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What’s In A Name – 2015 Sign-Up Post

What's In A Name 2015 logo

This is the sign-up post for the eighth annual What’s In A Name challenge, originally started by Annie, handed to Beth Fish Reads, and now continued here at The Worm Hole. Information in other languages: Português

The basics

The challenge runs from January to December. During this time you choose a book to read from each of the following categories (examples of books you could choose are in brackets):

  • A word including ‘ing’ in it (The Time Of Singing, Dancing To The Flute, Lex Trent Fighting With Fire) My examples are verbs but you can of course use other words.
  • A colour (The Red Queen, White Truffles In Winter, On Gold Mountain)
  • A familial relation (Daughter Of Smoke And Bone, Dombey And Son, My Cousin Rachel) By all means include in-laws, step, and halves.
  • A body of water (The River Of No Return, Black Lake, Beside The Sea)
  • A city (Barcelona Shadows, Shanghai Girls, Under The Tripoli Sky)
  • An animal (Black Swan Rising, The Leopard Unleashed, The Horse And His Boy)

Remember the titles I’ve given here are only examples, you can by all means use them if you want to but it’s not necessary. There are plenty of other books that will fit the categories and you may have some in mind already or even some on your shelves you can read.

Extra information
  • Books can be any format (print, audio, ebook).
  • It’s preferred that the books don’t overlap with other challenges, but not a requirement at all.
  • Books cannot overlap categories (for instance my example of Black Swan Rising for ‘an animal’ could be used for the ‘colour’ category or ‘animal’ category, but not both).
  • Creativity for matching the categories is not only allowed, it’s encouraged!
  • You don’t have to make your list of books beforehand, you can choose them as you go.
  • You don’t have to read your chosen books in any particular order.
Everything else

On January 1 I’ll publish 7 posts, one for each category and one for your wrap-up post. These posts will be published as WordPress pages and linked to from one main, ‘gateway’, post on the blog. You will be able to post your links to your reviews or leave comments, depending on whether you’re a blogging reader or a non-blogger reader. If you are a blogger, please leave one review per category. You’ll be able to find the gateway post through a link I’ll be adding to the navigation section of my sidebar. Alternatively, for ease, you might want to subscribe to this blog via Feedly or email so that the gateway post will be immediately available to you without you having to search the site. The non-Feedly feed link and also a Bloglovin’ link are on the sidebar.

If you have trouble finding a book for a category, have a look at the corresponding page for it here – readers who’ve already completed the category will have linked to their reviews and added titles that you can look through.

To join the challenge, sign up using the Mr Linky if you’re a blogger, and if you’re not a blogger simply leave a comment below (please note that if you’ve not commented on this blog before your comment will not show up straight away as per my site moderation but I will see it so do come back if you’ve asked a question). If at any time you have difficulties adding your link, email me at the address on my contact page with your information, and I’ll add it myself.

How to use Mr Linky: put your name and/or your blog’s name in the top box and the URL (web address) of your blog in the second box. If you have a Tumblr or use a Facebook page instead of a blog, use the web address to that instead.

How you link is up to you, but it’s suggested that you include both your name and blog name in the first box.

If you have any suggestions for this year’s challenge, let me know in the comments (again, if you’ve not commented here before the comment will show up after I’ve approved it as part of my site spam moderation).

And remember that you don’t have to sign up today – as the challenge runs until the end of 2015, you can sign up at any time during the year.

Hope you enjoy the challenge and best of luck! The hashtag for Twitter is #whatsinaname2015 (the number included so we don’t get lost amongst various Romeo And Juliet quotes!)

Sign up here!

Latest Acquisitions (October – November 2014)

Not many today, but I’m rather excited.

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Anna Godbersen: Bright Young Things – When it was released, this book was featured on too many blogs to count and I read few negative reviews. I marked it as one I wanted to read but never got round to it. Now my friend has given me a copy; the plan is to read it soon.

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Christina James: Sausage Hall – From the publisher; I don’t know much more about it other than that it’s a crime thriller (and I’m forgoing reading the blurb so that it’s a surprise).

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Diane Setterfield: Bellman & Black – I haven’t yet read The Thirteenth Tale but saw no reason not to give this a go – knowing in advance it has garnered mixed reviews and is not as good.

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Emily St. John Mandel: Station Eleven – Whilst I know she works for the publisher, Sam tweeted up a storm and I had to find out what this book was about. It sounds in the vein of The Night Circus and this makes me very happy. I must remember to list the book under ‘M’.

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Peter Ackroyd: Tudors – I was always going to end up wanting to read this book. I’m of the mind that you can never read too many books on your favourite subjects, and whilst skimming the index inferred I may not agree with Ackroyd (he’s referenced G W Bernard), I’m looking forward to the book nonetheless.

What books have you bought/loaned/been sent recently?

Thoughts Whilst Reading Nicholas Nickleby (Chapters I – XII)

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Not so strangely enough, Nicholas Nickleby is taking a while to get through. At 831 pages (yes, I counted them, it created a mini feeling of despair) sans illustrations, and without tiny text and scant margins, I envisage my slow reader self will take at least until mid December to finish it. I’m making efforts to read shorter books alongside to up my year count and so that this blog doesn’t lack reviews.

Whilst reading I thought back to the time Iris and I read Wuthering Heights together and the subsequent post it spawned; I thought I might revisit the idea this time. Here are my thoughts having finished chapter 12 of Dickens’ tome, about a quarter of the way in.

I’ve been surprised Nicholas has been so open so early on to Miss Squeers and Miss Price in regards to his hatred of Dotherby’s. I suppose it strikes me as not thought out – assuming he stays a while, or at least assuming he’s currently thinking of staying a while, it seems a silly thing to do. I’ve marvelled at his submission but then if he left straight away there wouldn’t be much of a story, at least not much of a Victorian sort of story. I hope he gets the place closed down even if I know it may be wishful modern thinking.

I’m half in a mind to wonder if he’s going to end up marrying Miss Price who, for all she must know about the cruelty, strikes me as not too different to him. Still, I know Dickens has a tendency to overdevelop characters that won’t be around for long. I did like the scenes in which Miss Squeers went to town on the idea and plan of Nicholas liking her.

Despite having experienced Dickens’ wordiness, it’s surprising me. I suppose the superfluous content was more acceptable back then and that perhaps it’s in part our shorter attention spans that have made us find it an issue. This said, I think he needed to edit his work, word count be damned.

Granted, this works best if you know the context, but I’m including it because I like Dickens’ clever humour here:

“What is the reason that men fall in love with me, whether I like it or not, and desert their chosen intendeds for my sake?”
“Because they can’t help it, miss,” replied the girl; “the reason’s plain.” (If Miss Squeers were the reason, it was very plain.)

I’ll end this post by saying that I’ve read a further two chapters now and know therefore that what I’ve said above is somewhat irrelevant, but it’s a record of thoughts nonetheless. That Dickens is a rather sneaky fellow…

Have you read Nicholas Nickleby/do you plan to?

Suzannah Lipscomb – A Visitor’s Companion To Tudor England

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History and the roofs under which it occurred.

Publisher: Ebury Press (Random House)
Pages: 281
Type: Non-Fiction
Age: Adult
ISBN: 978-0-091-94484-1
First Published: 15th March 2012
Date Reviewed: 12th November 2014
Rating: 4/5

In a work that is a combination of reference book and good old straightforward non-fiction, Lipscomb focuses on 50 different locations with a background either exclusively Tudor or worthy of a visit by those interested in the popular history.

There are two ways to read A Visitor’s Companion To Tudor England. Lipscomb herself introduces it as a guide for the general reader, bereft of footnotes and too much information so that it’s accessible to all. This makes the first way of reading that of the previously uninformed. The second way is obviously one that is more natural to myself and quite likely many who read this review – as yet another book that will enable you to spend even more time on something you already enjoy learning about.

Lipscomb’s introduction sets out all you might have wanted to know about the selection of these houses, castles, tombs, and ruins, which is important to read because no matter your prior knowledge you’ll likely say ‘but what about such and such a place?’. Lipscomb tells us why some prominent places did not make the cut, why less well-known places did, and whether or not you agree with her choices you get to see all the planning involved.

However the book does not entirely live up to its promise and this is because of the criteria. The specific criteria listed in the introduction means that some places are of only minor interest overall (perhaps more interest if you’ve had time to visit all the major places before) and this is compounded by the fact that the approach to the chapters vary. Some focus on describing what you will see, others leave that out in favour of writing about the occupants, and there will be times you’ll likely wish another slice of the history had been focused on instead of the one chosen, the abode of a person of more interest written of instead. This means that the book as a ‘handbook’ is less useful unless you’re using it as a quick reference when deciding where to go on your next day trip.

There is a lot of well-known history included, but also a lot of lesser-known facts. In this way both those with prior knowledge and those without are catered for – for every fact you may know, there is a new one, and for the new learner it’s fair to say this gets you up to speed. Whilst there are no footnotes (another decision discussed in the introduction) Lipscomb includes various views from primary sources as well as her own and those from her peers; much as in her work for television, views are discussed before thoughts are given as to her own, so you also get a good taste for the study of history here, too.

What doesn’t work so well are the suppositions. There are many ‘probablys’ in this book, and this is of course more problematic given the lack of footnotes, as there are ‘probablys’ without reasoning behind them. This may work for new learners but means that you won’t learn as many facts as you might think. The cross-references to other chapters are a few too many and there is a lot of repetition – though this is to aid the reader who wants only to dip in to one or two chapters. There are also sections about Tudor life included in chapters that aren’t related to the subject at hand wherein you might wish more had been written about the location.

A Visitor’s Companion To Tudor England is good, but (necessarily) brief. It sports enough to please all readers but is most likely to satisfy the new reader. The inclusions of lesser-known places, however, make it a worthwhile quick read for all.

Related Books

None yet

Knightshayes Gardens


You aren’t allowed to take photographs in the house at Knightshayes and cannot see much of it, so I recommend you take this into consideration before deciding to make a day of it. This said, what you can see of the house is magnificent, and not dissimilar to Cardiff Castle. Due to the weather I used a filter on my camera a few times in order that my photos be more reflective of how the place truly looks; the gardens are wonderful.















Have you been to any gardens recently?


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