Monday, 19 January 2015

Winter Book Haul

A book haul is long overdue...but  better late than never, right? I thought I would do this post because I got some pretty interesting books recently which I am really excited about.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
What secrets lie behind the doors at Misselthwaite Manor? Recently arrived at her uncle's estate, orphaned Mary Lennox is spoiled, sickly, and certain she won't enjoy living there. Then she discovers the arched doorway into an overgrown garden, shut up since the death of her aunt ten years earlier. Mary soon begins transforming it into a thing of beauty - unaware that she is changing too. But Misselthwaite hides another secret, as Mary discovers one night. high in a dark room, away from the rest of he house, lies her young cousin, Colin, who believes he is an incurable invalid, destined to die young. His tantrums are so frightful, no one can reason with him. If only, Mary hopes, she can get Colin to love the secret garden as much as she does, its magic will work wonders on him.
I found this beautiful Parragon children's classic edition tucked away in a charity shop, and at 50p I simply couldn't resist. It is a treasured children's classic as well as on the The Big Read 100 books list so I am excited and interested to pick this up and see what I think.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
With the wisdom of age and a haunting voice, Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. it begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year-old girl, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. Here she learns the rigorous acts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing a kimono; elaborate makeup and hair; pouring sake to reveal just a touch of her inner wrist; competing with a jealous rival for men's solicitude and the money that goes with it. In this story we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girls virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion.
This was yet another charity shop bargain and a very popular book (made known by the fact that it's also on the 100 books to read list) so I thought it was as good a time as any to buy it. It sounds extremely interesting - exactly the type of novel that I would enjoy so I am very excited and intrigued to give it a go.
Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates

This book isn't really the type to give a synopsis for so I thought that instead I would share the story behind it and give you some background information. In 2012, Laura Bates, a young journalist, started the Everyday Sexism Project after being sexually harassed in London whilst on public transport. She began to collect stories surrounding this issue and everyday sexism in general; stories sharing countless women's experiences with this problem that is in every woman's life. she received so many responses that she created this book packed full of stories where people (both men and woman although mainly focused on the female side of the issue) have been subject to sexism in everyday life such as cat-calling, sexual harassment and discrimination. It is brimming with feminist rants and is her way to speak out against sexism that we are subject to everyday. I am very passionate about this topic and see myself as a major feminist, you can always find me having a rant about sexism. Because of this I am looking forward to reading this very much and it will probably make me very angry. I will be doing  post on it once I have read it so look out for that if it is something you are interested in.
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

John, Susan, Titty and Roger sail their boat, Swallow, to a deserted island for a summer camping trip. Exploring and playing sailors is an adventure in itself but the island holds more excitement in store. Two fierce Amazon pirates, Nancy and Peggy, challenge them to war and a summer of battles and alliances ensues.
I know very little about this book and wouldn't even have been able to give you a brief synopsis if I hadn't researched it earlier, but it sounds like a really fun adventure story and a loved children's classic so I can't wait to give it a try.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
This children's classic tells the story of a horse's own long ad varied life, from a well-born colt in a pleasant meadow to n elegant carriage horse for a gentleman to a painfully overworked cab horse. Throughout, Sewell rails against animal maltreatment. Young readers will follow Black Beauty's fortunes, good and bad with gentle masters as well as cruel.
This book was one of my mum's favourites as a child (hence the reason she got it for me for Christmas) and is also on the 100 books list so it is something that I really want to read. Supposedly, the horse-human relationship is meant to reflect human-human relationships to some degree as well as having a few morals for young kids thrown in there too making it something that I am quite interested in.
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Ten-year-old Abdullah would do anything for his younger sister. In a life of poverty and struggle, with no mother to care for them, Pari is the only person who brings Abdullah happiness. For her, he will trade his only pair of shoes to give her a feather for her treasured collection. When their father sets off with Pari across the desert to Kabul in search of work, Abdullah is determined not to be separated from her. Neither brother nor sister know what this fateful journey will bring them.
Being set in Afghanistan, it is a story that really interests me because I don't know much about the country but I love reading books set in other countries with different cultures as I find it so interesting. It s something I really want to read as the story sounds emotional and beautiful and I really want to read more diversely. 
The Penguin Complete Novels of Nancy Mitford by Nancy Mitford
Here in one volume, are all eight of Nancy Mitford's sparklingly astute, hilarious and completely un-put-a-down-able novels, with a new introduction by India Knight. Published over a period of 30 years, they provide a wonderful glimpse of the bright young things of the thirties, forties, fifties and sixties in the city and in the shires; firmly ensconced at home or making a go of it abroad; and what the upper classes really got up to in peace and in war.
 Nancy Mitford (1904-1972) is well known as one of the "Mitford sisters" who did everything and met everyone. She is the most famous writer of the sisters (I am not sure how many sisters there were, maybe three, and how many wrote) and was a novelist and biographer as well as translating various other peoples works into English but she was most famous for her partially autobiographical story, The Pursuit of Love. I am really interested in the "Mitford Sisters" after hearing about them though a YouTube video and doing some research to find out more so I thought reading Nancy's collective works was a good place to start and I am excited to hopefully become engrossed and amused by her world and life.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

A memoir-in-comic-strips, Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution and how this went on to affect her life in many ways. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a yung life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.
I have already read this and absolutely loved it. The history, politics and hint of feminism thrown in made it an extremely interesting read and I definitely advise that you pick this up. The art in it was simple but really well executed and added so much to the story. It was only my second graphic novel (my first being Maus) and really encouraged me to keep reading them because I always enjoy them immensely.
Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen
Over the New Year period, I spent an amazing week in Hamburg, Germany with friends from all over the world and although I know very little German, I thought it would make a nice souvenir to pick up the German edition of Harry Potter and the Philosophers sStone. I really like the cover and it excited me to know that I now own a book in another language (even though I am a lot more likely to read one in French). Some may say it's ridiculous that I spent money on it because it is extremely unlikely that I will ever read it, but for me, my books are a collection and Harry Potter is my favourite series as well as an influential part of my life and I like that I'm growing my collection in an interesting way. I also think that it makes a really interesting souvenir and a way to remember the places I have been too, I think that for the next 6 different countries I visit, I will pick up each following book in the series so that I eventually have the full series with each book in a different language as it is a way to expand my collection and collect a meaningful souvenir. I am really glad I got it and am excited to see it displayed on my shelf.
I hope you enjoyed this haul that was hopefully a bit more unusual and slightly different from the normal YA hauls that you usually see (not that there is anything wrong with that, because, let's face it, I love those as much as the next person, I just felt like mixing it up for a change...). Maybe you found it interesting, maybe you didn't but anyway... Have you read any of these books? What did you think?
Love from, the Rambling Bibliophile, Ellen xxx