Friday, June 29, 2012

Hay-On-Wye Part 2

Our first morning in Hay was a perfect day for browsing the bookshops.It was cold and had stopped raining at last.The view from our room was of the street . The streets were  very Quaint.. After a good breakfast in The Bear B+B we had a wander around the town . Murder and mayhem was the first bookstore we went into. It is a quirky little shop .. a dead body outline on the floor and you get the feeling Poe would have enjoyed it here if he got   Dr' Who's time machine and paid a visit.The outside of the store had a lurking black dog painted on  The shop is very cool. Every murder mystery that you would ever want to own is right here within it's walls. Everything is well laid out and the staff are helpful and are full of info about all the good books that you might not have heard of before.. some real hidden gems on these shelfs.
We spent quite a while in here as I do love mysteries , Kev wandered around looking at the gothic decor... mini coffin anyone?? Blackbird???  As I said Poe would have loved this..

Next shop that we paid a visit to was The Cinema ... Or rather the bookshop that had previously been a cinema... This was huge... A few floors of books .. It was extensive.. We spent a couple of hours in here too but you would really need days.. In my dream world it would be heaven to be closed in here at night with a flask of something hot and access to all the books. I would be pulling some books from each genre and finding somewhere to bunk down for the night so I could dig in to all these wonderful books. I should say that even though there are always lots of people here it is so quiet you could hear  a gnat sneeze. All these book lovers in one place quietly shuffling between the stacks, excusing ourselves as we walk into each other coming around corners with our arms stacked so high with our hauls that we just miss colliding with each other.

The next bookshop I do not remember the name but was very homey.I found my Harry Potter's here. This shop was many floors too. If it had previously been a house I would not be surprised due to the way the shop was laid out. All rooms on each floor had different themes.Romance , Cookery etc.. I would recommend not going into this shop looking for anything particular as you can find some great books new and old here.

There was a great secondhand bookstore called The Sensible Bookshop. It had like a small labyrinth of books downstairs.. I found some good childrens books here and bags made out of european newspapers. They were very cool and I love them too much to use.

There is a caricature artist in the town called Brian Platt he did a cariture of me.. I disturbed the poor mans lunch but he still got up and drew me... This wonderful artist has drawn maps of the town. I got one. It is like a cartoon picture showing just about every wonderful building in the town, every bookstore, hotel, shop, the castle etc.

Booth's bookshop was our first shop to visit on day 2. This building is wonderful inside, the outside was a little off putting when we visited two years ago as it was being re-done so I can't wait to see what it looks like next time I visit. There are hundreds of thousands of books in this store.
Inside is vast, in a homey way, if that makes sense. The staff are incredibly helpful and friendly here. I had a list of books I was looking for and they were great at helping me find them and recommending the best stores to find certain books. You can browse here for as long as you like and it is very peaceful , and the books are laid  out in a way that are easy to find what you are looking for.

Their was a christmas market  in the town while we were there, just down from the castle. Handmade crafts and pictures were for sale alongside homemade baking and presserves.I picked up some book inspired greeting cards there, candles and jams.

After a long morning walking around town we went to The Old Stables Tea Rooms ..(kev's favourite..mine too)
There is a great  menu here with tasty filling lunches and  the most delicious cakes. The presentation here is wonderful and cakes are brought out looking like pieces of art and the portions are generous and all at a fair price.
This was to be our favourite place to eat for the duration of our stay . Whenever we had as many books as we could carry we dropped them off at our B and B next door then came here.
It has won many awards and all of them well deserved as the food and staff make this a worthwhile place to visit.They can also be found on facebook.

Oue Visit to the castle was lots of fun. When you enter from the front you arrive at the honesty bookshop . All the books are outside you can wander around and if you find anything you like you post the money through a letterbox..
There are large steps up to the castle which are steep but when you get to the top the view over the town is breathtaking. If you are there on a clear day you cans see for miles.
We entered the castle and there was a mixed range of prints, pictures and books and more touristy things like Hay bumper stickers(we got one) and postcards etc. You could wander around the castle for as long as you like without anyone bothering you but again the staff were helpful if you did require help.

Addymans bookstore we called into on the way back down the street and it has some beautiful books in there. Again a huge range of books covering every subject imaginable. Friendly staff too which always helps. That was one fo the things I really enjoyed about this town. The staff loved books as much as I did and when you started one of them talking about books well you could have stayed all day chatting.
Personally I prefer Hay when it is not the book festival time of year. If you want to browse peacefully and get help from staff then coming when the festival is not on may be for you. Of course if you want to hear some great authurs speak and get some books signed then you will enoy that alot.

Our last few days were spent browsing the other bookshops.. I believe there was about 38 bookstores in the town when I was there. I am unsure if there are more or less now but  one thing is for sure if you love books like I do then Hay- On-Wye on the Wales English border is for you.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Kindle Books This Week

I tend to use my Kindle the most often recently. It is compact, contains every genre I could want to read from, as well as some audible books( I have the Keyboard type) .
I am a big fan of real books but this past year I have really loved the Kindle.
I love that I can buy a book in America , perhaps a new release and then within seconds I am reading it...... Now as fast as my lovely postman is he can't beat this..

I did have another Ereader previous to this one and it was a complete let down.. I believe it has been changed quite a bit since the edition that I had.
Would I recommend a kindle... Ohhhh Yeah!!!!

It is really good for battery life and once charged lasts weeks .
It is pretty good in the glare of sunshine .
It is lightweight( will not cause biceps the size of The Hulk)
Easy to use..

Sooooooo on to what I have begun to read this week.

 Fifty Shades Of Grey... not for the faint hearted... they are at it every five mins using various straps and cable ties. Great fun to talk to people about... ahemmmm sort of.... ;0)
 George R.R Martin... Okayyy I know you are a good writer and I have begun to fall for your writing style but it is going to take me weeks to finish this... and I am a fast reader!!!!
 The Lollipop Shoes... This is the second book in the Chocolat series by Joanne Harris.. Very good writer and she describes her characters very well. You do feel like you know them all by the time you finish the book.

John Green can do no wrong by alot of people(Esp Nerd Fighters) This is another great book of his.. This one I have just finished.. Did really like it... I give it 4 stars... I take one of because of the ending..

Dear Mr.Postman

I do love seeing my postman coming through the gate with parcels in his sure makes a change from bills.. but anyay I digress....
He came today with a little package(see below)

The Book Depository were having a 24 flash sale thingy where they would pick a different book every hour of the 24 hours and sell it at much reduced prices..
The first few hours were not great but I picked up this book for 2.51
If you love books esp book bargains then there is often sales on there and if you sign up to their email they send all future sales/discount codes  right to your inbox. Delivery is of course free all the time.

So tell me, where do you all like to buy your books from??
Local bookshops or on-line all the time??

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Holiday Reading 2010

The summer season screams beach reads.. you know the type... there is normally romance involved,normally the size of a medium brick. Going into the bookshop they are stacked beside the travel guides and spanish phrase books... Maybe you are a thriller/mystery reader and like nothing more then  sticking on your shades and opening up the latest slasher/murder type book.Either way summer books are fun..They become more sociable.. we go with friends to the beach and each have books that we read side by side without saying a word apart from snack breaks and quick mentions of good quotes  we have come across.

Have you ever gone on holiday and you are sitting around the pool then out from the beachbags come the various books from surrounding loungers...
 I have often wondered about the people reading the books.Sometimes you can guess what book will come out just by looking at the person... I have yet to see a  lad that will pull out a self help book to read.. Men never seem to carry their beach essentials in bags either , they come with the bare minimum.. towel, sunscreen and book.. thats it !
I people watch as I gaze at the selection of the books poolside.. a few thrillers.. a self help book being read by two ladies a couple of beach loungers apart , the  book, newly released and clearly very popular.. There are a number of romance novels and all books are by popular authurs often found in the top sellers lists. I have to wonder were they all picked up in duty free before they got on the plane as impulse purchases or were they thought of weeks in advance and put to one side carefully to be saved as a treat on holidays.

If you  also want to know those reading the best books on the beach.. they are the ones the colour of lobsters from having forgotten to turn over as they quikly flicked pages in their eagerness to find out what was happening in their blockbuster.
There are also those that like to enjoy lying outside in the grass preferably with a picnic blanket underneath as they lie on their back with book in hand as the sky floats by above them..
Personally I have not developed an outdoor reading position I am comfortable with.. let's be honest with the amount of sunshine I get here I dont get much of a chance to try any of them out..

Then summer ends and the cooler evenings set in.. Thoughts of reading outside is far from our minds as we put on jumpers and thick wooly socks.. Hobbies that involve staying in and not freezing  come to mind ..reading is perfect for Autumn too.
What could be better on cold days then a stack of books ,plate of cookies and a mug of something hot as we  turn each page ...but for now we still have some summer ...

Childhood Reading

When I was a kid I was very keen to start reading ... purely because I could not get adults to read to me as often as I would like... A few times a day was alot ha ha.
I had my favourite places to read.. Granny's kitchen... my bed before lights out...while out in the car/jeep with parents... I was not fussy. There was always a book stashed on my person somewhere..

I found that books that some adults gave children were terrible, and not suitable for the child they are buying for ..example.. don't buy a little boy a book about science when all he is interested in is funny  types of book and therefore that may put that child off reading for good.. As a child you don't have much knowledge about books, you only know about those you have been given by adults... Now if they had given that child a funny book  about misadventures of  other little boys then I pretty much bet that child would be become a life long friend of books.

Reading as a kid is mind blowing... everything is new.. you have not really decided on what books are your favourites yet and you are finding your way as you read . Then when you come across a good one you hold on for dear life and begin a search to  find all those that are similar to it... Your favourite book type then becomes more obvious and as you grow up this extends beyond a particular genre.. The world of books begins to open up..

As a kid.. knowing that if you have the right book you can go anywhere in the feels great. You can visualise different countries and people and traditions can be sitting on your bed while sailing the high seas.. you could be having fish fingers and chips as you prop your book against your cup at the dinner table and go on adventures with Harry Potter... the possibilites are endless...

I enjoyed Enid Blyton particularly the Faraway Tree collection.. Some day I will get round to buying a new hardcover edition of this series.My childhood editions are well worn by now.
Roald Dahl is another favouite.. I esp loved when in Primary School ( I believe it was 5th class) we had a stand in teacher who would read to us at the end of the day if we got our work done in time. He had a great reading voice that held your attention and he could do all the voices of all the characters. That christmas I asked my mum to get me all Roald Dahl's books for christmas..

I could easily read these books now.. They never lost their magic to me.. I think good books never do..

The Top Ten Books

As the years go by books come and go but one thing usually stays the same....My Top Ten..
Infact it has been quite a while since new books have been added on to this list..
All bookish types have a selection of books that they turn to at times when no other reading matter is getting you excited ...My selection would be as follows.....If I was in the book for adult themed books:
 Or perhaps some childhood favourites or ya fiction........

A book slump is a terribleeeeeeee thing...
You never know how long the bugger will last..
It makes you doubt you will ever find another book again that you will fall in love with...
You become morose and crabby and will be opening and closing books in the hope that one of them.. just one ... will grab you long enough to finish it... sadly this does not happen often..
Usually the only thing to stop book slumps is a complete break from reading.... yes reading!!!!!
I know it's not easy.. I've been there... seriously you have to walk away from all the lovely hardback pages and exciting characters until they become .... well ...exciting again...

Now this slump could last days or.... gulp.... weeks/months..... :0(
One thing is certain... it will not go on forever...
One day... let us say a nice Autumn day... there you are glancing at your shelfs... the light shines on one spine ... you might have had your eye on thie particular one for a while... something about it today is shouting READ ME!!!!!!!!
Of course you pick it up... next thing you know ... the kettle is on, your feet are up, and all is right with the world again....

Long Awaited Book Haul June 2012

I was recently going through my "Books To Buy" list and as it was getting quite extensive I decided to do something about it.....
Ahhhhh bookshops... Or little shops of dreams as they deserve to be walk in may or may not have a list(as long as your arm) and  as soon as you come in the door the smell of books whacks you around the chops. It is usually quiet or at the very least has some nice relaxing music being played in the background to make the whole book buying experience even more relaxing then it already is. ...
 I dont have many rules when it comes to book buying but I do have some:

1= Discourage all forms of chatting with any friends you may have wandered in store with.
2=Never bother asking sales assistants for books you may have been looking for.. they won't ever have what you are looking for or have even heard of them.

I do hate talking to non bookish type friends when in a bookstore.. How can I explain that I love to wander around the store quietly as my mind is zooming around with book discriptions and characters that sound interesting...

It is magical in there....ya know...bookstores.. the colours and textures , the promises of lands far away and characters I dont even know I love yet. Where else can you find in this world Demons, Goblins, Fairys, different worlds, good and bad guys, maybe some gangster grannies and mrs robinson types, castles and wizards all under one roof.....

So this particular day as I did mention I had a list.. some of the books were new releases some were published a while ago... I was unable to get everything on my list but I was quite happy with what I did get.

Book one- The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.
Book two- Magnolia Park by Kate McCabe
Book three-The Woman Who Went To Bed For A Year by Sue Townsend
Book four-The Quiet Little Woman by Louisa May Alcott
Book five-Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper
Book six-Peaches For Monsieur Le Cure
Book seven-The Letters Off Noel Coward

This is a pretty randon book haul.. but there is some wonderful books here..
I have read previous books by Kate Morton and I have read all of Kate McCabe's previous books. They are wonderful and I highly recommend them.. esp this time of year as they are perfect beach reads.. esp Magnolia Park which is based on the Costa del Sol where the main characters are going for their holidays.Kate Morton writes books that you can sink into and devour, the characters are well described and her ability to set a scene is astounding.You will find after popping your head back out from one of her books that hours may have gone past like that blink of an eye.

Louisa May Alcott has been a long time favourite with me.Her book Little Women has remained in my top ten faourites since I was able to read for myself. I re-read it every year around christmas time when I am reminded just how great this book is . The Quiet Little Woman I have not read before so I am looking forward to finding out what that is about... I will write a review when I am finished it.
Noel Coward..  well lets just say if you are looking for an informative , engaging, humourous book with bitchy one liners and a cast of fabulous people then look no further.. The book contains a huge amount of pictures about this great man and all the famous people that had the joy of knowing him.I think it would have been fabulous to be in his circle of friends .. he did enjoy life.. ALOT!!!!
I am trying to finish up other books before I begin reading this properly, I have dipped in and out of it but am keen to sit down properly and do it justice.

Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure... third book in the Chocolat series .. I have read book one and have down loaded The Lollipop Shoes(the second book in the series). The first book I loved .. the character of Vianne really peaked my interest and I am looking forward to reading what has happened since Chocolat.

Fallen Grace I picked up for 2.50 . I liked the cover..... I know .. never judge a book by it's cover but it is pretty !!!!!!The story is based in gloomy London in  1861.. it is an errie tale about Grace Parkes a very determined young woman who needs to do whatever it takes to survive in London at this bleak time.This is a new authur to me so I will let you know how I get on with it  and the writing style.

Well friends that's all for this week .. until next week Happy Reading xxxxxxxx