Happy Hallowe'en

Looking for a spooky read? Why not try some classics (which you can get as a free e-book downloads)

(if you haven't read the original tales you really need to give them a go, much darker and scarier than the Disney versions)

(an American classic - a headless horseman haunts a small town) 

(the original vampire story - read the primary source for the modern tales)

(try the Tell-Tale Heart - in The Simpsons, Lisa made a diaorama of this. Or go have a read of his classic poem The Raven - Bart and Homer performed a verison of that)

(caught Frankenweenie in the cinema? Check out the orginal reanimated monster)

Happy National Poetry Day

This year the theme is 'stars' so here is my favourite star related poem.

 She walks in Beauty
 by George Gordon Byron, Lord Byron. (1788–1824)

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that 's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
 Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
 How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Want to read some more star poems check out the official National Poetry Day site and the Scottish Poetry Library site

You can also treat yourself to the iF Poetry App An interactive anthology it features 270 poems with readings by Helena Bonham Carter, Bill Nighy, Harry Enfield and Tom Hiddleston, and illustrations by Natasha Law

Question - What books have you loved and which ones just disappointed?

 Question - What books have you loved and which ones just disappointed?

I'm going to share with you five books I felt had a rubbish ending and five that despite not looking great from the cover or blurb were in fact brilliant.

 [Warning Spoilers Ahead]

 

5 Books Not Worth Finishing

It was the best of starts.
It was the worst of ends.
All of these suffered from exactly the same problem - very enjoyable till the last few chapter/s.  

1. The Lovely Bones by Alice Seabold Murdered girl looks down from afterlife and sees how family are coping after her death - ok. Murdered girl takes possession of living girl so can sleep with 'first love' - not ok (my issue was simply that it was ridiculous wish fulfilment and I didn't like the moral questions it raised about having sex while using someone else's body either).

 2. The Desperate Journey by Kathleen Fidler Family flee highland clearances - ok. Entire rest of lives fitted into a single chapter - not ok (I have an imagination, I can think about what happens. You want to tell me the rest of their lives write another book, otherwise leave it to my imagination).  

3. Bubbles all the Way by Sarah Strohmeyer Hairdresser come reporter solves crimes - ok. She is actually European princess and everyone around her are bodyguards etc. - not ok. (Really, really not ok - it wasn't even a 'well now you mention it there were all those clues in the text'. Nope it was out of the blue, incongruous and just downright infuriating.)  

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling Boy wizard fights to save the world - ok. Last chapter tells rest of life - not ok (I have an imagination... wait did I already have this rant?)  

5. Vampire Diaries: Dark Reunion by L.J. Smith Girl in love with Vampires fights evil - ok. Girl having been killed comes back to life - not ok (I know it doesn't sound so bad but it was a seriously lame explanation, just man up and accept you killed her off and it's a tragic ending.)

 

5 Books Worth Reading

It was the poorest of pitches.
It was the best of reads.
For this selection I'm opting for books that I was hesitant to read but turned out to be very enjoyable.

1. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier Girl meets handsome rich guy, marries him, returns to his place and finds everything still under the influence of his previous wife - Rebecca. It was great, totally worth reading and nowhere near as worthy as I feared.  

2. Heartburn by Nora Ephron The story of a woman deciding if she should leave her husband after he cheats on her while she’s pregnant doesn't sound like a load of fun. Yet it reads like you are chatting to a friend and was a joy to read.  

3. The Specialist by Charles Sale A short book about a man who makes outdoor toilets. It is wonderful, you should totally read it.  

4. Adolf Hilter: My part in his downfall by Spike Milligan A short biography full of funny stories and wit. Since it's about Milligan being called up to fight in WWII, and his training before deployment, there are some heart tugging moments (not as much as the sequel - you should read that as well).

5. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor A black girl grows up and begins to realise that not all is equal in 1933 Mississippi. It's an enjoyable and thought provoking read that I can't believe took me so long to crack open.