Category Archives: Poetry and other

I don’t like getting up in the morning and I’m not alone

snowy mountain

Cauld blaws the wind frae east to west,
The drift is driving sairly;
Sae loud and shill’s I hear the blast-
I’m sure it’s winter fairly.

Chorus.-Up in the morning’s no for me,
Up in the morning early;
When a’ the hills are covered wi’ snaw,
I’m sure it’s winter fairly.

The birds sit chittering in the thorn,
A’ day they fare but sparely;
And lang’s the night frae e’en to morn-
I’m sure it’s winter fairly.
Up in the morning’s, no for me,
Up in the morning early;
When a’ the hills are covered wi’ snaw,
I’m sure it’s winter fairly.
1788 Robert Burnspoetry, song

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The British Library on Steroids

The Invisible Library

By Genevieve Cogman

Book Review

The Ultimate.

Every book ever written. bookpile1.jpg

In every Universe.

In every time.

Outside Time.

Outside Space.

And you and I can’t go and read these books – only the Librarians can!

Shame on them!

A British Library on Steroids and I’m not allowed in?

I fume against it – except that no-one has ever known that it existed so secretive is it.

So this is a fantasy story where librarians go adventuring and are trained spies and infiltrators. And are also trained in self-defence – to some extent – even if sometimes dragons need to assist – and to know a magical language. So what fun it would be to one of these Librarians…

Overall, I enjoyed this story as the basic premise was excellent and the heroine worth following in her future adventures – even if not yet written – but which I am sure will appear.

4.5*

 

Some thoughts on how to read:

These are really just my comments – you may like what I have written or you may not.. but they are ideas that have helped me when i was ‘blocked’ on what to read next.

  1.  Start by looking at some recommendation sites and work out which ones are closest to your interest. Some good ones are: For Books Sake which specialises in women authors; opening the book.com/which book; bookreporter.com send a regular email with reviews and details from author events such as talks they go to. US oriented but…
  2. Join GoodReads and then look further at any sites they recommend. In GoodReads you will find a large number of sub-groups which are chatty or specialise in particular genre. You can find friends to discuss books with and also lots of book reviews. Some groups pair you up with a buddy to read a set book with over a month or two and then you can swap ideas.
  3. If you are confident you can read fairly fast and can write a review of each book you read – then join NetGalley as a reviewer. You will be given free books – as document downloads – some of which as proof copies and thus will have spelling/grammar or formatting mistakes. Ignore all of these and concentrate on the story, style and general quality of the writing in the book. They have some information about how to review a book well also. If you can manage to write good reviews – not necessarily praising the book, but explaining and justifying your comments, and are prepared to post onto Amazon and GoodReads, then you may be auto authorised by some publishers, which means you will always obtain their books.  Note: you will not always be given the book you ask for. Check out what the publisher says they want from a reviewer and see how your bio agrees with it.
  4. Build a reputation as a reviewer, if you want to read free books. Start a WordPress blog that has lots of book reviews on it. Look at other WordPress sites for book reviews and how they do it and what they are reading. You  will find lots of people writing about books on WordPress and Tumblr so ensure you look through them as you will find lots of ideas for books for you to read also.
  5. Try and have a mix of genres when you are reading and try and read some non-fiction as well as fiction (or vice versa of course). Stretch yourself into genres you wouldn’t have first thought of – keep that mind active! You may surprise yourself.
  6. Don’t force yourself to finish every book you start. Read around 40-50 pages or 1/3 of the book. If you still don’t like it. Put it aside – delete it from your electronic book store but try and think why you didn’t like it – you can build up a review of pet hates in books that way!
  7. Join a book club. Physical or Virtual – or more than one. You may hate what people have chosen, but you will be forced to try new things.
  8. Look at the Bibliotherapist at the School of Life where you can get recommendations for reading for ‘what ails you’.
  9. Follow authors. Read their blogs and comments.
  10. Finally. Ensure that you are warm, comfortable, and have your favourite tea/ coffee and biscuits/cake near at hand. Get your cat to sit on your lap and start…

Some thoughts on how to read:

Below you will find some ideas from me and also some I have ‘borrowed’ from other sites. All mistakes are mine!bookpile.jpg

  1. Start by looking at some recommendation sites and work out which ones are closest to your interest. Some good ones are: For Books Sake which specialises in women authors; opening the book.com/which book; bookreporter.com send a regular email with reviews and details from author events such as talks they go to. US oriented but…
  2. Join GoodReads and then look further at any sites they recommend. In GoodReads you will find a large number of sub-groups which are chatty or specialise in particular genre. You can find friends to discuss books with and also lots of book reviews. Some groups pair you up with a buddy to read a set book with over a month or two and then you can swap ideas.
  3. If you are confident you can read fairly fast and can write a review of each book you read – then join NetGalley as a reviewer. You will be given free books – as document downloads – some of which as proof copies and thus will have spelling/grammar or formatting mistakes. Ignore all of these and concentrate on the story, style and general quality of the writing in the book. They have some information about how to review a book well also. If you can manage to write good reviews – not necessarily praising the book, but explaining and justifying your comments, and are prepared to post onto Amazon and GoodReads, then you may be auto authorised by some publishers, which means you will always obtain their books.  Note: you will not always be given the book you ask for. Check out what the publisher says they want from a reviewer and see how your bio agrees with it.
  4. Build a reputation as a reviewer, if you want to read free books. Start a WordPress blog that has lots of book reviews on it. Look at other WordPress sites for book reviews and how they do it and what they are reading. You  will find lots of people writing about books on WordPress and Tumblr so ensure you look through them as you will find lots of ideas for books for you to read also.
  5. Try and have a mix of genres when you are reading and try and read some non-fiction as well as fiction (or vice versa of course). Stretch yourself into genres you wouldn’t have first thought of – keep that mind active! You may surprise yourself.
  6. Don’t force yourself to finish every book you start. Read around 40-50 pages or 1/3 of the book. If you still don’t like it. Put it aside – delete it from your electronic book store but try and think wny you didn’t like it – you an build up a review of pet hates in books that way!
  7. Join a book club. Physical or Virtual – or more than one. You may hate what people have chosen, but you will be forced to try new things.
  8. Look at the Bibliotherapist at the School of Life where you can get recommendations for reading for ‘what ails you’.
  9. Follow authors. Read their blogs and comments.
  10. Finally. Ensure that you are warm, comfortable, and have your favourite tea/ coffee and biscuits/cake near at hand. Get your cat to sit on your lap and start…

‘Won’t you come into my garden? I would like my roses to see you.’

Said  Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

I thought I would share some lines / poetry about roses with you from a lovely book of Garden Quotations by Maria Robbins; and some from my Oxford Book of Quotations – a very large bible sized book with all sorts in there. there were no quotes in my book of humourous quotations though specifically about Roses.

Oh and  by the way, all the photos come from the roses in our garden…

‘The cowslip is a country wench,

The violet is a nun:-

But I will woo the dainty rose,

The queen of every one.’

Thomas Hood

woolies red rose

Red Rose, proud rose, sad rose of all my days!

Come near me while I sing the ancient ways.’

W.B.Yeats

 

‘Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose’

Gertrude Stein

 

There is no gathering the rose without being pricked by the thorns.

Bidalpi

rhapsody in blue and bee

‘My roses are my jewels, the sun

And moon my clocks, fruit and

Water my food and drink’.

Hester Lucy Stanhope

 

 A rose is sweeter in the bud than full blown’.

John Lyly

imperial rose

Red roses unfurl.

In their calices burns the pearl.

Sister Bertken

 And she was fayr as the rose in May

Chaucer

Go, lovely rose!

Tell her, that wastes her time and me,

That now she knows,

When I resemble her to thee,

How sweet and fair she seems to be.

Edmund Waller

rose 2011 may

 

Lamiums and song thrushes; cloth and healthy tea

Lamiums are a very useful type of ground cover. In many shades including white, pink, red and even yellow, they flourish under trees and in deep shade and poor soil especially the yellow form which still has Archangel in its name. Although apparently a distant member of the nettle family they do not sting but spread easily through seed or roots systems  and provide colour from early Spring until late Summer.

Early spring when the lamiums begin to flower is also the time the song thrush should begin to sing.

The stinging nettle is actually from the urtica family and therefore is a different plant and has numerous health benefits according to many including being:

diuretic, astringent, pectoral, anodyne, tonic, rubefacient, styptic, anthelmintic, nutritive, hermetic, anti-rheumatic, anti-allergenic, decongestant, expectorant, anti-spasmodic, and anti-histamine, anti-lithic/lithotrophic, herpetic, galactagogue, and an anti-histamine. – See more at: http://naturalsociety.com/29-nettle-tea-benefits-health-herb/#sthash.YcmiD6Uk.dpuf

Aaron Hill [1685-1750] says in his Verses Written on a Window in Scotland:

Tender-handed stroke a nettle,

And it stings you for your pains;

Grasp it like a man of mettle,

And it soft as silk remains

Traditionally the silk aspect relates to the fact that you can make a cloth out of nettle fibres – see http://nettlecraft.com/Nettle_Fibres.php. You need to ‘rett’ the nettles, that is soak for a very long time in order to remove the fibre but the resulting cloth is similar to linen.

Lamiums are not noted for any health benefits and so are usually cultivated only for their grand cover.

yellow nettle lamium_album_white_dead_nettle

 

 

My Almanack for the 19th January says that in 1640 John Parkinson wrote in his Theatrum Botanicum that:

The Dead Nettle  or Achangell. ..The flowers of the white Archangells are preserved or conserved daily to be used to stay the whites, and those of the red to stay the reds in women, and is thought good to drive away melancholy, and to quicken the spirits.

Books and more Books: 130 in fact.

My Year in Books: 2014 abstracted

I read 130 books and a few… in 2014 compared to 97 in 2013. The longest book was a compilation of several novels at 2200 pages.

I have 178 books on my list to read but this is probably an under-estimate as this list could never end in reality as there are always more books being published! Thankfully – unlike the Chinese Ming Emperor who surveyed his library and said that there were no more books needed by his subjects and thus this was the complete list of all books that could be / should be read. No more were to be written or published. china had all the books it could need.

I read 36067 pages in 2014 compared to 29043 in 2013.

I really really enjoyed only 6 of these books, but most fell into the 3 and 4 star category.

However, I did give 7 books just 1 star. Mostly this was because I had read 50 pages – the lower limit I have set myself to see if a book works or not – and gone no further or very little further.

Below you can see a diagram with all the books and their covers.

books 2014

 

I have also included a chart which shows the date that the books were /will be published. Now this is slightly skewed as with NetGalley, most of the books you are offered are ones that are or have just been, published. However, as I belong to a book club also, I do read other books and then there are some I read just for fun.

 

publ year

Finally, there is a small chart which shows of the books I have read this year, how many have come from NetGalley. Whilst i have been a member of the review organisation for half the year, only a round a third of the books I have read come from this source.

 

netgalley