Top Ten Tuesday: Page to Screen


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topic is Page to Screen Freebie (Books that became movies/TV shows, movies that became books, great adaptations, bad ones, books you need to read before watching their movie/TV show, movies you loved based on books you hated or vice versa, books you want to read because you saw the movie or vice versa, etc.)

I don’t often enjoy an adaptation if I’ve read the book first, but the other way round works well. So my choice this week includes examples of both.

First film/TV adaptations I saw before I read the books – and I loved both:

The Shining by Stephen King – I saw the film first with Jack Nicolson as Jack Torrance, which terrified me. I remember his crazed face as he rampaged through the hotel, the sense of evil and terror, and I decided that was enough – I wouldn’t read the book. Then later on I changed my mind. An I thoroughly enjoyed the book, picturing the characters as they are in the film.

Gone with the Wind I saw the 1939 film many, many years ago and my memories of it are vague, not much beyond its setting, Clark Gable as Rhett Butler and Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara, and a few quotes: ‘Tomorrow is another day‘ and ‘Frankly, my dear I don’t give a damn‘. The book, which I read only a few years ago is very readable, although long, and I loved it – still seeing Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh as Rhett and Scarlett.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett – I watched the film at my local cinema. The audience laughed, and then sighed at the poignant moments as the film rolled on and even if I couldn’t quite catch all the words I thought it was brilliant. Then I read the book – as good as the film is, the book is even better because there is so much more in it, the characters are so well-defined, so believable, and the tension caused by the contrast between the black maids and their white employers is so appalling that I didn’t want to stop reading.

When we began watching the HBO TV series, A Game of Thrones I was hooked and once we finished watching I immediately wanted to read the series and began with A Song of Fire and Ice George R. R. Martin’s first book in the series. The actors and scenery were perfect for my reading of the book, although there are some differences (the ages of the Stark children for example). I loved both the book and the TV series.

Way back in 2008 I watched The 39 Steps on TV with Rupert Penry-Jones as Richard Hannay, so inevitably as I read The Thirty-Nine Steps I could see Penry-Jones as Hannay. The dramatisation, however, although there are similarities, is different from John Buchan’s book. There are a number of historical inaccuracies and some artistic licence was used – none of which I was aware of as I watched the film and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It made me want to read the book.

Next a couple of films that I watched that have made me want to read the books they are based on, but I’ve yet to read the books:

Lincoln – with Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln. The film is loosely based on the biography by Doris Kearns Goodwin – Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. I enjoyed the film so much I just had to buy the book.

I watched The Theory of Everything, with Eddie Redmayne playing the part of Stephen Hawking.  It’s adapted from the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Hawking. I think it’s a brilliant film and I’m hoping the memoir will be just as good.

Books I read first and then watched the TV version:

Raven Black by Ann Cleeves, a 2006 novel that I read  in 2010, listened to on the radio and watched The BBC adapted Raven Black for television in 2014, as the first and second episodes in the second series of Shetland, starring Douglas Henshall as Jimmy Perez and Brian Cox as Magnus Tait (renamed Magnus Bain). I prefer the book and her later Shetland books although, of course, the locations are beautiful in the TV adaptations.

I loved Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford when I read the book. The TV adaptation disappointed me even with Judy Dench’s wonderful performance as Missy Matty. As I watched it I kept thinking that’s not how it is in the book and that’s because it’s an amalgamation of three books – CranfordMr Harrison’s Confessions and My Lady Ludlow. The cast includes many well known actors and I enjoyed all their performances, although at one point it did feel a bit like spot the stars.

Partners in Crime is a collection of Tommy and Tuppence stories by Agatha Christie. Tommy and Tuppence Beresford first appeared in Agatha Christie’s The Secret Adversary (first published in 1922) when they had just met up after World War One, both in their twenties. Their next appearance is in Partners in Crime, a collection of short stories, first published in 1929.  I was very disappointed by the TV version, with David Walliams playing Tommy as a bumbling fool and Jessica Raine as a meddling and determined Tuppence. Most of it bore no resemblance to the original.

Top Ten Tuesday: The First Ten Books I Reviewed


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topic is (First Ten) Books I Reviewed (These do not have to be formal reviews. A small sentence on a retailer site or Goodreads counts, too! Submitted by Rissi @ Finding Wonderland)

My Goodness

My Goodness:A Cynic’s Short-lived Search for Sainthood by Joe Queenan – the very first one was I wrote was several years before I began this blog – it was on Amazon UK in August 2001. I posted it on my blog a couple of weeks ago. Queenan describes himself as ‘an acerbic, mean-spirited observer of the human condition’ and I found his book amusing and ironic.

The Giant's House

The Giant’s House by Elizabeth McCracken the first book I reviewed on my blog in May 2007. I re-posted it again in September 2017 after I’d changed server and some of my early posts hadn’t been imported to the new server. It’s a touching novel about the relationship of Peggy Cort, an introverted librarian and James Sweatt, who she meets when he is eleven years old and who grows up to be the tallest man in the world.

My next four reviews combined in one post. I’ve just shown a snippet from each below:


Daphne by Margaret Forster –  She doesn’t sound an easy person to live with or be related to, but that doesn’t show in her passion for writing and Cornwall.

Dawkins Delusion

The Dawkin’s Delusion? by Alistair McGrath –  an Evangelical Christian who unsurprisingly doesn’t agree with Richard Dawkins!


Blessings by Anna Quindlen, about a baby abandoned outside “Blessings”, a large house owned by Lydia Blessing.

The thirteenth tale

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, a book I didn’t like much, especially the ending which I thought was contrived.

The next two reviews were longer, also combined in one post, about The Woodlanders and Body Surfing, as I was reading them at the same time. I thought they provided a good illustration of how society has changed over time, both in attitudes to women and to social conventions.

The Woodlanders

The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy is the story of Grace, who had been educated out of her social class and returned to the woodlands, and the interaction between her, her family and Giles, the woodman and Fitzpiers, the doctor, from an aristocratic background.

Body Surfing

Body Surfing by Anita Shreve – full of emotion as Sydney, a 29-year-old woman, who has been once widowed and once divorced  spends a summer tutoring Julie, a teenage girl, in an ocean front cottage in New Hampshire and Julie’s brothers compete for Sydney’s affections.

My next two reviews were both non-fiction – one a memoir and the other a biography:

On trying to keep still

On Trying To Keep Still by Jenny Diski – I loved this book about Jenny Diski’s travels during a year when she visited New Zealand, spent three months in a cottage in Somerset and went to sample the life of the Sami people of Swedish Lapland.


Wilberforce by John Pollock – born in Hull in 1759, William Wilberforce was instrumental in bringing an end to the slave trade in England. The majority of the book is about the twenty years struggle to end the slave trade through legislation, culminating in the passing of the Act of Abolition in March 1807. This made the slave trade illegal throughout the British Empire. He continued to fight against slavery itself right up to his death in 1833.

Looking back at these reviews makes me realise how much blogging has changed what I read – these days I read more crime fiction and historical fiction. But I still like to vary my reading and I still love biographies and memoirs.


Top Ten Tuesday: Rainy Day Reads


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topic is Rainy Day Reads (submitted by Shayna @ Clockwork Bibliotheca). My idea of a ‘rainy day read’ is that it is a book you can get lost in the story. I went round my bookshelves and picked out these books that I loved when I first read them – they are all books I’d happily re-read.

Click on titles below to see their descriptions on Goodreads.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, the classic that scared me when I first read about Pip’s meeting with Magwitch, the escaped convict in a graveyard. I must have been about 11 or 12 when I first read it – such memorable characters, the tragic Miss Haversham, cruel Estella, kind-hearted Joe Gargary as well as the terrifying Magwitch.

A book I first read and loved as a teenager – Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. It begins with this sentence: Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. That first line has never failed to delight me and that dream sets the tone for the book. I’ve read it many times and each time I fall under its spell.

A book I read whilst recovering from flu – Lark Rise to Candleford by Flora Thompson, in which she records country life at the end of the 19th century – a portrait of a vanished England. It’s a gentle and beautiful picture of the lives of ordinary country people.

The first book by Kazuo Ishiguro that I read – The Remains of the Day I love the pathos of this novel about Stevens, an English butler, reminiscing about his service to Lord Darlington, looking back on what he regards as England’s golden age and his relationship with Miss Kenton who had been the housekeeper at Darlington Hall.

The first Tommy and Tuppence story I read, (but not the first one Agatha Christie wrote) – By the Pricking of My Thumbs in which ‘something wicked’ is afoot, there is evil about and Tuppence’s life is in danger. A dark and sinister tale.

Because I love cats I was drawn to this book in the bookshop one day in the 1990s – The Wild Road by Gabriel King. It’s a magical book of fantasy and adventure as cats and other animals navigate the ‘wild roads’ and meet the perils of sharing a world with humans – a story of good overcoming evil.

I first read some of Thomas Hardy’s books at school – The Woodlanders, though is one I’ve read after I began my blog. I love the way Hardy describes the landscape (the whole of this book is full of trees!) of Little Hintock in his fictional county of Wessex and how he integrates them with the characters.

The Falls by Ian Rankin  – this combines so much of what I like to read in crime fiction – a puzzling mystery, convincing characters, well described locations, historical connections and a strong plot full of tension and pace. When a carved wooden doll is found in a tiny coffin at The Falls Rebus then discovers that a whole series of them had been found dating back to 1836 when 17 were found on Arthur’s Seat, the extinct volcano within Holyrood Park, east of Edinburgh Castle.

The Rain Before it Falls by Jonathan Coe – there is so much that appealed to me in this book about three generations of women. It’s a story within a story – after her aunt Rosamond died Gill discovers family secrets she never knew before . 

And finally a beautiful book by Marghanita Laski – Little Boy Lost the story of Hilary Wainwright, who is searching for his son, lost five years earlier in the Second World War. It’s  emotional, heart-wrenching and nerve-wracking, full of tension, but never sentimental. It is a wonderful story!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Spring 2019 TBR


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topic is Books On My Spring 2019 TBR. Some of these books have been on my shelves unread for a long time, some are new additions and others are e-books from NetGalley that will be published soon. I’d like to think I’ll read all these books soon but realistically I know that I’ll only read a few of them this Spring!

Broken Ground by Val McDermid – DCI Karen Pirie investigates the discovery of a body in the remote depths of the Scottish Highlands.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote – Capote reconstructs the crime and the investigation into the murders of the four members of the Clutter family on November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas.

How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn – a story of life in a mining community in rural South Wales as Huw Morgan is preparing to leave the valley where he had grown up. He tells of life before the First World War.

On the Beach by Neville Shute – set in Melbourne, Australia this is a novel about the survivors of an atomic war as radiation poisoning moves toward Australia from the North.

Iris and Ruby by Rosie Thomas – the story of a teenage girl, Ruby, who runs away from home to live with her grandmother, Iris in Cairo.

Here Be Dragons by Sharon Penman – set in 13th century Wales this is the story of Llewelyn, the Prince of North Wales, and his rise to power and fame and his love for Joanna, the illegitimate daughter of King John. 

A Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty – crime reporter Harper McClain unravels a tangled story of obsession and jealousy after a beautiful law student is shot in Savannah, Georgia.

A Snapshot of Murder by Frances Brody – set in Yorkshire in 1928, when  amateur detective, Kate Shackleton investigates a crime in Brontë country.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – on the day of Nick and Amy’s fifth wedding anniversary, Amy suddenly disappears. The police suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true.

The Island by Ragnor Jonasson – Nordic noir, set on the island of Elliðaey,  off the Icelandic coast. Four friends visit the island during a long, hot summer but only three return. Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to investigate.

Top Ten Tuesday: The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. For the rules see her blog.

This week’s topic is The Ten Most Recent Additions to My To-Read List. These are in no particular order, except for the first three which are books to be released later this year. I’m looking forward to reading each one of them!

The Silence of the GirlsThe Bear Pit: The Seeker 4This Poison Will Remain

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker, out in paperback in June 2019, a retelling of the Trojan War.

The Bear Pit by S G MacLean, the 4th Damian Seeker novel, out in July 2019, set in the 17th century England under the rule of Cromwell, the Lord Protector.

This Poison Will Remain by Fred Vargas out in paperback in August 2019, a Commissaire Adamsberg mystery investigating the death of three men, all killed by the venom of the recluse spider.

TranscriptionThe Wych ElmDear Mrs BirdThe Sealwoman's Gift

Transcription by Kate Atkinson – a standalone novel set in London in the world of espionage in the 1940s and 50s.

The Wych Elm by Tana French, a standalone psychological thriller.

Dear Mrs Bird by A J Pearce, historical fiction set in London in 1941.

The Seal Woman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson, set in 1627 as pirates raided the coast of Iceland and abducted 400 people into slavery in Algiers.

TemplarsThe Song of AchillesBlood & Sugar

The Templars by Dan Jones, non fiction about the Knights Templars and the Crusades

The Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller, more historical fiction about the Trojan War and its heroes.

Blood and Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson, historical crime fiction set in June, 1781 about the slave trade.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Meant to Read In 2018 but Didn’t Get To


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

The rules are simple:

  • Each Tuesday, Jana assigns a new topic. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want.
  • Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.
  • Add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s post so that everyone can check out other bloggers’ lists.
  • Or if you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment.

This week’s topic is Books I Meant to Read In 2018 but Didn’t Get To. Oh, dear there were lots – here are ten of them, in no particular order of preference. They are all books I really wanted to read as soon as I got them, but then other books got in the way! They are by authors whose books I’ve read before, with the exception of the last book, and most are books I bought in 2017 or 2018.

I loved Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy and I’m sure this will be as good – it’s Coffin Road, a standalone book set on the Hebridean Isle of Harris where a bewildered man is standing on a beach, wondering why he is there – and even more worrying, he is not able to remember who he is. His only clue is a folded map of a path named the Coffin Road.

My second book is also by Peter May – I’ll Keep You Safe and is also set in the Hebrides. Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane co-own the Hebridean company Ranish Tweed. On a business trip to Paris to promote their luxury brand, Niamh learns of Ruairidh’s affair, and then looks on as he and his lover are killed by a car bomb. She returns home to Lewis, bereft.

Next, An Advancement of Learning by Reginald Hill – the second in his Dalziel and Pascoe series. I’ve been reading this series completely out of order and so am now trying to fill in the gaps. This one is about the discovery of a dead body found buried under a statue in the grounds of Holm Coultram College. As soon as they think they have solved the problem more bodies are discovered.

I really should have read The Dry by Jane Harper before now. I’ve read both her second and third books and loved them. I’ve never been to Australia, but her description of of the outback makes me feel as though I am there in the places she describes. In this, the first Aaron Falk book, the farming community of Kiewarra is in the grip of the worst drought in a century and people are facing life and death choices daily – then three members of a local family are found brutally slain – it appears that Luke Hadler has shot his wife and young son, and then killed himself.

Ann Cleeves is one of my favourite writers and I love her Vera and Shetland books, but somehow I have got behind with reading her last two Shetland books – book 7, Cold Earth and book 8, Wildfire. So both these books are high on my list of books to read this year.

Cold Earth begins with a landslide during the funeral of Magnus Tait and in the resulting wreckage the body of a dark-haired woman wearing a red silk dress is found. DI Jimmy Perez thinks that she shares his Mediterranean ancestry and he becomes obsessed with tracing her identity.

 Wildfire, the final book in this series,is about the Flemings -designer Helena and architect Daniel, who move into a remote community in the north of Shetland. They think it’s a fresh start for themselves and their children, but their arrival triggers resentment, and Helena begins to receive small drawings of a gallows and a hanged man. Gossip spreads like wildfire.

A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward is her second book. I loved her first book, In Bitter Chill, and I have a few to catch up with as she has now written books three and four in her DC Childs series. A Deadly Thaw is set in the fictional town of Bampton in Derbyshire. Lena Fisher was convicted of he husband’s murder, but within months of her release nearly two decades later, his body is found in a disused morgue, recently killed. Who was the man she killed before, and why did she lie about his identity?

Another favourite author is Anthony Horowitz and I really should have read Moriarty, his second Sherlock Holmes book, before now as I enjoyed his first one, The House of Silk – and also his more recent books, Magpie Murders, The Sentence is Death, and The Word is Murder. It’s 1891, Holmes and Moriarty are dead and London is in the grip of a fiendish new criminal mastermind. Frederick Chase, a Pinkerton agent and Inspector Athelney Jones are faced with finding a brutal murderer.

I loved We Have Always Lived in the Castle, so have great expectations for The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Four people visit Hill House searching for evidence that is haunted. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own. I’m expecting this to be just as strange, spooky and disturbing as We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

And finally, The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. It’s her first book and it was shortlisted for the 2018 Costa Biography Award and the Wainwright Prize. I want to read it because it’s a true story about a couple, Raynor and Moth, her husband who is terminally ill, who had lost their home and their business. Faced with this terrible situation they decided to buy a tent and walk the Salt Path, the south-west coastal path, from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset, via Devon and Cornwall.

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday new

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

The rules are simple:

  • Each Tuesday, Jana assigns a new topic. Create your own Top Ten list that fits that topic – putting your unique spin on it if you want.
  • Everyone is welcome to join but please link back to The Artsy Reader Girl in your own Top Ten Tuesday post.
  • Add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s post so that everyone can check out other bloggers’ lists.
  • Or if you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment.

This week’s topic is New-to-Me Authors I Read In 2018. I read books by 40 new-to-me authors, so I have plenty to choose from. 

Here are my top ten, in a-z author order:

Belinda Bauer – I read Blacklandsher debut novel about a battle of wits between a child serial killer and a twelve year old boy. Since reading this book I’ve also read Snap and Rubbernecker.

Belinda Bauer's picture

book cover of Blacklands

Michel Bussi –  Time is a Killera psychological thriller, translated from the French; this shifts from the past to the present, set on the island of Corsica.

Michel Bussi's picture

book cover of Time Is a Killer

Robert Dinsdale: The Toymakers – a magical and wonderful book set mainly in 1917 whilst the First World War was taking its toll of humanity, leaving despair and tragedy in its wake. It’s a blend of historical fiction and magic realism.

Robert Dinsdale's picture

book cover of The Toymakers

Lisa Jewell -Her first book, Ralph’s Party, came out in 1998 and since then she has written many books. Watching You is her latest book,  crime fiction that keeps you guessing about everything right from the first page – someone was murdered, but who was it and why, and just who was the killer? 

Lisa Jewell's picture

book cover of Watching You

Alma Katsu: The Hunger, historical fiction, weaving facts with hints of the supernatural and Indian myths, about the Donner Party, pioneers as they made their way west to California in 1846.

Alma Katsu's picture

book cover of The Hunger

Joseph Knox: The Smiling Man the second Aidan Waits book. Waits is a Detective Constable who plays very close to the edge and has little regard for his own safety in this fascinating and complex murder mystery.

Joseph Knox's picture

book cover of The Smiling Man

Andrew Miller: Now We Shall Be Entirely Free historical fiction, set in 1809 during the Peninsular Wars. Captain John Lacroix has returned to England, injured and close to death. as he regains his physical health  it is clear that he is on the edge of a breakdown, mentally and emotionally.

Andrew Miller's picture

book cover of Now We Shall Be Entirely Free

Rhiannon Navin: Only Child, her debut novel. It’s one of the most powerful books I’ve read for ages. It’s emotional, moving and absolutely compelling reading.  

Rhiannon Navin's picture

Only Child

Barney Norris: Turning for Home set on the day of Robert’s 80th birthday celebration. Still grieving after his wife’s recent death, he is finding it a sad, rather than a joyful occasion as the family gather together. A moving book with emotional depth.

Barney Norris's picture

Turning for Home

Jo Spain: The Confession her fifth book this is set in Ireland. It begins as Harry McNamara, a banker, recently cleared of multiple accounts of fraud, is brutally attacked in his own home in front of his wife, Julie.

Jo Spain's picture

The Confession

Since reading The Confession I’ve also read The Darkest Place and Dirty Little Secrets.