Miss Potter

Beatrix Potter was born on the 28th July 1866 in South Kensington, London. She was, or should I say still is, a renowned author and illustrator- the proud writer of 23 books which make up the Tales series. Her books are wonderfully written and each picture captures many of life’s emotions. Her most famous characters include: Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle Duck and so on, for I am sure you have heard of them!

A film I have recently watched called ‘Miss Potter’ inspired the title of this blog post. It captures the early to mid life of Beatrix Potter, taking us on a journey through the publication of her first book, along with the devastating heartbreak she faced along the way. You also see her fondly as a child when on trips to the Lake District; she would draw the local sites and tell the most incredible tales about the wild animals she encountered. She was fascinated by nature and at the age of fourteen she started to keep a diary; detailing descriptions and opinions of places she had been along with lots of illustrations!

Beatrix was also an avid reader and in her youth many books inspired her, including: The Water Babies, Book of Nonsense and Alice in Wonderland. All once again very famous pieces of work.

Her children’s stories are widely known and appreciated, with each character now becoming recognisable and give a sense of warm heartedness. As you can probably guess she grew up with many pets and her brother Bertram kept several small animals as pets. At various points they even had mice, rabbits and a hedgehog! I can assume where many of her ideas came from!

To end, even in an age where women were suppose to conform to traditional gender stereotypes, Beatrix became a successful writer and illustrator and her works have become widely known. I believe from this example that if you really believe in yourself you can achieve your biggest goals.

 

“Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.”

The Suitcase Kid- Jacqueline Wilson

The Suitcase Kid by Jacqueline Wilson is an utter masterpiece, hence why this a short review as I can find nothing bad to say about it!

The book covers the issue of divorce, however, it does this in a way that shows a sense of unity and that all is not as bad as it seems. It does this in particular in a very light hearted manner, with each chapter a letter of the alphabet and how this in turn relates to the story.

The Suitcase Kid is a book primarily aimed at children, yet, covers an issue which many kids may find complex and upsetting. This is where I found it to be sheer genius as in the end Andy (the protagonist) learns that after all, things that were once difficult can be solved and what once was troubling can be answered.

The book also deals with aspect of bullying within the household and many other complicated issues- such as: one week living with your mum and one with your dad and simply being stuck in the middle- but once again shows how this can be overcome easily.

The book sends you on a rollercoaster of emotions- sadness, anger albeit happiness. For children this book is one in which I highly recommend- the reader instantly creates a bond with Andy and you cannot help but love her, whilst at the same time feel complete pity for her!

I read the book when I was younger and I read it with the same enthusiasm now, as I did then and I believe it to be simply wonderful.

 

5 Star!

 

“It’s as easy as A B C. That’s what everyone says. But all I want is to go home – back to Mulberry Cottage…”

Becoming Jane

Jane Austen is one of Britain’s greatest celebrated authors of all time. Born at Steventon Parsonage on 16 December 1775- Jane Austen was seventh sibling of eight children! She grew up in a rather happy and close-knit family, where she began to write at a very young age. Jane had a loving alliance with her only sister Cassandra which lasted a life time, and both Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility revolve around sisterhood.

 

*“Mr Austen reported with relief. ‘We have now another girl, a plaything for Cassy and a future companion.”

 

Her plots often explore the dependency that women have on marriage, in the pursuit of social and economic security- with each novel rich in: romance, wit and satire. She is well known for Pride and Prejudice which she called: “my own darling child” and it has furthermore gone on to make many contemporary films along with TV series. It was during the 1790s she wrote the first drafts of Sense and SensibilityPride and Prejudice, and Northanger Abbey. It was her trips to Kent and Bath that gave her the colour for the settings of these books.

Jane’s novels reflect England of the period it was wrote in and as she herself had experienced it. It explores a multiplicity of issues- some underlying yet some more obvious and detectible. She is a notorious author, whose work has never or will ever age… a timeless classic.

I am currently looking at- *Jane Austen at Home: A Biography. It is a great account into the life of Jane Austen. I titled this blog post ‘Becoming Jane’ after the BBC film staring Anne Hathaway and James Mcavoy, which tells the story of Jane Austen’s early life.

Jane Austen- Pride and Prejudice…

IMG_6194If I was being honest, Pride and Prejudice was never really a book that stuck out for me to read. It reminded me simply of a tiresome Sunday, where you have nothing better to do, bar dwelling at home all day, doing zilch!

However, when I came across the book again I decided to give it a go, but firstly reading up more about the author- Jane Austen- and I was surprised by what I learnt…

I discovered that it was in fact her father that first submitted Pride and Prejudice to a publisher in 1797. This was under the ideology that men were to be authors and women simply were not. It was originally titled First Impressions, albeit it was rejected for the solitary motive that it had been written by a woman.

When Pride and Prejudice was eventually published in 1813, Austen’s name did not appear as the author of the book, and in fact, she was never given credit for being the author of any of her works while she was alive! The title page of Pride and Prejudice, when published, read “By the author of Sense and Sensibility.” Once again not naming Austen nor giving her credit for her work. Moreover, it is surprising to believe this happened to one of the most famous authors known for their classical works in literature. I actually find it sad that she never got to know how famous her books would become.

She was believed to be a shy girl, with only a few friends. There are rumors, which also suppose that Jane Austen’s cousin Eliza, Comtesse de Feuillide, provided a model for Elizabeth Bennett’s wit and humour. I found the book itself rather comic, hence these amusing characters.

I understand that you get quite a lot of the anger Austen personally feels through the book and that she does this by accurately portraying what life was like for women at the time, and, for example: her life does shed light on her fiction. Similarly this is like another book I reviewed: Little Women, where we also see these typical gender roles and how women had very little say in their lives.

I found both the plot and the characters engaging, featuring the civilised sparring between Mr. Darcy, i.e.: the pride, and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet, who each judged their characters mistakenly. Overall, I was mistaken about this book, it is a true and utter classic- a joy to read!

5 star!

“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”

 

The Philosophy of Snoopy

Everyone has heard of Snoopy.  Charlie Brown.  Or even Lucy. The Peanuts Movie graced our screens in 2015 and the snoopy phenomenon has really taken off. However, has anyone ever read any of the snoopy books? I recently bought the Philosophy of Snoopy, it is a small red book detailed with all the different comic strips on “how to live your life” according to snoopy. Albeit it doesn’t stop there, there is also similar related which you must collect in order to complete the set. There is: The Wisdom of Woodstock and even Charlie Brown’s Guide to Happiness. They are each great and are really light hearted. I then wanted to see more about the comic and how it was created. After a lot of searching I found Snoopy’s Guide to the writing life. It is truly great, it gives tips on how to write your own book; it talks about Charles Schultz and gives general advice on how to write to your best ability by breaking it down into simple and easy steps. It is the perfect book for any aspiring writers or those generally interested in how the characters were created and more about the famous author.

5 star!

Snoopy, it’s never easy. When the words don’t come, try talking to yourself using any kind of mnemonic device to get yourself going, scribbling phrases, automatic writing, anything, but get something down. Then you go back and take a hard look with a more critical eye.”

War Horse- Michael Morpurgo

After being assigned a piece of coursework by my English teacher, my task was to go away to find a book to use as a model for my own piece of creative writing. This came as great excitement to me- for I love writing my own stories and it was something different to do in lesson time, however my troubles lay in finding the perfect book to almost imitate for my own piece of writing.

My friends all snapped up their ideas instantly using authors renowned for their monologues such as: Alan Bennett and also children’s classics for example: ‘Alice in Wonderland’, using these to their advantage in order to cover issues such as OCD, mental health and so on.

Nonetheless, I began to grow more and more impatient, until I came across Michael Morpurgo’s ‘War Horse’, after flipping through only a few pages, it became clear that this was the book for me and I admired all his creative devises which he used in order to set the scenes and follow through to convey the emotions of the story just right.

I went away, read and annotated my particular favorite sections of the book and started to write continually. In the end I was left with a piece of writing on homelessness based around the emotions and friendship of Joey and Albert.

The book itself I truly enjoyed- it told a journey of friendship whilst incorporating sadness and loss throughout. It also, hence the title, covered war and gave an insight into how horrific it was for both soldiers and even animals- thus meaning the book had a great deal of lengthy descriptive passages. Moreover, sadness was a key theme throughout, so I would not recommend it to those who hate sad stories.

However, the ending was a big surprise also and I really enjoyed it ending on a happy note, something I thought it would not be, leaving me guessing throughout.

Some of the story did become a bit repetitive and I was tempted to put it down, but I still carried on.

After reading War Horse, I went on to buy another of Morpurgo’s books. This was ‘Listen to the Moon’, I also found this rather good and read it with the same enthusiasm I did with War Horse.

 

“He smoothed my back first and then my neck, talking all the while about […] how I would grow up to be the smartest horse in the whole wide world”

4 Star!

Little Women, By Louisa May Alcott

Some may say ‘Little Women’ is a children’s book, but can a classic novel written so perfectly, be subjected for just one age group? Well, I don’t think so…

Little women follows the lives of four young girls- Jo, Amy, Beth and Meg- and effortlessly transports the reader back to the 19th century. The reader, such as I was, is taken on a momentous journey and with out a doubt discovers what life was really like for an ordinary family living in this era. Also exposed is typical gender roles, such as these young girls had to conform by and the book sets out how the basis of traditional family worked together throughout even the hardest times.

Despite this, I  began to feel a sense of warmth and love from this book, which was unquestionably conveyed via the four girls compassion for one another. Yet, you get to know them each extremely well and can easily differentiate them apart through their four different, striking personalities- for example: tomboy Jo; Amy whose interests lie with vanity; quiet yet musically minded Beth and the eldest of the four Meg.

Albeit, seen as this is a book review, I must venture on the grounds of critique. My main criticism of the book would be that it took a very long time for me to get into it. I’m not entirely sure if this was a personal problem I encountered, however it did not stop me reading the whole book and should defiantly not put others off also! You must persevere!

To end, Little Women is a great read and ultimately teaches a very important lesson, this being that if you want to peruse something you can always do it. Similarly the idea of triumph over adversity and how you should let nothing stop in your way…

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship”. 

Rated: 5 Star!

A shy girl’s guide…

So, I’m having another go at creating yet another blog. But this time, something different. If you’ve ever studied A-Levels before you will know that your head is constantly inside some form of book, whether this be a: text book or reading book. And being one of the quieter girls I don’t normally tend to ask for the best book to read. But here I’m creating a place to review books. The best kind, the worst kind and the kind that you will never want to put down. So if you are one of these people, here is the best place for you!

 

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