Sunday, 29 May 2011

YAAAAY!!! New books!!!

I bought some great books yesterday and I felt the obligation to share them with you!!!! :)

My mum and me were strolling through all sort of different stores yesterday and then I found this book. I fell in love, so to speak. Sometimes you find a book and it gives you everything you wanted.

It's from 1885, is called 'The Champion of Odin or, Viking Life in the Days of Old' and has the best subtitle ever: 'A Tale of Ancient War'. 'Ancient War' sounds pretty exiting to me! The Preface starts of adorably:





'In the following pages I have endeavoured to give young English people of the Victorian age some idea of the life their forefathers in the brave days of old, by stringing, as it were, on the thread of a personal narrative, a series of stirring anecdotes, culled from genuine Scandinavian sources.'

Maybe you can imagine how happy I was after reading that. You gotta love a book that wants to educate 'young English people of the Victorian age' with a book this big, over 370 pages.

The other books I got were 'The Screwtape Letters' by C.S. Lewis. I primarily got it because it is dedicated to J.R.R Tolkien and if Tolkien liked it I wanna know about it. The other one, 'The Chase' by Lorna Fergusson', just sounded really amazing! Here's a summary:


A terrible event has shattered the lives of Netty and Gerald Feldwick. Hoping to escape their memories and to salvage their marriage, they take refuge in Le Sanglier, and old French hunting-lodge deep in the woods of the Perigord. Netty then becomes haunted by the spirits of past centuries.


And apparently she makes these tapestries to block out the rest of the world. And the book starts of with a caveman making drawings in his cave, feeling a connection with the earth. I loved that bit and can't wait to read the rest.



















So, what are your most recent buys?

Friday, 27 May 2011

Back to Basics - Emily Bronte

Most people know Emily Bronte for her book 'Wuthering Hights'. I loved 'WH', because unlike 'Jane Eyre' for example, Emily's characters are wild and alive.  But, just like her sisters, she also wrote poetry.I think I prefer her poetry to Anne's or Charlotte's. And I lover her pen name, Ellis Bell. Here is one of her poems.



Stanza 

Often rebuked, yet always back returning
To those first feelings that were born with me,
And leaving busy chase of wealth and learning
For idle dreams of things which cannot be:

To-day, I will seek not the shadowy region;
Its unsustaining vastness waxes drear;
And visions rising, legion after legion,
Bring the unreal world too strangely near.

I'll walk, but not in old heroic traces,
And not in paths of high morality,
And not among the half-distinguished faces,
The clouded forms of long-past history.

I'll walk where my own nature would be leading:
It vexes me to choose another guide:
Where the grey flocks in ferny glens are feeding;
Where the wild wind blows on the mountain side.

What have those lonely mountains worth revealing?
More glory and more grief than I can tell:
The earth that wakes one human heart to feeling
Can centre both the worlds of Heaven and Hell.





I think unlike Charlotte, who craved recognition and fame, the 'busy chase of wealth' wasn't attracting to Emily. When Charlotte discovered her poems she was furious at first, because she saw it as an intrusion in her privacy. With the help of Anne, Charlotte finally convinced her. Thankfully, because I really like this poem.


I think Emily is talking about her writing in this poem. That 'unreal world' could be a link to fantasy, to this world filled with 'half-distinguish'd faces' and 'old heroic traces'. Everyone is inspired by something and it might be that Emily was inspired by these old heroic tales of knights and damsels in distress. I think you could find a connection to 'Wuthering Heights' in there. Heathcliffe is this strong character, perhaps not exactly knightly and heroic, but he does have this great sense for melodrama. And Catherine, in my memory, does have the tendency to pretend to be a damsel in distress and have Heathcliffe safe her.


I think her reluctance to 'choose another guide' than her 'own nature' is perhaps caused by her being reluctant to publish her own work. She published 'WH' as a part of a three-novel bundle and didn't have it republished on its own. Charlotte was the one who did this two years after Emily's death. 'Those first feelings that were born with me', this sentence seems to describe her urges to write. She did write poems secretly, so did Anne. She didn't want anyone to read them, but she returned to these writings over and over again. She writes she did it 'for idle dreams of things which cannot be'. Perhaps she never truly believed she could or would publish. Unfortunately she only lived for 30 years and was never able to witness how her book became an English classic.


So what are your thoughts on the poem and on Emily?

Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop

BBH is hosted by Crazy-for-Books and FF is hosted by Parajunkee's View,

Book Blogger Hop

This weeks BBH Question:
What book-to-movie adaption have you most liked?  Which have you disliked?

The one I absolutely loved was 'The Lord of the Rings'. It is a typical example of how a director and his scriptwriters looked at a story, analysed and understood it. They understood that the underlying message of the book is one about endurance and friendship. And they translated that to images. 

As I'm writing this I'm watching the end of 'The Handmaid's Tale'. We analysed the book for our English AS-levels and I must say I have the feeling I could've written a better script.They completely messed up the ending, didn't get the Republic of Gilead right at all and changed the relationships between all the people!!! Big disappointment!!

This weeks FF Question:
How many books do you read in a week? And in what format do you read them, or listen to them?

Eeerm, I haven't read a lot in the last couples of weeks, but usually I read about 3/4 books during a week. I finish about one or two of them, start a new one, give up one I don't like, etc. I usually read books in paperback, but since I got my Kindle I have read loads of books on it. With a Kindle it's much easier to read everywhere, because it's that light and has loads of different books on it.

So, how about you? Leave a link behind and I'll hop on over!!! 

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Review: The Shadow at the Gate (The Tormay Trilogy) by Christopher Bunn

I absolutely loved the first part of this trilogy, The Hawk and his Boy, so I was almost afraid I wouldn't like this one as much as the first one. Sequels always seem to be a hard thing to do well, in whatever media genre. It is the one book in which you have to try to keep every storyline going, develop your characters and slowly get people exited for the end. While many authors fail, Christopher Bunn definitely didn't! I absolutely adores this book. I don't know whether I ever finished a book this quickly!

The second volume of the epic fantasy saga that began with The Hawk and His Boy takes us back to the story of the thief Jute. The emissaries of the Darkness have infiltrated the city of Hearne in search of him. Desperate to escape, the boy flees the city and heads into the wilderness of the north. But the ghosts of the past have other plans for him and, soon, Jute and his friends must choose between their own deaths or the destruction of the entire land. All the while, the mysterious lady Levoreth races against time in order to discover who is behind the schemes of the Darkness.

The book is divided into two stories, the first is about Jute and the second about Levoreth. In my review for 'The Hawk and his Boy' I couldn't stop gushing about Levoreth and she was my favourite character. 'The Shadow at the Gate' continues her story perfectly and gives us an even better insight into whom she really is. I wish I could say more about her, but I don't want to spoil anything for the readers. I will say that if you liked her in the first book and are a fan of dramatic scenery and events you will really like what Christopher Bunn has done with Levoreth.

I did find myself warming up to 'The Knife' or Ronan. In the first book he was more of a side-character, but Christopher really used this book to explore his character a bit more. And may I say, if you like surprises READ THIS BOOK. I was seriously stunned after I found out who he was. Christopher Bunn used this book to give the reader some more time to get to know the other characters but especially ... to learn about Tormay and its history.

Every good (!) fantasy book should have a background. It doesn't all have to be in the book, but there has to be at least a reference to other countries, cities, important people from the past, to give it the richness that make  good fantasy books, like 'The Lord of the Rings' outstanding. Tormay has such a background. You didn't hear as much about it in the first book, but this book takes a lot more time to expand. For example, we visit Severus' wizard school and we learn more about the Anbeorum. Christoper Bunn really created an original story and with his fluent and imaginative writing style he is sure to captivate anyone who likes a good story.

I give this book...

4 UNIVERSES!!!

One of the reasons I haven't given this book 5 Universes is because I want to save those for the final book. That might not be a very good reason, but somehow I know it will be the perfect finale to this story. For the rest I think it is pretty obvious that this was a really good story, the perfect continuation from the first book and just great fantasy.

So what are your thoughts?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Back to Basics - Maya Angelou

In the last months I've slightly drifted away from what I wanted to do with this blog. I really like YA and vampires and werewolves and all of that, but my heart's somewhere else. For me fantasy and literature is about works like'The Lord of the Rings', D.H. Lawrence books, 'Wuthering Heights', 'The Shadow of the Wind' or poetry. So I decided to go back to my basics and look at a poem I really like.


I just did my AS-Levels in English and we analysed the heck out of Maya Angelou's anthology 'And Still I Rise'. I have to admit, I'm not such a big Angelou-fan. Although her entire anthology is about rising above your problems, enjoying life and ignoring the haters.But somehow she seems to be the one that is unable to get over her problems. However, the was one poem I really liked.


The Traveller
Byways and bygone
And lone nights long
Sun rays and sea waves
And star and stone

Manless and friendless
No cave my home
This is my Torture
My long nights, lone



Wordless Wednesday

This is the first time I'm participating in this and I'm not quite sure I'm doing it right, but here you go.


Hop over here to sign in!

Waiting on Wednesday

It's Wednesday and once again we're waiting!!! Join the waiting list over at Jill at Breaking the Spine.

I'm still terribly bad at this meme, because somehow I'm unable to keep up to date with releases. But being a devoted Star Wars-fan I did know about  book that was released yesterday. Officially that's not really waiting, but I did wait for it.


Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: ConvictionChief of State Natasi Daala has been overthrown, and the Jedi Order has taken control of the Galactic Alliance. But while the new governors dismantle Daala’s draconian regime, forces still loyal to the deposed official are mobilizing a counterstrike. And even the Jedi’s new authority may not be enough to save Tahiri Veila, the former Jedi Knight and onetime Sith apprentice convicted of treason for the killing of Galactic Alliance officer Gilad Pellaeon.
Meanwhile, Luke and Ben Skywalker are relentlessly pursuing Abeloth, the powerful dark-side entity bent on ruling the galaxy. But as they corner their monstrous quarry on the planet Nam Chorios, the two lone Jedi must also face the fury of the Sith death squadron bearing down on them. And when Abeloth turns the tables with an insidious ambush, the Skywalkers’ quest threatens to become a suicide mission.

Sounds pretty exiting, no?

And, even though I'd never be able to afford anything he made, I'm a fan of the late Alexander McQueen. The latest MET Gala was in honour of his work and was called 'Savage Beauty'. The cover is beautiful, slightly scary and I love it. It'll be released on the 31st of this month, but it's already out of stock on Amazon.

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Arguably the most influential, imaginative, and provocative designer of his generation, Alexander McQueen both challenged and expanded fashion conventions to express ideas about race, class, sexuality, religion, and the environment. Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty examines the full breadth of the designer’s career, from the start of his fledgling label to the triumphs of his own world-renowned London house. It features his most iconic and radical designs, revealing how McQueen adapted and combined the fundamentals of Savile Row tailoring, the specialized techniques of haute couture, and technological innovation to achieve his distinctive aesthetic. It also focuses on the highly sophisticated narrative structures underpinning his collections and extravagant runway presentations, with their echoes of avant-garde installation and performance art. 
So, what are you waiting for? 

I'm still alive!!!

This has been the longest break I have ever taken from blogging, or anything I liked as much really. So, from now on I'm back to daily updates!! Also, someone sent me this beautiful quote about writing, which was the biggest coincidence ever because I just started writing my stories again today!

“If I lose the light of the sun, I will write by candlelight, moonlight, no light. If I lose paper and ink, I will write in blood on forgotten walls. I will write always. I will capture nights all over the world and bring them to you.”
- Henry Rollins

You have to admit it's pretty good! Anyway, if everything goes as planned I have a review coming up and I'll be participating in Waiting on Wednesday!!! Yaay!!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop

BBH is hosted by Crazy-for-Books and FF is hosted by Parajunkee's View,

Book Blogger Hop

This weeks BBH queston is:
Which book blogger would you most like to meet in real life?

That's actually quite a hard decision. I'd love to meet everyone because I think that every blogger has something unique. However, I'd love to meet the Story Siren because she just seems full of blogger wisdom! 

This weeks FF Question:
What character in a book would you most like to be, what character in a book would you most like to date?

Eeerm, there are so many!! I'd love to meet Julian Carax, from Zafon's 'Shadow of the Wind', but I'm not quite sure I'd want to date him. He's got a lot of baggage!! However I'd love to be Eowyn! She's simply amazing and her story is truly fantastic! Talking about Lord of the Rings I'd quite like to go out with Legolas. He just seems the most composed person ever.

I could have extended these answers but I have to catch a flight. How about you? Don't be shy, leave your link!