gingerbread

I myself always find the waiting for gingerbread cookies unbearably long. And even though I am up for a little bit of cheating, I think that we should save the savouring for a Christmas time. Nevertheless, I just can't live without the taste of ginger and cinnamon till December. So I was looking for some recipe that could appease my taste buds. And of course I found it in one of my Nigella's cookbooks. I don't know how it is possible that I've actually never tried this one before. But you can trust me, that it's the best gingerbread recipe you could find out there. I've baked it for a third time only this week and it has made our home smell so wonderfully sweet and warm that I still haven't stopped being grateful to Nigella Lawson for her absolutely amazing recipe of decadently luscious a cake such as this...

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Pour honey along with a molasses into a suace pan, add butter, sugar and seasoning, and warm it up at a moderate temperature untill all the ingredients come together. Then stir in milk, beaten eggs and baking soda dissolved in warm water. Sift a flour through a sieve into a large bowl, and then blend the honey mass into it. Mix everything throughly into a nice and smooth liquid dough. Then spill the dough into a greased baking tray. Bake half an hour in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan before serving...

Sunday, 16 October 2016

"Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self."

I've been looking forward to October almost from the begining of summer since I was planning to participate in Dewey's Read-a-Thon as the last year (seen here). It was just so cozy weekend filled with reading and drinking hot tea that I literally couldn't wait to repeat it. This year's read-a-thon is happening the next weekend from 22nd to 23rd October, and I am so excited for it, although I am not sure what I am going to read yet. But there are some exceptionaly beautiful books that ended up in my bookshelf recently, and I think that maybe one or two of them could make a perfect read for this occasion. That way or another, in today's post I am going to share these new books with you...

  • Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild - This is a story about three little girls that were adopted by an explorer who left them to Sylvia, living in London, who is supposed to take care of them. But because they run out of money, the girls took to the stage... My daddy bought this book for me just before I left London for good. I have wanted to read it ever since I've seen the movie You've Got Mail. Remember the scene when Meg Ryan recommends this book to a customer in Fox's bookstore? Oh, I love that movie so much...
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy - I suppose that everybody knows this tragic story about a women who decides to stand for a love of her life. It begins with the most glorious first sentence ever. I bought this book to myself to add it to my Penguin Clothbound Classics collection. I think I'll probably read it soon, for I think it's a perfect season for such an epic story...
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë - Now, this is very embarrasing for I love Emily and Charlotte Brontë, but I've actually never read anything from Anne. So I bought this book to finally do that because it's time...
  • Sbohem, Piccadilly by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles - This is actually a translated book that my dad bought to me last week when we were wandering in one bookshop. I literally don't have any idea what's it about. But it takes place in Great Britain during a war, and I suppose there'll be a romantic story behind it...
  • Jane Austen's Letters - This book is very precious to me because of the mere fact that it was actually gifted to me from someone I met in London. It was an absolutely unexpected and certainly the most beautiful a present, and I am going to cherish this book for ever. It is an exquisitely pretty edition published by Folio Society...
  • Emily Climbs and Emily's Quest by L. M. Montgomery - This is a second and a third book that I bought to complete a series by the famous author of Anne of Green Gables. It's a pity that the story about Emily is a little bit played down, for it's equally beautiful...
  • The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott - This is actually the story that Jo was writing in Little Women. I was always curious about it and I can finally read it, too...
  • Fortune's Rocks by Anita Shreve - I once saw a video on YouTube in which somebody highly recommended this book, and it intrigued me, even though I can't even remember what it was about. But it sounds good anyway, and I am looking forward to read it...

Monday, 10 October 2016

"It looked like the world was covered in a cobbler crust of brown sugar and cinnamon."


"I loved autumn, the one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it."
~ Lee Maynard 

October is the first month I am spending at home after moving back to the Czech Republic from London. And I am enjoying every single minute of these days. So far, I've spent most of the time with my family but here and there, I've found a little bit of solitude as well. At the begining of the month, I completely cleaned up my room. I reorganized my bookshelves because of the new books I brought with me from London. I also sorted out my wardrobe which was a huge mess of clothes that I couldn't even remember I owned any longer. And then I threw away some old magazines and things that I just didn't have pleasure in looking at anymore. Now I feel perfectly relaxed and prepared for a new stage in my life. But before it happens, I am going to indulge the nostalgic feeling of the autumn as much as I can...