Best Fashion Books

For anybody interested in fashion, a beautiful coffee table tome is a must have to show off your style credentials. Whether you’re interested in vintage, designer or high street, there is a wealth of fashion books out there to tickle your fancy. Here is my top ten fashionista bibles.

[top10 position=”10″ bookname=”Facehunter” authorname=”Yvan Rodic” publisher=”Prestel” pages=”320″ amazonusa=”3791344536″ amazonuk=”0500515069″ amazonca=”B0085SG0IK” amazonimg=’‘ ]

You know you’ve made it in the style stakes if you’re snapped by this man.

After running his acclaimed Face Hunter blog for the last four years, Rodic has collected over 300 stunning photographs taken all around the world to produce this homage to street style. It is essentially a collectable version of his online outfit database, to dip into when you’re feeling in need of some inspiration. Naturally, he only photographs the most beautiful people in the trendiest of areas but they are all unlikely style icons, nonetheless. It is always far more interesting to have a nosey at what real people are wearing than magazine mannequins and this book will certainly give you the courage to try something new. An excellent book to kick-off this best fashion books list.

[top10 position=”9″ bookname=”The Way We Wore: A Life in Threads” authorname=”Robert Elms” publisher=”Picador” pages=”200″ amazonusa=”033042033X” amazonuk=”0330420321″ amazonca=”0330420321″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

Stories about clothes woven together to produce this touching autobiography.

Books about men’s fashion are strangely few and far between. If anyone was under the belief that men aren’t sartorially minded then this book is quick to dispel that particular myth. Journalist and former New Romantic, Elms, presents a wonderful account of clothes as a defining part of our identities. He remembers events by the outfit he wore at the time and milestones in his adolescence are identified by the acquisition a much sought after item of clothing. Perhaps most interesting of all, is his analysis of youth subcultures like the mods and punks and teds and how style has always been a source of pride for young British men seeking to make their mark in the world.

[top10 position=”8″ bookname=”Fresh Fruits” authorname=”Shoichi Aoiki” publisher=”Phaidon Press” pages=”272″ amazonusa=”0714845108″ amazonuk=”0714840831″ amazonca=”0714845108″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

Colourful, fearless and downright weird- welcome to the world of Japanese fashion.

Remember when Gwen Stefani sang about Harajuku girls and took four of them around with her wherever she went? This book demonstrates why so many people have become enchanted by Tokyo street style. Excerpts from the ever popular Fruits magazine were compiled to make this guide to the latest Japanese trends. Whilst the magazine was aimed at local teenagers this book has wider appeal as a something to buy for curiosity’s sake than for inspiration. Every person pictured is like a glorious cartoon character come to life and every photograph is accompanied by a blurb so that we can learn what exactly they were thinking, going out dressed like that!

[top10 position=”7″ bookname=”In Vogue – The Illustrated History of the World’s Most Famous Fashion Magazine” authorname=”Alberto Oliva & Norberto Angeletti” publisher=”Rizzoli” pages=”444″ amazonusa=”0847839451″ amazonuk=”0847839451″ amazonca=”0847839451″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

The history of haute couture shown through the glossy pages of Vogue.

Unlike most books fashion books, In Vogue doesn’t only offer gorgeous photographs by Irving Penn and Annie Liebovitz and many an iconic cover, it is actually packed full of things to read too! This book presents the story of the ultimate fashion magazine from its humble origins in 1909 to the present day, through stories from photographers and former editors. A nice touch is also the collection of stories by famous authors that have been published in Vogue over the years. A wonderfully varied and quite hefty book that is beautifully bound and perfect for showing off on your coffee table. Let’s face it, we’d expect nothing less.

[top10 position=”6″ bookname=”Cecil Beaton: The Art of the Scrapbook” authorname=”James Danziger” publisher=”Assouline Publishing” pages=”400″ amazonusa=”2759404722″ amazonuk=”2759404722″ amazonca=”2759404722″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

Fascinating peek into the diary of a legend.

Photographer for Vogue, Royal photographer, Oscar winner and documentary film-maker of the roaring twenties. For the first time, Cecil Beaton’s private scrapbooks are now available for everyone to look through and as well as providing a fascinating insight into the inspirations for his work, it also serves as a collection of memories from his extraordinary life. Here you will find a photo of Greta Garbo’s eyes alongside a watercolour painting and Beaton’s own notes. Less a lesson in fashion, this book teaches you how to transform your magazine clippings, sketches and postcards into a work of art in their own right. Perfect for anyone who likes to cut and paste their own mood boards but it is a little pricey.

[top10 position=”5″ bookname=”Vivienne Westwood” authorname=”Claire Wilcox” publisher=”Victoria & Albert Museum” pages=”224″ amazonusa=”185177405X” amazonuk=”185177405X” amazonca=”2759404722″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

The ultimate guide to the grand dame of British fashion.

There is no doubt that Vivienne Westwood is one of Britain’s biggest fashion exports and most eccentric designers. This book, which was published to coincide with an exhibition at the V&A museum serves as both a Westwood biography and design retrospective. It charts her origins in Derbyshire to dressing the punk generation and the Hollywood starlets of today, focusing on some of her most iconic designs (remember the platform shoes that defeated Naomi Campbell on the runway?) and the working methods she uses. If you can’t quite afford Westwood’s clothes, you can console yourself by cooing over the 300 beautiful pictures in this book.

[top10 position=”4″ bookname=”Vintage Fashion” authorname=”Emma Baxter-Wright” publisher=”Carlton Books Ltd” pages=”224″ amazonusa=”1844422682″ amazonuk=”1847325947″ amazonca=”1844422682″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

Oh this old thing- it’s vintage, darling! 

This book is an absolute must for anyone who, like me, adores rummaging through racks of vintage clothes but is never quite sure what they’re looking for exactly. A timeline of fashion from the turn of the last century to the present day, guides you through the key looks of each decade and is accompanied by a beautiful collection of old photographs and illustrations. The features on Dior’s New Look of the 1940s and 50s and the success of Biba in the 1960s make for particularly interesting reading. If you’re looking to recreate a specific style, the book provides a not too detailed account of techniques used and would be a great buy for anyone studying fashion.

[top10 position=”3″ bookname=”Icons of Men’s Style” authorname=”Josh Sims” publisher=”Laurence King Publishers” pages=”192″ amazonusa=”1856697223″ amazonuk=”1856697223″ amazonca=”1856697223″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

Clothes maketh the man.

The second book in my list dedicated to men’s fashion first caught my attention thanks to the rather dashing picture of Gregory Peck on the front cover. This comprehensive list of iconic items of men’s clothing includes the leather jacket, the boat shoe and the Panama hat. We learn about the brands that made them, usually for a special purpose, the faces that made them famous and how they have come to be staples in men’s wardrobes. This book is an easy read as well as being very cool. Expect to see pictures of Tom Cruise in his Top Gun aviator sunglasses alongside James Dean in his Blouson jacket. A must for the fashion conscious man.

[top10 position=”2″ bookname=” Fifty Dresses that Changed the World” authorname=”The Design Museum” publisher=”Conran” pages=”112″ amazonusa=”1840915382″ amazonuk=”B0050C87L2″ amazonca=”1840915382″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

The dresses every woman wished she owned.

More portable than some of the other tomes on this list, this book created by the Design Museum in London is a wonderful tribute to fashion design throughout the decades. It is fun and user-friendly and not just for the dedicated fashion student or Vogue devotee. Every iconic dress is included in this, from Marilyn’s white dress in The Seven Year Itch to Audrey’s little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Liz Hurley’s frankly bizarre safety-pin creation. Each dress is profiled and discussed to see just why it has come to have an enduring influence on pop culture.

[top10 position=”1″ bookname=”Style Diaries: World Fashion from Berlin to Tokyo” authorname=”Simone Werle” publisher=”Prestel ” pages=”400″ amazonusa=”3791344749″ amazonuk=”3791344749″ amazonca=”3791344749″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

The sartorialists on the street have their say.

If you don’t fancy trawling the internet for inspiration, this offers a nice selection of people who value personal style above fashion fads.

Like the Face Hunter book, Style Diaries focuses on real people who create their own distinctive style and want to share it with the world. Blogging is very much at the forefront of modern fashion and this book acknowledges that by showcasing the 50 best fashion bloggers from all over the world. Not only are we spoiled with pictures of their favourite outfits, but they let us into some of their style secrets and the cute facts about each blogger is a nice touch. If you don’t fancy trawling the internet for inspiration, this offers a nice selection of people who value personal style above fashion fads. A supremely fashionable end to this best fashion books for fashionistas.

Best Books For Toddlers

There is no greater joy than reading a great story to your toddler. After speaking to parents of toddlers, sitting in the library looking at what parents are reading to their toddlers and researching the best books for toddlers – I have compiled a list of books which represents the best stories that you should be reading to all your lovely little girls and boys. I hope you enjoy them toddlers (and parents).

[top10 position=”13″ bookname=”Good Night Gorilla” authorname=”Peggy Rathman” publisher=”Putnam Juvenile” pages=”40″ amazonusa=”0399224459″ amazonuk=”03992244592″ amazonca=”1405263768″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

 

A fun tale about a Zoo Keeper putting the zoo animals to bed. However, as he is going around wishing them all good night a mischievous Gorilla takes his keys and begins to make some trouble. Good Night Gorilla is quite a funny book that will keep both toddlers and parents thoroughly entertained. It has 34 pages of beautiful and vivid pictures. Absolute must-read to any cheeky monkeys.

[top10 position=”12″ bookname=”Share!” authorname=”Anthea Simmons & Georgie Birkett” publisher=”Andersen Press” pages=”32″ amazonusa=”184939220X” amazonuk=”184939220X” amazonca=”1849392951″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

A little girl has a younger sibling who she doesn’t want to share with. As the day goes on and her Mummy tells her more and more she learns the importance of sharing and begins to enjoy it.

A lovely way to promote sharing amongst brothers and sisters and transform it into something they want to do. The ending in particular is lovely and very heartfelt. Recommended read to toddlers with younger siblings.

[top10 position=”11″ bookname=”Funny Face” authorname=”Anna Walker” publisher=”Kane/Miller Book Publishers” pages=”28″ amazonusa=”1935279114″ amazonuk=”0143502352″ amazonca=”1935279114″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

Anna Walker is one of the best toddler-authors and this book is a great example of this. Human beings are capable of showing how they are feeling by their facial expressions and Funny Face is fantastic for encouraging children and indeed yourself to make different faces at one another to show emotion and expressions. Each page shows a different emotion and will have your toddler laughing and experimenting to try different facial expressions, from happy to sad, scared to impressed. Great fun for both toddler and parent.

[top10 position=”10″ bookname=”Dear Zoo ” authorname=”Rod Campbell” publisher=”Little Simon” pages=”18″ amazonusa=”141694737X” amazonuk=”0230747728″ amazonca=”0230528937″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

 

30 years after this book was first published it still remains one of the most recommended books by parents and could not be missed from this best books for toddlers list.

A young child wants nothing more than to have the perfect pet to look after. So much so, that the child writes to the Zoo asking them to please send him the perfect pet, which they do. Once the pet arrives, the child sends it back to the zoo as there is something strange about it. The zoo then tries again with a different animal, but again the child sends it back. The zoo continues sending animals until they send the perfect pet. This interactive books allows your child to pull flaps up, look behind crates and even push a button that creates the noise of the animal. Another book that will provide both the reader and child a lot of entertainment.

[top10 position=”9″ bookname=”Twinkle Lullaby Book” authorname=”Ladybird” publisher=”Ladybird” pages=”12″ amazonusa=”1409308480″ amazonuk=”1409308480″ amazonca=”” amazonimg=’‘ ]

 

 A book of well-known lullabies that has shapes and pictures around them and asks your child if they are able to see the little pictures that are inside the bigger ones.

It also has fun pictures relating to the particular lullaby and has different material and textures to feel.

[top10 position=”8″ bookname=”Ten Tiny Babies” authorname=”Karen Katz” publisher=”Little Simon” pages=”32″ amazonusa=”B003D7JV6Q” amazonuk=”1442413948″ amazonca=”” amazonimg=’‘ ]

A story of babies who are all playing and having loads of fun bouncing and being silly until it’s time to go to bed.

It follows the babies one by one whilst they get together until the ten of them are all ready to say good night.

[top10 position=”7″ bookname=”Very First Numbers” authorname=”Claire Ever ” publisher=”Usborne” pages=”18″ amazonusa=”0794523544″ amazonuk=”0794523544″ amazonca=”” amazonimg=’‘ ]

This first number book teaches your child to count up to five and then back down again. It used lively pictures to do so and introduces animals that they may have not encountered yet. The book is well made and should last a long time, which is great as children love to look at the pretty and engaging pictures.

[top10 position=”6″ bookname=”Opposites” authorname=”Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler” publisher=”MacMillan Children’s Books” pages=”12″ amazonusa=”0230753175″ amazonuk=”” amazonca=”” amazonimg=’‘ ]

 

Using the very popular characters from The Gruffalo stories this book shows and teaches children about opposites.The differences are shown through many animals of all shapes and sizes through their speed, size, expressions and height.Brilliant way of introducing your child to The Gruffalo books and how we are all unique. Very recommended to teach your young ones some very important things about the world.

[top10 position=”5″ bookname=”Waiting for Baby” authorname=”Rachel Fuller” publisher=”Child’s Play” pages=”12″ amazonusa=”1846432758″ amazonuk=”” amazonca=”” amazonimg=’‘ ]

 

Waiting For Baby is an excellent way of creating excitement around the anticipation of a new arrival to the family. It follows a little boy as he and his family get ready for the new baby. This encourages questions and helps to get your child to feel involved with everything surrounding the new addition to the family such as ultrasounds, feeling the baby kick, helping choose clothes, decorating baby’s room, attending doctors appointments and then finally waiting for Mummy, Daddy and baby to arrive back from the hospital.

[top10 position=”4″ bookname=”The Very Hungry Caterpillar” authorname=”Eric Carle” publisher=”Philomel” pages=”13″ amazonusa=”0399226907″ amazonuk=”” amazonca=”” amazonimg=’‘ ]

 

A timeless story that follows the progression of a caterpillar from when it is an egg on a leaf. It wakes up and immediately begins to forage for food eating everything in its sight until he gets a tummy ache because he was so greedy. He begins to feel better and then forms a cocoon and changes into a magnificent butterfly. A great way of showing your child where butterflies come from originally.

[top10 position=”3″ bookname=”Best Bear ” authorname=”Emma Dodd” publisher=”Good Books” pages=”24″ amazonusa=”1561486388″ amazonuk=”” amazonca=”” amazonimg=’‘ ]

 

Best Bear is a lovely story of a boy and his favourite bear at bedtime told through a delightful rhyme. This is a soothing nighttime tale of how his best friend ‘Bear’ protects him from the dark and helps him to be brave before going to sleep.

This is a perfect way to alleviate the fear of the dark that some children may have.

[top10 position=”2″ bookname=”Moo, Baa, La La La!” authorname=”Sandra Boynton” publisher=”Little Simon” pages=”14″ amazonusa=”067144901X” amazonuk=”” amazonca=”” amazonimg=’‘ ]

 

Truly entertaining, this poem book allows you and your child to copy animal noises whilst following the story which is thoroughly hilarious for children.

Moo, Baa, La La La teaches your child to associate certain noises with specific animals.

[top10 position=”1″ bookname=”Where’s Spot?” authorname=”Eric Hill” publisher=”Warne” pages=”24″ amazonusa=”0399207589″ amazonuk=”” amazonca=”” amazonimg=’‘ ]

 

No list of the best books for toddlers would be complete without one that features the lovable puppy Spot. This lift-the-flap-book follows Spots Mummy Sally looking for him but coming across many other animals before finding her pup. Tons of fun can be had with uncovering the hidden animal in behind items in Spots house, an amusing way of having your child guess who Sally is going to find next!

This best books for toddlers list contains only some of the great books that are available to you parents and all are thoroughly recommended. Some will provide you and your toddler great moments of laughter and others will give you a great teaching tool. Whichever book you decide to read your lovely toddler next – I hope you both have the utmost joy discovering the vast world of children’s books together and if you or your toddler have any particular favourites that weren’t mentioned in this list, please share it with us in the comments section.

Best Mystery Books

For my first article with Author Attic, I was asked to put my powers of deduction to the test and sniff out the best mystery books around. To me,  mystery fiction is not a fixed genre but can encompass elements of crime fiction, spy thrillers and even the supernatural. They are books to keep you hooked. Books to curl up with on rainy afternoons, to eagerly delve into on your daily commute and to keep you awake long into the night with their twists and turns.

 Anyway, I’m sure the suspense is killing you. Here are my top ten best mystery books

[top10 position=”10″ bookname=”The Riddle Of The Sands” authorname=”Erskine Childers” publisher=”Adlard Coles” pages=”288″ amazonusa=”1408129418″ amazonuk=”0141197994″ amazonca=”0099582791″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

He set out as a sailor and returned as a spy. This pioneering spy novel is packed with adventure.

When Carruthers is invited on a sailing holiday to the Baltic with his friend, he looks forward a comfortable stay on board a yacht. Imagine his surprise when he learns that all they have is a rowboat and learns that the real reason for the trip is to keep an eye on some German warships that are gathering in secret on the Frisian islands. Who are the mysterious sailors they meet along the way? Can they even trust their fellow Englishmen? Although some of the naval terminology may go over your head, it’s hard not to immerse yourself in the reluctant heroes’ treacherous adventure. The book also includes a selection of maps, so you can follow the journey more closely. An oldie but most definitely a goodie.

[top10 position=”9″ bookname=”The Redbreast” authorname=”Jo Nesbo” publisher=”Harper” pages=”576″ amazonusa=”0062068423″ amazonuk=”0099546779″ amazonca=”0062068423″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

 

The first of the Harry Hole novels to be translated from Norwegian to English and my first Nesbo read.

There is something about the land of icy fjords, misty mountains and long winter nights that lends itself perfectly to a good old-fashioned mystery. But the romantic Scandi landscape doesn’t appear in this novel, where ghosts from the Second World War haunt the investigation of a modern day assassination attempt and pieces of the puzzle are brought together through a series of flashbacks between the Eastern Front in 1942, war-torn Vienna and the neo-Nazi underbelly of downtown Oslo. Nesbo’s writing is fabulously fast-paced and his charmingly incompetent , alcoholic detective often adds some much needed comic relief. It was a novel that honestly kept me guessing until the very end with mistaken identities and complicated past lives. It left some tantalizing threads loose at the end that will undoubtedly keep Inspector Hole (and myself!) busy in the future.

[top10 position=”8″ bookname=”Death Comes to Pemberley” authorname=”P.D. James” publisher=”Vintage” pages=”304″ amazonusa=”0307950654″ amazonuk=”0571288006″ amazonca=”0307362035″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

 

This is the crime novel that Jane Austen never wrote!

Six years after Elizabeth and Mr Darcy overcome their pride and prejudices, they become entangled in their very own murder mystery in the grounds of their house, Pemberley. Lydia Wickham, Elizabeth’s sister arrives the night before the annual Pemberley ball and screams that her husband and his friend have been killed out in the woods (which are incidentally said to be haunted). P.D. James adopts a writing style worthy of Austen and I quickly felt transported back to the Regency era. Whilst it is interesting to see how she can cope solving a crime without her beloved forensic science, this book is perhaps most intriguing because it helps shed light on the biggest mystery for Pride and Prejudice fans. What happened next?!

[top10 position=”7″ bookname=”The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” authorname=”John le Carré” publisher=”Penguin” pages=”240″ amazonusa=”0143121421″ amazonuk=”0141194529″ amazonca=”0143171119″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

 

First book in the George Smiley trilogy. Are there really only good guys and bad guys?

I originally bought this book  for my Dad, hoping he would enjoy the tale of espionage during the Cold War but being feeling uninspired by the prospect of reading it myself. That all changed after watching Gary Oldham play the enigmatic George Smiley in the film version of another le Carré novel, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and I decided to give The Spy a whirl. I really enjoyed the double and triple bluffs that the British and German spies aim at each other as Alex Leamas carries out his final assignment in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. The world of these spies is grittily realistic, nothing like James Bond’s glamorous lifestyle but it is all the more fascinating for it.

[top10 position=”6″ bookname=”The Moonstone” authorname=”Wilkie Collins” publisher=”Dover Publications” pages=”432″ amazonusa=”0486424510″ amazonuk=”1853260444″ amazonca=”” amazonimg=’‘ ]

There is much debate as to whether this is the first detective story in English, but it’s certainly one of the best.

Sergeant Cuff is brought in to investigate the theft of The Moonstone, a dazzling diamond looted from an Indian statue and given to the beautiful Rachel Verminder on her 18th birthday. It was stolen during a party the very same evening and the Sergeant has his work cut out since no-one present in the house is above suspicion. What’s more, the Hindus believe that the jewel carries a curse with it and a group of Indian priests are also eager to see its safe return. We see the events unfold through the eyes of various members of the household so that we can form judgements for ourselves, but there are more than enough red herrings to fool even the most budding amateur sleuths along the way. The Moonstone certainly is a gem of a mystery novel.

[top10 position=”5″ bookname=”The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Stories” authorname=”Edgar Allan Poe” publisher=”Signet Classics” pages=”416″ amazonusa=”0451530314″ amazonuk=”0141439815″ amazonca=”0099540835″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

Number 5 in this Best Mystery Books list is a deliciously spooky collection from the American master of macabre.

Like most people I was introduced to Poe through his infamous poem, The Raven when I was a child and, being a bit of a morbid Mary, I was instantly hooked. Now I’m older, I still appreciate Poe’s stylish writing but have a new-found interest in his detective stories featuring amateur detective Dupin. In The Murders in the Rue Morgue, the premise is, in typical Poe fashion,  grotesque a mother and daughter have been found murdered in their home. The mother has almost been decapitated, whilst her daughter’s body has been stuffed up the chimney. Dupin, along with his with his fierce intellect and obsession with logic has a desire to find out the truth and wants to solve the murder for his own personal amusement. A clear influence on Arthur Conan Doyle, Dupin could almost rival Holmes for the title of slickest detective ever.

[top10 position=”4″ bookname=”Great Expectations” authorname=”Charles Dickens” publisher=”Dover Publications” pages=”400″ amazonusa=”0486415864″ amazonuk=”1853260045″ amazonca=”0486415864″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

 

My reader’s expectations were certainly met in this tale of crime, class differences and cracking characters.

There is a wonderful mystery running as a central theme throughout every Dickens novel and it was extremely difficult to pick just one. I settled on Great Expectations in the end, because I think it is one of his darker works. Although I found it quite difficult to wade through Dickens’ wordy prose in places, the complex web of characters continued to reel me in. The novel follows young orphaned Pip’s rise in society thanks to a mystery benefactor. Since he assumes that this must be the wealthy but peculiar Miss Havisham, whom he visited in order to provide a companion to her daughter Estella, Pip conveniently begins to forget other characters from his past, who may soon catch up with him and provide answers that he certainly didn’t expect to find.

[top10 position=”3″ bookname=”The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” authorname=”Sir Arthur Conan Doyle” publisher=”Dover Publications” pages=”240″ amazonusa=”0486474917″ amazonuk=”148232587X” amazonca=”” amazonimg=’‘ ]

“My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don’t know.”

No best mystery books list can be complete without Sherlock Holmes in it. A collection of twelve short but utterly satisfying treats, where we are amazed by Sherlock’s idiosyncrasies and powers of deduction. I read this after watching the wonderful BBC series starring Benedict Cumberbatch because I was so drawn to the eccentric main character. In fact, it is his personal quirks and unfaltering reasoning rather than the strength of the plot, which make the Holmes stories such good reading. It is amazing how glaringly obvious it all seems once Sherlock has applied his logic to the mystery. From a jewel thief in The Blue Carbuncle to Irene Adler, the femme fatale  in A Scandal in Bohemia, watching Sherlock outwit all of the scoundrels in London is a pure delight.

[top10 position=”2″ bookname=”The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” authorname=”Stieg Larsson” publisher=”Vintage” pages=”672″ amazonusa=”0307949486″ amazonuk=”1847245455″ amazonca=”0143170120″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

First book in the Millennium Trilogy starring Lisbeth Salander has been a phenomenal success and deservedly so.

It really would be possible to dedicate a whole list to Nordic Noir fiction because the Scandinavians are on to a good thing at the moment. Although this is more of a slow burner than the Nesbo novel, Larsson’s main characters, disgraced journalist Blomkvist and the tough girl security specialist Lisbeth Salander are much more likable if not an unlikely double act. When they are called to investigate a 50 year old murder, which the victim’s uncle believes was committed by another family member, they are unaware of the danger that awaits them. Perhaps not one for the faint hearted as it is rather violent at times!

[top10 position=”1″ bookname=”Murder on the Orient Express” authorname=”Agatha Christie” publisher=”Harper” pages=”336″ amazonusa=”0062073508″ amazonuk=”0007119313″ amazonca=”0062073508″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

 

You knew it was coming- Agatha Christie demonstrates why she is the best selling author of all time.

You would be forgiven for thinking that Christie is a little dated by now, but the charm of her blunt and brilliant detective is enduring and she is the queen of the surprise ending.

The master of the classic whodunnit detective story triumphs with this novel in the Hercule Poirot series. A man has been    discovered dead on the Orient Express train, and was killed sometime on the journey between Istanbul and Calais. The door to his cabin was locked from the inside. The murderer is still at large on board and the (only) famous mustachioed Belgian detective must be the one to expose him. However faced with an array of misleading pieces of evidence, is the murderer playing games with him? You would be forgiven for thinking that Christie is a little dated by now, but the charm of her blunt and brilliant detective is enduring and she is the queen of the surprise ending.

What do you think of my choices for the best mystery books list? Have I left anything important out? Let me know!

Best Roald Dahl Books

Writing a Roald Dahl Books List is a very troublesome task, the difficulty lies in organizing a suitable and yet fair ranking. I must call upon my eight year old self, don’t worry readers she will not be busy, more than likely sitting in a corner reading a book and giggling away to herself. So, when it comes to the magnificent work of Roald Dahl, I just need to ask, what did his stories truly mean to me? What stories always left me in a fit of laughter?  What stories and words repulsed me to the point of doing a very, very unattractive face while reading? What stories made me crave mischief and adventure? And most importantly, who were the characters that made me feel so safe and that I belonged?

Roald Dahl Books List – Top 10

In case you were robbed of a childhood and missed out on the weird and wonderful world of Dahl, here is a list of my all time favourites. All books displayed below are from my childhood and will always have a place in my heart.

[top10 position=”10″ bookname=”The Minpins” authorname=”Roald Dahl” publisher=”Puffin ” pages=”48″ amazonusa=”0142414743″ amazonuk=”0141501782″ amazonca=”0142414743″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

The Minpins was my first Roald Dahl story so it arguably deserves a place in my Roald Dahl Books List. I was introduced to the story in Primary school. We were all ushered outside for story time and Mrs Taylor sat down and all of us children gathered round and took a seat on the grass. The story’s magnificent description of forestry and Little Billy’s surroundings, made sitting outside become a part of the story. The tale is about a young boy called Little Billy who is told to never go into the forest opposite his home. He is warned of a vicious monsters but his hunger for the luscious wild strawberries entices him into the forest. It is during his adventure he duels a monster, rides a swan and befriends the Minpins.

The rhythmical language made the storytelling fun and gave us the children a chance to interact. I remember whenever we read along and recognized a rhyme, we were allowed to shout it out. With characters such as Little Billy and Don Mini, it was a very noisy story time. The rhythm within Dahl’s writing is what first entertained me, within his rhymes, repetition and alliteration a child will never get bored of the creative word play. My favourites were the “Red-Hot Smoke-Belching Gruncher” and the “Terrible Bloodsuckling Toothpluckling Stonechuckling Spittler”. It’s filled with so many fun made up words; something that always will be a part of Dahl’s brilliant charm. This story was published in 1991 just after Dahl’s death in November 1990 and is one of his fewer book not illustrated by Quentin Blake. Patrick Benson’s illustrations are beautiful and fills the pages with different various shades of greens and browns. The illustrations fit the tone of the book perfectly. It is believed that The Minpins was Roald Dahl’s last contribution to Children’s literature.

[top10 position=”9″ bookname=”Danny the Champion of the World” authorname=”Roald Dahl” publisher=”Puffin” pages=”224″ amazonusa=”0142410330″ amazonuk=”0141346434″ amazonca=”0142410330″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

Danny the Champion of the World managed to squeeze its way into my Roald Dahl Books List based on its sentimental family values. The story was originally published in 1975 and adapted into a TV movie in 1989. Danny is a young boy who absolutely adores his dad in every way, being raised by him alone, he is his hero. They live in a blue caravan and live a happy and peaceful life until one day Danny learns that his dad has been breaking the law. They work together and attempt to pull off a daring and devilish plot against the wealthy and horrible, red faced Mr Victor Hazell.

I remember reading this book and wishing I could have the opportunity to go hunting for Pheasants. The story’s play on family bonding and developing father and son relationships is very touching. I have recently re-read this book and with no longer having my Dad in my life, reading made me appreciate my own memories a lot more. My favourite part of the story is how in awe Danny is of his Dad. When reading the story you truly believe in his appreciation and respect towards his hero. Roald Dahl never had a father growing up so I wonder if this story was based on how great he was of a dad or whether he created a character based upon his perfect idea of who his dad was. Lastly it is this story that carries one of my favourite Roald Dahl quotes,

“When you grow up and have children of your own, do please remember something important, a stodgy parent is no fun at all. What a child wants and deserves is a parent who is SPARKY”.

[top10 position=”8″ bookname=”Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” authorname=”Roald Dahl” publisher=”Puffin” pages=”176″ amazonusa=”0142410314″ amazonuk=”0141322713″ amazonca=”0142410314″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

It comes as no surprise that a story involving chocolate will be in my Top 10 Roald Dahl Books List. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is well and truly one of my favourite stories, so much so when I visited Alton Towers I went onto the ride twice! I know it’s besides the point because we are here to discuss books but the ride is great, it’s made up of Quentin Blake’s illustrations so it really is like a Roald Dahl story coming to life. Right now, back to the story. Charlie Bucket is from a poor home, loves chocolate and loves his family more. Mr Willy Wonka is a wondrous inventor of chocolate and is opening his factory gates to five lucky children who have found the lucky golden ticket.

With this story it is the book’s success that fascinates me most, for instance when I see a spoilt girl, I whisper, “What a Veruca Salt” to myself. Dahl has created such distinctive characters and personalities, making his characters very popular. Surprisingly I have never seen the two films based upon Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and really wouldn’t want too. I like that Roald Dahl wrote a story with such vivid description that I created my own image and would not want that spoiled. The songs I loved to read, I never got a chance to own any Roald Dahl poetry books but his ridiculous rhymes always entertained me. As a child reading I was of course mesmerized by the imaginative candy, the everlasting gobstopper, the three course dinner chewing gum and the mushrooms that spurt whipped cream, yummy! It’s this crazy imaginative kind of language that made me a little weird as a child. In school I soon began making up odd words and stories just because it’s what I thought was my kind of fun, I was inspired. It was these imaginative ramblings that kept kids entertained enough to not want to rush off and watch TV but to stay and go on an adventure with Roald Dahl. It saddens me to know that after Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator another part of the story was in the works to be written but never got finished. Imagine another wondrous adventure with Mr Willy Wonka…

[top10 position=”7″ bookname=”James and the Giant Peach” authorname=”Roald Dahl” publisher=”Puffin” pages=”144″ amazonusa=”0140374248″ amazonuk=”0141346310″ amazonca=”0142410365″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

In my opinion James and the Giant Peach is one of Roald Dahl’s darkest and most creepiest books. James lives a happy life with his parents until one day they are eaten by an escaped rhino, he is then sent to live with his evil aunt Spiker and Sponge. Day after day of being verbally abused he runs into his garden to cry and meets a strange old man who gives him a sack of glowing crocodile tongues. With the promise of magic and happiness James runs home, trips up and spills the contents onto a peach tree. The tree becomes enchanted and one peach grows to the size of a large house. One day James goes to eat the peach and finds a tunnel and follows it inside. This is where he meets his crew of insects and sets way to a marvellous adventure. I loved the sense of adventure and escape when I read this book. As a child it was my first time reading and being able to sympathize with a character. I longed for James Henry Trotter to be free and escape from his evil aunt Sponge and Spiker. Another one of Dahl’s attributes is his fearless creation of characters, only a brave writer would write about a group of squirmy insects and make them loyal companions.

It makes me giggle to think Roald Dahl originally wrote this story about a giant cherry but changed it because a peach is, “prettier, bigger and squishier”. Due to Roald Dahl’s wacky and sometimes dark sense of humour, the story contained some potentially frightening content causing it to be #56 on the American Library Association’s Top 100 list of challenged books.

[top10 position=”6″ bookname=”George’s Marvellous Medicine” authorname=”Roald Dahl” publisher=”Puffin” pages=”96″ amazonusa=”0142410357″ amazonuk=”014132273X” amazonca=”0142410357″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

It’s because of George’s Marvellous Medicine that I wanted to cause and revel in huge amounts of mischief, just like George. One day George grows tiresome of his grizzly old grouch of a Grandma and George wants to teach her a lesson. So when it’s time for her medicine, George concocts his own bubbling and marvellous medicine. It was this story that prompted me and my cousin Clare to create our own mixtures using everything in the house. Honestly we used to raid my Nan’s bathroom pantry and stir everything together, from toothpaste, shampoos, shower gels and conditioners, basically anything we could get our little mitts on. Sorry Nan…

This book has been criticised for its structure and abrupt ending but I loved the shortness of the story. It was always my perfect pick for a quick short read while in my dad’s car or in the garden on my tyre swing on a warm summer’s day.  Definitely one of my favourites for encouraging all kinds of mischief and mayhem. Thinking back I remember using it as a how to guide for a marvellous medicine. Dahl describes every product from every room to put into the medicine. Thankfully, nothing spectacular ever came of any of my attempts of a marvellous medicine.

[top10 position=”5″ bookname=”Fantastic Mr Fox” authorname=”Roald Dahl” publisher=”Puffin” pages=”80″ amazonusa=”0142423432″ amazonuk=”0141322659″ amazonca=”0142410349″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

Fantastic Mr Fox is truly one of the greats of Roald Dahl’s writing career, it is fun to read and has a character you are cheering on throughout the whole story. Mr Fox frequently steals chickens from the farm, which makes farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean very angry. One day the farmers hatch a plan to capture the troublesome fox and stop him stealing once and for all. However Mr Fox has a fantastic plan of his own. This was another one of my favourite stories that I shared with my dad. I was obsessed with one illustration in particular, when the farmers shoot off Mr Fox’s tail and Farmer Bean is left holding just the furry tail. That page and part of the story used to leave me in a fit of giggles.

I really appreciated the wholesome family values instilled in the story, how Mr Fox frequently risks his life to steal food just so his family never go hungry. The film was recently animated into a children’s filming starring the voice of George Clooney. The film was a strange adaptation but captured the right strange and sinister sense of humour, I think Dahl would have been very proud. Before I finish, I would like to share one of my favourite extracts from the story. It was this part that would make me squirm and feel nauseous,

“His food was doughnuts and goose livers. He mashed the livers into a disgusting paste and then stuffed the paste into the doughnuts. This diet gave him a tummy ache and a beastly temper”.

This is evidence of the perfect word play skills and vivid description that Dahl possessed when he wrote, when he writes, we see, smell and hear all of his words right down to the pits of our stomachs.

[top10 position=”4″ bookname=”The Witches” authorname=”Roald Dahl” publisher=”Puffin” pages=”208″ amazonusa=”014241011X” amazonuk=”0141346418″ amazonca=”014241011X” amazonimg=’‘ ]

As strange as it sounds this book gave me a sort of comfort. As a young girl I was afraid of my step mum and the thought of her being one of the witches from a Roald Dahl book gave me an excuse to use for her behaviour. She really wasn’t that bad but you know little girls and an over consuming amount of imagination, plus a Roald Dahl book collection, it was never going to end well. This story was my first real supernatural tale and I enjoyed the magic, the spells and the evil head witch. The Witches exist and walk the earth, they disguise themselves as desirable lovely ladies. However they intend on murdering every child because they despise them greatly. A young boy with the help of his grandma plan to take on the Witches and rid them of the world for good. My favourite character was always the Grandmother, I loved how warm and familiar she felt when reading. Roald Dahl said in an interview that he based the Grandmother’s character on his own mother.  

This was another scary tale but I relished in the weirdness and the creepiness created by Dahl. The story was adapted into a film in 1990 starring Anjelica Huston and Rowan Atkinson. The film scared me so much as a child, when the head witch revealed herself by pulling of her wig displaying her bald and blistered head and her toes and nose grew, I hated it. When reading the story Roald Dahl’s narration gave me a form of comfort and security, I always felt safe and looked after while reading.

[top10 position=”3″ bookname=”The BFG” authorname=”Roald Dahl” publisher=”Puffin” pages=”208″ amazonusa=”0142410381″ amazonuk=”0141346426″ amazonca=”0142410381″ amazonimg=’‘ ]

Oh whizz pop, The BFG is one of my favourites based on the narrative, when reading the Roald Dahl type story telling was very comforting. The BFG is a dream catching giant but some of the other giants are not so nice and want to gobble up all the sleeping children. The BFG is a big friendly giant and with Sophie in his front pocket they are going to take on the Bloodbottler, the Fleshlumpeater and all their rot some friends. Obviously he is the Big Friendly Giant so he was always going to be a character you fall in love with but the giant’s attitude, tone of voice and behaviour, it’s all so calming and comforting, making it a perfect bedtime story. The main character, Sophie, is one of my favourite child characters from the Dahl books just because of her orphan background and brave little self.

 

Another reason for The BFG to be number three on my Roald Dahl Books List is because of the never-ending list of imaginative words, every giant character has an absurdly creative name, The Childchewer, The Bonecruncher and The Gizzardgulpher. It also created the amazing word The Snozzcumber, the giant’s food that tastes of clockcoaches and slime wanglers!

[top10 position=”2″ bookname=”The Twits” authorname=”Roald Dahl” publisher=”Puffin” pages=”96″ amazonusa=”014241039X” amazonuk=”0141346396″ amazonca=”014241039X” amazonimg=’‘ ]

The Twits is my most read book from my Roald Dahl Books List, when I was younger it was my go to book when going on a journey. The Twits  is about a gruesome twosome who never wash, always fight, are just revolting and hate all the pesky children. But worst of all, Mr and Mrs Twit keep monkeys in their back garden in cages and it is time for the monkeys to get revenge. I would love to believe that these characters are based on people who Roald Dahl had actually encountered and met in his life, because they are such hilariously disgusting characters.

It is this story that holds a place in my heart, it was my favourite bedtime story. My dad’s fun and playful personality when reading me the story always made it one of my favourites! My favourite chapter in particular was the bird pie, my dad used to always tell me that in the illustration (page 40, if anyone is interested) that the scrappy style of drawing is birds legs left stuck on a branch. The thought of a bird flying away and leaving his legs behind, used to make me laugh hysterically. It was also this story that made me think, that every man with a beard had cornflakes hidden within it.

[top10 position=”1″ bookname=”Matilda” authorname=”Roald Dahl” publisher=”Puffin” pages=”240″ amazonusa=”0670824399″ amazonuk=”0224083880″ amazonca=”0140379851″ amazonimg=’
‘ ]

The reason why the amazingly inspirational story of Matilda has my top spot on my Roald Dahl Books List is because it is the character I could always identify with most. For the readers who don’t know Matilda is about a little girl who gets ignored by her family and has always felt like she didn’t belong. She finds comfort in reading and developing her talents whereas her family thinks she should watch more TV. One day she goes to school and meets the mean headmistress The Trunchball, Matilda and Miss Honey decide it’s time to put her wicked ways to an end.

 

…reading Matilda as a child always gave me comfort because, here was a girl that allowed me to be myself and I felt accepted…

I was always nicknamed Bookworm in school and at home. My love of reading was not always accepted in school by some children, they just didn’t understand the enjoyment that could come from someone else’s story and someone else’s words. So reading Matilda as a child always gave me comfort because, here was a girl that allowed me to be myself and I felt accepted, this character was just like me. Inspired after reading I would walk to the library every day in my summer holidays pick my books and sit on my tyre swing and read the afternoon away. I loved walking to the library I felt independent and just like Matilda. I was so obsessed, that for a little while I was convinced there was a chance I could have had magical powers. Just so you know it never happened.

Jenny Han’s Summer Romance Trilogy

If you are looking for a sparkling and spellbinding summer romance (only in the fictional sense of course)  then allow me to introduce you to Jenny Han. She is a writer for the young adult contemporary romance genre and children’s books. I first discovered her writing when reading a book review for “The Summer I Turned Pretty”, her writing was described as a “Novelized Taylor Swift song” and with that simple sentence, I was completely sold.

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han (Published by Puffin, 2010)

Living in London and growing up watching non stop American TV dramas, I couldn’t help but want to escape into a world of American High School cliches. Of course I cannot just pack my bags and go, I am just way too sensible and boring. So I decided to do the next best thing and go and purchase, “The Summer I Turned Pretty”. I was immediately mesmerized by the floral and feminine book art. Anything sprinkled in flowers and brightly colored would attract me from miles away. The story is a magnificent escape and the idealic setting described makes you feel like you are running on the beach and falling in love with the boy that has never noticed you, all for the first time.

 

The Summer Series

The story was a magnificent escape and the descriptions about the settings made you feel like you were running on the beach and falling in love with the boy that has never noticed you, all for the first time.

The charming summer story is told in the protagonists perspective, Isabel. Being a young lady and quite a girly girl, I really enjoyed reading the story from Isabel’s perspective because the story became increasingly relevant and the characters relatable. It may well be because I am a hopeless romantic or just a girl who loves getting lost in an enchanting tale, but I enjoyed being able to relate to her emotions, understanding how she felt and what she was thinking. There are times in the story when Isabel’s character acts immature and selfish but this was insightful as it showed the character’s diversity, making her seem all the more  real. The story centers around Isabel going to her Mother’s closest friend’s beach house for the Summer and being noticed for the first time by two brothers, Conrad and Jeremiah. When you start reading Isabel’s story it is hard not to like the brothers (I had a favourite but I will not be sharing who it was, all I will say is, I was swooning while reading, if that is even possible) Sadly the story isn’t all flowers and butterflies, it also tackles hard hitting subjects evolving around family relationships.

It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han (Published by Puffin, 2011)

I just couldn’t get enough of the love triangle and the story, I was disappointed once I had finished. Lucky for me, Jenny Han expanded the story into a short series. “It’s Not Summer Without You” was the second book in the series. This book is set a year later and sees Isabel returning to the beach for the summer. Conrad has disappeared and it is time for Isabel to decide what she really wants and who she really wants. The third installment is called, “We’ll Always Have Summer”. I don’t want to say much about the story’s blurb incase you haven’t read the second book but a huge ordeal occurs and Isabel begins to question her past decisions. The detailed description of all books is displayed below for all you spoilers. “We’ll Always Have Summer” has been branded a best seller.

About Jenny

Jenny Han seems really quirky and fun, from reading her books and interviews you can imagine what it must be like to be her best friend!  Her love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and her ability to recite the film Clueless make her all the more endearing.  Jenny Han started writing as a child and fell in love with children’s writing after attending a Children’s writing course at the University of North Carolina. She went onto graduate at The New School in New York City with an MFA in Writing for Children. Jenny Han now lives in Brooklyn and works part time at a school library on the Upper Westside. Jenny is now working on a new novel hopefully out by the end of the year about a country singer. I am very excited! Jenny let spill in an interview recently that a screenplay is in the works by a “very talented screenwriter” for “The Summer I Turned Pretty”.

The Summer I Turned Pretty Blurb:

Everything that happened this past summer, and every summer before it, has all led up to this. To now.

Every year Isabel spends a perfect summer at her family friends’ house. There’s the swimming pool at night, the private stretch of sandy beach . . . and the two boys. Unavailable, aloof Conrad – who she’s been in love with forever – and friendly, relaxed Jeremiah, the only one who’s ever really paid her any attention.

But this year something is different. They seem to have noticed her for the first time. It’s going to be an amazing summer – and one she’ll never forget . . .

It’s Not Summer Without You Blurb:

One girl. Two brothers. Which one will she choose? Isabel’s lazy, long hot summers at her family friends’ beach house are over. Conrad – sexy and unavailable – is the only boy she’s ever loved. He’s left for college, taking her heart with him. Jeremiah, his gorgeous brother, is still Isabel’s best friend – but maybe friendship isn’t enough for him anymore . . . Isabel just wants everything to stay the same, because change means moving on. But if she stops looking back, will she find a future she never knew she wanted?

We’ll Always Have Summer Blurb:

We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han (Published by Puffin, 2012)

 One girl. Two brothers.

The biggest decision of her life . . . Just when she thought she had all the answers . . . Isabel has only ever loved two boys, Conrad and Jeremiah Fisher. One broke her heart; the other made her happier than she ever thought she’d be. But each brother is keeping a secret, and this summer Isabel must choose between the Fisher boys, once and for all. Which brother will it be?

Jodi Picoult’s Debut YA Novel

Have you ever read a book and fallen utterly head over heels in love with the protagonist? If like me you answered yes, then this new release by Jodi Picoult is perfect for you!

This July is the release of Jodi Picoult’s new novel, “Between the Lines”, co- written with her teenage daughter Samantha Van Leer. Jodi Picoult for the first time has moved out of her comfort zone, moving away from hard-hitting family and friendship, heartbreaking emotional dramas to attempting something different and new, a young adult novel. “Between the Lines”is a magical fairytale about Delilah, a young girl obsessed with her favourite fairytale, having always been a loner she finds comfort within her reading and favourite tale. But one day her Prince charming from beyond the pages speaks to her and pleads to help set him free. Could this finally be Delilah’s chance for a perfect happy ending?

It was Samantha Van Leer that pitched the idea to her Mother, Jodi describes her Daughter to having a wild imagination in the “A Note from Jodi Picoult” chapter. So it comes as no surprise the story is set in a mystical world full of enchanting creatures and characters.

What if the characters in a book had lives of their own after the cover was closed? What if the act of reading was just these characters performing a play, over and over… but those characters still had dreams, hopes, wishes, and aspirations beyond the roles they acted out on a daily basis for the reader? And what if one of those characters desperately wanted to get out of this book? Better yet, what if one of his readers fell in love with him and decided to help? – Samantha Van Leer

The language of the book is well-balanced with Deliah’s teenage behaviour and speech sounding authentic, whilst the story structure and language reads true to Jodi’s style. Jodi Picoult manages to balance the humour, magical elements and a story of hope and romance very effectively.  The story reads as a tender tale, many parents will get enjoyment reading the story to their children until they are able to read it again and again for themselves. “Between the Lines” is truly a family favourite.

The front cover of the book reads as a beautiful tale, the pale yellow and lavender, colour scheme with gold details truly sparkles and shines on the book shelf. My favourite element of the book is the exquisite illustrations throughout. The book is filled with a mix of edgy modern day drawings and whimsical old fashioned illustrations. This book is definitely beneficial to purchase in hardback just to appreciate the magnificent art pieces. When reading the story I couldn’t wait to see what colourful and enchanting image would await on the next page. I really liked all the small yet unique and feminine details used, especially the lavender and green font with the changing character perspectives. The story even begins with “Once upon a time in a land far, far away there lived a brave king and a beautiful queen” so prepare for a whirlwind adventure because it reads truly magical. Read an excerpt on, www.JodiPicoult.com

Between the Lines is available in hardback and e-book on Amazon and here is the blurb:

Delilah knows it’s weird, but she can’t stop reading her favourite fairy tale. Other girls her age are dating and cheerleading. But then, other girls are popular. She loves the comfort of the happy ending, and knowing there will be no surprises. Until she gets the biggest surprise of all, when Prince Oliver looks out from the page and speaks to her. Now Delilah must decide: will she do as Oliver asks, and help him to break out of the book? Or is this her chance to escape into happily ever after?

Read between the lines for total enchantment.

Bedtime Stories: Roald Dahl

“When you grow up and have children of your own, do please remember something important: A stodgy parent is not fun at all! What a child wants- and DESERVES- is a parent who is SPARKY!”-Roald Dahl


Why do I read? I read because thinking back to the days of being really young the days of pink and white bunnies decorating my walls, I’ll always remember my bed times. At a young age my bed times always consisted of a Roald Dahl story before bed, always. Before I could read myself, every night my Dad would take me to bed tuck me in and read a segment of a story to me. My favourite memory will always be reading The Twits, this continues to be such a vivid memory for me and a way to remember our relationship. Anyone who is an avid Roald Dahl fan will know exactly what story, page and illustration I am referring to. It is the story about The Twits trying to trap the birds to make a bird pie. My Dad’s marvellous sense of humour made him a very charismatic story-teller and I will never forget being in a fit of giggles when he read me the story.

“I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.” – Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl is famous for his fun and sometimes grotesque wordplay, scrappy yet wonderful illustrations by the wildly talented Quentin Blake and his ability to make a misfit child feel like they belong. Roald  Dahl was born in 1916 in Wales, he spent the early part of his career serving in the British Air force. In 1940 he began writing and went on to become a bestselling author for adults and children. His dark humour writing style is sometimes very misunderstood. In many schools Roald Dahl books are actually banned. Apparently his story telling encourages children to behave badly and as some stories reference alcohol and drugs this lead to a ban being implemented.

From my experience, I believe it to be so important for parents  to bond with their children through literature. My Roald Dahl bed times developed my learning and taught me how to read resulting in my Dad becoming the listener whilst I read the same stories back to him. My love of reading has grown with me and has fuelled an ambition to want to work in the writing industry. It’s fascinating how Roald Dahl today would have been 95 and still his stories and characters remain so relevant. This year has also celebrated the 50th Anniversary of James and the Giant Peach which was published in 1961, one of my all time favourites! If you haven’t read a Roald Dahl classic yet then maybe consider James and the Giant Peach. It’s about a young boy looking for acceptance away from his two revolting aunts and bidding farewell to a life of unhappiness by embarking on an adventure. The story is a wonderful tale about family and friendships – a perfect book to introduce you to Roald Dahl.

Lindsey Kelk ‘I Heart London’ Launch

Author Attic’s Stacy Dennis attended a Book Launch in London to meet author of the ‘I Heart’ series, Lindsey Kelk. She had a wonderful day and wanted to share her experience with you all on the Author Attic blog.
Last month I was lucky enough to get tickets to an intimate book launch for Lindsey Kelk’s “I Heart London” from the chick lit famous I Heart series. “I Heart London” is the latest crazy adventure for the ever so relatable and fabulous Angela Clark. Back on her home grounds it is finally time to deal with everything she once left behind, a cheating fiancé, no job prospects and her friends. Since she left for New York everything has changed, for instance her best friend is about to have her first baby, her ex fiance’s new relationship is falling apart and how will she cope without her loving boyfriend Alex and best friend Jenny by her side?

Of course we all can’t just jump on a plane to the other side of the world to try to find ourselves, but it’s fine because Angela Clark does just that for us.

When I booked the tickets I was excited to finally meet the woman who I felt was writing my life. Lindsey Kelk managed to create a fictional character who shares the same insecurities of every woman, when it comes to her hair, career and love and takes her on a life changing adventure to New York. Of course we all can’t just jump on a plane to the other side of the world to try to find ourselves, but it’s fine because Angela Clark does just that for us.

Colourful cupcakes
Beautiful Cupcakes

I was informed about the book event through Lindsey Kelk’s twitter. I immediately clicked the link to book tickets with a promise of dazzling cupcakes and champagne. Tickets were £10 each and the event was held in the Marie Claire building in Central London. When arriving we were all assigned badges and taken up to the event, exiting the elevator we were greeted by a huge stand of the front cover. There is something very special about the I Heart book covers; they are always feminine, pretty and fun. I first purchased I Heart New York based solely on the front cover; it was just too pretty to be ignored. As promised we were given a glass of champagne and offered the crazy coloured cupcakes. The cupcakes were in various fun colours and looked like they belonged in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

After our cake break we were taken to a theatre room full of plush red sofas and gift bags. The gift bag consisted of fun I Heart London flags in celebration of the Queens Jubilee, a copy of I Heart London, lotions, a I Heart London oyster card holder (very handy indeed) and an exclusive electric blue nail varnish created for the event by Nails inc.

I Heart London by Lindsey Kelk
I Heart London by Lindsey Kelk (Published by Harper, 2012)

As we took our seats Lindsey Kelk began to read a passage from her new book. She admitted she was quite nervous to read aloud and be questioned by us. After she finished reading we were allowed to start asking questions, many people asked the usual types, what are your inspirations? How often do you write? How did you get into writing? I was interested in her answers but more so how she answered the questions. I liked that she was nervous and made a lot of jokes about everything and anything. She discussed her writing processes which seemed to consist of her sitting in pyjamas all day tied to her laptop. She said she created the story concept of running away from her life because she was unhappy in her own. She opened up about her past relationships and what made her feel the need to write a book about escaping, before I knew it I felt like I was at a girly sleepover. At one point to prove a point about a horrendous date she had, she pulled out her mobile and read a text conversation between her and a friend who was begging her to get her out of a blind date!

I was thinking; what do I say to the woman who has created a fictional character that provides me with joy, confidence and inspiration?

The only answered question that brought me sadness was when Lindsey admitted she didn’t enjoy writing the books as much as she used to. She expressed her fears about releasing a new book and the immense pressure she felt for it to be a success. She explained that she used to write about what she wanted in her own free time and now it was all meeting deadlines and worry. It made me sad to think she wasn’t enjoying her own work as much as the 75 women sitting opposite her in awe of her every word, but this honest revelation heightened my respect for her as a writer.

Book signing…

Lindsey Kelk Book Signing
Book Signing

Before leaving we were told we could queue and get our copies of I heart London signed. Standing in the queue I was nervous with a stomach full of butterflies. It was at this point I was thinking what do I say to the woman who has created a fictional character that provides me with joy, confidence and inspiration. Then I was next. She asked my name I replied, “Stacy”. She began to write it before asking if it was with an e or not, I honestly wouldn’t have minded what she wrote. Seriously, she could have made it out to Frank and I really wouldn’t have batted an eye lid.  (If you want to see the biggest set of fan girl book eyes just check out my Twitter page). I left happily knowing Lindsey Kelk was everything I was hoping her to be, warm, relatable, witty and she had amazing hair! Every character I was absorbed  by I learnt had glimmers of her fun personality. If you haven’t picked up the I Heart series set then it’s an absolute must! The stories are a fun fantasy with entertaining characters you just want to read more and more about. Lindsey Kelk is flying the flag for outstanding chick lit. I Heart New York, I Heart Hollywood, I Heart Paris, I Heart Vegas and I Heart London are all available in Paperback and e-book.