Book Giveaway!

It’s time for a giveaway!

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Well, I’ve officially come to the end of the university year and, unsurprisingly, I’ve run out of space on my bookcase again. So, I thought that it might be a nice idea to host a giveaway! All you need to do to enter is comment on this post, telling me which book you would be interested in. Then, I will use an online generator to randomly pick one lucky blogger, send them a message, and they will get a free book!

So, here’s a list of the books up for grabs:

#1 – The Cloud of Unknowing

This is a Christian read from the Medieval period, translated into modern English by A. C. Spearing. Personally, I couldn’t really get into it as religious literature has never really appealed to me, but this is only due to my own beliefs.

Evoking an abstract, transcendent God beyond human understanding, The Cloud of Unknowing is a unique and enigmatic masterpiece of medieval English mysticism. It calls for intense contemplation, motivated by love and stripped of all thought, as the way to the Divine. Yet the author’s powerfully concrete language is delierately at odds with this spiritual doctrine, creating a rich work full of intriguing contradictions that speaks to us with liveliness and wit today. This edition also includes three other works attributed to the same author, thought to be a priest and Carthusian monk: The Mystical Theology of Saint DenisThe Book of Privy Counselling and An Epistle on Prayer  –  blurb.

#2 – The Unfortunate Traveller

Thomas Nashe was writing during the time of Shakespeare, yet his writing is surprisingly easy to understand. This is an anthology more than anything else, filled with stories such as The Unfortunate TravellerPierce PennilessThe Travellers of the Night and The Choice of Valentines. There are some annotations in this one, as I had to read the first part of Pierce Penniless as part of my degree, but it is otherwise untouched.

Thomas Nashe, a contemporary of Shakespeare, was writing in the 1590s, the zenith of the English Renaissance. Rebellious in spirit, conservative in philosophy, Nashe’s brilliant and comic invective earned him a reputatuon as the ‘English Juvenal’ who ‘carried the deadly stockado in his pen’. In its mingling of the devout and bawdy, scholarship and slang, its bruality and its constant awareness of the immanence of death, his work epitomizes the ambivalence of the Elizabethans. Above all, Nashe was a great entertainer, ‘his stories are told for pleasure in telling, his jokes are cracked for the fun of them, and his whole style speaks of a relish for living’  –  blurb.

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#3 – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

This Shakespearean comedy is arguably one of the most famous of all of Shakespeare’s plays. There is love, drama and magic, along with in-depth explanations of the play provided by Harold F. Brooks.

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” William Shakespeare’s most popular comedy, was written around 1594 or 95. It portrays the adventures of four young lovers and a group of amateur actors, their interactions with woodland fairies and a duke and duchess. Taking place in a mythical Athens and an enchanted forest, there is a handsome fairy king, a misguided parent, star-crossed lovers, a weaver who’s transformed into a half-donkey, wood sprites and elves. This work is widely performed around the world, and no wonder – it’s about the world’s most popular pastime, falling in love. But as Puck knows, falling in love can make fools of us all  –  Midsummer Night Film.

#4 – Lyrical Ballads

This poetry book provides many of the poems written by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, two of the most renowned Romantic poets. There are a couple of minor annotations written around “Cristabel”, but this is all.

Lyrical Ballads (1798-1800) constituted quite a poetic revolution, both in its attitude to its subject matter and its anti-conventional language. Those volumes and Wordsworth’s and Coleridge’s other major poems were central to the Rmantic perod and remain classic texts in our own time. Wordsworth focuses on ‘the essential passions of the heart’ and achieves a penetrating insight into love and deat, solitude and community. Coleridge explores a more fantastic and dreamlike imagination and also writes poems of quite conversational mediation  –  blurb.

#5 – The Mayor of Casterbridge

One of Thomas Hardy’s more famous works, The Mayor of Casterbridge considers issues of industrialisation as Hardy’s beloved countryside came under threat from a mechanisation indicative of the Victorian era. It’s a reasonably short book, broken up into short chapters that make it much more accessible.

None of the great Victorian novels is more vivid and more readable than The Mayor of Casterbridge. Set in the heart of Hardy’s Wessex, the ‘partly real, partly dream country’ he founded on his native Dorset, it charts the rise and self-induced downfall of a single ‘man of character’. The fast-moving and ingeniously contrived narrative is Shakespearean in its tragic force, and features some of the author’s most striking episodes and brilliant passages of description  –  blurb.

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#6 – Alice in Wonderland

I read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as part of my degree, but before I bought the adult version of the text, I accidentally bought this illustrated children’s version from Classic Starts. It really is lovely, but I’m afraid that I have no use for it!

A young girl named Alice takes two remarkable journeys where nothing is as it seems – and the most unusual characters are to be found. Things get curiouser and curiouser when Alice tumbles down a rabbit hole. She shrinks and grows larger, receives directions from a grinning cat, attends a mad tea-party, and plays an extraordinary game of croquet. Then, after stepping through a mirror, Alice has many other peculiar experiences, including a conversation with a giant egg named Humpty Dumpty and an encounter with two odd brothers, Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Expect the unexpected in these incredible stories  –  blurb.

#7 – Northanger Abbey

I’ve never really been a fan of Jane Austen. I can appreciate her writing style and I can understand why she is renowned; she really was an incredible writer, but her storylines simply don’t interest me. I need more action in my stories, so whilst I had to read this for my degree, it is not a book that I will be wanting to reread.

Northanger Abbey tells the story of a young girl, Catherine Morland, who leaves her sheltered, rural home to enter the busy, sophisticated world of Bath in the late 1790s. Austen observes with insight and humour the ineraction between Catherine and the various characters whom she meets there, and tracks her growing understanding of the world about her. In this, her first full-length novel, Austen also fixes her sharp, ironic gaze on other kinds of contemporary novel, especially the Gothic school made famous by Ann Radcliffe. Catherine’s reading becomes interwined with her social and romantic adventures, addingto the uncertainties and embarrassments she must undergo before finding happiness  –  blurb.

#8 – Our Mutual Friend

With seven hundred and seventy-five pages, Our Mutual Friend is one of Charles Dickens’ longest novels. I’ll be honest; I didn’t have time to read it this year and don’t think that I will ever get round to it, which means that this book has never been read!

Our Mutual Friend, Dickens’ last novel, gives one of his most comprehensive and penetrating accounts of Victorian society. Its vision of a culture stifled by materialistic values emerges not just through its central narratives, but through its apparently incidental characters and scenes. The chief of its several plots centres on John Harmon who returns to England as his father’s heir. He is believed drowned under suspicious circumstances – a situation convenient to his wish for anonymity until he can evaluate Bella Wilfer whom he must marry to secure his inheritance. The story is filled with colourful characters and incidents – the faded aristocrats and parvenus gathered at the Veneering’s dinner table, Betty Higden and her terror of the workhouse and the greedy plottings of Silas Wegg  –  blurb.

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#9 – The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

This book is still on my to-read list; I was given it in exchange for an honest review (which I’m sure that I’ll get around to soon), but the company accidentally sent me two copies of the book. I have no use for two of them and can’t send it back, so here we are.

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live. She’s a few months past the heart transplant that saved her. Life should be a joyful adventure. But her relationship with her mother is at breaking point and she doesn’t know where her father is. Have her friends left her behind? She’s felt so helpless for so long that she lets polls on her blog make decisions for her. She barely knows where to start on her own. Then there’s Lennox. Her best friend and one-time lover. He was sick too. He didn’t make it. How is she supposed to face all of this without him?  –  blurb.

#10 – Life Before Man

This is a Margaret Atwood book that I didn’t exactly get on with. You can read my brief review of it here. It was certainly the genre of this book that put me off more than anything else; the story had a lot of potential, but when I’m reading a book for pleasure and not for study-related purposes, I want to be enjoying every second of it.

Elizabeth, monstrous yet pitable; Nate, her husband, a patchword man, gentle, disillusioned; Lesje, a young woman at the natural history museum, for whom dinosaurs are as important as men. A sexual traingle; three people in trall to the tragicomedy we call love  –  blurb.

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#11 – The Penelopiad

Here is a book that I fully enjoyed, as you can see from my review. It’s a retelling of Homer’s The Odyssey through a feminist lens; Odysseus’ wife, Penelope, who is passive and seemingly unimportant in Homer’s original work, tells us her side of the story.

For Penelope, wife of Odysseus, running a kingdom while her husband is off fighting the Trojan war is not a simple business. As if it isn’t bad enough that he has been lured away fue to the shocking behaviour of her beautiful cousin Helen, Penelope must also bring up her wayward son, face down scandalous rumours and keep more than one hundred lustful, greedy, bloodthirsty suitors at bay. . . Perhaps not surprising then that it all ends in murder  –  blurb.

Well, that’s it! If you’re interested in any of these books, simply comment which one you would like and you shall be entered into the giveaway draw. I’ll contact the winner in one week’s time.

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Pure Insanity

It was all Alice’s fault, of course. If it hadn’t been for her, he would be back in his warm bed, head nestled slightly under the covers for warmth. That would have been his plan, but it hadn’t been up to him, not really.

I’m worried about our marriage, she’d said. I think we need to spend some time away together. It’ll help us.

He hadn’t been worried about anything until she’d pulled that one on him. What was he supposed to do, though, ignore her? Of course not, but he couldn’t afford a holiday, not after last Christmas.

Who goes camping in March, anyway? It was madness – pure insanity… then he remembered Alice’s face. I’m worried about our marriage, she’d said. Her eyes had been filling slightly with tears and her bottom lip had been quivering.

He sighed, and then continued to twist the tent peg into the ground.

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Word Count: 150

This short piece of creative writing was written for the weekly prompt over at Ad Hoc Fiction. For this competition, you have only 150 words to tell a story that includes each week’s prompt word; this week, the word was “twist”! Thank you so much for reading.

Sunday Scrawl #6

It’s Sunday again, which means that it’s time for the next Sunday Scrawl! This is a writing prompt competition that I have been running for a few weeks now; here are the rules:

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  1. Below, you will find this week’s photo prompt!
  2. Responses to the prompt can vary from prose/poetry writing to more photographs – there are no limits and no word counts.
  3. There are no tangible prizes for this challenge, but I will be reblogging the top entries!
  4. Feel free to use the photo below or the “Sunday Scrawl” icon to illustrate your responses (although I’d love to see some of your own illustrations, too)!
  5. Please remember to include a pingback to this post in your response.
  6. To enter, click on the “Mister Linky” icon at the bottom of this page!

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You can view my take here.

Sunday Scrawl #4

It’s Sunday again, which means that it’s time for the next Sunday Scrawl! This is a writing prompt competition that I have been running for a few weeks now; here are the rules:

Sunday Scrawl Logo

  1. Below, you will find this week’s photo prompt!
  2. Responses to the prompt can vary from prose/poetry writing to more photographs – there are no limits and no word counts.
  3. There are no tangible prizes for this challenge, but I will be reblogging the top entries!
  4. Feel free to use the photo below or the “Sunday Scrawl” icon to illustrate your responses (although I’d love to see some of your own illustrations, too)!
  5. Please remember to include a pingback to this post in your response.
  6. To enter, click on the “Mister Linky” icon at the bottom of this page!

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When I first took this photo, it inspired me to write a poem about being trapped in the education system, which you can read here. That’s my take on this week’s prompt; I can’t wait to read yours!                                                                     Click here to enter –>

No Man’s Forest

Here’s my attempt at the Sunday Scrawl prompt challenge, which I recently begun myself; it runs from Sunday on a weekly basis (you still have all of today and tomorrow to enter and a new challenge will be released tomorrow) If you want to know more about this challenge, check out the page here.


There’s a sound in the distance – not a flurry of feathers or a scampering of paws – this is a new noise, a stark contrast to the familiar chatter of the forest. It’s distant, but undeniable; my ears prick as the quietest of whispers scream one, single message: there’s an intruder in the forest.

It doesn’t take long for me to shake off my former drowsiness. As I race through the trees, I keep my body close to the ground, skimming across the leaf-strewn earth. I’m fast, and within minutes I have reached the source of the whispers. I duck behind the nearest tree, ears still pricked.10245908_229013817292235_2035726348_n.jpg

The whispers are stronger now; their once frail voices have become hard as they slice through the serene quiet. I watch as their owners reveal themselves: not one, but two. Men.

They laugh to one another, trampling through the undergrowth as frightened insects scarper from over their feet. I glance skyward to see all the nearby birds take off, fleeing for their lives.

It’s been a long time since man has dared enter our forest. At the border, they put signs up – signs that are meant to ward them off, but these men must have ignored the signs. They must have ignored the danger. I hesitate behind my tree, wishing I was bigger – wishing I was just the tiniest bit more powerful. I don’t pretend to like man. They’re loud and brutish, caring only for themselves, not the forest or its animals. Yet, if I could, I know that I’d stop them. I know that I’d try to warn them.

I glance to my left. A fellow rabbit has arrived behind the next tree, his ears pinned back and eyes wide. I try to catch his eye, but he’s far too preoccupied with something in the distance. I turn to look, too, and then I close my eyes. I thought it would take longer for them to get here.

From behind the men, on the wooden path that they tread, three pairs of narrowed, yellow wolf eyes stare back at us from the gloom.


If you want to enter the challenge, simply write a post based on the above picture, and click here enter! Thanks for reading!

Home

This short piece of creative writing is for the purposes of the competition at Friday Fictioneers, the task being to compose a story, based on the given photo prompt, in 100 words or less (my word count: 100). Enjoy!


Dale Rogerson

Credit: Dale Rogerson

I’m fed up with boxes. I’m fed up with their sticky labels dogeared corners.

At first, they excited me; whenever I looked at them, I saw hope. I was going to get out of this dingy, old flat and escape to the city, where I would finally be able to be myself. Now, though, all I feel is pain.

This town of mine, this strange, little town… it’s my home. I hadn’t really appreciated that before – not until today, my last day. I stare hard at the flowers on the kitchen table – at my last bit of home.


 Click on the blue froggy for more takes on this prompt!

Sunday Scrawl #3

For a long time now, my two main hobbies have been writing short stories and taking lots of photographs. It therefore makes perfect sense to me to start a photo prompt challenge of my own. Here are the rules:

Sunday Scrawl Logo

  1. Below, you will find this week’s photo prompt!
  2. Responses to the prompt can vary from prose/poetry writing to more photographs – there are no limits and no word counts.
  3. There are no tangible prizes for this challenge, but I will be reblogging the top entries!
  4. Feel free to use the photo below or the “Sunday Scrawl” icon to illustrate your responses (although I’d love to see some of your own illustrations, too)!
  5. Please remember to include a pingback to this post in your response.
  6. To enter, just click on the “Mister Linky” icon at the bottom of this page! (I was having some trouble with the “InLinkz” tool that you may have seen on my first Sunday Scrawl, so I’ve switched to Mr. Linky; hopefully this will work better.)

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