It takes me about half a book of Austen before I start enjoying it. That first half is always such a struggle. I’m constantly looking at the page numbers and monitoring whether I’m a tenth through, a fifth through, a third through…
And then, just when I’m thinking I can’t possibly go on, something takes over. I am connected to each of the characters, I understand what drives them, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
I wasn’t particularly drawn to Emma herself – she is the classic 19th century English woman, and somewhat annoying with her matchmaking – but the characters who surround her are brilliant. It always amazes me how I can read about people from the early 1800s and can immediately think of someone I know who has the exact same characteristics. Technology has changed so much over time… but it hasn’t done anything to change human nature.
Why did it take me so long to discover this book!?
I have to admit, the first chapter was one of the most tedious chapters I’ve read during this 100 book challenge. I was ready to give it the flick. Then a word here and there piqued my interest… there was a deep mystery, albeit so slightly mentioned, and from that page on I was hooked.
This one was spooky! Similar to Wuthering Heights, this one kept me awake at night wondering if the noises outside my window were in fact coming from a vampire. It may sound crazy, but while I was reading this book, it seemed to consume me and my real-world thoughts, and everywhere I looked I saw things that reminded me of the book.
Another year of reading has passed and my little baby is now a tall and confident boy ready to start school next year. The biggest shift in the last twelve months has been in how my son likes to read: we used to repeat his favourites a hundred times until he knew the words by heart, but this year it’s been more about learning. He’ll read a book to get the facts, then want to move onto something else.
But of course, there’ll always be his favourites. And I’ve listed our top-ten from the last year below. For previous years lists, click here.
1. Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can you? by Dr. Seuss
When my 4-year-old was a baby, a local newspaper ran a promotion where you could get a Dr. Seuss book each week and collect them all in a box set. My uncle, who has always showered my children with gifts, collected the whole set and gave them to my son. We’ve read every book numerous times, and I’ve loved the tongue-twisting stories just as much as my son has loved listening to them.
I now have a second little one year old, and thankfully she’s mad about books too (read my previous ‘top ten’ posts here). She absolutely adores storytime, especially first thing in the morning in bed with me, or in the evening before dinner curled up on the lounge under a blanket.
This girl knows what she wants, and as I run through the list of book options she’ll shout, ‘No!’, ‘No!’, ‘No!’ until I get to the right one. Then with a smile and a ‘Yep!’ she’ll snuggle in close to me and hang off my every word.
1. Baby Touch Playbook by Ladybird
This book has everything to catch and keep a baby’s attention: Bright colours, different textures, holes, lift-the-flaps, and mirrors.
My 1-year-old chats away to the animals and laughs at the rabbit hiding behind the bush. She peers into the mirror and names all the people she can see – Mummy and ‘Bubby’ and if we’re lucky, ‘Brother’ is in there too.
I’m so excited to see my good friend and fellow writer publish his book!! Can’t wait to add a copy to my bookshelf. Congratulations Aidan!
One eyed scribe
I’m incredibly pleased that The Game Bird is finally released!
You can grab it here on Amazon.
A special thanks to the team at Damonza for such a beautiful cover and layout.
The final blurb goes like this:
“…I loved it – The Game Bird is intricately constructed, intelligently written and just a fabulous page-turner.”
An evil is growing. The Realm is under attack. A leviathan has risen from the depths and is destroying the fleets that feed Stormhaven.
Stuck ashore and drowning in debt, Captain James Faulkner resolves to hunt the sea monster and claim the enormous bounty on the beast.
Sophia Blake’s life looks effortless. But she carries a secret, an occult curse that is capable of destroying both her and her nation. Sophia knows her time is running out.
The Tallowman is a slowly decaying melding of demon and man. This monstrous assassin is desperate to capture…
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My third Austen book (but only my second ‘official count’ for the 100 book challenge) was Persuasion. I didn’t have high hopes, considering I found Pride and Prejudice such a struggle and I was getting very little sleep thanks to my two, albeit adorable, ratbags.
I’d bought Emma, Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion from MacLeans and knew I needed to tackle one of them. So of course I chose the latter, being the one with the fewer pages.
Finally an Austen girl I can relate to!