Six for Sunday: Favourite Books People Never Seem To Know About.

MY DUDES. My time has come.

Six for Sunday is a weekly book meme hosted by Steph at Alittlebutalot. There are so many books that I never see getting any love, so strap in, I’m about to take you on a trip through six of them.

The Entire Pellinor Series – Alison Croggon

I found these books in a charity shop and have been heavily obsessed ever since. I love all of the characters, I love the plot, I love the setting, I love how heavily the arts influence the world and the lives of the people who live there and it’s just GLORIOUS.

Guitar Girl – Sarra Manning

Guitar Girl

This was one of my first, if not THE first YA book I ever owned, and I love it. My dream as a fourteen year old was to be in a band, despite having only the bare minimum of musical talent, so I lived vicariously through other mediums. Molly, the lead protagonist (and singer) of Guitar Girl writes songs about Hello Kitty and working a dead-end job and is pretty much a straight up BAMF. All the characters are so flawed and precious and it’ll break your heart and make you want to form a three-chord band. AND SO YOU SHOULD.

The Impossible Knife of Memory – Laurie Halse Anderson

The Impossible Knife of Memory

Laurie Halse Anderson is my hero. Speak is a book I bang the drum for at every opportunity, but The Impossible Knife of Memory is a brilliant book. It’s the story of Hayley and her war veteran father who suffers from PTSD and traumatic flashbacks, and the struggle as they move back to their home town after a nomadic life. LHA’s books are always so authentic, and her characters so acerbic and vulnerable and Hayley is no different.

What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows – Nora Raleigh Baskin

What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows

Nora Raleigh Baskin is also a QUEEN and one of the staples of my early YA reading. WEGEMK is a book about a young girl who has grown up with her father and older brother and is desperate for a stepmother so she has someone to teach her the things that all the other girls learn from their mothers. It’s a gorgeous wee book about friendship and growing up as a girl and finding out who you are. I loved it when I was eleven and I love it now.

Dogger – Shirley Hughes

dogger

This is a book that very few people seem to remember. I loved Dogger when I was really young, although it BROKE MY HEART because I was an overly sensitive child. Thank god it has a happy ending.

Based on the name people seem to assume that I’m making this book up but I’m not. Promise.

If Only They Could Talk – James Herriot

if only they could talk

I basically swallowed these whole as a child. I’m pretty sure everyone will have heard of James Herriot, but I’m not sure how many people have read his books. They’re incredibly sweet, a glorious trip through the Yorkshire countryside, and they’re so hysterically clever and witty that I challenge you read this without at least cracking a smile.

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I’m now in the mood to read all of these again. Except maybe Dogger. Probably not going to pull Dogger out on the train.

What books haven’t I heard of that I should have? Please open my eyes.

Ten Songs, Ten Memories

Inspired by Rhianna at Love Forty Down, I’ve compiled a wee list of ten songs that carry particular memories for me. My life has been soundtracked for as long as I can remember, and there are so many songs that pick me up and dump me unceremoniously in places that I’ve been…some that I would rather not be any more.

But we won’t talk about that. Let’s do some fun ones!

Crazy Crazy Nights – Kiss

This was my favourite song when I was about four. I used to sit on the living room floor with my dad’s enormous headphones on my little head, a copy of The Best Rock Album In The World…Ever in my hands. I’d read the track listing trying to match words like Genesis and The Cult and Alice Cooper to the songs, but Kiss were my favourite./

Just The Way I’m Feeling – Feeder

I had a miserable time in high school, so much so that it all kind of blends from day ayo dy. My clearest memory is sitting on the bus on the way home feeling completely numb, summer rain on the window, listening to this song.

Like a G6 – Far East Movement

I was a student when this came out, so naturally it was on in the student union every single night. It’s strange, really, the physical reactions that memories produce. I can’t hear this one without the taste of dry ice and cheap vodka building up on my tongue.

I’m glad I’m a gin drinker now.

Drop The Pilot – Joan Armatrading

When I was little (like, REALLY little) and we had a car with a cassette player and a tape my dad got for free at a Texaco garage. Literally the only time I can remember listening to it was on the way to see my granny and granda in Inverness. It had Tears for Fears, Big Country, Hothouse Flowers and The Commitments on it, but nothing drags me back to sitting in the back seat going up the A9, looking for landmarks like “The Funny Bridge”.

The Wire  – Runrig

I still haven’t recovered from the first time I heard The Wire, sitting in my bedroom one December evening with the rain against the window. This is the most beautiful song in the Runrig canon. It’s an ode to Scotland’s history and it stops my heart.

I couldn’t find a video that did it justice, but you should look it up on Spotify.

The Year One title music from Destiny

Destiny 2 is a crippling disappointment, but for all of the flaws the original game had…the experience of playing it for the first time, the friends I made and the good times we had means that this makes my arms prickle.

One by One – Cher

This was my first favourite song. My dad taped it off the radio for me and I sat with those big headphones on again and listened to it for god knows how long.

I must have been a really easy child to keep quiet. Also you can see that my eclectic music tastes are nothing new.

Star Me Kitten – R.E.M.

The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite was the first R.E.M. song I ever heard, but Star Me Kitten is the one that takes me places. I took a copy of Automatic For The People with me to New York when I was nine and Star Me Kitten with its choir background and soft vocals reminds me of lying on the grass in the sun, and big old houses, and trips to Martha’s Vineyard.

Cotton-Eye Joe – Rednex

Listen, Cotton-Eye Joe is a great song and I won’t hear any argument. I was four when this came out and I distinctly remember dancing about the living room with my sister over and over. And over and over.

My poor mother. No wonder she drinks.

There was a version of the song on the original single that we used to call the “Funny Language One”, and for years I was terrified that we were inadvertently being horribly offensive until I looked it up now that it’s just the verse played backwards. I’m both mortified and relieved.

Cid’s Theme – Final Fantasy VII soundtrack

When I first started going out with Sean, this was his alarm sound on his phone, and let me tell you I still can’t hear the opening bars of this song without my heart doing that awful thing it does when it’s dark and your alarm goes off and you’re wishing for the great hell abyss to swallow you so you don’t have to get out of bed.

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Please tell me what ten songs bring back your favourite memories because I love music. Or tell me your favourite song. Either is good.

Six For Sunday | Favourite Snacks to Read With

snacls

Snacks are my favourite. Unfortunately last year, after some science (namely a decade of sporadic ill health) I realised that I was gluten intolerant. It’s frankly taken all the fun out of it. Nevertheless, I’m the hangriest person on the planet, so if I’m sitting down, I’m probably a) reading something and b) eating.

Gin

Yes, it’s a liquid. Is it still a snack? I’m calling it.

I can’t think of anything that I wouldn’t enjoy doing if I had a G&T to be honest. Blame my mother.

gin
Even flying is tolerable with a cheeky wee Botanist!

Cheese and crackers

MATE. I love cheese. Give me some Applewood smoked and some crackers and I’m happy forever. Or at least until the cheese has gone.

Crumpets

I hadn’t tried a crumpet until this year. I can only imagine how good the non-gluten-free versions are. There’s a slight issue of butter saturation and greasy pages so proceed carefully if you try it.

Bananas

I eat a lot more fruit now than I used to, and bananas are the easiest and least messy. I’m all about efficiency.

Pizza

Pizza is my all time favourite food. I’ll still quite happily put away a Goodfellas and read a book at the same time.

Coffee

If I can claim gin on this list I’m having coffee as well. I have a Tassimo coffee machine and it has ruined me. Instant coffee just ain’t the same.

hot choc.jpg
Okay, so this is a hot chocolate but my machine does those too. Plus this one was A+.

Please let me come round to your house and go into your fridge and read your books. And if anyone knows any decent gluten free pizza outlets, let me know. I’m frequently bereft.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books My Mum Owns That I’m Totally Stealing

My mum likes books. She’s at least partly to blame for the way I am. The benefit of this is that it means I can use my parents’ house like a library, and everything she owns I like to think I can claim part-ownership of. It works both ways, but she has more room for books than I do, so…

With this in mind, here’s ten books that I’ve used this privilege to either steal or reserve.

Lion by Saroo Brierly

lion

You can read my Book Spotlight post about this book here. Spoiler alert: I loved it.

All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr

all the light

I finished reading this yesterday, after several days of nearly missing my stop on the train on the way home from work. ATLWCS switches between the two characters and two points in the war without ever being disconcerting or confusing, and it’s so heart-wrenchingly pure, underscored by the awfulness of the war. It doesn’t have a word out of place. Beautiful book.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman

eleanor oliphant

You can read what I thought of Eleanor Oliphant here.

Knots and Crosses – Ian Rankin

knots and crosses

Few things bring me shame quite like the fact that I’ve never read an Ian Rankin book. He was born 15 miles from where I live, for god sake! My fiance bumped into him coming out of Tesco in Edinburgh! Maw, please shove this book into my grubby hand next time I come round.

Never Let Me Go

never let me go

I mentioned this in last week’s TTT post. I picked it up thinking “Huh, I’ve heard so many people talk about this book, I might as well read it” and then realised very quickly that I HAD at some point read it, but I had retained absolutely nothing except the bare minimum, enough for the whole experience to be entirely deja-vu. Another surreal layer to a surreal book.

Northern Lights – Phillip Pullman

northern lights

My friend Roisin had the 10/10 idea of starting a book club for the MtG UKISA judge community and this is the first book we’re reading. I am delighted, since I haven’t read any of the His Dark Materials series.

Yes, you read that correctly. Please do not cast me out into the darkness.

This is what I’m currently reading, and I understand than the book is much better than the film (Golden Compass remains one of the most disappointing cinema experiences I have ever had)

The Snow Child

snow child

I swear down every time I drift towards the bookshelves my mum as good as breaks into song over how much she loves this book. I feel like I’m morally obligated to read it, if only to stop her gently weeping every time I admit I haven’t yet.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

caged bird

I’m sure I read this years ago, but I remember nothing of it.

Sunset Song – Lewis Grassic Gibbon

sunset song

I’m on a binge of anything Scottish at the moment, half inspired by my job and half by Outlander. My mum’s owned XXXX Scot’s Quair for about as long as I can remember and she’s been telling me it’s gorgeous for as long as I can remember, but Scottish history was so cripplingly dull in school (WHY did they do that, what an injustice) that I never fancied it. Now that I’m in the mindset to read it I’m going to pinch it.

The Cider House Rules – John Irvine

cider house

I’ve been meaning to read this for years. ONE DAY MOTHER. ONE DAY.

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Have you read these? Should I break down the door to my parents’ house right now? TELL ME.

Disney music: the PBPR Hall of Fame

Disney is universal. Enchanting to children and adults alike. Setting unrealistic expectations for men. I personally am thoroughly disappointed every time I remember that Sean didn’t morph from a large beast to a man before my very eyes.

A big appeal of the Disney movies is the music. Even if you loathe the films (does anyone?) you can’t deny that the music is incredible. Let’s go on a little adventure through some of the best examples.

Tarzan

First things first: Tarzan is the most underrated Disney film of all time. Tarzan should be on every list for everything. It’s got BRIAN BLESSED in it, for the love of god, why isn’t this film HUGE.

clayton.jpg
GO-RI-LLA.

It’s also got my favourite soundtrack. The Phil Collins fandom might the most uncool, but please join me in here, because the music is worthy of inclusion in every Disney playlist.

It’s the best. Fight me.

The Lion King

This doesn’t even need any text.

Mulan

Let’s get down to business. (To defeat…THE HUNS.)

Make A Man Out of You is the obvious classic, but the rest are pretty spot on as well. What do we want? (Reply in the comments or I’ll be sad.)

Oliver and Company

Oliver and Company is great. It’s got dogs, a tiny kitten, all of the above starring in a retelling of Oliver Twist. What’s not to like?

If that wasn’t enough to sway you, the dog version of the Artful Dodger is voiced by Billy Joel. Yep. Plus Better Midler is in it. And Huey Lewis sings the song at the start. YEP.

Moana

Obviously.

As well as being the prettiest of the Disney films, this ramped its way up to number two in my all time favourites list. The soundtrack is QUALITY. It’s got Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson singing You’re Welcome. It’s got that weird Shiny song, which didn’t float my boat (heh) at all when I first saw the movie, but it’s grown on me.

This is my favourite, though.

Brave

When you get past the accents of questionable authenticity (“It’s jist ma booooow”) the soundtrack to Brave is AMAZING. I love Julie Fowlis, so imagine how here for Brave I was when I found out she was singing on the soundtrack.

Hercules

Find me a song that’s more fun to belt out than BLESS MY SOUL, HERC IS ON A ROLL, PERSON OF THE WEEK IN EVERY GREEK OPINION POLL. This is Sean’s favourite Disney film, and another one that sadly seems to have slipped into the depths of obscurity compared to some of the others.

Sean will tell me off for not putting Go the Distance in here but I DON’T CARE, the vase/vase line in this makes me laugh.

Movies that I deliberately didn’t feature, before everyone goes “But what about THIS one:

  • Frozen. Overrated.
  • Dumbo. I have a Pavlovian response to Baby Mine in that I crumple into a wreck whenever I hear it.
  • Robin Hood and Pocahontas. NEARLY made it though.
  • Any of the Princessy Classic Ones. Purely because they’ve only got like two songs per movie and that on that basis alone they have flawless soundtracks and it’s not fair.
  • Beauty and the Beast. Forgive me, Angela Lansbury.
  • The Little Mermaid. Forgive me, my sister.

Please flame me and tell me what’s not on here that should be. Thanks!