Category Archives: Books Including Susie’s Monthly Friday Book Club

Friday Book Club for July.

Welcome to my Friday Book Club for July and this is a little bit of a throwback too.

We had the good fortune for our Boys to be young when the Harry Potter Book Series began to be published, the first in 1997.  The film of the first book was released in 2001 when Eldest was six and I took him to see the movie, he absolutely loved it and so we then bought all the books as they were published and I read them to him.  Youngest when he was old enough to also see the film wanted me to read the books to him too, so I got to go through the books twice and of course we saw all the films at the cinema as soon as they were released.  Youngest always used to call Harry “Har Potter” when he was little!!!!!

The reason I have chosen these books for Friday Book Club is because they are so well written that adults can read them, J.K. Rowling did an amazing job of writing them for children but not writing down to children.  This means that adults can read and enjoy them.

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When I was little we had the Narnia Series of books written by C.S Lewis and again they were written for children but adults can read and enjoy them.  Of course the films of these books were not made until recently and I have to say I enjoyed the books more than the films in this case.

I have been watching the Harry Potter films again whilst I have been doing my ironing and as they are so long, because they did not miss that much of the story from the books, I get a lot of ironing done to them!!! 

Both the Boys have the Harry Potter set so I think I am going to borrow one of theirs and take them away with me on holiday and read them again.  Who doesn’t like to escape into another World made of magic, even if there is an evil in it, because it is eventually defeated and that is how our World works.

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Here they are in the Great Hall.  By the look on their faces you would think we had told them that they had to stay at school!!!!!!

As you know we took the Boys to Harry Potter World when it first opened to see the sets and where the films were made and it was a great visit and again if you have chance, it is well worth a visit. 

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Happier faces!!!

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Harry’s bed on the set.

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The three of them outside Hagrid’s Home.

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They just look like Ron and Harry don’t they!

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Getting their Wands at Olivanders.

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A brilliant and very accurate quote from J.K. Rowling at the end of the visit.

Eldest will deny it now but when he was eleven he wanted to be Harry and he copied Harry’s look and the sort of bag that Harry carried at school and the way he dressed.  Here is a picture of him from 2007;

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Here is Eldest, on Bonfirm Night, on the right in that jacket with the sparkler pretending to cast a spell.

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As you can see from this still of the Film The Prisoner of Azkaban Harry has the same jacket on!!!!

I will say that I am so glad that our Boys wanted to emulate a book character rather than some “stars” today who seem to make money out of nothing!!!!!

The Harry Potter Books can be found in every form from Amazon and if you like fantasy books they really are worth reading.  Of course if you like something which is a little less magic but more about relationships and family then give the Narnia series a go, again who doesn’t want to walk through the wardrobe to a new realm where it is always winter and almost Christmas!!

I hope you all have a wonderful Weekend and Happy Reading.

Hugs, Susie xx

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The Library at Hogwarts.

Monthly Friday Book Club.

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This book has to be in my Book Club.  I first read it for my O’Level English Literature Exam at sixteen and loved it.  What sixteen year old girl is not into the romance of it?  If you have seen the film “You’ve Got Mail” (my most favourite of films) Kathleen, the Heroine, mentions this book as her favourite and that she reads it every year!  Well I do read it every year and just love it.

Even though it was written in 1812 it is very easy to read and definitely stands the test of time.  Out of all of Jane Austen’s books this is my favourite.  I remember in class the debate raged as to who was prideful and who was prejudiced and in my opinion they both were at various times in the book.

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The BBC did this adaptation of the book in 1995 and it was six, hour-long episodes so went through the book in a lot of detail.  The cast was amazing and so like how I imagined the characters to be.  If you have never seen this then I suggest it goes on a Birthday or Christmas list as a must, even if it is only to see Colin Firth in his wet, white shirt!!!!

If you have never heard of this book it is about Elizabeth Bennet the second of the five Bennet daughters and who is the most sensible of them all.  She and her elder sister Jane are of an age to marry and marry they must as their father’s estate is entailed away from their family to his distant Cousin, Mr Collins the Clergyman. 

Mrs Bennet is determined that all her girls must be married and married to wealthy young men.  When Mr Bingley takes a house near to their home at Longbourne, Mrs Bennet is on the hunt.  They encounter Mr Bingley and his party, including Mr Darcy, at the local assembly where Elizabeth is snubbed by Mr Darcy in her hearing saying  “she is not pretty enough to tempt me”! 

The story unfolds over the chapters where Elizabeth and Darcy keep encountering each other at various social gatherings and walks where each others pride and prejudice keeps them apart.  As with all good love stories it comes good in the end.

I will be taking this book away with me on vacation this year as it is just the right sort of book to read when you have nothing else to do!

Happy Friday everyone.

Hugs, Susie xx

Monthly Friday Book Club.

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In keeping with the Royal Wedding tomorrow I thought I would share with you this book.  It was first published in 1998 but I have read it a couple of times and loved every page.

Georgiana Spencer (Princess Diana’s ancestor) became the Duchess of Devonshire and mistress of Chatsworth House in 1774.  She very quickly became the toast of London and Society very much adored by the Prince Regent and friend to Marie-Antoinette. 

Her clothes were copied, if she attended the theatre the play was a success and she also influenced the politics of the time.  However in private her husband, The Duke, was indifferent to her charms and had an affair with her best friend, Lady Elizabeth Foster.  For twenty years all three resided at Chatsworth which was at times fraught. 

210 years later a similar scenario would be played out within the walls of Kensington Palace with Princess Diana, Prince Charles and Mrs Camilla Parker-Bowles.

Amanda Foreman’s writing is very easy to read and although she is delivering historic facts, they are not the same old dry boring ones of your school history lessons! 

This book is definitely on my To Read list again.  It is available from Amazon in all versions.  If you like historical novels you will not be disappointed in this book.

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Georgiana by Thomas Gainsborough

I hope you are having a very happy Friday and looking forward to the Wedding of the Year tomorrow.  The weather is set to be sunny, warm and 19°C so everyone should have a lovely day ready for the open carriage ride of the Newlyweds.

Hugs, Susie xx

Friday Book Club for April.

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I have just finished this book and have been a big fan of Lee Child and his “Jack Reacher” series.  However at 391 pages long in the hard back edition the first 90 pages were to his usual excellent story telling standard.  In my opinion he then phoned the rest of the novel in until the last chapter! 

The chapters between page 90 and the last one had Jack and his current “partners” wandering around getting the same information from several “bad men” with one intention which was revealed very early in the book. They finally find what they are looking for after lots of very empty miles and very little action. 

It is a hard thing to say about a favourite author but I think Mr Child is going through the motions with these books now and he needs to change the way in which Jack Reacher appears, say settling down in an out of the way place.  We all know that Jack does not spend any more money than he has to so he must have a nice little nest egg and at his age it is now time for him to set down some sort of roots say in Wyoming.  Miles from anyone but a root and perhaps to get invovled with a woman with adult children and then perhaps problems could come looking for him. 

If Lee Child’s next book follows the same formula as the previous twenty two novels then I probably won’t be buying it. 

As an aside whoever let Tom Cruise buy the rights to the books and play Jack Reacher in the two movies needs their head examining!  It should have been Hugh Jackman; at least he is getting near to Reacher’s height of 6’5″ being  6’2″ instead of Tom Cruise’s 5’7″,  whose height depends upon whether he is wearing his lifts or not!!!!!

Don’t bother reading this unless it is in paperback form picked up for a £1 at the second hand bookstore.

Happy Friday Everyone.

Hugs, Susie xx

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Trip Down Memory Lane.

Having done a little trip down Memory Lane with Bedknobs & Broomsticks got me thinking of other programmes and books I loved as a child/teenager.

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I loved a lot of the children’s cartoons but this was my favourite.  I think I have always loved the space theme being a child of the 60’s and watching Neil Armstrong step onto the moon at I think 8.00am in the morning our time and the TV was actually on, because in those days there was nothing on TV until the children’s programmes at 4.00pm and then the TV programmes shutdown again at Midnight!!!!  How different it is fifty years later with hundreds of channels and 24/7 broadcasting.

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Jackanory was a programme developed to encourage reading among children.  Now I did not need to be encouraged anymore to read books as I inhaled books as a child, and still do, but I loved listening to celebrities of the day reading a book over five days.  Many, many famous faces appeared on the show to read the stories and they tried a few years ago to bring the show back for all us adults who used to watch it.  Unfortunately it did not work well. 

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As I became a teenager I obviously watched adult programmes and my most favourite was Starsky & Hutch.  I loved this show and can remember being outraged by this woman, Mary Whitehouse, in the UK who set herself up as a moderator of shows and she banned Starsky & Hutch for being too violent!!  Can you imagine in this day and age what she would think?  In fact she is probably spinning in her grave.  She also gave an award to a person in the UK for his programme for being wholesome family shows and he has since been exposed as one of the worst pedophiles in the country (they have both since died).  So much for her views!!!!

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This of course was one of my favourite shows ever and I loved the re-make a few years ago and wished they had done a few more seasons as it still had its identity. 

Now as you know with books it is very hard for me to choose my favourites as there are too many and I would bore you with all of them but here are a few from my childhood which I read again and again and loved them.

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This is the first of a series of five from Enid Blyton about a girl going off to Boarding School.  To me at the time Boarding School sounded wonderful especially as it was all girls and at the time I went to a school which was boys and girls and I hated all the boys (that changed as I got older of course!!!).  I loved this series.

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This is the second series of books I had which my parents bought me as a whole set and at the time was quite expensive.  Each book has a price of 20pence on which in today’s money is nothing but at the time was.  I loved the Narnia books and let’s face it who hasn’t wanted to walk through a wardrobe and find a snowy Narnia on the other side.

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As I got older I moved onto the Nancy Drew series and loved every one of the books and collected them all.

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I had always read older than my age from being little and at school, so before I went to Senior School I found The Hobbit and loved it so then started reading all the books in the series.

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By the time I got to Senior School I was devouring Agatha Christie Books and loved every one of them and although I have read them several times I can still re-read them again. 

I hope you liked this little wander down my Memory Lane and are having a Thrilling Tuesday. 

Hugs, Susie xx

Monthly Friday Book Club.

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Hi All and welcome to Monthly Friday Book Club, just a week late due to my not being very well!

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This book has been out for a while and can be found on Amazon in hardback/paperback/Kindle versions.  The reason I chose this book was because one of the Mitford Girls was Deborah Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, whose home is Chatsworth House here in Derbyshire.

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Deborah Freeman-Mitford was the youngest of six sisters and one brother and was born in 1920 to David, 2nd Baron Redesdale of Asthall Manor, Oxfordshire and his wife Sydney.  Her sisters were Nancy, Pamela, Diana, Unity & Jessica and brother Thomas.  She married the 11th Duke of Devonshire, Andrew Cavendish, in 1941 and they have three children living.  She sadly passed away in 2014.  DH and I had the pleasure of meeting her during a private tour of Chatsworth House and she was delightful.

Because of my interest in the Duchess I picked this book up and it is a fascinating look at a family at the height of the Golden Age of country house living in a privileged background where women were not educated but expected to marry wealthy young men.  As the girls grew and the political climate changed with the onset of World War II the sisters divided in their beliefs; Nancy was a moderate socialist, Tom was a fascist and refused to fight Germany but signed up to fight Japan and was killed in action.  Diana married Sir Oswald Mosley leader of the British Union of Fascists and was imprisoned during the War.  Unity was a big supporter of Adolf Hitler and was so distraught about the War tried to commit suicide but failed and died early of her injuries.  Jessica was a communist and because of this she and Diana never spoke again although the other sisters did correspond throughout their lives, despite their political differences.  

There were many marriages and divorces between the sisters over the years and controversy followed a lot of them.  Nancy became an Author and a lot of her books are based upon her early life and the people she knew. 

Deborah was seen as the most normal of the sisters marrying into the Cavendish family and at the time of her marriage would not become Duchess of Devonshire as her husband, Andrew, was the second son of the 10th Duke.   His brother, William would have inherited the title on his father’s death. William married Kathleen Kennedy, Sister to John F Kennedy,  in 1944 whilst he was serving in the Army during the War but was sadly killed four months later.  Kathleen, too, died the following year in a plane crash without them having any children, which is why Andrew Cavendish became the 11th Duke.

The book is very much a look at an age which is long past but if you enjoy Biographies and recent history then this is a must.  I hope that if you do read it you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Happy Friday everyone.

Hugs, Susie xx

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The 11th Duke of Devonshire, Andrew Cavendish and his Wife Deborah Cavendish in the Library of Chatsworth House (picture from Chatsworth House website)

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Susie’s Monthly Friday Book Club.

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Now when I wrote about my Book Club a lot of you said great, except you don’t like scary books, like Stephen King; the book I am reading at the moment.  So for February’s Book Club I thought I would tell you about a book I read before Christmas.

Always around Christmas I love to read a book about Christmas or set around Christmas.  I think it stems from reading to The Boys when they were little and we always read them Christmas books during December.  Anyway I read this before Christmas and loved it.

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Now I know we are in February but there is nothing to say we can’t read books about Christmas all year. 

It is about two women who have a very different approach to the festive season.  First Beth and although it is only September she has to plan and put on the annual Christmas Eve Village party, which was previously arranged by her husbands former wife as well as hosting Christmas for her step-children.  

Then there is Carol,  a glamorous magazine editor who is busy trying to find articles to help her ailing magazine and is completely oblivious to the coming festive season.  She develops a huge sense of guilt as she has done nothing towards Christmas for her young son, so decides to book a country cottage to try and have the perfect Christmas. 

The two women meet and between them manage to bring about Christmas for everyone, whilst still keeping their sanity.

It is a great read and no monsters in sight and does make you feel all warm about Christmas.  You can get it from Amazon as hardbook/paperback/Kindle/Audio book.

I hope if you do read it you will love it and I will sort out another book for March.

Happy Reading everyone.

Hugs, Susie x

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C.S. Lewis