Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday


Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you have encountered or spotlight words you love.  This weekly meme is hosted by BermudaOnion's Weblog.  If you would like to join then please hop over (see link above) and add your URL to the Linky.

Here we are Wednesday again!   How did that come round so quickly?  I am currently reading Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth, my first word is from this book.

ordure - noun. dung
"The ordure in the courtyards used to be disgusting, I was told."

My next word is from Hearts of Gold by Catrin Collier set in Pontypridd, Wales.

crachach or crache - is a pejorative term used to refer to those of the Establishment in Wales who are thought of as snobs.  Often Welsh speaking, they are believed to be found in influential positions in the arts, politics, academia and the media.
"We're going where the crache live.  They're the ones who can afford to throw out old for new."

Another recent read Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett threw up a new word for me. 

adze - noun. a tool similar to an axe with an arched blade at right angles to the handle, used for cutting or shaping large pieces of wood.
vb. cut away the surface (a piece of wood) with an adze.
"[...] carefully shaping a length of beech-wood with an adze."

A random word I found and saved for these posts.

rout - noun. 1. a disorderly retreat of defeated troops, (a large evening party or assembly).
2. an assembly of people who have made a move towards committing an illegal act which would constitute an offence of riot.
vb. defeat caused to retreat in disorder.
"[...] where by night and day lacquered coaches flitted from dinners to card parties to rout."

What interesting words have you found to share this week?

Monday, 25 August 2014

Book Review: Hearts of Gold #1 - Catrin Collier

SynopsisTrainee midwife Bethan Powell lives in the shadow of the workhouse during the Depression. It's difficult to say which is harder for her and fellow nurse Laura Ronconi--their gruelling work in the hospital, or the frictions and financial hardships at home. Bethan's Communist miner father, rigidly Chapel mother, unruly brothers, and delightful but dubiously honest aunt, and Laura's vast Italian cafe-running family, cause the girls as much worry as any difficult case or strict ward sister. But working-class Pontypridd agrees on one thing--the "crache," or gentry, who live in the big houses on the Common, may be just the other side of town, but they inhabit a different world. So when Bethan and Laura are smitten by two young doctors, can love really bridge the divide? Or is the pull of family too strong, the gulf too wide?  (Taken from Goodreads)

Review -  Hearts of Gold #1 is the first book in the Hearts of Gold series.  It was first published in 1992 by Century.  I obtained this book on Kindle from Amazon.  You may wonder why I am reviewing a book that has been around for over 20 years.  Catrin Collier is a Welsh author and as an inhabitant of Wales I feel a sense of loyalty in spreading the word.  I have to say I was surprised when a fellow blogger informed me that she had read another title from this author.  I certainly had not come across Ms Collier's work before.  Enough background, let's get onto the review itself.

This book sets the scene for the Powell family and their friends and relatives in the Graig, on the poor side of the Common in Pontypridd.  The story is well written with fiction woven around the social history of the time.  Valley communities were tight and would stick together but despite the community mindedness there was also the small minded, nosey neighbour attitudes and the shame from any scandal that threatened to shake a family's values to the core.  This book is set in the 1930's right in the heart of the depression and the families depicted are struggling to survive.  The story centres on Bethan the eldest daughter of Evan and Elizabeth Powell.  Bethan is a nurse and a major contributor to the household, helping to keep the family from total poverty.  Her brothers Haydn and Eddie are struggling to find decent and steady jobs and the youngest Maud is still at school.  When Bethan meets the younger Dr John her life looks as if it may change for the better and to keep up with Andrew John, from the "crache" she has to dress the part.  

The story runs along comfortably and just as I wondered where it was going it twisted and turned keeping me on my toes.  I did find the story predictable in parts but even so, that did not detract from the interesting subject matter or my enjoyment of the story.  

There are 8 books in the series, the next titled One Blue Moon.  I shall look out for this book later on.  4* 

Kindle edition: ASIN: B00DI9VSB0
Paperback: ISBN-13: 978-1909840775

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Sunday Post #3


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog. This is your news post, so personalise it! Include as much as you want or as little. Check out the rules of the meme.

Posts on Booketta's Book Blog

Posts on my other blogs

Useful posts elsewhere in the Blogosphere

Books Read
The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett (not reviewed) 3*

Current Reads
I am working my way through some poetry collections including:
The World's Wife  - Carol Ann Duffy
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud... - Ana Sampson
More Poetry Please - BBC Books
My current read is:
Hearts of Gold - Catrin Collier

My Week
You may remember I received news of a friend who was terminally ill.  Sadly to say I later learnt of her passing.  My husband and I shall be attending her funeral later on this week.

Pilates class  - No class this coming week due to a Bank Holiday in the UK (except Scotland).  Last week's class wasn't quite so busy and I returned feeling stretched and toned.

Writing group - I met up with friends from my old writing class for an afternoon chat over coffee.  Some of the group still go to classes run by the same tutor but in a different venue.  One friend is a songwriter and has formed a small band.

Walks - The better half is a regular rambler and most weeks he goes on long walks up hill and down dale.  I decided to go along this week and he kindly lowered his walking standard to accompany me on a 'C' grade walk at a leisurely pace.  What was advertised as a 7 mile walk turned into a 10 mile walk.  It was nice to discover new paths and rights of way locally.  I took myself for a local stroll yesterday taking in some shops looking for an item of clothing.  It was a successful trip.  The OH had gone for a cycle ride and I had nothing better to do after finishing my chores.

Coffees - I mentioned the writing group meet above.  The OH and I grabbed our weekly coffee at our regular haunt and as quite often we bumped into people we knew catching up on their lives.

Next Week
Weather permitting we are hoping to see my friend perform with her small band at a carnival.  I hope to get to meet with a social group from the OU for a drink.  On a sad note we have a funeral to attend.  The following day will be busy with attending a Red Arrows display where I shall try and get some photographic shots, a BBQ and an engagement party.

Blog Book Plans
I hope I will have some more words to share on Wondrous Words Wednesday.
A poem for Poetry Corner
Again no planned book reviews but watch this space.
My next book choice will be whatever comes out of the book jar.

Did you have a good week?


Friday, 22 August 2014

Poetry Corner #11

This week's choice is selected from the BBC publication More Poetry Please.  The reason I chose this poem was because I remembered my grandmother reciting the first couple of verses to me during my childhood.  It brought back memories of school holidays spent in the kitchen possibly baking or just being with her while she prepared dinner with the radio on or not, when she would tell me stories from her past or sing songs and rhymes.  Here is The Pedlar's Caravan by WB Rands.  Wikipedia informs that his full name was William Brighty Rands (24 December 1823 — 23 April 1882).

The Pedlar's Caravan

I wish I lived in a caravan,
With a horse to drive, like the pedlar man!
Where he comes from nobody knows,
Or where he goes to, but on he goes.

His caravan has windows two,
And a chimney of tin that the smoke comes through,
He has a wife, and a baby brown,
And they go riding from town to town.

Chairs to mend and delf to sell -
He clashes the basins like a bell.
Tea-trays, baskets, ranged in order,
Plates, with the alphabet round the border.

The roads are brown, and the sea is green,
But his house is just like a bathing machine;
The world is round, but he can ride,
Rumble, and splash to the other side.
!
With the pedlar-man I should like to roam,
And write a book when I come home.
All the people would read my book,
Just like the Travels of Captain Cook.

WB Rands

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday


Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you have encountered or spotlight words you love.  This weekly meme is hosted by BermudaOnion's Weblog.  If you would like to join then please hop over (see link above) and add your URL to the Linky.

Another week flies by and so much seems to have happened.  C'est la vie!  I have some more words to share from various sources I have saved for this meme.

hawk - vb. to clear the throat of phlegm noisily, to bring up phlegm.
"Whereupon he will stop, hawk onto the floor and leave."

shingled - noun. shingled hair; shingling the hair.
vb. to cut short so that it tapers from the back of the head to the nape of the neck so that all ends are exposed like roof-shingles.
"Slicked, marcelled, shingled and pomaded."

hartal - noun. a closure of shops and offices as a protest or a mark of sorrow.
"[...] and a general hartal shuts down the city for several days."

jonnock (or jannock) - adj. genuine; real
adv. honestly; truly; genuinely
"That would have been jonnock."

Have you found any interesting words to share this week?

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Sunday Post #2


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog. This is your news post, so personalise it! Include as much as you want or as little. Check out the rules of the meme.

Posts
Last Sunday I made my very first contribution to The Sunday Post meme.
Last Friday Poetry Corner

Books Read
Can't Wait to Get to Heaven - Fannie Flagg - not reviewed 5*

Current Reads
I am working my way through some poetry collections including:
The World's Wife  - Carol Ann Duffy
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud... - Ana Sampson
More Poetry Please - BBC Books
My current read is:
Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett

My Week
Well, it has certainly been a week.  In the media we were greeted with the sad news of the death of Robin Williams which shook the nation and the following day we learnt about Lauren Bacall, although rather more expected at her age.

On a personal note a friend informed us that her father in law had sadly passed away but this morning I was greeted with more shocking news that a friend is very poorly in a hospice with a few days left.  Today although I have been getting on with household and garden chores I am trying not to feel maudlin and don't want to dwell on this too much in this post.  I shall move onto the more positive aspects of my week such as my teen passing her exams and being able to make her choices for University next year.

Pilates class  - I went to class and our regular teacher was back in charge.

Writing group - My daughter and I joined a writing group which meets once or twice a month.  We had fun with some unusual prompts and are keen to make this a regular activity.

Coffees - I met up with a couple of friends from my old photography class for a chat at a local Arts Centre.  I also met up with my friend who brought her daughter along to show me the baby, I also got a cuddle.  

Yoga - My usual class has stopped for the holiday and I found a class still running so I went along on Friday.  I have done yoga on and off for many years so it was not completely new to me but quite different from my regular class.  Having found this class to fill the gap I learnt they are having a two week holiday.

Strolls - A bit more than a stroll OH and I did a 5.5 mile walk yesterday through some lovely countryside.  We stopped at a pub by the river before heading for the nearest town to have a meander and a coffee.

Next week
I have plans to meet up with my old writing group.  Pilates tomorrow and hopefully the OH and I will get a walk or two in during the week.  

Blog Book Plans
I hope I will have some more words to share on Wondrous Words Wednesday.
A poem for Poetry Corner
Again no planned book reviews but watch this space because I may make a post.
My next book choice will be whatever comes out of the book jar.

How was your week?

Friday, 15 August 2014

Poetry Corner #10

I was not sure which poem to post this week but decided to share a poem by Dorothy Parker, an American poet (August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967).

One Perfect Rose


A single flow'r he sent me, since we met.
All tenderly his messenger he chose;
Deep-hearted, pure, with scented dew still wet -
One perfect rose.

I knew the language of the floweret;
'My fragile leaves,' it said, 'his heart enclose.'
Love long has taken for his amulet
One perfect rose.

Why is it no one ever sent me yet
One perfect limousine, do you suppose?
Ah no, it's always just my luck to get
One perfect rose. 

Dorothy Parker

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Wondrous Words Wednesday


Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you have encountered or spotlight words you love.  This weekly meme is hosted by BermudaOnion's Weblog.  If you would like to join then please hop over (see link above) and add your URL to the Linky.

It is almost a month since I made this post and I was away for two weeks in France.  But here I am, ready to post with some new words I have found over a period of time that I would like to share.  I have jotted them down and collected them in my little book from various sources.

parse - vb. To describe grammatically, stating its inflexion, relation to the sentence etc; to resolve (a sentence) into its component parts and describe them grammatically.
" Hungry and worn out, he tries to parse the problem."

hyphenate - vb. 1. To hyphen.  2. Write or separate with a hyphen.
noun. a person who is active in more than one sphere or occupation."Let the boy stay, even if he is a hyphenate."

doggerel - noun. Poor or trivial verse.
"When they have sung four or five doggerel verses..."

orrery - noun. A clockwork model of the solar system, or of just the sun, earth, and moon.
"The other tables describing slow arcs about its centre like minor satellites in an orrery..."

Do you have any words you would like to share this week?

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Sunday Post #1


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
It’s a chance to share news. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog. This is your news post, so personalise it! Include as much as you want or as little. Check out the rules of the meme.

This is a first for me.  As you know I'm not one for participating in memes as I cannot always commit or regularly take part.  However, I do try and keep up with the Wondrous Words Wednesday meme, although I missed it this week.

I returned from a break in France just over a week ago and I am not fully back into the swing of things yet.  Now come on, it does take a while to catch up on washing, housework and get the brain in gear, haha!

Posts
Last Sunday - It's a Wrap - my end of month round up.
Last Friday - Poetry Corner #9 - a new-ish regular feature
Yesterday - To Finish a Book or Not? - a discussion post

Library
I returned a couple of books I borrowed which I read on holiday and as usual my local branch had a shelf of sell-offs.  As you know I am (really, I am trying) not to buy books so I can reduce my rather substantial TBR shelf and eTBR.  But, when books in all shapes and sizes are going for 20p what can a girl do?  One book on my wishlist for some time was Dave Eggars - What is the What?, so I grabbed it in hardback.  As if one library visit was not enough, the OH and I visited the main library returning the teen's books.  I borrowed a CD Tori Amos - Gold Dust and a vegan cookery book.  I am a Tori fan and have several of her CD's in my collection.  I think the library is a great resource to borrow music to try before buying.

Books Read or Abandoned
Alys Always - Harriet Lane -not reviewed due to lack of time. 4*
Can't Live Without - Joanne Phillips - not reviewed, I struggled with this one but did finish it. 2*
Love Lies - Adele Parks - abandoned

Current Reads
I am working my way through some poetry collections including:
The World's Wife  - Carol Ann Duffy
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud... - Ana Sampson
More Poetry Please - BBC Books
I tend to dabble in and out of these and I may find something to contribute to my weekly regular feature Poetry Corner.
I have just started a book which I am enjoying right from the beginning:
Can't Wait to Get to Heaven - Fannie Flagg

My Week 
Pilates class - I attend regular classes on a Monday.  Our regular teacher was away so we had a replacement who worked us hard.  I was still feeling the after effects two days later, no pain no gain!
Ladies who lunch - I had some friends over and cooked a pasta dish with a green salad on the side.  I made a tomato focaccia in my trusty breadmaker, one of my best kitchen tools.  For dessert I offered Victoria sponge freshly baked that morning.  It was great to catch up with these fab ladies who all like a good read.  One lady is in my book group and I am trying to persuade another to join us.  The other lady is already in a book group in her area.
Coffees - OH and I went for our usual weekly free cuppa in one of the supermarkets combining that with some shopping.  We also had our free monthly coffee and cake in town.  You gotta make the most of these offers while they are there.
Strolls - We earned our freebie treat in town by walking in and back home through our beautiful city park.  Today between showers we ventured out for a wander around our local park.

Next week
I have plans to meet friends, attend a writing group and poetry slam.  Pilates tomorrow and hopefully the OH and I will get a walk or two in during the week.  One of my sons is resitting his tax exam and the teen awaits her exam results on Thursday.

Blog Book Plans
I hope I will have some new words to share on Wondrous Words Wednesday.
A new poem for Poetry Corner
No planned book reviews but watch this space because I may post.
My next book choice will be whatever comes out of the book jar.

How was your week?



Saturday, 9 August 2014

To Finish a Book or Not?

Yesterday, I came across a post on Live to Write – Write to Live titled Friday Fun - What Makes you Abandon a Book?  A few writers have contributed to the post and I found it interesting reading.

Jamie Wallace mentioned guilt and this is something I feel big time when I really cannot get into a book and have internal conflict over whether I should abandon the book or carry on.  Another issue I have on this theme is reading stamina and I went through a phase where I would suffer a book because I believed it showed lack of attention or stamina in my reading. Thankfully, I have got past this.  I know I have reading stamina from the amount of books I read.

Lisa L Jackson mentions grammar and spelling mistakes.  Yes, I find them annoying particularly if a book has not been proof read properly but in most cases it is usually minor and I will put up with it, particularly in a review read.  However, I will mention the errors in my review.

This post hit a note with me as I have just been reading two books which I have not enjoyed.  I did finish the first of these as I hoped that it would improve.  Sadly, it did not!  I felt disappointed because I had read another by this author and enjoyed it rating it 4*.  The latter which I decided to finally abandon this morning because it is downright boring and I have read something very similar before.  Yet, this is a well known author who obviously has a decent following.  I felt sure I had read her books before and checked my list to find this is the third read but guess what?  I had marked the other two as awful and ok - a mere 1* and 2*.  Thereby hangs the tale!  No surprise there and I have just checked to make sure I have no more from this author lurking on my shelves or on my wishlist.  I had asked myself if these books were merely ordinary after the two I took on holiday and very much enjoyed but I don't think so.  At the end of the day they just were not my cup of tea.

All this pondering made me decide to add an extra column to my spreadsheet on my 'Read Already' list.  Yes, I have one of those!  Being an avid reader and book reviewer it is imperative I keep a list to cut down on duplication.  This additional column shows the genre.  I have been able to work out which is my least favourite genre and any authors.  It was quite an interesting analysis.

It appears that it is ChickLit that is the genre causing me the most problems in finding a good book or in keeping my interest.  I say this with some regret because I am very fond of two chick-lit authors in particular - Lynda Renham and Carole E Wyer, but there are a couple of authors whose books line shelves in the main bookshops that I just cannot read.  I won't mention names but they have been removed from my TBR and wishlists.

Contemporary Fiction came in second but that is such a wide genre and there were not any specific authors who stood out on that one.

Third place goes to Fantasy and again this is hit and miss, it really depends on the writing and storyline.

Classics I am ashamed to say there are some.

Autobiography and Mystery come in next.  Some people are more interesting than others and in the latter genre it has got to be gripping.

Of course I read other genres and there are some in the 1* and 2* categories there.  What keeps me going is a good storyline and really interesting characters that I can believe in even if I don't actually like them.  Good writing, good grammar and a book that has been thoroughly proof read so I don't have to stumble over typographical errors.  It can be long or short but keep me interested, reel me in from the start I want to be caught in the net and do not disappoint me at the end, I like a good finish.  I'm not so fussed when left with an ending that wants to please everyone.  I love a page turner but I want to feel sad that the story has ended.

Unfinished books are obviously a cause for concern with many readers and reviewers but at the end of the day I don't believe we should feel guilty.  I read for pleasure and I review as much for pleasure as for helping an author get their book out there.  I am accepting very few reviews (if any) at the moment because I want to read the books on my shelves.  I found I accepted so many that I did not have time to read for me and the reviewing became a chore.  My blog is something I have enjoyed and want to continue to do so without guilt so if a book doesn't cut it for me then that's it.  It gets the chop, metaphorically speaking, I don't have the time to waste on bad books.

I would be really interested to hear your views on this subject.  Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments box.  It would be fun to get a discussion going.



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