Tag Archives: Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

Once again the Broke and Bookish have challenged us reading folk to compile a list: this week our favourite books we’ve read this year so far. Many of these are upcoming reviews – something to look forward to!

What’s the best book you’ve read so far this year? Comments please!



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Top Ten Books About Friendship

Yet again those blogging luminaries over at The Broke and the Bookish have challenged us to create top ten list. Here are the best, in my opinion, stories of friendship.

The-Perks-of-Being-a-Wallflower_Cinema_w_80211. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is not only a classic coming of age tale about the support of wonderful friends, at ball games, parties, and Rocky Horror re-enactments, but also, this epistolary novel is addressed ‘Dear friend’, drawing the reader into Charlie’s inner circle.

“We didn’t talk about anything heavy or light. We were just there together. And that was enough” 

goodnight2. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian places young, ill-treated evacuee Willie in the care of the gruff widower, Mister Tom. Their unlikely friendship grows as Tom helps Willie to become happier and healthier. ‘Mister Tom’ eventually becomes ‘Dad’ instead.

“It occurred to him that strength was quite different from toughness and that being vulnerable wasn’t quite the same as being weak.” 

of mice3. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. I can’t even talk about it. Too sad.

“A guy needs somebody―to be near him. A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you.”

4. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery explores how friendship can alter lives. Renée, a closet intellectual, Paloma, a twelve-year-old outsider, and Kakuro Ozu, their new neighbour, are profoundly changed through their friendship, finding new meaning in life. Read my review of it here.

“Do you know that it is in your company that I have had my finest thoughts?” 

charlotte5. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White is about the heartwarming friendship between a piglet and a spider. It couldn’t be lovelier.

“‘Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’
‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.’” 

One day6. One Day by David Nicholls is a day each year in the friendship of Emma and Dexter, and properly reflects what many relationships are like: sometimes you lose touch, grow apart, are furious or delighted with each other. Sometimes, friendship becomes romantic love.

“’Can I say something?’
‘Go on’
‘I’m a little drunk’
‘Me too. That’s okay.’
‘Just….I missed you, you know.’
‘I missed you too.’

 silver_linings_playbook_cover_book7. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick brings together Pat and Tiffany, just when they need each other.

“She looks sad. She looks angry. She looks different from everyone else I know—she cannot put on that happy face others wear when they know they are being watched. She doesn’t put on a face for me, which makes me trust her somehow.” 

8. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares shows how a pair of trousers can truly unite people.

“You know what the secret is? It’s so simple. We love one another. We’re nice to one another.”

color9. The Color Purple by Alice Walker pivots on the relative liberation Celie gets from meeting Shug Avery. It’s complex and excellent.

“Sometimes I feel mad at her. Feel like I could scratch her hair right off her head. But then I think, Shug got a right to live too. She got a right to look over the world in whatever company she choose. Just cause I love her don’t take away none of her rights.” 

10. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is a gorgeous, heartbreaking story of friendships lost and regained.never

“I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The current’s too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart. That’s how it is with us. It’s a shame, Kath, because we’ve loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can’t stay together forever.” 

What’s on your list?





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Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Things I’d Like To Own

The magnificent bloggers over at The Broke and Bookish have once again challenged those of us who spend our spare hours typing about tomes to create a top ten list. This week the topic is week book-related goodies we’d like to have in our possession. Click on any picture below to see its source. P.S. My birthday is in two weeks’ time. Just saying.

A book village for my ceiling? Yes please.

A book village for my ceiling? Yes please.

I need evidence that this actually works before signing the cheque.

I think I need evidence that this actually works before signing the cheque.

Alice falling down one's décolletage into Wonderland.

Alice falling down one’s décolletage into Wonderland.

A secret door in a bookcase. Preferably one which only open when one particular book is tilted at 45 degrees.

A secret door in a bookcase. Preferably one which only opens when one particular book is tilted at 45 degrees.

Because your bookends should tell a story too.

Because your bookends should tell a story too.

A wardrobe which leads to Narnia.

A wardrobe which leads to Narnia.

Sneaking off with a hollow hip flask book: 'I'll be right with you, I just need to go and have a quick read in the other room. On a completely unrelated point, does anyone happen to have a glass and ice?'

Sneaking off with a hollow hip flask book: ‘I’ll be right with you, I just need to go and have a quick read in the other room. On a completely unrelated point, does anyone happen to have a glass and ice?’

I would like a wall papered with maps of fictional places.

I would like a wall papered with maps of fictional places. Though perhaps it should be a mix of real and fictional, to make visitors wonder whether The Land of OOO may in fact be one of the Outer Hebrides.

An independent bookshop to run cantankerously. See Black Books.

A book ladder on wheels for my imaginary many-storey bookstore.

A book ladder on wheels for my imaginary many-storey bookstore.

In conclusion, I would like a tall bookstore with a ladder to climb, where people will come to marvel at my amusing bookends, fictional map wallpaper and recycled book chandelier village. There must also be a secret bookcase door which leads to Narnia, wherein I shall drink from my hidden book flask whilst bathing in a tub of books.

Do you fancy any of that? What would be on your fantasy bookish shopping list?


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Top Ten Tuesday – Unusual Character Names


The brilliant bloggers over at The Broke and The Bookish have this week challenged us to collate a register of unusual characters. Have a look at mine and let me know what you think and who you would add.

When I used to write stories during playtime with my primary school friend, we were greatly inspired by Jacqueline Wilson and may have plagiarised her character names (give us a break – we were eight!). My personal favourites were Star and Dolphin from The Illustrated Mum.

Douglas Adams was a genius with names. Zaphod Beeblebrox is certainly unusual, as is the name of his semi-half-cousin (they have three of the same mothers), Ford Prefect who, on reaching Earth, had ‘simply mistaken the dominant life form’ and named himself after a car. Here’s how you choose your own Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy name: think of the first car you remember your parents driving. That’s it. Mine’s Renault Scenic.

Talking of Fords, I rather enjoy the names in Ford Maddox Ford’s Parade’s End. Tietjens is apparently rather common in Germany, although it was new to me, and I can imagine no name lovelier than Valentine.

Gussie Fink-Nottle, Tuppy Glossop and Bingo Little are all stars of the Jeeves and Wooster series and beautifully conjure images of proper chinless fops. I can’t help but be reminded of them when I hear the names of the Made in Chelsea cast – Binky, Miffy and Caggie would surely not sound out of place in a P. G. Wodehouse novel.

Charles Dickens’ and Roald Dahl’s novels are full of peculiar names, each tailored to the character’s eccentricities; they were certainly contenders for this list. However, the final spot goes to Ian Fleming for for his imaginative, suggestive names. Vesper Lynd is my favourite. A prize goes to anyone who can bring me a real life person with ‘Pussy’ or ‘Galore’ in her name.

From Annie Ink

From Annie Ink


What do you think of my list? Who would be on yours? What’s your Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy name? Leave me a comment below!

Click here for more on character names: how to choose them, and what appeals to readers.


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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I was ‘Forced’ to Read

The Broke and the Bookish have come up with another thrilling topic for us book bloggers to conjure with. So the verb is a little strong (‘made’ would suffice), but you get the gist: this is a list of books that I had little option but to read, most of which I’m glad I did. Click on any picture to open the gallery.

What were you made to read?


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Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books with a Single Setting – Brighton!

This week, The Broke and the Bookish have challenged us to come up with a top ten based on a single setting of our choice. I chose a place close my heart: the glorious city of Brighton and Hove, in which I attended university, met my partner and generally had a rather lovely time.

Brighton Rock beach

A scene from the 1947 film of Brighton Rock

Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock, ‘“People change,” she said.
“Oh, no they don’t. Look at me. I’ve never changed. It’s like those sticks of rock: bite it all the way down, you’ll still read Brighton. That’s human nature.”’ 

From the TV series of Sugar Rush

From the TV series of Sugar Rush

Sugar Rush is a fun novel by Julie Burchill, who says:“When I came to live in Brighton & Hove, as we’re meant to call it, 16 years ago, it was like all my Christmases had come at once – even if they were covered in seagull muck.” 

Viaduct Road

Viaduct Road

Robert Goddard’s Play to the End involves the character living a few doors down from my boyfriend’s old house. All the cool people live in Viaduct Road. Another fun fact: my dad went to school with Robert Goddard, then known to all as ‘Bob’.

The University of Sussex campus: intentionally designed to look like a cat from the air.

The University of Sussex campus: intentionally designed to look like a cat from the air.

In Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth, one of the protagonists works in the English department at my alma mater, the University of Sussex.

Vanity Fair

Much of the action in William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair takes place in Brighton: ‘then [they] fell to talking about Brighton, and the sea-air, and the gaieties of the place.’

This is Nick cave assisting a local fire juggler new the Pavilion Gardens.

This is Nick cave assisting a local fire juggler near the Pavilion Gardens.

The Death of Bunny Monroe by Nick Cave (of and the Bad Seeds musical fame) is a sort of violent, 1990s Death of a Salesman. Nick Cave lives in Brighton and seems to like it now, despite past associations: ‘”Brighton,” he notes drily, “was where I used to come to try to get clean. So all I knew about the place was sweating it out in a hotel room for three days.”‘

I love this anecdote from one of Nick Cave’s book readings that his friend Will Self also attended: ‘There was a rather detailed question from the audience noting the similarities with Self’s 1993 novel My Idea of Fun (which also features a sex killer in Brighton, Self realises – seemingly for the first time), but Cave admitted that he hadn’t read this particular novel of Self’s and said to him in mock exasperation, “You could have told me!”’

The Brightonomicon

Here’s the blurb of Robert Rankin’s  The Brightonomicon: ‘Were you aware that there are, hidden in the streets of Brighton, twelve ancient constellations, like the Hangleton Hound and the Bevendean Bat? Well, there are, and on each one hangs a tale, a tale so strange that only The Lad Himself, that inveterate spinner of tales and talker of the toot, Hugo Rune, can get to the bottom of them.’

Regency ladies

In Pride and Prejudice, Lydia longs to visit Brighton, though Jane Austen had a pretty low opinion of it. She wrote to a friend, ‘I assure you that I dread the idea of going to Brighton as much as you do, but I am not without hopes that something may happen to prevent it.’ In the Regency era, it was where everyone went for a bit of scandal and debauchery.

Upper Rock Gardens

Upper Rock Gardens

Charles Dickens often stayed in Brighton. In Dombey and Son, the protagonist goes to stay  ‘in a steep bye-street at Brighton’, thought to be based on a house in Upper Rock Gardens.

I love being able to imagine the characters walking down the same streets that I have. Is there a location that’s special to you that you enjoy seeing in literature?


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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Beginnings/Endings of Books

Top Ten TuesdayThe Broke and The Bookish have thrown down the gauntlet once again, challenging fellow book bloggers to list the best beginnings and endings of books. Regular readers will remember that I pretty much covered my favourite beginnings in this post‘A Good Opening Line Can Make All the Difference’, so I think I’ll focus on endings here.

1. Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, ‘So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all the rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.’

Listen to him read it here: 

Race2. Race by Studs Terkel, ‘I look at older people now and I love them. My father is beautiful…he says things that I think are crazy, and a few years later I find out that it wasn’t so crazy. That guy knew what he was talking about. If somehow we could get objectivity. If there were some big universal mirror…
   I have faith we can mature. Stranger things have happened. Maybe America, maybe the world is in its adolescence. Maybe we’re driving home from the prom, drunk, and nobody knows whether we’re going to survive or not. Maybe we’ll survive and maybe we’ll be a pretty smart old person, well-adjusted and mellow.
   I am guardedly optimistic- definitely guardedly. If everything is going to hell, it would be hard for me to get up in the morning. But I can’t honestly say, “sure, things will get better.” We might not make it home from the prom.’ 

3. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, ‘Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning —
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.’

Color Purple4. The Color Purple, Alice Walker, ‘But I don’t think us feel old at all. And us so happy. Matter of fact, I think this the youngest us ever felt.’

5. James Joyce’s The Dead, ‘His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.’

6. Imperial Woman by Pearl S. Buck (look out for a review later this week), ‘”I have not been so happy since I was a child,” she told them. “I remember now that when I was a child I loved to run into the rain-‘…
   “Heaven sends the rain,” she said. “How can I, a mortal, command the clouds?”‘
   But they insisted, and she could see they desired eagerly to praise her.
   “It is for your sake, Old Buddha, that the rain comes down, the fortunate rain, blessing us all because of you.”
   “Well, well,” she said, and laughed to indulge them. “Perhaps,” she said, “perhaps-“

7. Astrotomato’s Planetfall: All Fall Down, ‘”This story isn’t over.”‘Planetfall

8. William Shakespeare’s King Lear, ‘The weight of this sad time we must obey,
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest have borne most; we that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.’

9. Gerry Stoker’s Why Politics Matters ‘Achieving mass democracy was the great triumph of the twentieth century. Learning to live with it will be the great achievement of the twenty-first.’ 

10. Dave Gorman vs. The Rest of The World ‘Do you play any games? Real life, not computer games. Would you like a game?’ 

Full evaluations of the last two can be found in this post about how to effectively end a non-fiction piece. Please not that the numbering is not a ranking, just the order in which they occurred to me.

What do you think of my selections? What are your favourite endings of books? 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Feature Travel

The geniuses over at The Broke and the Bookish host Top Ten Tuesday every week, encouraging book bloggers to share a list of ten favourites. This week I’m joining in! Here are my choices.

Books That Feature Travel in Some Way

What are your favourites? What would you add to the list? Tell me in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: My Favourite Book Covers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful people at the Broke and the Bookish. This week I thought I’d join in:

Top Ten Favourite Covers of Books I’ve Read

What do you think of my choices? What are your favourite book covers? Let me know below and please like and share!

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