The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

“Whan that April with his shoures soote
The droughte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;….”

Twenty-nine pilgrims and the narrator meet in Southwark, in Harry Bailey’s Tabard Inn, before setting off on a pilgrimage to Canterbury, where they will behold Thomas Becket’s shrine.  On the journey each pilgrim will tell four tales, two on the way there and two on the way back.  A free dinner will be awarded to the one with the best story.  And so begins Geoffrey Chaucer’s famous poem, a medley of lively stories that gives the reader a captivating window into 14th century England.

Gateway at Canterbury
The Gateway at Canterbury (1889)
Childe Hassam
source Wikiart

 

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My Top Ten Favourite Reviews

Top Ten Reviews

I sort of felt ridiculous typing the title since it’s been awhile since I’ve even put a review on the blog but, never fear! I do have many coming down the pipeline so it’s okay.  Really …..!  😉

Well, I decided to alter the Top Ten Tuesday topic a little and instead of my first ten reviews, I’m going to give you my favourite top ten.  Here goes …

My Top Ten Favourite Reviews on My Blog

1. Ecce Homo by Friedrich Nietzsche : this is by far the most popular review on my blog and (this will surprise you) probably the funniest one that I’ve written. Nietzsche, while at times interesting, is nothing if not tedious and one cannot help poking fun at him.

Ecce Homo Caravaggio painting

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And the Lucky Spin Number Is ……

Spin Number 19

Which means that I get to read A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and A Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides written in 1775 by Samuel Johnson and James Boswell. I never thought I’d draw this one from my list, but I’m quite happy with it.

A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and A Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides

That said, I’m going to check around other blogs and see if anyone has drawn another book from my list.  Then I might add it and we could read along together. If I find anything I’ll edit this post with the details but in the meantime, enjoy your spin reading everyone!

 

The Classics Club

Classics Club Spin #20

Classics Club Spin #20

It’s been awhile since I’ve participated in a Classics Club spin.  I think the last one I participated in was #14 and it was a dismal failure which made me realize that I simply don’t have time to read the way I used to.  So I stopped.  However, with my new Classics Club list up, I really need to start to focus on some of these books before it’s too late.  So here I am again, hoping for success.

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Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie

Poirot Investigates Agatha ChristieFresh from my first three Christie reads of A Mysterious Affair at Styles, The Secret Adversary and Murder on the Links, I then delved into a compilation of Poirot short stories called, Poirot investigates.  These stories comprise Christie’s fourth published book, published in March 1924.

I must say, after my disappointment with Murder on the Links, Christie has returned to her fine form.  Most of the short mysteries have a tight plot (probably necessary for a short story) and a well-crafted riddle. While Poirot’s little grey cells are in fine form, Hastings is his annoying self but at a level that is acceptable and even amusing in certain circumstances.  The stories run as follows:

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April ~ May It Be More Flowers Than Showers

April Flowers and ShowersApril usually brings lots of showers in my part of the country but let’s hope this year the flowers appear early.  It’s been a pretty exciting March and also heading into April.  The keyword is “renovations” and there are many of them.  As you know from my January, February and March update, my new kitchen is under construction and is progressing nicely thanks to the dedicated direction of my colleague.  I’ve been Insulating and drywalling up a storm (well, actually only one wall) and I laid the floor myself.  Otherwise, I’ve had an excellent cabinet installer help with the cabinets and today my new Wolf range went in.  Still to go are countertops and tile, along with various other little tasks.  I’ll be so glad to finally get my kitchen back.  I’ve been living in a house that looks like it’s been hit by a hurricane and so many times I’ve wanted to leave for cleaner pastures, but soon I’ll be able to put everything back in order.  I can’t wait!

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Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Links Agatha ChristieMurder on the Links: “It was 2 p.m. on the afternoon of May 7th, 1915.”

Detective: Hercule Poirot

Published: 1923 (Christie’s 3rd published book)

Length: 272 pages

Setting: Merlinville-sur-Mer, France (fictional)

This is Agatha Christie’s third published novel after The Mysterious Affair at Styles and The Secret Adversary, and her second one featuring the astute Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot.  Quite honestly, this novel falls far short of her initial two attempts, her adept plotting of a mystery surprisingly lacking as the murder and motive is revealed in a rather bumbling fashion. But for now, let’s look at the plot.

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Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women by George MacDonald

Phantastes George MacDonaldPhantastes: A Faerie Romance: “I awoke one morning with the usual perplexity of mind which accompanies the return of consciousness.”

I read Phantastes for the first time in 2012, and while reading it, I was very confused with the progress of the story.  So many questions swirled around in my head as to the plot, such as why Anodos, the main character, decided to go to a particular place and why he didn’t listen to advice and what was the point of his wanderings?  I approached the book as I would a book like The Lord of the Rings where I was expecting an obvious quest in the culmination of something grand. What I received was a sort of lazy, fanciful wandering by Anodos as he continually encountered faerie princesses and maidens, along with a knight, giants and other evil malefactors.  While there were instances of adventure and situations where he had to employ his strength and good sense, these instances seemed solitary experiences that did not connect to the whole.  I just couldn’t figure out the point of the story.  When I couldn’t find it, I was left somewhat disappointed and unimpressed.  Flash-forward to my second reading this year and an epiphany! ….

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The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie

The Secret Adversary Agatha ChristieThe Secret Adversary: “It was 2 p.m. on the afternoon of May 7th, 1915.”

Detectives: Tommy Beresford & Prudence “Tuppence” Cowley

Published: 1922 (Christie’s 2nd published book)

Length: 308 pages

Setting: London; Bournemouth; Holyhead, Wales; Kent

 

Tommy Beresford and Tuppence Cowley are childhood chums who meet up after the war.  Tuppence, the daughter of a clergyman, wishes to spread her independent wings and Tommy, demobilized after the war, is looking for a new direction in life.  As neither is flush with money, they put their entrepreneurial brains together and decide to launch The Young Adventurers, Ltd.  Overhearing them, a man named Whittington follows Tuppence and claims he’s interested in her services.  Immediately wary, Tuppence gives her name as Jane Finn, the assumed name which she’d heard earlier from Tommy.  The appellation causes Whittington to react nearly apoplectically and the following investigation sends them on a whirlwind of adventure from which they are unsure if they’ll return alive!

The Ritz London

The Ritz London ~ source Wikimedia Commons

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