Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From

The Broke and Bookish this week are looking into most read authors.  Of all their topics, this one has required the least thought.  It is not a subjective question, it was just a question of doing the research and thanks to the age of the Internet, I don't even have to contemplate my bookshelves.  This is fortunate because I am in the middle of moving house so my books are in boxes and bags (and some are even in my parents' attack uh oh).  Thank goodness for Goodreads, the place where books can be organised and the hard work can be done for me.  According to the robots and pixies which I imagine to run about the internal mechanics of the Internet, these are my most read authors.  The interesting thing was that they did not necessarily represent my favourite authors - there are several authors who I love passionately but who take about ten years to crank out a book - or indeed authors who I have read recently.  Still, they do take up a certain amount of space on the book-shelf.

Review - The House We Grew Up In, Lisa Jewell

This is a novel about hoarding.  When I finished it, I immediately got up and filled two black bin bags with rubbish.  I feel like this is the highest recommendation that I can give this book; it made me seriously think about my practises vis-a-vis my belongings.  That being said, there is more to it than simply being about a central character who struggles to throw things away and what we have is a central plot that is both moving without being maudlin and compelling without tottering over into sensationalism.  In short, it is a perfect candidate if you're looking for a good holiday read this summer.

Saturday Poem - Hope Is The Thing With Feathers

I think this poem is beautiful - hope is the very best of things, it powers us through when all around is in darkness.

Hope Is The Thing With Feathers

"Hope" is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird -
That kept so many warm -

I've heard it in the chilliest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

Emily Dickinson

Review: The Virgin Widow, Anne O'Brien

I went straight to this book after finishing Trinity because I needed a real change of pace but felt like staying in the same place.  More unusually for me, this one is from the library.  I get very attached to books and don't like to have to give them back once I'm done - while at school, I once borrowed the same book three times from a classmate and inwardly felt very peeved that I couldn't keep it.  I have been wanting to have a look at this for a while though, I read The Scandalous Duchess a few months ago and loved it.  It is so good to find an author of historical fiction who is not Philippa Gregory.  I have been making a real effort to steer clear of anything written by her ever since I found myself half-way through The White Princess without having realised how I got there.  I always feel irritated about the way Gregory portrays all Tudors as these hunched, ugly, rude, violent, humourless traitors but far worse than that is the way she writes her women.  They simper and giggle and become these ridiculous empty-headed fools who make idiotic decisions.  Having grown up in Yorkshire, I have always had an interest in Anne Neville but I am never going to read The Kingmaker's Daughter ... so I was grateful to find The Virgin Widow instead.

Review - War of the Roses: Trinity, Conn Iggulden

Conn Iggulden has made a name for himself not only through The Dangerous Book For Boys but also as the author of historical battle epics such as Emperor and Conqueror.  Trinity is the second instalment in his latest War of the Roses series which takes us back to the origins of the conflict that tore down the Plantagenet dynasty for good.  Richard's defeat at Bosworth is well-known and even Edward IV's climb to power is fairly well understood (particularly for those of us who hail from the North) but the original power struggles at the heart of Henry VI's court have received very little coverage in fiction.  Iggulden therefore has the chance to make his mark therefore in this relatively untrodden period of history but somehow the result falls slightly flat.

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Fictional Couples

I struggled to come up with a list for the Broke and Bookish's topic for this week (Top Ten Characters You'd Want On A Desert Island) and in the end found myself wandering towards the archives.  People who know me know that I am a notorious softie but that for my childhood and adolescence I was resolutely anti-romance in whatever form it took.  In my own personal version of Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, I once attempted to retell Pride and Prejudice with Elizabeth deciding not to marry Darcy.  My favourite book for much of my teenage years was Melvin Burgess' Bloodtide.  Still, I have grown up a lot since then and have learnt to appreciate the value of romance when it's well written.  I'm never going to be a Fifty Shades fan but below are my Top Ten Fictional Couples (plus one for luck).

Saturday Poem - I Am Not Yours

I read this poem for the first time this week and I've been thinking about it ever since so decided to share it for my Saturday Poem.  I found it very thought-provoking.

I am Not Yours 
Sara Teasdale

I am not yours, not lost in you,
Not lost, although I long to be
Lost as a candle lit at noon,
Lost as a snowflake in the sea.

You love me, and I find you still
A spirit beautiful and bright,
Yet I am I, who long to be
Lost as a light is lost in light.

Oh plunge me deep in love - put out
My senses, leave me deaf and blind,
Swept by the tempest of your love,
A taper in a rushing wind.

Sara Teasdale