Beautiful Black Books

Black books and espresso cup

These four black books contain some of my favourite works. The one novel – Dracula – is close to the top of my list of classics I enjoy the most. It is always a delight to read (and the recent BBC adaptation was a delight to watch – amazing for binging!). The other three books contain short stories and novellas from some of the very best authors. The Flame Tree short stories in particular are fantastic value for money.

Here’s where I got them from:

Haunted House Short Stories

Classic Works From Women Writers – currently only £12.99

Dracula

F. Scott Fitzgerald Classic Works

I’m struggling to find anywhere that is stocking my little espresso cup, but the mug version is here. I picked my cups up in a Manchester library.

I’d love to hear from you if you decide to get any of these books!

Barnes and Noble Leatherbound Editions

Barnes and Noble Leatherbound books

I don’t think I actually need to say a word. These books are glorious. Barnes and Noble leatherbound books are the epitome of beauty for me. These special editions look gorgeous on my bookshelf, are a pleasure to read and would make amazing gifts. In fact, I regularly give friends and family these editions as presents. They always go down well!

Here are the ones I own. Enjoy:

F. Scott Fitzgerald Classic Works

Dracula

The Count of Monte Cristo

The Arabian Nights

War and Peace

Aesop’s Illustrated Fables

Tales of Mystery and Imagination – not the exact edition but similar.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Little Women

Anna Karenina

I hope you enjoy getting your collection started!

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The Binding – Bridget Collins

The binding Bridget Collins

“Somehow it went from too soon to too late, without the right moment in between.”

If you had the power to erase your worst memories, would you? The Binding explores this question and the moral and ethical dilemmas involved, and it does so beautifully.

There is a wonderful depth to Collins’ writing as she unwinds her themes. If it were possible to remove memories, would it be done for good, or for ill? All the while, a tragic love story unfolds between Emmett Farmer and Lucian Darnay, one a poor apprentice, the other rich and privileged. The love story was gorgeously written, and added another level to this already intriguing idea.

The books in Collins’ story are dangerous – they contain human memories, just as our own books do, but these are memories that the owner wanted to be hidden, secreted away from the originator themselves.

The Binding is set in a time which has many similarities with 19th century England, and this dark, gloomy setting works perfectly for the story.

I truly enjoyed this book, and highly recommend it.

8/10

You can get it here: The Binding

Top 10 Books Of 2020 (So Far…)

It has been a year for reading, with many of us spending a lot more time at home than we had perhaps envisioned in January. Fortunately, there have been some incredible new releases this year. Here are the books I’ve read and the books I’m most looking forward to this year…

1. My Dark Vanessa

My dark Vanessa

You may be familiar with My Dark Vanessa, a tale about a college student and her relationship with her professor. It is an interesting investigation into the manipulation and balance of power involved.

My Dark Vanessa

2. Hamnet

Hamnet

You may already have read my review of Hamnet, but suffice to say any fan of Shakespeare should read this story.

Hamnet

3. The Mirror And The Light

The mirror and the light

Another epic from Hilary Mantel, this is the final book in the trilogy about Thomas Cromwell and depicts his downfall.

The Mirror and the Light

4. Sisters

Sisters

Out in August, this is a disturbing tale from the author of Everything Under.

Sisters

5. A Long Petal of the Sea

A long petal of the sea

A riveting new historic saga by Isabel Allende, looking at love in exile.

A Long Petal of the Sea

6. Such A Fun Age

Such a fun age

A funny, fast-paced social satire about privilege in America.

Such A Fun Age

7. Long Bright River

Long bright river

A page turning thriller with murder and missing persons, based in Philadelphia.

Long Bright River

8. A Thousand Ships

A thousand ships

Although technically released in 2019, this features on my list because it is the next book I’m going to read (just waiting for it to arrive!) and it has been shortlisted for the Women’s Prize this year. Feminist retelling of myths are usually a winner, so I can’t wait to start this one.

A Thousand Ships

9. The Mercies

The mercies

This book has been EVERYWHERE this year, and with good reason. It is based on the 1621 witch trials in Finland so of course I like it (my own book is based on the 1612 witch trials in Pendle), and this is beautifully crafted.

The Mercies

10. Topics of Conversation

Topics of conversation

Another that I’m eagerly anticipating- Topics of Conversation is an exploration of women’s lives through the medium of conversation.

Topics of Conversation

Which books are you most looking forward to this year? Let me know in the comments!

Flame Tree Short Stories

Flame Tree Publishing

I don’t know about you, but there’s something about these editions that just sings to me. Flame Tree Publishing have created a range of short stories collections, and they are not only fascinating but also highly aesthetically pleasing.

I have these three so far, but I hope to expand my collection soon!

Japanese Myths & Tales

Mary Shelley Horror Stories

Haunted House Short Stories

My teacup!

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Canterbury Classics Word Cloud

Canterbury Classics word cloud flexibounds

These Canterbury Classics Word Cloud editions have swiftly become a #bookstagram favourite. Not are they beautifully designed, but they’re also very affordable. Win win! There are many books available in the range, but here are the ones I own:

Frankenstein

The Beautiful And Damned

My Antonia

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – only £5.25!

Wuthering Heights

The Wind in the Willows

Dubliners

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Classic Science Fiction

The Awakening

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

The Age of Innocence

Jane Eyre

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Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell

Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell

It may be common knowledge for some that Shakespeare’s play Hamlet was named after his son, Hamnet, who died from the plague when he was a child. I didn’t know this, though. So I immediately started the book from a point of learning something new – which is always a delight when reading historical fiction.

From the very first page I continued learning, about Shakespeare’s family and wife (who is not remembered fondly by history, but who is given a voice in this novel), about the plague itself, about the life they lived. The book is very well written, and Maggie O’Farrell has a talent for keeping you captivated and immersed in another time.

The story is well-rounded and we visit the point of view of many characters, giving insight into their way of life. The book is clearly exceptionally well researched. Given the current situation, it was also very interesting to read about the plague and how it affected them. Centuries pass but perhaps not much changes!

I loved this book in the way that I love all beautifully written historical fiction. It is escapism at its finest.

I would rate this a strong 7/10.

I’ve included a link to order below:

Hamnet: SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN’S PRIZE FOR FICTION