#bookadayuk — June 2014

Decided to do the #bookadayuk challenge — a bit of fun from @BoroughPress (imprint of HarperCollins):

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16, Day 17, Day 18, Day 19, Day 20, Day 21, Day 22, Day 23, Day 24, Day 25, Day 26, Day 27, Day 28, Day 29, Day 30




Day 1 — favourite book from childhood

A LITTLE PRINCESS by Frances Hodgson Burnett.


When I was eight, my Nan sat me on her knee and told me that FHB was her grandmother’s cousin. She gave me Little Lord Fauntleroy and we read it together. Of course, I liked it — Nan, toffee, book hugs, and a little boy from America: what’s not to love? But as we went on to read more FHB’s books, and much as I loved The Secret Garden, it was A Little Princess, with her garret room, lost father, and hot buns, who stole my heart. So anyway, I’m off to have a cry.




Day 2 — best bargain

Do you KNOW how many books I blag for free? Hmm. [blushes]



Day 3 — one with a blue cover

THE SHIPPING NEWS by E. Annie Proulx. I love this book. And it’s blue.




Day 4 — least favourite book by (a) favourite author

THE FIRSTBORN by Laurie Lee.

THE FIRSTBORN wasn’t about his actual firstborn, it was about his second child, Jessy — and I always felt for the real firstborn. The book is beautiful, but a lie. I dislike it on a maternal level.




Day 5 — Doesn’t belong to me

Here’s one I stole earlier: UNDER MILK WOOD by Dylan Thomas.


I love everything about it:  the cover (I think it’s a 1971 print, just look at the hair), the words (the words! the voices!), and the blurb.

Shortly after pinching it, I took the rightful owner of the book to see Under Milk Wood at Mold theatre. We had a wonderful time, and afterwards we moved to a village by the sea, got married and raised a family. Technically, therefore, it’s ‘nearly mine’ now… or, if it doesn’t belong to me, it belongs with me. How’s that for fair?

Check out the blurb:

(Note to self: book prices have barely changed in 40+ years…)



Day 6 — The one I always give as a gift

EACH PEACH PEAR PLUM by Janet and Allan Ahlberg.


I’ve chosen the one I always give as a gift for toddlers — because they love it. A mash-up of different nursery rhymes, it can be read as a single book or used as a prompt for a host of songs and stories — and the illustrations are * fantastic *. We have two copies; the original board book (above, well loved) and a soft paperback which folds into handbags. Recommend hard copy rather than Kindle because children love to turn the pages and find all the tiny characters on each page.



Day 7 — Forgot I owned it

There’s no excuse for forgetting you own a book. Oh, hang on… yes there is.




Day 8 — Have more than one copy

Bibliophile meets bibliophile, and both are possessive about their libraries. Nuff said.

How’s this?






Day 9 — Film or TV tie-in

Hobbit, anyone?

Or THE BAD MOTHER’S HANDBOOK by Kate Long which made me laugh, and then made me want to cry — but I was never going to cry over a book in front of the hubby (Mock the Wife) and so I gulped and snorted my way through. This kind of behaviour is partly why he thinks I suffer from hayfever.


My toddler looks at this cover and says, “Ohh, poor guy!”



Day 10 — Reminds me of someone I love

Hubby. About a third of his books look like this… and he has a LOT of books.




Day 11 — Second-hand bookshop gem

I have a story to tell about this one. It’s a second-hand story, to go with the second-hand book.

Once upon a time, a young man walked into a bookshop in Hay-on-Wye. In that shop, he saw a first edition copy of Charles Darwin’s ORIGIN OF SPECIES, selling for about £50.

The young man didn’t have £50 because he was very young, so he couldn’t buy it, but as he left, a little piece of his soul attached itself to the book and in return the book gave a little bit of itself to the young man’s mind.

The little bit of book in his mind inspired the young man to study science, and he became a great doctor. But there was a little bit of his soul attached to the book and because of this, the book haunted him ever after, flashing into his thoughts late at night and early in the morning.

Even now, decades later, he turns to his wife with tormented eyes, and says, “FIFFFTY POUUUUNDS!”

And she nods, and blogs about it when he isn’t looking.



Day 12 — Pretend to have read it

I’m going to be soooo boring here… I just don’t do this. Oh! Apart from this, which wasn’t pretending as such, but was embarrassing enough to surely count?



Day 13 — Makes me laugh

Would it be wrong to say Foo Foo?





Day 14 — An old favourite

Silly question.



Day 15 — Favourite fictional father

Mrs Doubtfire.

That might be cheating because I’ve only seen the film.



Day 16 — Can’t believe more people haven’t read

BLOODY FOREIGNERS by Robert Winder. Should be taught in British schools, and UKIP voters should be made to recite whole passages.


Ever since the first Roman, Saxon, Jute and Dane leaped off a boat we have been a mongrel nation.” — Google Books.



Day 17 — Future Classic

Probably something by Kirsty Logan. Not sure what yet, but she’s one to watch.

Too vague? OK, let me have a think.



Day 18 — Bought on a recommendation

WOLF HALL and A PLACE OF GREATER SAFETY by Hilary Mantel, and I haven’t read them yet. Mostly because they’re enormous — I mean, really, I hollowed one out and lived in it for the summer. THAT BIG.


I’ll read them when I’ve grown a bit.



Day 19 — Still can’t stop talking about it

I don’t know. Maybe THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy, because of the voice, or maybe ANGELA’S ASHES by Frank McCourt for the same reason.




Day 20 — Favourite cover

I like the old, plain, non-covers. The cardboard and fabric, or the leather of a real old tome. They feel nice on the skin, and free the imagination.




Day 21 — Summer read

A Thousand Years of Sweat and Freckles by me. I’ll write it once I’ve risen from the ashes some time after September. Seriously, I’m not pimping summer, I’m just not.




I’m not sure if I’ve read this exact edition, but Shackleton’s interesting enough to carry the story anyway.



Day 22 — Out of print

Ancient medical books. [Evil grin.]

By way of a treat, allow me to share an excerpt from THE PEOPLE’S COMMON SENSE MEDICAL ADVISER by RV Pierce MD (1875), p. 592, Section 1218.


So, you giddy girls, if you refuse to poop, expect morbid devils.

You’re welcome.



Day 23 — Made to read at school

Cider with Rosie, which I didn’t like. I know, I shoulda… but I didn’t. It had its charms, lovely childhood scenes of sisters and a little boy, but-

Then the teacher gave us the option of also studying Silas Marner — and the class voted ‘yes’. Since I’ve already blogged about Macbeth (love), Silas Marner gets the vote here and now.




Day 24 — Hooked me in to reading

Brothers Grimm.



Day 25 — Never finished it

CLOUD ATLAS by David Mitchell. I know, how pathetic am I? But it’s STILL on my bedside table, so this is not a fail; I’m just waiting for the right moment. Pretty sure I’ll get stuck in, given half a chance.




Day 26 — Should have sold more copies

I don’t know how many copies any particular book sold… I don’t even know how many one might expect to sell.



Day 27 — Want to be one of the characters

My inner Gandalf is banging his stick…



Day 28 — Bought at my fave independent bookshop

Argh. Dunno. Quite a few?

Look, here is my fave independent bookshop: The Edge of the World Bookshop.



Day 29 — The one I have reread most often

WHERE’S SPOT?, LITTLE RABBIT FOO FOO, EACH PEACH PEAR PLUM, anything Gruffalo or in fact Donaldson… take your pick.

This answer will make more sense if I come away from Mum world… so my own reading… ditto Beatrix Potter, Blyton, etc. Then TOM BROWN’S SCHOOLDAYS by Thomas Hughes (oh yes), and THE LORD OF THE RINGS by JRR Tolkien — many reads. In school, MACBETH, over and over. As an adult, I was a sucker for THE RICE MOTHER by Rani Maniker,  FALLING LEAVES by Adeline Yen Mah, and various Shriver novels. Or, actually, I have read ANGELA’S ASHES by Frank McCourt exactly a million times, so maybe that.





Day 30 — Would save if my house burned down

The things my children have written.



    • TMUpchurch says:

      Hi Tania, thanks, I’ve been really enjoying the Twitter stream. So many books, and little insights into what they mean to people.

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