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July Reading Wrap Up

Hey bookish people,

I feel rather spoilt this month, for most of my reads were actually 5 star books! So I’m not sure if I should feel unnerved by this or relieved, but truth be told I’m pretty happy about where I am with my reading at the moment! 

I read 8 books this month, the titles and ratings will follow:

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – 5 stars

After Dark by Haruki Murakami – 4 stars

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng – 5 stars

1Q84 Book 1 by Haruki Murakami- 5 stars

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare – 5 stars

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz – 5 stars

The Clocks by Agatha Christie – 5 stars

So that’s my reading wrap up for July! I can hardly believe we’re into August already! What books have you been reading this month? Any highlights? 

See you soon! Happy reading, 

Brooklyn 🙂

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Interview with Clive Farahar

Hi all,

So I have something just a lot exciting today. Aside from loving newer books, I love old and antique books too, I love looking at antique book stores and reading about them. On a side note, one of my favourite tv shows is Antiques Roadshow, where of course there’s several book and manuscript specialists, my long time favourite being Clive Farahar. 


What’s my point? Well I got in touch with the good man himself and asked if he’d answer some questions for my blog, which he did. I pretty much squealed as I read his replies, being a longtime Agatha Christie fan myself:

1. What ignited your passion for books, in particularly antique books?

CF. I always enjoyed Church Jumble Sales and Village Fetes and there were always lots of books to look at, and some were remarkably good. As I got older and discovered Second Hand Bookshops, I found that I could supplement my pocket money by selling my “finds” from these sources.

2. At the age of 4, you received a first edition set of the Noddy books. What was it about these stories that really captured your interest?

CF: The stories were mild enough but there was always a new episode with Noddy and Big Ears getting in and out of scrapes, and of course Noddy had a car and I always wanted a car.

3. I presume you’d be a keen reader, so if you’re able to read for leisure, what are some of your favourite genres of books? Favourite authors? All time favourite reads?

CF: I read all the time, but I love detective fiction which I discovered early on in paperbacks, Penguin Green Backs which specialized in it, from Earl Stanley Gardener and Raymond Chandler to Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers. I wrote to Agatha Christie once about her work and asked rather rude questions “What makes you novels tick?” and “Do you always know ‘who dun’ it before you start a book?”. She kindly wrote back pointing out my use of “slang” as she called it would not get me good O level marks.

4. What was the moment in your career when you knew you wanted to work with manuscripts and antique books? 

CF: I was 19, employed as a Booksellers Assistant, going through a box of books at a minor sale in Bond Street when I discovered the original illustrations for Rex Whistler’s first commission for Frank Swettenham’s only novel’ Arabella in Africa’. The Auctioneers had ignored them as printer’s proofs, and I bought them for very little. After that I have always meticulously sorted through bundles of paper whether manuscript or printed papers for such hidden gems and unconsidered trifles.

5. The Antiques Roadshow is now in its 40th season, which is definitely a remarkable feat in itself. I imagine you’d have seen lots of fantastic items since you first joined in 1985? Therefore I ask you if you had to have a top five finds, what would you pick?

CF: . It always amazes me that after all this time that new and amazing ‘finds’ are still turning up on the Roadshow

A Signed First Edition of Peter Rabbit £25,000

25 Original Drawings by Beatrix Potter £250,000

A Collection of Love Letters to an unkown Mistress of the artist Henry Moore £50,000.

A Magnificent book on Camellias found in a Junk shop for 10 pence, £10,000.

The Chandos Manuscript at London University £4,000,000.

Thank you Clive, it’s been a pleasure. I wish you all the best for this season and future seasons of the Antiques Roadshow. 


 

Book Review: Charity’s Heart by Sofia Diana Gabel 

Published in 2014 by Astraea Press

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars 

Note:

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not impact my thoughts on the book.

Setting:

1800s England, we definitely get a taste of the lives of the upper class compared to the lowly born, the author has done a great job conveying that image across, and as a history enthusiast, I definitely think she did an accurate job. 

Plot:

Charity, a young highborn girl, feels trapped, she doesn’t want to marry her intended betrothed, Mathias. She loathes him to the bone, why shouldn’t she marry for love? Her mother tells her it is her role as a young lady in society to marry for title and status, as it definitely was back then. In comes Alexander Sutton, a fiend, or not? 

Lets talk about the characters:

Charity- I liked her, and definitely felt sorry for her in the beginning. I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to marry Matthias, and her parents couldn’t see how desperate Charity is to get out of the situation. She even feels trapped in her own home, so she runs away briefly to London. Charity is a good character, exceptionally kind hearted and giving, she tips a young shop assistant generously, and then she helps ‘lower’ characters when needed. I enjoyed reading as her character grew throughout the book.

Lillian- Charity’s best friend, annoyed me: I get that she was hopelessly jn love with her family’s butcher son, but she was unsupportive of Charity at times and wouldn’t hear her out when Charity was trying to talk sense into her about Rowan, her family’s dodgy footman. There were times when Lillian was reasonable, but her character just frustrated me.

Mathias – a swine. Reading about him made my blood boil, he honestly thought he could force Charity to marry him and he was abusive to her every time she protested. He made me feel ill, how dare he think he could get away with how he treated her? Thankfully he got what he deserved in the end, to a degree.

Alexander – at first I didn’t really know what his game was, but once his true intentions were revealed he fast became my favorite character. I enjoyed his back story, it was rather poignant, he’s seeking justice for his father, but also carrying along with his father’s constibulary work. He is a kind hearted, tender man who met several close fates throughout the book, I honestly didn’t know where he would end up.

Lets talk about the writing:

Gabel was good, yes, but perhaps I’m spoilt because I’ve read better, I don’t know: I think I would’ve appreciated this book more as a young teen, but now I just found that the writing lagged massively. The characterisation was so fickle, Charity jumping to conclusions and saying she hated Alexander but then loving him? Like really, you don’t properly know him! 

Perhaps if the plot was less drawn out, the book might have been more enjoyable too. I mean it was 280 pages and at first I felt I’d love it but then the story got so repetitive. I feel like some of the scenes didn’t need to be there, it was just a matter of filling pages until the end.

Nonetheless, these are of course all my own views, and once again I thank Mallory McCartney over at CleanReads for the review copy of the book. 

And that concludes my review, until next time, Happy Reading.

Brooklyn.