30 must read books – #8

So today marks Day 8 of #blogjune, and the eighth book of thirty in this series of ’30 must read books’ which I’ve chosen as my theme. For the past 7 days, I picked ‘literary’ titles – from Dumas and Austen, to the 40+ Biblical authors and Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, Edith Pargeter, and Jane Yolen.

Jane Yolen’s work also marks a shift, in content, into the fantasy / sci fi realm, and it in this realm which I’d like to spend the next 7 days.

Beginning, of course, with Raymond E. Feist, and the ‘Riftwar’ cycle which started with Magician.

IMG_1198

Magician was my introduction to fantasy, as a 13 year old wide-eyed kid. A good friend of mine from a community orchestra we were in introduced us – and it was a match made in heaven. I devoured it, as well as the other two in the Riftwar saga, Silverthorn and A Darkness At Sethanon, faster than I had ever read anything ever before.

I then moved into the following three, set on the opposing world of Kelewan, and co-written by Jenny Wurts: Daughter of the Empire, Servant of the Empire, and Mistress of the Empire, and loved them just as wholeheartedly.

What a fantastic introduction to fantasy it was. And it’s a love that exists through to today.

What about you? What was your first fantasy novel?

And have a lovely day!
— KRidwyn

 

 

 

 

 

30 must-read books – #7

Today’s my birthday. I’m 42. And I’m finishing these first seven ‘literary’ books with these two I discovered in the Garden City public library, three decades ago. I fell head over heels in love with the writing; with the story; with the characters. To me, the exquisite expression of the ideas in these novels, was perfection!

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 1.06.11 pm

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 1.13.55 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then they were returned, and life got busy. But the stories remained with me.

Fast forward a couple of decades. An older-me wants to read the stories again. But the passage of time has rendered me ignorant of the titles and author. And typing ‘dragon story’ into a google search would be fruitless. I give up.

Fast forward again, to mid-2015. Even-older-me has finished writing JUSTINE BROWNING #1 and is preparing to query agents, and reading similar novels to perhaps use as comparison titles. A PLAGUE OF UNICORNS by Jane Yolen strikes me as exquisite writing – so much so that when I see a copy of her novel A SENDING OF DRAGONS for sale, I purchase it to enjoy more of her writing.

I only make it through two and half pages before recognition hits.

This is Book Three in the series I read and fell in love with as a child! I hadn’t read it at the time, as it wasn’t published back then, but I’d found what I was seeking – the author, and the titles of the first two books!

And you know the best part of this story? My Miss11 has just bought me these two books as her birthday present to me. I’m so blessed!

Have a fantastic day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

 

 

30 must-read books – #6

#bj6I first encountered Ellis Peters as a teenager; with the highly entertaining character Brother Cadfael my introduction not only to the world of monks, but also to the historical crime genre.

Pictured is Book 6 in the series of 20, and my favourite as it introduces Cadfael’s son, who quickly became the most swoon-worthy of swoon-worthiness; the epitome of ‘tall, dark and handsome’ in my teenager mindset.

But as much as I love these stories, I cannot in good faith include them in this list of 30 must-reads. But that’s only because they are eclipsed by her Heaven Tree trilogy, written under her own name, Edith Pargeter.

Screen Shot 2016-06-04 at 2.27.16 pm Some would say that these three (The Heaven Tree, The Green Branch and The Scarlet Seed) are not as refined as the Cadfael series, being her earlier work, before her writing style matured. I utterly disagree.

I love, love, love this trilogy. And count myself blessed to have discovered such gorgeous, literary writing, at such a young age.

So – any Ellis Peters / Edith Pargeter fans out there? And which series do *you* prefer?

Have a fantastic day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

30 must-read books – #5

IMG_1194

From one French author, Dumas’ Count of Monte Cristo (my book #1) to Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables as book five… is there a pattern here?

Who knows. But what first intrigued me about this work was the style. I don’t know what anyone else thinks, but I describe it as ‘character based’ not ‘plot based’. As in, the entire first BOOK is taken up with in-depth descriptions of a family of characters who, in the grander scheme of things, end up being far more ‘minor’ than ‘major’.

Wow. That’s SUCH a mind-blowing idea in today’s fast-faster-fastest ‘get to the point’ ‘well there goes five seconds of my life that I’ll never get back’ culture.

And I love it!

Why not indulge in the language? In the formation and communication of thoughts, of ideas? Why not relish the slower pace, and luxuriate in the words, in the sentences, the vocabulary, the style?

You’ll need a spare few hours. But in my opinion, well worth them.

Would you agree, dear reader?

Have a lovely day!
–KRidwyn

 

30 must-read books – #4

#bj3And again, another collection. Yes, I’m a bit of a cheat, aren’t I? Sorry!!!

As a high school English teacher for more years than I dare count, I’ve studied and taught my fair share of these. My hands-down favourite is A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Who could resist the fun of Puck?! I grin, thinking about Shakespeare smiling while first drafting the ‘head of a donkey’ section. What went through his head, I wonder?

So, how many have you read? And which is your favourite, dear reader?

Have a great day!

— KRidwyn

30 must-read books – #3

 

IMG_1524And this is another one of those ‘compilation’ ones. There’s 66 books in this one though.

Like with yesterday’s gushing over Pride and Prejudice, there are sections in my Bible that I love so much, and have read so many times, that I could quote them verbatim. Admittedly, I don’t just read my Bible for the writing style – although there are sections in this, too, where the writing is exquisite.

But for me, I read this book for the ‘Life Application’ bit. The Bible pictured above is the one I bought for myself right at the end of 2015, when I planned to start reading January 1 and get through four chapters per day, so I’d have read it in its entirety by the end of the year. Now, I haven’t managed to read four chapters every single day, but I’m in Psalms at the moment, which is the 19th book. And before you say, ‘but that’s less than a third of the total number of books, and we’re almost halfway through the year’ – I should probably tell you that the books at the beginning of the Old Testament (at the beginning of the Bible) are far longer than those in the New Testament (at the end of the Bible). For example, the book of Exodus (OT) has 39 chapters, whereas 1st Corinthians (NT) has 16 chapters, and 1st Peter (also NT) has just 5.

So I *am* on track (I think!) to complete it by the end of the year. Which will be good, because it’s been far too long since I read it in its entirety.

And if you’re wondering which book is my favourite? I think it’s Jeremiah. But I’ll confirm that for you on December 31st 😀

Have a great day, dear reader!

–KRidwyn

PS. Yes, I probably should have listed this one as my #1 book – but there were issues with photos etc so it wasn’t ready in time. And then I thought, “So what?! I never said that the 30 were in any kind of order?!” 😛

PPS. Having said that though, there will be some kind of order, I’m thinking. These first few posts will be my favourite ‘literary works’, I suppose, followed by my YA titles, Christian, fantasy, etc as the mood takes me… I hope that’s okay with you 🙂

30 must-read books – #2

#bj2

Yes, I know. I’m only on Day 2 of this #BlogJune thing and I’m already cheating on my ’30 books’ theme. Although technically, this *is* still ONE book… (Yeah, okay, it’s a compilation of seven. You got me.)

But there are two of Jane Austen’s works that I can’t choose between, for equally important but vastly different reasons. My two faves here are Pride and Prejudice and Lady Susan.

Lizzie Bennett revels in not conforming to society’s expectations, and the ‘stile’ in which her story is revealed is thoroughly exquisite. Thoroughly, incredibly, decadently, brilliant. Worthy of indulging to drowning point. I love love love this writing!

Lady Susan Vernon on the other hand, has far too much time on her hands, combined with beauty, wit, liberty – in the form of a recently deceased husband – and a tendency toward mischief. Her unscrupulous, manipulative nature reminds me of the resourceful Becky Sharp, from William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, however Austen’s novel is epistolary – written entirely as a series of letters between the characters. When I first read this novel, in my late teens. I was in awe. I think, perhaps, I still am.

Have you read either? Or both? What did you think of them?

30 must-read books – #1

 

IMG_1197

Sailor Edmond Dantes wants revenge. Wrongfully imprisoned on the day of his wedding, he has spent over 14 years in horrific conditions. Now, the death of his only friend gives him the opportunity for escape.

He carries with him his friend’s gift: knowledge of the location of an immense fortune, which Edmond plans to retrieve. The Count of Monte Cristo by French author Alexandre Dumas, published 1844, examines Dantes’ actions as he avenges himself on those who had conspired against him.

I first read this book in my early twenties, and fell utterly in love with it. Have you read it? Do you feel the same?

Have a great day, dear reader!

— KRidwyn

Memories… Times two!

I was reading with Miss 8 tonight before my weekly violin teaching. She’d read her school reader earlier this afternoon, so we’d pulled out a book that I’d read when *I* was learning to read, a few decades ago. “The Hermit’s Purple Shirts”. I liked it, and so does Miss 8.
It was strange, to be listening to her read I book I’d read, so many years ago. The memories of then, combining with the memories that were created tonight… So precious.
Here’s hoping that you also had a great day, dear readers!
— Ceridwyn